UnNews:Israel condemned for rousting pleasure boaters
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4 June 2010
The flotilla was an unorganized, spontaneous effort to bring gifts, humanitarian aid, frankincense, and myrrh to the desperately poor citizens of the Gaza Strip. The gifts included flash grenades, which are used to control the rodent population of Gaza, and bayonets, which are in short supply in the kitchens of the restaurants in the zone. Members of the flotilla decided against passing the goods across Egypt and making a land crossing into Gaza, because they feared Israel would inspect the shipments and give the materiel a sadly adversarial interpretation.
Rather than wait until the ships passed into waters that are in someone's territory, Israel conducted the inspection on the open sea. Part of the confusion may have stemmed from use of the traditional command to "Drop your sails!" As the flotilla was exclusively motorized, the skippers did the next best thing: gunning the throttles. When Israeli commandoes rappelled up the sides of the ships, certain of the Arabs overreacted, swinging steel pipes. They forgot one of the national mottoes of Palestine, Never bring a steel pipe to an Uzi fight. Nine of the flower children were killed and dozens were injured.
Israel had blockaded Gaza for four years, so the interception of ships trying to run the blockade was not exactly unexpected. Nor was granting a building permit for a subdivision that had already been approved, during Joe Biden's visit. However, both events gave U.S. President Barack Obama another chance to get on his high horse. After all, one of the casualties had dual U.S. citizenship, one of the ships was named for an American woman who fatefully brought a protest sign to a bulldozer fight, and protest signs in Ankara (which rooted for, but did not fund or instigate the run on the blockade) were curiously in English. Mr. Obama responded with harsh criticism of Israel, standing in stark contrast to his silence when the Russian Army rolled into Chechnya and the valentine he sent when Iran vowed to vaporize Israel. (In fairness, when North Korea torpedoed a ship from the South, it only got Hillary.) Mr. Obama said the solution is for Israel to forswear bloodshed and return to the negotiating table to trade land for promises.