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Israeli Foreign Ministry acknowledges Gaza is occupied

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An article in Ha’aretz today will surely get attention for the headline, ‘Foreign Ministry warned Israel Navy not to raid Gaza flotilla in international waters’.

Further down, is the following:

Thus, according to senior figures familiar with the details of the discussions, the Foreign Ministry urged defense officials to launch their operations to stop the flotilla only after the ships had crossed Gaza’s maritime boundaries. The ministry’s diplomats repeated this request on more than one occasion.

"If somebody breaks into your home and you shoot him after he enters the doorway, there’s no problem in justifying this action in court," said a senior ministry official. "But if you attack the burglar while he is on his way to your house at a distance of two blocks away, then you have a problem."

"It was made clear that we can ultimately prove that we acted according to international law, but this will be very complicated and we will absorb many denunciations along the way," the official said.

Firstly then, despite all the propaganda post-2005 redeployment about Israel washing its hands of Gaza, and the occupation being ‘over’, Israel still views the territory as under its control – and acts accordingly.

The flotilla, of course, was expressly headed to the Gaza Strip, not Israel, and yet the "senior foreign ministry official" feels that the appropriate analogy is preventing an intruder from entering your own home.

But secondly, and more disturbingly, while the use of lethal force by commandos has been justified by the Israeli government and its propagandists as impromptu ‘self-defence’ against "armed" activists, here it seems that the Foreign Ministry’s advice in the planning stages was concerned with the most appropriate location for the use of violence against the boats’ passengers.

About Ben White

Ben White is author of 'Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide' and 'Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, discrimination and democracy'. Follow him on twitter at @benabyad and on his website

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