An oversight (Gaza freedom flotilla)

It’s a pity.

They’re heroes.

Hundreds, thousands, of people, united, a huge enterprise, to bring humanitarian aid, to Gaza.

They built alliances, held events, got donations, bought ships, cargo, hired ships, crews.

And then set sail, for Gaza. 6 ships, 663 passengers, from 37 nations, and the press on board, as witnesses, satellite gear, cameras.

But they forgot one thing.

They didn’t consult a lawyer.

The object of the Gaza freedom flotilla was twin:

(1) To deliver to Gaza humanitarian aid, which Israel refuses to allow (a war crime) and

(2) To build political pressure on Israel — and on its partners in crime (U.S., Canada, Australia, EU, lead by the EU3: U.K., France, Germany) — to terminate that violent war crime, and the other criminal elements of the blockade (for starters).

Both these objectives require publicity, to inform the public of the criminal elements of the blockade, and hope they can persuade some few governments to intervene, find a way to help.

And so, the longer the drama, the better, time for TV executives to fear exposure of their own complicity, flight of audiences, from dishonest broadcasters, time for honest executives, producers, to get informed, build reports, background, experts, to explain the story.

The number one thing, to destroy this objective, is to give the Israelis an excuse, to seize the ships.

Even if the blockade is a criminal war of aggression, and even if it’s administered in a criminal manner, Israel can nevertheless pretend the right to enforce the blockade, and attack ships which violate it.

So there’s no question of a civilian flotilla breaking the blockade. That can only be done by consent of Israel, or by a military escort intimidating Israel, or defeating Israel in an armed conflict, crushing any armed attack Israel launches.

So the ship masters, commanders, captains, they should have made it plain, at every opportunity, their intention, their plan, is to NOT cross the line, into the Israel blockade zone (20. n.miles from Gaza), without permission.

That their destination is outside the blockade zone, some few miles, to patrol its boundary, for these purposes:

(1) To permit the Israelis to inspect the cargo at sea, or at a neutral port.

(2) To torment the Israelis (when they refuse), by not going away.

(3) To make public pleas, for powerful nations:

To come to their aid.

To inspect the flotilla, and announce their opinion, that the cargo comprises humanitarian and relief supplies only, and no contraband (war fighting material).

To invite the Israelis to inspect and agree.

To escort the flotilla to anchor, in Gaza waters, to offload passengers and cargo.

To destroy any Israeli forces, who presume to attack.

Eventually, as the clock ticks, the days go by, some method of delivering the aid to Gaza would emerge, without Israel robbing it, all or part of it, the ships, the cargo, the passengers’ money, laptop computers, video cameras, audio recorders, flash memories, satellite communications, other belongings.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr (Warlaw), June 7 2010.

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