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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Israel's Foreign Ministry casts a finger of blame

A story in Haaretz claims that Israel's Foreign Ministry warned against attempting to board the flotilla of fools in international waters last week, claiming that such a move would 'hamper' Israel on the diplomatic and public relations fronts.
An Israel Defense Forces internal probe of the flotilla raid is already underway. The head of the investigation, General (res. ) Giora Eiland, will soon begin to compile the findings of the probe into a report. In discussions that preceded the flotilla's arrival and forcible takeover, legal experts with the Military Advocate General's Corps and the Foreign Ministry offered similar opinions which stated that there was no legal impediment to stopping a ship whose operators have already announced an intention to trespass a blockade, even if the takeover is done in international waters.

The legal opinions were based on precedent-setting cases involving the American and British navies as well as citations of the San Remo international law manual of 1994.

Nonetheless, Foreign Ministry officials cautioned representatives of the defense establishment that it would be difficult to justify a military operation outside of Israel's territorial waters from both a political and public relations standpoint.

Thus, according to senior figures familiar with the details of the discussions, the Foreign Ministry urged defense officials to launch their operations to stop the flotilla only after the ships had crossed Gaza's maritime boundaries. The ministry's diplomats repeated this request on more than one occasion.

"If somebody breaks into your home and you shoot him after he enters the doorway, there's no problem in justifying this action in court," said a senior ministry official. "But if you attack the burglar while he is on his way to your house at a distance of two blocks away, then you have a problem."

"It was made clear that we can ultimately prove that we acted according to international law, but this will be very complicated and we will absorb many denunciations along the way," the official said.

Senior figures involved in the planning of the operation praised the improved cooperation between the defense establishment and the Foreign Ministry. While the diplomats' warnings were understood, their recommendation was not accepted due to "operational reasons."

"The navy expressed concern that it would not be able to stop the flotilla once the ships reached within 20 miles of the coast," said an official who had a hand in the planning of the operation. "The IDF was fearful that the naval forces would not have adequate time to complete the operation. The army wanted to overtake the ships gradually and at a relatively great distance from the coast."
Substantively, I disagree with the Foreign Ministry's assessment. The World isn't outraged that the IDF took over the ships in international waters. It's outraged that we prevented the 'humanitarians' from reaching Gaza and it's outraged that we are imposing a blockade on Gaza at all. That would have been the case if we had boarded those ships 20 miles or 200 miles off the coast. Therefore, the IDF's planning concerns ought to have (and did) take precedence.

And as the title of this post and the picture at the top (Boston Consul General Nadav Tamir with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick) imply, I am also still suspicious of much of the Foreign Ministry's bureaucracy, and suspect strongly that this story was planted by someone at the Foreign Ministry who was doing some CYA work.


At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

come on carl,

the analogy is wrong, but the reasoning is correct

it was a pr blunder

for a week, because of all the mishaps regarding the flotilla even getting out of port...jokes were being made about it.

so then they are boarded and we find out that a bunch of terrorists were on one of the ships?

gotta take a page from the us and make the case before the action is taken.

and even then, look at all the alternatives before you do a boarding...where there is even the slightest possibility of violence.

as much as you hate it...we are all still in galus...we do have to care how the world view us.

not saying that it would have made a difference...just saying i can see the other side.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the leak came from the leftist deadwood at the Foreign Ministry. Why some in the Israeli government feel they have to apologize for Israel's right of self defense is one of those mysteries I will never understand.

What could go wrong indeed

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

1) Is Haaretz trying to cover up the possibility that turkey reassured Israel that there were no terrorists on board?

2)What about the "Falklands Flotilla???" Go to "my right word blog" for info on this. The UK hit the Belgrano in international waters. UK at war with Arg., Israel at war with Hamas!

Haaretz are untrustworthy.Yes: "leftist dead-wood"!


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