June 7, 2010
Something has been lost in the heated discussion surrounding the Gaza "freedom flotilla" incident -- namely, an assessment of what actually happened before and during the Israeli operation. Dissecting the incident's serious consequences is important, as is debating alternative Israeli options or questions of international law. But responding intelligently to the event requires a better understanding of the operational details -- that is, how the Israel Defense Forces Navy (IDFN) and its violent opponents conducted themselves.
Two dramatically different narratives of the May 31 operation have already emerged. One is that of an Israeli "assault" on the flotilla and the "massacre" of "peace activists." This narrative has been adopted wholesale by much of the world without critical scrutiny, let alone analysis. The other narrative, put forth by the Israelis, is of a naval operation that went bad when the boarding parties were violently attacked on one of the six ships.
This story is far from over. However, video footage provided by the Arab media and the IDF, as well as accounts by Israeli commando personnel and non-Israeli reporters and activists on the ships, have provided greater clarity on what happened on the Mavi Marmara, and why it happened the way it did.
To read the full analysis, click here.