Information continues to stream in about the barbarity encountered by Israeli naval commandos as they embarked to commandeer ships violating a maritime quarantine of Gaza. Peaceful activists? White flags? Watch these savages mercilessly beat unsuspecting Israeli forces, whose explicit orders were to avoid harm and injury, and to steer the ships to Israel, where their cargo could be unloaded for the benefit of Gazans.
As more and more details emerge, those of us who care about Israel should aim our anger not at the violent extremists, but at an Israeli naval command that, despite assurances they were prepared for various contingencies, did not anticipate facing hostile resistance on the ships, and thus did not prepare accordingly. Instead of careening to prepared clubs and knives, Israeli soldiers should have first pacified the decks using standard crowd control measure - smoke and flash bang grenades.
attempts to throw cigarettes, spitting, cursing, etc.
The naivete of the Israeli navy's command in preparing and executing this operation, believing that radical extremists would be content to submit to the authorities without a struggle, is astounding. Again and again, in Palestinian villages, in Lebanon, in Gaza and now on the high seas, Israeli soldiers enter combat situations completely unaware of the danger to which they are being exposed, and unprepared for the first acts of violence directed against them, trusting fellow human beings to act in a reasonable way. This complacency must end.
Update: I've seen scattered reports that Israeli soldiers embarking on the boats were armed with paintball guns! Did someone forget the water balloons and cotton candy? It's confirmed, the first waves of Israeli personnel were armed with paintball guns and sidearms, which they were forbidden from drawing without a direct order. This was sheer incompetence: guys going in with NO IDEA what they were in for, thinking that at worst they would be pushed or spat at, falling into the arms of a mob armed with clubs and knives beating the crap out of them, people trying to take away their sidearms, throwing them overboard from one deck to another.
This was an operational disaster, but it happened first and foremost because Israel behaved naively, believing they were dealing with humanitarian activists, and completely failed to plan for a hostile engagement. That lack of planning endangered lives, it cost lives and injuries, and Israeli commanders must be held accountable.
This is the last post on Abu Muqawama. As many of you know, I left the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in August of 2012 to spend a fellowship ...