Early in the morning of May 31, Israel Defense Force (IDF) naval forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israel navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid material which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.
During the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.
As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, including live fire.
According to initial reports, these events resulted in over 10 deaths among the demonstrators and numerous injured; in addition, more than four naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners are currently being evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.
Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.
The Israeli Naval Special Forces people who fast roped onto the deck of hostile ships -- into the middle of a club/knife/firearm wielding mob exercised VERY poor judgment. The hostile Muslim mob could have been scattered with less lethal means such as sting balls, tear gas, chemical agents, etc. before the Special Forces fast roped into what was CLEARLY a situation geared to escalate out of control.
I give the Israelis a D- for tactical planning** and for deliberately aggravating a situation that had been designed by the Muslims to be aggravated. They're lucky they didn't loose troops. As it is, four were injured.
This is the analysis from Charles Krauthammer (FOX News, The Corner):
The fundamental deception here is the use of the word "humanitarian." . . . Humanitarians don't wield iron clubs, and [they] would have killed the Israelis had the Israelis not drawn their pistols in self-defense.
But there‘s a larger issue here. What exactly is the humanitarian crisis that the flotilla was actually addressing? There is none. There’s no one starving in Gaza. The Gazans have been supplied with food and social services, education, by the U.N., by UNWRA, for 60 years, in part with American tax money.
Second, when there are humanitarian needs, the Israelis allow — every day — food and medicine overland into Gaza. The reason that it did not want to allow this flotilla is because, as the spokesman for the flotilla said herself, this was not about humanitarian relief. It was about breaking the blockade.
And the reason the Israelis have a blockade is because they only want to allow humanitarian supplies and not weaponry. Look, the proof of that is the fact that if you look at a map of Gaza, you'll see that Israelis only control three sides of this rectangle. There’s a fourth side on the Egyptian side. So it is an Egyptian-Israeli blockade.
The Egyptians have the same problem with Gaza. People accuse Israeli of the blockade [saying it’s because] because they're racist, they’re anti-Muslim, anti-Arab. The Egyptians are Muslim and Arab and they’ve gone to war three times on behalf of the Palestinians. So why do they have exactly the same blockade? Because Gaza is run by Hamas, a terror entity that wants to import weaponry and resume the war against Israel.
The man who made the announcement that we saw earlier, explaining the commando raid is the defense minister of Israel. He‘s not a right-winger. He‘s not Likud. He’s Ehud Barak, who’s the leader of Labor, the party of Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, the party of the left, and the man who ten years ago this summer offered the Palestinians a peace agreement that would have [provided] a Palestinian state, division of Jerusalem, and an end of the conflict.
The Palestinians said no. And Gaza two years ago declared war on Israel. That's why you have a blockade. . . .
So if you want me to weep for the ten or so people who were killed by the Israeli sailors, don't hold your breath. THEY were the belligerents here, they were the ones who deliberately provoked the incident. Israel simply took the bait rather than using tugs to fend off the ships and send them on their way to wherever -- Egypt maybe -- and they could have off-loaded supplies there.
Of course, supplies are shipped into Gaza every single day but that doesn't make news.
Hamas is engaging in a global infowar campaign against Israel and this was but one incident, deliberately designed to provoke a reaction. The Israelis could have done a better job handling it from a tactical point of view.
Yes, it's a blunder by Israel - however some do suggest that further isolation of Israel from the United States would allow Israel greater flexibility when they undertake unilateral military action against Iran and its nuclear arms program (stated Iranian goal: Wipe out Israel with nukes). Some suggest that this event would seem to be in line with creating additional political separation between Israel and the US needed for Israel to act unilaterally. Time will tell, but a brute force response to the second flotilla could easily give barack hussein obama an excuse to create additional political separation from Israel on the US end.
**If my cynical side was to giveway, I'd say that perhaps those Israeli SEALs were dropped into the crowd on purpose to accomplish the political result it obtained.