Monday, May 31, 2010

At Times Like This

It is really, really hard to be on Israel's side.

Update: Since all of the dead appear to be Turks, will Turkey invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter? Does it apply here? Thoughts.

Update 2: I suspect that no matter who Israel kills, Harper will back Israel.

Update 3: Glenn Greenwald conducts a thought experiment:
Just ponder what we'd be hearing if Iran had raided a humanitarian ship in international waters and killed 15 or so civilians aboard.
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  1. Oh, so _that's_ why Bibi cut his North American trip short.

    Was looking for news on that.

    As for what I think -- let's use me as a proxy for Harper, since we have similar views -- well, it depends on who fired first.

    Because typically, a blockade runner would be boarded and turned around. That it didn't happen this time seems a little fishy.

    (After all, it isn't like Gaza doesn't have a history of firing at Israeli targets and then pitching a fit when Israeli units return fire.)

  2. Re whether Turkey invoked Article 5 against Israel -- I think that would result in Turkey leaving NATO.

    Which probably would suit the current Turkish government fine. If they did it themselves, they'd probably get removed by the military (happens every couple of decades in Turkey, a quick coup against a too-Islamist government), whereas if the rest of NATO did it...

  3. But if the convoy was unarmed, and can document such status (right now, it's a he said, he said thing, which just has us break down along pro- and anti- lines) -- then Israel's in trouble.

  4. Is there an airstrip in Gaza? Because if there was, it would be mighty tempting to load a Turkish military transport with aid and send it in. The Turks are mighty pissed.

  5. Here's Israel's side of the story.

    If that's accurate, I -- and people who think like me -- am probably on the IDF's side here.

    (Again, truth matters -- what actually happened dictates one's response.)


    Instant update:

    The IDF had cameras rolling.

    Okay, game, set, match for what I think of this incident.

    Next time, IDF, don't board a blockade-runner with paintball guns, pistols, and rules of engagement that let the crowd beat you up before you get permission to fire back. Take proper gear to deal with this sort of resistance. Or just sink the ships on sight once they leave international waters.

  6. I agree with POGGE that what Israel can't explain is how the people on the ships, forced the Israeli commandos to board them illegally in international waters.

  7. Besides, it matters not one whit what we think. It does matter what Turks think and they are not buying Israel's story.

  8. They were running the blockade, and declared their intention to do so directly to the Israelis.

    Me, I'd have waited till they left international waters and then simply sunk them (after warning them one last time to turn back).

  9. If Turkey tries to invoke Article 5, odds are that's the end of them in NATO.

  10. They were running the blockade, and declared their intention to do so directly to the Israelis.

    Explain to the Turks how this necessitates the killing of 19 of their countrymen.

  11. Of course it's not as if the Israeli's haven't gotten away with this kind of thing, before so I am betting they thought they would get away with it again.

  12. Turkey's prime minister has described a fatal Israeli commando raid on an aid ship as "state terrorism."

  13. When a boarding party is attacked with clubs and knives, it will fire back after a while. At that point, some of the people with clubs and knives will die. (Historically, see also the Boston Massacre of 1770 -- pelt a line of soldiers with snowballs and rocks and see what happens.)


    Update, as I see your latest:

    Okay, Turkey's slow-walking out of NATO. (Hope they don't formally leave. I'd hate to have to take sides in the Greece-Turkey conflict. Idea: if Turkey leaves, we kick Greece out, for non-payment of bills.)

  14. Pogge points to a story that takes my airstrip speculation and moves it to more boats and the Turkish navy.

  15. I'm skeptical about the article that Pogge linked to through Welsh (saw it elsewhere) -- but it's an option for Turkey, sure.

    If Turkey thinks that Israel is imposing an illegal blockade, it certainly can use its own warships to try to force it open.

    Then it'd be up to Israel to stand down. (I hope they would -- but who knows what they'd do?)

    If Ankara holds firm and Tel Aviv holds firm -- what will Washington do?

  16. If Ankara holds firm and Tel Aviv holds firm -- what will Washington do?

    Welsh speculates about that in his latest.

  17. It may surprise you -- or it may not -- that I actually agree with Welsh (and possibly with you): I think it's an open question as to who Washington would go with.

    President Obama's sympathies, inasmuch as he has them, are with the Palestinians. So it's an open question as to whether he follows them, or whether he is persuaded by people in his administration that it is in the national interest -- or the Democratic Party's interest -- for them not to throw Israel under the bus.