There was a time, in the now dim and distant past, when Israeli Commando actions were often heralded as brave and awe inspiring. Take for instance the no nonsense approach of the Israelis when it came to the hijacking of civilian aircraft back in the 1970s. Israeli Commandoes simply stormed the Air France plane at Entebbe, Uganda , in 1976, rescuing the captives in one fail swoop. Think back earlier to successful Israeli attempts to apprehend well known and well hidden Nazi war criminals such as Adolf Eichmann, and then transporting them back to Israel for trial. Back then, much of World opinion held that Israel was a small State under permanent siege, from hostile Arab neighbours to a myriad of Palestinian terror groups, one of the most notorious being Black September.
When the Israeli Olympic team was murdered in Munich in 1972, the whole World mourned.
Despite the innumerable injustices and humiliations of the Palestininians, much of the World was prepared to indulge Israel precisely because it had so signally failed European Jewry during the rise of Hitler’s Germany. The Seven Day War, which saw Israeli forces rout the combined power of Egypt, Jordan and Syria confirmed the view that Israel was under permanent threat of attack and needed to be defended.
The Israeli commando attack on a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza in which nine civilians were killed and many others wounded has finally draw a line under a global support network for Israel which had in truth been fraying for many years. The night time attack has been condemned by the UN Security Council, and Turkey, hitherto an ally of Israel, has been even more forthright, accusing Israel of “State terrorism”. The shocking violence and death was not aimed at securing hostages, but against volunteers taking desperately needed supplies into the besieged enclave of Gaza.
Their deaths mark a new low in Israel’s standing with the rest of the World, and come hard on another commando raid that saw Israeli agents assassinating opponents while hiding under the stolen nationality of others, including a number of British and Irish passport holders who had had their identity stolen by the Israeli State. But global opinion really began its shift during the violent offensive Israel launched against Southern Lebanon and later the savage assault on Gaza itself, where notably the Israeli Defence Force used bombs and phosperous weapons in civilian areas and even managed to destroy a United Nations compound. Gaza, wracked and ruined, is now hostage to Israel. The UN claims people there are barely receiving third of what they need to survive. The Israeli authorities and their vociferous supporters in organisations such as AIPAC become apoplectic when critics dare to compare Gaza to a latter day concentration camp, but there is little doubt that Gaza is fast becoming comparable to a British style concentration camp pioneered during the Boer Wars. Prisoners may not have been systematically murdered, but they were partially starved into submission.
The Israeli Government, under the hard-line leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu may think it can carry on acting illegally and with impunity so long as the US dollars keep flowing and so long as the Obama administration continues the mealy mouthed approach adopted by successive US administrations in hoc to the Israel lobby. Perhaps it will not bother Netanyahu that he and his supporters stand accused at the Bar of international opinion of “State terrorism”. But these are hard economic times, and American taxpayers are being obliged – as are their counterparts in Europe - to dig deeper to pay for the grand larceny of the bankers. Sooner, rather than later, many of these taxpayers are going to begin to ask what they are receiving in return for the annual US bung to Israel of $3.5 Billion. Apart from deeply distressing images of civilians, Palestinians for the most part, but now foreign nationals on an aid convoy for Gods sake, who have been maimed or killed.