Flotilla Nightmare --- a tipping point?

Tipping Point?

by digby

What in the hell is going on here?

Israeli naval commandos raided a flotilla carrying thousands of tons of supplies for Gaza in international waters on Monday morning, killing at least 10 people, according to the Israeli military and activists traveling with the flotilla. Some Israeli news reports put the death toll higher.
Oh, I see. The unarmed activists "politically provoked" the commandoes when they raided the ships and so they had to be killed:

Israel's defense minister has expressed regret for the deaths of pro-Palestinian activists in a clash with navy commandos. But he has blamed the violence on organizers of a flotilla carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Speaking at a Monday news conference in Tel Aviv, Ehud Barak called the aid flotilla a "political provocation" by anti-Israel forces. He said the sponsors of the flotilla are violent.

Israel's military chief, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, said soldiers were forced by violent activists to respond with live fire.

At least 10 activists were killed in Monday morning's clash in international waters of Israel's Mediterranean coast.

I'm just speechless. Everything I've read suggests that the Israeli government is doubling down and insisting that these peace activists, which included an 86 year old Holocaust survivor, were violent terrorist supporters, who were evidently asking to have their ship boarded in the dead of night and have their people killed. There is no justification for this but one would at least have expected the Israeli government to have come up with something better than this to explain it.

Greenwald reminds everyone of the background:
The six-ship flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid along with 600 people, all civilians, which included 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and an elderly Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, 85. In December, 2008, Israel, citing rocket attacks from Hamas, launched a 22-day, barbaric attack on Gaza, bombarding a trapped population, killing hundreds of innocent civilians (1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed), and devastating Gazan society. A U.N. report released earlier this month documented that, as a result of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt (the two largest recipients of U.S. aid), "[m]ost of the property and infrastructure damaged . . . was still unrepaired 12 months later."

The flotilla attacked by Israel last night was carrying materials such as cement, water purifiers, and other building materials, much of which Israel refuses to let pass into Gaza. At the end of 2009, a U.N. report found that "insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory," and also "blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings."

It hardly seemed possible for Israel -- after its brutal devastation of Gaza and its ongoing blockade -- to engage in more heinous and repugnant crimes. But by attacking a flotilla in international waters carrying humanitarian aid, and slaughtering at least 10 people, Israel has managed to do exactly that. If Israel's goal were to provoke as much disgust and contempt for it as possible, it's hard to imagine how it could be doing a better job.

Don't tell it to CNN, which seems to be going out of its way to portray attacking a ship in international waters as a "sovereign right" which the Israelis merely mismanaged by shooting a bunch of people. (Funny, it seems like only yesterday that this sort of thing was called "piracy.")

This was unjustifiable for any reason.