- War Criminal Prime Minister Netanyahu, who directly ordered
the strike on the international flotilla to Gaza was on an official visit
to Canada at the time of the Israeli attack. The strike constitutes an
act of piracy in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law
of the Sea.
- Netanyahu's actions, which have resulted, in more than
10 deaths and up to 60 injured constitute a criminal act committed in international
waters. ( BBC News - Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship).
- In a cruel irony, Netanyahu in a recent statement, committed
himself to peace with Palestine: "We want to move as speedily as possible
to direct talks because the kind of problem that we have with the Palestinians
can be resolved in peace and can be arranged only if we sit down together".
- Several prominent personalities as well as several Global
Research authors and partners were on board the ships.
- The May 31st strike is a follow-up on "Operation
Cast" initiated in late December 2008. It is meant to enforce the
status of Gaza as a de facto urban prison.
- Operation "Cast Lead" was part of a broader
military-intelligence operation initiated at the outset of the Ariel Sharon
government in 2001. It was under Sharon's "Operation Justified Vengeance"
that F-16 fighter planes were initially used to bomb Palestinian cities.
The strike on the Freedom Flotilla is part of the logic of transforming
Gaza into an urban concentration camp.
- "Operation Justified Vengeance" was presented
in July 2001 to the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon by IDF chief of
staff Shaul Mofaz, under the title "The Destruction of the Palestinian
Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces". "Operation Justified
Vengeance" was also referred to as the "Dagan Plan", named
after General (ret.) Meir Dagan, who currently heads Mossad, Israel's intelligence
agency. (See Ellis Shulman, Operation Justified Vengeance, A Secret to
Destrythe Palestinian Authority, Global Research, 2002)
- Meir Dagan, in coordination with his US counterparts,
had been put in charge of various military-intelligence operations. It
is worth noting that Meir Dagan as a young Colonel had worked closely with
then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on Palestinian settlements
in Beirut in 1982.
- The 2009 ground invasion of Gaza, in many regards, bear
a canny resemblance to the 1982 military operation led by Sharon and Dagan.
- Dagan as head of Israeli intelligence, no doubt also
took part in the decision to launch the strike on the Freedom Flotilla.
- Was the Decision Taken in Consultation with Washington?
- On May 26, the Israeli military (IDF) confirmed that
it would confront the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, while intimating
that there may be terrorist elements on board the ships:
- "As part of the military preparation, the navy
carried out an exercise intercepting ships and arresting passengers.
- Navy Commander Major-General Eliezer Marom said
the navy forces will use measures to protect the soldiers' lives and ensure
that there are no terrorist elements or explosives on the ships.
- Marom said he instructed the forces to act sensibly
and avoid provocations, adding that the IDF had no intention of harming
the hundreds of passengers on board these ships." (Israel's Military
Command Says Will Stop Flotilla, but Transfer Supplies to Gaza)
- It is worth noting that prior to this announcement,
the IDF launched a public relations campaign, describing the Flotilla as
a "provocative act":
- "Head of Gaza 's Coordination and Liaison Authority,
Colonel Moshe Levi convened a press conference and said that there was
no shortage in food and supplies in the Strip.
- "The planned flotilla to Gaza is a provocative
act that is unnecessary under the existing conditions in the Gaza Strip,
where the humanitarian situation is good and stable," he said, adding
that Israel allows many products into the Strip, and only limits those
that might serve Hamas in advancing terror activities." (Ibid)
- Washington was fully aware as to the nature as well
as the likely consequences of the IDF naval operation in international
waters, including the killings of civilians. There are indications that
the decision was taken in consultation with Washington.
- The Role of Rahm Emmanuel
- Obama's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was
in Israel in the week prior to the launching of the raid on the Freedom
- Although on a private visit, Rahm Emanuel met Prime
Minister Netanyahu in high level discussions on May 26. And on that same
day, the IDF confirmed the launching of a military operation directed against
the Flotilla. On May 26, Rahm Emanuel also extended an invitation to Netanyahu
to meet president Obama in early June following his scheduled official
visit to Canada. In recent developments, Netanyahu has cancelled his US
trip and is returning to Tel Aviv.
- The Broader Military Agenda
- It should be understood that the raid on the Flotilla
also coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According
to the Sunday Times "three German-built Israeli submarines equipped
with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian
coastline." (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs
Along Iranian Coastline). The report tacitly presents Israel as the victim
rather than the perpetrator of military threat:
- "Israel's business and defence centre, remains
the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. "There are
more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,"
- ... The first [submarine] has been sent in response
to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah,
a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel,
including air bases and missile launchers.
- The submarines of Flotilla 7 - Dolphin, Tekuma and
Leviathan - have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been
taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.
- The flotilla's commander, identified only as "Colonel
O", told an Israeli newspaper: "We are an underwater assault
force. We're operating deep and far, very far, from our borders."
- ... The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent,
gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. "We're
a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a
long time in one place," said a flotilla officer.
- The submarines could be used if Iran continues its
programme to produce a nuclear bomb. "The 1,500km range of the submarines'
cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran," said a navy officer.
- Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an
Iranian admiral said: "Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the
Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us."
- Israel's urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah
alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister,
was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images
of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah
in Lebanon. (emphasis added)
- While these naval deployments were underway in the Persian
Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterraean. The war
game codenamed "MINOAS 2010" was carried out at a Greek air base
in Souda Bay, on theisland of Crete.
- Also, in the wake of the decision directed against Israel's
nuclear weapons under the auspices of the NPT, the White House reaffirmed
not only its support to Israel, but also to Israel's nuclear weapons capabilities.
The statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to
US support of "Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities, which
also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:
- "a senior political source in Jerusalem said
Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama
that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel's strategic and deterrence
- According to the source, "Obama gave [Prime
Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial
upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations."
- Obama promised that no decision taken during the
recent 189-nation conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty "would be allowed to harm Israel's vital
interests," the sources said. Obama promised to bolster Israel's
strategic capabilities, Jerusalem officials say - Haaretz Daily Newspaper)
- The presence of Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
in Tel Aviv undoubtedly played a role in the timing of this Sunday May
30th statement as well as the concurrent strike on the Freedom Flotilla.
- The killing of unarmed civilians was part of the mandate
of the Israeli naval commando. It was an integral part of the logic of
Dagan's "Operation Justified Vengeance", which presents Israel
as the victim rather than the perpetrator and uses civilian deaths "on
both sides" to justify a process of military escalation.
- The action by the IDF has triggered a wave of indignation
throughout the Middle East. It will no doubt also trigger a response by
Palestinian resistance forces, including possible suicide bomb attacks
inside Israel, which could then be used by Israel as a pretext and justification
for the launching a broader military operation.
- Iran is being portrayed in Western media reports as
supportive of Hamas and the Freedom Flotilla is said to be backed by a
tacit Hamas-Iran alliance. Realities are turned upside down. Israel is
the victim. In the words of Benjamin Netanyahu: "Our soldiers had
to defend themselves to defend their lives." In the words of Netanyahu
at a press briefing in Ottawa:
- ""Soldiers had boarded the vessel to check
for any rockets, missiles or explosives headed for Gaza to be used for
attacks on Israel, he said. They were mobbed, they were clubbed, they were
beaten, stabbed, there was even a report of gunfire, and our soldiers had
to defend themselves, defend their lives or else they would have been killed,"
he said Monday during a visit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
- Netanyahu added: "Regrettably in the exchange
at least 10 people died. We regret this loss of life. We regret any of
the violence that was there. I would like to wish speedy recovery to the
wounded, including four of our own soldiers." (Quoted in the Toronto
Star, May 31, 2010)
- Meanwhile, a White House spokesman has confirmed that
the United States "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained".
But the action by Israel has not been condemned by the Obama administration:
The administration is "currently working to understand the circumstances
surrounding this tragedy." (See The Associated Press: Obama administration
concerned about Gaza incident)
- For further details on Operation Cast Lead and Operation
Justified Vengeance, see
- Michel Chossudovsky, The Invasion of Gaza: "Operation
Cast Lead", Part of a Broader Israeli Military-Intelligence Agenda,
Global Research, January 2009.