Israel’s ‘peaceful’ pirates

The Associated Press reports thusly about the seizure of the MV Rachel Corrie:

Israeli forces seized a Gaza-bound aid vessel swiftly and without meeting resistance on Saturday, preventing it from breaking a naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory days after a similar effort turned bloody.

A resistance- and -violence free seizure benefited Israel because:

Israel has faced mounting international pressure to lift the blockade since Monday's deadly confrontation aboard a Turkish aid vessel headed for Gaza. But it stood by the embargo — which it says is needed to prevent the Islamic militant group from getting weapons — even as the Obama administration called the current restrictions "unsustainable."

The 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie, which was carrying 11 pro-Palestinian activists, nine crew and hundreds of tons of aid, was intercepted in international waters, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Gaza's shore and was being escorted to the nearby Israeli port of Ashdod, the military said.

So, the AP believes it peaceful for armed vessels to board with the intent to seize an unarmed and physically unthreatening ship as it sails in international waters, thus preventing the unarmed and physically unthreatening vessel from breaking a naval blockade and delivering the humanitarian aid cargo it carried.

As a matter of fact, the seizure of a ship by an armed and hostile force is an aggressive (not-peaceful) act by definition. It is also an instance of theft and an attack on the sovereignty of the country that provided a flag for the seized ship (Ireland in this instance). What the AP should have said is that Israeli commandos seized the MV Rachel Corrie without also murdering anyone on board that ship as it had murdered activists on the Freedom Flotilla earlier in the week.

It is noteworthy that the Israelis refused to call the MV Rachel Corrie by its name during the episode, using instead the name the ship sailed under before it was renamed the Rachel Corrie. The reason for this insult is obvious: Rachel Corrie was an activist murdered by the IDF while she attempted to defend a Palestinian home from demolition by an IDF bulldozer.

The AP also reports that: "The outcry over the aid ships has been a public relations nightmare for Israel, while giving Hamas a welcome boost and vastly improving prospects of at least easing the closure of the territory." Actually, condemnation of the initial seizure of aid ships sailing for Gaza occurred not because of the ships per se, but because of the criminal nature of Israel's occupation of Gaza, its blockade of Gaza, its attacks on Gaza, its piracy and murder in international waters. Israel effectively committed an act of war (or, more accurately, a casus foederis) on three NATO countries. The whole Freedom Flotilla event has not just provided Israel with a PR fiasco; it generated an external political crisis for the Israeli regime, a crisis attributable to crimes Israeli commits merely by violently imposing an Apartheid regime on the Palestinians, a regime that anticipates genocidal ethnic cleansing as one possible outcome.

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