Gaza’s Ship of Fools

300px-Mavi_Marmara_side

 

 

When we last visited the saga of the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the Gaza Flotilla, along with The Audacity of Hope, and the Rachel Corrie (obviously a flattop) and several others, it was the subject of a legal action that accused it’s owners and donors of material support for terrorism by violating the Neutrality Act of 1794.

Israel had imposed a blockade of Gaza and the flotilla attempted to run it.

Consequently, as these things usually do, a commission was empaneled to set blame. From the New York Times: 

Turkey is particularly upset by the conclusion that Israel’s naval blockade is in keeping with international law and that its forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters, which is what happened in the 2010 episode. That conclusion oversteps the mandate of the four-member panel appointed by the United Nations secretary general and is at odds with other United Nations decisions, Turkey argued.

From Wiki:

Nine activists were killed in the raid: Cengiz Akyüz (42), Ali Haydar Bengi (39), İbrahim Bilgen (61), Furkan Doğan (18), Cevdet Kılıçlar (38), Cengiz Songür (47), Çetin Topçuoğlu (54), Fahri Yaldız (43), and Necdet Yıldırım (32).[18][127][128] All of the dead were members of, or volunteers for the İHH.

That would be the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH).

Which brings us to Tuesday’s NY Times:

Turkish anti-terrorist police raided the offices of an aid agency on the border with Syria on Tuesday, in part of what local media said was an operation in six cities against individuals suspected of links to al Qaeda.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said police had raided its offices in the southern Turkish city of Kilis, which borders Syria, and detained one person

Then it gets worse:

Among those arrested was Ibrahim Sen, al-Qaida’s Middle East deputy, who was released from the U.S. prison camp in Cuba in 2006, Today’s Zaman reported Monday.

 

On February 1, 2013, two years and nine months after the motions to dismiss had been fully briefed, Judge Lamberth dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims. Plaintiffs have filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and expect to brief the case over the course of 2013, arguing inter alia that the three plaintiffs who were determined to be “Not Enemy Combatants” by their CRSTs have cases that may be distinguished from those of the plaintiffs whose claims were dismissed by the D.C. Circuit in Rasul v Rumsfeld.

The appeal to the D.C. Circuit has been fully briefed and the case is set for oral argument at 9:30am on Friday, February 21, 2014 before Judges Brown, Tatel, and Randolph.

 

I think that ship has sailed.

Update: Gateway Pundit has the Code Pink angle.

A Lion of Israel

A Lion of Israel
A Warrior and a Leader of Warriors
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
**************

Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of Israel, was buried today in the Jewish state of Israel.

To say, as we did above that Sharon was a former Prime Minster of Israel is far, far, too simplistic and does not give Sharon the credit he deserves for a life of service to his beloved country.

This is the way the New York Daily News put it:

 He was a soldier. He was a statesman. He was an Israeli. He was a Jew. And Ariel Sharon was one of the great men of the modern era.

When the times forced warring upon him, he led with brilliance and courage, his against-odds victories crucial to his country’s survival. When the times offered openings toward peace with enemies — openings that often only he could see and use — he was bold in seeking the way forward.

Sharon was one of the great generals of the Israeli Defense Forces. It was Sharon who led the IDF across the Suez Canal and into Egypt cutting off and capturing Egypt’s entire Third Army and securing much, if not all, of the Sinai for Israel in the Yom Kippur War in October of 1973.

Lest the world forget, it was Ariel Sharon who sent Israeli fighter bombers to Iraq and bombed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor. Sharon, along with the entire state of Israel, was publicly scorned for the attack.  Secretly, however, world leaders thanked him for his bold action that saved the world from a nuclear armed Saddam Hussein.

Below is a brief time line of Sharon’s public life from the United Kingdom’s Independent:

“1928: Born to Russian immigrants in farming community of Kfar Malal north of Tel Aviv.

1948: Having joined Jewish guerrillas at age 14 in war against British rule in Palestine, Sharon serves with distinction in Israel’s war of independence and is severely wounded in battle.

1953: Heads Unit 101, force carrying out reprisals for Palestinian attacks. After the killing of an Israeli woman and her two children, Sharon’s troops blow up more than 40 houses in Qibya, a village in the Jordan-ruled West Bank. Sixty-nine Arabs die, about half of them women and children. Sharon says later he thought the houses were empty.

1956: Rebuked after engaging his troops in what commanders regard as unnecessary and unplanned battle with Egyptian forces at Mitla Pass in Sinai Peninsula.

1957: Studies military theory at the British Army’s Staff College at Camberley.

1967: Receives broad praise for the command of an armoured division in Israel’s “Six-Day War,” in which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula.

1971: Placed in charge of curbing Arab violence in Gaza Strip. More than 100 suspected militants are killed and hundreds detained. Attacks by Palestinians go from 34 in June to one in December.

1973: Commands drive by Israeli troops across Suez Canal into Egypt during war. Assault cuts off Egypt’s 3rd Army and helps turn the tide in fighting. His head grazed by bullet during fighting.

1973: Elected to Parliament representing the Likud party.

1974: Resigns from Parliament.

1975: Appointed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as an advisor on security affairs.

1977: Likud wins election and is joined by Sharon, who has been elected to parliament.

1977-81: As Menachem Begin’s agriculture minister, begins the push to build dozens of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despite Palestinian and international protests. Settlements are one of the most contentious issues in current peace negotiations.

April 1982: As defence minister, overrides resistance from Jewish settlers in the Yamit settlement during the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, and has their homes bulldozed to rubble.

June 1982: Engineers Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, portraying it as a quick, limited strike to drive Palestinian fighters from Israel’s northern border. But Israeli troops advance to the outskirts of Beirut and war escalates. Fighting continues in southern Lebanon until Israel withdraws in 2000.

September1982: Loses job as defence minister after an Israeli-allied Christian militia kills hundreds of Palestinians at refugee camps in west Beirut, sparking international outrage.

1986: Sharon wins libel suit against Time Magazine in the US, where a jury finds the magazine made a factual error in claiming a secret Israeli report said Sharon had discussed revenge with Lebanese officials before the massacre. But the jury says Time is not liable for monetary damages.

1997: An Israeli court dismisses another libel suit filed by Sharon against an Israeli journalist who wrote that Sharon had deceived former Prime Minister Menachem Begin in leading the country to war. An appeal is also rejected.

2000: As opposition leader, Sharon visits Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to emphasize Israel’s claim of sovereignty. Muslims, who call site the Noble Sanctuary, erupt in violence. Palestinians say Sharon’s visit triggered resumption of uprising, while his supporters contend violence was already planned by Palestinians.

2001: In the midst of a political crisis, wins landslide victory over premier Ehud Barak in the election for Prime Minister.

2003: Wins early elections and remains Prime Minister. Later starts the construction of Israel’s separation barrier in West Bank in response to wave of Palestinian suicide bombings.

February 2005: Announces, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a cease-fire in Palestinian uprising.

August 2005: Begins a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and a small part of the West Bank, after reversing decades of support for Jewish settlement construction and expansion.

November 2005: Amid growing dissent within Likud over the Gaza withdrawal, leaves the party with many key allies to found centrist Kadima with eye on elections set for the following March.

December 2005: Suffers a mild stroke and leaves hospital two days later.

January 2006: On the eve of a scheduled heart procedure, suffers a massive stroke and falls into a coma.

May 2006: Sharon, still in a coma, is transferred from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem to a long-term-care facility at Tel Aviv’s Chaim Sheba Medical Center.

August 2006: Doctors announce that his condition has greatly deteriorated.

2010: Sharon is moved to his ranch in southern Israel. But days later, he is returned to Sheba.

2011: One of Sharon’s sons says his father can move his eyes and fingers when spoken to.

January 2013: Medical experts say new tests show significant brain activity by Sharon, but say he remains in a deep coma.

11 January 2013: Dies at age 85.”  — SOURCE:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/timeline-the-life-of-former-israeli-prime-minister-ariel-sharon-9053308.html

A number of conservative commentators have voiced concern that President Obama will not be attending Sharon’s funeral.  Instead, Obama issued the following statement:  “Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel. We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples.” Obama then went on to restate his “commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security.”

Vice- President Joe Biden led the US delegation to Sharon’s funeral.

Mr. Obama is sending a message, loud and clear, by attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela — but not the funeral of Ariel Sharon.  Mr. Sharon was not a communist.

“Arik” has left an indelible mark on history –  both Israeli history and world history. His like will not be seen again.  And the world will be the worse for it.

J. D. Longstreet

Connecting the dots blasts.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote of the air attack on a munitions factory in the Sudan. It was clear, at the time, Israel was behind it as the Sudanese blamed them almost immediately:

Four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant … We believe that Israel is behind it,” Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters, adding that the planes appeared to approach the site from the east.

“Sudan reserves the right to strike back at Israel,” he said.

With a combat radius of 340 miles fully loaded and the target 1,000 miles away, they would need to refuel en route as drop tanks would diminish their ordnance capability- even if they had drop tanks, they would have to refuel.

A couple things stand out in this story.

Sudan, which analysts say is used as an arms-smuggling route to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip via neighboring Egypt…”

“A huge crater could be seen next to two destroyed buildings and what appeared to be a rocket lying on the ground.”

Last night, there was this story:

Jonathan Schanzer, a former counter-terrorism analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, said the real agenda behind Israel’s assault last month on Hamas’ munitions stockpiles and smuggling tunnels was not simply to end the daily barrage of relatively primitive rockets that have become part of daily life in Israel. The real mission was to eliminate as many as 100 Iranian-built Fajr5 missiles – with the power to reach Tel Aviv – that had been sneaked into Gaza through Egypt. The Obama administration knew in advance of the operation and agreed that the missiles, built in a Sudanese factory, had to be neutralized to protect millions of Israeli citizens who were now within range of the deadly Iranian weapons, according to Schanzer.

 

That explains the rocket lying on the ground after the explosion in the Sudan.

“There’s little doubt that Iranian-built rockets came from Sudan through Egypt, and that Egypt’s security forces weren’t interested in intercepting the missiles,” Eric Trager, of the Washington Institute, an expert on Egyptian affairs, told FoxNews.com. “Morsi was more interested in furthering his own internal agenda than worrying about foreign policy issues at that time.”

Of course, the Israelis have long considered that possibility, prompting the deployment of a layered anti-missile system, built around the Iron Dome (for short-range rockets); upgraded Patriot units for short-range missiles like the SS-21 and SCUD variants, and the Arrow II system for longer-range missiles from Iran.  The recent conflict demonstrated that Iron Dome can handle mass volleys of rockets–including the larger Fajr-5–without assistance from other assets.  At one point, the Palestinians even tried to refine their “saturation” tactics, concentrating their launches at a single Iron Dome battery.  Their scheme failed; the system engaged rockets that threatened populated areas, while ignoring those bound for the open countryside, just as it was designed to do.  Not long after that failed “project,” the Palestinians were pressing for a firm cease-fire.While political motives for the “November war” cannot be discounted, it also seems clear that Hamas (along with its Iranian patrons) wanted a better read on how their tactics would fair against the Iron Dome, which is now entering wider operational service.  To say the least, Hamas got its answer during the week-long war, and it wasn’t the one they were looking for.

Not surprisingly, the current activity involving Assad’s CW stockpile has caught the attention of Israel’s neighbors.  Turkey has asked NATO to deploy two Patriot air defense battalions, to help defend the country from chemical-tipped missiles that might be fired from Syria.Meanwhile, Israel is considering a much more aggressive approach.  Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu has sought Jordan’s permission to bomb Syrian WMD sites on two occasions in the last two months.  In both instances Jordan declined, saying the “timing wasn’t right.”With many Syrian CW facilities located near the Jordanian border, Israel believes it is important to have Amman’s permission before launching an attack through its airspace.  But as U.S. officials observe, Israel doesn’t need Jordan’s permission to go after Syria; over the years, the Israeli Air Force has struck a number of targets in Syrian-controlled territory with near-impunity.  So, why the sudden concern about Jordanian permission?

The marriage of missiles and chemical weapons would be a nightmare. And the assertion that the Palestinians were victorious is laughable.

Israel essentially achieved its main aims within the first few days, said Schanzer, noting that Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., said as much when he remarked on Day Three of the campaign: “We have run out of good targets.”