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Gaza flotilla attack, not too pleasant

Published on 31 May 2010 at 18:18

So far we know that at least 10 activists have been killed (others reports are saying 19) and scores injured during the Israeli army storming of the Gaza aid flotilla this morning. Understatement of the day must go to Israel's Minister of Trade and Industry Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. "The images are certainly not pleasant", he owed, after viewing the clips. A bummer that, to have no pleasant images.

The attack is all the more unusual given that on May 28, Israeli officials admitted that they were in a losing battle with the flotilla focussing attention on the humanitarian fallout of Israel's three-year blockade on Gaza rather than on Hamas. Said Shlomo Dror, a spokesman for Israel's Defense Ministry - "It doesn't matter what we do, if we let them into Gaza, they will speak against Israel. If we stop them it will also be a bad picture.''

Blogs and tweets are all pointing out the “illegality” of the intervention, taking place in international not Israeli waters. Outcries over the “legality” of a massacre strike me as worse than useless but it’s hoped we will soon discover just how the IDF went from resigned about bad pictures to gun-happy in three days, with even commentators sympathetic to the Israeli point of view noting how this isolates Israel politically.

Whatever the case, the smear campaign of the dead has begun. In the IDF video of the event, we are told that activists tried to “kidnap” one of the soldiers. How with helicopter and navy to back him up is one supposed to kidnap a soldier who has boarded your boat? To where? Never fear, the Spectator probably has the answer. The “real purpose of this ‘armada of hate’ was not merely the further delegitimisation of Israel but something far worse.” This being “to incite a violent uprising in the Middle East and across the Islamic world.” “As I write”, the blogger writes in a fever of a posteriori deduction, pun on posterior completely intended, “reports are coming in of Arab rioting in Jerusalem.” In the midst of the spin, keep a cool head, folks.

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