The flotilla killings

Pervez Hoodbhoy in Dawn:

PH2 The Israeli bulldozer that crushed Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American-Jewish pro-Palestinian activist, stands ever-ready to crush challenges to absolute Israeli supremacy. That the peace flotilla was attacked in international waters, and that a Hamas leader was murdered by the Mossad in Dubai, send identical messages: Israel knows no boundaries.

With such a bloody-minded adversary, none of the 700-plus persons on the six peace boats had illusions of a pleasure cruise. Nevertheless, they probably felt reasonably secure. After all, the world was watching — on board was a Holocaust survivor, white-as-lilies members of parliament from European countries, and even a six-month baby of unknown colour and descent.

So, even discounting those from Muslim countries, including three from Pakistan, the constellation of those calling for an end to Gaza’s blockade was impressive. The hope of a violence-free ending was reasonable. But that did not happen.

Why did Israel choose to murder nine peace-seeking foreigners in broad daylight? Although it claims otherwise, this had little to do with “restoring Israel’s deterrence” or capping the peashooters in Gaza. Instead, one must listen to Moshe Yaalon, then chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, who said in 2002 that “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people”. By massacring the Mavi Marmara’s activists — whose names and religion are still unknown — Israel wants Gazans to know that even the international community cannot save them.

More here.