By Gideon Levy
July 6, 2009
Combat is the best, my brother, as the famous bumper sticker reads. It’s a good thing we have Shayetet 13. Operating at the crack of dawn – or was it before nightfall? – the daring naval commandos fearlessly took control of a rusty, rickety, unarmed boat bobbing in the middle of the sea. That’s exactly why we have a naval commando force – to take control of ships offering humanitarian aid. Behold, the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. The military correspondents reported on the incident with an amazement that only they can muster. But even they could not provide a fig leaf for the operation: The Israel Defense Forces has once again used its power to overcome the weak; the navy has once again acted like pirates. The Arion was abducted in the framework of protecting Israel’s security for all eternity, blah, blah, blah.
Soldiers, journalists and news consumers automatically refrain from asking questions. The navy captured another ship carrying symbolic aid, as if its passengers were Somali pirates. These were people of conscience from various countries carrying toys and medicine.
This was not the navy’s first daring operation of this kind, nor will it be the last. When there are no hostile aid ships on the horizon, the navy takes control of wretched Gazan boats, using water hoses or firing at its passengers – poor fishermen who only want to make a living at sea. This is the main activity unfolding off Gaza’s shores. A navy outfitted with the best arsenal in the world is hunting surfboards. One of the best-armed forces in the world is chasing children, examining old people’s documents and entering bedrooms to make arrests.
It’s Been a Bad Week for Israel
From Gulf Today, Michael Jansen:
This past week has been a bad one for Israel. Its bad behaviour was manifested in the seizure of a ferry boat carrying medical supplies and activists to Gaza, the impounding of the vessel and humanitarian cargo, and the imprisonment of crew and passengers. What is more, Israel’s vio- lations of human rights and international law were documented in detail in important studies issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The vessel, the Spirit of Humanity, a Greek-registered island ferry with 21 crew and peace activists and three tonnes of medical supplies on board, set sail from the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Monday morning, ex- pecting to reach Gaza’s fishing port on Tuesday afternoon.