Saturday, June 12

An International Inquiry on the Gaza bound Flotilla Fiasco is essential

What occurred on the high seas off Gaza was a terrible tragedy - a botched up Israel Commando operation that resulted in a severe diplomatic relations crisis with Turkey and unanimous condemnation of Israel throughout the world.

No matter how one views this flotilla fiasco leaving 9 dead and scores injured, including Israeli Commando soldiers, it has further ruined Israel's credibility and no matter what Israeli spokesmen say concerning the operation, will not lessen the hostility towards Israel. Israeli spokesmen are on the defense of Israel's actions. They emphasize Israel's right of defense and that the world is now carrying out a vendetta to delegitimize Israel based on modern anti-Semitism - an offshoot of traditional anti-Semitism which the Jews in the Diaspora suffered for generations.

Is it possible that under all the hubris surrounding this debacle, that assessment may be correct?

Israel pundits and professional PR spokesmen are giving reasons for Israeli Commando actions but it is ignored. It seems that nothing can justify Israel's actions internationally. This incident has once again proved that the use of force is counter productive as well as being morally questionable.

Israel had good relations with Turkey and this seems to be shattered beyond repair.

Is Israel's right to exist in question? Is it Israel's attitude to world opinion on the occupation and the blockade of Gaza that has resulted in this vendetta against Israel? There are many questions but no straightforward answers as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complicated by so many problems that raise emotional responses which defy rationality on all sides.

According to Aluf Benn of Haaretz in a thought provoking report, Erdogan of Turkey is striving for pan-Islamism and Netanyahu is trying to hold off the rest of the world while nurturing a Jewish Israeliness that hates minorities and foreigners, the clash was inevitable. Benn went on to write that the flotilla crisis exposed the prejudices and stereotypes that had been kept hidden during the years of friendship: anti-Semitic stereotypes in Turkey and Israel disdain for Muslims and their culture.

When one views the situation objectively, it does not take much imagination to realize that the Israeli leadership has chosen the worst people possible to represent Israel's interests to the world. Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, with his extreme right wing views tinged with his hate for the Arab people and the left is playing its part in destroying any positive image that Israel may still have. LIEBERMAN MUST GO! Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is not even prepared to talk to him because of Lieberman's provocative statements made against him.

Apart from Lieberman's racism, there is also Shas Party racism coming from the mouth of Interior Minister Eli Yishai against Arabs, foreign workers and other non-Jews who he views as a danger to the Jewish people's identity. The right wing parties in the Netanyahu government are anti-Arab and anti-foreigner. They are an obstacle towards any peace agreement with the Palestinians. The rhetoric of Michael Ben Ari an extremist pseudo-Kahanist Knesset Member in the coalition is an example. There are many others.

If this is the best calibre of people that Israel can put forward to represent Israel's interests then it is very sad.

On the other hand, there are so-called left wing human rights supporters present on the flotilla whose agenda is to delegitimize Israel under cover of aid to the beleaguered people of Gaza. This can be seen as a strange alliance with the most repressive regimes in the world. They are giving legitimacy to Hamas tyranny not only against Israel but also against the Palestinian people of Gaza who through poor judgment had elected them to power in 2006. The tyrannical behavior of Hamas is conveniently overlooked for the sake of hypocritical expediency. This alliance of left wing humanitarians with repressive regimes such as Iran and terrorist organizations such as Hamas and IHH legitimizes terrorist Islamic terrorist organizations as well as the most heinous repressive anti-democratic regimes in the Middle East.

Iranian tyranny under the appalling Ahmadinajad regime with its poor and repressive human rights record has become an ally of these flotilla "peace seekers". Turkey also has climbed the bandwagon of whipping Israel with hate. MEAWHILE IT SEEMS THAT THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF 9 TURKISH CITIZENS WERE THE I.H.H PROVOCATION AGAINST THE ISRAELI COMMANDOS.

This is where it would be prudent to investigate the role and financial resources for the training of I.H.H. Also the cache of primitive weapons found on the Mave Marmara. Turkey's role in this should also be investigated to establish the truth. It was a planned attack on Israel's Commandos. The flotilla human rights groups legitimized Hamas and to a certain extent Iran's Ahmadinajad and denigrated Israel internationally even to the point of deligitimization!

It would be appropriate that an international inquiry be instituted to investigate the cause of the violence. It should be headed by internationally renowned jurists from Israel, Turkey, the US and other countries whose citizens were involved in the flotilla. These jurists should have impeccable reputations of impartiality to ensure transparency and fairness. All parties involved should cooperate with this investigation and no stone should be left unturned to arrive at the truth which is in everybody's interest. Those responsible for the provocation and deaths ought to be brought to justice.

To date Israel and the US agreed on the nature of the Israeli investigative committee that will investigate the Israeli Commando takeover of the Gaza bound flotilla. The point is whether it will be able to come to conclusions that will have credibility. I personally doubt it. Maybe the judicial commission should be more widely represented than that envisaged by Israel and the US.

Whatever conclusions are drawn from this tragic incident will not make much difference to the world attitude towards Israel. Israel must cooperate in finding a way to lift the Gaza blockade and allow non-military goods to enter Gaza. There should be a UN or NATO force patrolling the sea around Gaza to ensure that no weapons of any kind is smuggled into Gaza which would endanger Israel's security since the ruling Hamas tyranny has declared war on Israel and seeks Israel's total destruction - an irrefutable fact made even more convincing by Hamas rhetoric over the years and in the Hamas manifesto. This also coincides with Ahmadinajad's hateful speeches against Israel. It is unfortunate that those people who empathize strongly with the people of Gaza and claim to be peaceful human rights peace activists on board the flotilla refuse to accept this.

The bottom line underlying the cause of it all is the non-ending Israeli-Palestinian Conflict which is based on a number of factors:

  1. The continuing occupation of Israel with its colonization of Palestinian lands with Israeli settlers
  2. The ongoing 1948 Palestinian refugee problem defies a solution.
  3. Even if Israel does withdraw to the pre-June 1967 borders there will still be extremist Palestinian groups who will demand Israel's total destruction and will never accept Israel's right to exist let alone negotiate a peace treaty.

The world should be aware that Israel has a very severe existential problem, which is also a security problem with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iran under Ahmadinajad and maybe even Turkey that is supporting the I.H.H terrorist group.

Despite all these serious problems facing Israel there is still no excuse for justifying the occupation and Israel's colonization of occupied Palestinian lands with religious Zealots justifying their activities using the Tanah as their link to the "Greater land of Israel".

If Hamas is prepared to change its attitude and is prepared to accept Israel's right to exist as well as renounce terror, Israel must be prepared to negotiate with them and any agreement must include the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier, who has been held incommunicado for over 4 years.

One must bear in mind that the key to moving the peace process forward lies in the hands of Hamas no less than Israel - probably even more so than Fatah. There is no other option possible to break the deadlock. The two state solution is really the only game in town provided all parties to the conflict are prepared to work together to get there.

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