Will there be harsh consequences for Israel?

Some are skeptical

From a Dawn editorial:

Given the nonchalance with which the Israeli military sheds civilian blood regularly as a matter of policy, one shouldn't be shocked by the grim drama that rocked the ships carrying aid and relief workers to the Gaza Strip on Monday morning. Israeli forces boarded the vessels and killed a number of passengers, even though the flotilla carried nothing but relief goods.

Save condemnations from around the world, one can reasonably be sure Israel will face no material consequences for this brutality on the seas.

Writing in Newsweek, Ben Adler considers America's tacit complicity in the massacre along with the probable consequences of this complicity:

When it comes to the U.S., those hoping that the deaths of nine foreign-aid workers will produce a notably different stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ought not to hold their breath. Current political circumstances, including the fact that this is an election year, make it very unlikely.

Just consider the difference in the statements by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Obama. "I condemn the violence, and Israel must explain," said Ban, while Obama was considerably more circumspect. The White House statement on Obama's call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The President expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded, many of whom are being treated in Israeli hospitals. The President also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances." This is not a paradigm shift, nor will it become one.


Ahmed Amr believes that Israel and Netanyahu will suffer mildly if they suffer at all:

Anybody with half a brain should be able to figure out that this most recent Israeli atrocity was premeditated. Netanyahu will pay a price and there will be a price to pay but it will be paid in short term currency. Obama might or might not figure out that he gave away the store and walked away empty handed but with mid-term elections on the horizon, he'll still shield Israeli leaders from accountability for their war crimes. The relationship with Turkey will be strained and a few European foreign ministers will fume. The United States had no problem figuring out how to react to piracy with the Achille Lauro, but all they can muster up in response to this latest act of Israeli state terrorism is a benign statement of 'concern.' Washington might even work up the courage to ask the Israelis to conduct an inquiry. Israel will be ostracized for a few weeks but Netanyahu will have accomplished his goal by derailing yet another peace initiative and winning additional time to continue building settlements and dispossess the Palestinians of their native soil.

Update II

Writing for Foreign Policy in Focus, Stephen Zunes asserts:

Every time Israel's right-wing government engages in yet another outrageous violation of international legal norms, it is easy to think, "No way are they going to get away with it this time!" And yet, thanks to the White House, Congress and leading American pundits, somehow, they do.

Last update on June 3, 2010 at 9:37AM

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