Why does Israel think it can control international waters and prevent humanitarian aid from coming into Gaza? Israel has boarded the “Freedom Flotilla” and killed an indeterminate number of innocent bystanders as they attempted to take control international waters. (If I wanted to engage political rhetoric, I would ask, what does Israel have against freedom, but I know that such questions are naive, because freedom is such an equivocal term).
This is going to be a major international incident. Israel is claiming the massacre is justified because their soldiers were attacked. They fail to point out they were attacked when they were boarding a vessel they had no lawful authority to board, acting like pirates who think they control the seas. Probably those who attacked the soldiers were acting reflexively without thinking. Let alone the moral question, in all practicality, this was not the wisest thing to do, because the soldiers were heavily armed and could take control of the ship without difficulty. Nonetheless, this does not justify the blockade, Israeli piracy, and the disproportionate response given by the Israeli soldiers.
The “Rabble Staff” explain the situation quite well:
Israel intensified its 2006 blockade after attacking the area in a weeks-long assault that ended in January 2009, killing more than 1,400 and leaving thousands more homeless and reducing huge swaths of housing to rubble. The blockade has created mass unemployment and extreme poverty, leaving four out of five Gazans — half of whom are children — dependent on humanitarian aid.
The Freedom Flotilla carries more than 10,000 tons of relief and developmental aid to Gaza, along with roughly 700 participants from more than 30 countries, among them volunteers from Canada, South Africa, Algeria, Turkey, Macedonia, Pakistan, Yemin, Kosovo, the UK and US and Kuwait – and an exiled former Archbishop of Jerusalem who currently lives in the Vatican.
Here we see the situation involves not just Muslim nations, but many of the nations of the West, such as the United States. We also see that the retired Archbishop of Jerusalem is on board the ship, indicating the active role the Church has had in this humanitarian aid. The result, of course, demonstrates the reason why this aid was needed in the first place. Israel’s brutal policies extend beyond Israel itself, and they think they can control the region, similar to how the USSR once tried to control Eastern Europe. Innocents in Gaza are suffering daily, and they need our help. This kind of reaction will only help generate more anger and hostility toward Israel by those who suffer from its harsh measures the most. This is not a good thing, because it will certainly generate more terrorist reactions against Israel. This we need to try to prevent. We need to move beyond the cycle of violence.
We need to move beyond the ideological spectrum from both sides trying to make this into a fight which no one can win. We need to encourage the peaceful folk in Israel and the rest of the Middle East to build the bridges of friendship, for this will be the only way peace can be made in the region.