Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Israel / Palestine

Israel's Latest Violation
By Stephen Zunes
Foreign Policy in Focus, June 2, 2010
"[...] The bottom line is that under no circumstances does Israel, or any other country, have the right to board humanitarian aid vessels, guns blazing, in international waters. By most definitions, this is piracy, pure and simple. International maritime law gives the crew of ships attacked in international waters the right to defend themselves. Certainly it would have been better if the largely Turkish crew of the ship where most of the fatalities took place had not fought back. But it was well within their legal right to do so. ... Critics of the flotilla are partially correct in observing that the purpose of the voyage was not just to deliver badly needed aid, but to 'provoke a confrontation.' This, however, is part of the great tradition of nonviolent direct action. For example, civil rights activists in the 1960s were similarly criticized for provoking confrontation by sitting in at lunch counters, marching across Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, and demonstrating in downtown Birmingham. It was only through such confrontations, revealing the brutality of the oppressor, that change was made. ...
Perhaps a more revealing analogy would be this: Imagine how the Obama administration would have reacted if the attack on the vessels had been done by Iranians instead of the Israelis. Imagine if the Iranians had killed the passengers and crew, kidnapped hundreds of people on the ships, brought them to Iran, and held them incommunicado. It's not likely that the White House would give the Iranians a free ride for such a blatant violation of international law. Nor would the media and Washington pundits be spewing out the Iranian account of events before the hostages even had a chance to tell their side of the story. [...]"
[n.b. Thanks to Peter Prontzos for bringing this source to my attention.]

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