Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ethan Bronner of NY Times Confirms Israel Started Hostilities on Flotilla

The NY Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief, whose objectivity was cast into doubt because his son actively serves in the IDF, has just published a detailed article on the flotilla massacre.

The second paragraph jumps off the page:

"The crack of an Israeli sound grenade and a hail of rubber bullets from above were supposed to disperse activists, but instead set them into motion. And when three Israeli commandos slid down ropes out of helicopters to take over the ship, a crowd set upon them."

The “newspaper of record” (of all places!) finally cuts through all hasbara coming out of the IDF Press Office and Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The activists did NOT attack first (something that anyone listening to any eyewitnesses other than the IDF already knew). The commandos shot stun grenades and rubber bullets from above. Only THEN did the activists attack them after they descended.

It's important to know which side started the trouble. If it wasn't for the blockade around Gaza, initiated by Israel after Hamas won the elections, then there would not be any need to send humanitarian supplies to the Palestinian people.

However, having said that, one would have also thought that the activists/crew onboard the relief ship would have stood down when faced with gun toting commandos. There was no way to win and fighting back just made the situation worse.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, June 5th, 2010.]


steven andresen said...


The point that Greenwald made was important. For him, the ship being in international waters made any attempt by the IDF to board that ship uninvited an act of aggression the same as if the IDF helicoptered into Istanbul. The question of who stated hostilities by firing the first shot, or swinging the first stick, is therefore beside the point.

The act of aggression makes the IDF responsible for all the subsequent acts of hostility and loss of life. There would have been no swinging of sticks or anything else the passengers did on that ship if not for the original act of aggression.

So, no, it's not important who fired first or swung a stick.

The only fact that's important was that the IDF was out there coming aboard uninvited and unwanted.

This is why the numerous killings of blacks by police are merely acts of murder even if the blacks happen to fire their guns first, or don't have guns, but happen to reach for their wallets first. That is, people expect the police to act like the IDF and come in shooting without regard for the law, and probably with a list of black guys they're going to assassinate in any event.

The act of invading their space uninvited and unwanted and with a history like the IDF makes the police the aggressors in any and all encounters and therefore responsible for any injuries or loss of life that ensues.

The point you made at the end made sense. The people on the boat were undisciplined and were not prepared for the possibility that the IDF would try to board their ships.

The fact that the journalists had to give up their equipment and that therefore all their evidence was lost was a real victory for the IDF in the struggle on those boats. The preparations should have been made to make sure that video and photo evidence could have been secure no matter what the IDF did.

During the 'battle in Seattle' years ago the police beat up and destroyed a videographer thinking they were going to be able to confiscate his film. What they found was that he had filmed their attack up to the time they took away his camera where he had a direct satellite uplink. Everything they did was being followed live from Munich or someplace in Europe. The city of Seattle had to pay millions as a result of the lawsuit.

The IDF could have done more if they had intended to shoot everyone on a long hit list. The people on the boat being unprepared could have been provoked into initiating some kind of firefight. This is what police in this country dop all the time.

steven andresen said...


One more thought,

I remember that the last time Israel invaded Lebanon the thing was initiuated by what the Isralis said was a kidnapping of a few of their soldiers on the Lebanese -Israeli border.

The Lebanese response was to point out that the soldiers were in Lebanon at the time they were captured. Their poin was that Israel provoked the invasion by sending in these soldiers to be captured or killed.

A lot of what the IDF does, as well as the police behavior here, is about creating the perception that they were justified in using force.

steven andresen said...


Here is an article making my point again,

SpookyPunkos said...

Great points Steve, thanks !

I agree that the boarding action was totally illegal, and that it looked like the IDF was there to stir up as much trouble as they could.

I perhaps misrepresented myself somewhat by talking about the Gaza Blockade and the elections in connection to the attack. I did not mean to diminish the illegality of the ship board assaults and murders.

Nevertheless, in regard to the specific incident I think it was still important to know who fired first. Yes, the attacks were totally illegal, but in my mind I had thought the activists/crew were crazy to resist the commandos- especially when they were surrounded on all sides with armed patrol boats and helicopters.

When I found out that they had been stirred into action it helped sort out my questions about which side, within the context of the IDFs completely illegal attack, acted to make a very bad situation worse.

Your points should be noted by all who have read the post. The boarding action was illegal, period. The IDF has a history of acting illegally (initiating conflict) and then misrepresenting themselves as the victim.

Thanks again !