IDF attack on Gaza flotilla, with updates
World in shock at deadly Gaza ship raidhttp://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jLbLilqcZlIOwbCk3hQFR6qZcFGwThe nationality of some of the ships that have been attacked is still unclear, btw. There are two boats running the US flag in that flotilla, but it is yet unknown if they have been illegally boarded in those international waters. Remember the USS Liberty!
ANKARA — Shock and outrage swept the globe Monday after Israeli commandos stormed a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza, as the Jewish state's foes and allies closed ranks in condemning the deadly raid.
Police struggled to hold back an angry crowd of hundreds outside the Israeli consulate in Turkey's biggest city Istanbul, while furious protesters shouted "Damn Israel" outside the residence of the Israeli ambassador in Ankara.
Israel's army said more than 10 people died when its forces stormed the flotilla of aid-carrying ships, while a Turkish charity involved with the fleet put the death toll at at least 15 dead, many of them Turks.
Update: Swedish officials report that ALL ships in the flotilla have been boarded, including Swedish ship "Sofia". They ask for clarifications about what happened:
Update2: A source of questionable credibility reports that the Turkish government is planning to escort a new flottila with warships and fighter jets:
I doubt that the Turks will let this escalate that far. But the point that this will create pressure on Egypt to stop the Gaza blockade is reasonable. And this would be a consequence that the Israelis don't like at all. Tough luck.
Update3: BBC reports "state of alert across Israel":
Update4: Ynet reports 2 IDF soldiers, 4 foreign civilians taken to hospitals:
This seems to cnfirm that there has been violent resistance against the boarding of the ship. However, no misunderstanding, pls, under international law, the boarding is piracy, and the resistance is legal.
Update5: A Turkish official states the attack took place in international waters, 70 miles from the coast:
Update6: In Istanbul, 10000 Turks protest against Israeli actions:
This will support the Turkish government in taking a determined stance against the Israelis. Further deterioration of the already strained diplomatic relationship is unavoidable.
Update7: IDF jammed (and still jams) communications with the ships. Media agencies call for lifting of that blockage, and for informations about the fate of their staffers:
Obviously, a large number of news reporters were aboard the ships. This will further complicate the PR situation for the Israelis. Even more evidence that the violent approach of the Israelis when dealing with the humanitarian aid flottilla was a horrible mistake, and the resulting PR desaster will have strategical consequences. Whoever is responsible for this blunder (Ehud Barak?) should resign asap!
Update 8: CBC news says Israeli TV reports 19 deaths now:
For heaven's sake, 19 people killed in a Wild West action by the IDF? The problem could have been resolved totally peacefully if sanity would have prevailed! Where shall this end? How many people will still have to die before the rest of the world says "enough already!"?
Update 10: Greece cancels joint excercise with IDF:
It's the least they can do. Nobody in the rest of the world wants to be connected to the IDF now.
Update 11: BBC reports: Famous author Mankell aboard flotilla ship, first ship docked in Ashdod, Israel, Free Gaza organizer says Israelis were "shooting immediately", etc etc:
Good coverage by the BBC. Reliable as always. Accurate informations are the best way to prevent the spreading of dangerous rumours.
Update 12: Isreali Minister of Defense Ehud Barak blames flotilla organizers for deadly clash:
This is really the height of cynism, hypocrisy, and inhumane ethics! If the Israeli Labor party base still has any spine left, and a shadow of a conscience, they should force Barak to resign, and then abandon the coalition! This is in violation of everything that Labor once stood for. Period.
Update 13: 3 German politicians on board of the flotilla:
This will increase the difficulty for the German government to react diplomatically on the tragedy. Because of the historically sensible relationship to Israel, the Germans have to show restraint in their reaction, but the horrible death toll of the commando action and the presence of Germans among the passengers will necessite a determined statement. A delicate balancing act for Merkel and Westerwelle.
Update 14: Reuters reports: "The German government is shocked by events in the international waters by Gaza," five Germans on board of the ships, two members of German parliament among them:
This is a rather strong statement from the German government. Since most over nations will find even stronger words, this is evidence that this is indeed a global PR desaster of the highest degree for Israel. And I still can't even remotely understand why Netanyahu and his gang deliberately let this happen. What did they expect, that the world would only wag a finger? Up until now, I thought there is at least some intelligence left in Bibi and Lieberman. But now they show they are simply dangerous, uncontrollable murderers. Prosecute them!
Update 15: Israeli columnist calls Gaza siege "Israel's Vietnam":
Burston has been one of the very few public voices of reason and humanity in Israel for some years now. And he has to go from hell from his right wing countrymen for this. Impressive, how he still speaks truth to power, and doesn't hesitate to call his nation's desastrous policies a "lemming-like march of folly". A must read!
Update 16: RIDICULOUS! Israel tries to "contain the damage":
"Contain, the damage", my ass! What do they want to do, revive the dead? Anything short of this won't do. People have died, and all this criminal government cares about is it's effing image! Murderers who don't want to be held responsible for their klillings. They are crazy. Period.
Update 17: Roundup of foreign government reactions, "unacceptable", "shocked", "crime", "irreparable consequences", call for investigation:
Good roundup at Haaretz, too:
Only the first round, I'm sure. There will be even more devastating judgments of Israel's action once more details are known and the public opinion weighs in. This will result in a change of policies towards Israel, no doubt about it. Here's hoping for the EU to suspend Israel's trade privileges.
Update 18: Turkish customs official: "Allegations that there were weapons aboard the Turkish ship are baseless":
No surprise, really. The point of the activists was to bring Israel to allow supplies into Gaza, not to start a shoot out they knew they wouldn't win. In this context, it is necessary to point out that this wasn't the first flotilla heading to Gaza, and that all prior attempts have been stopped by the IDF without any bloodshed. It's totally irrational that the IDF this time engaged in a violent action to capture the boats. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Were they thinking at all? Are they crazy?
Update 19: AFP reports, "Israeli soldiers continued shooting even though a white flag of surrender had been raised":
Shocking, shocking! With all those media reporters and influential witnesses on board, I'm sure that the full details of the raid will be exposed, rather sooner than later. Which begs the question: What were the orders of those commandos? Which dangerous enemies did they expect to encounter on the ships? Did those who send them really thought this would be a reasonable way to board a ship full of civilians? This is mindboggling. Several officers and ministers must have become totally nuts.
Update 20: White House spokesman Bill Burton said Monday the United States "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained" in the incident.
"Regrets", huh? I understand this shocking crime by a close ally is a difficult issue for the US, but this kind of downplaying won't do. Public opinion will demand stronger words. It's simply too large a bloodshed, too big a scandal. Obama will have to act, not simply send a stern letter.
Update 21: Israeli PM backs army in Gaza-bound flotilla raid:
At least some accountability, maqking it clear that this was a political decision. Good. But this also raise the chances that Netanyahu himself will have to face the consequences for this crime. Great.
Update 22: Activists refuse to leave Gaza flotilla ships:
Still determined to deliver their aid cargo to Gaza! Incredibly brave folks. Please include them in your thoughts and prayers.
Update 23: British foreign secretary Hague calls for "Israel to open the crossings" in Gaza:
Well, this should come as no surprise for the Israelis. Of course their murderous action would result in increased political support for Gaza. I really wonder what illusions they had about the aftermath of their rampage?
Update 24: US ship boarded by IDF, Irish activist injured:
Here's the confirmation that the "Callenger 1" is running under the US flag:
A US shipped illegally boarded in international waters, at least one passenger injured, this should have consequences! In the past, wars have been started for less.
Update 25: Emergency meeting of the UN security council today:
As I said, containment is impossible. This will have consequences.
Update 26: Netanyahu meeting with Obama cancelled:
No real surprise. He is too cowardly to face the criticsm for his murderous action. As had to be expected.
Update 27: Understatement headline of the day: "Trouble at sea"
Come on, I totally understand that the US Jewish community wants to keep a cool head, and not add oil to the flames, but this is ridulous! "Trouble"? D'oh.
Update 28: New, comprehensive roundup of world reactions, Kuwaiti MP aboard one ship:
Note the frequent calls for an investigation and for opening up the Gaza blockade now. Israel will have a hard time convincing the US to veto this.
Update 29: Istanbul's Chief Rabbi protest the "intervention":
A careful choice of words, but that's totally understandable. Would be good if there were more, much more, righteous Jews who join the protests! The criminal Netanyahu government has to be forced to resign, and strong pressure from Jews all around the world will expedite this.
Update 30: Several Israeli Arab protesters arrested in mass rallies over Gaza flotilla deaths:
Looks like the fears about a third intifada are not exaggerated. Let's hope and pray no protestors get killed!
Update 31: Peace movement activists in Israel protest to show solidarity with flotilla:
Good folks! Sadly, there's not nearly enough of them to make a change. The last election showed this.
Last update: UN Security Council members condemned Israel's attack. Lifting of Gaza blockade likely:
Not the final resolution yet, but the clear and determined statements of the members show the direction this will probably take. And if there will be a lifting of the blockade, this will be great news for the 2 million people in Gaza who a re waiting desperately for water purifiers, electrical generators, construction material and lots of other stuff. Some kind of happy end for that tragedy, at least.