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ShiningToast's avatar

So what exactly happened with the whole Flotilla Raid?

Asked by ShiningToast (2101points) June 2nd, 2010

I know some Israeli Special Forces dropped in on some boats, but that is about it.

What were the motives, what provoked this? (Justified or not.)
What was the purpose of the flotilla? Where were they going? Who is to blame here?

I’m just looking for clarification.

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21 Answers

Marva's avatar

Israeli prime minister’s words on the subject in english:

Qingu's avatar

Israel is currently blockading Gaza, their occupied territory. All supplies must go through Israeli checkpoints. This is ostensibly to limit Hamas (the rulers of Gaza and sworn enemy of Israel) access to weapons and other material.

Many people feel this is unjust, as it is functionally collective punishment for the people in Gaza. Activists with the Free Gaza movement sent ships with aid supplies directly to Gaza, hoping to break the blockade. They have done so before, and gotten diverted (I believe one instance they were allowed through, but detained later). There were some statements by the activists beforehand that they were trying to provoke a violent response from Israel to get publicity.

Anyway, 70 miles (iirc) from the blockade, in international waters, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) intercepts the ships and tells them to divert; they refuse. So the IDF, apparently, fires warning shots and starts sending commandos onto the ships from helicopters. This was probably illegal, since the ships were still in international waters. It was also a pretty terribly stupid move from a tactical perspective.

On the main ship, a mob of about 30 activists on board rather savagely attacked the IDF commandos as they landed on deck, with pipes and other makeshift weapons. In response, the IDF soldiers (armed only with paintball guns and sidearms) shot and killed 9 people.

It is unclear who initiated the lethal level of violence. 570 other activists on the boat did not attack the IDF soldiers. Having looked at the videos, it is difficult to conclude that the attackers were acting in “self-defense”; they behaved like a violent mob out for blood. But then, the IDF’s decision to board the ship in international waters in the middle of the night from helicopters was extremely aggressive, and they were poorly prepared to deal with what should have been a predictable mob. Some people have claimed the IDF fired live ammunition before the encounter, but there is no evidence to support this. Israel’s government has claimed the attackers were terrorists or al-Qaeda affiliates, but have provided no evidence to support this either.

The whole thing to me seems like a microcosm of the entire Israeli-Palestine conflict, with Israelis ignoring international law and using disproportionate lethal force, and the other side engaging in stupid and provocative violence—with both sides’ supporters engaging in knee-jerk defenses and casting hyperbolic aspersions.

Nullo's avatar

@zenele Reuters keeps doing that. It’s a wonder that they’re still considered a respectable media entity.

@Qingu I was under the impression that Israel wasn’t occupying Gaza.

zenele's avatar

I can guarantee that Israel left Gaza and is not in Gaza presently.

zenele's avatar

ערב טוב יקירה – מה שלומך

I hadn’t seen that clip before – well done!

zenele's avatar

News: We’ve been curious mainly about one specific point in all this (beyond the sadness of the deaths and injuroes of the soldiers, of course): how could the mighty I.D.F and specifically the navy and the elite SEAL unit be so stupid as to risk the lives of its soldiers in the attack?

Turns out, why almost two weeks later I don’t know, that Turkeys Prime Minister himself, who has always objected to the special relations his country, and especially his military have enjoyed with Israel (politics is complicated) – actually found a way to sabotage the relations. We now see, as to his immediate reaction afterwards, his embracing of Iran and Syria, his calling for the downfall of Israel and severing all ties, that it is true: he, personally, (and there are tapes) told the navy that the ship, which originated in Turkey, was on a peaceful mission only, and did not have anyone or anything dangerous on board. Israel, at the time, had no reason to disbelieve him. The end result: the soldiers casually rappelled one at a time carrying paintball guns – into the lynch of Al Qaida terrorists carrying axes, knives and poles.

Nullo's avatar

There are more ships coming. What, I wonder, is the IDF going to do?

zenele's avatar

@Nullo Good Q. We talk about it all the time. Especially with the Iranian ships coming. That would be like Bin Laden and the Al Qaida pirates floating down the hudson – someone’s gotta do something.

Nullo's avatar

@zenele I’m five nines of certain that any Al Qaida ships would be fed missiles.

zenele's avatar

@Nullo An interesting choice of words. Five nines.

Nullo's avatar

@zenele From “99.999%”.

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