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Smoke on the water (Israel forces board ships)
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Sam the Eagle



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 8:20 am    Post subject: Smoke on the water (Israel forces board ships) Reply with quote

Really depressing.

How "international" international waters can be?. Civilian casualities asides, 10 and counting so far, one cannot but wonder how this will all turn out.

This is how evetns are portrayed by

Haaretz

Al Jazeera

and

The Guardian

Comparisons will be drawn between this and South Korea/North Korea incident as far as international reaction are concerned.
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those, who don't follow the situation, here's a simple overview of the blocade itself, and here are some discussions of the legal situation of Gaza.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fucking hell. This is on par with kicking puppies.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in a related story:
Israeli prime minister cancels White House meeting
Quote:
JERUSALEM – Israel's prime minister has called off a planned visit to the White House to deal with a crisis over a botched naval raid that killed 10 pro-Palestinian activists.
Netanyahu, who is in Canada, was set to travel to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama on Tuesday. But his office says he decided to return home early after Monday's commando raid.
The commandos intercepted a flotilla of activists trying to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip. The deadly crackdown has drawn widespread international condemnations.


More of an update than a full article.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Volokh:

Quote:
Gaza Blockade Violence News You May Have Missed



Reading the news this morning, I got a big dose of he said/she said, with Israeli spokesmen claiming that its naval personnel were attacked with clubs and knives, perhaps even live fire, from one of the “peace activist” boats, and spokesmen for the blockade runners claiming, for example to the New York Times, that they would never, ever, engage in any violence.

So it would be easy enough to miss what I found to be the most relevant information, from the Washington Post:“Short video clips broadcast on various television stations showed demonstrators clubbing the navy personnel with metal bars and showed at least one soldier firing.”

I have my doubts about the wisdom of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and there was obviously an operational/intelligence failure that led to Israel’s naval commandos having to open fire to defend themselves, giving the other side a propaganda victory. But it does appear that the physical violence started from the other side, which to begin with had the rather unhumanitarian mission of aiding Hamas, and, to the extent there were sincere humanitarian/peace activists involved, allowed themselves to get hijacked by violent Islamic extremists who manned one of the ships.

Net result of the “peace/humanitarian” mission: dead activists, wounded Israeli soldiers, no more humanitarian aid to Gaza than if Israel’s offer to transfer the aid to Gaza from Ashdod had been accepted, and a likely breakdown in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that were about to start. Congratulations.

UPDATE: Reuters: “Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement that organized the convoy, said: ‘How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this? Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?’” Here’s a hint, Ms. Berlin: when you try to run a naval blockade, and then attack the blockaders with weaponry, “civilians” is not an apt description.

Allison Kaplan Summer (via Instapundit): “Israel appears to have stepped directly into a trap of a carefully planned suicide mission dressed up in the clothing of a humanitarian effort.”


Hyperlinks to sources within the article, can't be arsed to enable them all here. Still, it would appear that the attempted blockade runners, after rejecting out of hand Israel's offer to let them land in Israel and transfer the aid materials by land after it was inspected to ensure it actually was humanitarian materials, were boarded, and then instigated the violence themselves, forcing the Israeli naval personal to defend themselves.

I'm sorry, I just can't have a lot of sympathy here. Regardless of whether or not what Israel is doing in the Gaza Strip is right/legal, they were presented with a Naval blockade, which had a history of actually working as a functional blockade, they decided to try to run the blockade, and then not only refused to turn back but actually attacked the blockading Navy? This can only be interpreted as them hoping they would be fired on. It's exactly like if a group of random people decided that N.Korea jailing political dissidents was wrong, and thus trying to break them out of prison, and being all flustered when they got shot. Yeah, no shit, what did you think would happen?

EDIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUtQQwPgYYI, and similar. Does indeed appear that in this case, Greedo shot first.
Better quality, but misses a little at the beginning, really demostrating how quickly the Israelis were attacked and force to defend themselves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OTLoxIZEGc&feature=related
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTrees wrote:

they were presented with a Naval blockade, which had a history of actually working as a functional blockade,


What do you mean?
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And if it happened as they landed in Gaza, that would be a valid point. But the attack occurred on international waters, which is not what a naval blockade enables (the legality of such a blockade is also a point that can be discussed). So what we have here is an actual act of piracy.

The methods of course were controversial and provocative. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood is involved, so I would be surprised if they weren't. But that doesn't change the facts that:

-Humanitarian aid is being withheld from Gaza.
-The attack was illegal under international naval law, so defense can not be condemned.
-Somebody gave an order to send special forces to solve the situation, which means that they take responsibility for casualties. There were other options, like not allowing the ships to unload, and the people to set foot on Gazan soil.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTrees wrote:
after rejecting out of hand Israel's offer to let them land in Israel and transfer the aid materials by land after it was inspected to ensure it actually was humanitarian materials

And then nothing would've made it to Gaza. Do you know what they let in? Food and medical supplies.

Here's what they won't let in:

Quote:
building materials, electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, spare machine and car parts, fabrics, threads, needles, light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, cutlery, crockery, cups, glasses and animals.


Amongst others. You know what the ships were also carrying? Wheelchairs. Fucking wheelchairs.

Quote:
then instigated the violence themselves, forcing the Israeli naval personal to defend themselves.

Oh bullshit. There are videos out there that show that the Israeli's already started firing before they boarded the ships. And yeah, they were attacked. After they illegally boarded several ships in international waters. And with what were they attacked, you ask? Well, these fine commando's, carrying machine guns and grenades, were attacked with sticks, rods and knives. In return, the Israeli's used live ammo.

Why were they carrying live ammo anyway? And why were they sending in their commando's in such an insane and stupid way?

Quote:
they were presented with a Naval blockade, which had a history of actually working as a functional blockade, they decided to try to run the blockade,

Explain this. And explain how anyone can defend that blockade.

Quote:
and then not only refused to turn back but actually attacked the blockading Navy?

What. How the hell. Why would you think these unarmed, civilian ships were attacking several high-speed, highly armed missile boats? And the helicopters?

Seriously, fucking hell.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snorri wrote:
CTrees wrote:

they were presented with a Naval blockade, which had a history of actually working as a functional blockade,


What do you mean?


Things like that US Congresswoman who got detained while she was on a ship that attempted to run the blockade a few months ago, stuff like that. My point was that everyone knew this blockade wasn't posturing; it actually worked to stop ships from landing in the Gaza Strip.

As for being in international waters when the flotilla was interdicted... the flotilla had made their destination known ahead of time, and had refused to alter the destination when contacted, before being stopped, by the Israeli military. If they had at least made a pretense of having a different destination, it *might* have been arguably improper action (assuming the blockade is okay in the first place, which is also arguable), but since they didn't, maritime law is actually okay with how that happened. Vessels setting out with illegal intent can be stopped, boarded, searched, etc. by the destination country while still in international waters, as was the case here.

Also... two more things as to how this all went down. First, more very telling video

Second:

Quote:
A brutal ambush at sea

Ron Ben Yishai recounts bloody clash aboard Gaza-bound vessel: The lacking crowd-dispersal means, the brutal violence of ‘peace activists,’ and the attempt to bring down an IDF helicopter

Our Navy commandoes fell right into the hands of the Gaza mission members. A few minutes before the takeover attempt aboard the Marmara got underway, the operation commander was told that 20 people were waiting on the deck where a helicopter was to deploy the first team of the elite Flotilla 13 unit. The original plan was to disembark on the top deck, and from there rush to the vessel’s bridge and order the Marmara’s captain to stop.

Officials estimated that passengers will show slight resistance, and possibly minor violence; for that reason, the operation’s commander decided to bring the helicopter directly above the top deck. The first rope that soldiers used in order to descend down to the ship was wrested away by activists, most of them Turks, and tied to an antenna with the hopes of bringing the chopper down. However, Flotilla 13 fighters decided to carry on.


Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.


However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.


One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other “don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” even though they sustained numerous blows.


‘I saw the tip of a rifle’

The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances.


The planned rush towards the vessel’s bridge became impossible, even when a second chopper was brought in with another crew of soldiers. “Throw stun grenades,” shouted Flotilla 13’s commander who monitored the operation. The Navy chief was not too far, on board a speedboat belonging to Flotilla 13, along with forces who attempted to climb into the back of the ship.


The forces hurled stun grenades, yet the rioters on the top deck, whose number swelled up to 30 by that time, kept on beating up about 30 commandoes who kept gliding their way one by one from the helicopter. At one point, the attackers nabbed one commando, wrested away his handgun, and threw him down from the top deck to the lower deck, 30 feet below. The soldier sustained a serious head wound and lost his consciousness.


Only after this injury did Flotilla 13 troops ask for permission to use live fire. The commander approved it: You can go ahead and fire. The soldiers pulled out their handguns and started shooting at the rioters’ legs, a move that ultimately neutralized them. Meanwhile, the rioters started to fire back at the commandoes.


“I saw the tip of a rifle sticking out of the stairwell,” one commando said. “He fired at us and we fired back. We didn’t see if we hit him. We looked for him later but couldn’t find him.” Two soldiers sustained gunshot wounds to their knee and stomach after rioters apparently fired at them using guns wrested away from troops. 2 errors

During the commotion, another commando was stabbed with a knife. In a later search aboard the Marmara, soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots used by the rioters ahead of the IDF takeover. It appeared the activists were well prepared for a fight.


Some passengers on the ship stood at the back and pounded the soldiers’ hands as they attempted to climb on board. Only after a 30-minute shootout and brutal assaults using clubs and knifes did commandoes manage to reach the bridge and take over the Marmara.


It appears that the error in planning the operation was the estimate that passengers were indeed political activists and members of humanitarian groups who seek a political provocation, but would not resort to brutal violence. The soldiers thought they will encounter Bilin-style violence; instead, they got Bangkok. The forces that disembarked from the helicopters were few; just dozens of troops – not enough to contend with the large group awaiting them.


The second error was that commanders did not address seriously enough the fact that a group of men were expecting the soldiers on the top deck. Had they addressed this more seriously, they may have hurled tear-gas grenades and smoke grenades from the helicopter to create a screen that would have enabled them to carry out their mission, without the fighters falling right into the hands of the rioters, who severely assaulted them.


TL;DR - Israelis believed them when they said they were "peace activists," they weren't.

EDIT: and yeah these two pretty much address my biggest problems with your post, Willem. Because it didn't happen the way you're saying it did.
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Last edited by CTrees on Mon May 31, 2010 5:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Willem



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great, you're using Israeli propaganda sites as a source. Great. Also, that video? Released by the Israeli army.

Yeah. Good job there, CTrees.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn-l_JltCB4
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey man you deleted your post not fair
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTrees wrote:
Snorri wrote:
CTrees wrote:

they were presented with a Naval blockade, which had a history of actually working as a functional blockade,


What do you mean?


Things like that US Congresswoman who got detained while she was on a ship that attempted to run the blockade a few months ago, stuff like that. My point was that everyone knew this blockade wasn't posturing; it actually worked to stop ships from landing in the Gaza Strip.


I don't think they were under the impression that they wouldn't be stopped. Just, you know, not boarded illegally and shot to pieces.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first six of the Free Gaza convoys were let through, I hear. Then after the invasion of Gaza last year, they shut them off.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Post was deleted so I could watch the video first. Here was the text of it:

Quote:
The video is pretty unambiguous, and doesn't cut into the action halfway through or anything like that (watch it, it's very obvious that's the first person coming down when they say it is). So even if the source is the Israeli military, are they not allowed to show evidence about the action just because it contradicts all anti-Israeli sources? Has the other side released videos which paints a different picture than that? Oh wait, the first video I posted has been circulated by Turkish news sources. Whoops!

Seriously, is there are reason to *disbelieve* the details given in that article simply because the source *isn't* anti-Israel?


Your video, by Al-Jazeera (not exactly capable of claiming a lack of bias...), still shows the same depiction of the "peace activists" rushing at attacking the Naval personnel as soon as they dropped, before they had been attacked. The bits around it, describing what went on? Again, are we supposed to believe them purely on the basis of them having an anti-Israeli slant?

There is some popping similar to gunfire just before the video cuts to video of the boarding, which *really* doesn't seem to be persuasive as to the timing or source of the noise, but which wouldn't be inconsistent with the article I posted, stating that, since the Israeli military believed the statement that those were peaceful protesters, the boarding personnel "were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin." Since no one seems injured until the Israelis start being attacked, and if you were violently boarding a ship you'd *think* you'd shoot to clear the area you were going to land on, I don't really believe the noise was the Israelis preemptively shooting firearms into the waiting crowd.

The videos seem unambiguous, to me, as to who made the first violent acts. Further, that really imperils the "peace activist" label that keeps getting thrown around. Also, as bolded in my first post, "when you try to run a naval blockade, and then attack the blockaders with weaponry, “civilians” is not an apt description. "

Also I maintain, as I've stated a few times... do we believe sources purely because they are anti-Israeli, and disbelieve sources purely because they are pro-Israeli?

Peace Activist from the Flotilla, before the boarding:

Video of the peace activists chanting peacefully about, um... hugging? the Jews maybe a little forcefully?
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