Monday, 7 June 2010

Where to Guv?

Spiegel has a good piece of analysis of the Israeli action regarding the flotilla.Israel has always walked a narrow line on what is right and proper but seems to have exposed themselves unnecessarily on this occasion. It may just be that this time their "victims" have a well practised history of representing themselves as pure as driven snow or that a closely timed sequence of actions is just that bit too much for the International world to swallow.
They may have misjudged POTUS reaction at a time when America is looking to re-build fences in the Muslim world.
The only bit of good news for them was the successful halting of the much smaller sanction-busting ship. This was done with no violence on either side and is an example of how things might have played out on the bigger and earlier fleet. IDF showed us how to deal with hostages at Entebbe and their reactions to suicide bombers was adopted - maybe a little too emphatically - by our own Metropolitan police. The less than outright condemnation of what happened there might be regarded as a test of the legality of Israeli procedures. It was the manner in which these had been carried out that drew adverse criticism.
It must now be manifest that there be some sort of inquiry. Having found a way of drawing fire upon Israel, Hamas will not back off and Israel would condemn themselves if repeat flotillas were not intercepted.
Even before we got to the nitty gritty of evidence, there would be a massive hill to climb. Who would host it? The security at G20 ran near to a billion dollars and any flotilla tribunal will last much longer than that G20.Then would come discovery when the Gaza counsel will be looking to get the evidence seized by Israel on board the ship where violence took place. World wide search for witnesses and the recording of depositions could swallow up a further year with all the opportunity for Hamas to create fresh incidents to keep the pot boiling.
And who can give any assurance that Israel would attend? Any suggestion of a trial in their absence would undermine the whole process and devalue any finding. How on earth would the Inquiry team be nominated - with the almost universal condemnation of the operation in the face of little hard and proven evidence, how can bias be eliminated?
The technical areas alone would be horrendous. Even if the IDF were prepared to go into their procedures in open session, who is there to evaluate and make proficient comment on these matters. If one were to go for senior officers in the world of anti-terrorism, they would be conscious of aligning themselves with an already-convicted organisation. My money would go on someone of the likes of McNab or Ryan - senior NCOs who know what is what and have the status to be listened to. America has some extremely capable personnel in both the planning and operational arena but no chance of overcoming allegations of bias.
And the outcome of all this would be? The adherents of the Palestinian side are most unlikely to see anything in a fresh light. For Israel to accept fault would be for them to be barred from almost any counter-terrorism action "You were wrong with the flotilla in 2010 and you are wrong again" would be a ready made IED.
In practical terms, any Inquiry would merely be an opportunity for the venting of bile. The MSM is a better stage for that as we are now seeing.
Surely, a better use for all that money and energy would be to aim at a settlement of the Palestine/Israel dispute, There have been a number of agreements that came close to starting that process but all disintegrated with allegations of breaches and evasions of the agreed text. It might - just - be possible to have any resolutions negotiated in full view and exhaustive clauses, terms and conditions amplified such that sabotage was impossible. Neighbouring countries would have to commit - equally clearly and without escape - as to what they would, and, more importantly would not, do. On the face of it, a job for the UN. Equally clear, one beyond their ability. The Cyprus situation is far less serious than Palestine but all we see is a lot of blue berets apparently keeping the Greeks and Turks apart and no move towards resolving whatever it was that led them to armed confrontation in the first place.

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