Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Smoke on the water

Obviously the main news story today has been the attack on the Gaza convoy by Israeli forces. Tempting though it is to start ranting about Israeli murderers, I truly believe that the best response to this is a proper impartial enquiry, such as Amnesty International is calling for. It is disappointing, then, that the USA is blocking such demands and insisting instead that an enquiry carried out by Israel will be sufficiently impartial. This seems about as likely to be impartial as if they were to suggest that Hamas carry it out, and does raise suspicions as to what exactly is to be covered up.

There has been a good deal of comment to the effect that the Israelis were acting in self-defence because the actiivists on the aid vessel were armed with knives and clubs. Hmm. So if I break into your house, armed with a gun, and you go to attack me with a cricket bat, I can shoot you dead and plead self-defence? If I were in charge of a vessel in international waters and somebody was threatening to board it, whether it be Israeli soldiers or Somali pirates, I would definitely be looking to repel boarders. Knives and clubs be hanged: if I'd been in charge the first israeli soldier to rappel down onto my deck would have had a crimson signal flare burning in the hole where his bollocks used to be. (Smoke on the water indeed....)

Still, they clearly don't make Israeli special forces the way they used to. Back in my youth, Israeli commandos were regarded with awe. These were the guys who had rescued the Entebbe hostages, among many similar impeccably-executed attacks. Yet in the raid on the convoy, although the Israelis were armed with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and Tasers, they were unable to subdue a rabble of (in effect) scythe-wielding peasants without resorting to deadly force. They might just as well have used an anti-ship missile for all the good their less-than-lethal weaponry did them. Not only that, but there is footage of at least one soldier being flung overboard by the activists: I can't help cheering, nor would I have wasted any sympathy on him had he drowned. I mean, how do you let that happen? And as for two (not one, but TWO) Israeli soldiers allowing themselves to be dispossessed of their guns by their intended quarry: I assume that regardless of the outcome of any enquiry those idiots will be court-martialled. This shower deserve to be regarded not with awe but with utter contempt, not on account of the rights or wrongs of their raid but on account of the utter incomepetence with which it was conducted.

If the flotilla activists really did attempt to turn the purloined guns on their former owners, it is hardly surprising that they wound up dead (though that would only account for two deaths, and it is by no means certain that they did anything of the kind). Still, even if they only intended to hurl the guns overboard I can certainly see that their life expectancy would be much abridged once someone saw a non-Israeli holding a gun. However, I read somewhere an Israeli spokesman suggesting the activists had actually fired on the soldiers and that this was proved by the empty magazines. Hmm. If two people had each emptied an automatic rifle into a bunch of Israeli soldiers (a process which takes several seconds at best, during which time the contents of your head are likely to be relocated by the output of someone else's rifle) I would expect there to have been at least one dead Israeli as a result. So that suggestion stinks: by all means claim that bullets were fired by the activists, but both magazines emptied? I don't think so.

Uncle Jimmy's contribution to the debate is predictably "they had it coming". Indeed, given his recent propensity for using clips from Hollywood musicals to make his point, I'm astonished that he didn't link to this. The comments thread is amusing though. Jimmy moans about

the cute and wrong-headed idea that the “victim” mentality of many in the Middle East is the right approach

Hmm. And which government in the Middle East epitomises this "victim" mentality? Which country justifies every act of brutality, every murder, every invasion by whining that it is surrounded by enemies who want to destroy it, that its people (or their fields of vegetables, which is the same, right?) are being slaughtered weekly by rockets, and that about ten years ago somebody bombed a pizza restaurant. Members of this government then hold annual celebrations of the anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel (not terrorism as it was carried out by Zionists). Cute indeed.

Stiil, to understand the extent to which Jimmy is unhitched from reality one need only note that he describes Israel's occupation of the West Bank as

an “illegal occupation”, they say

They do, don't they? Damn those pesky Geneva Conventions.