Via the IDF’s blog. Ed already posted video taken from above the ship as Israeli troops rappeled down but this one’s shot from alongside so there’s more detail. Have a look as the Forces of Peace shift into full-on mob mode, dragging the soldiers to the ground before they’re even on the deck and swinging for the fences with huge metal poles. Some of the IDF personnel involved later described it as a “lynching,” which sounded dubious to me at first but not anymore. That’s what it looks like.
“They beat us with metal sticks and knives,” he said. “There was live fire at some point against us.”…
One of the commandos said some of the soldiers were stripped of their helmets and equipment and a several were tossed from the top deck to a lower deck, forcing them to jump into the sea to escape.
“They jumped me, hit me with clubs and bottles and stole my rifle,” one of the commandos said. “I pulled out my pistol and had no choice but to shoot.”
I’m not sure if he’s referring to a paintball rifle — which, incredibly, some of the troops were armed with in order to avoid a lethal encounter — or the real thing, but according to the Jerusalem Post, the mob managed to wrestle at least two handguns away from the troops. It looks like Ynet’s account, which Ed linked earlier but which you should absolutely read in full, was spot on: The IDF really thought they were facing off with “peace activists” here and didn’t realize their miscalculation until they were on the boat. (See the third clip below for just how badly they misjudged.) The argument from the left is that the raid was illegal because it happened in international waters, but evidently that’s not true either: If a neutral ship is intent on running a blockade after being warned to turn back, the fact that it’s on the high seas isn’t a defense. Apparently Israel was either supposed to let the ships run the blockade, not knowing for sure who or what was on board, or instruct their troops to let the passengers crack their skulls open with lead pipes once they were on the deck in the interests of “dialogue” or something.
The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting as I write this, which is interesting since, to my knowledge, it has yet to meet to condemn the North Korean attack on that South Korean ship that’s had the far east inching towards a war footing for months. Netanyahu has already canceled his scheduled trip to the White House tomorrow, ostensibly because he needs to be back home to deal with the crisis but likely because Obama doesn’t want to be forced into an awkward photo op before all the facts are out. I’m awfully curious to see how the U.S. votes on the inevitable UN condemnation of the raid, as relations between America and Israel are already falling apart over the U.S.’s endorsement of a nuclear-free Middle East. That policy won’t do a lick of good to stop Iran but it will catalyze Muslims opposition to Israel’s arsenal, a master stroke which Richard Fernandez describes thusly: “Like a circular-running torpedo it managed to miss its every intended target — missing North Korea and Iran — while hitting Israel.” Read his whole post, as I think he’s right on about a central irony of Obama’s falling out with Netanyahu. A basic assumption of The One’s foreign policy strategy, at least during the campaign, was that dialogue can reduce international tensions by assuring that isolated states don’t act rashly in desperation. Fernandez’s point: Is further isolating Israel when it’s already desperate over Iran’s nuclear program and Hezbollah’s missile capacity a wise idea? We’re about to find out, I think.