Poor, poor Israel:
Nice Guys Finish Last
Noah Pollak – 05.31.2010 – 12:52 PM
To my mind, the most astonishing thing about the flotilla disaster is that the IDF sent its elite naval commandos into a highly charged potential combat situation that was being closely scrutinized by the world media — armed with paintball guns.
In addition to their lead-ball guns. Wooh, crazy.
The intent, of course, was to show that Israel wished to avert escalating the confrontation . .
. . by boarding the ship in international waters with their elite commandos. There are other ways to avoid confrontation.
. . and merely sought to bring the ships to port, transfer their cargo to Gaza, send the “peace activists” home, and bring this mini-drama to a close. But the results were catastrophic.
And why does Israel think it can dictate how people, Turks, mostly, live their lives? International waters. They ended up dictating their deaths. Israel does not retain the right to kill everybody that hates it. Israel does not retain the right to dictate how dramas in international waters unfold.
Instead of proving Israel’s good intentions, the commandos found themselves unable to take control of the terrorist blockade runners, who knew, of course, that any bloodshed and violence that followed the Israeli boarding party would be laid at the feet of the Israelis.
Especially since it was the Israelis that killed everybody. Makes you wonder if the “terrorist blockade runners” were psychic. Sure, the psychics knew it could be a p.r. disaster — so what? When you’ve got some pro-Gaza people on a boat, even armed with clubs and slingshots, they’re not ambushing anybody. When armed Israeli commandos forcibly and illegally overtake and kill these people, it’s clear where the responsibility lies. Israel has no right to kill people that could embarrass it.
Armed with the proper equipment, the naval commandos could have done precisely what they are trained to do — take command of a ship decisively and with great speed. This can only be done when the men boarding the ship are able to immediately neutralize their opponents and establish complete control.
They didn’t use enough force. How’s that for “Israel, right or wrong” politics? Never mind that they broke the law by even attempting the moronic exercise– they should have been even tougher on the activists. They should’ve boarded the ship with 10 times the commandos and immediately tied everybody up. And then they could’ve quickly found that the ship flotilla wasn’t a gun-running operation and apologized to the international community without killing anybody. Yay!
But the Israeli commandos obviously could not establish complete control. They fast-roped into an ambush and were beaten and stabbed. Would this have happened if they had real guns in their hands? Probably not.
Would there have been a massacre with not-real guns? Probably not.
Those who sent an elite unit into a hostile confrontation armed with toy weapons made an incredibly stupid decision. And a uniquely Israeli one. In recent memory, Israeli military action has been violent but not decisive, bloody enough to provoke the outrage and condemnation of the world (at this point, a stubbed toe will do), but not enough to actually change facts on the ground (the Hamas and Hezbollah wars being prime examples).
So Israel needs to steel itself as both violent and decisive. Unlike today, where they deferred the violence for a few minutes.
These halfhearted wars and battles have earned Israel demerits in world opinion without enough to show in improved strategic position. Exit question: How many new flotillas to Gaza are being planned right now in Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East?
The terrorism escalates. I fear for the nice guys.