Gaza aid ships

31 May 2010

Israel divides opinion, and almost everyone has an opinion. In most cases, that opinion is strongly held, so much so that any incident involving Israel will be made to fit into the narrative that one believes in. The storming of the aid ships heading towards Gaza by Israeli troops is yet another example.

For those who are critical of Israel, it is yet another confirmation of Israel’s unilateral, heavy-handed military tactics to stymie dissent and oppress the Palestinians. For the supporters of Israel, this was a necessary measure to take in face of dangers these ships and the act of sending aid represented.

This incident may or may not change people’s opinion, though if I were to hazard a guess, most people are unlikely to change from one position to another. However I suspect that those who are critical of Israel will be much louder in condemnation, especially since Israel has opted, by most accounts, to use disproportionate force. In other words, they will be hardened in their negative view towards Israel.

It certainly raises some questions about reasons behind Israel’s decision-making. Why did it use force to storm the ships and killing some of the crew in international waters? Why did its naval forces not, for example, shadow the ships, and prevent them from docking at a port? Perhaps that was not a viable option. This action has drawn a lot of attention, and mostly negative. So why did Israel do it?