HAIFA – Israel was dead wrong in launching an attack by naval commandos against a flotilla carrying pro-Palestinian activists who were making an attempt to break the Israeli-Egyptian siege of Gaza. That long-term siege, put in place after Hamas assumed sole control of the government in Gaza – breaking with the Palestine National Authority in the process – is a humanitarian catastrophe and a grave moral error.
There can be no excuses, no “but we didn’t intend.” The Israeli government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must apologize to the victims, investigate what happened on the blood-stained decks of the flotilla’s boats, and move on to honest peace talks with willing Palestinian leaders, like Abu Mazen, the president of the Palestine National Authority.
The fact that Hamas is refusing to make peace has nothing to do with the recent travesty in the sea en route to Gaza. The fact that Gazan militants have fired missiles on Israeli civilians, and continue to do so, is irrelevant. The fact that the flotilla did not carry only “peace activists,” but also many people who wish to see Israel destroyed and Israelis perish, is no reason to drop soldiers upon them.
Even the fact that some of the “humanitarian aid workers” turned on the soldiers with a rather un-peaceful array of knives and clubs is no justification for shooting to kill. The trespassers on the scene, the true-blue pirates, were unfortunately the uniformed Israeli commandos acting in my name.