With news that Iran may escort further aid ships to Gaza – let’s not even think about how Tel Aviv would deal with that – it’s important to remember, as Robert Fisk wrote on the weekend, the “rabble” Israeli army has a long history of crimes and abuses:
I wasn’t personally at all surprised at the killings on the Turkish ship. In Lebanon, I’ve seen this indisciplined rabble of an army – as “elite” as the average rabble of Arab armies – shooting at civilians. I saw them watching the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians on the morning of 18 September (the last day of the slaughter) by their vicious Lebanese militia allies. I was present at the Qana massacre by Israeli gunners in 1996 – “Arabushim” (the equivalent of the abusive term “Ayrab” in English), one of the gunners called the 106 dead civilians, more than half of them children, in the Israeli press. Then the Israeli government of Nobel laureate Shimon Peres said there were terrorists among the dead civilians – totally untrue, but who cares? – and then came the second Qana massacre in 2006 and then the 2008-09 Gaza slaughter of 1,300 Palestinians, most of them children, and then…
Well, then came the Goldstone report, which found that Israeli troops (as well as Hamas) committed war crimes in Gaza, but this was condemned as anti-Semitic – poor old honourable Goldstone, himself a prominent Jewish jurist from South Africa, slandered as “an evil man” by the raving Al Dershowitz of Harvard – and was called “controversial” by the brave Obama administration. “Controversial”, by the way, basically means “fuck you”.
Even strong supporters of Israel, like this writer in the London Telegraph, are pleading with Israel to give them something, anything:
Hamas has certainly played its PR to perfection: Israel is universally seen as the bully. The Israeli state has to break this pattern or it will end up as isolated as North Korea. There is a justification for each step Israel takes to defend its security – but the cumulative effect is to leave the country increasingly exposed. Hamas’ “twin track” campaign of terrorism and persuasion can only be defeated if Israel makes unilateral concessions to achieve peace. That involves taking colossal risks. But the alternative is that Israel will find itself slowly bled to death by Hamas’ “soft power”.
And today yet more evidence that the release of photos showing bloody Israeli troops actually indicates that those on-board weren’t aiming for death or lynching.
Truth matters, not just smoother spin.