Flotilla - piracy or legal interception?


By steveabbott
June 10, 2010
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Some on the JC have argued that Israels interception of the flotilla was a legal act. My view is that it was an act of piracy - I'll revise that following leagl advice from raycook - it was an act of state piracy. While procedure may permit the boarding of vessels to maintain a blockade (I am not a lawyer specialising in the law of the sea - and nor is anyone else on the JC - as far as I am aware), surely not in international waters, and only if the blockade itself were legal. It is not legal. It contravenes international law since it amounts to collective punishment of an entire population - putting Gazans on a diet as some charmer of an Israeli spokesperson put it. The UN have made quite clear that the blockade is not legal. Therefore enforcing cannot be legal either - is there something wrong with my logic? The 'search for weapons' thing is a complete red herring. The customs authorities in the ports of departure would have been very thorough in ensuring the cargo complied with the law in those countries - they would not have permitted the shipping of weapons. And in point of fact there were no weapons, were there? Please dont refer to kitchen knives, hammers, wrenches, and bits of wood - I dont think Hamas has much use for that kind of 'weaponry'.

And why then should the should the passengers of the Mavi Mamara comply with an illegal order to stop and be boarded? Given the doarding was illegal, would not defence have been entirely legitimate. Many have pointed out the differnt outcome re the boarding of the Rachel Corrie. Indeed, but I should imagine the Rachel Corrie passangers were a bit more co-operative after hearing that the IDF kills people on ships it boards.

COMMENTS

Yvetta

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 19:47

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"Given that it was illegal..."
But it was not illegal.

'ere, Steve.
'eard the one about the Brit bottle blonde and the "Israeli Zionist killer"?
Go to the link below to listen to a slander if ever I've heard one, about a bloke who's probably never murdered more than the odd pesky blowfly or two.
The mob who're cheering the blonde on are just the type of people to swallow Hamas propaganda hook, line and sinker. Looks like you have too.
http://www.oyvagoy.com/2010/06/08/i-dont-care-about-israels-security/


steveabbott

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 21:07

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i'll have a look later - just going swimming.

Hamas don't really need to use propaganda though - Israel's actions in Gaza are all the propaganda they need. It kinda speaks for itself.

By the way, i will let you in on a secret - I dont actually have much time for any organised religion, but I hold a special loathing for Islam (though not for muslims themselves, since they are just people), and the vile uses to which it is put. Oops - good thing this is not a jihadi website. Dont tell them willu. I will not


steveabbott

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 21:12

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yvetta - sorry forgot. but the blockade is illegal - firstly, Israel has no recognised authority to declare a legal blockade over the Gaza strip - it physically left in 2005; no other country recognises the blockade as leagl does it? Tell me if you know different. Secondly, its the collective punishment of an entire population according to the UN. If we cant believe them, as the ultimate authority in the matter, who can we believe?


amber

Thu, 06/10/2010 - 22:46

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abbot, youare wrong. If you look closely, you will see that the Uk and other hypocrites do not call the blockade (which isn't really a blockade, as aid flows through freely as does Israeli power and electricity) illegal. They call it "unsustainable" - whatever they mean by that. I would have thought the genocidal war against the Jews declared by Hamas would be unsustainable, but apparently you don't feel strongly enough about that to write a sill blog about it. Hamas are masters of propaganda, and concoct events for the cameras. Ever heard of Pallywood?

This whole flotilla stunt was propaganda, and had nothing to do with aid. Hamas even refused the aid. What does that tell you?


steveabbott

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 00:13

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Amber. The blockade is illegal in the sense that the UN refers to it as 'collective punishment of a civilian population'. Such collective punishment is illegal. How many Israeli's have been killed in Hamas 'genocidal war' amber? And how many gazans killed in Israel's war agaist Hamas?

I am not interested in Hamas propaganda. It hardly needs to engage in any, when Israel's actions appal the world. Did the aid Hamas refused include the building materials on those ships - was Israel prepared to deliver those?


steveabbott

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 00:25

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watched the video. i swear that bloke in front of the camera - back view only - was the shoe bomber! have they let him out?

well - slander? dunno - heat of the moment i suppose. mind you Regev certainly murders the truth.


amber

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 00:33

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abbot, you gave the game away. You are in no position to "interpret" the law as you have - and "collective punishment" can be argued in any war (which this is). it is NOT illegal - no one except the usual obsessive Israel haters claim it is. However, Hamas' rocket attacks are illegal.

As for minimising the genocidal nature of Hamas, you display your tryue ignorance. Read the charter. It calls for the extermination of every living Jew on earth. It rejects any peace negotiations, and mocks the idea of peace.

As for refusing the aid, you neatly sidestep that one. if the aid is so desperately needed, why was it refused?

It really is amazing that you bend over backwards not to condemn Hamas, and insetad direct your venom exclusively at the Jewish state.

In fact, it's disgusting.


steveabbott

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 00:50

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amber. Happy to condemn Hamas as an ideology. Happy to condemn Islam as well - but thats a broader question. Many on this website seem to place great store by charters - bits of paper that bear no relation to capabilities. Israel rightly has no charter calling for the detahs of gazans, but it does have the capability to kill them - and as we have seen, is quite happy to excercise it.

I say again, was Israel prepared to deliver the building materials?

Are the UN the usual obsessive Israel haters then? They say that collective punishment is a war crime - or is it a crime against humanity? pretty serious either way - and authorititive. Do you disregard the UN - if so why is Israel a member?


amber

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 17:19

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yes abbot, I'm amazed you have to ask the question. TYhe UN has along history of Israel bashing - look at UN Watch. The UN voted in 1975 that Jewish self determination was racist - a truly shameful event. And the unfortunately named Human Rights Council, headed by Libya with its torture chambers and secrte police, spends 90% of its time condemning one country in the world - Israel. It has never condemned China over its human rights record or invasion and occupation of Tibet - not once - nor Sudan over Darfur (300,000 dead) or the DRC 7 MILLION, yes that's million, dead, abbot. This is an organization with 37 Muslim countries who always vote as one block against Israel - and tellingly, the majority of member states are not democracies. They are dictatorships, whose members spend money on drink and whores whilst in New York at the UN, whilst their people starve back home. This is the organization which put Zimbabwe, with 100,000% inflation in charge of economic development.

Please, spare me "what the UN says." It doesn't impress me - and nor should it you.


steveabbott

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 19:10

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amber: then why is israel a member? Ignore the basket cases amber - the whole world is not the arab block. The UN is the best we have - what else is there? If Israel is allowed to ignore so many resolutions with complete impunity (more than any other state by a country mile), what hope is there to force other states to obey UN resolutions - Iran for instance? Israel enjoys the regular support in the UN of the US (against its own interests - which you will need to start worrying about), and a handful of polynesian atols - that tells you something amber. If your case was so good, why can you not do better than that?


amber

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 17:32

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More lies from abbot. Israel is not in breach of ANY UN resolutions. To understand this, learn the difference between chapter 6 and chapter 7 resolution - which Israel haters always overlook. The UN the bast we have? It stinks. It is an antisemitic organization, because most member states are hostile to Jews. It is indeed a grotesque inversion of what the Un was established to be, and Israel is its whipping boy. Why does Israel belong? Because it thinks it needs to fight its corner. Personally, I think Israel should tell every Jew hating corrupt despot which sits there to shove it. And so should you if you had any decency or morality.


amber

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 17:33

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Israel's interests are the Us' interests. If the Us ever starts to deny this, they will be in big trouble. Israel is the canary in the mine.


amber

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 17:34

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The naswer to Iran is not to be foundin the UN - as has become patently obvious. Nothing has deterred Iran so far, and yet another round of watered down sanctions will achieve nothing. But the UN doesn't really care if another 6 million Jews are murdered (G-d forbid).


Yvetta

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 17:40

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Well said, Amber.
I recommended to the obstinately naive Mr Abbott Isi Leibler's piece re UN hypcocrisy on another of these threads - he probably won't read it.


Yvetta

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 17:40

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Sorry for the typos.


amber

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 18:50

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Yvetta, it's me who should apologise for typos!


jose (not verified)

Fri, 06/25/2010 - 03:01

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steveabbott: If your case was so good, why can you not do better than that?

There are in fact several reasons, apart from the automatic majority the Muslim block gets from Muslim group members and dictatorships. Main one is of course oil money that can buy a lot of 'consciences' and intimidate a number of countries. It wouldn't be the first time OPEC countries boycott those who don't agree with them. Second main reason it that many countries in democracies have an important local Muslim minority and if one can neglect the tiny Jewish minority, it is not so with the Muslim minority that sometimes reach 7-10%, as in France for example (less than 1% for Jews).

I'm sure this is not news for you, so one could easily expect UN opinion on Israel to be highly biased. Obviously, it comes as a surprise to you.


steveabbott

Sat, 10/09/2010 - 12:36

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well well - un investigation finds israeli attack on the flotilla was ILLEGAL. and all you pro-occupation bloggers were assuring me back in may/june that israels' actions were entirely compliant with international law.

oh dear.


happygoldfish

Sat, 10/09/2010 - 19:57

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steveabbott, if the blockade was illegal, then of course the boarding was illegal, and reasonable defence against it would have been legal

(and if a blockade is legal, then a boarding is also legal, and even reasonable defence is illegal, provided it is not in a neutral country's territorial waters … see my blog "here is the San Remo international law of blockade …")

steveabbott: The UN have made quite clear that the blockade is not legal.

the un has never done so

some un employees have criticised it as "collective punishment", but they have not added that it is illegal

(the un human rights council of course has said so … see below)

steveabbott: It contravenes international law since it amounts to collective punishment of an entire population

steveabbott: The blockade is illegal in the sense that the UN refers to it as 'collective punishment of a civilian population'. Such collective punishment is illegal.

no, collective punishment is not illegal (either under the fourth geneva convention or elsewhere), only collective penalties are

economic sanctions (such as this blockade) almost always amount to collective punishment of the civilian population, but they're a perfectly legal measure in armed conflict

of course, international humanitarian law does make a blockade or other sanction illegal if it deprives the population of sufficient food or medicine

however, israel has never restricted the quantity of food or medicine going in (though a few categories of food, such as coriander, were forbidden for a time), so humanitarian law has not been breached

(for some more detail, see my reply to you on another blog, at http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/columnists/32838/the-spread-flot...)

steveabbott: … no other country recognises the blockade as leagl does it?

very few countries have described it as illegal

most of the rest … even those who criticise the blockade … have not called it illegal

most countries have confirmed israel's right to self-defence against present and future rocket-fire from gaza into israel …

self-defence, of course, not only includes lethal force, but also the non-lethal (and therefore usually preferable) method of blockade

steveabbott: un investigation finds israeli attack on the flotilla was ILLEGAL. and all you pro-occupation bloggers were assuring me back in may/june that israels' actions were entirely compliant with international law.

no source, as usual , but i suppose you're referring to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11393836 ?

erm … this isn't the un, only the "un human rights council"

i don't think anyone seriously takes any notice of them … but if you want to post some of their "findings", to give us a good laugh, by all means do so


happygoldfish

Sat, 10/09/2010 - 20:09

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ooh, i almost forgot

for what it's worth, israel's naval blockade is affirmed as "legal under international law" in a letter signed by 87% of the us senate and sent to president obama on the 21st june

a .pdf copy of the letter (including signatures) is available on "the hill" website at http://thehill.com/images/stories/news/2010/PDFs/reidmcconnellisraelletter.pdf

(and according to http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/138242, 75% of the house of representatives have signed a similar letter, but i can't find any confirmation of that)

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