The United Nations Security Council wasted no time meeting in special emergency session yesterday regarding Israel’s commando operation against the flotilla of ships seeking to break the blockade of Gaza, resulting in the death of at least 9 people aboard one of the six ships in the flotilla. The New York Times reported that Israel faced intense international condemnation and that, at the Security Council session yesterday, voices were raised demanding an end to the blockade.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, whose country appeared to be a moving force behind this latest in a series of blockade-busting flotillas, called the Israeli raid “banditry and piracy” on the high seas and “murder conducted by a state.”
The Security Council issued a presidential statement at nearly 2 a.m. EDT in which it said it
deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza.
When it came to condemning Israel, the Security Council decided to meet on a holiday during which the UN is normally closed and continued in session until 2 a.m. Meanwhile, the Security Council continues to say nothing about the unprovoked killing of 46 South Korean sailors by a North Korean torpedo attack last March. Double standards are par for the course at the United Nations.
The six ship flotilla, with at least one ship containing armed passengers, may well have been a set-up to provoke Israel into over-reacting and causing a backlash that would force Israel to buckle under international pressure and remove all restrictions on the import and export of cargo into and out of Gaza. Hamas would then have a free hand to rebuild its military infrastructure, re-arm and attack Israel with the kind of sophisticated rockets that Iran has already supplied to Hezbollah.
Israel must not buckle to such hypocritical ‘outrage.’ That said, however, Israel would have been wise not to fall for the bait being set by Turkey and the pro-Palestinian activists leading the flotilla. The ship with the fatalities was a Turkish passenger vessel, larger than the others that had been intercepted peaceably. Why couldn’t the Turkish ship have been shadowed by Israeli war ships and then, when it got nearer to land, surrounded so that it could not unload its cargo? This may sound like second-guessing, but Israel would do well to examine what less aggressive means might have been available that would have forced the pro-Palestinian activists aboard the ship to make the first aggressive move if they wanted to break the blockade.
Israel may have acted precipitously in this instance – the facts need to be fully investigated. However, the blockade itself should continue as long as Hamas remains in power and is intent on destroying the Jewish state.