Israel Justified in Stopping the Flotilla under International Law
Posted by Oyster on June 2, 2010
According to a respected human rights organization known as the International Committee of the Red Cross, it seems that Israel was in the right in boarding civilian vessels that were intent on breaking their blockade. Some dude name Sirotnikov at YouTube tipped me off to this citation: San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, sections 67 and 146. Israel had put a blockade on Gaza following armed conflict with the illegitimate Hamas (they overthrew the democratically-elected Palestinian leadership in 2007) regime. Israel has made it clear that they have put down a blockade off the coast of Gaza, and Egypt did similarly with its border with Gaza to the south. Both countries would only allow humanitarian supplies to go past the border, while cooperating to make sure that arms did not pass.
The organization behind the Flotilla had in mind to explicitly break the blockade. Considering that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and that Israel’s offer to allow the organizers of the Flotilla disembark in the Israeli port of Ashdod and monitor the delivery of their alleged humanitarian shipment to Gaza was rejected, it is clear that the organizers were willingly trying to break through the blockade. Such an action is illegal according to the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, and makes it such that Israel was in the right in boarding their vessels.
When I watch the following footage, I find it hard to call those on-board as “peace activists”. Such labels are self-promoting puffery. Their actions speak louder than 1,000 press releases. The mob-scene on the deck of the Mavi Marmara is a far cry from the peaceful civil disobedience promoted by the likes of Thoreau, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Gandhi.
No one wanted the violence that ensued after the mob on the Mavi Marmara attacked the boarding Israelis. But the Flotilla organizers purposefully set out to start this provocation; there’s no way that they can claim that this was not their intent. They willingly ignored Israel’s directions to not violate the blockade, and Israel’s offer of safe harbor in Ashdod. The guilt of the deaths lay squarely in their hands.