The first two parts of this growing series on the Israeli attack on the aid convoy heading to Gaza try to sort through the mess of reports to find some facts; part 3 contains some updates from around the world; part 4looks at some of the reactions in the global press; and part 5 looks at official reactions from around the world, including the subdued American statement and the Israeli justification. Part 6 reviews the statements made by various peace organizations while part 7 reviews yet more reaction from the press. Part 8 compares the video footage released by Israel and the Flotilla organizers.
[tweetmeme] Peace Now called the events a ‘new low point in the way it chose to contend with its domestic and external policy dissidents.’ Though the organization called the activists Hamas supporters, the organization blamed Israeli society (explicitly defending the soldiers and the decision makers in the IDF) saying “It is not the soldiers’ fault, nor the commanders’ nor the heads of the IDF’s. Israeli society as a whole is responsible for the grim results of the IDF takeover of the protest ships. The radicalization of Israeli society is yielding its fruit. The message to the soldiers and police is crystallizing. When Arabs are involved in an activity, the hand on the trigger is light. Determination boards the ship while sensitivity stays in the water.” The organization continues to say that Israel is justifying “its brutal and violent image” and that the ‘patriotic’ ‘silent majority’ must push Israel to change course:
Without a loud voice of protest by a patriotic Israeli public calling on its leaders to change course, we will all find ourselves in a morally and politically decadent country, slowly sinking into the depths.
Americans for Peace Now – a sister organization – joined in the call blaming the radicalization of Israeli society. ANP underscores how the events of today only prove how untenable and ‘increasingly indefensible’ the Israeli blockade of Gaza is. The organization continued to condemn the rhetoric that Israel has been using to prepare for and defend its attack on the Flotilla: “Such language [‘economic terrorism’ – describing the Palestinian boycott of settlement goods; ‘cultural terrorism’ – describing the boycott of Israel by various musicians; and ‘violent propaganda’ – describing the Flotilla] cheapens the debate and undermines Israel’s legitimate position when it acts in genuine self-defense. It also makes almost inevitable the kind of tragedy that is unfolding today.” Like its sister organization, APN strongly urged the moderates in the world to speak out and called for Israel to shift away from radicalization:
Americans for Peace Now (APN) is deeply dismayed at the tragic results of Israel’s interception of the international Gaza aid flotilla today and calls on Israel to thoroughly investigate the operation and to reassess its policy toward the Gaza Strip.
The American Jewish Committee, on the other hand, applauded the efforts of the IDF saying that the force used kept the body count down (the AJC has a website called the ‘Z-Word‘ and does not represent the group’s official statements). The group calls the aid workers (saying “the, ahem, aid workers”) ‘bent on martyrdom’ and questions all the negative press that Israel has received from the incident. It does question whether the bad PR that resulted from the events was worth stopping the ship: “Regardless of this, the deaths represent a PR disaster for Israel and it remains to be seen whether it was worth taking the inevitable risks associated with such an operation in order to keep Hamas isolated. And there’s also the question of what approach Israel will take to the next convoy, and the one after that.” AJC obviously takes a more pro-Israeli view in justifying the attacks, though it does have some interesting remarks (h/t to Mondoweiss):
The use of greater force from the start might have led to one or two hotheads getting killed but might well have kept the final body count down to more manageable proportions.