Here an article today to reference:
Whether it was justified - I need to see some more facts (hopefully not distorted or spun by the Israeli government and hardline press), I really hope some of the protesters got some pictures or video, but I realize it was at night. In general though, IF they are violating a blockade that has in the past blocked military supplies, and IF the military did give them warning (I believe the military said beforehand they would attack at night, though I don’t know ho they told), and IF the protesters fought back - and I mean seriously fought back, not just threw a few punches and pushes - then I believe it’s quite possible that the military were in the right to use some force, at least legally. Don’t see why they couldn’t use Tasers or something instead though, but that may be rosy thinking.
Imagine if the US was blocking ships from say Iran (they probably are in fact, unless there’s oil on board) because they’re worried about nuclear or dirty bomb parts getting in the country, and the ship tried to run the blockade, the US military boarded, and the admittedly less armed or not armed Iranian crew fought back.
But IF there was no real warning, or IF there was no real fighting from the protesters, or IF it was very obvious or checkable that the supplies could not be used for military purposes, then I believe the military overreacted, and should be… what? Taken to the ICC? I think Israel and the US aren’t party to the ICC for just these reasons. Sanctions? Nothing serious will be done.
But here’s the thing:
Netanyahu is on record as having - and was elected partially because of - his hardline stance against the Palestinian issue and his opposition to peace talks. So they go and kill some protesters on the flotilla, and all of the media are talking about how this will hurt the prospects of the “indirect talks” for peace and bad publicity and so forth. Why is it not obvious that Netanyahu and the current administration don’t give a rats ass about peace with the Palestinians under any of the current peace plans? They only want unconditional surrender and halt of all attacks permanently before they will even consider peace. The Israeli hardliners know that America can whine and whistle all they want, they will not give up support for Israel so long as they are the only ardent supporters of US policy in the Middle East and the only thing close to a stable non-US hating democracy (even though it is mainly a democracy for the Jewish citizenry). Simple fact, everyone knows it. So the flotilla incident, as pathetic as it may end up being, should come as no surprise, and the world reaction probably plays into BN’s hands. If the US and the other European allies push back too hard, Israel’s always got their aces in the hole - nuking Iran, totally closing off Gaza and the West Bank - to play.
So we can argue this all we want, and we should (still like to see a few more “facts”), but in the end, the Israeli government DOES NOT CARE.
Here’s a real good article on how the religious right in Israel is pre-training soon to be soldiers to be religious soldiers, and how the percentage of highly religious soldiers is increasing to huge numbers. Good read if you’ve got the time.