At a recent violation of an Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, a number of Israeli soldiers landed on the lead vessel to get it to stop after having published and made public in multiple venues that such a blockade was in place and that Israel considered that area to be a war zone. Israel has suffered attacks not only from HAMAS, a violent terrorist wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, but from another terrorist group that allied itself with HAMAS (Source: Mariam Karoumy, Reuters 25 MAY 2010):
"If you (Israel) put our coasts under siege in any future war, I say all military, civilian and commercial ships heading to Palestine's coasts on the Mediterranean will be under the fire of the Islamic resistance fighters," he said via a video-link in a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon.
Earlier this year Nasrallah threatened to hit Israel's Ben Gurion airport if the Jewish state struck Beirut's international airport in any future conflict.
"(As for) those ships which will go to any port on the Palestinian coast from north to the south, (I say) we are capable of hitting it and are determined to go into this..if they besiege our coasts," he said.
"When the world will witness how these ships will be destroyed in Palestine's regional water nobody will dare to go there just as they will block (others) from coming to our coasts," he told thousands of supporters.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is the head of the organization known as HAMAS, funded and supported by Iran and Syria.
During a previous conflict with Israel, Hezbollah deployed cruise-style missiles against an Israeli warship and against an unarmed merchantman. The following analysis comes from Austin Bay's blog (Source: 22 JUL 2006) who hosted Kirk Spencer and Trent Telenko to analyze the attacks, and I will do some editing for brevity:
On July 14, 2006, an anti-ship missile fired from Lebanon struck the Israeli SAAR-5 Missile Corvette
(http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/naval/saar5/Saar5.html) INS Ahi-Hanit.
Reports are mixed as to exactly what kind of missile struck the INS Ahi-Hanit.Initial reports centered in an armed UAV as being the culprit based on Hezbollah propaganda.
This Defense Tech post (http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002585.html) was typical. Most reports now center on the Chinese C-802
provided by Iran to Hezbollah.[Note on the C-802. The Noor is based on the C802 as the C802 is based upon the Exocet. It’s got longer range (by an estimated 25%). It’s capable of being air launched. It’s claimed to have an improved targeting system that’s less subject to decoys.]
According to the Israeli Navy, the ship’s sophisticated automatic missile defense system was intentionally disabled. This was done for two reasons, one, there were many Israeli Air Force aircraft conducting operations in the vicinity of the ship and it was feared that the system may accidentally be triggered by a friendly aircraft, potentially shooting it down. Second, there was no intelligence pointing to the fact that such a sophisticated missile, roughly equivalent to the American Harpoon, was deployed in Lebanon by Hezbollah. (A point made by Wikipedia.)
Haaretz.com reported (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/738695.html) another ship, a Cambodian flagged merchantman, was struck and sunk shortly after INS Ahi-Hanit was hit. The merchantman was 60 km from the coast and 44 km down range from the INS Ahi-Hanit and was hit by the missile that missed/was decoyed from the INS Ahi-Hanit.Both Debka (http://debka.com/article.php?aid=1184) and Defense-Update.com
are reporting a “High-Low” missile attack was conducted on the INS Ahi-Hanit with the initial C-802 being set for a higher trajectory to draw out the INS Ahi-Hanit’s electronic defenses and chaff while a second sea skimming missile came in behind it and activated its seeker while it was almost on top of the INS Ahi-Hanit.
The difference between the accounts is that Debka says the first C-802 was set for a “pop-up” trajectory and dove into the sea while Defense-Update.com says the second missile was a TV guided Chinese C-701, also known as the Kosar in Iranian service.
Do note that the missiles used were made in Iran based on copies of Chinese design. By having such demonstrated capability, Nasrallah is putting forth that Hezbollah is willing to deploy such capacity to support HAMAS. Both Hezbollah and HAMAS are non-Nation State actors, with any legitimacy of HAMAS' claim to being a government having flown out the window with their activities against Israel and Egypt and unwilling to hold itself accountable to anyone on its actions.
Thus when Israel sent in soldiers with paint guns to try and keep 'civil' protesters at bay so they could talk directly with the captain of the ship, they were not prepared for the attacks they suffered and at some point their final self-defense pistols, actual handguns with real bullets, were wrestled from a couple of the soldiers. There is also a report of a real rifle being used from the ship with the 'civil' protesters, which puts them at odds with their being 'peace activists'. Also at odds with that are the last wills drawn up by members on-board who were preparing themselves for martyrdom, an activity usually taken by terrorists just before they go into a situation that will get themselves killed.
While the 'peace activists' are a relatively new phenomena, in that they avoided all attempts to land at a designated port to get their supplies delivered in a proper manner to the Gaza Strip, those running blockades are not a new phenomena and have been dealt with multiple times in history. When a Nation is threatened by another Nation or non-Nation State actor that threatens it, and all diplomacy has not worked or, in the case of non-State actors, cannot be deployed, then how such threats can be stopped becomes a matter of increasing pressure without resorting to open warfare. Unless you have non-Nation State actors, then you may dispose of them as you please... that last is harsh, no?
Still we can step back to another recent blockade and examine it to see if Israel has done what is necessary, and that is the Cuban Missile Crisis (and Wikipedia's entry isn't that bad) which was a slowly ratcheting up affair that took some years to come about. The US policy towards the USSR was to ensure that something like the Berlin Blockade didn't happen again, and that the Soviet supplies to North Korea were not appreciated, thus the US worked with Turkey and deployed IRBMs in Turkey. The Gary Powers U-2 shoot down ratcheted tensions more, and then the USSR responded by placing missiles in Cuba. The US response was to blockade the threat of nuclear devices deployed in Cuba. The blockade was publicly announced and the denouement would see the USSR back down and then a mutual agreement by the US and USSR to remove missiles from nearby neighboring Nations (Turkey and Cuba). The blockade of Cuba was one of the tensest periods of the Cold War and there was a great fear that this would be the sparking point for a nuclear conflict.
In the case of the Cuban Missile Crisis the US made its point clearly that it was unacceptable for the deployment of nuclear missiles in a neighboring or near hemispherical Nation to the US which is also seen as a part of the Monroe Doctrine. As Lord Palmerston noted, “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”, and that serves as a good description of the Monroe Doctrine in regards to the Cuban Missile Crisis. The crisis de-escalated and the mutual agreement to withdraw missiles was put into place, thus removing the immediate threat.
Israel, having had bloody conflicts visited upon it since the day it was founded, has taken the survival attitude of attacking outwards to stop invasions, as there is not much of Israel to invade. Thus, in fighting defensive wars for survival, it must attack outwards or be easily conquered as it has no capacity for defense in-depth. From that Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula and Syria the Golan Heights as Israel has secured territory to ensure that its neighbors understood that to threaten it has grave consequences. Egypt came to peace terms to the satisfaction of Israel and the Sinai was returned to it. That is 'land for peace'. Syria, however, is unwilling to make that sort of bargain for the highlands of the Golan, some of the choicest strategic real estate in the region. Israel has indicated at numerous times that it was willing to work with a Palestinian Authority that could actually work with some authority, at all, and renounce terrorism and on-going attacks against Israel. While lovely papers were signed off by the Palestinian Authority, they have done little to nothing to actually demonstrate that they have any authority in the Gaza Strip. HAMAS, once it 'won' elections there, immediately started to attack Israel, did not keep up the word of the Palestinian Authority and worked contrary to it at all times. Even worse they have moved arms and terrorists through Egypt, much to the consternation of that Nation.
As the Gaza Strip is a relatively thin piece of land on the Mediterranean Sea, and requires sea based support for survival, a blockade of it for not adhering to any civilized principles is not only expected but pretty much required by the Israeli doctrine of survival against its enemies. In point of fact that is the only sea access area for the Palestinians and you would think they would see a vested interest in securing that against terrorists so that they could ensure regular trade and humanitarian supplies to the rest of the Palestinian areas on the West Bank. Instead the PA is unwilling or unable (or both) to deal with HAMAS and prefers to see its people impoverished and dependent upon relief supplies from its neighbors to survive. One would think that if Palestinians were much beloved in, say, Jordan or Syria or even some place like the ever rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that they would chip in and support the PA to put down terrorists, and help to get the Palestinian people back up on their feet as a viable Nation State.
Unfortunately that would be in a sane or rational world in which Nations and 'activists' actually meant what they said.
For all the billions... tens of billions... of dollars in support of the Palestinians, it seems the last people to get anything out of it are the Palestinians, themselves. Strange how that winds up in the pockets of the Palestinian Authority leaders, Fatah and HAMAS, isn't it?
Those who condemn Israel seek to stand upon simple grounds: the plight of the Palestinian peoples. I have no problem with that standing, but it is incomplete in two instances. The first is that the Palestinian peoples have not created a government to which they will abide and adhere to, that can make treaties in their name and that they, as a people, will agree to in regards to themselves. When the Transjordan region was ceded to the British Empire by the Turkish Ottomans, it was an exchange of provinces between Empires due to Treaty agreement after WWI. The framework of Treaties was not strictly adhered to by any side, however, but that did not disturb the Transjordan over much, although it did a fair number on the Kurds who saw the proposed Kurdistan evaporate in the wind. Palestine only became a concept during the waning colonial period that came just before and during the Great Depression and even then it was an administered province not a State or Nation. Post-WWII would see the division of that territory to create two regions for Jews coming to that land to re-form Israel and the rest of the territories were handed over to the Palestinians. President Truman recognized Israel as a Nation within minutes of its declaration. This should have been a strong, strong hint to the Palestinians of what to do... but, instead of forming a State and Nation, they wanted all of the Israeli territory, instead. We still hear, to this day, that someone outside of Palestinian territories should come in and 'help' to form a government and Nation there. Its as if the supporters of Palestinians see them as less than able to actually do this on their own.
The second ground that the supporters of Palestinians step upon is the simpler to understand duty of Nations to utilize such duties to the benefit of other peoples. To explore this we must turn to the Law of Nations by Emmerich de Vattel, and Book II is as good a place as any to start with:
§ 1. Foundation of the common and mutual duties of nations.
THE following maxims will appear very strange to cabinet politicians; and such is the misfortune of mankind, that, to many of those refined conductors of nations, the doctrine of this chapter will be a subject of ridicule. Be it so; but we will, nevertheless, boldy lay down what the law of nature prescribes to nations. Shall we be intimidated by ridicule, when we speak after Cicero? That great man held the reins of the most powerful state that ever existed; and in that station he appeared no less eminent than at the bar. The punctual observance of the law of nature he considered as the most salutary policy to the state. In my preface, I have already quoted this fine passage — Nihil est quod adhuc de republica putem dictum, et quo possim longius progredi, nisi sit confirmatum, non modo falsum esse illud, sine injuria not posse, sed hoc verissimum, sine summa justitia rempublicam regi non posse.1 I might say on good grounds, that, by the words summa justitia, Cicero means that universal justice which consists in completely fulfilling the law of nature. But in another place he explains himself more clearly on this head, and gives us sufficiently to understand that he does not confine the mutual duties of men to the observance of justice, properly so called. "Nothing," says he, "is more agreeable to nature, more capable of affording true satisfaction, than, in imitation of Hercules, to undertake even the most arduous and painful labours for the benefit and preservation of all nations." Magis est secundum naturam, pro omnibus gentibus, si fieri possit, conservandis aut juvandis, maximos labores molestiasque suscipere, imitantem Herculem illum, quem hominum fama, beneficiorum memor, in concilium cœlestium collocavit, quam vivere in solitudine, non modo sine ullis molestiis, sed, etiam in maximis voluptatibus, abundantem omnibus copiis, ut excellas etiam pulchritudine et viribus. Quocirca optimo quisque et splendidissimo ingenio longe illam vitam huic anteponit.2 In the same chapter, Cicero expressly refutes those who are for excluding foreigners from the benefit of those duties to which they acknowledge themselves bound towards their fellow-citizens. Qui autem civium rationem dicunt habendam, externorum negant, hi dirimunt communem humani generis societatem; qua sublata, beneficentia, liberalitas, bonitas, justitia, funditus tollitur; quæ qui tollunt, etiam adversus Deos immortales impii judicandi sunt; ab Us enim constitutam inter homines societatem evertunt.
And why should we not hope still to find, among those who are the head of affairs, come wise individuals who are convinced of this great truth, that virtue is, even for sovereigns and political bodies, the most certain road to prosperity and happiness? There is at least one benefit to be expected from the open assertion and publication of sound maxims, which is, that even those who relish them the least are thereby laid under a necessity of keeping within some bounds, lest they should forfeit their characters altogether. To flatter ourselves with the vain expectation that men, and especially men in power, will be inclined strictly to conform to the laws of nature, would be a gross mistake; and to renounce all hope of making impression on some of them, would be to give up mankind for lost.
Nations, being obliged by nature reciprocally to cultivate human society (Prelim. § 11), are bound to observe towards each other all the duties which the safety and advantage of that society require.
The boldface is mine in the last paragraph, as it is the great general rule of Nations and the thing that the political Left always wants in all circumstances, and they can even point to the paragraph 2 to support that on the Offices of humanity. Unfortunately it is just the general outlook and it comes with a raft of interlocking duties and problems attendant upon it:
§ 3. General principle of all the mutual duties of nations.
The nature and essence of man, who, without the assistance of his fellow-men, is unable to supply all his wants, to preserve himself, to render himself perfect, and to live happily, plainly show us that he is destined to live in society, in the interchange of mutual aid; and, consequently, that all men are, by their very nature and essence, obliged to unite their common efforts for the perfection of their own being and that of their condition. The surest method of succeeding in this pursuit is, that each individual should exert his efforts first for himself and then for others. Hence it follows, that, whatever we owe to ourselves, we likewise owe to others, so far as they stand in need of assistance, and we can grant it to them without being wanting to ourselves. Since, then, one nation, in its way, owes to another nation every duty that one man owes to another man, we may confidently lay down this general principle: — one state owes to another state whatever it owes to itself, so far as that other stands in real need of its assistance, and the former can grant it without neglecting the duties it owes to itself. Such is the eternal and immutable law of nature. Those who might be alarmed at this doctrine, as totally subversive of the maxims of sound policy, will be relieved from their apprehensions by the two following considerations: —
1. Social bodies or sovereign states are much more capable of supplying all their wants than individual men are; and mutual assistance is not so necessary among them, nor so frequently required. Now, in those particulars which a nation can itself perform, no succour is due to it from others.
2. The duties of a nation towards itself, and chiefly the care of its own safety, require much more circumspection and reserve than need be observed by an individual in giving assistance to others. This remark we shall soon illustrate.
When I speak of the law of nations, lower case concept, as 'scale free' law or a 'scale free' system it is the bolded area of text that points out what this means. If you can reasonably expected to do something for yourself, then the absolute most assured way of doing it is to do it yourself. If I can govern my affairs in a civilized fashion, interact with others in a civil manner and seek not to offend others nor give reason to take offense, then I damned well expect that not only of my fellow man but of my Nation and all Nations, and all peoples. The start of civilization is not at the level of government on the outside, but governing yourself on the inside so that you require NO external government.
Thus when I hear anyone putting forth that the Palestinians 'need help' to form a Nation, I know that they are losing touch with mankind and their own self-governance: no one needs help from the outside to do that, just internal restraint towards civil ends. Before we even get to HAMAS, Gaza, the blockade and those running it we must ask ourselves: why are these people not governing themselves so as not to give offense to their neighbors? The fault for that does not lie with the neighbors, but with oneself. And if one wishes the fighting to stop one must stop fighting and come to accord with their fellow man. When this does not happen we have a decay of society and lack of self-governance and no imposed government can change that, can make people civil without their assent and active participation. When HAMAS takes it upon itself to attack Israel, it violates that single concept and acts in an uncivilized fashion, which is an answer to nothing and only demonstrates lack of self-control and a considerable amount of self-hatred to impose your demands upon others. There would not need to be a 'peace' flotilla if HAMAS was civilized and the people of the Gaza Strip repudiated them as being uncivilized. Is that so much to expect of people?
A strange idea of 'communal rights' is sometimes brought up, but from whence do they come? What rights and liberties can you possibly get as a group that you cannot get as an individual? Numbers is about it, and that is not a right nor liberty, just an amount, and as the rights and liberties within us are absolutes, numbers do not matter in the type and kind of rights we have when we create society. We can use our rights and liberties to create an agreeable set of rules, systems, taboos, activities, proscriptions and other such things that help us to define society and run it, but if we were all perfect in spirit we would never need to create government as we would abide by others and respect them and be absolutely sure in the reciprocity of same. Yet that is not the nature of man, and while we may strive to be more perfect, we cannot reach perfection save in the grave, where we no longer actively harm any and serve as a good source of nutrients for other life upon this Earth. Then we are at one with Nature and the material stuff of who we are is then part of the world once more from which we arise as individuals and gain all our rights and liberty. No community can bestow them upon us, no community can 'create' rights, indeed the only thing any community can do is recognize the rights within us as individuals and respect them. I can do that as an individual, and I expect that of my fellow citizens who are civilized.
It is in the primary exception that Nations are to look towards themselves, first, and only seek external help via the offices of man when they suffer as a Nation. Any National government must have form, must have offices, and must have accountability for its actions as it represents the people of its Nation. As we are accountable to each other as individuals, so are Nations accountable to each other as individual Nations. When any group disassociates itself with government and seeks to impose its will upon people, any people, then that group is no longer acting or has the form of a Nation's government and represents only those individuals within the group and no higher organization. That is an act not only of rebellion, but when rule is imposed on the innocent, it is an act of repression... an act of conquest with no bounds and no respect for any civil law. Such actors beleaguer the innocent and are to be opposed at all levels, by all civilized people, and their end sought as they are the bringers of destruction, not their civilized neighbors. Thus HAMAS may have won elections, but they repudiated the form, offices and accountability of government and cannot be said to govern anything, not even themselves.
Then what of the innocent, themselves? What is to be done?
The standard procedure has been to offer asylum to those who truly are innocent. That means those individuals seeking to leave the confrontation are to be given safe passage and then processed to ensure that they are not a member or supporter of the conflict organization waging Private War. The good offices of humanity between Nations is not to support an area where a non-Nation State belligerent can gain supplies from such offices, but to allow the innocent to flee to the arms of civil Nations and honestly present themselves as civilians. Those found not to be civilians but supporters or members of HAMAS would fall under military jurisdiction for their actions as HAMAS has taken warfare upon itself without regard to international law so they fall outside of lawful combatant status and have put their lives to the brutality of Natural Law and so they should be judged as such.
As of yet we do not see such a flow outwards from the Gaza Strip nor do we hear of offers from Nations with flagged vessels in the 'peace activist' flotilla that would actually want Palestinian refugees within their lands until such time as either HAMAS is defeated or a Nation of Palestine arises that can confront and take down such a terror entity. Such refugees should be welcome in the West Bank also, one would think. Or if the refugees saw that the Palestinian Authority acted contrary to the wishes and will of the people, then a government in exile that supports liberty and freedom with peace for its neighbors should be encouraged to be created wishing for legitimacy in support of the refugee population and willingness of Palestinians to support it in the West Bank. This would require a written constitution, regularized system of government and accountability for those office holders to that government and its people.
Strange that Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt or Saudi Arabia has yet to propose this, no? Or, indeed, any other Nation on the planet or any of the 'supporters' of Palestine. Israel has been fighting tooth and nail against Fatah, Black September, HAMAS and Hezbollah for decades and it is easy enough to see why they have tired of having their civil offers rejected by their fellow Nations. It is a great black mark upon all Nations that the help and support to a government in exile that repudiates lawless violence and supports peace with its neighbors has not been encouraged to form and gain widespread support so that it may return to establish order and peace with its neighbors. That creation cannot be led by other Nations, however, only encouraged for Palestinians to do themselves so they can demonstrate self-governance.
Running a blockade to aid those brutally exploiting and repressing the innocent, who place no accountability save that of savage war upon themselves is not an act of 'peace' but of taking sides in a conflict with the most brutal and savage of lawless man. To actually support peace one must support and respect self-governance at the level of individuals, first, so that they can form government and Nation, second, that is accountable to the people creating it and living under it. Terrorist organizations have demonstrated that they can organize easily for war, but cannot, ever, find peace within themselves as shown by their actions. Seeing such is indicative that they are unable to form a system of accountability to hold themselves accountable for their actions to their fellow citizens and to mankind as a whole. That is the supreme difference between 'terrorist' and 'revolutionary': creating a system of self-governance, accountability, putting on a uniform, acting in accordance to rules and laws set forth by a chain of command, fighting under standard laws of war and supporting civilization even when in conflict. Terrorists cannot and do not do these things. Revolutionaries do.
One cannot support brutal, savage people fighting only with the bounds of the Law of Nature and claim to be supporting civilization or civil behavior. That is a support for lawlessness and then the tyranny of the powerful and lethal over the weak and disarmed. That does not end in any good place and is often the harbinger of a dark age of mankind when we forget that being civil starts not with Nations but in our own actions and deeds. The path of civilization is clear from the level of the individual all the way to the Nation State, and it is the path of self-governance and accountability to your fellow citizens, at the low end, and your fellow Nations at the high end. When the low end starts to undercut the high end by the actions of individuals, they are not welcoming 'justice' nor 'peace' but savage Nature to return to mankind.
That is because they are becoming savages, themselves, and no longer respect their fellow man.
If they did they would not do the actions they do.
Supporting the decay of civil accountability is a dishonorable activity that cuts the basis for personal honor and integrity: accountability. Even if what you say, mean and do are in accord, they are in accord against the very concept of honor when accountability is attacked. That is not even the facade of being civilized and is the face of corruption in and of itself. No one can change that for you, you must do it to yourself so as to support accountability... else you are seeking an end to accountability to you and the face that stares back at you from a mirror is slowly becoming that of savage man, brutal man, natural man in all respects. Without trust in yourself, you do not trust your fellow man, the civil means of man, the accountability of man and the good office of humanity which supports civilization.
Civil man can very easily discriminate between civil actions by those respecting civilization and those of savage man.
The actions of each speak volumes.
And the duties of civil man to protect civilization do not rest upon the highest level, that of Nations, but the lowest level: oneself.
It is not pleasant duty to ensure that savage man cannot harm you. But no one can lift that duty from your shoulders, lest you become enslaved to them. Being a citizen means having civilization rest upon your shoulders and supporting it in all instances and recognizing the difference between those who hold themselves accountable and those who do not. It is a difference of night and day... and if you can't support the day, you get the dark.
It is a supremely simple concept that anyone can speak.
Carrying it out, however, requires determination and commitment.
I can and will support myself, first, so that I can then reach out to my fellow man who also seeks the same, and I will not support the lawless, savage man upon this earth.