One thing you’ve got to hand Israel: it has chutzpah in spades. Those who participated in the Mavi Marmara expedition to break the Gaza siege were kidnapped by Israeli commandos. Nine Turks were murdered, many with bullets fired at close range or in the back. The surviving victims were imprisoned by Israel for days in Ashkelon. All of their personal belongings were confiscated, which resulted in the looting of at least $2-million (some estimates are as high as $3.5-million) worth of cameras, video camcorders, laptops, cell phones, credit cards, wallets, purses, etc. One prisoner described her witnessing the murders of her fellow passengers only to find Israeli soldiers were buying beer with her stolen credit card. Here’s one Israeli report on the matter.
Now, years after the massacre, Israeli military “justice” is finally getting around to punishing the looters (Hebrew)–or I should say looter. For only one poor schlimazel faces discipline for his handiwork. This poor guy earned 200 days in jail for the crime of stealing a laptop and video console. What the hell did Israel do with the rest of the gear? Sell it? Give it to the Mossad? Distribute it to the guards? Where did it go?
If this wasn’t such a loony result it would be funny. The legal ruling even has the unmitigated chutzpah to say:
Behind the acts of the accused, lie a unique public sensitivity. His actions have implications for the image of the IDF and State of Israel.
In other words, were it not for the murders, the accused would likely have gone scot-free. But they needed a scapegoat and this poor shlump didn’t have any commander strong enough or willing enough to protect him as all the other looters were granted impunity for their thefts.
What’s distressing about this is that Israelis will argue that this individual was the one rotten apple in the bunch. By punishing him it’s shown it is a nation of laws and due process. When the truth is there was systematic looting of the Mavi Marmara victims. They filed petitions with Israel listing the items stolen and Israel has done NOTHING to find them or return them. Thus Israel has sanctioned the thefts as a sort of punishment inflicted on them because they dared to defy Israel. It was also a warning to future blockade runners that they would be dealt with in a similar manner. That is why many said they would not bring any items of value with them the next time they set sail for Gaza.
In a related matter, Turkey is reporting a major obstacle to sealing a deal with Israel over the massacre. Israel had initially agreed to include an admission of wrongdoing to accompany the compensation it was offering the nine victims’ families. But now it is refusing to include the admission because it is afraid it might “set a precedent” for the future . This can only mean Israel is petrified of all the international rulings that might ensue from its previous egregious violations of international law (e.g. Cast Lead, 2006 Lebanon War, etc.). Either that or its hedging its bets, expecting future massacres from whose fall-out it hopes to be protected.
Turkey’s deputy prime minister explained the problem:
“The amount of money is not the problem,” Arınç said. “There are two problematic areas. The first one is that Israel should accept that it’s paying this money as a result of its wrongful act. Nothing less than this will be accepted. And second, we are waiting for them to realize our third condition of cooperating with Turkey in making life conditions easier for Palestinians. We are not talking about the amount of money as our first two conditions have not been met,” he added.
“We are not going to rush for the money. Israel has to accept its wrongful act. Otherwise we will not say ‘yes’ to them,” he said…
This is unfortunately the Israeli MO personified going all the way back to the founding of the State. Commit acts of theft and murder in the name of state-building. Accept no responsibility for the consequences because the end justifies the means. Go through life expecting the world will learn to live with it. Being shocked when that doesn’t turn out to be the case. There will come a day when Israel will be suitably humbled. When it will realize it has to live within the world and by its rules instead of by a concocted code known only to Israel itself.