By Jim Stephens
June 6, 2010
Has any answer been had to the questions below:
Surely the operation’s planners must have taken into account that the 600 mixed nationals aboard the Turkish vessel, the hard core of international Palestinian agitprop against Israel, would not receive the soldiers with flowers and white flags, any more than the demonstrators at Iblin and Naalin hand out to the Israeli Border Police breaking up their riots week after week.
The Border Police was bettered qualified to handle themselves against the arsenal the activists aboard the Turkish vessel used against the navy men, of firebombs, stun grenades, broken glass, slingshot, iron bars, axes and knives – and with far less risk of loss of life.
Also underestimated was the number of troops needed to commandeer the Turkish ship, control the wheelhouse and turn it round to Ashdod port. Each commando who shinnied down the ladder from a helicopter was besieged and separated from the unit, then beaten, stabbed and assaulted with flying objects. Some were pushed down into the hold and stripped of their anti-flak vests first. The soldiers reported they barely escaped lynching or possibly being taken hostage.
Any Israeli police officer dealing with Palestinian rioters knows that the first rule is never to get separated from the main force. The Shayatet 6 elite troops lacked this experience.
This error was compounded by the planners seriously underestimating expected resistance and sending the men in armed only with paintballs and pistols with orders to shoot only if their lives were at risk. They did open fire, but only after half a dozen of their number were badly hurt.
The entire episode bespeaks faulty intelligence on what was going on aboard the six vessels bound for Gaza, although the information was available from daily live broadcasts and easy access to visitors.
And another question: The IDF is famous for its innovative electronic warfare capabilities. So why were the signals and images coming from the convoy not jammed as promised and allowed to reach world TV screens hours before the authorities responsible for Israeli information woke up?
And finally, why did the interception take place 80 miles out to sea in international waters, thereby fueling the complaint that Israel broke international law? The blockade zone is 20 nautical miles deep from Gaza. An Israeli raid at that limit would have been easier to justify.