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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gaza flotilla- are weapons or video the cause of the IDF response?

Political cartoon:
Soldier holding a dead dove saying, "I had no choice, it attacked me with an olive branch."

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The link that got me thinking and that resulted in this post:

An hour of footage that Israel failed to confiscate:

In listening (to the above link) to how Israel confiscated all of the video equipment and memory chips, it made me think that perhaps Israelis equated video equipment with bombs and weapons. Is that the cause of such crushing, lethal force against an aid ship (among other unarmed entities)? I mean, when a memory chip was discovered in a sock of someone trying to “smuggle” it out, people were strip-searched as though they were found with drugs or weapons! That alone seemed to be the priority, rather than making sure no one was harmed or securing the area.

There is probably enough footage in Israeli evidence lockers to reconstruct the events perfectly, which is definitely a danger if one wants only a certain message to get out. Will Israel throw those thousands or millions of dollars of equipment out if it reaches a different conclusion than what is portrayed on the video? Will Israel alter and edit the videos before releasing them? Some footage made its way off the ship. We can only hope this sheds enough light on the issue to discern what happened because that confiscated footage may never (unaltered) see the light of day. We do still have many witnesses who are speaking out, but that footage would probably be more likely considered proof than their statements. That said, why should we take Israel's word for it? Why should we accept their video and audio proof in light of the fact that they admitted to doctoring it to incriminate the flotilla participants rather than themselves?

It’s true that the footage would be detrimental to Israel, as it shows the truth of what happened and doesn’t toe the Israeli line, but a bomb it is not. Suppressing media footage and confiscating personal property to control the message are not actions a democratic nation should be allowed to take or get away with. I know Israel is worried about its image and obviously wants to control the message as it nearly has rewritten history (there’s no such thing as Palestinians; land with no people for people without land; Jews made the desert bloom; etc), but equating bombs and video cameras goes way too far and it needs to be stopped.

This sort of thing reminds me of the “demographic threat” you hear Israelis and especially Israeli officials speak of. Yes, that’s the Arab birth rate being slightly higher than the Jewish one. It is called a threat. Like nuclear threats, threats of terrorist attacks, threats that are justifiably met with violence. Just because one throws the word “threat” after something doesn’t justify confronting it with violence. Yet one sees Israel do this every time they interact with Palestinians, be it at a peaceful protest, confronting an aid ship or confronting rocket attacks.

Israel wants to investigate itself without international involvement. Not only that, but the investigation is not to assess guilt or compliance with international law, but just to see if the operation worked. ??? Perhaps we should have let Hitler and Milosovic investigate themselves- not to assess guilt, but just to evaluate the operation. When you put it that way, you see the absurdity. Criminals cannot investigate themselves.

Video cameras and Palestinian babies are NOT THREATS and do NOT justify Israel’s occupation or brutal treatment of its occupied population.

Some of said footage that did make it out of this whole mess, despite Israel's best efforts:

Some notable people were in the flotilla. This one mentions Edward Peck:

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman interviewed Adam Shapiro of Seeds for Peace, ISM, Free Gaza. He and his wife, Huwaida Arraf, were on the flotilla:

Iara Lee describes her experience on the flotilla on Democracy Now (June 10, 2010). She talks about her hour long footage (linked at beginning of the post) as well:

Huwaida Arraf and Colonel Ann Wright were on the flotilla and describe their experience:

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