Saturday, June 05, 2010

Israeli Navy Seizes 'Rachel Corrie'

By Dennis Bernstein and Jesse Strauss
June 5, 2010

Much to the dismay of the Israeli government, Rachel Corrie remains determined to protect the rights of Palestinians crowded into the Gaza Strip.

Read on.


Anonymous said...

Seizing is an Israeli speciality - they seize land, water, orchards and the right of the Palestiens to the necessities of life, not to mention American tax-payer money to pay for the arms with which they kill anyone who stands in their way.

Sheldon said...

As reported in the June 3rd Irish Times, Ireland did not object to Israel, if necessary intercepting and taking over the Rachel Corrie.

Ireland had two requests. One, don't do it in international waters. Two, make sure their is no violence. Israel said that it did not expect any violence when the ship reached the exclusion zone.

Israel had been stupid with the flotilla. There were many ways the ships could have been allowed to reach Gaza and the blockade remain in place. They didn't do so because the public and almost everyone who has said anything do not understand of the law of blockade. And they were worried about Israeli opinion and they thought it would go as the earlier ships had gone.

As to the future. Legally, a Turkish warship can escort a Turkish cargo ship into Gaza and that doesn't break the blockade. All Israel needs is somebody saying something official enough that Israel can say,Ok --- no military weapons.
And legally the blockade stands.

I'm going to ignore the issue of the legality of the sea blockade except to say that the practical realities view is Israel's and it has been the fact for much of the time since the first Infitfada. The other view depends on the status of Israel and Gaza and how you interpret that status. That still leaves the issue of whether the status on the land answers the status of a sea blockade.

Take a close look at the San Remo manual. It isn't law, it is what's customary international law and also what the authors would like. Read it top to bottom and if the blockade is legal,everything Israel did was Ok.

Something doesn't become illegal because the results aren't what was wanted. If 4 soldiers are captured and taken below and others resist those who go after them with knives and poles and have gas masks and soldiers on helicopters above don't lay down fire against everyone in the way of those coming to the aid of the soldiers below, then that's restraint.

By the way, under a sea blockade and under San Remo, cement can obviously (see s.166) be legally prevented from reaching Gaza by sea.

In the last couple of days, I've learned a lot about international blockade law (but no big surprises) and not much new about the 'legality' of the blockade. I've also learned Israel acted stupidly, but not illegally or morally wrong at that moment.

I have moved on the nature of the blockade to see that it is too strict and too arbitrary. But as long as Gaza fires rockets, there will be a lot of restrictions on what moves in. Goods should be able to freely move out to export.

Cement will still be a problem.

Finally, the Egyptian underground wall that will pump sea water underground and make tunnels impossible will be finished in months. At that point, even with reasonable access by Israel,everything coming in will have to be allowed by Egypt or Israel.