Nine “peace activists” were reportedly killed Monday when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmari, the largest of six ships seeking to break Israel’s military blockade of Gaza. In response to the botched military action, governments from around the world have roundly condemned Israel.
Facts still remain murky, but we in the West should remind ourselves that Israel is a liberal, democratic society that values human rights. They deserve some benefit of the doubt. It is highly unlikely that the Israeli government sought to harm a single soul on the Mavi Marmara ship, if not because of the Israeli Defense Forces’ high ethical standards, then at the very least because of the negative consequences and publicity it would bring about.
Indeed, if Israel was really practicing “state terrorism,” as the government of Turkey has alleged, it will go down as the first pre-meditated military massacre in history where the soldiers slated to do the massacring were armed primarily with paintball guns.
That’s right. Paintball guns.
The Israeli commandos who stormed the Mavi Marmara reportedly did so with paintball guns as their weapon of choice. While they also reportedly carried pistols, they were ordered not to utilize the weapon unless their life was threatened.
From the videos that have emerged, it seems that many of the so-called “peace” activists on the ship were interested in anything but peace. As Israeli commandos were lowered onto the ship, video shows that they were violently assaulted. One video clearly shows a passenger stabbing an Israeli soldier. Another video shows Israeli soldiers being beaten with metal objects. Some of the pistols the commandos were carrying, the Israeli government says, were stolen by the supposedly non-violent peace activists on board and fired at the soldiers.
What is shocking is that it does not appear that Israel’s military planners anticipated such a violent confrontation. They should have. One of the sponsors of the preposterously named “Gaza Freedom flotilla” was the Foundation for Human Rights, Liberties, and Humanitarian Relief (IHH). The Turkish based organization is little more than a front for terrorism.