The Israeli government today attempted to justify the killing of at least nine activists on a ship in international waters. The activists say they were trying to ferry aid supplies to Gaza, by-passing Israel’s blockade.
On the Israeli Diplomatic Website, troops are said to have ‘landed’ on the largest flotilla ship – the Mavi Marmara – only to be ‘set upon’ with clubs and knives. The site also maintains that the commandos were primarily armed with paint-ball guns.
On the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning, the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, used similar language, describing how the Israeli forces were ‘attacked’ by protestors wielding iron bars.
Two points scream into mind here.
First, Israel landing a string of special-forces commandos onto a ship seems to me to be the attack. If the activists responded by lashing out with whatever came to hand, that is normally called defence.
Second, if the Israelis were armed largely with paint-ball guns, how come nine protesters are dead?
Prime Minister David Cameron’s response was also a disgrace. If ‘urging Israel to avoid a repeat’ is the best he can do, he is not fit to hold office.