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Old 05-31-2010, 08:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
John Galt
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You've got two different lines of discussion here, but you're acting as if they are the same thing.

First of all, Israel may or may not be a terrorist state ... we could debate that issue. Interesting that they were formed as a modern state by an international body, something which a very few countries could say. At the end of the day, everybody is living on somebody else's old land.

Second, according to the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994:
SECTION V : NEUTRAL MERCHANT VESSELS AND CIVIL AIRCRAFT

Neutral merchant vessels

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.
NOTE: the San Remo Manual is not a treaty, but considered by the ICRC to be reflective of customary law.

Israel's boarding of the Gaza flotilla was certainly an example of #67 section A. The Captain of one of the boats told the IDF that they intended to "run the blockade" And the video evidence shows that Israel did indeed give the flotilla a warning and asked them to re-route to an Israeli port.

Also, on piracy: the definition of piracy under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, section 101, is clear that piracy can only occur where there are “illegal acts of violence or detention” that are “committed for private ends.” Israeli actions were legal under the law of armed conflict (as evidenced by the San Remo Manual) and in any event, were not committed for private ends. Anyone using the term piracy to describe the Israeli action is clearly not aware of international law on the subject.

So really, Israel didn't have to offer them another alternative to get where they "wanted to go." They followed the law as it is currently written. You can disagree with them, or argue that the law should be changed. Still, their actions were more legitimate by law that the US invasions of Vietnam, Grenada, and Iraq. So throw some stones if you care to.

By the way, if you're writing from outside the US, you might want to look up whether or not your country participated in 2/3rds of those "conflicts."
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