Monday, September 5, 2011

Flotilla hypocrisy excessive, but raid still legal - part 2

(continued from part 1)

So, though the Palmer report confirms that
  • the blockade was legal
  • that the flotilla tried to breach it
  • that Israel must enforce its blockade for it to be effective
  • that the flotilla had ties to terrorist organizations
Now here comes the brain fart: The Palmer report also says that the IDF soldiers used excessive force in response to the violence they encountered on board the Mavi Marmara, and that Israel should apologize to Turkey.

So, let's rewind a little to analyze why the IDF soldiers used the force they used.
The take-over began with an attempt to board from two speedboats. These withdrew when faced with resistance from Mavi Marmara passengers. IDF naval commandos were then landed on the vessel by fast-roping from three helicopters. Starting at 4.29 a.m. 15 IDF personnel began to fast-rope onto the roof of the vessel from the first helicopter and met with violent resistance from a group of passengers. 
Violent resistance? That's somewhat of a euphemism, isn't it?
The Naval commandos who abseiled on the vessel were Shayetet 13 soldiers. It is an elite naval commando unit of the Israeli Navy, considered to be among the world's special forces. These people are not easily subdued, it takes a lot of violence to do that. They were armed with paintball rifles in their hands, plastic bullet riot dispersal handguns at their sides, and hidden firearms. They were beaten with metal pipes and chairs as they were coming down, remember?

The passengers on board were separated into two groups, the "soldiers" on deck, and the "others" below deck. The "soldiers" were well prepared, with gas masks, bullet proof vests, metals bars, knives, chains, and organized into positions.
Three of the commandos were captured and taken below deck. Do you realize the intensity of the Mavi Marmara "soldiers" violence if they managed to neutralize three elite Shayetet 13 commandos? To reduce them to this?

After seeing three of their soldiers get captured and taken away (they couldn't guess that people below deck weren't as violent as the people above), the soldiers got serious.
IDF personnel involved in the operation needed to take action for their own protection and that of the other soldiers.
The Israeli report concluded that IDF personnel acted professionally in response, and switched back and forth between lethal and “less-lethal” weapons as appropriate during the incident, consistent with their rules of engagement and the exercise of self defence.
This is where the Israel Double Standards strike once more. 
Imagine, if you will, a bunch of hooligans, doing something illegal, who start to hit the police officers who come to arrest them. The hooligans manage to capture three police officers, basically holding them hostage, and they continue with their rage and violence, and face to face combat. What do you think would happen? No shots would be fired? And at the end of the day, who do you think would have the most "damage"? The trained, armed police officers, or the overweight hooligans who tried to hit armed soldiers with metal pipes? 

But replace "police officers" with "IDF soldiers" and "hooligans" with "flotilla activists", and of course the IDF used "excessive force".
And the metal pipes and knives the flotilla activists were using? Your light everyday stuff..
These are not butter knives

Gas masks always spell "peace" to me

Yeah, I would stop to consider non-lethal options when a knife that size approaches
 Once the soldiers saw that their non-lethal weapons weren't getting results, of course they weren't going to just stand there, and they had to escalate the situation to get back the advantage. Yes, 9 activists died, as a result of thinking that attacking soldiers while wearing flip-flops might actually have a positive outcome. Which makes the Palmer report state  this:
Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection.  Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers.  Several others were wounded.
The loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the take-over of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable.  Nine passengers were killed and many others seriously wounded by Israeli forces.  No satisfactory explanation has been provided to the Panel by Israel for any of the nine deaths.
Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel.
What is this secret mathematical equation that makes this excessive? Wasn't the flotilla activists' reaction to the IDF on-boarding even more excessive?

But anyway, Israel has adopted the report, with a reservation.
At the same time, Israel does not concur with the Panel’s characterization of Israel’s decision to board the vessels in the manner it did as “excessive and unreasonable.”  [...] Israel feels that the Panel gave insufficient consideration to the operational limitations which determined the manner and timing of the boarding of the vessels and to the operational need for a covert takeover in order to minimize the chances for resistance on board.
As to the actions of Israel’s soldiers, given the panel’s conclusions regarding the resistance that they encountered when boarding the Mavi Marmara, it is clear that the soldier’s lives were in immediate danger.  [...]
Given these circumstances, Israel’s soldiers clearly acted in self-defense and responded reasonably, proportionally and with restraint, including the use of less-lethal weapons where feasible.  The Panel's characterization of the circumstances which led to the nine deaths on board the Mavi Marmara does not adequately take into account the complexities of what was clearly a chaotic combat situation.[...] Given the close range combat that clearly took place aboard the vessel, wounds sustained at close range do not in themselves suggest wrongdoing by Israeli soldiers. 
And while Israel refuses to apologize (and rightly so), they have not undertaken and steps to cut diplomatic relations with Turkey, and hope they can return to path of cooperation.
The Turkish reply?
All this, because Israel didn't apologize. I see. Turkey doesn't need to accept the Palmer report criticism of the support of IHH and their failure in stopping the flotilla, but they can embrace the tiny portion which is critical of Israel. Hypocrites.
Grow up Turkey, and take it like man, now move on with your life. Don't you have some Kurdish massacres to cover up?

It's Israel Double Standards time! Don't worry, it's only on days that end with a 'y'.

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