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Stratfor - Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion

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Wiseone

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Free article from Stratfor, an independent analysis group, which comes to the conclusion that the recently raided flotilla was simply bait for Israel in the hopes of creating an international incident in which Israel comes out looking like the bad guy, for the purposes of swaying public opinion. Its an interesting and fairly short read and I think would help place the Israeli-Palestinian question in its proper light. Anybody wishing to know how to to view and react to this incident from a purely analytical basis should read this.

Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion | STRATFOR

Excerpt
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

One should also check out this short dispatch for an analysis on regional power-shifting in the ME from Egypt to Turkey and how that influences each state's reaction to this incident.

http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20100601_dispatch_turkish_flotilla_and_egypts_position
 
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reefedjib

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I love reading George Friedman and Stratfor.
 

Wiseone

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I'd really like to see a discussion on a purely analytic basis, without worrying about who's right or wrong or anything else other than what people will think will happen as a result of this internationally and domestically in Israel and Palestine. Along with what people think was the reason for each side's particular actions and line of thinking, and what that says about them as leaders and decision makers, but all for the singular purpose of better understanding the dynamics of the issue and the region.
 

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well they would say that.

and if they really think that way, too bad they aren't smart enough to figure out that killing people on the bait boat would not be a smart move.
 

Apocalypse

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well they would say that.

and if they really think that way, too bad they aren't smart enough to figure out that killing people on the bait boat would not be a smart move.
Considering that it was either shoot or be shot, I don't think there are many who'd consider the "get shot at" to be a smart move.
 

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A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.
1 or 2 years ago Israel allowed a similar flotilla through. There were no killings, there was no publicity and there was no international pressure on Israel as a result if a foolish policy to board a ship in international waters.

Source? A guardian article by the Israeli ambassador to the UK. I posted a link in the "flotilla thread" on the breaking news forum.

Why did Israel change policy? Why was the result of boarding and such a change of policy such a surprise?
 

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Considering that it was either shoot or be shot, I don't think there are many who'd consider the "get shot at" to be a smart move.
hmmm ... and its been stated clearly that at least five of the dead were shot from behind, at least one multiple times.

another case was a doctor who was tending one of th einjured who was shot in the stomach, and another was an unarmed protestor who was shot in the femoral artery, and who almost bled to death.

I am not sure whether "Shoot or be shot at" applies in these cases.
 

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hmmm ... and its been stated clearly that at least five of the dead were shot from behind, at least one multiple times.

another case was a doctor who was tending one of th einjured who was shot in the stomach, and another was an unarmed protestor who was shot in the femoral artery, and who almost bled to death.

I am not sure whether "Shoot or be shot at" applies in these cases.
Stated by who? Sorry but it was self defense, the crew of the boat which was owned and operated by the Turkish Islamic supremacist organization with ties to Hamas and global jihadists attacked the Israeli weapons inspectors with lethal force and the Israelis responded in kind.
 

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hmmm ... and its been stated clearly that at least five of the dead were shot from behind, at least one multiple times.

another case was a doctor who was tending one of th einjured who was shot in the stomach, and another was an unarmed protestor who was shot in the femoral artery, and who almost bled to death --
Stated by who? Sorry but it was self defense, the crew of the boat which was owned and operated by the Turkish Islamic supremacist organization with ties to Hamas and global jihadists attacked the Israeli weapons inspectors with lethal force and the Israelis responded in kind.
Has the Israeli enquiry into the flotilla concluded yet?

I've also not seen total documentary detail of the events to be able to resolve just whose version on that night is the definitive one.
 

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hmmm ... and its been stated clearly that at least five of the dead were shot from behind, at least one multiple times.

another case was a doctor who was tending one of th einjured who was shot in the stomach, and another was an unarmed protestor who was shot in the femoral artery, and who almost bled to death.

I am not sure whether "Shoot or be shot at" applies in these cases.
Yes, the shooting from behind could be a mistake by the soldiers just as they could be shots coming from one of the "peaceful protesters" who were apparently untrained with guns.

Two soldiers however did suffer gunshot injuries, and have nearly bled to death, so there's no doubt that this was a case of shoot or be shot, and the fact that only 9 out of the over 100 violent peaceful protesters who were on board of that ship have died is quite an achievement considering the gunfight that has occurred on it.
 

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1 or 2 years ago Israel allowed a similar flotilla through. There were no killings, there was no publicity and there was no international pressure on Israel as a result if a foolish policy to board a ship in international waters.

Source? A guardian article by the Israeli ambassador to the UK. I posted a link in the "flotilla thread" on the breaking news forum.

Why did Israel change policy? Why was the result of boarding and such a change of policy such a surprise?
There was no change of policy, ships that were trying to reach Gaza were blocked and stopped in the past.
The ship you're referring to was let in by the Olmert administration, correct, but its result is what we've seen on the ending of May, and what we see right now as well, it has drawn even more ships and has given legitimacy to the act.
 
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marywollstonecraft

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Yes, the shooting from behind could be a mistake by the soldiers just as they could be shots coming from one of the "peaceful protesters" who were apparently untrained with guns.

Two soldiers however did suffer gunshot injuries, and have nearly bled to death, so there's no doubt that this was a case of shoot or be shot, and the fact that only 9 out of the over 100 violent peaceful protesters who were on board of that ship have died is quite an achievement considering the gunfight that has occurred on it.
would be interested to see the source statingthat two Israelis were shot, although there were reports of Israelis injured (including one seriously) none of the sources I have seen have mentioned they were shot.

on the other hand, the nine people killed were shot 31 times, including five who were shot in the head. Seems a bit like overkill if its about self defence, even if the victims were not shot in the back of the head as claimed. the example of the Indonesian doctor shot in the stomach - how is that self defence? And what aboutthe photographer shot in the forehead? how is that self denfence?

speaking of the press - the experience of independent Australian journalists does not reflect well on the actions of the Israeli soldiers.

Lateline - 04/06/2010: Journalist recounts Israeli raid experience

McGeough BTW is not known for his soft hearted approach to the Palestinian issue. His and Kate Gerarty's presence on the boat was not indicative of support - they were there for the story.
 

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Has the Israeli enquiry into the flotilla concluded yet?

I've also not seen total documentary detail of the events to be able to resolve just whose version on that night is the definitive one.
I don't think it has begun yet. Thankfully some of the people of Israel seem much like the rest of us and are as interested in this being a proper inquiry. Uir Avnery discusses this here is the article 'A Broomstick can shoot'.

NETANYAHU’S DECISION to enlarge the powers of the commission, so that it will be able to summon witnesses, is far from what is needed. The commission will be unable to investigate how and by whom it was decided to impose the blockade on Gaza, how it was decided to attack the flotilla, how the operation was planned and how it was carried out. We therefore see no reason to withdraw our Supreme Court petition to disband the Turkel commission and to appoint an official State Commission of Inquiry. The more so since Turkel himself, a week before his appointment, had also called for the appointment of a State Commission of Inquiry.

The chances? Not the best. The Supreme Court can interfere in this matter only if we prove that the government’s decision is “extremely unreasonable”. And indeed, in the past, State Commissions of Inquiry have been appointed for far less important matters than this affair, which has undermined the Israeli public’s confidence in the army and the government, aroused the entire world against us and dealt a heavy blow to our relations with Turkey. If this is not a matter of “public interest”, as the law demands, what is?
(articles on right side colum) Uri Avnery's weekly english article

You will see they have managed to get some some change but I think it they will not know until July 12th or 14th whether there is in reality going to be an inquiry which can be seen as independent.
 
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Infinite Chaos

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There was no change of policy, ships that were trying to reach Gaza were blocked and stopped in the past.
The ship you're referring to was let in by the Olmert administration, correct, but its result is what we've seen on the ending of May, and what we see right now as well, it has drawn even more ships and has given legitimacy to the act.
Are you suggesting that

1) letting in ONE ship has led to many other ships attempting the blockade? That one ship was the first?
2) that many other ships have tried before and since but letting in one ship directly led to the incident in May?

Seems that the blockade of Gaza itself and of the collective punishment of all of Gaza brought legitimacy to the act - not the other way around.

If Israel hadn't been blockading sufficient ordinary food items meant for the population that there would be no need for humanitarian aid flotillas.

-- some of the people of Israel seem much like the rest of us --
Do you think those Jews prepared to question events and govt policy also get called anti-Semitic or Jew jaters or Israel haters as we often face here? Note: Alexa - sarcasm not aimed at you.
 
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Apocalypse

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I don't think it has begun yet. Thankfully some of the people of Israel seem much like the rest of us and are as interested in this being a proper inquiry. Uir Avnery discusses this here is the article 'A Broomstick can shoot'.
Folks like Uri Avenry from the far-left are merely interested in taking a shot at the Israeli government, so yes they could be compared with you folks, but fortunately the absolute majority of the Israeli population is like the rest of us, and it is merely seeking for the truth.
That's why when Netanyahu has enlarged the powers of the commission it was considered to be exactly what was needed.
 

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Are you suggesting that

1) letting in ONE ship has led to many other ships attempting the blockade? That one ship was the first?
When you say "No one can cross this bridge" and you stand by your word and do not let people cross a bridge for a few years, then obviously people would gradually stop trying to cross that bridge.
If however one day a person tries to cross the bridge and you let him cross it, it ensures that more and more people will try crossing that bridge since that one was successful.

Same with the ships and the blockade, once that ship was let in, it has invited future attempts to break the blockade.
2) that many other ships have tried before and since but letting in one ship directly led to the incident in May?
Already answered that, letting that ship pass has invited future attempts in a bigger mangtitude.
Seems that the blockade of Gaza itself and of the collective punishment of all of Gaza brought legitimacy to the act - not the other way around.
And since there was no collective punishment of the Gazan population, that is a false statement.
If Israel hadn't been blockading sufficient ordinary food items meant for the population that there would be no need for humanitarian aid flotillas.
There was no need before it, the situation in Gaza now is not much different than it was during the economic blockade, there was never a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip during the time of the blockade.
 

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Folks like Uri Avenry from the far-left are merely interested in taking a shot at the Israeli government, so yes they could be compared with you folks, but fortunately the absolute majority of the Israeli population is like the rest of us, and it is merely seeking for the truth.
That may be true if they are not being supplied with proper information.

Immediately after the Turkel Commission was set up to investigate the flotilla incident, Gush Shalom filed a petition to the Supreme Court of Justice against its appointment. We demanded its replacement by a full-fledged State Commission of Inquiry. The court hearing was fixed for last Wednesday. But on Tuesday afternoon, the Attorney General’s office called our lawyer, Gabi Lasky: the Prime Minister had decided at the last moment to increase the powers of the commission, and the government was about to confirm the change. Therefore, the Attorney General asked us to agree to a postponement of the hearing for ten days.

Not a single Israeli newspaper had published a word about our application – something unthinkable if it had been the initiative of a right-wing organization. But after the change, it became impossible to ignore it anymore: almost all papers pointed out that our application had played an important role in Netanyahu’s decision.

Jacob Turkel and his friend, Jacob Neeman, the Minister of Justice who appointed him, had come to the conclusion that they would be defeated in court. That’s why Turkel demanded an enlargement of the number of the commission members as well as its powers.
It is however the first time I have heard of the desire for justice to be done being assigned only to the far left. It used to be the preserve of those with knowledge and integrity independent of their political views.

That's why when Netanyahu has enlarged the powers of the commission it was considered to be exactly what was needed.
Apocalypse do you not think that if I am accused of something and I set up the inquiry I am less likely to be found guilty than if an independent person sets up that inquiry. Clearly the independent person is far more likely to come to an independent decision and further it will be seen to be an independent decision. Or as Uri Avnery puts it

The law provides an alternative - the appointment of a “Government Commission of Inquiry”, which enjoys a far lower standing. It differs from a “state” commission in one extremely important aspect: its members are not appointed by the Chief Justice, but by the government itself.

That is, of course, a huge difference. Anyone with an elementary grasp of politics understands that he who appoints the members of a commission strongly influences its conclusions in advance. If a settler from Qiryat-Arba is appointed to head a commission about the legality of the settlements, its conclusion may not be quite the same as those of a commission chaired by a member of Peace Now.

That has been proven in the past. After the Sabra and Shatila massacre, Prime Minister Menachem Begin initially refused to appoint a State Commission of Inquiry. However, under the intense pressure of Israeli public opinion he was compelled to do so, and the commission removed Ariel Sharon from the Ministry of Defense. Ehud Olmert remembered this and drew the conclusion: after Lebanon War II he obstinately refused the set up a “State Commission” and agreed merely to a “Government Commission”, whose members he appointed himself. Not surprisingly, he got away almost unscathed.
Both quotes A Broomstick can Shoot, right side link Uri Avnery's weekly english article

In this country we say Justice must be done and seen to be done. If the inquiry does not believe this do not be surprised if people do not take it seriously.
 
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marywollstonecraft

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It is however the first time I have heard of the desire for justice to be done being assigned only to the far left. It used to be the preserve of those with knowledge and integrity independent of their political views.
I am seeing this a lot - I recall a time when truth and justice was what people with integrity believed in. It would be a sad day if integrity were ever to become a function of one's political belief.


In this country we say Justice must be done and seen to be done. If the inquiry does not believe this do not be surprised if people do not take it seriously.
this is of course important. It is the foundation of the legal system, and every appeal system I have ever come across.
 

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That may be true if they are not being supplied with proper information.



It is however the first time I have heard of the desire for justice to be done being assigned only to the far left. It used to be the preserve of those with knowledge and integrity independent of their political views.



Apocalypse do you not think that if I am accused of something and I set up the inquiry I am less likely to be found guilty than if an independent person sets up that inquiry. Clearly the independent person is far more likely to come to an independent decision and further it will be seen to be an independent decision. Or as Uri Avnery puts it



Both quotes A Broomstick can Shoot, right side link Uri Avnery's weekly english article

In this country we say Justice must be done and seen to be done. If the inquiry does not believe this do not be surprised if people do not take it seriously.
I do not find any wrong with the appointment of the committee members by the government, after all we are free to judge who they are and what is their past credibility.
As to the claim that this inquiry is not to be taken seriously, that is a joke, and I've so far only heard folks with previous anti-Israeli opinions objecting to this inquiry.
The inquiry is due to its transperancy and independence seen as reliable and its conclusions will be respected by the international community, as so far Israel received many praisings for the setting of that inquiry, and now after Netanyahu has increased the powers of this comittee its authority is even bigger.

And as I've stated before, radicals like Avnery do not seek justice but merely seek to take a shot at the Israeli government.
When his organization tries to tackle the independent committee using the supreme court, it is simply maintaining its objection to anything related to the government, nothing more.
 

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would be interested to see the source statingthat two Israelis were shot, although there were reports of Israelis injured (including one seriously) none of the sources I have seen have mentioned they were shot.
CBS:
Israel has said two of the seven soldiers wounded were shot with guns that were wrested from them, while a third was stabbed.
Turkish Organizer, Israel Argue Over Flotilla - CBS News

You might want to reconsider your sources if they don't tell you such crucial details.
on the other hand, the nine people killed were shot 31 times, including five who were shot in the head. Seems a bit like overkill if its about self defence, even if the victims were not shot in the back of the head as claimed. the example of the Indonesian doctor shot in the stomach - how is that self defence? And what aboutthe photographer shot in the forehead? how is that self denfence?
We're speaking here about close quarter fight between some few soldiers and over a hundred "peaceful activists".
From what the soldiers have stated however they have committed a very selective fire once given the approval to return fire, so it is very likely that some of those shot were shot by the activists themselves while they were aiming for the soldiers, since the soldiers were outnumbered by the activists and it is very hard to hit them without hitting an activist.
 

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You might want to reconsider your sources if they don't tell you such crucial details.
It's all Guardian, all the time. Their sanctimonious readership has been trained to equate the Islamist point of view with some sort of noble quest for honesty and integrity.

Meanwhile, the unedited videos of the actual landing events display to the non-brainwashed what actually happened. As O'Brien said to Smith in the classic scene from 1984 that one day he would hold up two fingers and Smith would swear he saw three, these videos show that it doesn't even take torture to make Guardian readers deny the reality of what actually unfolded. All it takes is the consistant feeding of their bigotry and the creation of the illusion that joining Islamists in ther persecution of Jews is a requirement for being considered virtuous.
 

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Has the Israeli enquiry into the flotilla concluded yet?

I've also not seen total documentary detail of the events to be able to resolve just whose version on that night is the definitive one.

I have seen the evidence that this ship and three others in the "peace" flotilla were owned and operated by a Islamic Suprmacist organization with ties to the global Jihad and Hamas, I have seen the evidence that crew members including at least one of the killed stating that they wanted to become martyrs prior to bording the ships, I have seen evidence that of an Israeli weapons inspector being stabbed and a mob beating another visciously with metal pipes. I have seen all I need to see.
 

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would be interested to see the source statingthat two Israelis were shot, although there were reports of Israelis injured (including one seriously) none of the sources I have seen have mentioned they were shot.

on the other hand, the nine people killed were shot 31 times, including five who were shot in the head. Seems a bit like overkill if its about self defence, even if the victims were not shot in the back of the head as claimed. the example of the Indonesian doctor shot in the stomach - how is that self defence? And what aboutthe photographer shot in the forehead? how is that self denfence?

speaking of the press - the experience of independent Australian journalists does not reflect well on the actions of the Israeli soldiers.

Lateline - 04/06/2010: Journalist recounts Israeli raid experience

McGeough BTW is not known for his soft hearted approach to the Palestinian issue. His and Kate Gerarty's presence on the boat was not indicative of support - they were there for the story.
They responded to the use of deadly force with deadly force. It is the "peaceful protestors" who initiated the deadly force. End of story. Are you suggesting that the Israelis should have shot to wound when confronted with deadly force?
 
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