Israel is facing a diplomatic firestorm after launching a deadly commando raid on a flotilla of ships seeking to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, in violation of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade. Israeli soldiers killed between nine and 16 pro-Palestinian civilian activists on one of the ships, which was at the time in international waters. Israel says its troops were ambushed by knife- and pipe-wielding thugs, but the U.N. Security Council and several Western nations have condemned the lethal raid. Was Israel within its rights? (Watch an al Jazeera report about the flotilla raid)
Israel's "crimes" demand condemnation: Israel's "criminal and inhumane" slaughter of civilians reveals its "true face," says Glenn Greenwald in Salon, and it isn't pretty. "Not even the most intense propaganda systems can prettify a lethal military attack" on a humanitarian flotilla carrying much-needed supplies to millions of Gazans living in "wretched and tragic" conditions under the Israeli blockade.
"Israel attacks aid ship, kills at least 10 civilians"
Israel didn't use enough force: Eager to avoid "escalating the confrontation," Israel sent in commandos carrying paintball guns, says Noah Pollak in Commentary. These "toy weapons" didn't allow Israeli forces to do their job and "take command of [the] ship" quickly and decisively, and the "terrorist blockade runners" seized the opportunity, knowing "that any bloodshed and violence... would be laid at the feet of the Israelis." Lesson: Israel needs to act decisively next time, and not mess around with half-measures.
"Nice guys finish last"
Israel's victim card isn't working: The "abhorrent" attacks on the boarding Israeli commandos does prove that at least some of the activists "are not followers of Gandhi," says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. But asking us to believe that Israel is the victim here? Please. Israel murdered at least 10 people on "a civilian flotilla in international waters breaking no law."
"Videos of the raid"
It was a trap, but Israel took the bait: The Turkish-backed flotilla clearly wanted Israel "to take violent action against it," says George Friedman at Stratfor Global Intelligence. And in obliging them, "Israel ran into its own fist." Stopping the flotilla may be been logical, but by looking "unreasonable and brutal," Israel alienated key allies and gave a potentially "catastrophic" PR victory to its enemies.
"Flotillas and the wars of public opinion"