Exodus Mk II

By skepticlawyer

I’ve deliberately avoided discussion of the Gaza Flotilla issue, largely because it’s one of our ‘hot-button-issues-that-attracts-insane-loonies’ (along with AGW and abortion), but this deeply cynical but extremely well informed analysis from STRATFOR is simply too good to pass up. Money quote?


Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

Now go and read the whole thing.


  1. Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Yes, STRATFOR is the best take I have seen. This “>piece by Daniel Drezner is pretty good too.

    David Ben-Gurion’s argument that occupying the West Bank and Gaza strip would corrupt Israel is proving prophetic.

  2. Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Linkage failure. This is the link I meant

  3. Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    No, it was this one

    Grumble, I am obviously stupid from lack of food: must go and eat.

  4. conrad
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I think they should have just admitted that it wasn’t their intention to kill any people, and it was just an operation that went wrong — you play with fire, you get burnt — sorry, we told you not to come and next time we’ll remember the rubber bullets instead. They could then have compensated the victims a trivial amount for any government and assumed no other responsibility. At present, it’s just silly saying it was the other side’s fault for attacking them first, when they had all the weapons.

  5. Posted June 3, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Y’know I don’t think we’d have one of those meta irrational Israel/Palestine threads of doom here. Commentors are too sane and reasonable.

  6. Peter Patton
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Conrad has a pretty good take here. The Israelis could have knocked the wind out of the sails of its fleet of enemies, by immediately saying:

    “OMG. What a tragedy. Sooooo sorry. Commandos ran out of flashlight batteries, you see. How can we make it up to you? We’ll send flowers to the funerals. In fact, I am officially declaring two days of mourning out of respect for our close relationship with out brother Turks. If the family’s need some shekels to ease the pain… no problem. Oh, and we promise never to mention the Armenians again. Jesus, did you hear the Japanese PM resigned?”

    Or something like that. Even if a little more sombre.

    The great advantage Israel has here is that it was not Palestinians who were killed. Nor was it due to an incursion into the West Bank or Gaza.

    Israel should crank up the contrition, never ceasing to frame the issue as one between Israel and – NON PALESTINIAN – activists, out at sea.

    They should resist every effort to link this with the Palestinians.

  7. Peter Patton
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    From the Palestinians’ perspective, right now would be an excellent time for hundreds of thousands of them to converge on the wall, tear it down, and just walk into Israel, chanting “we’re baaaaaaacckkk!”

    What could the Israelis possibly do?

  8. Posted June 4, 2010 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    A clear case of YouFailPublicRelationsForever. The Israelis used to be so good at this kind of thing. Remember the Entebbe raid? What happened to those guys? They on sick leave?

  9. Jack Randles
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Well reasoned article by Stratfor. No other comments really necessary.

    Any reasonable nation faced with same situation would have used peaceable means, or just let the chaperoned flotilla sail into Gaza.

    Unfortunately Israeli actions just prove to rest of the world the Netanyahu governments determination to dictate, in no uncertain manner, the Palestinian terms: “Take it or leave it”!

  10. Patrick
    Posted June 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    You gotta get off those drugs Randles. I can’t think of any country possessing a solitary fucking rifle which would have ‘let the chaperoned flotilla sail into Gaza’. I can think of a lot of things Israel might have done differently, but let’s beat them up over what they could have done differently in this world, not what some fantasy country could have done differently in some fantasy world.

  11. Arjay
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you should read John Pilger’s article on OLO, Black art of ‘Master Illusion’. In the regards to the heonan Soth Korea’s National Intelligence Organisation says there was no evidence linking the Cheonan to North Korea,yet we the West and Israel insisting it was North Korea.Apparently is was due to a rusted prop on the one of the Cheonan’s torpedoes.

    Skeptic Lawyer did not research the topic too well.

  12. Peter Patton
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink


    The Israelis used to be so good at this kind of thing [public realtions].

    Is this really the case? I only started seriously tuning into the Israeli/Arab conflict, and its history, five or so years ago. However, I have memories from as far back as being a small child of TV coverage of the conflict. My first memories come from the 1970s – probably post the Yom Kippur War.

    My memories are full of media denunciation of Israel. While those memories are saturated with “PLO terrorists,” they are equally saturated with the crimes committed by “Zionists” who run the “Jewish state.”

    These ‘crimes’ included ‘war crimes,’ ‘starting illegal wars,’ ‘wars of aggression (a phrase that always flummoxed me as I naively presumed ALL wars must be pretty aggressive).

    I recall images of toothless peasants in rags wailing outside their tent in overcrowded refugee camps, as the TV voice-over tut-tutted ‘how could thus puppet of American imperialism massacre innocent refugees, who just want to go back home.’ It is only quite recently that I worked out that the Arab propaganda machine STILL replays footage from the living conditions in refugee camps from the 1950s! Rarely, do we see the satellite TV, internet connections, and so on.

    Maybe, my parents ultimate say over which channel our TV was tuned to reveals them as anti-Semitic, Islamist-sympathizers, but I doubt it! 🙂

    So has the western media EVER been that chummy with the Israelis?

  13. Posted June 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    People didn’t used to die in Israeli raids, and no matter how frothy the Western media (or anyone else’s, for that matter) gets, when a country’s commandos don’t kill people, painting them as bad doesn’t work very well.

    When the Israelis cockup and show themselves to be incompetent, winning the PR battle is that much more difficult. They have really snookered themselves with this.

    Arjay, you have been banned from this site. That means you are unwelcome here. I have been forced to put your name and details in the killfile because you seem incapable of understanding simple instructions.

  14. Peter Patton
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    OK. I get you now. The Israelis, while vigilant and ready to kill when necessary, were always masters of precision and accuracy, never wasting a bullet on ‘collateral damage.’ Whereas over the past 5 years their victims tend more and more to be collateral damage, rather than the particular nasty they were targeting.

  15. Posted June 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    The particular nasty hides amongst the people. Standard guerilla tactic. The enemy blows up everyone and creates more recruits.
    In the same situation everyone does it.

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