Imagine what they would have done if the administration hadn’t warned Israel to use “caution and restraint”!

The Obama administration said Wednesday that it had warned Israel’s government repeatedly to use “caution and restraint” with half a dozen aid boats bound for the Gaza Strip before Israeli commandos raided the flotilla this week in an operation that killed nine people.

“We communicated with Israel through multiple channels many times regarding the flotilla,” P.J. Crowley, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement issued in response to a question from The Washington Post. “We emphasized caution and restraint given the anticipated presence of civilians, including American citizens.”

The acknowledgment shed new light on the administration’s contact with the Israeli government before the Monday morning raid, which has inflamed international opinion against Israel and complicated President Obama’s efforts to improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world. White House officials said Wednesday that there is a growing consensus within the administration that U.S. and Israeli policy toward Gaza must change, even as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flatly rejected calls for his country to lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Netanyahu, addressing his nation Wednesday for the first time since the raid, angrily defended Israel from mounting international criticism over its use of force against the flotilla, which was carrying construction materials, medicine, school paper and other aid to Gaza when Israeli commandos set upon it in international waters.

Netanyahu called the criticism “hypocrisy” and described Gaza, where 1.5 million people live in a narrow slice of dunes and refugee camps between southern Israel and the sea, as “a terror state funded by the Iranians.”

“The same countries that are criticizing us today should know that they will be targeted tomorrow,” he said, just a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Israel’s policy toward Gaza “unsustainable.” “It’s for this and for many other reasons we have a right to inspect cargo heading into Gaza,” Netanyahu added.

The flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement and a Turkish charity that Israeli officials say has connections to radical groups.

In an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast Wednesday night, Vice President Biden agreed that Israel had a right to inspect the cargo. “You can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not . . . but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know — they’re at war with Hamas — has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in,” he said.

At the same time, Biden acknowledged that the administration is trying to sway the Israeli government on the issue of Gaza, which has been under some form of an Israeli blockade for five years.

“We have put as much pressure and as much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them to get building materials” and other designated humanitarian aid into Gaza, he said.

11 thoughts on “Restraint

  1. Imagine what they would have done if the administration hadn’t warned Israel to use “caution and restraint”!

    The IDF boarding party probably would have been considerably larger, more properly armed and armoured and there would have been little or no causalities.

    I had always wondered why the IDF went in with a small lightly armed and armoured force. It didn’t jibe with what I know about the tactics and capabilities of the IDF’s Shayetet 13.

    Now I know why..

    Good call, Obama.. :^/


  2. Biden is full of idealistic shit. Cut off the money supply, we have enough needs at home. Time to starve the beast and in the bargain end the dual citizenship crap.

  3. If the U.S. wanted to stop this right now, the Navy would go in, bringing the humanitarian aid.
    What the fuck am I thinking?

  4. “”They (Israel) have said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship — if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza. So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight — 3,000 rockets on my people,”‘
    -Joe Biden

    The first and, to date, the ONLY time I have ever agreed with Joe Biden on anything.


  5. Biden on Charlie Rose also asked, about the blockade and siege of Gaza, “What’s the big deal?” He had said the flotilla should just have let the Israelis take the goods and deliver them to the Gazans (and hope for unicorns and flying pigs).

    He’s lost me.

    Because, at the time he appeared on Charlie Rose, I bet the US administration had to have been told by the Israeli government that among the dead was an American citizen. The Israelis would not have let that come from the Turks.

    Per reports by the Turks, after autopsies of the bodies flown to Turkey, a 19-yr old American man of Turkish descent, was among the 9 killed. He had 4 shots to the head and one to the chest.

    Proportionate response…no way. I write about this dead American to in no way diminish the deaths of the 8 Turkish citizens — I write about it to note how our own government reacts. Bastards.

  6. “Proportionate response…no way. “

    What facts allow you to make that determination?


  7. I don’t think people see the real point here. The point was not to break the blockade and get certain material delivered to Gaza. The cargo was symbolic. Breaking through the blockade was not required for success.

    This was a non-violent demonstration on the lines of the sit-ins, the march across the Pettus bridge in Selma, etc.. The object is to defy and confront the oppressor and thereby force the invisible violence which maintains the situation to become visible.

    The Israelis maintain control of Gaza by the daily threat of violence. They can maintain the appearance of peacefulness until someone comes in to agitate and make trouble. Then they are “forced” to get violent. Afterward they are dumbfounded by the public reaction and explain that everyone should have known what was going to happen. They don’t realize that the whole point was to provoke it into happening.

    The only flaw in this particular demonstration was that there was not sufficient training and discipline to maintain a non-violent reaction among the demonstrators. They undercut their own cause to the extent that they reacted with violence, but he reaction was very small considering the numbers involved.

  8. Pragmatic,

    Well said. That is exactly what this incident was. There was no humanitarian intent. This is evidenced by the fact that Hamas refused the aid from the IHH Flotilla that Israel attempted to deliver. The idea was to provoke Israel to score points with world opinion, period.

    And you are also dead on that the biggest flaw in their ploy was that they reacted with violence. While the IHH may have scored some early points with public opinion, as time wore on and the facts were revealed, it became clear that the level of violence instigated by the armed activists justified the IDF response.

    It’s becoming clear that Hamas is the biggest impediment to peace in the region.

    And, it’s really sad, because it’s the people in Gaza who are paying the price for Hamas’ hatred and ineptitude.


  9. Michale,

    Somehow you missed the point that Israel’s stupidity, brutality and inability to learn from her mistakes puts her into the category of Bull Connor and George Wallace.

  10. Somehow you missed the point that Israel’s stupidity, brutality and inability to learn from her mistakes puts her into the category of Bull Connor and George Wallace.

    What “stupidity” would that be?? Defending Israel against terrorist attacks from Hamas??

    What “brutality” would that be?? IDF soldiers defending themselves from brutal, ferocious and unwarranted attacks from armed combatants??

    I will agree with you on the third part. Israel failed to learn from her mistakes. The politicians should have told Obama to FOD and made the boarding party of the Mavi Marmara a properly sized force that was properly armed and armoured.

    So, to paraphrase MeatLoaf , “One Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”… 😀

    But, since you broach the subject, let me ask you.

    What would you have Israel do??


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