Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | June 27, 2011

Cirque de la flotilla: Mystery sabotage dogs Gaza flotilla; *UPDATE*: Threats to IDF?

First it was unidentified men fiddling around in one vessel’s engineering space, as it sat in an unidentified Greek port.  Now (Monday 27 June), flotilla participants have reported that the “propeller axle [sic]” of one of their ships – also in a Greek port – has been cut.

Greek coast guard authorities detained six of the flotilla ships over the weekend, presumably citing maritime documentation or safety/navigation discrepancies.  (Specific reasons for the detentions were not reported, but the discretion of maritime authorities is generally related to such issues.)

The weekend started bravely enough, with the French ship M/V Dignite/Al-Karama getting underway from a port in Corsica to meet up with the other participants in the Eastern Mediterranean.  (The previously reported drop-out of a French ship appears to have been related to one vessel.)

But the underway date set for the majority of the flotilla – Tuesday, 28 June – may be hard to meet.

The flotilla remains shrouded in threats, lawsuits, warnings, and nonsense.  The US State Department warned American flotilla participants (in oblique terms the American activists call “harsh”) that they may be violating US law.  The US Boat to Gaza organization issued the following helpful quote in response:

“Apparently, the State Department subscribes to the view that Israel’s anticipated violence against unarmed protesters is an immutable act of nature,” said Hagit Borer, a professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California and a passenger on the U.S. boat. “This is a remarkable attitude, coming from a government that provides the Israeli government with billions of dollars in military aid and routinely uses its veto to protect the Israeli government from censure of its occupation policies by the UN Security Council.”

An Israeli legal activist organization, Shurat HaDin, filed a complaint with Greek authorities against M/V Audacity of Hope, citing probable insurance and other discrepancies.  For the moment, AOH is being held in port.  (Code Pink thinks the US government is “using its leverage at the IMF” to blackmail Greece.)   Shurat HaDin succeeded earlier in getting at least two maritime insurers (including Lloyds) to drop the flotilla participants, although its threat of litigation against the satellite communications provider Inmarsat went unheeded.

But a Jordanian boat to Gaza has just announced its presence with authority, lending a little Arab flavor to the otherwise all-American/European-flagged flotilla project.  The Jordanian ship will be named Noor (light).  The mystery saboteurs will have to play catch-up to identify and locate Noor quickly.

The flotilla reportedly includes two cargo ships carrying nearly 3000 tons of humanitarian aid.  Of course, Israel transfers 5000-6000 tons of humanitarian supplies per day to Gaza.  As Elder of Ziyon reported last year (see here as well), the “10,000 tons” of supplies supposedly carried by the 2010 flotilla was a wild exaggeration; the actual amount, which was eventually trucked to Gaza after being offloaded in Ashdod, was somewhat less than 2000 tons.

But the US Boat to Gaza has made a point of not carrying any humanitarian goods.  It is carrying only letters of support for the people of Gaza.  Gratifying as that must be for the Gazans, it seems likely that the sponsors of AOH have deemed it wise to avoid any hint of supplying Hamas, which would be a felony under US law and would violate UN Security Council Resolution 1373.  And we already knew, of course, that the flotilla wasn’t about aid anyway, but about breaking the blockade (which also makes it actionable under US criminal law).

Flotilla participants are getting briefed in Athens on the “violence” they will endure at the hands of the IDF.  Meanwhile, they are planning some artful “non-violence” of their own.  According to Le Figaro, the flotilla planners anticipate a rendezvous in the vicinity of Crete Thursday or Friday this week.  “We are coming!  We are coming!” they are reported to have shouted at their press conference in Athens on Monday.

But they have to get underway first.  With any luck (and enough of that mystery sabotage), the flotilla will amount to a big nothingburger.

It would be even better if the flag states of the flotilla ships, include the United States, used their own authority to prevent the ships from getting underway, something they are entitled to do on any number of pretexts, from safety, navigation, and crew performance to insurance and registration discrepancies – and even the often-articulated intention of the flotilla participants to commit a belligerent act.  That use of authority would be consonant with prudent and responsible statesmanship.  The more Cirques de la Flotilla we tolerate, the more there will be – and Israel is unlikely to be the only target.

**UPDATE** The major Israeli news outlets have all just picked up the story from Israeli intelligence that Hamas and IHH terrorists participating in the flotilla have threatened violence against the IDF. (See here and here.) They are quoted as speaking specifically of “shedding the blood of IDF soldiers” and of pouring sulfur over soldiers and setting them on fire.  (H/t: Challah Hu Akbar)

There can be no excuse for participating with these terrorists in the flotilla, but this is just another excellent reason for Western governments to ensure the ships under their flags are detained in port — openly, and without apology or temporizing.

 J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.


  1. The damned flotillas aren’t about breaking the blockade opticon. They’re about using public pressure to get the Israelis to give it up or modify it so that its operation matches the announced policy of preventing weapons from entering rather than continuing to be far more restrictive.

  2. The flotilla participants themselves have said this is about breaking he blockade, fuster. There are two links to that effect in the piece. The flotilla’s intention is to proceed into restricted waters, which is, by definition, breaking the blockade.

  3. I guess we’re working from different definitions then. In mine, entering those waters is challenging the blockade. Trying to evade the Israelis and slipping into Gaza would be running the blockade.
    For me, “breaking” would involve the use of force against the Israeli ships and sailing through or over them.

    • You operate in a different world, fuster… a very different world… That is the one thing that you have admitted to that is absolute verifiable truth..

      The Israelis are operating the most human blockade in the history of the world. All the ships that deliver real aid to Gaza need do is follow the protocol, stop, be searched, and the Israelis will even help deliver the aid.

      But a peaceful delivery of humanitarian aid isn’t the point of the blockade runners, flotillas, etc.. is it?

      [leaves room knowing that fuster’s sad youth was probably filled with regular tush kicking dished out by the local “talent”]


      • wrong as usual. old man fuster was big on self-defense and friends with a guy named Cus D’Amato.

        only time I ever lost a fight was to my friend Steven who was 6 feet tall when he was 10. I was spotting him a foot and about 70 pounds.
        took half an hour though.

        you would have liked him, he did real well at West Point.

    • Successfully entering the waters in which the blockade applies is, in fact, “breaking the blockade.” To remain effective, a blockade has to be absolute and universally enforced. Breaking it is merely a matter of entering the waters in which it applies. It doesn’t have to be accomplished with kinetic force or even the use of a warship.

      That provision is out of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea. It’s not a special definition on my part.

      Now, TMF, I’m sure fuster had a happy youth. Good to see you around these parts, though. 🙂

  4. hmmm, then the blockade is already broken. it’s never been absolutely effective or Gazans wouldn’t have Grads.

    guess that means the flotilla CAN”T break the blockade

    • Obviously beating you up would be illegal even if others have already done so.

  5. Israel should make it perfectly clear that the IDF will promptly sink any ship crossing into their national waters; and that the IDF will be under orders to permit no alien vessels to enter national waters, even to conduct rescue operations.

    • what do they gain sully
      and what will it cost them?

      tightening the blockade sounds great and real serious and tough.
      when Israelis find themselves ever more isolated they can console themselves by saying that they wouldn’t succumb to pressure.

      just like Iran.

      Iran will be very happy that the Israelis chose defiance and will benefit from the choice a great deal more than will the Israelis.

      but they probably won’t act all that grateful.

      • Better to be killed while standing than smothered after having been tied down like Gulliver, fuster. This is part of a continuing process. I fail to see how tough measures have “isolated” Israel any more than soft accommodation has.

        • Israel has about one ally and the accommodation that Israel has shown in the past has been of benefit to that ally and has always been repaid, handsomely.

          Israel is in a tough spot and it’s not soon going to be freed from the necessity of making tough choices. The blockade’s merely punitive aspects aren’t worth much.

          Being soft isn’t going to help Israel and neither is being merely tough.
          Being creative and clever might.

          • Israel has to be creative and clever every day, and doesn’t need your condescending attempt at advice.

            Also your threats of “isolation” would only work if you folks hadn’t already isolated Israel as much as you could. I mean, you don’t have a lot of leverage at this point, thanks to your own strategy.

            • You folks? You mean the United States?

              WE”VE isolated Israel??????

              Get a grip, Sophie or maybe return to your home planet or something.

          • “Punitive aspects”? So you admit the blockade is necessary, legal and largely effective but you don´t like their style?

            • I don’t admit the necessity of the blockade, I proclaim it.

              I’m all in favor of using force to prevent Hamas acquiring weapons. I’m entirely in favor of using force against Hamas or in defense of Israel’s citizenry.
              I desire the destruction of Hamas as it currently exists and the frustration of its aim of destroying Israel.

              I’m not much in favor of a blockade that prevents the importation of wood or window glass. In the long game, it doesn’t serve israeli interests.

      • Happy, grateful … Iran knows what it wants. And please stop pretending that you only want that´s best for Israel.

        • I don’t pretend that I only want what’s best for Israel.
          I desire what’s best for the US and that includes a strong and democratic state of Israel that finds a way to end the occupation and doesn’t serve as a source of religious extremism or an excuse for it.

          Israel doesn’t need Foreign Ministers that talk about population transfers and the US doesn’t need Israeli administrations that feature such folk.

  6. The other week Syrian Palestinians tried to cross the border and the border guards properly shot them. End of story. . . Had the border guards taken those border crossers into custody, and probably had to shoot one or two anyway because they were probably armed, the story would still be going on, just like Gitmo, which would not be a story had we simply executed all illegal combatants within a month or two after they ceased provideing useful intelligence, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did.

    • sometime before I was hatched, Jews from Europe tried to break through the border and illegally sneak into Palestine.

      sometimes, the British didn’t act properly and didn’t shoot them, even though they were crossing the border intending to stay and weren’t just there to make noise and throw a few rocks for the cameras and then get back on the busses and go back to their camps.

      • And look what eventually happened to the then inhabitants of the land whose borders the British were supposed to be guarding. . .

        • It achieved independence and was divided into two countries, one Islamic and one mostly Hindu?

  7. […] hadn’t suspicion about, though that creates sense. The nation whose dwindle a boat flies can stop a boat from sailing. It would be even improved if a dwindle states of a squadron ships, embody a United States, used […]

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