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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 24, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    An Israeli’s Perspective on Gaza Flotillas

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Being the German Correspondent of an Israeli newspaper must be an interesting experience but it was a different subject that engaged the attention of Eldad Beck from the daily Yedioth Ahr0noth when he spoke in Dublin this morning.

    We don’t tend to get too many Israeli public figures visiting our shores. A former ambassador explained to me once that the prospect of demonstrations was an offputting factor and he delivered himself of the immortal line: “You have a lot of do-gooders in Ireland.”

    I take no responsibility for Beck’s views which are bound to arouse the ire of some who read this blog. He was very critical of the Irish and the Turks for their role in organising flotillas to Gaza.

    Readers will recall the tragic results when Israel forces landed on a Turkish vessel on its way to Gaza some time back. The occasion was organised by the Israeli Embassy and the topic was “Revolution and Peace in the Middle East”. Here are Beck’s  remarks on the flotilla controversy:-

    “The Turkish Government was considered to be one of our best allies in the area for decades and they are sending this ridiculous flotilla to provoke the Israeli authorities.

    “You are not getting enough information about the [living] standards in Gaza. Most of you, living here and not knowing what is happening in Gaza, you are living on misconceptions of the way people live there.

    “Because if indeed people were dying of hunger in the Gaza Strip, we would have known that. Nobody has died of hunger until now.

    “So what is the need to organise these stupid flotillas, unless people really want to create conflict, including Irish radical groups?

    “There is no need: they [the people of Gaza] get whatever they need, through the Egyptian frontier, through the Israeli borders, everything is there, through the tunnels that they have built under the Egyptian [border], everything is there.”

    Beck condemned what he called “this hysterical attitude”, which he attributed to “people who just want to get attention and they know that they would get attention if they would create conflicts”.

    “And this is exactly what we see with the Hamas, they are suffering from the fact that they are not in the centre of international attention and they are trying to get there by provoking the Israeli [authorities] to react.

    “All of these groups organising flotillas from Turkey to Ireland are doing exactly the same.”

    Over to you (no trolls please):-

    • sonykopines says:

      inxx, why don’t you go join the IDF and take your M16 to a few of those Hamas dudes bother you so much?

    • Russell says:

      @ sony. Your remark #42 is inspiring. I cannot agree with you more. obviously what we need to do immediately is to send the citizens of Gaza and their democratically elected leaders in Hamas some better rocket guidance technology. It is patently unfair that they can launch thousands of rockets (over 10,000 in recent years) against civilian populations, schools, shops etc and only manage to kill or maim a small proportion of their intended targets.

      Of course I may have misunderstood your remarks and you are not in favour of that. maybe you are simply suggesting that israel also use poorly designed rockets fired from just inside the country and aimed randomly at the “innocent” civilians rather than the targeted strikes that they currently employ in order to limit casualties.

      Or maybe you think that Israel should just sit back and do nothing until Hamas have perfected their own guidance systems before they start to retaliate. Of course the death, destruction and anguish on the Israeli side of the border is of no importance because they are jews and probably deserve whatever happens to them, whether that means being stabbed in their beds, car-bombed at a bus stop or suffering rocket attacks while at school.

      I hope that youi can enlighten me on what exactly you meant by your comment.

    • Jimmy says:

      I will always remember the protests outside Lansdone Road when Israel were playing Ireland about 4 years ago. People were concerned about human rights abuses. They did not turn up a month earlier when China was playing in Lansdowne. I wonder why.

    • margaret says:

      Why does the Palestinian “cause” elicit so much bellyaching from the Irish left? Can’t they see that the Palestinian question could have been resolved a long time ago if the arabs wanted it resolved, but they prefer the see the palestinians cause be the lightening rod for aggression against Israel, who they hate beyond all reason. It’s a pity that many Irish people are so naive as to be cast as the “useful idiots” that they are by identifying more with Hamas the destroyers than with the Israelis. Maybe it’s because we identify more with dysfunction and religious fanaticism than we do with order and nation building.

    • sonykopines says:

      Not every persecuted peoples had like the Jews the means to escape into spiritualism that was truly liberating like Quabbalah and throne mysticism. Most of us fall into a bottle of booze or laudanmum or Xanax.

    • Russell says:

      I am wondering why yesterdays comment has not appeared?

    • @49: Is this a p**stake? Reads like one of Newton Emerson’s highly-amusing satirical columns.
      @56: Can’t find any comment you sent yesterday

    • Dave says:

      How different things would have turned out had the Arab peoples been led by leaders who were not threatened by the democratic and socialist values that the Jews brought to their new state.

      These same monstrous autocratic totalitarian leaders are exactly of the same ilk who today are being challenged by their peoples, by the people of both the street and of the universities. It was some of these earlier dictator-leaders had actually sent Arabs to fight in their own division on the side of the SS, and who later gave safe haven to some Nazi war criminals after the war (Egypt and Syria, for example). These dictoators feared that their power would eventually be undermined by the democratic ideas that the Jews would import into the region, and who, by initiating various wars against Israel, in effect sacrificed the early prospect of an Arab Palestinian state, just so they could remain in power.

      Had they accepted the United Nations vote on the partition of Palestine into an Arab state alongside a Jewish one in 1948, all this suffering could have been avoided.

      It has taken 63 years for the leaders of these states to say they now accept this idea, and this only after they had been defeated in their three aggressive wars, 1948, 1967 and 1973, to overrun the Jews by militrary means, not including their ongoing wars of attrition, terrorism, and suicide bombings, as well as their economic boycott, which still continues to this day. Even as far back as September 1967, a few months following the the Six Day War, after Israel had offered to withdraw back to its green line borders that exsited pre-war, the Arab states refused the offer, in iits 3 No’s Khartoom Decalaration: No Peace with Irsael; No Negotiations with Israel: and No recognition of Israel. Apart from Jordan and Egypt, this situation remains unchanged. Perhaps the emergence of democratically elected leaders there will be hope of some real peace in the future. I believe Israel will be willing to take greater risks in signing up to agreements with democracies rather than with unpopular dictators who can be overthown the next day and any peace agreements easily torn up.

      And oh, by the way, although Hamas was, as is often claimed, “democratically” elected – although there are many of their opponents in Fatah who strongly challenge this, while some are not around to challenge it at all – it has refused to hold any further democratic elections, and has not tolerated any opposition within Gaza. Now, if perchance Syria, a major Hamas backer, along with Iran, eventually do yield to the democracy protests, can Gaza be far off? So, there may be some hope of resolution for the Middle East after all.

    • Arthur Cholakis says:

      It is one of the great tragedies in history that a people who suffered so terribly are now perpetrating massive suffering themselves. Ideally the Israelis would have become paragons of justice after the atrocities of WWII; instead they have created a massive ghetto in Gaza, and their leaders have deemed Palestinians “cockroaches”, gnaw away at their land, and seize their homes. Theirs is a slow genocide which avoids world outcry, since it lacks anything as glaringly abominable as the death-machine of seventy years ago. It is antiseptic by comparison; it is genocide by attrition. History repeats: the oppressed becomes the oppressor, but one would think that, if any peoples would have broken that cycle, it would have been the Jews. It’s reason enough to lose all hope for the human race.

    • dail-minx says:

      @ 59 Arthur Cholakis – that comment is designed to appeal to sentimentality and is biased in its selectivity with regard to interpreting history – the argument (you make) from history re oppressed becoming oppressor in one particular situation could apply to a plethora of different groups throughout world history. Here and now, at this point in time, Hamas (a terrorist organization ‘democratically’ elected) is exacerbating and perpetuating an unendurable situation for its own people (ordinary Palestinians) in Gaza by taunting Israel into conflict situations, which results in ever more drastic measures (to seal itself off from attack) that Israel must carry out to protect its citizens – all of which adds to the plight of the Palestinian people and increases polarization of the factions involved and makes any possible solutions all the more impossible. It would seem that ordinary Palestinians just wanting to live normal lives are but disposable pawns to Hamas in its ruthless determination to achieve its ongoing objective, the annihilation of Israel – an objective that is nothing short of barbaric in its intent. I strongly doubt the Palestinian people will tolerate this repressive regime much longer and will soon join with the rest of oppressed peoples in the Arab world in the stand against tyrannical regimes. I strongly doubt, also that many individuals in Hamas really want to be part of that group at this stage.

      (Deaglán, I’d be obliged if you would remove comment I made at 49 which if there was a delete button I would remove it myself – not least on account of its irrelevance to this v serious debate. Sorry.)

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      @ 59: Israel did not ‘create’ the conditions in the West Bank or Gaza – West Bank has a land border with Jordan and Gaza with Egypt and Israel has no control over what those countries do.

      Also, the very fact Israel occupied any lands claimed as Palestine is because Arab countries repeatedly invaded the UN recognised borders of Israel and I wonder how many bleeding heart liberals would be out on the streets demanding Arabs leave Israeli land if plucky brave Israelis had not beaten those Arab armies.

      To use the word ‘genoide’ means you lose your argument, as does using the word Nazi or apartheid in the contect of Palestine.

      All Israel wants is to live in peace among its neighbours – it isn’t asking to be best friends with them because Arab society is at the moment so antisemitic, racist, sexist and homophobic that with or without the existence of Israel any Palestinian country would be as vile and corrupt as every other Arab state is.

      So by all means bemoan the fate of the Palestinians but don’t take the lazy route of blaming Israel for all their ills and I’m still waiting to hear the Palestinian lobby explain how they intend to compensate Jewish people for all the land and property confiscated from them when they were forced out of Arab countries.

      We Irish have much in common with the Palestinians – always looking to blame other people for mistakes we make.

      Instead Arthur, why not give Israel credit for creating the most successful, vibrant, modern and progressive state in the entire region in spite of the pressures placed on it by all the countries surrounding it.

      So despite what some would have us believe, all the ills of the Middle east are not caused by Israel, either pre-Balfour Declaration or after it.

    • Dave says:

      Arthur Cholakis

      In point of fact, the only “genocide” that has ever been attempted in relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict is that which was attempted in 1948 when the Palestinian Arabs and the surrounding Arab states together attacked and invaded Israel and did all they could to destroy it and its people. In the weeks leading up the 1967 6-Day War, Arab leaders ranted on about how they would destroy Israel and meet in vanquished Tel Aviv for coffee. Even King Hussein was not immune to this. In 1973 the Arab states attacked Israel on the Day of Atonement with the aim of annihilating it and its people. Had they defeated Israel militarily there is no doubt that this would have led to another Holocaust.

      At present, Hamas’ Charter is simply another version along the same lines, detailing its long held intention to obliterate Israel and kill all its Jews (See its Article 7) I don’t think any rational person can doubt they mean what they say. Hamas does not mince its words

    • sonykopines says:

      Russell, I’m glad that despite having fired at ‘over a MILLION people” as Dave observes, Hamas and their sugar powered flying drainpipes have barely managed to hit a living soul, by contrast to the rather large numbers of living souls killed and injured in Israel’s ”targetted” strikes. You might want to familiarise yourself with these items here: http://www.universaljurisdiction.org/world/israelpalestine/473-reports-gaza-waroperation-cast-lead
      Dave, I deplore and condemn outright any child being injured for any reason or by any adult. No less the innocent little children in your photoset. I am only glad that there were less than five in total, and that their injuries were relatively non-life threatening and for the most part the children involved seemed fit to fair recover. Bar the little chap whose leg had to be amputated. It is simply a fact that more than five children in Ireland are injured by illegal fireworks every year, some also requiring amputations (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11644670 – I could find only data for the Northern Six Counties of Ireland/UK, where fireworks are legal and their quality controlled. For the Southern 26 Counties of Ireland/Republic of Ireland I could find no data. Possibly because the authorities take the view that like torture and kidnap aka rendition flights fireworks are illegal and therefore they can’t possibly exist) than the numbers of injured children in your photos, despite as you assert those large Hamas firecrackers are fired at over a million people. My point about their relative ineffectualness against such a huge target base as you imply still stands, though my day’s a little sadder for seeing those injured innocent wee ones. Unreservedly I condemn making children victims of war in any way shape or form, anywhere. My apologies for delayed reply I was otherwise engaged and unable to check the blog.

    • Joe R says:

      Israel – the warmongers who used irish passports to murder a man
      Turkey – the people who sent us more food in a famine than the Queen.

    • tony o seanainn says:

      as the Irish poet O Brudair once said about the English in Irleand …..many hundreds of years ago….”you cant rob another mans land and expect to live in peace!” And as Churchill said….”Those who refuse to learn the lesson of history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes”……..so whats new!!???

    • Russell says:

      @sony. You have once again failed to accurately understand the situation. I have not tried to claim that people have not been killed in Gaza during the Israeli targetted airstrikes. But this is mainly due to the fact that Hamas has consistently set up their arms factories and launched their rocket attacks from the middle of highly populated areas. They do this with the full support and knowledge of the “innocent” civilians who elected them as their representative body. The fact that the Gazans did this after Israel had unilaterally withdrawn from the area (leaving behind a viable infrastructure of well developed farmland) only highlights that they are not interested in coexisting in peace with Israel.

      Israel has consistently attempted to reduce the number of casualties amongst civilians by phoning and dropping leaflets to alert the population to leave certain areas where bombs and rockets are being manufactured. Are you suggesting that Israel does not have the right to defend itself against a daily barrage of rockets from Gaza or are you just complaining that they use more efficient and effective ordanance?

      Your claim of condemnation of violence against all children is suspect to say the least as you seem to be placing all of the blame on Israel, a counthry which has shown through numerous actions that it desires peace. Maybe you should consider placing the blame where it belongs – against Hamas whose charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish State and whose daily actions show that this is not something that they will abandon as we did with the Good Friday Agreement.

      Of course, it is so much easier and popular to blame Israel, the only demopcratic state in the region. a state where the muslim, christian, druze and jewish citizens all have the right to vote as they wish, pray in their own temples and be educated. A country where homosexuals are not hanged, women are not stoned and free speech and politicla debate are allowed. I imagine that under teh rule of Hamas, the region would be equally enlightened.

    • Dave says:

      Israel – a country (8,019 square miles) less than the size of Munster (9374 sq miles) – the haven for remant survivors of the Holocaust, as well as for 600,000 Jewish refugees who fled from Arab countries. Israel, the determined little survivor since its birth of repeated attempts aimed at bringing about a second Holocaust by 21 Arab countries.

      Turkey – the perpetrator of the genocide of between 1 and 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children, both during and just after World War 1.

    • click here says:

      Wow, the rambling comments here are amazing: clear as mud, and bonkers to boot.

      I’m off to get me some Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Muffins. (To feed me, not the trolls.)

    • Dave says:


      Between 2001 and 2008, 8600 rockets were fired by Hamas and caused 28 deaths in Israel, as well as hundreds of injuries.

      Yet, according to you, these rockets are merely “large firecrackers”, when in reality they are very lethal weapons packed with high explosives designed to cause as many deaths, injuries and damage as possible.

      The firing of each one of these rockets, regardless as to whether they succeed in killing anyone, constitutes a war crime as defined by the UN.

      No “large firecracker” could do the damage that you see in these photos to the people of Israel’s Shderot:

      It is only pure luck that that none of these rockets has yet resulted in a large number of deaths in any one episode after hitting a large building. It is not for want of trying that this has not yet happened.

      If only Hamas would extend the hand of peace to Israel instead of pointlessly firing off those rockets and mortars. It would then put the onus on Israel to respond likewise. But Hamas’ current policy is merely reinforcing Israeli fears over its security concerns, and thus putting back further the prospect of ever achieving a seperate Palestine state, which is what most Israelis in fact do want.

      But as long as the rockets continue, Israel will always be right to refuse to compromise on its security. In an ideal world, Hamas should ingeniously offer to recognise its existance and like brave President Sadat many years ago agree to negotiate a peace deal.

      But then if Hamas did these things, it wouldn’t be Hamas. And there’s the rub.

    • sonykopines says:

      And a million Russians of Jewish descent who’ve been bussed in the past few recent years with the help of rightwing US fundamentalists ‘Christians’ who just cain’t wait to see Gog and Magog gittin’ it awn with Israel til they lied hugely dead across the Judean foothills and trigger the coming of Christ. So we’re told. Yes indeed a complicated place Israel. I love going there.

    • Bellinx says:

      If there had been any (recent) doubt, there is now documented clarification (as highlighted recently in the Irish Times) that Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I did send £1,000 to Ireland in 1847 at the height of the famine here and which by all accounts was enough to send 250 people to America at the time – a most compassionate response to the plight of the Irish by the then Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
      In fact Turkey also played a very significant role in rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1945.
      Following Stanford J. Shaw, “While six million Jews were being exterminated by the Nazis, the rescue of some 15,000 Turkish Jews from France, and even of some 100,000 Jews from Eastern Europe might well be considered as relatively insignificant in comparison. It was, however, very significant to the people who were rescued, and above all it showed that, as had been the case for more than five centuries, Turks and Jews continued to help each other in times of great crises.” (See link below, from which this excerpt was taken, for more details)

      However, that was then and this is now and the man in power in Turkey at the present time, Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is clearly not unbiased in his attitude to Israel and what is very worrying is that Erdoğan does not even consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization.


    • Dave says:


      And Turkey continues to still illegally occupy the Nothern part of the island of Cyprus, which it invaded in 1974, and then proceeded to ethnically cleanse the area of Greek Cypriots by forcing the expulsion of a quarter of the total population of Cyprus from that occupied area, replacing them with Turks form both mainland Turkey and other parts of the island. This classical case of ethnic cleansing by Turkey continues to this day and has been accompanised by what the UN defines as war crimes, plus other actions which Europe recognises as human rights abuses.

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