A reader writes:
It was not 30 "activists" v. 30 commandos. It was 30 (at least) v. one-at-a-time as the commandos came down off of the ropes from the helicopter. As each commando descended, the "activists" swung his rope (threatening to cause him to fall from the rope to the deck), and they were immediately on top of him, beating him with metal poles, as soon as he was within reach.
The video clearly shows, in at least one instance, several "activists" swinging metal poles multiple times from over their heads, suggesting that they were hitting a commando prone on the ground. They also then employed fire bombs and stun grenades. In another clearly shown instance, several "activists" are seen throwing a commando over the railing to the lower deck. There are also reports, though I haven't seen video confirmation yet, that when one of the first commandos to hit the deck was mobbed by the many "activists", they were able to get his gun, and they used it. Hardly a "30 commando v. 30 unarmed peace activists" massacre.
Calling this a "military attack" by Israel is a wild distortion. These were people purposefully attempting to run a known blockade, knowing that they would be stopped and boarded. They were provoking exactly this type of boarding by israel, planning to start a fight, to get exactly this result. It is classic Gaza strategy.
No, it was not a massacre. There was a fight. But the fact is the boat was in international waters, had committed no crime in Israeli waters, could have been kept away by a variety of other tactics, and was attacked by fully-armed commandos who ended up killing many unarmed civilians. To see Israel as the victim in this is so perverse it borders on unhinged. Another reader writes:
As an Israeli citizen (although I no longer live there) I am appalled at Israel's tactics with the ships bound for Gaza. They could have easily used non-lethal means to accomplish their objective. For example, they could have moved a gunboat in front of the large ship forcing it to stop or slow down. They could have dropped a frogman into the water to disable the propeller and/or rudder with a small explosive. The immobilized ship could then be towed anywhere Israel wanted.
Knowing the Israeli psyche like I do, they took the approach of confrontation to teach "them" a lesson and show "them" who is boss. I see the same thing every time I'm in the West bank, which is twice a year for the Holidays visiting my settler relatives.
What we have just seen is a microcosm of what's killing Israel. Some think it's Israel's only option and want more aggression from the Jewish state. Another reader:
The flotilla "demonstrators" were not civilians. They are terrorists, seeking to provide aid, comfort, and supplies to the butchers in Gaza known as Hamas. The Israelis should have sunk the ships. Most of us out here who have not deluded ourselves into believing that peace can actually be achieved there knew right from the start that this is precisely how these events would evolve.
(Photo: Israeli Navy soldiers stand guard on a missile ship as the Israeli Navy intercepts peace boats bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010 in the Mediterranean sea, 70 miles from the cost of Gaza. More than 10 people were killed after Israeli commandos boarded ships transporting aid to the Gaza Strip. By Uriel Sinai-Pool/Getty Images. NOTE: Image has been reviewed by IDF prior to transmission. )