Counterpoint: Flotilla was an attempt at provocation
Recent incidents have the world’s majority condemning the Israeli state as “war criminals” and “human rights violators”.
When it comes to hot-button issues like Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the recent flotilla raid, everyone has an opinion, and everyone is an apparent expert in international law.
I’m sorry to have to point out that bias is what drives most opinions on this matter, not understanding of laws and rights.
The question at hand is whether or not Israel is justified in regards to its actions of implementing a blockade and enforcing it with the raid on the Flotilla. As much as many of you don’t want to hear it, these actions were completely justified.
I’ll start with the overarching issue of the blockade. The blockade was launched shortly after the installation of Hamas as the ruling government of Gaza, which should not have come as a shock to anyone.
Why would Israel maintain open borders with a government that declares, in its Charter, that it seeks the nullification of the state of Israel?
Again, despite what many think, a blockade is not an illegal act or a crime against humanity, it is a legitimate war measure.
Israel still has control over the coastline of Gaza despite its disengagement of the region in 2005, which was a provision kept for security purposes to monitor what is imported to Gaza.
This is not unreasonable considering the amount of rocket fire that has come from the region to Israeli soil.
In terms of international law, Israel’s blockade of Gaza follows all guidelines and protocols under the San Remo Manual with regards to armed conflicts at sea.
The blockade has not brought unnecessary harm to anyone nor has it been at all responsible for a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Many will be quick to dispute this point with figures that say only a minute portion of Gaza’s economic activity has been allowed since the blockade, but Israel’s exponential increases in necessary aid, i.e. food, medical supplies, etc., ensure that the people of Gaza are getting the necessities they need.
In regards to the flotilla incident, it is true that international law proclaims that Israel not engage the flotilla ships until within internal waters.
Israel defied this protocol by engaging the ship about 120 miles off the coast of Gaza.
Any attacks on these supposed “humanitarian” vessels would be a strict violation of international law and even I would agree Israel would be in the wrong.
It cannot be denied, however, that there were other motives involved. The flotilla run was an attempted provocation of Israel, not a humanitarian mission.
Al Jazeera captured just how dedicated these passengers were to peace and humanitarian aid (note sarcasm) when they broadcasted footage of several passengers participating in battle chants against the Jewish people.
Israel’s attempt to divert their course to Ashdod in international waters was a necessary pre-emptive manoeuvre to prevent a planned and calculated provocation for political gains.
Why not just dock at Ashdod, have the cargo inspected and let it go?
The reason they were unable to do this is because it was not politically expedient for what they were really trying to achieve.
The resolve of the flotilla ships was to break the blockade and shed light on Israel’s siege of Gaza.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) could have legally sunk the boats but boarded them instead. The result of the IDF boarding the flotilla resulted in nine dead and millions of diverged opinions.
These deaths were not acts of brutality or manslaughter, but of self-defence.
Numerous videos have revealed that these “peaceful activists” were beating IDF soldiers before they even landed on the deck.
Being surrounded by people swinging bats and steel rods would make any person fear for their lives and turn to their survival instincts.
It is a shame that blood had to be shed, but it was provoked and a just result occurred.
The Israeli blockade of Gaza and the resulting Flotilla raid are both completely justifiable under the guidelines of international law.
The only real dispute is whether or not the flotilla ships were “humanitarian” in nature or they had more hostile motives, and I believe evidence strongly points to the latter.
What is unjustified, however, was the absolute condemnation of Israel, even before all the facts were made public.