Israel

Changing Tides

The news out of Gaza is being covered by plenty of other able bloggers and analysts (like Steve Walt, Issandr El Amrani, Gideon Levy, and my buddy Sean over at the Human Province), so I won’t rehash what everyone’s already said except to make this very cynical point: high-visibility non-violent protests pack a disproportionately heavy punch in this age of 24 hour news, Twitter feeds, and live-streaming video.

Oops, Helena Cobban already said that. But no matter. The point is that this tragic incident is doing more to put the plight of ordinary Gazans back on the front page than any kind of military operation undertaken by Hamas. And speaking of Hamas, they’ve chosen the right moment to show their cuddly side. Khaled Meshaal recently told Charlie Rose (again) that his organization would end its resistance towards Israel if a two-state solution were adopted on the basis of the 1967 borders. Two days later, the IDF killed a bunch of humanitarian workers.

What’s the next step? Syria has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League, and both Bashar al-Assad and Saad al-Hariri have warned that the flotilla killings could lead to a regional war. Maybe this is a naive reading, but it strikes me that beating the war drums is the wrong move. Instead of threatening to launch another intifada, why not actually launch an aid flotilla that is ten times the size of the one that was assaulted? The humanitarian non-violent strategy has clearly proved to be the winning one, so why not press it?

Your thoughts?

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Discussion

49 thoughts on “Changing Tides

  1. Very good point. But I think you need to be a Nato member for your humanitarian workers to be remarked (even after death)? hummm..

    Posted by mj | June 1, 2010, 1:45 am
  2. Definitely agree that there should be another (bigger?) flotilla. Don’t know if it’s the winning strategy, but otherwise this would be yet another instance where Israel does something outrageous and gets condemned for it by the security council but reaches its goal nonetheless; no more attempts to break the siege (via sea).

    Posted by qussa | June 1, 2010, 1:53 am
  3. Amen; Elias my brother !

    No more needs to be said, other than the momentum should be reinforced, maybe not ten times, but a hundred, I wish that the circumstances in my life permitted me to go on this voyage, but they didnt!

    Posted by Enlightened | June 1, 2010, 2:22 am
  4. First off, this entire situation, including the killings, was totally predictable. It hardly needs to be said that the zionists are violent murderers. Also, it’s entirely pathetic how the death of a couple western activists who deliberately put themselves in harms way gets more press than the daily murders of innocent palestinians just living their lives, and the daily destruction of the entire palestinian society. Im glad that these people do this, but even in death, they are not the story.

    But more importantly, Israel is doomed. It’s almost conventional wisdom at this point, and Nasrallah has said it a million times, but Israel’s days are numbered. It is too corrupted for it’s own good. And the jews either have the choice to go back to the places from where they came, or to accept a one-state solution. There are millions of Palestinians, and millions more Arabs and Muslims who will never accept this zionist shit state, and who will continue to fight to destroy the disgusting cancer. they are still weak, but growing in strength every day. whereas the zionists used to have good strategy and competent leadership, now they are helping in their own destruction. And I welcome it. Israel is over. it’s a simple matter of time, and not much time at that.

    And I don’t care what Khaled Mashaal says, because he doesn’t speak for me or the millions who will never accept zionist colonialism. But also, it’s clear that he’s more shrewd than his interview with that buffoon Charlie Rose makes him seem. Khaled Mashaal knows that the Gaza siege is almost over, and it will have been defeated by steadfastness without compromise. I can’t wait to see the day that the Turkish Navy escorts the next aid ship, and ultimately, the day the zionists have to abandon the siege.

    And most importantly, Hamas Hizbullah, Iran, the Palestinian Arab and Muslim people see these facts and learn that Israel is easily be defeated by determined and consistent effort. Why on earth would Hamas or Hizbullah negotiate with the zionists when efforts like this show that people have the power to destroy the zionist cancer, and all they have to do is apply a long-term effort. Every new event, we simply see more clearly that the zionists have lost their state.

    Posted by Joe M. | June 1, 2010, 3:05 am
  5. Totally agree.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | June 1, 2010, 3:25 am
  6. I wish you were in power! 🙂

    Posted by Maya | June 1, 2010, 3:39 am
  7. QN,

    Is that really a surprising conclusion?

    A lot of people having been saying this for 30 years. Amira Hass, for example, has been referring to Hamas’ “so called armed struggle,” for a few years now as something directed mostly at Palestinian public opinion. It has been objectively counter-productive for the majority of this employment.

    That is, the ideal of armed resistance is a source of political power that will be utilised by someone at any given time. It won’t go unused. I’ve even heard reports that Marwan Bargouti recognised and acted on this “theory” taking a role in the second intifada that would have been filled by someone else otherwise.

    Perhaps something similar is at play regionally.

    Posted by Netsp | June 1, 2010, 3:47 am
  8. 3 Facts You Need to Know About the Israeli Attack on Peace Activists on the Gaza Flotilla
    By Jonathan Cook, AlterNet
    Posted on May 31, 2010, Printed on June 1, 2010
    http://www.alternet.org/story/147052/
    It is quite astounding that Israel has been able to create over the past 12 hours a news blackout, just as it did with its attack on Gaza 18 months ago, into which our main media organisations have willingly allowed Israeli spokespeople to step in unchallenged.
    How many civilians were killed in Israel’s dawn attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla of aid? We still don’t know. How many wounded? Your guess is as good as mine. Were the aid activists armed with guns? Yes, says Israel. Were they in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Hamas? Certainly, says Israel. Did the soldiers act reasonably? Of course, they faced a lynch, says Israel.
    If we needed any evidence of the degree to which Western TV journalists are simply stenographers to power, the BBC, CNN and others are amply proving it. Mark Regev, Israel’s propagandist-in-chief, has the airwaves largely to himself.
    The passengers on the ships, meanwhile, have been kidnapped by Israel and are unable to provide an alternative version of events. We can guess they will remain in enforced silence until Israel is sure it has set the news agenda.
    So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let’s reiterate a few simple facts:
    * Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an imminent “lynch” by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it deserves.
    * The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must be held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the lives of all the civilians onboard, including a baby.
    Israel has no right to control Gaza’s sea as its own territorial waters and to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it is still in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip’s inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity.
    Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians under occupation but at the international community itself.
    Will our leaders finally be moved to act?
    © 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
    View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/147052/

    Posted by mj | June 1, 2010, 4:59 am
  9. The humanitarian non-violent strategy has clearly proved to be the winning one? How?

    Its true that this incident is doing more to put the plight of ordinary Gazans back on the front page than any kind of military operation undertaken by Hamas.

    But as the plight of Gazans being on the front pages usually involves Israelis killing innocent people and results in exactly zero improvement in their quality of life I think they are just as well off without it.

    More flotillas? More Ghandi-like demonstrations of non-violence?

    What is it that Einstein said about the sanity of people that keep doing the same thing expecting different results? Six years of flotillas have achieved nothing; The blood of the innocents on the ship may at least serve the purpose of showing the world that the Israelis dont give a damn about the nationality of those they murder. But I’m betting it does very little for the Gazans.

    But this is all part of the narrative and it will only end one way. Not in your saintly dialogue; Not in your rewarding Israel for its acts of barbarism and crimes against the innocent. Israel is using the coffins of others, slowly but surely, as nails for its own. I cannot wait for the day.

    Next year Jerusalem!

    Posted by mo | June 1, 2010, 5:14 am
  10. I’m sorry to spoil your celebrations here, but these were by far not simple ‘humanitarian workers’, as those aren’t supposed to beat you and attempt to kill you?

    Here are few examples:
    http://goo.gl/SFfy
    http://goo.gl/4yqp
    http://goo.gl/i8IV

    Posted by Jonathan Boyko | June 1, 2010, 5:18 am
  11. Besides deploring the loss of life, of course, what I find most interesting to watch is the PR crisis strategy of the government of Israel. As gross as it might sound, the truth is that I don’t see any organized counterattack. What is the strategy of the Turkish government (not to say the organizers’ to impose their version of the facts, looks like they where ALL on the ships?). 24 hrs on, where is the list of the people riding the boats, at least the most prominent members? Why aren’t the people of the states with personnes involved crying “ kidnapping, kidnapping” and demanding the immediate release of their citizens (not to say accurate information about their situation? Is the strategy adopted by the majority of the detainees of refusing deportation the right one to adopt at the present circonstances? The persons detained can not give their account of the events to counter the Israely version of events, going currently unopposed as J.Cook remarked in the article above. Unfortunately for the Israelis, their efforts look rather pathetic and quite unbelievable. Personally, I was mesmerized by the profusion of slingshots, slingshots have terrorized me since my tender age…

    Posted by mj | June 1, 2010, 5:23 am
  12. I’ll continue to abuse of your space, Qifa, now that about everybody else (hi Mo) seems asleep. Before we engage fully in the debate of the efficacy of military or violent actions vs non violent action, what will you think will happen (hope not) the moment Islamic Jihad or somebody else succeeds a military operation, in Israel, , or anywhere else, with a dozen of people killed? Can you think of any other way to water down the present anti-israeli government emotion more quickly?

    Posted by mj | June 1, 2010, 5:35 am
  13. Arabs should start asking/waiting for the next Mandela & Gandhi instead of the next Saladin.

    The problem is that all ‘legitimate’ secular resistance groups have been neutralized one way or another. What’s left are religious factions that justify their armed struggle with Islam, a religion that has been used to legitimize several terror attacks around the world, an international PR nightmare basically. Add to that the uselessness of the Arab League and lack of coordination between its nations and we have a recipe for total Israeli dominance for decades to come 🙂

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | June 1, 2010, 7:20 am
  14. “…high-visibility non-violent protests pack a disproportionately heavy punch in this age of 24 hour news…”

    QN,

    Except that they were high visibility VIOLENT protests. It’s always nice to believe the protesters were “non-violent”, “peace activists”, but as we all saw in various IDF videos, they weren’t.

    The sole purpose of the flotilla was to break the Gaza blockade.

    BTW – As you may have heard, Israel isn’t going back to the holy ’67 borders. Israel has a claim to the Old City in Jerusalem, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 1, 2010, 7:21 am
  15. At Stratfor they seem to agree with Qifa’s line: here’s the conclusion of an interesting article that compares the episode with the “Exodus”‘s story:
    ” This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).
    Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.
    And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.”
    This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).
    Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.
    And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

    http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100531_flotillas_and_wars_public_opinion

    Posted by mj | June 1, 2010, 7:23 am
  16. Mo

    Do you really want to invoke Einstein’s maxim about insanity in the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict? 🙂

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 1, 2010, 7:49 am
  17. One incident, as tragic as it might be, does not a policy make.

    As Netsp , QN and others have implied this event carries within it the seeds of a greater benefit but only if we (Arab side) to make a major change in our strategy. Many have argued ,including this observer, for years that civil disobedience strategy deserves, if nothing else, but to be tried since the other option has thus far managed to inflict more pain on the Palestinians and to make life more miserable. So why continue a loosing strategy? Noam Chomsky answered this question in his latest lecture at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut: It makes the Arab side feel better although it does not deliver any “goods” to the suffering Palestinians.
    What this act of Israeli state piracy implies is that it is time to change the methods of resistance. No single event should be looked upon as being able to deliver a comprehensive solution. These developments must be used in order to chip at the Israeli support and settle at advancing the ball forward and at a less onerous price I might add.
    One can only hope that such developments , Palestinian civil disobedience on a large scale, would compel the international community to apply greater pressures on the Israeli government so as to approach the two state peace talks in a more constructive manner.
    This tragedy will become even more so if we fail to learn from it and change our strategy .

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 1, 2010, 8:44 am
  18. QN,

    Yes, I most certainly do.

    You guys realise that civil disodeience has and continues to be tried with the only result being the occassional Palestinian being shot.

    When Ghandi and MLK went that route and were shot down, it was the outcry by the country men of those that did the shooting that changed things not the reaction of the so called “international community”.

    After all thats happened in that last few years, if Israel isnt going to get punished for all that it has done, what makes you think they will be pressured by some large scale sit-ins? The Western loved “moderates” have tried “peaceful resolution” for how many years now? What has it got them? How much has Israel benefited from peace in the West Bank with its rapidly expanding settlements? How much have the Palestinians (or for that matter the Egyptians and the Jordanians)?

    Abbas and Dahlan are a joke outside their own homes and yet even these uber-collaborators cannot bring themselves to sign up to what the Israelis have offered.

    You want the Palestnians to meet the IDF with Kumbaya? Fine. Just dont feel too guilty when the consequeces are splattered over Al Jazeeras cameras.

    Alternatively, the Palestinians can get smart, get creative and get resisting the only way bullys, thugs and criminals understand.

    Posted by mo | June 1, 2010, 9:21 am
  19. I’m not sure there isn’t a nonviolent way to prevent boats from sailing to Gaza.

    Posted by Badr | June 1, 2010, 9:38 am
  20. mo,

    Are you suggesting that armed conflict has not been tried?

    Posted by Netsp | June 1, 2010, 9:58 am
  21. And this is why Elias should be Lebanon’s PM…

    Posted by dbk | June 1, 2010, 10:08 am
  22. Mo said: “You want the Palestnians to meet the IDF with Kumbaya? Fine. Just dont feel too guilty when the consequeces are splattered over Al Jazeeras cameras.”

    Did you feel guilty after Operation Cast Lead killed 30 times the number of Palestinian children as the number of activists killed on the Gaza flotilla? Did you apply Einstein’s maxim then? What about when the July war resulted in 120 times more civilian deaths than the flotilla?

    My basic point is that smart, well-coordinated, non-violent protests should not be dismissed out of hand as a useless strategy.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 1, 2010, 10:49 am
  23. I’m not sure there isn’t a nonviolent way to prevent boats from sailing to Gaza.

    Badr,

    Sure there is. But, first you have to try. May I suggest a peace treaty?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 1, 2010, 10:59 am
  24. QN,
    TO answer your question(s), no I didn’t feel guilt; Sadness and anger yes. What part of Einsteins maxim applies? There is no repition to resisting occupation. It is a continuous process that you get better at and smarter at until you are better and smarter than the occupier. And samrt resistance has led to Israels only defeats, its longest wars and the only time it has been forced to relenquish Arab lands.

    My basic point is that smart, well-coordinated, non-violent protests should not be dismissed out of hand as a useless strategy

    I did not dismiss it out of hand. I provided what I see as very good reasons why it won’t work.
    -The Israelis will kill lots of people and the world wont give a shit.
    -Non-violent protests on occupied land? Who are they going to protest against and where? The settlements where settlers shoots Palestinians as a sport and get away with it? The Wall? They already do that on a weekly basis. How often have you seen that on CNN? On the streets of Ramallah? Why would the Israelis give a damn?

    The point is that the only way non-violent demonstrations will work is if they are large enough and prominent enough to make the Western news cycle. But if the people are going to be shot down when they do this and Israel will face no retribution, what is the point? Or do you believe that at some point the world will decide that is suddenly loves the Palesitnians?

    You and me are a long way apart on our beliefs on Israel but that is irrelevant here. What is relevant is what helps the Palesinians. I have presented my points on why I do not believe that in this case non-violent protests wont work. But then you have not expounded the idea further. Can you be more detailed in what kind non-violent protests you are recommending?

    Posted by mo | June 1, 2010, 11:13 am
  25. Mo

    You are completely inconsistent in your logic, my friend. 🙂

    You are willing to give violent protests a sixty-year window to “improve”, notwithstanding all of the innocent civilians who have been killed as a result of this experimental trial-and-error process. This does not count as doing the same thing over and over with the same result, in your book.

    And yet, you are not willing to consider the possibility that non-violent protest may evolve and get smarter over time?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 1, 2010, 11:25 am
  26. Qifa,

    I’m not pushing any strategy here (peaceful vs. military), but using this particular incident of peaceful demonstration to argue that civil disobedience always works has its own short sightedness.

    In my opinion, it just happened that this incident which put the lives of “westerners” in danger generated an international outrage in an age of 24 hour news.

    Palestinians who have been dying in numbers far more than the 10 (brave activists) who died on the flotilla, and who are not engaging in any belligerent resistance either, are never considered media-worthy and generate no international outrage at all.

    Haytham

    Posted by Haytham | June 1, 2010, 11:38 am
  27. Haytham,
    But that is exactly the issue. Palestinians have been dying in large numbers without having anything to show for it besides more suffering more misery and less land.
    This can only prove that the strategy is not working. Smart well organised civil disobedience cannot do much worse. Its casaulties will be less and it has the strong probability of gaining more international support and even a greater number of supporters in Israel itself. It is much easier to justify actions against “terror” rather than actions to discriminate and violate human rights on a large international stage as the flotilla incident has demonstrated and I cannot help but repeat as the experience of MLK, Mandella and Ghandi have also shown the power of the human spirit.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 1, 2010, 11:58 am
  28. QN,
    Again, it is not that I am not willing. It is that I see no way how protest can evolve or get smarter. How have protests changed in the last millenia? You march, you shout slogans and most of the time you are then attacked by representatives of the state.

    Usually, the protests increase, the numbers increase and the state reacts more violently. If you live in a democracy, like the US, you end up with some laws that protect your civil rights.
    If you live in an imperial world and the home population is no longer willing to support that imperialism the occupier leaves.
    But if you live in an imperial or oppressive state where the occupiers home population does give a damn what happens to you and the “international community” doesnt give a damn what happens to you what happens to you is all too familiar.

    But like I said, give us some more details on what you think will work and then we can become detailed in our debate.

    As for violent protest, the kind that works hasn’t been around for 60 years, more like 30. And its not a case of giving it a chance to improve. Its a case of it proving itself. It has had results. I cannot say that about any non-violent action taken with regards to the Israelis including the peace treaties signed by Egypt and Jordan.

    Furthermore, short of actually surrendering to Israels demands (which I presume is not what you are advocating) I believe that there will be loss of life whether you go down the violent or non-violent methodology (as has been documented for both). The difference is that if you get good enough at the violent type of resistance, you create a balance of power that stays the hand of the enemy.

    What stays he hand of the enemy in non-violent protests? CNN?

    When Arafat tried the non-violent route he was given ultimatums that he failed to accept and ended up a prisoner in his own buildings. Abbas has tried the non-violent route, remind me how much the settlements have grown and how much of E.Jerusalem has been stolen since he came to power.

    When the world is willing to put an iota of pressure on our local Mafia then maybe non-violence will work. Until then, please feel free to show how it will.

    Posted by mo | June 1, 2010, 12:12 pm
  29. I like your “Gigantic Aid Flotilla” idea, QN, but you also definitely need to get the Turks to provide a mostly symbolic naval escort. The Israelis could demand the right to search the vessels for contraband, but knowing how their whole reaction to the situation has been (and how blitheringly incompetent the Israeli Navy is), they’ll probably end up sparking another international incident.

    There are millions of Palestinians, and millions more Arabs and Muslims who will never accept this zionist shit state, and who will continue to fight to destroy the disgusting cancer. they are still weak, but growing in strength every day.

    That’s laughable. Pray tell, when is the Great Unified Palestinian Resistance movement ever going to actually win any real battles? The only victories Hamas has had, for example, are due to the fact that they’ve lowered the bar for victory so low that simply not getting completely annihilated while losing ten men (and usually more) for every Israeli one is now a Great Victory.

    As for breaking the Gaza Blockade, that was inevitable (by which I mean the Egyptian side of Gaza, since the Israeli side will likely remain firmly shut). Of course, all it will mean is that Hamas will simply import more supplies, build up again, and in 2-3 years we’ll have another Gaza War.

    Posted by Brett | June 1, 2010, 12:21 pm
  30. Brett,

    Actually there are Palestinians who actually accept “the zionist shit state”, and prefer Israel to the PA.

    Also, for your reading pleasure, the legal case for boarding flotillas bound for Aza…

    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/22668/yes-international-law-allowed-israel-to-board-hamas-war-flotilla/#more-22668

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 1, 2010, 12:37 pm
  31. All Mandella, Ghandi and MLK fans on QN, ‘enjoy’ the spectacle,

    http://pulsemedia.org/2010/06/01/celebrating-murder/

    Posted by Ijlisa Nabki | June 1, 2010, 1:16 pm
  32. AP,

    You missunderstood my sentence. I was refering to means by which Israel may prevent boats from breaking Gaza sea blockade.

    Posted by Badr | June 1, 2010, 1:34 pm
  33. I agree w/ sending another ship and using non-violent means.

    I don’t know if the warning about starting a war is something that is already planned and this accident is just a pretext.

    Because if now war occurs, no one would really question why. The real why is something only the BIG leaders know.

    Posted by Elias (not QN) | June 1, 2010, 1:38 pm
  34. Haytham

    You’re right. It’s the fact that famous Westerners like Henning Mankell were on the ship and that some of them were killed that has caught the world’s eye. So what conclusion should we draw from this?

    In my opinion, the conclusion we should draw is that the Palestinian nationalist movement should figure out how to attract even more famous Westerners to its cause, put them on boats, and send them to Gaza.

    I’m being glib and cynical of course, but my simple point is that if this is what galvanizes an international response, this is what people should do. Everytime a famous person visits Israel, someone takes them on the famous helicopter tour that shows how narrow and vulnerable the country is to Arab invasion, and takes them to visit Yad Vashem. This strategy clearly works.

    Isn’t it about time the Arabs develop just as coherent and robust a media strategy?

    [Before you all pile up on me, please appreciate that I’m trying to be intentionally provocative here.]

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 1, 2010, 1:59 pm
  35. Akbar Palace: Did you really just link to the luminary Debbie Schlussel, author of such gems as “Donald Trump, Dhimmi: Miss Hezbollah Rima Fakih Wins Miss USA; Rigged for Muslima?” as your authority on maritime law?

    Really? That’s really the best you’ve got on this?

    Posted by sean | June 1, 2010, 2:16 pm
  36. I have a feeling that in the past few days Israel has started supporting PKK with attacks on the Turkish army. As such, two days ago 6 Turkish soldiers were killed in a rocket attack in southeastern Turkey.
    Now my argument can be easily dismissed because there is no credible evidence;however,after the invasion of Iraq, there were many reports of Mossad presence in the Kurdish region in Iraq.
    yet,the Kurdish region is in good terms with Turkey.
    According to a Turkish reporter who spoke on Aljazeera english stated that the Turkish secret service will meet with the head army and investigate the matter together.
    If Israel was indeed be behind the PKK attack, then i am sure the Geopolitical structure will take shape to another level.

    Posted by Bahjat | June 1, 2010, 2:26 pm
  37. You wont hear a peep about this from the State dept.

    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=288560

    So if they dont care about her or Rachel Corrie what is going to make them take up and notice a bunch of dead Arabs?

    Posted by mo | June 1, 2010, 2:53 pm
  38. QN,

    I agree with your general premise about the need for more “soft power” and better public image. but what the Israelis excel at which we are completely failing to mention is lobbying. On one hand we have the Saudis spending billions on insuring their royal family’s rule is secure and that they’re always taken care when they are on holiday. Israel on the other hand is spending billions on insuring their strategic interests are protected. do you think good public image alone can balance the equation in the ME? obviously there needs to be a balance of public support and incentives but the latter is none existent at the moment.

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | June 1, 2010, 3:03 pm
  39. Did you really just link to the luminary Debbie Schlussel, author of such gems as “Donald Trump, Dhimmi: Miss Hezbollah Rima Fakih Wins Miss USA; Rigged for Muslima?” as your authority on maritime law?

    Sean,

    Well, she is a lawyer, and the website she linked to looked pretty applicable.

    I’d rather link to Debbie Schlussel, than some website that continuously ignores Israeli claims.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 1, 2010, 3:11 pm
  40. QN,

    First, very soon there will be a small test to your theory. The Rachel Corrie and another ship are arriving.

    I think that Israel has learned its lesson and the boats will be stopped without anyone getting hurt, for example by disabling their propeller instead of boarding them.

    The outrage after all was mostly about the fact that people were hurt on the ship and not because it was stopped. So sending hundreds of ships, which will all be stopped without anyone getting hurt, will not be very effective.

    The only effective non-violent method for the Palestinians is to practice what they preach. The Palestinians need to become a beacon of democracy and human rights thus shaming Israel into change. Otherwise, all their actions look quite hypocritical.

    Posted by AIG | June 1, 2010, 3:37 pm
  41. And by the way, there has been already a unforeseen benefit for Israel, the Egyptians opened their borders to Gaza. Slowly but surely, Gaza will become an Egyptian problem. Let the Palestinians get all they need from their fellow Arabs who are the ones that should care for them.

    Posted by AIG | June 1, 2010, 3:58 pm
  42. 28 years of armed resistance freed 99% of south Lebanon. Detterent force by the resistance which has created a balance of power will free the rest. CNN did not report much on it until that faitful day in may 2000 when the Israelis left with their rails between their legs.

    Posted by Edgard | June 1, 2010, 5:09 pm
  43. in regard to the question of violence v. non-violence, i think they are not mutually exclusive. Just as Malcolm X advocated violence while MLK advocated non-violence, they both worked to strengthen each other. Without Malcolm X, no one would have listened to MLK, without MLK, Malcolm X would have been increasingly isolated. So i think it’s best that both are used. And they both provide important advantages and disadvantages.

    As for the issue of Einstein’s view of lunacy, the reality we are currently dealing with is different than the past. so it makes little sense to compare violence from 1965 to violence of 2010 and say that violence has long been discredited. similarly, non-violence has long been used, but the facts are different today than even yesterday, and it can be used differently, against a different enemy, and it can be effective. So, i don’t know why either option would be seen as lunacy.

    I am not one to think that every little event is a “game change” and i don’t see this event as substantially different than any of the other fascist acts of Israel. But I am hopeful that Turkey has switched to being on the side of the palestinians, rather than on the side of the zionists. That could have a significant impact on the situation.

    And more importantly, it’s plain and clear that the days of the zionist cancer are numbered. It doesn’t matter whether the protesters were “violent” or not, or whether the boat was in international waters when the attack occurred. What matters is that the zionist weakness is continually exposed and is becoming easier to exploit. That they have backed themselves into such an impossible situation that even little things like this cause substantial international outrage. The zionists are no longer in a position to dictate the terms of the conflict, over the last few years, the entire balance has shifted.

    Posted by Joe M. | June 1, 2010, 9:02 pm
  44. During his pep talk to the commando unit which raided the flotilla, Ehud Barak said “We need to always remember that we aren’t North America or Western Europe, we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak and there aren’t second chances for those who don’t defend themselves. You were fighting for your lives – I saw it, and I heard it from your commanders.” Haaretz 02/06/2010.

    Posted by Edgard | June 2, 2010, 8:44 am
  45. Ghassan and Qifa,

    I agree with what you both said. I just wanted to point out the circumstances that might have made this particular case of peaceful resistance successful.

    Haytham

    Posted by Haytham | June 2, 2010, 11:05 am
  46. I think the logic of the Israeli response was exactly to prevent another large-scale flotilla from making its way to Gaza.

    Posted by Theodore Arz | June 3, 2010, 3:38 pm
  47. Dear QN,

    The fact that Gaza is still standing, the fact these boats have destination to go to (the Gaza port) is because the Resistance has fought for decades.

    Peacefull activists can engage in peaceful activism because their brothers are fighting the Oppression.

    Lebanon knows that more than everybody.

    No?

    Posted by nasrallah | June 7, 2010, 11:07 am

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