There was plenty of hand-wringing after IDF commandos stopped the Mavi Mamara from running Israel's blockade of Gaza, though not on this blog if I recall correctly. Israel's action, which brought international condemnation, was said to have injured Israel's standing and provided a boast to Hamas. But according to this analysis by David Pollack in the Jerusalem Post, the attempt at blockade-busting has, if anything, backfired on Hamas. Moreover, Israel's blockade remains in place, which was Israel's purpose in stopping the Mavi Mamara. Israel has expanded the list of items it will allow into Gaza, though.
Note that Ms. Thomas did not call for just a West Bank free of Jews. And she did not just wish for the elimination of the nation of Israel itself. Rather, Thomas envisions the departure of Israelis to the sites of the major death camps seven decades ago where six million Jews were gassed.
President Obama held a media availability today with the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas, and answered questions about the Mavi Marmara incident. His comments were about what you would expect, which is to say, vapid: I think everybody, people in Israel, people in Turkey, people within the Palestinian territories, certainly people here in the United States, want to know the facts of this tragedy -- what led to it, how can we prevent it in the future. And I think -- I've said to the Israelis directly and certainly my team has communicated the fact that it is in Israel's interest to make sure that everybody knows exactly how this happened so that we don't see these kinds of events occurring again. And we expect that -- the standard that was called for in the U.N. Security Council to be met. Actually, what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara is now well known; what we need is not an international investigation, but rather a leader who is willing to tell the truth about Hamas and its supporters. Obama continued: The question now is how do we create a different framework so that people in Gaza can thrive and succeed, so that extremists are isolated as opposed to having an excuse for engaging in violent activities, but also how do we do it in a way that Israel's legitimate security concerns are met. But of course, extremists don't need an excuse to commit violence; and in Gaza, terrorists are not isolated, they are popular. More of this in a moment. With respect to the broader issue of lifting the blockade, as I said before, I think the key here is making sure that Israel's security needs are met but that the needs of people in Gaza are also met. And it seems to us that there should be ways of focusing narrowly on arms shipments, rather than focusing in a blanket way on stopping everything and then, in a piecemeal way, allowing things into Gaza. As so often with Obama, you wonder
As we and many others have written, the "freedom flotilla," the Rachel Corrie, etc., are all about Iran's effort to supply rockets and other arms to its creature Hamas in Gaza so that Israel can be more effectively attacked and the Jews, some day soon, exterminated. Iran apparently is frustrated that its efforts to break the Gaza blockade have so far failed, and now threatens to up the military ante: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards are ready to provide a military escort to cargo ships trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday. "Iran's Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities," Ali Shirazi, Khamenei's representative inside the Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency. The prospect of a Revolutionary Guards escort tells you all you need to know about the "peace and freedom convoys." If Iran follows through on this threat, it would seem that the prospect of war will become very real. One wonders what could have happened on the international scene over the last sixteen months to embolden Iran to threaten such a provocation. As we and many others have written, the "freedom flotilla," the Rachel Corrie, etc., are all about Iran's effort to...
When Israeli commandos intercepted the Turkish flotilla to Gaza, they were ambushed on board the Mavi Marmara. The ambush produced the desired publicity and international furor sought by the friends of Hamas among the flotilla's organizers and passengers. The object of the flotilla was obviously to facilitate in one way or another Iran's takeover of Gaza as a base to conduct its war against Israel. Mainstream media organizations like the AP dutifully played their accustomed role as useful idiots in playing along with the purported "humanitarian" nature of the flotilla's mission. To understand the game afoot in the flotilla's effort to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, it helps to understand the political situation in Turkey. For help in understanding, I recommend columns by astute observers who know what they are talking about. Among these columns I would point to Robert Pollock's "Erdogan and the decline of the Turks," Claudia Rosett's "Turkey's two-faced aid for Gaza," Ralph Peters's "DC's Turkish denial," and Mark Steyn's "Israel, Turkey and the end of stability." The Jerusalem Post continues to shed light on the nature of the flotilla. Among its recent reports are "PM: Mercenaries aboard Gaza ship" and "Pics of beaten commandos published." The Jerusalem Post reports that the IDF has identified a group of about 50 men - of the 700 on board - who were wel
Israeli troops have boarded the Rachel Corrie, an Irish vessel participating in the "Freedom Flotilla" and purporting to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. Thankfully, the pro-Hamas activists on board did not initiate violence, and the ship is being taken peacefully to Ashdod, where the cargo will be inspected before being forwarded to Gaza. The incident has brought Rachel Corrie's name back into the news. Time, for example, offers a tribute to her here. Corrie was a young American woman who foolishly got herself killed in Gaza in 2003 by kneeling in the path of a bulldozer. Since then, she has been the subject of much adulation. In fact, however, she was not so much a human rights activist, as she is portrayed in the press, as a hater who was closely allied with terrorists. In this photo, taken a month before her death, she was burning a fake American flag at a Hamas rally: At The Corner, Mark Steyn brings our attention to this piece by Tom Gross called "The Forgotten Rachels." Written in 2005, it is even more timely today: Rachel Thaler, aged 16, was blown up at a pizzeria in an Israeli shopping mall. She died after an 11-day struggle for life following a suicide bomb attack on a crowd of teenagers on 16 February 2002. Even though Thaler was a British citizen, born in London, where her grandparents still live, her death has never been mentioned in a British newspaper. Rachel Thaler is not the
Writing on Commentary’s Blog, Max Boot argues that even though Israel is in the right, it still needs to be careful about international opinion: In the Wall Street Journal today, I write about the disastrous consequences of Israel's boarding operation off Gaza. Although the Israelis were perfectly justified in trying to stop Hamas from [...]
The organizers of the original pro-Gaza flotilla report that additional ships are heading to the Gaza strip: Organizers of an aid flotilla to Gaza kept mum Tuesday on additional ships scheduled to arrive in Israel’s international waters in the coming days, while Israeli officials mulled possible response Greta Berlin, of the heads of the [...]
The Washington Post's editors declare the IDF's capture of the Marmara a "fiasco." If so, it is that special kind of fiasco that attains such status only by virtue of people like those on the editorial board of the Washington Post declaring it one. And the willingness of such folks to cry "fiasco" (or not) too often depends on their agenda, not the facts of the case.
What differentiates the Marmara incident from prior Israeli PR disaster such as the so-called Jenin "massacre"? At first sight, not much. Yet politicians in Europe have already fallen in line with the anti-Israel stance.
There's plenty of hand-wringing today from Israel's supporters about the boarding of the Marmara, and the ensuing battle. Max Boot's column is a good example. He speculates that perhaps Israeli agents could have sabotaged the ships before they even left port. Or maybe they should have allowed the ships to be off-loaded in Gaza and then disabled them to prevent any further trips. Boot's alternatives don't seem very compelling. Israel would face at least as much condemantion were it suspected of having sabotaged boats in a foreign port. And preventing one set of boats from returning to Gaza would not have prevented further instances of embargo-running. But let's assume, as may well be the case, that the IDF failed to pick the best option, and then failed to execute it optimally. What conclusions follow? My conclusion is that no military makes and executes decisions flawlessly and that, even if the IDF were to do so, it would still come in for harsh criticism from the usual suspects. Or, in the best case scenario, the usual suspects would hold their fire until the next time Hamas and its supporters provoked the IDF to act. In other words, Israel isn't being criticized because the likes of Nicolas Sarkozy are assessing its self-defense operations in good faith and finding them wanting. Rather, Sarkozy and company are finding Israel's self-defense operations wanting because they lack good faith and are eager to criticize Israel. How else does one explain Sarkozy's rush to claim, before any solid facts were in, that Israel used disproportionate force? The hand-wringing is unwarranted for an additional reason -- Gaza, the PA, and even Hamas represent a side-show. Israel has won this battle and the latest incident isn't likely to overturn that result. Consider what the oft-criticized IDF and I
Those manning the Turkish Hamas flotilla seeking to run the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza were no fools. They knew exactly what they were doing -- see Jonathan Schanzer's "The terror finance flotilla" -- and they accomplished their mission in part. The fools weren't on the ship. The fools are on dry land, as can be deduced from the ship-of-fools quality to the response to Israel's encounter with the flotilla. See Wesley Pruden's "A shocking story of Israeli survival" and Caroline Glick's "Ending Israel's losing streak." See also Mona Charen's "Flotillas and falsehoods" (query: "Don't members of the press ever resent being so used?") and David Hornik's "World regrets death of jihadists, vilifies Israel." For a footnote involving the New York Times, see Seth Lipsky's "Mavi Marmara and the Exodus." Those manning the Turkish Hamas flotilla seeking to run the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza were no fools. They knew...
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists have gathered in the Mediterranean and, after meeting up at sea, are proceeding toward Gaza in a "flotilla" of six ships. According to news accounts, the passengers aboard the ships include a co-Nobel Peace Prize winner from Northern Ireland--no surprise there--an "Israeli legislator," which I assume means an Arab member of the Knesset, a Holocaust survivor--who, I think, should know better--and "peace" activists from various countries. The ships are carrying food, cement, medical supplies and toys in an entirely symbolic effort to lift the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
The reaction of European leaders to the clash between the Israeli Defense Force and the armed activists who, it appears, attacked them when they boarded a boat headed to Gaza has been swift, predictable, and baseless. It is summarized in this equally predictable headline in the New York Times: "Deadly Israeli Raid On Aid Flotilla Draws Condemnation." French President Nicolas Sarkozy, once considered a friend of Israel but now a reliable purveyor of whatever anti-Israeli line seems fashionable, called Israel's use of force "disproportionate." This is the mindless buzzword employed Israel's knee-jerk critics whenever Israelis successfully defend themselves after being attacked with deadly force. It's certainly conceivable that the IDF's response was disproportionate. But Sarkozy has no basis for forming such a judgment at this stage. His judgment is based not on facts known to him, but on the anti-Israeli bias that has become a familiar feature of his foreign policy utterances. I'm happy to say that, so far, the Obama administration's response has been far more measured. Bill Burton, a deputy press secretary for the White House, said, "The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy." Understand before judging -- that's perhaps the most basic duty of anyone who wishes to be taken seriously on any subject. Even before the latest controversy, Sarkozy and other European politicians had forfeited the right to be taken seriously on issues pertaining to Israel. Let's hope that Predient Obama has learned from his past mistakes and is interested in regaining his credibility on these matters. The reaction of European leaders to the clash between the Israeli Defense Force and the armed activists who, it appears,...
We wrote yesterday about the six-ship flotilla of left-wing "peace activists" who were trying to end the Israeli/Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Israeli officials said that the ships would be taken to an Israeli port and that food, medical supplies and so on would be delivered to Gaza by a land route. But that isn't what the activists wanted; their interest wasn't in supplying Gaza, which is easily done, but in provoking a confrontation for propaganda purposes.
Israel is likely to expand its operations in the Gaza Strip within the next few days, according to the Jerusalem Post. The IDF apparently has dropped leaflets throughout Gaza warning residents of the expanded operations. The expansion of operations could take either of two forms. The IDF might move deeper into Gaza City or it might push into Southern Gaza. Thereafter, Israel would have to decide whether to attempt fully to reoccupy Gaza and to topple Hamas. In the meantime, an expansion of operations certainly makes sense. Otherwise, Israeli forces will become static targets. As one officer put it, "the troops cannot just stand and wait; they always need to be on the move." And, as always, Israel must take into account that a cease fire may be around the corner. Speaking of static targets, IDF forces reportedly killed killed Amir Mansi, a senior member of Hamas's military wing and commander of its rocket division in Gaza City. Mansi, who had close ties to Hezbollah, was killed while attempting to fire mortars at IDF forces in Northern Gaza. The IDF considers it a good sign that a senior operator like Mansi was personally involved in firing mortars. According to one officer, entire Hamas companies have been wiped out, and some Hamas fighters have gone AWOL or fled the fighting, leaving Mansi to "fire rockets on his own." This may be reading too much into Mansi's demise. Nonetheless, it seems clear that the attack on Gaza is going much better than the 2006 war in South Lebanon, and that Hamas isn't acquitting itself nearly as well as Hezbollah did.