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Assault of the “Gaza Flotilla”: the Israeli army film does not hold water

(BRUSSELS2) “Israeli forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, rejecting warnings made by the Navy before the interception. They also ignored the invitation to dock in the port of Ashdod to transfer humanitarian materials using Israeli means. On five of the six ships in the flotilla, the soldiers encountered no resistance from the passengers. And the ships brought to the port of Ashdod. In the sixth, Mavi Mamara, Israeli soldiers were attacked with pistols, stun grenades, knives and clubs. The demonstrators stole two pistols from the soldiers and fired at them. Two soldiers were injured with these firearms and a third stabbed with a knife. A total of seven soldiers were injured. 4 are considered in moderate condition, one is slightly injured and two others have been released from the hospital“. Here in a few sentences is the Israeli forces' version of the assault on the Mavi Marmara. Which attach supporting images.

However, images should be taken with caution. Because they show neither before nor after, nor what is happening around. They contrast sharply with the images broadcast by Turkish and Arab channels and the passengers' versions. Between two completely different versions of facts, it is therefore important to know quickly what happened. And the reaction of the EU, which demands, above all, a impartial investigation on the events is to be welcomed

A triple failure resounding

We can list the errors of the operation which will be a landmark in the history of the Israeli army. Without entering into the legal debate of a civilian vessel taken in international waters by military forces, we can, in fact, only be struck by the excess and the unpreparedness, both military and political, of this operation. And the official Israeli version – if it is maintained – is as dangerous for Israel as the facts themselves because it reveals three types of errors: the misuse of military means, the incompetence of its army, the arrest of forces citizens of other countries.

First of all, as the results attest, the use of force was “totally” unbalanced. The use of military forces – undoubtedly not trained to maintain order – was undoubtedly the “initial error”. The use of live ammunition did the rest. Whatever the “attacks” Israeli soldiers were subjected to, the toll was devastating: 9 dead and several dozen injured on one side (passengers) and 7 injured on the other (none of whom were in danger). Which is largely indicative of an excessive use of force.

Then, if we are to believe the official version, the fact that commandos managed to have two pistols taken from them by civilians armed with knives and iron bars could cast doubt on the military competence of the Israeli assault forces. That the Israeli forces were not “aware” of what awaited them on the Mavi Marmara would reveal the incompetence of its intelligence services. However, sense of the offensive, special forces and intelligence services have always been one of the keys to the reputation, and success, of the Israeli army in the region.

Finally, the issue is not Palestinian citizens or “belligerent” Arab neighbors as usual, but citizens of other countries, particularly European ones. The fact that Turks, Irish, Germans, British… found themselves “victims” of this military assault, then “transferred” to Israel (while they were in international waters), and for some “imprisoned”, propels the average conflict -oriental in the European arena. We can no longer lose interest in it. And in this part, Israel no longer appears as a country suffering from threats but as a country exporting “threats”. Hamas can thus claim victory. This indelible mark in public opinion will make it difficult from now on in all international relations with the Hebrew State.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “Assault of the “Gaza Flotilla”: the Israeli army film does not hold water"

  • I watched the movie and I'm quite happy with it after hearing everything and its opposite, I see guys beating several of the men on the ground with sticks, I don't think a soldier in the world doesn't react by shooting against this, I'm a soldier, you can't ask a soldier to watch his brothers in arms being beaten to death

    people in France don't realize I've been to several theaters of operations and it's easy from his living room to criticize soldiers, but when you're at war you're at war,

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