The Israeli ability to open mouth and insert boot was highlighted in the most unfortunate fashion yesterday when the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), a body with whom you would be well advised never to mess, botched the interception of a convoy carrying aid to Gaza.
The bad news is that at least ten civilians died in the IDF action, but yet worse news has told of the sheer farce into which the raid descended. The convoy was intercepted in international waters – more than twenty miles from Israel’s own patch – and so the action could have been interpreted as piracy. Then, the part of the IDF carrying out the raid were trained for combat, not for controlling what was effectively a water borne demonstration with attitude.
At first, not enough soldiers were dropped onto the ship which had not stopped in response to Israeli order, so they were outnumbered. Then their first attempt to exercise control was with paintball weapons. Yeah, right. From those, the escalation was not to tear gas and stun grenades, but directly to live ammunition.
And now, most of those on board the ship, the Mavi Marmara, are being interrogated by the IDF with Israel having imposed a news blackout. Into the media void has come Israel’s own account of what happened, telling of a variety of resistance from the Mavi Marmara, but for some reason the video stops just as the IDF switches to live ammunition.
The condemnation has been widespread, but there are inevitably those who will see the affair as justifying Israel’s behaviour. Unfortunately for them, their numbers are dwindling over time as the IDF behave with one consistency – that of heavy handedness and overreaction. As I posted last week, the days of Israel being excused its actions and treated as a special case are over.
So that’ll be more boycotts, more isolation, more dependence on the USA, and of course more ritual carpetings for Israeli ambassadors around the globe.