The United Nations, still paralyzed with indecision over what to do about Bashar Assad and his unfortunate habit of showering dissidents with artillery shells, has nevertheless found time to upbraid Israel for its handling of the Mavi Marmara incident. This was the May 2010 attempt by terrorist sympathizers to run the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza, which is a terrible inconvenience for Hamas “activists” in need of weapons. Those Israeli civilians don’t just murder themselves, you know.
The Mavi Marmara was Turkish-flagged vessel that was boarded by Israeli commandos. While the U.N. report “found that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is both reasonable and appropriate,” as reported in the New York Times, it also said “the way Israeli forces boarded the vessels trying to break that blockade 15 months ago was excessive and unreasonable.”
As the report notes, those commandos faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers,” but the force employed by the Israelis in self-defense was “excessive and unreasonable,” leading to the “unacceptable” deaths of eight Turks and a Turkish-American.
The Times leaves out part of the story, which is supplied by the Associated Press:
Participants in the flotilla, the committee wrote, “acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.” Most passengers were peaceful, according to the report, but a small group was prepared for organized resistance. These passengers were “armed with iron bars, staves, chains, and slingshots, and there is some indication that they also used knives.”
After soldiers rappelled onto the deck from helicopters, according to the report, “three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.”
If you didn’t already dismiss the United Nations as a laughingstock, this ought to do the trick. Showering Israeli civilians with rockets, bombs, and bullets, and savagely abusing kidnapped Israelis, barely raises a yawn from our august global parliament… but when Israeli troops are attacked with iron bars, staves, chains, knives, and slingshots – and three of them are captured and mistreated by passengers – while enforcing a lawful blocked that the U.N. itself declares is legitimate, they earn a stiff censure for their actions. When will the Jews learn that fighting back only makes things worse?
How in the name of Turtle Bay are you supposed to enforce a legitimate blockade without confronting vessels determined to run through it? Your choices at that point become either firing on the ships in question, or boarding them. Boarding actions are not square dances, and a ship full of screaming “peace activists” – some of whom are brandishing deadly weapons – is not a chess game. If the Israeli troops made it a “fair fight” by packing only knives and iron bars, the carnage would have been worse, on both sides. The people who are responsible for this incident, and worthy of censure, are the terror-symps who launched that flotilla.
The release of this report prompted Turkey, once a close ally of Israel, to expel the Israeli ambassador. The New York Times reports on the diplomatic fallout:
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey would reduce its diplomatic representation in Israel to the level of second secretary — one of the lowest diplomatic ranks — and had ordered Israel’s ambassador, Gabby Levy, to leave Turkey by Wednesday. Reuters said Mr. Levy was currently in Israel and had canceled plans to return to Turkey.
“All military agreements have been suspended,” Mr. Davutoglu said but added that relations could return to normal if Israel apologized.
“Our aim here is not to hurt our friendship but to return this friendship to its right track,” Mr. Davutoglu said.
In other words, as long as Israel concedes its territorial integrity and makes its rights of self-defense negotiable, it’s all good with the Turks. Future Israeli boarding parties will be armed with nothing except audio recordings of Barack Obama “jobs” speeches to paralyze intruders.
The Israeli government has offered no official response to Turkey’s actions at the time of this writing, but in the past they have said they were willing to express regret and compensate the families of the dead, but not apologize for the boarding action. Turkey says that’s not good enough. No word on when Turkey and the U.N. will get around to demanding the Palestinians apologize for shooting rockets at Israeli school buses.
The Times says “Turkey plans to start procedures at the United Nations and the International Court of Justice to analyze the legitimacy of the blockade.” Why not just cut to the chase, and save everyone a lot of time, by asking the United Nations to ship munitions directly to Hamas?