Israeli Reactions to Flotilla Crisis

Divisions in the newspapers and on the blogs

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When Israeli forces boarded a flotilla that was attempting to bring humanitarian goods through the blockade of Gaza, the 10 resulting deaths sparked international condemnation and debate over how the crisis will impact the Middle East peace process. It has also brought fierce debate within the vibrant and sometimes quite partisan Israeli media. Here's how journalists, pundits, and bloggers within Israel are reacting.

  • Military Had No Choice The Jerusalem Post's David Horovitz writes, "Israel may have felt it had no choice but to intercept a flotilla carrying it knew not what to the terror state of Gaza. It may well have assumed that its soldiers would come under attack. Apparently, it underestimated the hostility it would encounter."
  • Israel Must Reevaluate Gaza Siege Ha'aretz's Aluf Benn asks, "What is the purpose of the siege? Is it just an automatic extension of the previous government's policy, or does it have some practical aim? How much has the usefulness of the policy been discussed during the current government's year in office? ... the government needs to think about what advantage effect this has on the national interest - and not just on its popularity in weekly opinion polls.
  • We Were Ambushed YNetNews' Ron Ben-Yishai recounts, "The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances."
  • Gaza Conflict No Longer in Our Interest Ha'aretz's Bradley Burston laments, "Here in Israel, we have still yet to learn the lesson: We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel's Vietnam."
  • We Are at War With 'International Left' and 'Islamic World' The Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick sees the real issue as Israel's "larger strategic failure that has crippled the country's capacity to contend with the information war being waged against it. ... Israel is the target of a massive information war, unprecedented in scale and scope. This war is being waged primarily by a massive consortium of the international Left and the Arab and Islamic worlds."
  • Flotilla Passengers Planned Violence Carl in Jerusalem posts a video of the flotilla raid. "What this video ought to make clear to everyone is that the attacks on the IDF soldiers - whose arrival was inevitable - were premeditated and violent. These people were not innocent and peace-loving by any stretch of the imagination. And Israel must quickly go quite public with why these people were stopped. Otherwise we will lose the PR battle (we are losing it now)."
  • This Is All About International Opinion  The Jerusalem Post's Gil Hoffman calls this "a conflict that is being fought on the battleground of international public opinion. Even if the IDF was absolutely right to board the ship where it did and to open fire when it did, and Israel was 100 percent blameless, it does not matter, because perceptions are more important than reality. ... No matter who is at fault for the misfortune in the Mediterranean, the victims are clear: Israel's fragile image and the Palestinian people in Gaza, who have once again been used by their purported friends but not really helped at all."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.