Attack on Freedom Flotilla:
Why should Israel Behave?
The first lesson of manners you learn as a child is that misbehavior has consequences. Undesirable consequences. You throw the bowl of macaroni on the floor and your mum or dad will give you the first angry look you ever experience. You spill some paint over mummy's favorite Turkish hand-made rug and there is no dessert for you for a week. What happens to kids who do not have that kind of discipline? What if out of love, guilt or whatever; mum decides to close an eye tolerating your every bad behavior? You then become spoilt, irresponsible, reckless, selfish and abusive of others. Eventually, these flaws will come back and haunt you to your demise as an adult.
What did the International Community do to Israel when it massacred women and children in Qana? Or in Sabra and Shatila? or in Gaza? For as long as we can remember, Israel has owned a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. That seat should have been occupied by the United States of America, but it is mainly used for the benefit of Israel. The US is using veto power to shield Israel from international reprisal or even mere verbal condemnation.
When Israel killed more than 1,200 civilians in Gaza in 2008-2009 campaign, including more than 400 children, using internationally banned weapons, nothing really happened. The Goldstone report? What about it? When Israel announced that it rejected the idea that it should freeze building of settlements over occupied territories as a condition for resuming negotiations, President Obama backed down. When, during a visit of Vice President Biden to Israel, it announced building of new settlements in Jerusalem, which analysts considered as a slap on the face to the US, Israel only received a few angry comments from Secretary Clinton complaining about this public humiliation. But soon after, the whole thing was forgotten. Israel received more support. Israel felt more invulnerable than ever.
This last attack on a "Freedom Flotilla," which left around 10 civilians dead, is just one other incident. But it shows a new level of contempt to the international community. The fleet, which was carrying food, medical supplies and construction materials to Gaza, included vessels flying various flags. Over 700 activists from many nationalities -- Europeans, Americans, Arabs, and possibly Israelis -- were aboard. Former diplomats, members of parliament and public figures were amongst the activists. Israel attacked the fleet in International Waters hundreds of kilometers away from its coast even though the vessels raised white flags. Commando soldiers were aired by helicopters then abseiled into the vessels, opening fire on unarmed civilians at 4:30 a.m. Israel claims that it was acting within the boundaries of International Law and that its soldiers were attacked by the activists on one of the ships. But the blockade over Gaza which Israel is trying to enforce is seen by the UN as illegal. Moreover, Israeli soldiers have no jurisdiction over a ship sailing in international waters. Israel, as usual, has a special understanding of international law, giving it rights that no other state has.
Through this incident, Israel sends yet another message of contempt to the international community. The message says, "I will continue to occupy and blockade lands that belong to other people. I will continue to kill civilians, women and children. And if your activists dare to intervene, I will kill them too. I will do all of that, because I know. I get away with murder."
Today, we must ask ourselves: Why should Israel behave? When did Israel experience consequences to its actions? Although it may be already too late, it is time the world took a firm stand against this reckless attitude of aggression and total disregard to International Law. Israel has proved itself to be a Rogue state, as even some Israeli Scholars told CNN. But Israel will pay a heavy price for this from its own future chances of survival. As a state, Israel has acquired so much negative karma that it would be difficult to envision a future where Israel can enjoy respect or good intentions from citizens of this earth. States and countries have been powerless, so far in making Israel behave and improve its own national karma. But a growing power shift to the people has proved irreversible. Through this and similar reckless acts, Israel gradually lost its sympathizers, one by one. In a world where the people monitor the news live 24/7 and freely form opinions of their own, Israel's future is becoming more and more uncertain. And maybe this is why Israel must now start to behave.
First Published on Huffington Post