Israel Confronts the Freedom Flotilla

NOTE: This roundup will be continuously updated with further information

This past Memorial Day weekend, “Israel boarded a Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ and killed an indeterminate number of innocent bystanders as they attempted to take control international waters.”

Well, at least that’s the take of Henry Karlson of Vox Nova — who appears to be taking his talking points from Egyptian passenger Hazem Farouq:

“It was hell on the sea. I saw Israeli soldiers killing activists in cold blood and then walking on their bodies … The Israeli soldiers sprayed bullets as if they were a mafia in an American film.”

Unfortunately, as with such accounts of Israel’s actions, the facts tend to get in the way. Let’s examine the various claims of this Catholic blog regarding what happened this weekend …

Tantamount to Piracy?

[Henry Karlson @ Vox Nova] Israel is claiming the massacre is justified because their soldiers were attacked. They fail to point out they were attacked when they were boarding a vessel they had no lawful authority to board, acting like pirates who think they control the seas.

For what it’s worth, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides a page explaining the legal background behind the Gaza flotilla and the maritime blockade of Gaza:

A maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza. Such blockade has been imposed, as Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime that controls Gaza, which has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza via the sea. [...]

[I]t should be noted that Israel publicized the existence of the blockade and the precise coordinates of such by means of the accepted international professional maritime channels. Israel also provided appropriate notification to the affected governments and to the organizers of the Gaza protest flotilla. Moreover, in real time, the ships participating in the protest flotilla were warned repeatedly that a maritime blockade is in effect. [...]

Given the protesters explicit intention to violate the naval blockade, Israel exercised its right under international law to enforce the blockade. It should be noted that prior to undertaking enforcement measures, explicit warnings were relayed directly to the captains of the vessels, expressing Israel’s intent to exercise its right to enforce the blockade.

Not only did Israel convey explicit warnings against breaking the blockade, but the interception came after numerous appeals to governments, organizations, and flotilla organizers ahead of their departures, and also during their journeys towards the Gaza shore [to convey the humanitarian supplies by another route]:

In these appeals, it was clarified to the flotilla organizers that they would be able to anchor in the Ashdod port, unload their equipment and transfer it over to the Gaza Strip in an organized manner after it would undergo accepted security checks. When flotilla organizers made it clear that they had no intention of cooperating and accepting the invitation to the Ashdod port, it was decided to intercept the boats and to bring them to the Ashdod port.

Consequently, Israel believed it was well within its rights to enforce a declared blockade. See also Israel, the Flotilla and International Waters (discussion with Yaakov @ Newsvine.com).

Update!

Ed Morgan, a professor of international law at the University of Toronto, offers a helpful primer on the “Law of the Sea”, by which we can judge the flotilla incident:

A naval blockade is defined in Article 7.71 of the U.S. Naval Handbook as “a belligerent operation to prevent vessels and/or aircraft of all nations, enemy as well as neutral, from entering or exiting specified ports, airfields, or coastal areas belonging to, occupied by, or under the control of an enemy nation.” It is designed to stop ships from crossing a cordon separating the enemy’s coast from the high seas. It is therefore often enforced in what would otherwise be international waters approaching, but not necessarily inside, the territorial sea of the blockaded party. [...]

A maritime blockade is for security purposes only, and must allow humanitarian assistance to the civilian population. Since the ships sailing for Gaza were on a declared humanitarian mission, those on board had the right to expect that any humanitarian goods would ultimately find their way to their intended recipients. On the other hand, having announced its blockade, Israel had no obligation to take the ships’ crew at their word as to the nature of the cargo. The blockading party has the right to fashion the arrangements, including search at a nearby port, under which passage of humanitarian goods is permitted. San Remo specifies that this inspection should include supervision by a neutral party to prevent the unwarranted seizure of humanitarian supplies and the abuse of humanitarian assistance by the blockaded party.

Finally, the rule of proportionate force, applicable to all armed conflict, applies equally to a naval blockade. Blockading navies are obliged to arrest a ship rather than simply fire on it, and once its soldiers are on board an arrested ship their actions must be proportionate to the threat that they meet. While Israel appears to have met the other criteria eliminating a macro offence, here the facts will have to be gathered from witnesses and videos to determine what level of force was truly needed at the spot where the paintballs met the hammers.

A disproportionate or justified use of armed force?

[Henry Karlson @ Vox Nova] Probably those who attacked the soldiers were acting reflexively without thinking. Let alone the moral question, in all practicality, this was not the wisest thing to do, because the soldiers were heavily armed and could take control of the ship without difficulty.

(Elder of Ziyon notes), these would be the same “peace activists” who attacked the IDF commandoes with chains and iron rods, throwing them over railings, stabbing them, and calling for a repeat of Mohammed’s massacre of Jews at Khaybar.

By contrast, the soldiers by their account were not “heavily armed” but rather were woefully unprepared — armed with equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, and handguns as a last resort in life-threatening situations (as reported by Yediot Ahronot).

Here’s how one IDF soldier described the incident:

“We went down with our bare hands and met passengers with glass bottles and clubs,” said one fighter squadron participated in the operation.

“We were lynched,” testified one of the fighters in the hospital. “For every person that came down, three or four people beat him. They were all with metal batons, knives, glass bottles. At one point there was live fire.”

“In fact I got there last,” said a fighter squadron in an interview with Channel 2 News. “I saw the guys scattered on the deck surrounded each of them with about four people beating him.”

“Trying to defend myself I probably broke my hand . All who got on board had no weapons in hand, but their bare hands,” explained the soldier. “We came to work things out, but they came for war – the gun was absolutely our last resort.”

According to Army Radio reporter Gal Lev-Rom, “the soldiers said they were truly not prepared to face violence of this nature”:

“The activists had many things ready for an attack on the soldiers,” Lev-Rom said, “including, for instance, a box of 20-30 slingshots with metal balls; these can kill. There were also all sorts of knives and many similar things. These are what they call ‘cold’ weapons, as opposed to live fire. It was quite clear that a lynch had been prepared.”

Lev-Rom said, however, that it appears the army, “even though it prepared for many different scenarios, was not ready for this one. The army seems not to have known what type of people were there and what type of weapons they had. It was hard for Israel to conceive that the ship, sponsored by the country of Turkey, would have such weapons. Israel was prepared to deal with anarchists, and instead had to deal with terrorists – that’s the feeling here.”

A Reuters cameraman on the Israel Navy ship Kidon, sailing close to the convoy, said IDF commanders monitoring the operation were surprised by the strong resistance (Haaretz):

One of the commandos said some of the soldiers were stripped of their helmets and equipment and a several were tossed from the top deck to a lower deck, forcing them to jump into the sea to escape.

“They jumped me, hit me with clubs and bottles and stole my rifle,” one of the commandos said. “I pulled out my pistol and had no choice but to shoot.”

The soldiers said they were forced to open fire after the activists struck one of their comrades in the head and trampled on him. A senior IDF field commander ordered the soldiers then to respond with fire, a decision which the commandos said received full backing the military echelon.

The IDF said its rules of engagement allowed troops to open fire in what it called a “life-threatening situation”.

Update!

According to Free Gaza’s account of the events, “Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep.”

However, a Turkish paper published pictures of Israeli commandos taken hostage during the initial moments of the flotilla raid, which reveals Free Gaza’s claim to be a complete fabrication. The blog Elder of Ziyon comments:

The Turkish newspaper that published the pictures of the IDF soldiers today does not use the meme of ruthless IDF soldiers shooting from the helicopter and murdering civilians within seconds of landing on deck – nor do the pictures support that narrative in the least. Rather, they prove Israel’s version of events completely. Yet the Turkish press, as we had seen Friday from some of the Arabic press, instead say how weak and ineffectual the IDF soldiers were, all but mocking them for not using lethal force initially.

The newspaper notes, with glee, the fear in the soldiers’ faces captured in the photos. It discusses how the brave “humanitarians” fought the mighty IDF with sacks of onions. The article calls the soldiers “amateurish” and “incompetent.”

To the supporters of the IHH and its partners, the IDF’s reticence in using lethal force is a clear sign of weakness, not a sign of caring about human life.

  • “We had no choice” – “They had murder in their eyes”. The Jerusalem Post gives an eyewitness account of the commando who killed six of the attackers:
    The 15th and last naval commando from Flotilla 13 (the Shayetet) to rappel down onto the ship from the helicopter, S. said on Thursday that he was immediately attacked by what the IDF has called “the mob of mercenaries” aboard the vessel, just like the soldiers who had boarded just before him.

    Looking to his side, he saw three of his commanders lying wounded – one with a gunshot wound to the stomach and another with a gunshot wound to the knee. A third was lying unconscious; his skull was fractured by a devastating blow with a metal bar.

    As the next in the chain of command, S., who has been in the Shayetet for three and a half years, immediately took charge.

    He pushed the wounded soldiers up against the wall of the upper deck and created a perimeter of soldiers around them to begin treating their wounds, he said. He then arranged his men to form a second perimeter, and pulled out his 9 mm. Glock pistol to stave off the charging attackers and to protect his wounded comrades.

    The attackers had already seized two pistols from the commandos, and fired repeatedly at them. Facing more than a dozen of the mercenaries, and convinced their lives were in danger, he and his colleagues opened fire, he said. S. singlehandedly killed six men. His colleagues killed another three.

    Humanitarians and “Peace activists”

    Henry Karlson (Vox Nova) moves on to describe the convoy itself and it’s “humanitarian mission”:

    “The Freedom Flotilla carries more than 10,000 tons of relief and developmental aid to Gaza, along with roughly 700 participants from more than 30 countries, among them volunteers from Canada, South Africa, Algeria, Turkey, Macedonia, Pakistan, Yemin, Kosovo, the UK and US and Kuwait – and an exiled former Archbishop of Jerusalem who currently lives in the Vatican.”

    Here we see the situation involves not just Muslim nations, but many of the nations of the West, such as the United States. We also see that the retired Archbishop of Jerusalem is on board the ship, indicating the active role the Church has had in this humanitarian aid.

    The archbishop in question would be Father Hilarion Capucci

    … the archbishop of Jerusalem during the 1960s and early 1970s, was arrested by Israeli security forces in 1974 for material support of a terrorist organization. According to Paul Merkley, a historian and author of the book Christian Attitudes Towards the State of Israel, Capucci used his official limousine and “the cover of his priestly office to personally smuggle explosives, submachine guns, and even katyusha rockets into Israel, which were then used in PLO terrorist actions accounting for the loss of many lives.”

    The Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement on its English language website this week, announcing the priest’s participation in the flotilla and claiming that “the Israeli occupation exiled father Capucci from Palestine because of his honorable national stands.”

    Sentenced to fifty-seven years in an Israeli prison, the gunrunning clergyman was granted a reprieve in 1977 after direct intervention from the Vatican. The Catholic Church called for Capucci’s release on the grounds that his incarceration only served to “aggravate tension.”

    The Church promised Israeli authorities that Capucci would cease all involvement in political issues regarding the state of Israel. Since that time Capucci has positioned himself as a prominent anti-Zionist activist. In 2009 he was arrested and transferred to Syria by Israeli security forces after attempting to illegally enter Gaza by sea. The former terrorist is also active in promoting the right of return for those Arabs who fled during the 1948 invasion of the newly declared state of Israel.

    According to the former archbishop, the founder of his religion was “the first Fedayeen” and he was merely “following his example.”

    So much for the “Church’s involvement” — what about the rest of the occupants?

    As Jonathan Schanzer (Weekly Standard) points out, the convoy of ships allegedly trying to bring aid to the Gaza Strip was organized by a group belonging to an officially designated terrorist organization:

    The Turkish IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi in Turkish) was founded in 1992, and reportedly popped up on the CIA’s radar in 1996 for its radical Islamist leanings. Like many other Islamist charities, the IHH has a record of providing relief to areas where disaster has struck in the Muslim world.

    However, the organization is not a force for good. The Turkish nonprofit belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic). Notably, the Union is chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. According to one report, Qardawi personally transferred millions of dollars to the Union in an effort to provide financial support to Hamas.

    In 2008, the Israelis banned IHH, along with 35 other Islamist charities worldwide, for its ties to the Union of Good. This was a follow-on designation; Israelis first blocked the Union of Good from operating in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002. [Read the rest]

    See also: IHH’s support and finance of radical Islamic terror networks – a report by The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, according to which it’s pretty clear that the activists aboard the Flotilla were hoping to provoke a confrontation with Israel:

    On April 7, 2010, IHH head Bülent Yildirim told a press conference in Istanbul that the flotilla would be a “test” for Israel. He said that should Israel oppose the flotilla it would be considered “a declaration of war” on the countries whose activists arrived on board the ships (IHH website, April 7, 2010). In a fiery speech given at the launching of the Mavi Marmaris on May 23, he said to Israel, “Handle this crisis well. If you prevent [the flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip] you will remain isolated in the world and harm yourselves” (IHH website in Turkish, May 23, 2010). On May 21 Muhammad Kaya, head of IHH’s branch office in the Gaza Strip, said there was a plan to send flotillas to the Gaza Strip every month (Al-Jazeera-Info website, arabianawareness.com, May 21, 2010).

    Violence and possibly “martyrdom” against Israel was not only anticipated, but sought after according to Dr. Abd Al-Fatah Shayyeq Naaman, lecturer in Shari’ah law at a university in Yemen:

    “The [Gaza] flotilla commander said yesterday: ‘We will not allow the Zionists to get near us and we will use resistance against them.’

    How will they wage resistance? They will resist with their fingernails. They are people who seek Martyrdom for Allah, as much as they want to reach Gaza, but the first [Martyrdom] is more desirable.”

    [Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), May 30, 2010]

    Update!

    The International Muslim Brotherhood had a heavy hand in orchestrating the flotilla, reports Thomas Jocelyn (Weekly Standard June 3, 2010):

    [T]he flotilla was organized in large part by a radical Turkish Islamist organization named IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi). The IHH, in turn, is part of a Saudi-based umbrella group called the Union of Good, which was created by Hamas. [...]

    The Union of Good’s leaders include Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, a top Muslim Brotherhood cleric, and Sheikh Abd al Majid al Zindani, who heads Yemen’s Islah party. Zindani and the Islah party have deep Brotherhood roots.

    In other words, the IHH is an offshoot of the Union of Good, which is in turn an offshoot of the Brotherhood — as is Hamas.

    Jocelyn goes on to investigate various flotilla passengers’ connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. See also MEMRI’s extensive investigation and profile of the flotilla passengers: “Writing Wills, Preparing for Martyrdom, Determined to Reach Gaza or Die”.

    Not without reason does Israeli ambassador Michael B. Oren describe the flotilla as “An Assault, Cloaked in Peace” (New York Times June 3, 2010):

    What the videos don’t show, however, are several curious aspects Israeli authorities are now investigating. First, about 100 of those detained from the boats were carrying immense sums in their pockets — nearly a million euros in total. Second, Israel discovered spent bullet cartridges on the Mavi Marmara that are of a caliber not used by the Israeli commandos, some of whom suffered gunshot wounds. Also found on the boat were propaganda clips showing passengers “injured” by Israeli forces; these videos, however, were filmed during daylight, hours before the nighttime operation occurred.

    The investigations of all this evidence will be transparent, in accordance with Israel’s security needs.

    And The Washington Post now charges the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with responsibility for the flotilla fiasco:

    Turkey’s ambassador to the United States makes the argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the “European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor” who were aboard the flotilla. But there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic “charity” that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

    The relationship between Mr. Erdogan’s government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the “Union of Good,” a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008.

    Against the Distribution of Humanitarian Aid?

    What of the humanitarian supplies that Israel was dead-set against giving to the Gazans? (Jerusalem Post June 4, 2010):

    Twenty-four hours after the last ship of the Gaza aid flotilla entered the Ashdod Port under the watchful eye of the Israeli Navy, all of the equipment on board was examined Tuesday and the majority of it was loaded onto trucks headed to the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The flotilla’s flagship, the Marmara – where the clash between Israeli commandoes and the passengers took place and which held the participant’s personal belongings – had yet to be fully inspected.

    In a statement to reporters at the port on Tuesday, Colonel Moshe Levi, commander of the IDF’s Gaza Strip Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), said that none ofthe equipment found on board the three cargo ships was in shortage in Gaza.

    In fact, on the topic of humanitarian aid to Gaza, see this report: Behind the Headlines: The Israeli humanitarian lifeline to Gaza (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs):

    Large quantities of essential food items like baby formula, wheat, meat, dairy products and other perishables are transferred daily and weekly to Gaza. Fertilizers that cannot be used to make explosives are shipped into the Strip regularly, as are potato seeds, eggs for reproduction, bees, and equipment for the flower industry.

    In 2009 alone, more than 738,000 tons of food and supplies entered Gaza. Pictures in local newspapers show local markets aplenty with fruit, vegetables, cheese, spices, bread and meat to feed 1.4 million Gazans.

    In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March), 94,500 tons of supplies were transferred in 3,676 trucks to the Strip: 48,000 tons of food products; 40,000 tons of wheat; 2,760 tons of rice; 1,987 tons of clothes and footwear; 553 tons of milk powder and baby food.

    In a typical week the IDF coordinates the transfer of hundreds of trucks containing about 15,000 tons of supplies. During the week of May 18, 2010 there were more than 100 truckloads of animal food, 65 trucks of fruit and vegetables; 22 truckloads of sugar, some 27 truckloads of meat, poultry and fish; and 40 trucks of dairy products. At holiday times, Israel increases transfers. During the Muslim holy days of Ramadhan and Eid al-Adha, Israel shipped some 11,000 heads of cattle into the Strip.

    Update!

    Israel’s attempts to deliver the humanitarian aid were thwarted by Hamas, who refused to accept the cargo (CNN June 2, 2010):

    Palestinian sources confirmed that trucks that arrived from Israel at the Rafah terminal at the Israel-Gaza border were barred from delivering the aid.

    Ra’ed Fatooh, in charge of the crossings, and Jamal Khudari, head of a committee against the Gaza blockade, said Israel must release all flotilla detainees and that it will be accepted in the territory only by the Free Gaza Movement people who organized the flotilla.

    Israel said it had 20 trucks of aid found on the ships, such as expired medications, clothing, blankets, some medical equipment and toys.

    Israel has released all foreign flotilla detainees by Wednesday, but four Israeli Arabs remain in custody.

    Who really cares about Gazans? — Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and even Syria are cooperating with Israel to distribute humanitarian aid to Gaza.

    Hamas’ refusal of aid to the Gazans is to be expected. As Der Spiegel reports, “International donations are not always welcome in Gaza” (June 4, 2010):

    “People who are not in with Hamas don’t see any of the relief goods or the gifts of money,” Khadar says. On the sand dune where his house once perched, there is now an emergency shelter. The shelter is made of concrete blocks that Khadar dug from the rubble, and the roof is the canvas of a tent that provided the family with shelter for the first summer after the war. “Hamas supporters get prefabricated housing, furnishings and paid work. We get nothing,” Khadar complains.

    The reason his family receives nothing: Like many of his neighbors, Khadar is a die-hard supporter of the Fatah party, the sworn political enemy of the more radical Islamists in Hamas. [...]

    “We knew Hamas would take the goods for themselves and distribute them at their own discretion. For us, and for many of our friends, it doesn’t make any difference whether the world is trying to help us. Our situation will only improve if the blockade is lifted,” Khadar explains.

    On Saturday (May 5, 2010), IDF forces piloted the Rachel Corrie to the port of Ashdod after boarding the ship. The Jerusalem Post reports:

    None were harmed in the military operation as the international activists on the ship cooperated with the boarding party. The activists went as far as lowering a ladder to the soldiers patrol boat to allow them to board, army sources have revealed.

    The military said its forces boarded the 1,200-ton cargo ship from the sea, not helicopters. Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said Saturday’s takeover took only a few minutes and that the vessel was being taken to Ashdod port.

    Prior to the takeover, three navy ships tailed the aid boat for several hours throughout the morning, a few dozen kilometers from the blockaded Strip. The army said it had contacted the boat four times and urged its passengers to divert to Ashdod, but the activists had repeatedly refused.

    Curiously, despite Gaza’s need for assistance, The Free Gaza organization refused Israel’s offers to facilitate the further distribution of aid from additional shipsElder of Ziyon posts the radio exchanges btw/ ships and reports:

    The flotilla team repeatedly had said that the reason the refuse to go to Ashdod is because Israel would not allow some of their cargo to go to Gaza. Here. we hear that Israel not only offered to transfer the cement that would have been brought on the ship to Gaza, but also that it would allow a third party NGO to bring it into Gaza.

    Although their final response is not on this audio recording, Free Gaza evidently refused, although they were quite polite about it. They even helped the IDF soldiers get onto the ship.

    * * *

    I believe Israel has the right to protect its citizens from harm by way of a blockade of arms to Gaza (the controlling authority of which is Hamas, after all, an organization complicit in many terrorist acts against Israel’s citizens and wholly committed to the eradication of Israel).

    However, this is not to say that Israel didn’t act badly in this situation and make some grievous errors in judgement resulting in the needless deaths of Palestinians as well as its own troops. Let’s admit it — those who organized the Flotilla got what they wanted: to force the hand of Israel and achieve a major propaganda win for her enemies.

    Yaacov Lozowick (author of Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel’s Wars — worth reading), has some pertinent thoughts on this matter. I agree with his conclusion: “It may have been justified, but it wasn’t wise.”

    Israel will not disappear, not now, not later. It is one of the most vital places on earth, bursting with creativity and hugely committed to success; this is also one of the better moments in 3000 years of Jewish history – a rather glum statement, that, but true. Yet Israel is not being wise, as the case of the flotilla shows.

    We all know that the threat from Hezbollah is greater than from Hamas, yet we don’t blockade Lebanon. The price would be too high, so we grimly prepare for the next war in the hope that being prepared well enough will postpone it for a while, and in the meantime it’s not an international detriment; on the contrary, perhaps we gain a measure of goodwill that we’ll cash in on eventually. So why blockade Gaza? Is the blockade essential? Six months from now, or six years, we’ll lift it, and Gaza will still be full of people who fervently wish for our destruction, just like in Lebanon: nu? At that point the defunct blockade will no longer be essential?

    Some military actions will always be unavoidable. Do we do our very best to ensure that when we apply force, we’re doing so in the most brilliant way possible? Have we thought out every scenario, and formulated a response to every counter move our enemies will make? Couldn’t we could have silently jammed the propellers of those ships, leaving them dead in the water and begging us to save them from the blistering heat? Instead of heroic victims they’d be the world’s laughing stock. I’m a mere blogger, not a decision maker, so perhaps there were reasons not to go that way: but were all options considered? Was the fiasco we ended up with the sole alternative? We handed our enemies an epic propaganda victory on a silver platter: that can’t have been the best option?

    See also:

  • 74 Responses to Israel Confronts the Freedom Flotilla

    • Great Post! It is very informative. Over at Vox Nova, the moderators and some of their commenters woudn’t want to let the facts get in the way of their anti-Israeli sentiment.

      Over at Vox Nova they even like to think that a Cardinal from the Vatican when speaking out on political matters that have to do with the Middle East is speaking for the whole Church. Vox Nova lets their liberalism supercede their Catholic faith and they consistently show how they like to circumvent and tinker with 2000 years of Church Tradition.

    • Christopher,

      If you aren’t careful, you ae going to be persona non grata at Vox Nova like me. The Thought Police there amost never let my comments through anymore, no matter how toned down they are.

    • The Israelis were rather reckless with the lives of their commandos. I saw the clip, it was like landing on a lynch mob.

    • “The Israelis were rather reckless with the lives of their commandos. I saw the clip, it was like landing on a lynch mob.”

      I think the Israelis were extremely careless and gullible — according to a quote that’s circulating, attributed to a “Free Gaza” spokesperson:

      We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn’t get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance.

      They fell for it.

    • Well I don’t think they fell for it, it looks like a major snafu with 20 year olds, ordered to hold the line with minimal violence being unable to do so.

    • Let me attempt a more objective recitation of the facts.

      Tantamount to Piracy?

      Israel’s action was illegal. Even if we grant that Israel is at war with Gaza, a blockade cannot extend into international waters.

      A disproportionate or justified use of armed force?

      Israel’s explanation here is plausible at the very least. I think the video evidence is pretty damning.

      Humanitarians and “Peace activists”

      IHH is an extremist organization. Turkey banned the organization from providing humanitarian assistance after the 1999 earthquake.

      Against the Distribution of Humanitarian Aid?

      Israel does not allow adequate aid through. This is a fact that even the Obama Administration acknowledges. Maybe we can get international monitoring of aid.

      In sum

      Hamas is not “wholly committed to the eradication of Israel.” They regard as an acceptable agreement the 1967 borders, right of return, and the capital at Jerusalem. Beyond that, Hamas says it will respect the will of the Palestinian people if they wish to stop there or demand more. True, Hamas may not stop there but at the very least they aren’t “wholly committed” to further action.

    • Forgive me, I was assuming such based on Hamas’ own charter:

      Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”

      The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine…

      Initiatives, and so­called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

      There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.

      Of course they might have distanced themselves from the letter and spirit of their founding statement — but I remain skeptical.

    • Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.

    • Christopher,

      Well done. What you keep saying is “Israel says it was good, therefore it must be.” I mean, you start with:

      For what it’s worth, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides a page explaining….

      Iran can explain the legality of their nuclear program… would you accept their claims?

      So, let’s see what others have to say on the legality: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/01/AR2010060102934.html

      Now in this situation, Israel has already been caught lying, several times, about what happened. People who watched it live saw Israeli fire which came upon the ships even before they boarded the ship. This is also what those who were released have said:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/01/gaza-flotilla-eyewitness-accounts-gunfire

      Do you think that might have made the people aboard the ship jumpy and willing to react self-defense when someone boarded the ship?

      Here is former US Ambassador Edward Peck’s account:

      http://beforeitsnews.com/news/71/741/Former_Freedom_Flotilla_US_Ambassador_Held_by_the_Israelis_Speaks_Out.html

      Israel gave warnings, and told people to stop
      Yeah, so? I am sure many a thug says “I told them to give me the money. They didn’t. It’s their fault.”

      The soldiers were not well armed
      FALSE. Again, I love how Christopher first of all accepts ALL that Israel has to say of the matter without question. This is how Israel keeps lying to the world. Now if one looks to the matter, one can begin to see Israel has been caught already lying about the situation: http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/2010/06/the-gaza-flotilla-how-israel%E2%80%99s-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-fakes-photos-of-seized-weapons/

      And this is what the ambassador said about the paintball guns, which shows how much of a joke it is:
      http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/2/israels_explanation_for_deadly_gaza_aid

      In our little boat, a couple of them had paint guns attached to their submachine guns, along with stun grenades and the pepper spray and the handcuffs and the pistols, you know. So this is sort of a twisting reality, which of course I understand why they’re trying to do it. I’ve been a diplomat. But it’s laughable..

      Paintguns don’t kill; the soldiers were armed with more than paintguns.

      And I love how Christopher completely and utterly ignores the disaster on the ground in Gaza. MM discusses this well:

      http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/01/israel-vs-the-freedom-flotilla/#comment-45805
      —-

      And Christopher, btw, I wrote the original article. I wonder what that says about the rest of your points.

    • http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jyuAfrswzcOz1plxmxQSsxZEhinA

      Pope saddened by flotilla raid violence

      (AFP) – 21 hours ago

      VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI said violence during an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying aid left him with “a heavy heart.”

      “Violence does not solve disputes, but increases their tragic consequences and generates more violence,” the Pope said at the end of his Wednesday audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, according to Vatican Radio.

      “With great trepidation I followed the tragic events that occurred near the Gaza Strip. I feel the need to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims of these painful events, which worry those who care about peace in the region,” he said.

      Israeli commandos boarded the aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip in a pre-dawn raid on Monday that left at least nine passengers dead and sparked global outrage.

      The Israeli military accused activists aboard the ship of provoking the bloodshed by attacking its soldiers as they boarded.

      “I appeal to those who have political responsibilities, locally and internationally, to relentlessly seek just solutions through dialogue, to ensure the people of the best living conditions, harmony and serenity,” the pope said.

      A Vatican document leaked Tuesday called the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories a “political injustice,” Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.

      The occupation is a “political injustice imposed on the Palestinians,” said the Instrumentum Laboris, a working document on an upcoming synod of bishops on the Middle East, embargoed for release until Sunday, when Pope Benedict is to present it during a visit to Cyprus.

      The Vatican has said the raid “will not influence” the pope’s trip to Cyprus, from which the flotilla set off.

    • http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/gaza-flotilla-drives-israel-into-a-sea-of-stupidity-1.292959

      From Gideon Levy:

      The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the “peace flotilla” dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics.

      Only in Israel do people still accept these tainted goods. Reminiscent of a pre-battle ritual from ancient times, the chorus cheered without asking questions. White uniformed soldiers got ready in our name. Spokesmen delivered their deceptive explanations in our name. The grotesque scene is at our expense. And virtually none of us have disturbed the performance.

      The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty – the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.

      It’s not the siege that is illegal, but rather the flotilla. It wasn’t enough to distribute menus from Gaza restaurants through the Prime Minister’s Office, (including the highly recommended beef Stroganoff and cream of spinach soup ) and flaunt the quantities of fuel that the Israeli army spokesman says Israel is shipping in. The propaganda operation has tried to sell us and the world the idea that the occupation of Gaza is over, but in any case, Israel has legal authority to bar humanitarian aid. All one pack of lies.

      Read the rest on the link.

    • Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.

      Isn’t that cute?

    • Christopher, here you go again, taking a subject of blog rants and turning it into a suject of research, careful study and dispassionate analysis. When will you learn that blogs are for shoot-from-the-hip commentary, no reflection and emotional diatribes? :)

    • “Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.”

      I assume that was a comedic statement restrainedradical? Any one who does not think that Hamas remains entirely dedicated to the destruction of Israel simply has not been paying attention to Hamas.

    • Straight from the mouth of Khaled Meshaal just last week:
      “Hamas accepts a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with its capital Jerusalem and with the right of return. This stand by Hamas is announced, practiced, and it signed an agreement with Fatah, which is the national compact document. So, the whole world should deal with Hamas, with what it practices, its political stance that it declared, and not on the charter that was put 20 years ago.”

    • Completely meaningless restrainedradical. Everyone on the ground in the Middle East knows that Hamas will never give up its war against Israel, including Palestinian President Abbas.

      http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/05/06/Abbas-decries-Hamas-weapons-smuggling/UPI-26911273179949/

    • I think you posted the wrong link, Don. That article says nothing about Abbas believing that Hamas will never give up its war against Israel. Even if Abbas did say that (which he didn’t), it should be taken with a grain of salt considering they’re political rivals. And how does “everyone on the ground in the Middle East” know Hamas’ intentions? You just made that up.

      I take “wholly committed” to include verbal commitments. Instead, we have the opposite. Even if Hamas wants to eradicate Israel, it’s clear they aren’t “wholly committed.”

    • Don’t be deliberately dense restrainedradical. Abbas knows why Hamas is smuggling arms into the West Bank and stockpiling them and it isn’t as a sign of their peaceful intentions towards Israel.

    • Oh and the quote you have from Meshaal is from an interview with Charlie Rose. Here is what he said later on in the interview:

      CHARLIE ROSE: But just within the territories of the `67 boundaries?

      KHALED MESHAAL: In other words –

      CHARLIE ROSE: This is an important point.

      KHALED MESHAAL: Don`t request the Palestinian people to have a certain stance from Israel while living under the Israeli occupation. Give the Palestinian people the opportunity to live in a normal situation in a Palestinian state, and then the Palestinian people with complete freedom will decide.

      http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100023528&docId=l:1197225133&isRss=true

      This by the way is an old tactic of Hamas. They make moderate noises to foreign language sources in hopes of convincing gullible foreigners of their moderation. In Arab language sources they are much more forthcoming as to their ultimate plans for Israel, which have not changed one whit.

    • The best evidence of what people intend to do is their abiding habits, dispositions, and patterns of response. You would not, on reviewing the history of the last 60 years, expect constructive collective action from the populations in question. That aside, the last episode of trading something palpable for promises ended badly.

    • Henry,

      I’m unclear what you’ve added here other than the obvious, “Oh yeah, well anti-Israel activists say otherwise.”

      Yes, if you believe everything that Hamas and other Gaza activists say, then Israel was universally the bad guy in this. If you believe everything that the Israeli government says, then they had very little fault in this. Clearly the truth lies somewhere in between — at least to those not wholly wedded to one viewpoint or the other.

      I think the best move for Israel would be to drop the blockade — both for their reputation and for the good of the population. But those taking the Palestinian side so wholeheartedly in this need to admit the truth of the situation: One of the main imports that Hamas will bring in will be weapons, which they will use against Israel. Which will bring the next outright military conflict between Israel and Gaza that much closer. Hamas and their fellow activists have pulled off some nice theatre through this whole series of events, but anyone who imagines that their primary aim is anything other than to be able to get heavy weapons shipments under cover of “aid” is being terribly gullible.

      And I think Israel is being quite forthright in their motives for the blockade: they want to keep out weapons, and they want to make things miserable enough in Gaza that the population will throw Hamas out of power and elect a better government. This strategy is totally backfiring, however, and so they should drop it and realize that war will be that much sooner.

      It’s a lousy region…

    • DC

      1) Evidence exists that Israel is making things up and lying about the events.
      2) People who watched it live, and officials for many nations, and reporters from many nations, have said Israel’s claims of the events are false.
      3) Israel is saying “We don’t want external reviewers, just believe us.” If they are the one suspect, then they need an external reviewer. Why are they saying no external review? It’s like a police officer accused of murder saying, “I didn’t do it. I will review my actions and report to you what I find out.” Come on.

    • To whoever wrote this jaded neocon propaganda – I did not write what you claim I have written. Please correct, thanks.

    • This post argues: “I believe Israel has the right to protect its citizens from harm by way of a blockade of assistance to Gaza.” It then goes on to shocking talk about how Israel is really doing nothing wrong to the inhabitants. I guess the following is all OK:

      - 80 percent of Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid.
      - Massive spike in poverty and unemployment. UN: 60 per cent of households are “food insecure”.
      - Over 90 per cent of Gaza’s factories shut or operate at less than 10 per cent of capacity.
      - Exports reduced to almost zero.
      - Severe restrictions on fishing activity.
      - Only half the weekly fuel needed for Gaza’s only power plant let in, and less than half of needed monthly gas supply. Widespread electricity shortages.
      - Humanitarian aid at whim of Israelis. WHO trucks repeatedly turned away.
      - Almost no movement of people. Familes ripped apart. West Bank students and seminarians trapped.
      - Medical emergencies that cannot be dealt with in Gaza require a permit to leave, which is often delayed or denied. Some deaths resulted.
      - Banned list includes basic goods, including food.
      - Banned list designed in part to protect the profit margins of Israeli producers.
      - Widespread shortages, including of basic goods like soap, school materials and clean drinking water.

      What I find absolutely shocking is the continued dominance of the pagan neocon mentality among the Catholic right. They will support the instrinic evil of collective punishment of a civilian population for consequentialist reasons. They will support the immiseration of 1.5 million children of God to make a point. And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

    • 1.5 million children…consequentialist reasons…why does that seem so familiar?

      Oh yeah, something to do with voting for Obama being OK.

      Not that I think Israel did the right thing in this case, but it’s rather ironic condemning consequentialist thinking on this issue, yet being rather blind to it in other situations.

    • Assuming Israel had the right to enforce the blockade in international waters (a questionable assumption at best), why didn’t they disable the ship as someone else suggested?

    • And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

      I’d be interested to hear the Israeli official who said something akin to this:

      Allah will also dignify the whole Islamic Nation. Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him said: “You will keep on fighting with the Jews until the fight reaches the east of Jordan River. Then the stones and trees will say: ‘Oh Muslim, of (servant) slaves of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”

    • what other consequentalist reasoning do you refer to, cmatt?

      Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.

    • What I find absolutely shocking is the continued dominance of the pagan neocon mentality among the Catholic right. They will support the instrinic evil of collective punishment of a civilian population for consequentialist reasons. They will support the immiseration of 1.5 million children of God to make a point.

      No, MM, those who support the blockage (and several of us have said we don’t) don’t support it “to make a point”, they support it because they believe that it’s necessary in order to keep weapons out of the hands of Hamas and to try to put pressure on the Hamas government in order to topple it and achieve a more reasonable government there.

      I don’t think the blockade is being successful in the latter, and I don’t think it’s worth the former, but I can hardly see how someone of your political commitments is in a position to cast stones on this one.

    • I would like to highlight this paragraph from the Yaacov Lozowick post, as I think it makes an important point that otherwise risks getting lost in the scuffle:

      We all know that the threat from Hezbollah is greater than from Hamas, yet we don’t blockade Lebanon. The price would be too high, so we grimly prepare for the next war in the hope that being prepared well enough will postpone it for a while, and in the meantime it’s not an international detriment; on the contrary, perhaps we gain a measure of goodwill that we’ll cash in on eventually. So why blockade Gaza? Is the blockade essential? Six months from now, or six years, we’ll lift it, and Gaza will still be full of people who fervently wish for our destruction, just like in Lebanon: nu? At that point the defunct blockade will no longer be essential?

    • Mornining’s Minion,
      So, you would be okay with Hamas “owning” and controlling Israel and Palestine and doing whatever else they wanted — like fundng all sorts of terrorist activities — as long as there was food and water?

      You must like having the Devil in charge of the common good?

    • “Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.”

      Coming from a fellow who proudly voted for Obama, the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history, I find that statement both pathetic and laughable.

    • Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.

      Let me one up you by saying anyone that continues to support a pro-abort President, while also excusing the actions of Palestinian terrorists and subtly yawning over the Holocaust, cannot be described as sane.

    • “on the contrary, perhaps we gain a measure of goodwill that we’ll cash in on eventually.”

      That statement is delusional BA. Any Israeli who thinks that Israel can cash in on “international good will” under virtually any circumstance is just not operating in this frame of reality.

    • Paul

      Your logic is, like usual, quite flawed. Supporting the blockade is supporting the evil itself, as would be supporting abortion. Supporting someone who is pro-blockade or someone who is pro-abortion is different from supporting the blockade or abortion.

    • That bit of Lozowick’s post struck me as well, BA, and I think that it is dead-on.

      Certainly, there are many in Europe and a smaller number in America with whom it is impossible for for Israel to gain any goodwill. But although that group can make a lot of noise in a combox, that does not mean that it is not important for a nation to act in the best way possible. And Israel’s continued support by countries such as the US is in part determined by it’s continuing to appear more sinned against than sinning, though people are willing to give Israel a fair amount of benefit of the doubt.

      Israel should lift the blockade — despite the full knowledge of the fact that Hamas is much more interested in bringing in weapons than food, and that those weapons will bring war with Hamas that much sooner.

    • You should read some statments from Avigdor Liberman, Paul. This is the foreign minister who used to belong to the terrorist Kach group (then again, many Israeli politicians used to be terrorists, didn’t they?). This is the man who repeatedly talks about the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Israel (by force), and the execution of Arab members of the Knesset. He once spoke of busing thousands of released Palestinian prisoners to the Dead Sea to drown them. He thinks that Putin in Chechnya is a role model for how Israel should deal with Palestine. And he suggested that the Americans had the right approach in Japan.

      This is the foreign minister of Israel. He was democratically elected and enjoys widespread support. So why the double standard?

      But I’m not done, Paul. You yourself link on your blog to one Robert Stacy McCain, and have quoted him with approval on occasion. Here is what this McCain had to say about Israel/ Palestine:

      “Swear to God, if they ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order would be to deploy the IDF in a north-south line, facing east. My second order would be “forward march” and the order to halt would not be given until it was time for the troops to rinse their bayonets in the Jordan. After a brief rest halt, the order “about face” would be given, and the next halt would be at the Mediterranean coast.”

      Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics. But I guess RS McCain and Avigdor Liberman are no “pro-abort” so that makes then OK.

    • Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics.

      Exactly how have you seen American Catholics reflect this bloodlust? In your mind, does one have to either fully support the Palestinian cause and hate Israel, or else by default endorse genocide? Bit of dualism there…

    • Darwin – one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.

    • “Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics.”

      You give your whole hearted support to the most pro-abort President in our nation’s history, and are, to put your position in the best light possible, a “useful idiot” for blood drenched Jihadists. Once again, my reaction to this statement by you is that it is both pathetic and laughable.

    • one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.

      Oh, indeed, it would be a big step. And if you seemed more interested in doing that consistently rather than taking a selective view of the world in order to reinforce your prejudices and paint your opponents in the worst possible light, I would have very little issue with you.

    • Sanctimony on stilts + blinkered ideology = MM

      Even when people here are criticizing Israel’s tactics (boarding) and strategy (blockade), you still cry “bloodlust.” Get a clue.

    • This is Christopher’s thread and I know he likes his threads to concentrate on debate over the topic and not get involved in personalities. Therefore I have place in moderation Morning’s Minion’s comments and the responses made to him, including my responses. Morning’s Minion is being placed in temporary moderation for a cooling off period. Christopher may appove the comments I have placed in moderation or delete them as he wishes. Everyone else, dial it down a few notches and concentrate on debating the topic of the thread. I include myself in that last admonition.

    • “one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.”

      Have you ever condemned the violence being committed against Israel? Have you condemned other terrorist oragizations? You seem to be giving Hamas a pass because of their claims that they had humantarian aid. Have you ever heard of a rouse? Or plausible deniablility? Hamas could have planned the whole thing and had some items of humanitarian aid on hand for the sole purpose of plausible deniability? Why do you have faith that a known terrorist group is telling the truth?

      I guess condemning violence is great as long the violence doesn’t involve using metal pipes to attack Israelis armed with paintball guns.

      Okay, so as far as Karlson’s concerned supporting evil and supporting murder (abortion) is okay as long as it as least “once removed” from the direct source.

    • You are free to moderate as you wish, and I have no objection (unlike some here who complain about being moderated at Vox Nova!). But I would say that: (i) my responses, while admittedly taking on various people directly, have been focused on the core issue at hand; (ii) the tone has not been heated (certainly, I was not angry when writing, and am not angry now); (iii) I’m still awaiting a correction for false attribution in the post itself — thanks.

    • Don, I never said Hamas was peaceful, only that they’ve softened their position over the decades.

    • Okay, it seems that as far as Karlson’s concerned supporting evil and supporting murder (abortion) is okay as long as it is as least “once removed” from the direct source (voting for Obama, who is a pro-abortion president).

      If the blockade was not one of Israels primary forms of safety from Hamas’ violence then I am sure that Israel would stop the blockade. If Hamas would stop lobbing rockets and committing other acts of violence than it would seem logical and would think that Israel would then lift the blockade.

    • Teresa

      Do well NOT to lie about others. I do not support evil, nor support abortion — though Teresa, and her husband, have both supported abortion of Canaanite children (!!!). I did not vote for Obama. I am, however, making the point, which is a moral point, which is well within the domain of moral position — that a support of a person (the person) does not mean one supports all the evil they do. This is exactly what is shown to us by God, whose love for us, is a love for us as a person, and he supports us, continuing our existence, despite our sin. His support for us is not a support for sin. This is also true about the Church’s declaration of saints. Proclaiming St Mary of Egypt a saint does not make her prostitution any good. Teresa, in the whole, is following the way of the Pharisee, which is quite typical — they will demand great virtue of others, on a level which they don’t follow themselves. Indeed, she also confuses various forms of cooperation with evil. The Church has consistently said that we cannot support a politician because of an evil they support, but it has also said we can despite such evil they hold to.

    • I think we can support the existence of Israel also without supporting all they do.

    • Phillip

      Agreed. I indeed support the existence of Israel, I have said the place needs reformed.

    • Karlson,
      If you can read, then you’ll notice that I never said that you voted for Obama. Plus, Karlson believes in limited inerracy, where the Bible is concerned, which is not adhering to Church teachings. But, that shouldn’t surprise too many people here- the Vox Nova crew not adhering to Church teachings prior to Vatican II is a pretty “orthodox” thing for them.

    • If the blockade is immoral, then I would also agree with Darwin that Israel should be allowed to defend itself, even with just war, if and when Hamas uses weapons shipped to them to attack Israel.

    • Karlson,
      Are there any reforms that you would support for Hamas?
      What kind of reforms would you propose for Israel?

      Israel should end the blockade but it should be contingent on Hamas stopping their terrorist activities and denouncing their official charter. If Hamas has already distanced themselves from their charter then it wouldn’t be too much to expect that Hamas denounce their official charter publicly.

    • And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

      Mr. Liberman does not object per se to an Arab state on the West Bank and Gaza (much less an Arab state anywhere else in the world) and has suggested that sections of the Galilee be included in any hypothetical territorial deal.

      This is the foreign minister who used to belong to the terrorist Kach group

      The KACH Movement was an electoral vehicle for the Jewish Defense League. KACH itself did not engage in any sort of direct action. He wasn’t a member for very long.

      (then again, many Israeli politicians used to be terrorists, didn’t they?).

      If you are referring to the Irgun, it was dissolved in 1948. So, unless it be your contention that Israel’s corps of working politicians is chock-a-block with octogenerians, no.

    • Art Deco,

      You are forgetting that service in the IDF = terrorism to this crowd. Never mind the fact that Hamas bombs Passover seders and then names a soccer tournament after the murderer… It’s the Israelis who are the “terrorists.”

    • The IDF shouldn’t be a problem since Israel has a right to exist and when legitimate means to deter aggression have failed, they can invade Gaza.

    • Teresa continues to misrepresent many factors, and indeed, many people from diverse positions on the net have seen the fundamentalism of Teresa when it comes to Scripture and have said she and those with her are in error. She has been shown to be ignorant of what the Church actually teaches, or, at other times, so say she doesn’t care what the Church says she is right, she will do as she wills! She has said as much – no Church will tell her what to do! Enough with that.

      Philip: should Gaza be able to defend itself?

    • Henry & Teresa,

      Whatever your history about Canaanites and scriptural interpretation and such is — it’s not the topic here and none of us know anything about it. Please take it elsewhere. The topic of this thread is not people’s past run-ins.

    • DarwinCatholic-Thank You for saying that because I didn’t bring up the topic to begin with. Karlson did. The only reason I responded was because I didn’t want to be rude by not responding and the fact that he continues to impune and slander me across the net is just plain unchristian.

      From now on I will stay on topic.

    • Against unjust aggression. Yes. But the whole point of the conversation is that Israel is trying to deter aggression. If the blockade is immoral, and if weapons are imported and used against Israel, then the IDF can most certainly and justly wage war.

    • Phillip

      On the other hand, all the people suffering in Gaza are also trying to deter the unjust aggression on them. The Vatican has spoken out against it many times.

    • On the other hand, all the people suffering in Gaza are also trying to deter the unjust aggression on them.

      To a point, yes. And in that sense, it’s okay.

      The most recent source of the problem is that when Israel withdrew from Gaza, having Gaza to themselves was not enough for Hamas — they started launching rockets across the border at Israel all the time. Which may have made them feel better about their wrongs for a while, but resulted in bringing the IDF back across the border after a while to stop them.

      These things are not as simple as you’d like to imagine.

    • [Morning's Minion]: To whoever wrote this jaded neocon propaganda – I did not write what you claim I have written. Please correct, thanks.

      MM – oh, dear — my apologies. And here I was trying to be careful with direct citation from the post. I guess I expected Henry’s writing to be more “academically inclined” and mistook this pathetic rant for your own. My apologies!

      CORRECTION — the following statements are properly attributed to Henry Karlson, Vox Nova:

      “Israel boarded a Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ and killed an indeterminate number of innocent bystanders as they attempted to take control international waters.”

      Israel is claiming the massacre is justified because their soldiers were attacked. They fail to point out they were attacked when they were boarding a vessel they had no lawful authority to board, acting like pirates who think they control the seas.

      Probably those who attacked the soldiers were acting reflexively without thinking. Let alone the moral question, in all practicality, this was not the wisest thing to do, because the soldiers were heavily armed and could take control of the ship without difficulty.

      Here we see the situation involves not just Muslim nations, but many of the nations of the West, such as the United States. We also see that the retired Archbishop of Jerusalem is on board the ship, indicating the active role the Church has had in this humanitarian aid.

      Having just gotten home I’ll review today’s comments and respond accordingly. I would request that people try to stay on topic and address the specific content of the post.

    • Henry,

      Ditto what Darwin said. But I’m glad you agree with Darwin and I that, when Gaza starts using weapons that arrive past a blockade that is seemingly contra international opinion, that Israel will be justified in waging war with Gaza.

    • Okay, Tony, as long as you’re going to play the guilt-by-association game and continue to link Paul to some outlandish comment made by R.S. McCain simply because Paul has quoted McCain on his blog in the past, how about we hold you to the same standard?

      On January 9, 2010, here’s what someone with the moniker “Morning’s Minion” wrote at Salon.com about Helen Thomas:

      “We have few journalists of Helen Thomas’ quiet dignity, fierce journalistic instincts to ask the hard questions, and resolution to follow stories where they will take her. Seeing how frail she has become gave me a pang. The thought that Bill Moyers and Helen Thomas might both retire in one year is a disquieting proposition; they are two of the few holding the diminishing line between real journalism and chaos.”

      http://letters.salon.com/b23f022e31a83dc9b2b9160cb4fa902f/author/index93.html

      Meanwhile, here’s your girl Helen holding the line on “real journalism” by telling the Jews in Israel to “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back to Poland and Germany”:

      http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/06/far-left-reporter-helen-thomas-tells-jews-get-the-hell-out-of-palestine-and-go-back-to-germany-poland-video/

      That would be the Germany and Poland where approximately 6 million of their fellow Jews were systematically roasted in ovens in an effort to exterminate every Jew in Europe. Not that such an occurrence was particularly unique in history or anything.

    • Helen Thomas is awfully opinionated for someone who is unawares that the majority of Israel’s Jewish population derives from immigration streams originating in the Near East and North Africa.

      On, R.S. McCain. IIRC, his subsequent elaboration upon his remarks was as follows: absent something akin to Sherman’s March through Georgia, the war between the Jews and the proximate Arab population simply will not end.

    • Jay – that “Morning’s Minion” was definitely not me. Seems like this post is becoming a platform for claiming I said stuff I did not!

    • Well, I guess if you decided to stop using a fake name and had the courage to put your real name to stuff you wrote, it would be a little less confusing, right?

    • Tony, I apologize, then. It’s not a common pseudonym, so I made a faulty assumption. My mistake.

    • Paul, he would still potentially be subject to petty identity theft.

    • Absolutely terrifying I felt it in missisauga

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