Freedom flotilla

31 May, '10

I didn’t have any doubt at all that the Freedom Flotilla would be attacked by Israel. I am surprised that this has resulted in so many deaths; however, I probably was a bit naive to think that the Flotilla might just be prevented from entering into the Gaza harbour, but never thought that such a prevention would be meted out in such a barbaric fashion.

My heart goes to those brave people who put their lives on the line to help the destitute and confined 1.5 million people – human beings – with hardly enough to sustain them. Some of whom have now paid for their humanitarian effort with their lives.

Thanks should be given to the cowardice of our governments as well of course. Egypt in particular, for closing its border crossing for so long, deepening the suffering of those cornered and disenfranchised people in Gaza whose suffering will continue unabated.

Follow Twitter’s #FreedomFlotilla for more immediate news, and the usual news sites for updates.

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Comments (87)

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  1. Steve the American says:

    Here is video of what passes for peaceniks in the Islamic world chanting their Jew-killing songs when they set off and beating the Israeli commandoes when they rappelled onto the ship:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/31/new-video-flotilla-passengers-attacks-israeli-troops/

    The Israelis made a mistake in assuming the Muslim peaceniks were what they claimed. They went in armed too lightly and were forced to shoot when the Muslim peaceniks tried to beat them to death. Had they went in heavily armed expecting the worst, it’s likely nobody would have gotten killed.

    • mahmood says:

      Aaaah, the poor damsels. I’m so heart broken for the delicate flowers getting into a bind and being beaten by those they intended to attack. I’m so thankful that they had nice weapons with live ammunition to defend themselves…

      And Steve I so understand your sensibilities in this matter, I guess from a point of view of “the enemy of my enemies if my friend” this completely makes sense to you.

      • Shachar says:

        What makes you say that the soldiers wanted to attack?

        Thinking about it, had the soldiers wanted to attack the people, we would see a lot more than 9 dead. To me, the official Israeli line, that all they wanted was to stop the ship, aligns with the facts a lot better than your theory.

        Shachar

        • mahmood says:

          In international waters and no guns were found. Yes of course the IDF are the victims. They were obviously VERY restrained.

          Life is cheap, after all, as long as they’re not Israeli or Jewish.

          • Shachar says:

            First of all, I would ask you to show me enough respect not to put words in my mouth. I never claimed that the IDF soldiers were victims. All I said was that neither were the protesters killed.

            Clubs and metal balls can also kill, and anyone wielding either in a life threatening way has no right to complain if they get hurt.

            Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            If they get hurt?

            Well that’s rich. Faced with lethal and indiscriminate force you want them to lie down like sheep while they get trampled from air- and sea-borne forces?

            Brilliant logic.

          • Shachar says:

            I’m wondering what you see when you look at this video. What I’m seeing is soldiers preparing for battle. You can also see lethal weapons being prepared, even if they are not fire arms.

            I did not see indiscriminate force used by the IDF. I suspect that the only reason you see it is because the word “IDF” is used. If this is based on actual evidence, please do show it.

            All the videos I’ve seen show that live ammunition was not used until well into the battle, after several IDF soldiers were hurt. This is the exact opposite of “indiscriminate”.

            Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            Thanks for the laugh Shachar! Ooh “metal object”, damn they’ve got “a slingshot” and a “broken bottle”. That should’ve scared the mighty IDF!

            For goodness’ sake. Even if I didn’t agree with the demonstrators I would recognise their right to protect themselves.

            Oh, I’m sorry. My bad. They should have behaved themselves and prepared to be peacefully taken as they have absolutely no right to (1) be in international waters, and (2) attempt to deliver essential supplies to alleviate some of the suffering of 1.5 million prisoners.

          • Shachar says:

            I have to ask – do you care whether the factual statements you make are correct?

            Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            I welcome corrections, of course, should I be mistaken. I don’t think that I am; however.

          • Steve the American says:

            Mahmood: “In international waters and no guns were found.”

            The blockade is legal with many precedents. The US blockaded Germany and Japan legally during WWII and Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. The Israelis have previously intercepted two ships full of weapons from Iran.

            It’s also worth noting that ships offload 10,000 tons worth of food, medicine, and other goods at Israeli ports which are properly inspected and then pass on to Gaza. The “Freedom Flotilla” rejected that because it was more interested in breaking down the blockade than delivering goods to Gaza.

            Weapons accessories and fired shells were found on the ship which did not match Israeli weapons. Therefore, it appears the “peace protestors” brought weapons which they used and then dumped overboard. Then they claimed to be victims with typical Muslim duplicity.

          • mahmood says:

            Sort of justifies the Somali escapades in protecting their fishing industry and national coastline in your mind, doesn’t it?

          • Steve the American says:

            Are there American fishing vessels violating Somali territory to fish, Mahmood? I don’t know of any, but it’s always fun to pin the blame for everything on America, isn’t it?

            It’s interesting to note that Somalis don’t attack and board fishing vessels, which would seem to be fat and slow targets dragging nets. They go for the richest prizes far from their waters.

            I also notice the irony in that you defend Muslim ships attempting to penetrate Israeli borders being boarded in international waters while at the same time defending Somali pirates attacking ships in international waters to loot them.

            It’s the same old, same old: Anything Muslims do is good. Anything non-Muslims do is bad. Anything Israelis do is double extra triple bad.

          • mahmood says:

            The only jumping to the defence conclusion, Steve, is you. I did not and never will defend pirates. Whether Israeli or Somali, regardless of religion or ethnicity. But as we see here, you’re jumping at any chance to condemn Muslims and condone anyone else.

            No surprises there.

          • Shachar says:

            I’m confused, Mahmood.

            On one hand, you say that you do care whether what you say is true or not, and on the other, you call Israel’s action “piracy”, despite the fact we bring claims (undisputed by you) that the action was legal.

            So, which is it?

            Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            don’t be confused Sachar, my position is quite plain. The sub-thread you’re fishing in was entered with a note or irony.

          • Steve the American says:

            Okay, Mahmood, we are agreed that piracy in any cause is bad. We have now drilled down through all the disagreement to bedrock where we can agree.

          • mahmood says:

            Doesn’t that make you just tingle all over Steve?

      • Steve the American says:

        Mahmood,

        There were five vessels, four of which delivered their goods to Gaza. The fifth, which was the Trojan horse carrying belligerents looking for a violent confrontation, got exactly what they wanted.

        In fact, the mob took the pistols from two of the commandoes and apparently tried to shoot them in the melee. The empty pistols were found later. The video clearly shows the mob attacking the commandoes before they set foot on the deck. It’s pretty obvious to me who the aggressors were.

        These troops underestimated what they were getting into. It looks like the mob would have killed them just like Israeli soldier they slaughtered in captivity a few years back.

        Muslims simply have no credibility in these events. If they had a history of honest accounting of such confrontations I’d be inclined to hear them out. Instead, Muslims always give a hysterically partisan defense of anything Muslims do, no matter how transparently false.

        Israel has the right to defend its borders, particularly against such a ruthless and merciless enemy. If the Muslims had not chosen to make this a violent confrontation, it wouldn’t have been. But Muslims always choose violence.

        • mahmood says:

          I know your position on these matter Steve, but let me elucidate in the hope that some sense will prevail.

          1. The ship was in international waters.
          2. They were illegally boarded with a might which leaves no doubt whatsoever as to what their intentions were.
          3. Those on board wanted to defend themselves using whatever they had in their possession. You would too I suspect.
          4. The protesters didn’t have any firearms, yet,
          5. The Israelis open fire killing at least 9 and injuring several more.

          and you call that the fault of those on-board (which included denominations other than Muslims.)

          Israel has long lost the credibility for peaceful resolution. Their language has consistently been war and the most extreme violence regardless of world opinion.

          • Shachar says:

            Let’s see:

            1. The ship was in international waters.

            True.

            2. They were illegally boarded

            As I said before – probably not true. The international laws acknowledge that, during war time, it might be necessary to issue a blockage. It lays out rules as to how to do that, and it is my understanding that these laws were followed. Hence – no, not illegally.

            with a might which leaves no doubt whatsoever as to what their intentions were.

            They were armed with paint rifles for dispersing demonstrations and hand guns. This is considerably reduced ammo than the standard equipment used by any reasonable army when taking over a ship.

            Also, the very fact that people on the other boats, who did not oppose, were not harmed proves this line of thinking is false. No harm was meant for the people.

            3. Those on board wanted to defend themselves using whatever they had in their possession.

            Again, not true. The weapons used by the people on board were obviously prepared in advanced, way before leaving Turkey.

            4. The protesters didn’t have any firearms,

            Irrelevant – weapons come in all sorts of forms, and firearms are not the only lethal ones.

            5. The Israelis open fire killing at least 9 and injuring several more.

            The Israelies were not even the first to open fire. The first shot was fired by protesters with weapon taken from a soldier.

            But even if that were true – the protesters were obviously heading into battle. They knew it, and were prepared for it. They were putting Israeli soldiers in risk for their lives, which is a legitimate reason to open fire, regardless of the means the danger comes in.

            Shachar

          • Steve the American says:

            Mahmood,

            Israel has the right to defend its borders just like any country. Considering that Muslims will use any subterfuge to bring weapons to bear on Israelis, it’s prudent to board any ship attempting to penetrate its borders and check it out.

            The people on board this one ship that reacted violently were jihadis with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Some of them had written their wills in anticipation of combat with the Israelis.

            The Israeli commandos main weaponry were paintball guns. After they were swarmed, they drew their pistols to save their lives. This is no different that when the CIA agents interrogating Al Qaeda prisoners in Afghanistan were swarmed by jihadis who killed one with their bare hands. The other one escaped by drawing his pistol and shooting the mob who attacked him.

            Muslims don’t want peace. They want a second Holocaust in Israel. Muslim clerics in Palestine call for the death of all the Jews in Israel in their Friday sermons, telling their congregations that the Jewish women are rightfully their concubines and Jewish property is properly the booty of Muslims. Muslims have no credibility for peaceful resolution of anything, anywhere. I challenge you to name one place in the world where Muslims have opted for a peaceful resolution of anything.

            You can live peacefully with Jewish neighbors. You can not live peacefully with Muslim neighbors. Jewish neighbors hold book sales for charity, build universities and hospitals. You can date their pretty daughters, go to their bar mitzvahs and weddings.

            By contrast, Muslims do nothing for their communities. They keep themselves apart from their communities, perhaps to maintain, in Saudi terms, the wall of resentment. Their mosques are the centers of hate for their neighbors and bases from which violent plots against the commmunity are formed. There have been twenty plots to mass murder Americans by Muslims in America since the Sep 11 atrocities. There have been no plots in synagogues by Jews in America to kill their neighbors. Ever.

            This “peace” flotilla is another lame attempt by Muslims to attack Israel under a flimsy pose of peace. None of this would happen, all this violence would end, if Muslims gave up their violent doctrine and learned to accept other religions, other ways of life. Instead of attacking Israel, Muslims should be imitating Israel’s success, its government and business models. Maybe then they would make something of themselves instead of impoverishing themselves materially and culturally with constant war on everything that isn’t Muslim.

          • mahmood says:

            I didn’t think that your abject hatred for us would increase with time. I’m actually surprised that I am mistaken. With generalisations like this, you have lost all credibility for advocating any kind of peace. Which ironically make you just as bad as the Taliban or Al-Qaeda that you love to hate.

          • Steve the American says:

            Mahmood,

            I don’t hate you. I think you’re an OK guy. But I do think you’re way out to lunch on this. I think your religion and culture are wildly belligerent to such an extreme that they have crippled themselves with hate and bigotry.

            However, since last we discussed this, the Muslim Times Square Bomber parked his car bomb right at a spot my girl and I have passed several times in the last few months. If we were unlucky and that Muslim more competent, we might be dead now.

            Since that last time, another Muslim has been caught trying to bomb the New York subway, the subway my girl rides to work every day. I’ve seen the photos of what happenned to people caught in the Muslim train bombings in London, Spain, and Mumbai. Do you see why I object to Muslims who want to do the same to her? What should I find to admire about that?

            And I don’t see nor hear any Muslims objecting to this terror. All I see and hear are excuses and bogus claims of victimhood by Muslims.

            My opinion of Islam and Muslims is based on their behavior. If Islam was dispatching Muslims around the world to make it a better place, to heal people and educate them, to promote life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then my opinion of Islam and Muslims would be high. Of course, this is not the case. Far from it. Islam is all about converting, subjugating, or killing non-Muslims. This flotilla is an expression of that warped doctrine.

            When Islamic doctrine labels my country Satan and demands Muslims make war on it, that offends me. When Muslims make continual plots, however ineffectual, to make war on Americans just walking down the street, particularly those close to me, it fills me with contempt.

            When you treat Muslims badly, as the US has done with Iran in the past, they want to kill you. When you help Muslims throw off a foreign occupation, as we helped the Afghans throw off the Soviets, they want to kill you. When you lift Muslims out of abject poverty into the lap of luxury, as we have done with the Saudis, they want to kill you. The end result of any relationship with Muslims is they want to kill you.

            You can’t make peace with Muslims because they just don’t have it in them. No matter what you do, good, bad, or indifferent, Muslims want to kill you because you’re not Muslim. You can’t make peace with them. Islam is a fighting faith. Toleration of non-Muslims is not part of their world view.

            When I see so-called peaceful Muslims trying to infiltrate Israel to do battle, it doesn’t look any different from the so-called peaceful Muslims infiltrating America to kill Americans in skyjacked jets or in drive-by shootings or with bombs. It is all part of the same jihad against humankind.

            So, in one sense, Mahmood, you’re right. My heart is hardened against peace with Muslims. It hardened after Sep 11 when I saw and read reports of Muslims celebrating our American dead. It has hardened more with every Muslim terror plot, failed and successful, twenty of them in America since 9/11, with more to come. I don’t see peace as a possibility with Muslims any more than peace was a possibility with Hitler’s Nazis or Hirohito’s Japan. The proven solution to such predators is to overmatch them in violence until they lose the will to make war.

          • mahmood says:

            Good luck on your quest Steve. I don’t think you’re winning any friends with this kind of vitriol. What you do, is successfully turn those who are with you, to throw their hands up and say to hell with it.

            If you’re so against my religion, culture, traditions and way of life and our ardent effort to make them all better and more commensurate with the current time, why should we even put you and your views in consideration? It’s obvious that no matter what we do, there is no satisfying you.

            Other than blowing up more than 1.2 billion human beings to satisfy your vengeance.

            I’m not prepared to do that.

          • Steve the American says:

            Mahmood,

            When Islam stops killing people, particularly Americans, my opinion of Islam will improve. It’s just that simple. However, that will require a wholesale reformation of Islam which has centuries of violent doctrine to undo.

            The assumption of your argument that it is somehow unreasonable to object to Islamic terror is simply exasperating. I see no assumption of responsibility for Islam’s role in promoting such violence. Now, I don’t expect any, because long experience of Muslim rhetoric brings the realization that Muslims never accept responsibility but rather always blame the Other.

            I don’t see any substantive attempts by any Muslims to make Islam more tolerant nor civilized. What I see is acquiesence to the radicals who command moral authority in the Muslim world.

            Mahmood, your argument that somehow I and/or America is the intolerant or belligerent party is ridiculous. America is still full of mosques with more being built every day, even a giant one by the evil Saudis at Ground Zero. Where are the churches and synagogues being built in the Muslim world? America is still committed to tolerance, despite its severe test by intolerant Islam, and I support that. In the end, tolerance of other beliefs will win and intolerant, backward Islam will lose.

            Yet, I am intolerant of violence against America and Americans, and support the strongest and most precisely applied violence in response to it. We should bring our entire panoply of weapons to bear on the heads of those Muslims seeking to attack America. Particularly, that means waging a full air campaign against the terrorists in Waziristan.

            We should also end the Saudi state, which is the main promoter of Islamic terror.

            For the bulk of the Islamic world, our main weapons should be trade and education. Most Muslims hate America and the non-Muslim world out of ignorance, their bigotry stoked by their local governments, mosques, and media. Their hateful world view is a house of cards which survives only in a closed system, which is easily upended by even a modest contact with the outside world.

            Islamic hate thrives on ignorance and cultural backwardness. That is its weak point where information and education, America’s strengths, can defeat it.

    • Nader says:

      In the same way that I cannot refer to All Jews as Israeli, and visa versa, it is careless of you to refer to ‘Muslim’ peacniks.Muslims are not a nationality they are part of a religion.Many on board were Christian. It is also inaccurate to assume that all Muslims pretend to advocate peace. Some do and some don’t. I would not, for example, assume you are some moonshine drinking pedophile from the Appalachians with a gap between your remaining teeth and a banjo for company when you’re not humping one of your relatives. That would be wrong of me and would assume too much. Unfortunately generalizations and a tendency to tar everyone with the same brush has cost your country many more lives than it need have. I’m afraid that you seem to be of that ilk Steve.We are defined, in the Arab World, by our diversity . Sadly you have De-humanized us in your own mind, it seems.Not just “Muslim peaceniks” (and what’s wrong with that)but every Muslim, Malay, Indonesian, British, AMerican, Israeli, Gulf, North African……all Muslims. Your intractable and inflexible attitude speaks of someone personally wronged by a Muslim at some point in your life, resulting in an hatred of all Muslims. Which is sad. Israel has further narrowed her options. I do not believe that after using phosphorous on civilians, assassinating a Palestinian in Dubai, Further illegal settlements on the West Bank and now the murder of civilian aid workers on a charity mission,demonstrates Israeli willingness to join the community of civilized nations around the world. Do you?It’s very simple. If they had not boarded the boat, no lives would have been lost. Turkey would not jeopardize her relationship with the Israelis by allowing weapons on board any vessel leaving her ports on a peace mission to Gaza. Or are you suggesting the Turks are supplying arms to Gaza under the guise of humanitarian aid? No. It doesn’t sound likely does it? Israel is out of control, with a right wing leader who’s exploiting the “the only good Arab is a dead Arab” policy of your previous, and may I say disastrous, republican leader.Israel tarnishes Americas attempts at reconciliation with the rest of the world. In short. Your dog needs a muzzle and a much shorter leash. Have a word will ya?

      • Shachar says:

        You sure wear very polarized glasses (seperating the paragraphs won’t hurt either… :-).

        It’s very simple. If they had not boarded the boat, no lives would have been lost.

        Hmm…

        By that same logic, if the flotilla wouldn’t have set out, no lives would have been lost either. Anticipating a possible reply – all the equipment on board was of the same kind that Israel is providing Gaza, on its own and in sufficient quantities.

        Your decision that it is Israel that should have not acted is arbitrary.

        Shachar

      • Steve the American says:

        Nader, I certainly don’t assume that all Muslims advocate peace, or even any. The Koran demands that you fight everyone on Earth until all the world submits to Islam. This Trojan Horse operation is but one small skirmish in the larger jihad that has been going on for thirteen centuries.

        However diverse the Muslim world may be, it is monolithic in its support of Muslim violence. I’m still waiting for any Muslim to publicly state it is wrong for Muslims to kill Americans by the thousands on Sep 11 or bomb trains or bomb discos or shoot up schools or hotels. However, I do see plenty of Muslims celebrating such violence to promote their Islam.

        Sometimes when I’m walking around Manhattan with my girlfriend, she’ll stop at one of the firehouses and buy a souvenir T-shirt from them. Inside each firehouse is a board with snapshots of the firemen who were killed on Sep 11. Many of them have second photos tucked into them of the fireman’s family. Every firehouse in Manhattan has such a shrine to their dead. Every time I see one, my contempt for Islam and everything about it increases.

        When Muslims stop killing for their religion and become a force for good in the world, I will change my opinion of Islam accordingly. Right now, Islam is a force for evil which brings violence where ever it goes.

        • Shachar says:

          Steve,

          I’m going to say this, because I get the feeling that if anyone else of the standard commenters here will say it, you won’t listen, and it needs to be said:

          Hate breeds hate.

          Yes, I know Mahmood and Nader suffer from the precise same disease, but so what?

          Having known a few Muslims myself, I can categorically tell you that your generalization above is false. Not all Muslims believe that terror and blood shed are reasonable lines of action. I’m going to say something which is controversal, but I’ll say it anyways – the text of the Koran in particular, and all holy scriptures in general, is no proof for anything. The Koran, just like all other holy scriptures, contain a lot of contradicting statements and commandments. Different facests of the Islam take different things from it (and some, as is human nature, make up stuff along the way). Do not try to read the Koran and deduct how a Muslim will behave. That is, simply put, unfair. I’ll repeat – this goes for every religion out there, not just Islam.

          Your generalization is a symptom of falling to the same trap that Mahmood and Nader fall into. It’s a very human trait – when attacked, form a group. Create an “us”. And where there is an “us”, there is a “them”. The problem is that this process feeds itself. Because you were attacked by Muslims, all Muslims become fair game. Because you are now attacking Muslims (not physically, I hope), they feel the need to regroup, and so on.

          In other words, you (plural) are part of the problem. This is exactly how the extremest on all sides feed each other.

          Shachar

          • Steve the American says:

            Shachar,

            I don’t accept that the truth of an argument depends on its source. Mahmood can be perfectly sensible on any number of topics, except Israel and the usual Muslim hot button issues. Every argument stands or falls on its own, regardless of its source. Two plus two equals four whether Einstein or Hitler or Joe the Crack Addict proclaims it. I also notice that your opponents are much more effective critics of your position than your friends who want to stay on good terms with you. I don’t automatically dismiss the Muslim argument nor relexively accept the Israeli argument.

            It seems reasonable to suppose that some Muslims are sane and civilized enough to reject terror, even though they are little in evidence on the public stage. If you can’t get ten people to agree on where to have lunch, it seems unlikely that a billion Muslims all agree on anything. Assuming that these mythical moderate Muslims exist, they don’t command much moral authority in the Islamic world. For example, after the last horrific Muslim attack on Mumbai, I heard no condemnation from any Muslim anywhere. One of the victims was pretty 28-year-old lawyer from Singapore, Lo Hwei Yen, who was taken hostage and then murdered in cold blood in the Oberoi-Trident hotel. Here’s a link with her photo and story:

            http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.sgpolitics.net/picsarchive05/lhy3.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.sgpolitics.net/%3Fp%3D1461&usg=__8kMQnozZOck78OKiEcgZzLnZwPg=&h=395&w=250&sz=21&hl=en&start=1&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=ty-rOehjmWFsFM:&tbnh=124&tbnw=78&prev=/images%3Fq%3DLo%2BHwei%2BYen%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26rlz%3D1R2ADRA_enUS333%26tbs%3Disch:1

            Now, how hard would it be for at least one of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world to publicly object to the murder of this innocent girl or perhaps the other innocents who were laid waste in the wake of these Muslim murderers? If you watch the HBO documentary, “Terror in Mumbai,” you can hear the terrorists’ controllers in Pakistan urging them over their satellite phones to throw more grenades, kill more people, explicitly telling them to increase the terror. If Muslims wish to make any claim to morality, shouldn’t one of them somewhere plainly oppose such heinous violence to promote their religion? I haven’t seen it. The lack of Muslim objection to Islamic terror speaks volumes about Muslim morality.

            I would welcome Muslim allies in opposition to Islamic terror. Where are they, Shachar? Where? One local Muslim lawyer here in DC tried to pitch an anti-terror demonstration but was opposed by every Muslim mosque and organization. He could only draw fifty people. By contrast, I saw a pro-Hezbollah demonstration in front of the White House that drew five thousand Muslims. That’s the Hezbollah that boasts that it loves death. When a terror organization draws a hundred Muslims for every Muslim drawn to an anti-terror demonstration, that allows me to make a generalization about Muslim values.

            There is a mosque on my side of the city where the radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki preached, bringing with him two of the Sep 11 skyjackers. Much of its congregation lives in a nearby set of high-rise apartment buildings along Highway 50. One resident of those apartments relates in the Washington Post that when he saw the second tower fall on TV on Sep 11, he heard a wave of cheers go through those apartments. That allows me to make a generalization about Muslim values.
            That adds to a general worldwide pattern of Muslims celebrating the deaths of Sep 11, privately applauding the terrorist attacks that followed, and the endless stream of follow-on attacks around the world.

            So Shachar, I disagree that I am part of the problem. The problem is the inherently belligerent and violently bigoted nature of Islam which all moral people should oppose. My criticism is part of the solution, a solution that those heretofore invisible and mute moderate Muslims should take on, should own, should lead.

  2. Anonny says:

    The Israelis went in in provocative mode. It worked, they got good video (for them, under the circumstances). Despite being armed with live ammunition and killing more than a dozen civilians, they can look like the victims yet again.

    Meanwhile, the ethnic cleansing of Gaza continues.

    • Shachar says:

      What an up side down world we live in.

      A group, led by a Israel hating group, set off with a lot of generated press coverage to send non-essential equipment (but presenting it as life saving, of course), knowing full well that Israel will stop them.

      A group, at least half which defining themselves as Jahids even before setting off, attack armed soldiers with well prepared weapons.

      And yet, in your mind, it was Israel doing the provocation.

      Interesting.

      Shachar

      • mahmood says:

        In your mind, could the Israeli defence forces do some wrong? Could they possibly have used an inordinate amount of force?

        Of course so far the IDF only released their version of the footage where the soldiers where clobbered. I wonder why they didn’t release the footage when the soldiers were actually doing the killing.

        • Shachar says:

          I’m actually a bit offended by the question. I thought you knew me better than this. I never hesitated in the past to own up when I thought Israel was out of line, and I would not in this case either (at the very least, I would shut up and not join this discussion).

          In your mind, could the Israeli defence forces do some wrong? Could they possibly have used an inordinate amount of force?

          In a word – yes. Had the Israeli navy torpedoed the boat, I would have never come here to defend that. Same goes had they dropped a bomb on deck. Any action designed to indiscriminately kill is wrong in my book, regardless of who does it.

          I should point out that, in my eyes, the IDF could have been a lot more aggressive without crossing that line. Going on board with demonstration control weapons was, in hind sight, a mistake.

          In retrospect, the IDF came assuming that the “peace corps” were much more peaceful. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of criticism in store for next time, when they do not repeat that mistake. 🙁

          I would like to turn that question over to you, however. What would, in your eyes, be crossing the line from the protesters side?

          Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            You seem to forget that Israel here was the aggressor. They attacked an unarmed vessel 72 nautical miles from their shores; well into international waters!

            Would you agree then that was a pure act of piracy and state-terrorism?

            I won’t hold my breath for the answer.

          • Shachar says:

            I won’t hold my breath for the answer.

            You have us confused, again. It is you who avoids answering my questions. I am answering your questions.

            Would you agree then that was a pure act of piracy and state-terrorism?

            Considering the fact that, in the past, the same blockage found weapons that were meant to be used against civilians, no, I would not agree. Strangely, in all previous take overs, no one was hurt.

            I heard it claimed that the Israeli actions are in accordance with international law. I am no expert on the subject, but if that is the case, then it is obvious that calling it “piracy” is a deliberate lie.

            And now, will you please answer your question? Is there anything the ships would have done in this case that would cause you to think Israel is not the aggressor?

            Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            And now, will you please answer your question? Is there anything the ships would have done in this case that would cause you to think Israel is not the aggressor?

            Considering that they were legally in international waters, of course not.

            Israel is to blame for this mess.

  3. Nader says:

    More state terrorism by the abused child, Israel. An apartheid system sanctioned by an American electorate who don’t understand why the US risks so much for the Jewish state. Israel is the reason for all these years of Middle East tension. They should have been sent to Madagascar after the 2nd WW, then all of the last 60 years of strive could have been averted. Israel doesn’t understand the word compromise. They care less about the Palestinians. They seize land indiscriminately and claim they are sanctioned by God? Nonsense. What kind of a God sanctions absolutism? Religion has no meaningful part in this and Israel trundles out their “Chosen people” horseshit every time they are challenged on their legitimacy. The ill-educated Arabs allowed European Jews to hoodwink them into agreeing to accomodate the Jews in the 1940’s. The League of nations was consumed with a collective international guilt for what the Germans had done to their own people and the Arabs, being the least organized at the time have been made to pay ever since. It’s crap, total unadulterated, gold plated crap and none of you should buy into it or accept it. We have almost become immune to the crimes perpetrated on the Palestinian people we have watched it for so long. Enough now. Israel, piss off back to the 48 borders and let these people build a nation instead of this systematic irradication. It happened to you, so you’re doing it to the Arabs? Grow up! Make peace. Work together. Sleep safe

    • Steve the American says:

      Nader: “What kind of a God sanctions absolutism?”

      Allah. That’s what Sharia law and the Caliphate are all about: totalitarianism.

  4. Anonny says:

    Nader,

    Did you seriously write “What kind of a God sanctions absolutism?” You just made me spill my coffee.

  5. Nader says:

    Yeah I did, sorry. Homer Simpson moment!

    • mahmood says:

      I must look for a “like” button for comments, cause I would most certainly click it in this circumstance! 😉

  6. Anonny says:

    It doesn’t help Israel when they attack civvies in international waters.

    So saying that, it doesn’t help the “peace activists” who evoke a future Muslim army as they sing. This isn’t peace, Mahmood. This muddies the water somewhat.

    When both sides are intractable, and so-called “peace-activists” are revealed to be something else, I’m inclined to just leave the whole lot of ’em to kill each other.

    You know, much as I disagree with Shachar on many things, if I asked him to define the word or concept of “peace”, I bet he’s capable of doing so. I’d like to ask one of those chanters on board the boat to simply define “peace” for me. I wonder how he’d answer – or if he’d even bother to answer me. When somebody’s religious beliefs probably include fantasies of future annihilation of some group or other, how can you trust their answer?

    Looks like the Israelis knew what was coming, after all. There’s a lot to think about in that one simple sentence.

    • mahmood says:

      So saying that, it doesn’t help the “peace activists” who evoke a future Muslim army as they sing. This isn’t peace, Mahmood. This muddies the water somewhat.

      The 15 people or so who were like boy scouts singing that song is most probably an isolated incident. I can understand the emotions on that whole flotilla is charged on two fronts: anger at Israel and frustration for the 1.5 million Gazans who are prisoners in their own land. This situation I do not blame on Israel alone, but do more so on the Egyptians and the surrounding Arab countries who have shunned them.

      Do I condone the kind of songs they were singing? Of course not. That was stupid.

      But this should not detract from the facts that 1.5 million human beings are starved and imprisoned in their own land because Israelis and any other state in the world does not agree with their elected representative government.

  7. Anonny says:

    OK, important bit first: the Gaza blockade is an obscenity and a farce. It should end immediately.

    But when you have “peace activists” who are not peaceful, you have another ‘own goal’ on the part of the militant mozzies. When are they going to do us all a favour and join the human race?

    Those who simply cannot get to grips with the concept of non-violence (Jeez, the rest of the flotilla got it right) have now given Israel the opportunity to dramatize and lie – again.

    • mahmood says:

      This is hardly a PR exercise Anonny. The facts on the ground is the sequestering of 1.5 million people since 2007 with the full collusion of despotic Arab regimes.

      That must end.

      Having a bunch of hooligans who are “armed” with a broken bottle, a couple of rods and a catapult against a fully trained and arguably the best army in the region who could conceivably take over the whole Middle East armed with simply a toothpick if they wanted it is an iniquitous situation at best. Barring the the legality issue of boarding a ship in international waters which is tantamount to piracy no matter how you look at it.

  8. mahmood says:

    Seven idiots in the cabinet
    By Yossi Sarid
    This time, it was all foreseeable. Even this newspaper warned in advance about the possibility of defeat in victory. As preparations for the big sea confrontation proceeded, it became increasingly clear that it would end badly.

    After all, the troops were being prepared by seven idiots and their subordinates – people who cannot see beyond the ends of their noses.
    Haaretz

    • Shachar says:

      I’m not sure what you are trying to say here. Even taking into account Sarid’s automatic calling of anything Netaniyaho does “idiotic”, the article you bring is, essentially, saying the exact same thing Alan Dershowitz said in the article I brought above – the action was legal but unwise. Hell, I’m not sure I don’t think so myself. I was certain it was so, until I heard Netaniyaho give his reasons, and they do make sense.

      But so what? The article repeats the same basic fact you try to deny – the flotilla was all about provocation to begin with. It also confirms by omission (and, believe me, Sarid would not omit such a fact had he thought it was not so) that the actual action was legal.

      Shachar

    • Shachar says:

      I cannot, on superficial search, find the reference to this in the Israeli media. From memory, it said something along the lines of “Arabic sources say that an American was found with four bullet wounds to the head”.

      Personally, it is my experience that such sources have no trouble bending the truth, and sometimes downright fabricating information altogether, if it suites their agenda.

      I might remind you that the first source to report about the flotilla battle was Al-Jasira. It said there were over 20 killed, and that the protesters were unarmed. The truth turned out to be somewhat different.

      My advice – wait a couple of days. By then you will have enough versions to choose your preferred truth from 🙂

      Shachar

      • Steve the American says:

        The Anatolian News Agency, ie a Turkish source, says the boy had four bullets to the head and one to the chest:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/03/furkan-dogan-us-citizen-k_n_599173.html

        It doesn’t pass the smell test. Nobody in a melee will be able to shoot somebody four times in the head. That only happens in executions where the murderers have control of the victim and environment. Even the Mafia stops at two bullets to the head when they rub somebody out.

        Such wild exaggeration is why Muslim sources have so little credibility.

  9. Anonny says:

    Oh come on Shachar, that’s no fun at all.

    We all have to choose a side and shout as loud as we can. Did you not know?

    • Shachar says:

      Yes, that’s what we’re doing, isn’t it? 🙁

      I have to give you credit for breaking this habit. It was an extremely unusual comment. Just like you said, there is still a LOT we do not agree on (the validity of the siege to name one), but it is too rare to see someone allowing gray into the discussion, that I decided not to dwell on that.

      And, least this comment be misunderstood, this refers to “my” side too.

      Shachar

  10. MZ says:

    A heavily charged subject. Here is my $0.02. The blockade should be broken. Lives were lost because of the idiocy of activists who thought it would be okay to attack IDF commandos. If you are going to go at commandos, don’t expect them to pet you. They will and should shoot you to death. If this were my army, that’s what I would want and expect them to do.

    This obviously does not absolve Israel of any responsibility. They should have known better. They knew this was a provocation and they knew the whole purpose of this was to raise awareness about Gaza. Successful.

    I agree with Mahmood that the other culprit of this is Arab governments and most specifically Egypt.

    Overall.. I’m glad I’m neither Palestinian nor Israeli… can’t possibly find a completely innocent party on either side.

    • Shachar says:

      Searching for innocents is for people seeking justice. At this point, I think justice will not happen. The water are too muddy.

      Shachar

  11. Shachar says:

    don’t be confused Sachar, my position is quite plain. The sub-thread you’re fishing in was entered with a note or irony.

    Sorry, still confused about which sub-thread that would be. Were you ironic when you said that you would would welcome corrections, or when you said that Israel was applying piracy. Both seemed sincere to me (but, as I said, contradicting).

    Shachar

    • mahmood says:

      Hello again.

      My position regarding the storming of the freedom flotilla is that Israel has committed an act of piracy. It forcibly boarded a ship in international waters and killed several people. That to me is piracy.

      As to welcome corrections, yes, I do.

      • Shachar says:

        Would you say that a legal act cannot be piracy? Would you agree that, should it turn out that international laws actually do allow such action, would you say you were wrong to call it piracy?

        Shachar

        • Shachar says:

          Yeah, should have known you wouldn’t. You don’t really mean you fancy words.

          The decent thing to do, if you cannot defend your views, is to acknowledge that that might be because they are wrong. Instead, you keep stating them as if they are absolute, no proof or references needed, truths. As if repeating these lies for enough times will cause them to become truths.

          And the reason I come back here, despite knowing your bias and prejudice, is because it is true. Repeating these lies enough time DOES make them true.

          So many people in the world today disclaim my people’s right for self governance, to defend ourselves against obvious aggression, and to seek peaceful way of life, merely because they were hammered with the “truths”, unexplained and unsupported, that Israel is the only aggressor, that what Israel does is war crimes, and that the Palestinians have no control over their own destiny, and are therefor innocent, regardless of the situation.

          Unlike Steve, I believe it is a choice you, Mahmood, are making. You choose to accept lies without asking for proof. You choose to repeat them, despite the fact you cannot defend them. You choose to ignore any attempt to make you state the basis of your own statements, knowing that the semblance of intellectualism you like to attribute to yourself might force you to admit a mistake, or, at the very least, totally unsubstantiated accusations.

          You owe it to yourself to choose better. You owe it to yourself to be better.

          Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            Now that you have had your chance at the soap box, I hope that outburst has calmed you somewhat.

            You accuse me of being a lier and prejudiced. Fine.

            Who stole land away from the Palestinians?
            Who evicts legal and ancient owners of homes for forcible settlement?
            Who uses their full military might to crush any resistance?

            You say that it is an existential problem for Israel, I guess that’s why in any conflict with the Palestinians you exterminate 1000 to every single Israeli killed. And that’s why your snipers choose to shoot 9-year-olds and cover that up with simply calling them terrorists?

            You say you want peace and tranquility but your incendiary illegal phosphor-laden bombs indiscriminately melt the flesh of Palestinians: men, women, and children. Of course, to your mind it’s a legitimate and condoned casualty of war.

            You board ships in international waters and you don’t even think for one second to question the legality – or even decency – of perpetrating such acts.

            To you, Israel cannot do any wrong. And you will “defend” it with all your might by trying to bully me to accept your warped view of reality? That’s rich!

            Look, I have never said that the Palestinians are absolutely innocent. Nor for one moment did I not consider their culpability in the suffering of their own people, nor do I condone their stupidity for being so factious, or don’t see how corrupt some of their organisations are including their government. I don’t and never have condoned their acts of indiscriminate violence.

            But even you must recognise that Israel is at the very least acting with an extreme and blood-thirsty way. Never for once looking at any situation other than it being an all out war. And you sell that very admirably of course but even though you succeed in getting bleeding naive hearts to believe your exclusive story or the Palestinians and Arabs are nothing more than animals not deserving of life nor dignity, it doesn’t – thankfully – work all the time.

            So please Shachar, don’t act the victim. I don’t think anyone here (or anywhere else for that matter) believes that.

          • Shachar says:

            Oh dear. I accuse you of repeating old stuff as a means of avoiding direct questions, and in response you repeat old stuff and avoid answering the direct questions. Way to go.

            Here we go:

            Who stole land away from the Palestinians?
            Who evicts legal and ancient owners of homes for forcible settlement?

            Actions which I have, in the past, clearly condemned, but also disputed their scope as presented by the Arab propaganda. It is beyond dispute that some of that did happen, and I do condemn it, which clearly proves that:

            To you, Israel cannot do any wrong.

            Is clearly false.

            you exterminate 1000 to every single Israeli killed.

            Actual numbers from “Cast lead” were 1:4, including both innocents and wariors. An obvious lie, or otherwise, a false statement given without caring whether it is true or not. Either way, proving my point.

            And that’s why your snipers choose to shoot 9-year-olds and cover that up with simply calling them terrorists?

            I don’t know the specific case. Care to give a reference so I can give you a truthful and honest answer?

            You say you want peace and tranquility

            While I do, yes, I did not bring it up during this discussion. You just put it in my mouth because it makes your point more profound, which is another sort of a lie.

            incendiary illegal phosphor-laden bombs

            No expert myself, I listen to what the sides have to say. I hear the pro-Israeli speakers claiming that they are, in fact, legal bombs, and the pro-Palestinian speakers promptly changing the subject. As such, until I see any actual substance to the point, I have to assume that this is just another propaganda lie. I’m open to hear actual debate on the matter.

            You board ships in international waters and you don’t even think for one second to question the legality – or even decency – of perpetrating such acts.

            I did question the legality. So I went to whatever sources I could find. I even quoted some of these sources here, in the hope that someone, anyone, would come back with a founded response why they are wrong. No one did. I am left with the conclusion that it was you who never thought to question the illegality. In fact, it was questioning the illegality of the action that triggered you, Mahmood, to step away from the conversation.

            As for the decency – if the action was illegal, its obvious it was also indecent, so I think we should settle that question first.

            your warped view of reality?

            No. I was trying to ask nicely for you to show the reasons you believe reality to be what it is. You, repeatedly and consistently, refuse. You can call it names, but I’m doing an honest effort to know what is true. You do not seem to.

            Nor for one moment did I not consider their culpability in the suffering of their own people,
            ….

            Then what do you think Israel should do differently than it is doing. You say Israel is acting in a blood thirsty way. Fine. Compared to what alternatives? What can it do differently, given the Palestinian’s actions as they are, that would cause less people injured and killed on the Palestinian side?

            Without being able to answer that, you have no right to claim that:

            Israel is at the very least acting with an extreme and blood-thirsty way.

            bleeding naive hearts to believe your exclusive story or the Palestinians and Arabs are nothing more than animals not deserving of life nor dignity

            Again, I’m not sure where you are getting this. Certainly not from anything I said. This is not what I think, and not what I would like people to believe.

            So please Shachar, don’t act the victim. I don’t think anyone here (or anywhere else for that matter) believes that.

            I’m not the victim of the Palestinians. In fact, I take pride in the fact that I do not need to be, as it is clear that, could they have it their way, they would slaughter me and my family, take everything that I own, and call it “justice”. I can further say that some of the readers of this blog (and I am hoping that I am not delusional when I think that not you) would cheer them on.

            I am, however, a victim of unjustified, unfounded, hate driven attack on my very right to have what we would both grant the Palestinians in a heartbeat – self governance, self determination, and the right to their own country.

            Had I believed this “criticism” to be based in reality, I would do everything I could to change it, or leave the country in disgust. This is part of the reason I invest so much time in trying to figure out the truth, and why your accusations that I automatically support Israel, no matter what it does, are so unfounded.

            As things stand, however, the only one who made ANY attempt to base this hate speech on actual historical facts was IBN, and even he bailed out on multiple occasions when things got too uncomfortable (at least three occasions that I can think of). No one else even showed an interest in justifying calling me and my country “racist”, “war criminal”, or, lately, “pirates”.

            Shachar

          • Shachar says:

            Is there no way to edit in the missing </blockquote>?

            Shachar

          • mahmood says:

            sorry about that, just fixed it. there is no way to edit a comment once submitted by a user other than by the admin.

          • mahmood says:

            Shahar:

            Oh dear. I accuse you of repeating old stuff as a means of avoiding direct questions, and in response you repeat old stuff and avoid answering the direct questions. Way to go.

            I’m repeating truths which you studiously avoid, like the proverbial ostrich. Once you wake up to that fact, maybe you will do something about the absurd situation you find yourself in.

            Actions which I have, in the past, clearly condemned, but also disputed their scope as presented by the Arab propaganda. It is beyond dispute that some of that did happen, and I do condemn i

            Excellent, that’s the first step at reconciliation and I admire you for that. I apologise for not recognising that fact. Would you now be willing to work at the return of confiscated lands, farms and homes back to their rightful owners?

            Actual numbers from “Cast lead” were 1:4, including both innocents and wariors. An obvious lie, or otherwise, a false statement given without caring whether it is true or not. Either way, proving my point.

            According to Amnesty International USA, the numbers are:

          • Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including some 300 children, and hundreds of other unarmed civilians, including more than 115 women and some 85 men aged over 50 during the 22-day Operation “Cast Lead”.
          • Many Palestinian civilians were killed in attacks by high-precision weapons which are capable of pinpoint strikes and can hit within a meter of their targets and which have exceptionally good optics allowing those carrying out or directing the strikes to see the targets in detail.
          • Many other Palestinian civilians were killed in indiscriminate and reckless attacks using imprecise weapons which should never be used in densely populated civilian areas.
          • More Palestinians were killed and more properties were destroyed in the 22-day military campaign than in any previous Israeli offensive.
          • As to the Israeli casualties, the same report states:

          • Palestinian rocket attacks killed three Israeli civilians and caused severe injuries to 4 people, moderate injuries to 11, and light injuries to 167 others.
          • Six Israeli soldiers were killed in the attacks by Palestinian armed groups (and 4 other were killed by Israeli forces in “friendly fire” incidents).
          • There is a lot more in that report, I suggest you read it.

            Would you like to retract your unfair accusations against me now? Refreshing your memory, you said:

            An obvious lie, or otherwise, a false statement given without caring whether it is true or not. Either way, proving my point.

            I don’t know the specific case. Care to give a reference so I can give you a truthful and honest answer?

            I find that hard to believe, but a brief search resulted in the following for your perusal. Let me know if you wish me to find more, would be happy to oblige:

            I was trying to ask nicely for you to show the reasons you believe reality to be what it is. You, repeatedly and consistently, refuse. You can call it names, but I’m doing an honest effort to know what is true. You do not seem to.

            Is this good enough Shachar? Or am I still avoiding the issue in your view?

  12. Shachar says:

    Just for those claiming that flotilla was about bringing essential equipment and provisions into Gaza: Hamas refuses to allow aid supplies into Gaza

    Shachar

  13. Abu Sinan says:

    Salam Mahmood,

    I havent been here in a very long time. What some 5 years since the last time? Anyway, I stopped by to see how things are going, looks well, I am happy to see that.

    I guess I was kind of surprised to see Steve still posting here. Didnt you kick him off sometime ago and/or he vowed to not post here anymore?

    I guess I am more suprised to see that after five years not only has Steve NOT changed, he has actually regressed. Amazing.

    I guess when one gets caught in that spiral of hate it is VERY hard to get out of it.

    In the five some years since I posted here I am happy to say I have grown a lot, learned a lot and have changed a lot. All for the positive I think.

    I am glad you wrote this post and glad that you have defended these people, not from a religious stand point, rather from a human rights and legal standpoint. That is where the REAL case against Israel is to be made, I wish everyone on all sides would leave religion out of this issue.

    I really feel that Jews and Muslims have much more in common than they have that seperates them. The historic friendship between Jews and Muslims that ended in 1948 is one worth seeking again. When one gets down to it Jews and Muslims have much more in common, both from a religious standpoint and a cultural standpoint, than they have with the West.

    Historically, the Muslim world was a place of refuge for Jews from the numerous pogroms and mass murders in Europe. Even as they were being butchered and expelled in places like England, Germany and Poland, they found safe lives and communities in the Muslim world. Would that it could be that way again.

    I wish you and yours all of the best Mahmood and hope maybe the years have softened your opinion of me and the way I acted here.

    PS, dont worry, I dont plan on posting here on a regular basis. }:>)

    Allah Ma3ak.

  14. Abu Sinan says:

    Indeed. Now, let’s get down to something import, like the US victory against England in the footie today. The score will be 2-1 in favour of the USA.

    Of course I am dreaming……..lol.

  15. Shachar says:

    I’m repeating truths which you studiously avoid, like the proverbial ostrich. Once you wake up to that fact, maybe you will do something about the absurd situation you find yourself in.

    Kettle. Pot. Black.

    Would you now be willing to work at the return of confiscated lands, farms and homes back to their rightful owners?

    I would certainly be working toward a solution that would be fair, without compromising either side’s ability to have everything they should. The Palestinian’s version on what this solution should be is completely unacceptable. Some solution which is more just than what the Palestinian have got is in order, yes. I should point out that the Palestinians are every bit an obstacle to such a solution as the Israeli public and government, if not more so.

    According to Amnesty International USA, the numbers are

    Not the most reliable of sources, but, in this case, this mostly has to do with the classification of “civilian”, “child” and “warior”, so for the sake of total numbers, it doesn’t matter.

    Yes, I admit my “1:4” number, taken from memory, was incorrect, and I apologize. Then again, so was your “1:1000”. Also, since you claimed that all conflicts resulted in these ratios, I think my original claim still stands.

    I find that hard to believe

    That’s because I couldn’t believe this was the event you were referring to. Rather than prove your point, it proves mine, completely. You quote it as an obvious case of an Israeli sniper killing a 9 year old. I suggest you read the entire Wikipedia entry you refer to.

    Actual facts about the case:
    No one can tell for certain if the boy was even killed on the day the event was filmed, much less by who.
    Certain staging by the France 2 photographer who took those shots is, pretty much, the accepted theory, including by the French court that was asked to give an opinion.
    In any case, none of the sides claim this was a sniper. You made that up.

    I’ll stress the last point. Even if the Palestinian/France 2 story is accepted in full (and it is highly disputed), Mohammed Al-Durra was shot by Israeli soldiers during a two way battle between Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians. A far cry from your original claim of “9 years old shot by an Israeli sniper”.

    Would you like to offer an apology?

    Or am I still avoiding the issue in your view?

    Of course you are! You started by claiming Israel are pirates, and when asked to defend that statement you shifted the discussion to events that happened a year and a half, 10 and 62 years ago. You are not avoiding defending your recent rant, but you are definitely avoiding defending calling Israel “pirates”, which is where this thread begun.

    Shachar

    • mahmood says:

      Then you’re honestly telling me that

      9 years old shot by an Israeli sniper

      Is far-fetched? Really Shachar? That never happened? I’m sure a search would result in several entries, or even just one. Does that child (9 or 15 year-old) life so cheap as you would enter into semantics to defend your position?

      You started by claiming Israel are pirates, and when asked to defend that statement you shifted the discussion to events that happened a year and a half, 10 and 62 years ago. You are not avoiding defending your recent rant, but you are definitely avoiding defending calling Israel “pirates”, which is where this thread begun.

      I apologise for digressing. The Israeli action perpetrated on the Freedom Flotilla is an act of piracy.

      states:

      Maritime piracy, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, consists of any criminal acts of violence, detention, rape, or depredation committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or aircraft that is directed on the high seas against another ship, aircraft, or against persons or property on board a ship or aircraft. Piracy can also be committed against a ship, aircraft, persons, or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state

      I look forward to you defending the indefensible.

      Yes, I admit my “1:4″ number, taken from memory, was incorrect, and I apologize.

      Thank you.

      Then again, so was your “1:1000″. Also, since you claimed that all conflicts resulted in these ratios, I think my original claim still stands.

      Though the figure I quoted was actually closer to the truth, but I too apologise for not being specific. Same for generalising. However, you must admit that the Palestinians are habitually visited by casualties of many folds than the Israelis.

      Not the most reliable of sources

      Their figure wasn’t that far off that given by the IDF wasn’t it? So there must be some substance to it. As to your classifications of the casualties, I am dumfounded. You are better than that.

      I’ll stress the last point. Even if the Palestinian/France 2 story is accepted in full (and it is highly disputed), Mohammed Al-Durra was shot by Israeli soldiers during a two way battle between Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians. A far cry from your original claim of “9 years old shot by an Israeli sniper”.

      Would you like to offer an apology?

      I would’ve thought that it is you who should offer it. After all, a young boy was killed. By Israeli bullets. In sniper-like targeting.

      • Shachar says:

        Sorry, weekend’s over, and I have to get some actual work done. Will probably answer this tomorrow.

        I’m glad we are finally talking to the point.

        Shachar

      • Shachar says:

        Is far-fetched? Really Shachar? That never happened?

        Remember our new rules for accusing Israel! It is up to the accuser, not the defender, to bring up the accusations’ facts.

        Regarding piracy. You quote the UN convention. I took the liberty to highlight a different word than you:

        Maritime piracy, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, consists of any criminal acts of violence, detention, rape, or depredation committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private

        Like I said many times before, I am no international laws expert. I read this word to mean “against the law”, which, in the case of international waters, would probably mean international law. In other words, if it is legal, it is not piracy.

        Again, not being an international laws expert, I point you to Alan Dershowitz’s article, which lays down reasons why Israel’s actions were legal, including precedence.

        Anxiously waiting for you to explain why that ain’t so.

        However, you must admit that the Palestinians are habitually visited by casualties of many folds than the Israelis.

        Not only do I, indeed, admit it, I do not even find a reason to be ashamed of it. We are at war. At war, people get hurt. If people are going to get hurt, I would rather it be their people than mine. I refuse to apologize for being stronger, especially since I know what would happen to me the second I’m not.

        Their figure wasn’t that far off that given by the IDF wasn’t it? So there must be some substance to it. As to your classifications of the casualties, I am dumfounded. You are better than that.

        It’s as if we are not speaking the same language. I’m saying that the source, in general, is not that reliable, but in this particular case the overall numbers do reflect reality. You counter with the fact that the numbers seem okay. That is precisely what I said.

        Regarding the dumbfounded statement – see later.

        I would’ve thought that it is you who should offer it. After all, a young boy was killed. By Israeli bullets. In sniper-like targeting.

        What is “sniper-like targeting”? Do you have any idea how a battlefield looks like? Do you understand the concept of “stray bullet”? Do you not understand the difference between a boy wandering into a battle zone, being hit by a bullet, and killed, and a boy being hit by a sniper who views it in his sights, see a boy, and pull the trigger?

        Also, after I claim that, in this particular incident, just about every fact that can be disputed is, to put it mildly, in dispute. No independent observer will confirm with certainty that it was Israeli gun fire that hit him, and that is the least weird disputed fact about the incident.

        In other words, you base your accusations on the single most disputed incident in the last decade, if not three decades, of Israeli Palestinian conflict, is if all facts there are clear and laid out.

        Think of it like this. When the incident was first published, Israel admitted the shooting and offered an apology. Not Shachar – official Israel. Several years later, after no one was really pushing this any more, they retracted that statement. Israel does not often retract statements (though this is definitely not the only one). Doesn’t that alone tell you that the case is, at the very least, disputed? And you want me to apologize?

        I do not ask you to accept the pro-Israeli version of what happened there (though I think it has more support in evidence than the other alternative). I just ask that you care enough about the truth to not base accusations on it.

        Shachar

  16. Abu Sinan says:

    Mahmood,

    I’d like to point you in the direction of a blogger that often touches these issues. I think you’d like him. He is a former Colonel in the US Army Special Forces. He worked in the military intelligence arena both in the military and the Defense Department.

    He speaks fluent Arabic, he was actually the person who set up the Arabic Department at the US Military Academy at West Point. We was also stationed in Yemen for a time and has extensive travel experience in the Middle East.

    Having said that, one might be tempted to think he is the usual US establishment hack pushing the typical US party line that is uniformly pro Israel.

    In this man’s case it couldnt be farther from the truth. I have been reading his blog for a few years now and he is a regular contributor to several foreign policy publications and is asked to speak on the TV from time to time.

    He is free from any “taint” that some people who are more critical of Israel are often painted with. Obviously is has served his country with great distinction, he is not an anti semite, and as a dewvout Catholic, he isnt some “Muslim convert 5th column”.

    http://www.turcopolier.typepad.com/

  17. Shachar says:

    Mahmood,

    Just wanted to know whether you missed my reply to your last comment, or whether you stepped away from the conversation.

    Shachar

    • mahmood says:

      No I didn’t. But find no profit in continuing this conversation.

      • Shachar says:

        Yeah, I’d probably do the same in your situation. All this making sure that the name throwing has actual basis in reality is, indeed, tedious.

        I understand completely.

        Shachar

        • mahmood says:

          Ah well Shachar, you shall remain blind to your country’s faults and defend it at the expense of the truth and everything else around it.

          I understand. Completely within character.

          If you would care to re-look at what has been written in this thread with your mind slightly ajar, you will find out that what I said is actually based on truths. I admit that I might have exaggerated a point – the boy’s age at 12 rather than what I stated was 9 – but you continue to choose to attack peripheral issues like that rather than admit to the serious state-sponsored terrorist activities of your country.

          Oh I’m sorry, as these heinous acts are perpetrated by Israel, we can’t really call the the T word, I’m sure you will come back with that inane “argument” by saying that “it can’t be regarded criminal or terrorist” as it is “legal” in the eyes of the State.

          I’m happy that you sleep with a clean conscience Shachar. I wish you many such happy dreams.

          • Shachar says:

            Yes, of course it is me who is blind.

            I lay down the reasons I think what I think, and ask you to show me where I went wrong. You refuse. If I am ignorant, then it is not for lack of trying to see the truth, but for lack of people willing to overcome their own prejudice to show it.

            Also, the laws I was referring to were not the laws of Israel. They are the international laws of what is, and, more to the point, what isn’t a crime of war. They are the codified rules by which most countries pertain to conduct wars as to what IS allowed during an armed conflict.

            There is a recurring theme amongst Israel “criticizers” to accuse Israel of war crimes (such as you calling the flotilla take over ‘piracy’), but being awfully lacking ability to show what the laws violated actually are.

            So I ask you, who seem so sure of himself, to show me what I am missing. You do not answer, change the subject, repeat the same words in the hope that enough repetitions will make it true, and in the end, walk away from the discussion. And yet, somehow, it is me who is blind, and is unwilling to listen.

            This is not to say you will convince me, but with this “piracy” joke, you did not even try.

            You can walk away, if you like. I certainly won’t do anything to force you to participate in a discussion you don’t want to. Just keep in mind that the only people your statements convinced are those who were convinced to begin with.

            Shachar

  18. Vic Spencer says:

    Why don’t you Mahmood and Shahar consider not blaming the other side, but focus a little about what is wrong with your side?

    Can either of you or both of you do that?

    • Shachar says:

      It’s not a question of blame, at least not for me.

      I hear all of these wild accusations flying around. It is very easy to disregard them as anti-semitic/racist. Many Israelis do. I try not to.

      So I try to get the substance behind the headlines. Why is this piracy? Why is this racism? This is what I know about the matter, is it wrong? Am I missing something?

      I do not like the answers I am receiving. More to the point, I do not like the fact I am not receiving any answers. The level of most discussions is of a third graders “yes it is, no it isn’t”. “Truths” are slammed in my face “for my own good”, with zero explanation why they are, indeed, true.

      Can I defend the position that this is not racism? No, I cannot. From everything I hear here, I cannot say I see well explained, reasoned positions. I see Mahmood forming and expressing opinions (well, he sees them as solid facts) without any sign that he even cares whether this is true or not.

      I’ll give you an example. There is now talk about reliving some of the blockage, but still prohibiting materials that can be used for weapons. I hear that, and I’m doubting. If it is possible to do so, why wasn’t it done before?

      But this question is between me and my government. The question to this distinguished forum is this: why did none of you know to tell me that such a problem exists? If you didn’t know about it, how were you so sure it was wrong? Why is it that the most reliable source for my own governments’ mistakes and missteps is the Israeli media, and not Al-Jaseera? Doesn’t that alone cast doubt over the motives of the claims made by the self called “Israel criticizers”?

      So, yes, I’m going to try to find out whether the blockage was reasonable before. But I have to ask – if I find out it was not, why should I share it here? Mahmood is most likely to just use it as a fig-leaf, proving in his mind that the rest of the unsubstantiated, unsupported, irrelevant stuff he’s saying is obviously true.

      Shachar

      • mahmood says:

        Shachar, okay, I grant you that based on precedence in international affairs that the actions that Israel perpetrated on the relief ship might not be construed as “piracy” in the legal sense. Ethically, do you not agree that what Israel did could be construed as piracy to most people watching from afar?

        Yes, the soldiers were attacked as they descended from helicopters (which is a stupid thing to do in any case, unless that was a “strategic” move to make them available and reachable pinniatas to those below and instigate a fight?) The IDF – as far as I can tell – are not there for general humanitarian relief efforts. They are there to unleash maximum power in the minimum time. So forgive me for assuming that those on the ship assumed that they are going to be killed and chose to protect themselves. YES, before you launch at me, I have studied the videos and saw the prepared state that those on the ship were at; armed with whatever they can put their hands on. Though dangerous, their weapons were in no way AS dangerous as those carried by the IDF soldiers (I’m not talking about paintball guns).

        So did the situation have to get to this point? I say that with the sequestering of over a million people, suffering on a daily basis because of unreasonable restrictions levied on their daily lives, the absence of sometimes even basic medical care prompted people to get up and try to provide for them by doing two things: issuing a political statement (breaking the siege) showing the iniquitous situation they are living under, and (2) delivering needed supplies, as little as they are in the larger scheme of things, to those people.

        Were they right in mounting such a campaign? Ethically, yes, of course they were. Israel was hardly prepared to open the gates then, and by Israel now lifting some of the blockade demonstrates that the Freedom Flotilla succeeded in their aims.

        Let me also say that I am not as incensed at Israel as I am with Egypt, a fellow Arab and supposedly Muslim country, for closing their border to Gaza because they too don’t like the democratically elected government and meting out collective punishment on those 1.2+ million people.

        • Shachar says:

          Shachar, okay, I grant you that based on precedence in international affairs that the actions that Israel perpetrated on the relief ship might not be construed as “piracy” in the legal sense.

          Thank you.

          Ethically, do you not agree that what Israel did could be construed as piracy to most people watching from afar?

          I’ll assume that you mean “most people exposed to western and westernish media”. Yeah, you are probably right, but what this proves is open to question. To me, for example, it proves that most people under said category have the good fortune not to know how war looks like.

          War is ugly. Granted. The question is, when faced with an aggressor, how much will you put up with before going to war, just because it is ugly. Israel held quiet through eight years of daily bombardment of civilians before embarking on “cast lead”. In my book, that’s too much.

          Whether it was smart to try and stop the flotilla? even with the advantage of hind sight, I honestly don’t know. My first instinct was to say let them through, as this was a provocative act, and was, therefor, probably not carrying any war related weapons. I then heard Netanyahu’s speech, in which he asked “if we let this one through, how would the world react to stopping the second one, who would hold ground to ground missiles?” Honestly, I have no good answer to that one.

          The point I’m trying to make is that the world’s reaction, while important, should not dictate what a country does to defend itself. Affect, yes. Dictate, no.

          (which is a stupid thing to do in any case

          No expert on marine combat techniques myself, so I cannot comment on that one. I suspect the standard rules of engagement include throwing down a concussion grenade (or a live one), an action which, I’m guessing, was removed from this particular battle because the ship was mistaken by Israel to host civilians.

          Just as a mental exercise, can you imagine what our conversation be like had a concussion grenade been used?

          The IDF – as far as I can tell – are not there for general humanitarian relief efforts.

          The turks used to disagree after their big earth quake. So did a bunch of other areas hit by large scale natural disasters, but I really digress.

          They are there to unleash maximum power in the minimum time.

          No. They are there to do what their name suggest – defend Israel. This includes applying force, where necessary, sure, but increasingly, this also include not applying force. The IDF made an assumption in this case, that the ship will not be this hostile. That’s the reason for the paint guns. Believe me, this is not the standard IDF issued weapons. In the case of the Marmara, this assumption turned out to be wrong, which caused people to be hurt.

          There is another thing people often don’t understand. The bigger the difference in arms and strength between sides, the less casualties you will end up having. If you are walking down an alley, armed with a gun, and a small kid tries to attack you, you will most likely try to restrain him, never taking your gun out. If three sturdy men try to attack you, you will likely pull out the gun and shoot the nearest one without warning first thing. In the first case, your life isn’t in danger, so you can afford to be gallant. In the second, they are, so you do whatever you need to in order to get out of there alive. Self defense laws, by the way, supports this distinction completely.

          armed with whatever they can put their hands on.

          To my eyes, their arms were meticulously calculated to be as aggressive as possible (so that the soldiers would have to act), while still maintaining the flotilla’s true aim – make Israel look bad in the world press. Yes, I am implying that some, if not all, of the people killed set out to be shahids, to “die for the cause”.

          Though dangerous, their weapons were in no way AS dangerous as those carried by the IDF soldiers

          Close quarters fighting. Knifes, metal clubs, slingshots and numerical and tactical advantage vs. paint balls and hand guns. Sorry, I don’t agree with your assessment. Seems pretty even armed, all in all.

          (I’m not talking about paintball guns).

          Why not? Doesn’t that mean to you the soldiers were hoping to resolve the takeover less violently than it turned out to be? Why else climb aboard with paint balls?

          because of unreasonable restrictions

          Can you name any of the restrictions? If not, how can you be so sure they are unreasonable?

          issuing a political statement (breaking the siege)

          I have to correct you. Breaking a siege is a military action, even when practiced by real civilians (the kind that traveled on the other ships). Either way, I did not deny they had the right to perform this action. This is, after all, war, and Israel is not the only one allowed to act. I just said that this does make them warriors, and, as such, they should not act surprised when there are consequences.

          (2) delivering needed supplies

          Not so needed, apparently.

          democratically elected government

          While I’m not sure what’s Egypt’s precise angel on this, we should not get carried away, here. Democracy requires much more than just having a majority vote. For one thing, if you celebrate your democratic victory by chasing off and killing your political rivals, you kinda lose your right to call yourself a democracy.

          The people of Gaza are held hostage by the Hammas government every bit, if not more, than they are by Israel’s or Egypt’s actions.

          Shachar

          • Shachar says:

            I made a serious translation error in the above comment. Where is says “Percussion grenade”, I meant “Stun grenade”.

            Sorry about the mixup.

            Shachar

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