Once again Israel flouts international law

The Guardian reports:

According to Israeli military accounts, commandos boarded the Rachel Corrie from naval vessels alongside rather than from helicopters, as happened in Monday's operation. They gained control of the boat within minutes.

The passengers and crew had already declared their intention not to resist.

In the aftermath, according to an Associated Press report, "Benjamin Netanyahu said…that he would 'not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza.'"

Really! When did Iran make known its plans to put a port in Gaza? Oh, right, this never happened. Netanyahu made it up.

Anyway, Israel's siege of the Palestinian territories is blatantly illegal. As Richard Falk states with respect to the Gaza War, "In my view the UN charter, and international law, does not give Israel the legal foundation for claiming self-defense." More specifically, because Israel effectively controls Gaza, Israel cannot claim to be at war with Gaza, the siege can be identified as a form of collective punishment and abuse of a subject population. Thus not only does Israel lack a legal right to determine what will and will not exist in Gaza, it is also criminally culpable for the situation found in that area.

Naturally, the attacks on the Freedom Flotilla were also illegal. As George Bisharat explained after the first but before the second attack: "The flotilla, carefully searched for arms before disembarkation, enjoyed the right of free navigation in international waters, and Israel had no legal justification to interrupt its peaceful mission." The attack was thus gratuitous. He went on to point out that:

Flotilla passengers were entitled to defend themselves against Israel's forcible boarding of the Mavi Marmara, whether or not Israeli commandos fired immediately on landing on the ship's deck, as the passengers maintain. Dropping 100 armed soldiers on a ship from the sky is not a peaceful maneuver. Nor can Israeli armed commandos claim self-defense, any more than a purse snatcher facing a victim who elects to fight back. Hence, Israel is culpable for the killings that followed.

The rule of law does not apply to Israel, it seems.

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