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Fast Roping 101

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from Abu Muqawama.

from Max Boot's op-ed in the June 1, 2010 Wall Street Journal:

Israeli officials are right to say the operation was justified and that the blood was on the hands of the pro-Hamas activists. Right, but irrelevant.

As it does too often, Israel took a narrow military operational approach to what is a broader strategic problem. Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups are conducting a skillful "information war" that is making Israel a pariah state in the international community. Israel, like the United States and other democratic nations, is at a severe disadvantage trying to combat a ruthless foe willing to sacrifice its own people to score propoganda points.

There are no perfect counter-tactics available, but whenever Israel does use military force it needs to be more aware of the political ramifications. That awareness appeared to be lacking during the botched 2006 war against Hezbolla - and in the boarding of the Gaza flotilla.


botched? it's piracy in international waters plain and simple and those responsible should be tried at the international criminal court at the hague. you cannot lock up milosevic and let those thugs get away with murder... otherwise you have to accept when the rest of the world calls you a hypocrite.

latma and caroline glick productions pesent: we con the world

below a link to a video the israeli press office sent out to journalists - among others the dutch news agency bno - in response to the international condemnation of the attack:

more news from the twilight zone at:

Provocation and Response

A blockade of Gaza had been declared by Israel. The so-called "humanitarian" flotilla knew it would be stopped and searched, because Israel cannot allow the passage of military armaments which are frequently hidden with the food, clothing and medical supplies.

The flotilla was sailing to Gaza as a provocation. They claimed only humanitarian cargo, but who knew whether cases of rockets and other munitions were secreted aboard, as they so often are? Or if radical jihadists were on board among the "activists"?

The organizers of the flotilla flaunted its very existence to the world, inviting confrontation. Knowing that they would be stopped at some point on their way to Gaza, the more radical elements on board rehearsed the tactics of beating and stabbing, of using chains and water cannons to attack any IDF commandos who tried to come aboard.

Israel has allowed extensive and continuous humanitarian shipments to Gaza, but due to Hamas duplicity all cargo must first be searched. So this entire incident was unnecessary, at least from a humanitarian standpoint. But that was never the real purpose of the flotilla. It was a manufactured showpiece. Hamas knew they could provoke Israeli retaliation through the senseless beating of IDF commandos armed with paint ball guns. Hamas hoped to foment an incident that they could then distort to galvanize world opinion.

The Israeli Navy intercepted the flotilla and requested they put in at Ashdod to have the cargo examined and the people on board vetted. Those items and personnel that were truly humanitarian could then be sent into Gaza via the usual land route.

The flotilla chose to ignore this request. When IDF commandos, armed with paint ball guns, boarded the lead ship, they were attacked with metal pipes, knives, scissors, slingshots and other weapons secreted on board and used in a rehearsed, coordinated fashion.

Certain "activists" on board had trained for just such an eventuality. They knew the Israeli commandos had been instructed to avoid lethal force and took advantage of this restraint, doing everything in their power to harm the commandos. The IDF forces regrouped, defended themselves, and several deaths among the pro-Hamas belligerents resulted. This is most unfortunate. But all the typical strategies of jihad are apparent here: suicide tactics, vigilantism, martyrdom, hiding within civilian populations and striking out from that haven, unconcerned with the collateral damage to innocent bystanders. By sending blockade runners that they knew would be intercepted, and by brutally attacking the IDF boarders, the extremists who hoped for an incident got exactly what they wanted.

Just because various non-violent leftist "activists" from Europe and America were passengers on the flotilla does not mean that professional jihadists/terrorists/Hamas/Hezbollah were not also on board, as their typical strategy is to camouflage themselves among civilians.

The IDF armed their commandos with paint ball guns and rubber bullets. The IDF, a citizen army, is assiduously trained to prevent bloodshed and death, even when heavily provoked.

The IDF does not send suicide bombers into Tel Aviv ice cream parlors to blow up innocent children. That sort of "humanitarianism" is the province of Hamas and Hezbollah. The IDF does not encourage collateral damage to civilian populations. This again is the province of Hamas and Hezbollah, who commit acts of terror and then melt into the general population, in effect daring Israel to search them out.

Who can imagine that Hamas would ever go to the trouble of arming their terrorists with paint ball guns? of training their operatives in the use of non-lethal force? of exercising the least bit of restraint in their violence?

Hamas lacks restraint. They are brutal. They set up confrontational situations, where their own people can be martyred, to point out the asymmetry of the Israel/Palestinian situation. They want the world to feel they are the underdogs and thus paint Israel as the aggressor. But were the situation reversed, if Hamas had the upper hand all these years, there would be no asymmetry. There would be no Israel. There would be no Jews in the Holy Land. Given a moment of ascendancy, Hamas would have killed them all. Hamas is an outlaw terror organization, relentlessly committed to the destruction of the state of Israel.

Were Hamas able to acquire a nuclear weapon, or even a "dirty" bomb, they would not exercise the slightest hesitation. They would use it immediately, immolating Tel Aviv or Haifa or Jerusalem. They are extremists. They do not place real value on human life, except for the propaganda value they can extract by baiting Israel and then offering up their own people as professional victims. Hamas kills many more "Palestinians" through its brutal, expedient, jihadist tactics than does Israel through the protocols of the IDF.

Islamic terrorists have a long record of shooting rockets from the houses of the "innocent", then taking shelter among these same "innocents". If there is retaliation, the potential wounding or killing of non-combatants, who are in fact being callously placed in harm's way by the terrorists, can be used as propaganda against Israel.

That's exactly what happened here. IDF boarders, armed only with paint balls, were attacked by Islamic terrorists. Deaths of "innocents" ensued, but they were placed in harm's way by the Hamas terrorists who manufactured this incident.

Nothing makes Hamas happier than casualties in the flotilla, or in Gaza, because this can be used to bolster the propaganda war they are constantly waging. It's a dirty business, but it was planned and executed by Hamas. They are ultimately at fault, not the IDF.

Videos Speak Louder Than Hamas Progaganda

from Huffington Post:

In footage captured on the Mavi Marmara, activists are seen attacking the soldiers with a stun grenade, a box of plates, and water hoses as the soldiers attempt to board the ship. The activists are also waving around metal rods and chains later used to attack the soldiers with. The IDF soldiers were armed with paint ball guns (used for riot dispersal) and pistols which they were ordered to use only as a last resort. In the early hours of the 31st of May 2010, IDF soldiers boarded the ships of the "Free Gaza" Flotilla, after the ships refused to redirect their course. Aboard the Mavi Marmara the soldiers encountered serious violence when, in a preplanned attack, the activists on board lynched the soldiers with knives, metal rods and stole two of their guns. As a result 7 soldiers were injured and 9 activists were killed.

Blockades, International Waters, Israeli Self Defense

The bald statement - that the Israeli Navy, by stopping the flotilla in international waters, is engaging in "piracy in international waters plain and simple" - addresses an issue that is not actually that plain and simple.

From The Washington Post:

A provision in the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflict at Sea ... states that merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral states outside neutral waters can be intercepted if they "are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture."

I do not often have common ground with conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, but:

The blockade is not just perfectly rational, it is perfectly legal. Gaza under Hamas is a self-declared enemy of Israel - a declaration backed up by more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian territory. Yet having pledged itself to unceasing belligerency, Hamas claims victimhood when Israel imposes a blockade to prevent Hamas from arming itself with still more rockets.

In World War II, with full international legality, the United States blockaded Germany and Japan. And during the October 1962 missile crisis, we blockaded ("quarantined") Cuba. Arms-bearing Russian ships headed to Cuba turned back because the Soviets knew that the U.S. Navy would either board them or sink them. Yet Israel is accused of international criminality for doing precisely what John Kennedy did: impose a naval blockade to prevent a hostile state from acquiring lethal weaponry.

Oh, but weren't the Gaza-bound ships on a mission of humanitarian relief? No. Otherwise they would have accepted Israel's offer to bring their supplies to an Israeli port, be inspected for military materiel and have the rest trucked by Israel into Gaza - as every week 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are sent by Israel to Gaza.

Why was the offer refused? Because, as organizer Greta Berlin admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian relief but about breaking the blockade, i.e., ending Israel's inspection regime, which would mean unlimited shipping into Gaza and thus the unlimited arming of Hamas.

The column goes on to state the steady erosion, under international pressure, of Israel's right to self defense:

Why did Israel even have to resort to blockade? Because, blockade is Israel's fallback as the world systematically de-legitimizes its traditional ways of defending itself - forward and active defense.

(1) Forward defense: As a small, densely populated country surrounded by hostile states, Israel had, for its first half-century, adopted forward defense - fighting wars on enemy territory (such as the Sinai and Golan Heights) rather than its own.

Where possible (Sinai, for example) Israel has traded territory for peace. But where peace offers were refused, Israel retained the territory as a protective buffer zone. Thus Israel retained a small strip of southern Lebanon to protect the villages of northern Israel. And it took many losses in Gaza, rather than expose Israeli border towns to Palestinian terror attacks. It is for the same reason America wages a grinding war in Afghanistan: You fight them there, so you don't have to fight them here.

But under overwhelming outside pressure, Israel gave it up. The Israelis were told the occupations were not just illegal but at the root of the anti-Israel insurgencies - and therefore withdrawal, by removing the cause, would bring peace.

Land for peace. Remember? Well, during the past decade, Israel gave the land -- evacuating South Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005. What did it get? An intensification of belligerency, heavy militarization of the enemy side, multiple kidnappings, cross-border attacks and, from Gaza, years of unrelenting rocket attack.

(2) Active defense: Israel then had to switch to active defense - military action to disrupt, dismantle and defeat (to borrow President Obama's description of our campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda) the newly armed terrorist mini-states established in southern Lebanon and Gaza after Israel withdrew.

The result? The Lebanon war of 2006 and Gaza operation of 2008-09. They were met with yet another avalanche of opprobrium and calumny by the same international community that had demanded the land-for-peace Israeli withdrawals in the first place. Worse, the U.N. Goldstone report, which essentially criminalized Israel's defensive operation in Gaza while whitewashing the casus belli - the preceding and unprovoked Hamas rocket war - effectively de-legitimized any active Israeli defense against its self-declared terror enemies.

(3) Passive defense: Without forward or active defense, Israel is left with but the most passive and benign of all defenses - a blockade to simply prevent enemy rearmament. Yet, as we speak, this too is headed for international de-legitimation. Even the United States is now moving toward having it abolished.

But, if none of these is permissible, what's left?

Ah, but that's the point. It's the point understood by the blockade-busting flotilla of useful idiots and terror sympathizers, by the Turkish front organization that funded it, by the automatic anti-Israel Third World chorus at the United Nations, and by the supine Europeans who've had quite enough of the Jewish problem.

What's left? Nothing. The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense.