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A proud member of the reality based commentosphere since 2000. You can find my two Eurocent mainly at liberal and centrist discussion threads, but also at some other surprising places. Also tweeting now, as user "graygoods".

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

About the attempts by the IDF to frame the issue

As had to be expected, and as was actually demanded by columnists in the Israeli media, apologists for the IDF tried to "contain the damage" from the deadly act of piracy. They try to twist the facts in their favor, by omitting important details, and by misrepresenting others. One of their most important points was a video where we see passengers hitting at IDF commandos who try to board the ship. But this edited view of the events doesn't tell the whole story, we learn in a report at Rawstory:

"However, in raw video captured by an Al Jazeera producer and published to YouTube late Monday, two journalists provide a play-by-play of the harrowing event as pops and cracks echo in the background. Even before the Israeli forces were aboard, one says, they were pelting the boat with tear gas and stun grenades, injuring numerous people." Well, that's the important point, the order of events! After the commandos had injured defenseless passengers from safety of the helicopters, it should come as no surprise that they were attacked as soon as they came down the rope. This debunks the "self defense" argument of the IDF, too, because the attacker can't claim to be in defense.

And if you look deeper into the narrative that the Israelis spread as a measure to contain the PR damage, you find that the phony story they tell is full of inconsitencies and distortions. For instance, what about the weapons allegedly found at the passengers? Well, it turns out that some brave guys have disarmed some troopers! Those where IDF guns, not the property of the passengers. The other "weapons" shown in a video are slingshots. Slingshots against assault rifles and machine guns! One look at the professionally equipped troopers with their bulletproof vests, helmets and guards shows that this wasn't really a danger for them. It's a David vs. Goliath story, with the IDF being unable to see the irony!

Then, the sticks shown in some video. Obviously makeshift devices, for instance one of them is the pillar of a sunshade! And those are the devastating "weapons" that those elite soldiers had to defend against with their automatic guns. It's beyond ridiculous. Also, I've read at several sites that the IDF claims the passengers threw stun grenades! In reality, those were thrown by the commandos, not surprisingly, since this is basic tactics in a SWAT mission. The question that should be asked is why the Israelis believed this to be necessary when they had to deal only with humanitarian activists, many reporters among them? Aparently, the smoke screen put up by distorting the facts shall prevent the people from asking these important questions.

So, really, the dishonesty of the IDF's official response is breathtaking. But, of course, you need a lot of smoke to distract the public from some simple facts: For instance, that the IDF successfully prevented such flottilas from reaching Gaza several times before. They never used such assault tactics, as if coping with terrorists, to achieve that. And also, that the attack took place 40 miles off the coast, a long distance away from the official 20 mile blockade zone around Gaza. Some apologists tell at a lot of brouhaha about the allegedly legal bockade, and cite a lot of legalese, without ever mentioning this!

However, imho they won't succeed in obscuring the simple truth. That is, that the cynical Israelin government deliberately escalated the response to the Gaza flotilla in order to show strength and to discourage the pro-palestinain activists. And in doing this, the right wing hardliners didn't care much, if at all, about the possible blood toll of that policy. This was their decision, and they will be held responsible for this. Let's hope the payback isn't only limited to a useless condemnation (Israelis don't care about UN resolutions, they never did) but leads to a lifting of the Gaza-bockade. And even trade sanction would be in order, imho. Actions speak louder than words, and are the only way to make an impact on Netanyahu and his gang!

(Blog post based on a comment at the A-Blog )

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