Reading the news this morning, I got a big dose of he said/she said, with Israeli spokesmen claiming that its naval personnel were attacked with clubs and knives, perhaps even live fire, from one of the “peace activist” boats, and spokesmen for the blockade runners claiming, for example to the New York Times, that they would never, ever, engage in any violence.
So it would be easy enough to miss what I found to be the most relevant information, from the Washington Post:”Short video clips broadcast on various television stations showed demonstrators clubbing the navy personnel with metal bars and showed at least one soldier firing.”
I have my doubts about the wisdom of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and there was obviously an operational/intelligence failure that led to Israel’s naval commandos having to open fire to defend themselves, giving the other side a propaganda victory. But it does appear that the physical violence started from the other side, which to begin with had the rather unhumanitarian mission of aiding Hamas, and, to the extent there were sincere humanitarian/peace activists involved, allowed themselves to get hijacked by violent Islamic extremists who manned one of the ships.
Net result of the “peace/humanitarian” mission: dead activists, wounded Israeli soldiers, no more humanitarian aid to Gaza than if Israel’s offer to transfer the aid to Gaza from Ashdod had been accepted, and a likely breakdown in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that were about to start. Congratulations.
UPDATE: Reuters: “Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement that organized the convoy, said: ‘How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this? Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?'” Here’s a hint, Ms. Berlin: when you try to run a naval blockade, and then attack the blockaders with weaponry, “civilians” is not an apt description.
Allison Kaplan Summer (via Instapundit): “Israel appears to have stepped directly into a trap of a carefully planned suicide mission dressed up in the clothing of a humanitarian effort.”