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Monday, January 24, 2011

Israel Absolves Itself of Wrongdoing in Raid

Gaza-bound aid flotilla

An inquiry commission appointed by the Israeli government found today that the Navy “was in conformity with customary international law,” when it raided a Turkish aid flotilla last May. Nine people were killed, including one Turkish-American, as the elite Israeli commando unit’s raid violently stopped the ships from reaching the Gaza Strip, one of the most poverty-stricken regions of the world.

Also in the news today, a Hezbollah commission found they had no role in the assassination of President Hariri in 2005, a North Korean inquiry found that they didn’t, in fact, shell a S. Korean island, and China has absolved itself of all human rights abuses. We can finally rest assured! Or… not. Does Israel actually expect the world to believe a criminal investigation of one’s self is impartial?

One other thing about this incident that makes me angry is how exactly did a group of peace activists pose a threat to an elite Israeli commando unit. We’re talking about one of the most highly trained military units in the entire world, armed to the teeth, versus peace activists wielding blunt objects and knives. The Israelis claim that the activists disarmed some of the commandos and used the firearms against the invading force. I’m sorry, but did they forget to mention these were super hero peace activists? Were these perhaps the most deadly hippies the world has ever seen? They must have decades of training in hand to hand combat if they managed to disarm some of the most feared elite commando units in the world, who were armed with multiple weapons and had air support.

It sounds like a crooked LAPD unit that’s used too much force in a police situation. The cop plants a gun in the victim's hand, shoots another cop in a non-fatal place so as to seem there was a struggle, and voila! Just like in the movies.

Luckily the Israeli inquiry is not the only commission that is looking into the matter. The UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission found the raid to be “clearly unlawful,” and that its actions “constituted grave violations of human rights law and international law.” Another UN backed panel is conducting an inquiry as well.

But at the end of the day what’s another international decision finding Israel violated international law? Just throw it on the heap with the rest of ‘em. The fact is that the US, not the international community, is the only governing body that has leverage over Israel. I don’t see any progress on this front until at least after 2012, since it’s political anathema for a lame-duck President to take sides against Israel. The only other scenario where this situation gets resolved is if Israel and Palestine come to the table themselves – like that’s ever going to happen.

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