ISRAHELL: Pirates in the Mediterranean

“Why didn’t they greet us with muffins and orange juice?” was my friend’s facetious question after listening all morning to the Israeli media’s coverage of the assault on the relief flotilla heading for Gaza, the navy assault that left nine citizens dead and many more wounded. Like a group of pirates in the Mediterranean, the Israeli navy attacked humanitarian aid ships in international waters, and yet Israeli officials and commentators were totally surprised when the passengers did not receive them with open arms. Going through the talkbacks on news sites, it seems that most Jews in Israel were also taken aback.

Later in the day, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held a press conference, in which he made two revealing declarations. First, he asserted that no country would allow a foreign entity to threaten its sovereign borders. This claim, however, reveals the basic lie regarding Israel’s Gaza policy.

Israel has to decide once and for all whether or not it withdrew from Gaza in August 2005. If it did and Gaza is an autonomous entity as Israel claims, then the attempt on the part of these humanitarian ships to reach the Gaza sea port is not an infringement on Israeli sovereignty. If, on the other hand, Israel considers the flotilla’s entrance into Gaza’s territorial sea line as a violation of its own sovereign borders, then Israel needs to admit that it has never given up its sovereignty over Gaza. Lieberman’s statement discloses, in other words, that Israel has fashioned itself as a unique creature in the international arena: the non-sovereign sovereign. When it suits its interests, the government claims that it has relinquished sovereignty over Gaza, but when it does not, the government reasserts its sovereignty. Lieberman should keep in mind that with sovereignty comes responsibility. Thus, if Israel was indeed defending its borders yesterday morning then as sovereign, Israel is also responsible for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip–for their livelihood as well as their security.

Lieberman’s second declaration was that the Israeli military is the most moral in the world. No other soldiers, he said, would have dealt in such a forgiving way with the people on board the ships.

Lieberman conveniently ignored the fact that according to international law the Israeli soldiers were acting like pirates, since hijacking an unarmed humanitarian aid ship in international waters is by definition piracy.

Moreover, his second observation is informed by the lesser evil argument; namely, the Israeli military could have been more brutal and chose not to. As the great Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt pointed out, “Politically, the weakness of the argument [for lesser evils] has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.”

Neve Gordon

ISRAELI HATRED: Turkish memorial in south defaced again (Way to go, IDF)

Two days after being cleaned of graffiti, Beersheba memorial painted red, black by unknown vandals.

A memorial in the southern city of Beersheba for Turkish soldiers who fell in Israel during World War II was once again vandalized Sunday, though the municipality had just finished cleaning off the graffiti sprayed there.

The graffiti cleaned off Friday said, “Way to go, IDF”, and a Turkish flag was torched at the scene. On Sunday it was found painted black and red.

Police say an investigation had been launched, though no suspects have been arrested as yet. Civilians who came upon the damage began cleaning it themselves, and were soon joined by municipality workers.

“I severely condemn any case of violence or bullying. It is not our way,” said Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich. “I have appealed to the district commander of police, Commander Yohanan Danino, with a

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request to take care of this matter immediately.”

The memorial was built in October of 2002 by the Turkish Republic and the Beersheba Municipality in memory of 298 Turkish soldiers killed in battle in the city between the years 1914-1918. Israeli and Turkish flags are stationed nearby.

Ref: Ynet

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