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Gaza Flotilla Commission Sets Sail
Mon, 06/14/2010 - 20:00

Over the weekend Israel’s cabinet approved creation of a commission to investigate the controversial, ill-fated Israeli interdiction of a Gaza-bound humanitarian-cum-propaganda flotilla.

That’s a good first step, particularly because two of the five members are distinguished foreign observers. But it is naive to believe this will settle the matter for a world predisposed to see Israel as a kind of universal villain. And no finding by the commission will dampen international criticism of Israel’s (and Egypt’s) Gaza blockade.

Doubts will be heightened if the inquiry’s primary purpose is to “prove that the goals and actions of the State of Israel and the [Israel Defense Forces] were appropriate defensive actions in accordance with the highest international standards,” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said. It is important that the commission determine what went wrong in an attack that by most accounts represented a victory for Hamas. Israel needs to unflinchingly examine its mistakes and adjust tactics accordingly.

The White House is taking a wait-and-see attitude, resisting pressure for an international probe conducted by United Nations agencies that can be relied on to render a negative verdict for Israel.

Ultimately, Israel will have to address the issue of the blockade itself.

There’s little doubt much of the international opposition comes from those who are at best indifferent to Israel’s legitimate security concerns. From our vantage point, lifting the embargo entirely would be foolhardy, given the reality of Hamas’ endless quest for weapons to strike deep into Israel.

But the way the blockade has been implemented opens the door wide to international criticism and makes even Israel’s few allies — starting with the United States —uneasy. Until now, Israeli officials have done their country a disservice with inadequate, sometimes contradictory explanations of why blockading goods like coriander and potato chips is necessary for national security.

A recalibration of the blockade that takes into account concerns about conditions facing Gaza’s civilian population — which Israeli newspapers report was underway as these words were being written — is critical even as Israel maintains the strictest possible blockade against armaments.

Israel must make good on Washington’s confidence by conducting a thorough, transparent investigation that underscores the democratic values Jerusalem shares with the United States.


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A highly apropos piece from the American Thinker June 18, 2010 Collective Punishment -- And Collective Guilt. Vel Nirtist You fill out the tax form and discover that your taxes got higher. Puzzled, you check it out to discover that the higher tax was a result of Obama's policies. You did not vote for Obama, and so feel justified in not paying the extra tax. Will not voting for Obama, who caused the taxes go up, save you from being charged with tax evasion? Or you are not feeling well and need to see a doctor -- and are told that under ObamaCare you are not eligible for treatment. You protest that you did not vote for Obama and therefore ObamaCare does not apply to you. Will your argument fly? Or if another terrorist act, caused by Obama's soft spot towards Moslems, happens in the US -- would only those who voted for Obama get hurt? The answer to all these questions, as we all know, is a "no." The reason is simple: we choose our country's leadership and policy collectively, through voting, and are rewarded or punished for our choice collectively, too. While only 55% of Americans voted for Obama, the full 100% will suffer the consequences. Is that unfair? Perhaps. Is that "collective punishment?" Most definitely so. Yet, we all know that such is the way of the world -- collective actions are met with "collective punishment." Unless, of course, you are a Palestinian in Gaza. After the Israelis withdraw, instead of turning to normal peaceful lives, you enthusiastically turn to getting in weapons with which to attack the Israelis across the border -- but no Israeli action should be taken against you because that would be a "collective punishment." You overwhelmingly vote for those who deny Israel the right to exist and are designated as terrorist organization -- but there should be no action against you because that would constitute "collective punishment." You cheer and celebrate abduction of an Israeli soldier -- but to act against you would be a "collective punishment." You aid, abet and support those who send thousand of rockets into Israel -- yet Israeli counter-offensive is a "collective punishment." It is collective punishment all right. But the collective punishment of those who are collectively guilty is, for all its imperfections, a rational, reasonable, and inevitable response. Those who are collectively guilty should expect nothing less. Americans are being collectively punished by the Obama policies for electing him. Gazans, who are just as collectively guilty of electing, supporting, and cheering on their own terrorist, Hamas, government, are also fully deserving of "collective punishment." So when pro-Palestinian "activists" rail against Israel's "collective punishment" of the population of Gaza, the proper response should be not to blush and say "we will ease the blockade," as the Israelis currently do, but to look the self-righteously outraged "progressive" humanity right into the eye and say "yes it is -- because the Palestinians in Gaza are COLLECTIVELY GUILTY of encouraging, supporting, and committing terrorism."
Israel's obligation to the people of Gaza is not to make their life a pleasant utopia. It is to see that there is enough food and medicine for them to exist at a minimum sufficient level. That is more than Gilead Shalit receives. Extras like potato chips are not required to be allowed in to an enemy country. Would the US and its allies lifted the blockade of Germany to allow frankfurters and sauerkraut into Nazi Germany.