9:35 p.m: I think Jeffrey Goldberg captures the nuances of Israeli feeling about the flotilla clash.
9:16 p.m: CNN's Martin Chance interviews "Capt. R," the Israeli soldier thrown overboard during the Mavi Marmara clash.
9:07 p.m: Somebody please enlighten me. What message is Tony Auth trying to convey?
8:55 p.m: Add the Chicago Tribune to my list of no-nonsense staff-eds from 3:07 p.m:
The more we learn about this incident, though, the more it looks like a setup designed to provoke or embarrass Israel.
6:36 p.m: Turns out one of the "humanitarian activists" released by Israel is the head of Hamas in the Netherlands. Europe News fills in more about Amin Abou Rashed:
"Rashed is the leader of Hamas in the Netherlands," says an intelligence service source. "He appears by an alias, mainly Amin Abou Ibrahim, in several intelligence reports. He worked for the notorious Dutch foundation al-Aksa, which was suspected of collecting funds for the Hamas terror organization. He is also very active in the Palestinian Platform and Human Rights and Solidarity Foundation (PPMS)," says the intelligence agent.
Big yawn. At least she didn't accuse Israel of cloning her passport or stealing her organs . . .
6:20 p.m: I guess Gaza's not in such desparate shape after all. How else to explain the Islamists' ridiculous conditions for deigning to receive the Free Gaza aid? According to Xinhua:
Hamas authorities on Tuesday refused to receive aid and supplies to the Gaza Strip through Israel, stressing that Israel must first free pro-Palestinian campaigners who were onboard an aid flotilla.
Israel can send aid that Gaza flotilla had carried to the coastal enclave "only if the shipments are complete and when Israel release all activists who were onboard the ships, Ziad Al- Zaza, Hamas' Minister of Economy, told Xinhua.
I don't enjoy that Turkish soldiers were killed. But the irony is striking. Rocket attacks are what prompted the Gaza blockade Turkey's taking the lead against. Will Turkey's response to Kurdish terror meet the standards it demands of Israel?
4:52 p.m: My podcast partner, Yarden Frankl, discussed the flotilla, HonestReporting's work, and more on Rusty Mike Radio.
4:39 p.m: Amid the finger-pointing and calls for an investigation, this Baltimore Sun staff-ed raises a point worth pondering:
Even if Israel had successfully stopped these ships without bloodshed, it would not have stopped the attempts to bring supplies to Gaza, and it would have been confronted again and again until something like this happened.
Let me ask you one final question that's been troubling me, as sympathy for those apparently fragile Israeli commandos continues to pour in. If you were on a boat in the Mediterranean and hundreds of the world's most notoriously violent soldiers started falling from the sky, wouldn't you defend yourself? The brave human beings on the Mavi Marmara were acting in self-defence. And because of this many died.
Think about it. What we have here is that so-called peace activists A) squared off with the IDF B) the army gets some sympathy, and C) the peace activists claim they have a right to self-defense against D) terrorist thugs.
I take staff editorials more seriously than commentaries written by columnists or contributors. A staff-ed reflects the consensus views of the editors, sheds light on the editorial staff's thought processes (although sometimes, it only reveals something about whoever got stuck with the task of writing the editorial).
Ideally, a staff-ed carries the most weight on the opinions page. All this is why a lot of the commentaries I've blogged today are specifically staff-eds.
2:28 p.m: Here's new video footage from the Mavi Marmara. How does Free Gaza explain the stun grenade thrown seven seconds into the video?
2:10 p.m: According to the logic of this LA Times staff-ed, Israel's damned if the IDF is too heavy-handed.
And damned if it's not heavy-handed enough either:
In the days ahead, we need to learn what intelligence Israeli officials relied on in planning Operation Sea Breeze, why the operation was carried out in international waters, and what preparations were made for the obvious possibility that the commandos might meet resistance. We need to understand why a military that possesses tear gas and rubber bullets and other crowd-control tools couldn't find a way of defusing the situation short of shooting civilians dead with live ammunition.
The reason the situation came to gunfire was because the IDF didn't board the ship with overwhelming force. Commandos boarded the ship lightly armed because they weren't expecting violence. The problem was that the soldiers made themselves more vulnerable to a well-organized lynch.
If all you expect to encounter are unarmed, passive civilian passengers, why start with tear gas and rubber bullets from the very outset and risk the ire of the LA Times?
12:45 p.m:Michael Ramirez turns the tables on "why do they hate us" question:
12:27 p.m: A discouraging post from Point of No Return about the precarious position of Turkey's Jewish community:
In time-honoured fashion, the good dhimmi Jews of Yemen and Iran - in the wake of the deaths of nine activists on board the Mavi Marmara - are being forced to buy their own security with words condemning Israel. Will Turkey's Jews be next? In the past, Jews have felt under pressure to back Turkey's policy on the Armenian genocide. So far, Prime Minister Erdogan has echoed efforts to protect Turkish Jews from the wrath of the mob. But his rabble-rousing pro-Islamism has already created so much insecurity that 600 Jews were ready to pack their bags for Israel before the incident took place.
12:19 p.m: Before sailing, so-called peace activists anticipated martyrdom, wrote wills. This from Memri's survey of Arab coverage:
At a press conference in Antalya, Turkey, the flotilla organizers asked all the participants to "write their wills." Following the press conference, Kuwaiti Salafist MP Walid Al-Tabtabai reportedly "did not hesitate to write his will, in defiance of the Israeli threats."
The father of Kuwaiti activist Abd Al-Rahman Al-Filkawi told the Kuwaiti Al-Watan daily that his son had told him that the flotilla participants' morale was high, and that they "would sacrifice themselves for the sake of Allah. He added that his son had "told them before embarking that he would be a martyr for the sake of Allah." Likewise, on the various Internet forums, it was reported that the mother of one of the Turkish participants had said that her son had bade her farewell and told her that he was going to lay down his life.
11:46 a.m: It wasn't about the humanitarian aid. This is the kind of development Free Gaza, the IHH and Hamas were looking for:
11:35 a.m: "Peace activists" firing on Israeli soldiers caught on video. I think Turkey needs to launch a credible, comprehensive transparent and vigorous investigation into this ship of sham peace activists.
11:22 a.m: New meaning to dueling spin. I like how cartoonists Arend van Dam and Steve Bell respectively cross swords, er, pens.
11:15 a.m:David Makovsky explains the necessity of Israel's blockade of Gaza.
• Israelis were already told they would be more secure if they stopped occupying Gaza, hence the disengagement. • Israel absorbed 3,335 rockets fired between the disengagement and Operation Cast Lead. • Some rockets fired were Iranian-made Grads and Fajr-3s • Israel no-longer controls the Gaza-Egypt border, where all weapons smuggling takes place. • The UN Security Council never met to discuss the rocket attacks. And forget about policing the Israel-Gaza border: the EU couldn't monitor the Rafah crossing without fleeing from trouble. The key point:
That’s why Israel insisted on a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip: It was the only way to curb the Palestinian rocket attacks on its people.
While critics like to say that Israel retains forms of air and sea control, it ceded the area that counted in the withdrawal and exposed its citizens to rocket attacks. The lessons from that pullout will make a potential withdrawal from the West Bank much harder. There will be those who say, “If you didn’t like the book, why would you see the movie?”
10:50 a.m: A NY Times staff-ed adds its voice to the choir calling for an international investigation.
10:38 a.m:Haaretz picks up on the social media war:
When Queen Noor of Jordan tweeted to her 8,500 followers, "Time for Israelis to choose betwn life in a rogue pariah state defying international &humanitarian law or to commit to a future of peace," Tishby tweeted a rebuttal: "@QueenNoor We are trying! We are really trying! Please tell me what we should do about this [link] we need to do something!" The link was to a video clip showing an attack on Israeli soldiers.
10:09 a.m: If there's any doubt as to the agenda of the flotilla's organizers, the NY Times and the IHH put them to rest:
On Tuesday in a bustling neighborhood in Istanbul, the Turkish organization was celebrating a strange success. “We became famous,” said Omar Faruk, a board member of the group, Insani Yardim Vakfi, known by its Turkish initials, I.H.H. “We are very thankful to the Israeli authorities.”
The IHH and its allies in the International Solidarity Movement preferred publicity and provocation. Shouldn't their primary benchmark for success be the efficient delivery of supplies to Gaza?
9:52 a.m: Totally awesome video of Channel 4's Jon Snow discussing footage of the Mavi Marmara clash with maritime security expert Peter Cook. Cook analyzes what's happened on board and what the soldiers and activists were trying to accomplish.
9:44 a.m: Kids in school - check. Today's groceries purchased and put away - check. Coffee brewed - check. Computer fully operational - check. Let's get busy.
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Remember there are approx 250 million potentially hostile people who happily believe anti Israel propaganda. Remember there are about 6.5 million Israelis surrounded by 250 million potentially hostile people and who vow there will never again be a holocaust. Who the hell is attacking who? You be the judge.