I feel that I need to address the recent happenings in the Mediterranean, concerning Israel and the flotilla that was boarded. It’s a very complicated issue, and if I tried to dissect it myself I fear it would only produce long, unfocused rambling. So instead, I’ll link to some good writing that I’ve found.
Megan McArdle has had good coverage of the issue. In one post, she writes,
I was all set to be sympathetic to the argument that the commandos who boarded the aid flotilla and killed a bunch of people were reacting to a threat; if you attack soldiers with pipes, you shouldn’t be surprised if someone gets shot. Very clearly, these guys were not the next incarnation of Gandhi; they were on that mission spoiling for a fight.
But then I realized that the ships were in international waters, and had every right to attack armed men attempting to board their ship. It was not precisely bright, mind you–unless you’re looking to die for a cause. But Israel had no right to be there. I think their establishment has gotten a little too caught up in the romance of illicit raids tacitly greenlighted by the US. Suddenly every operation is Entebbe.
In another post, she writes,
Many of my commenters seem to think that the point of the Gaza blockade is simply to keep war materiel from reaching insurgents in Gaza. That is not the reason for the Gaza blockade, though it may be one goal. But the strategy is much farther reaching than that: it is to topple Hamas by immiserating the people who elected them. Check out some of the war materiel being blockaded:
I know that terrorists can be fiendishly clever, but there is no real evidence, only unconfirmed rumors among the intel community, that Hamas actually has the Coriander Bomb. Most experts put them at least 5-8 years away from developing that sort of destructive technology.
Noah Millman also has important thoughts,
I get notes all the time from family and friends in Israel. These are generally liberal, secular people. None of them are settlers. None of them vote for Likud, to say nothing of parties further to the right. Overwhelmingly, the sentiment among people I know in Israel was in favor of the Gaza war, in favor of the embargo and blockade, in favor of a policy of collective punishment against the people of Gaza.
The reason is simple. From the perspective not only of the Israeli center but of people who consider themselves basically on the left, though not the far left, when Israel unilaterally left Gaza that meant the Gazans “got what they wanted” and left no basis for continued hostilities. The fact that, after the withdrawal, Hamas rained mortars and rockets down on Israeli territory, proved that Hamas had no “legitimate” political goals but was simply interested in destroying Israel and killing Jews. After that, whatever Gaza got, from their perspective, they had coming to them, and there’s nothing more to say.
You should really read the posts from Megan and Noah in their entirety.