A Q&A with JoeSettler blog on the Flotilla interdiction.
The flotilla blogging to date has been a joint JoeSettler-Jameel effort. This particular interview is with JoeSettler only. Jameel may have different answers and opinions to these questions. In fact, tomorrow Jameel may post his own (perhaps different) answers to these same questions.
Q. I suppose the question on everyone’s mind is, “Did Israel make a mistake?”
A. Most definitely not a mistake.
In terms of interdicting the flotilla and preventing its direct access to Gaza, this was 100% the right action both legally, militarily and politically.
Q. So you’re saying there were no mistakes?
A. There were a number of mistakes on the operational level, but not on the overall decision.
Q. And those mistakes…?
A. PR for the most part, and for not connecting some of the dots.
It was no secret that the IHH was heavily involved with this operation. The IHH has ties with Hamas, Al Qaeda, and other Global Jihadist groups. The IHH has even been linked to an attempted terror attack in the US.
In advance Israel should have called Turkey on the carpet before the flotilla went out – demanding them to explain their support of a group with known terror links. And emphasized to the press those links and those groups.
Israel has had enough experience with Leftwing violence within Israel, and they knew the radical organizations were involved and on board. They should have expected deadly violence when legally boarding the ship, and they should have gone in with more troops and been prepared for more force – they put our troops in danger, just like they previously did in Jenin – in order to be politically correct in the eyes of the media.
And finally, the IDF had a lot of videos, pictures, and facts, some they are still only now releasing. This stuff should have been released immediately. That is still a major FUBAR.
The operational wing of the IDF is apparently not passing information fast enough to the IDF spokesman's department, which is doing incredible work disseminating what they get.
Q. So is Israel at fault for the 9 militants that were killed?
A. Only in so far as they should have overwhelmed the ship first with more force, before the soldiers could have been attacked in the first place.
By going in under the assumption they were peaceful activists/pacifists, when there was no indication that that was the case, they allowed the terrorists the opportunity to act first against them and downspiral the situation.
There are videos from before the raid, some were displayed on this blog, where these terrorists were calling for Jihad, and saying they are prepared to be martyrs for the cause – these aren’t empty slogans, they mean it. They even wrote out wills.
I think the IDF dropped the ball when it came to linking what these terrorists said and what they were prepared and expecting them to do it.
Q. So then you’re saying Israel is at fault for the 9 deaths?
A. Absolutely not.
Putting aside for the moment, the stabbings, the beatings, and throwing the soldier overboard, the terrorists started the shooting, they started the live fire. We posted that video here yesterday.
The flotilla terrorists emptied out 2 entire pistol clips! For all we know (and perhaps we’ll find out soon enough) they may have even killed their own people.
Q. Moving on, is the Gaza blockade justified and is it effective?
A. I think we need to just look at Lebanon to answer that question. In Lebanon, under UN and international supervision, Hezbollah has completely rearmed itself with some serious long range missiles, far more than they had before the war, despite the UN, 1701, and international assurances – clearly if Israel isn’t running the blockade, it’s completely ineffectual.
Egypt is making a half-hearted effort. It’s not in their interest that Hamas gets too many weapons either, enough to hurt Israel, but not enough to eventually threaten the Egyptian regime.
Meanwhile humanitarian aid, food, medicine, and other supplies, flow freely into Gaza from Israel and Egypt. What is kept out is weapons and dual-use equipment which is automatically deployed first for their war effort – except what they succeed in smuggling in through the sea and the Egyptian tunnels.
If Gaza were not interdicted, we’d see regular Karine A shipments and many more weapons and terrorists going in.
For that matter, at least 50 people on the boat have been so far tentatively identified as connected to Al Quada. Should Israel really have let them in?
Remember the Hamas government in Gaza has sworn to destroy Israel.
Q. A leftwing Jewish blogger is accusing the Muqata of lying regarding the flotilla’s refusal to accept a letter and package from Gilad Shalit, any response?
A. For accuracies sake, I think that far-leftwing blogger has deleted the word “lie” and replaced it with something more politically correct.
The Muqata blog accurately reported and sourced what was reported in all the leading newspapers – including the far left Ha’aretz.
The Shalit family’s lawyer Nick Kaufman said that he approached the flotilla organizers and they flatly turned him down.
From our research, it was only after this was reported and very much publicized and the flotilla took a surprise PR beating, did flotilla organizers and members then made various claims that they didn’t turn them down. Only after it as publicized and they were taking a PR beating.
If I were cynical, I’d say the flotilla organizers recognized their huge PR mistake and tried to correct it with their press releases - after the fact.
It’s very important to note, that to date, Shalit’s attorney Nick Kaufman and the Shalit family have not changed or modified their statement in any way and have not said that they received any official offer from the flotilla. If they say otherwise we will report it.
Noam Shalit is anything but a right winger. He offered to support them completely. He is desperate to get word to and from his son. Honestly, do you really think he would turn down the opportunity to get a letter to his son?
It’s his word against theirs, so unless you’re a kneejerk far leftwinger, what we have here is what appears to be nothing more than a flotilla of people associated with terrorists trying to fix a PR mistake on their part – after the fact.
But unfortunately some bloggers are quick to brandy about words and accusations if and when it doesn’t fit their politics, or if they don’t hear a response about a topic that is near and dear to them.
Q. Speaking of near and dear, what about Obama’s reaction?
A. Regarding the flotilla? I don't think he initially said anything important.
And whether it was Obama or Bibi who canceled the meeting, I’m sure Bibi was thrilled to not have to waste his time in the White House and give Obama the photo-op he needs for the upcoming democratic elections.
Meanwhile, we have Clinton’s official statement yesterday where the Obama administration did their moral relativism thing. Something we’ve come to expect from this administration. No surprises there.
But the real problem here is not the problem Israel has with Obama, we merely need to bunker down a bit until his term ends. It hurts, it causes problems, but we’ll survive his one term.
It’s the Arab states and the region that are in big trouble.
Turkey is moving to join Iran because Obama’s US is no longer viewed as a consistent or reliable ally. Certainly not one who will protect them from Iran. Turkey supported the flotilla to show it’s allegiance to Iran.
The question is, even if Obama understood that message, would he do anything about it? It’s not like the Democratic Party needs donations or statements of support from Turkish Democrats in the US.
Q. Will there be a Goldstone II?
A. Obama is asking for one, NATO is asking for one, the UN is asking for one. I love the choice of words they all use now, in a sense admitting that Goldstone I was clearly biased. But this report wouldn't be any different. And despite it, Israel will still continue to defend itself, and hopefully not tie one hand behind her back while doing so.
Q. A number of LW bloggers are panicking and saying that next time the flotilla will be accompanied by the Turkish navy. What say you?
A. Not likely. Turkey isn’t yet prepared to go to war with Israel. They haven’t completely fallen off the fence they are straddling - yet, but they are close to it.
Besides, if they do accompany it, it would only be up to Israel’s territorial waters, because, unless they want to declare war, they won’t go any further than that. At which point the IDF interdicts the ships again.
Q. Speaking of which, more boats are coming. What happens next?
A. Assuming they actually get close enough and for some reason don’t break down at sea, they will be stopped. This time the IDF will be prepared for major violence and will take appropriate measures in advance.
Q. So in short this was not a fiasco as some initially and quickly claimed?
A. Israel was slow in releasing the videos. Israel didn’t go on the offensive ahead of its actions. As a result, we had to catch up. Those were mistakes.
But now, with pictures like “Salad Knife Sam” floating around, and videos of the Fotilla terrrorists throwing the soldier off the deck, the media is reporting both sides and we have the truth and facts on our side. There are now even op-eds from confirmed leftists in the mainstream media that are openly modifying their positions in light of the newly released information.
Besides, let’s look at reality. Anytime Israel rightfully defends its population, we get criticized and attacked in the international arena. At some point you learn to brush it off and continue to properly defend ourselves. There’s no other option on the table.
Q. One last question related to our readers in the Diaspora.
Q. They claim they can’t defend Israel anymore. They claim they can’t defend the actions, positions or morals of the Jewish State. It’s too difficult. What do you say to them?
A. I say, look at that video of Daniel. This young boy is standing alone, the Leftwing/Islamic crowd (in the US) wants to kill him. If the police weren’t there he would have been ripped apart. You can hear someone screaming in the background, “Let’s get him!”
When the reporter later asks him how he knows the facts to defend Israel, he gave a simple, straightforward answer, “I stay informed”.
It’s easy to be ignorant and let the latest political fad wash over you, or if you are on the far left, drill down and then selectively argue semantics or whatever fits into your political ideology.
But a Jew, particularly Diaspora Jews need to understand that they can either be dupes, useful idiots of the anti-Semites and the radical Left, or they can be informed and defend Israel and themselves.
Of course Israel makes mistakes, who doesn’t? But it certainly is a question as to what might be considered a mistake. And Israel defending itself is never a mistake.
Israel has repeatedly proven itself to be the most moral country in the world even while facing the most deadly situations in the world.
American Jewry has its own internal problems of simply maintaining the relevance of their Jewish identity – because it’s simply becoming just another ethnic identity (often a mixed one too).
This is less of a problem in the Orthodox community as many are strongly connected to Israel and their religion.
Enough polls have shown that the average Diaspora Jew has problems identifying with and finding relevance to the State of Israel, so why should they bother looking at the big picture and consider how important Israel actually is to passing down even their limited Jewish ethnic identity for the next generation. They unfortunately have only a tenuous connection to their own identity as Jews.
Q. Sorry. One more. And when Jews on the Left argue against Israel?
A. I just simply look who else is arguing with the same exact arguments: Islamists, Jihadists, terrorists, radical Left, anti-Semites, etc.
If they’re comfortable using the same terminology and arguments as those who would kill them as Jews or “Zionists”, they really need to do some soul searching.
It’s nice to demand pacifism, turning the other cheek, retreat, looking the other way, and so on from Israel.
But as we learned from the implemented leftwing philosophies of Yossi Sarid, Yossi Beilin, Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Ariel Sharon – the heroes of the left, those philosophies always lead to dead Jews and war.
Q. Thank you for your time.
A. Thank you too.
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