This is the last thing I’m going to write about the Mavi Marmara incident (after all, it’s been almost a week).
As a military ‘disaster’, it was a very small one. There have been much bigger mistakes. In the 1916 Battle of the Somme, over 19,000 British soldiers were sent to their deaths in one day as a result of poor intelligence and command incompetence. In 1945, the RAF sank the Cap Arcona, Thielbek, and the SS Deutschland in Lübeck, Germany; the ships had 7,000 concentration camp survivors and (mostly Russian) prisoners of war on board. In 1999, the US accidentally bombed the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Belgrade, killing three Chinese citizens. One could go on almost indefinitely.
Last week, poor planning led to the injury of several Israeli naval commandos and the death of nine Turkish nationals who were either mercenary thugs recruited for the purpose or members of Islamic extremist groups, whose intention was to kill the Israelis. It would have been remarkable if the boarding had been effected without killing anyone given the circumstances, but Israel has carried out similar operations in the past, so I assume that it could have been done given better intelligence, etc.
Put simply, in the process of defending itself against Hamas — do I need to bring up the irony of the fact that Hamas deliberately targets civilians? — Israeli soldiers were attacked by ‘civilians’ who were in fact guerrilla fighters. Every one of the nine killed were among this group: no women, children or ‘humanitarian activists’ were hurt.
Israel officially regrets the death of the nine guerrillas. Personally, I wouldn’t regret the death of someone who was trying to beat my brains out with an iron pipe, but then I’m not a diplomat.
The real ‘disaster’ was the reaction of Turkish PM Erdoğan, the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, and numerous governments, including of course the intrepid Obama Administration. This diplomatic and media frenzy has as yet shown no signs of abating, even as Israel peacefully intercepts additional ships of the flotilla. Its goal is to weaken and demonize Israel, and to strengthen and legitimize Hamas.
It was a double ambush. First, her soldiers were attacked by thugs, and then Israel was attacked by Turkey and her allies diplomatically and in the media.
Israel has suffered a diplomatic and information Pearl Harbor – a vicious sneak attack which used this incident as a pretext. Erdoğan has been looking for, and finding, pretexts for some time now, but this one seems to be the most effective yet. And he’s found numerous allies, such as the UN Human Rights Council, the folks that brought us the Goldstone Report, for whom ‘diplomatic lynch mob’ is too kind a description.
It’s hard to believe that the Turkish PM did not know in advance that there would be violent resistance to the Israelis:
The group behind the violent resistance, the IDF believes, was hired by IHH, the radical Turkish Islamic group that funded the flotilla. The 50 or so members of this violent group were not carrying identity cards or passports. Each of them had an envelope in his pocket with about $10,000 in cash. One member of the group, who appears to have been the ringleader, it is claimed, traveled to Bursa in northwest Turkey and allegedly recruited mercenaries there.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a known supporter of IHH and there are suspicions in Israel that he, or other government officials, may have personally instructed the passengers on board the Mavi Marmara to violently attack the soldiers. — Jerusalem Post
And it is equally hard to believe that the diplomatic pressure now being put on Israel via the UN, the Obama Administration, etc., spearheaded by Turkey, was not also preplanned.
Israel was caught in a trap, probably set at the highest levels of the Turkish government.