Seventy miles off the coast of Gaza, “at least 10” more lives now need to be remembered on this USA Memorial Day.
I am all but speechless.
Military commandos dropped from helicopters onto a Free Gaza civilian ship in international waters and, per an Israeli government spokesman, were astonished when some people on deck stood their ground and attacked them with knives and iron bars. The commandos, he said, were unprepared for such resistance. They had no option but to use guns.
No option? Did nobody consider teargas? Is Israel really going to claim that it was the victim here?
The simplest solution would have been for Israel to stand back and let the flotilla through. But that would have been to acknowledge that the three-year siege of Gaza — let alone the three-week ‘Operation Cast Lead‘ assault on it eighteen months ago — has been self-defeating. As Bradley Burston put it in Haaretz:
Here in Israel, we have still yet to learn the lesson: We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel’s Vietnam.
Indeed. By laying siege to Gaza, Israel is only laying siege to itself. Perhaps now, under the rapidly building storm of international condemnation (this time, after all, it was not “only Palestinians” who were killed), the Israeli government will finally have no option but to use words instead of bullets, and face reality — the need not just to lift the blockade, but to start negotiating with the Hamas-led government of Gaza.
End of the day postscript: The deaths on the largest ship in the Free Gaza flotilla may yet achieve the goal that the flotilla itself could not — forcing Israel to lift the siege. I can’t see how Israel can continue it now (though this may be simply a failure of my political imagination). If indeed the siege/blockade is lifted or at least eased, could Israel finally come to terms with the reality of Hamas? Or am I just desperately looking for a silver lining to this very black day?