Ireland asks Israel to allow ship to Gaza

Ireland asks Israel to allow ship to Gaza

Here’s a question for all you armchair lawyers out there: Ireland has asked Israel for permission to allow The “Rachel Corrie,” an Irish owned ship flying under the Irish flag, to enter the blockade zone. I’m assuming that if the ship agrees to allow Israel to inspect the ship and the cargo, and for the Israeli Navy to pilot the vessel, it’s possible that permission would be granted.

But what if the ship’s crew refuses to allow inspection, etc. Right now it looks like it’s just one ship, so after being warned, it could be allowed to approach the blockade zone. (The IDF boarded the Gaza flotilla where it did because with 6 ships it was not possible to peaceably interdict all the ships at the 20-mile border.) Once it enters the blockade zone, after being warned, etc., the IDF boards the ship, sails it to Ashdod where the cargo and passengers are offloaded. The Rachel Corrie is then sailed 100 miles out to sea and sunk.

The IDF then announces that this will be the policy from now on: any ship that is used to attempt to break the blockade will be considered spoils of war and will be destroyed. I imagine the outcries will be horrendous. I also imagine the number of vessels being volunteered for these blockade missions will drop dramatically.

In my own mind and from my own (admittedly limited) readings of international law, this would be a perfectly legal thing to do. What do YOU think?


During the previous years, the IDF has not sunk any of the ships attempting to run the blockade. Why do you think they would start doing so now?

Actually, I recall the Cuban blockage. It was during Kennedy’s presidency. The Russians were setting up nuclear missles in Cuba aimed at the U.S. Kennedy warned off the Russian ships approaching Cuba, some of which were carrying more missles. If those ships hadn’t stopped, any force necessary would have been used to stop them. (Luckily, the Russians turned back the ships.) I don’t recall any protests from any country that any such force against these ships would be against international law.
I think think though it would be very unwise for Israel to sink any such ships with their passengers on board. Who knows what would happen then? I would simply expect that they will board with overwhelming force now. What happened with the first ship was that lightly armed individual soldiers rapelled down from helicopters into the middle of what turned out to be a violent mob. They had thought that they were non-violent protesters.

Err… those two belligerents were the two most powerful nations in the world. Who could say anything? The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. were the two 800 lb gorillas in the world’s living room.

There’s a bit of difference between them and the Israeli Navy facing lightly armed civilians. David versus Goliath, except this time Israel is Goliath.

I remember it well, the tensions in our country. I assure you that Kennedy was more than relieved that Khruschev ordered the ships to turn back. Bravado notwithstanding, neither country wanted to start WWIII in Cuba.

If you recall, McNamara was, years later, horrified to learn that Soviet commanders in Cuba, unlike American missile crew commanders, had been given the lattitude to unilaterally launch atomic weapons if they were certain that the Americans were going to invade. Thank God they had the internal steel to hold back.

If the Israelis sank any of these blockade-running ships, I would be concerned about the possibility of war in the region. Don’t forget in fact that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and has said it would like to target Isreal, and that Isael, according to estimates, has 200 nuclear weapons. Area Moslems were very angry about the first ship, which, from recent news reports, many saw as carrying Moslem brothers coming to help their Moslem brothers in the Gaza strip. Perhaps if ships were sunk, the violence resulting from the situation would greatly escalate in the area. If people in the Near East become angry, they tend to act out their anger.

OK. Obviously I wasn’t explicit enough. I am talking about Israel boarding the vessels (using whatever means necessary). The vessels are directed to the nearest Israeli port, where all the crew, all the passengers, and all cargo are offloaded from the ship. ** After the vessels are empty** (and this includes off-loading the fuel, too), the ships are towed to a site far away from shore, and are then SCUTTLED.

Let me repeat: THE SHIPS ARE EMPTY!

Since the opposition has made it clear that the cost of life to them is cheap, threatening harm to them is pointless. They have shown that they are willing to sacrifice their brother-in-law; and if necessary, their two cousins, for the glory of the cause. But when you start destroying their property that has been used in an act of war (running a blockade), you aren’t going to find too many companies who will allow their ships to be used for that. Especially when their insurance policies probably do not cover damage or destruction due to acts of war.

In other words, if these people are going to keep sending ships, one after the other, to break the blockade, make it as economically expensive for them as possible.

To be honest, I see this attempt to run the blockade as an “Archduke Ferdinand” moment. It has set events in motion that will result in war within a few weeks – I’m thinking June 28 or 29. Syria has been sending Iranian missiles to Lebanon for almost a year now, as well as storing them themselves; and Syria is estimated to have the largest store of biochemical weapons in the region, if not the world. (FWIW, by international law biological, chemical, and weaponized neurotoxins are considered to be equivalent to nuclear weapons: they are all weapons of mass destruction. So if Syria launches a chemical weapon at Israel, Israel would be using equal force by sending a nuclear weapon to Syria.)

I think if Israel DID empty the ships and then scuttle them, that might put a damper on the whole thing, since the “peace groups” will have to rethink their strategies.

Well there is a slight difference between military ships carrying nuclear missiles and civilian ships carrying humanitarian aid.

Actually, I recall the Cuban blockage. It was during Kennedy’s presidency. The Russians were setting up nuclear missles in Cuba aimed at the U.S. Kennedy warned off the Russian ships approaching Cuba, some of which were carrying more missles. If those ships hadn’t stopped, any force necessary would have been used to stop them. (Luckily, the Russians turned back the ships.) I don’t recall any protests from any country that any such force against these ships would be against international law.

But during the Cuban blockade, other foreign ships which weren’t under suspicion of carrying missiles were allowed to travel to Cuba as normal. I think I mentioned on another thread that the uncle of a friend of mine was with the British Merchant Navy in Havana during the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Upon entering and leaving Cuban waters, they were heckled by loudhailer from US Naval vessels, but no attempt was made to stop them.

But that was a ship flying under a British flag. If the ship had been flying the flag of Poland, for example, it might have been stopped and searched before being allowed to continue.

Yes civilian ships which were boarded by people who were chanting “ Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of muhammad will return!”

FYI “Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by muhammad’s army in 628. Many Jews were killed in that battle, which marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia. There are muslims who see that as a precursor for future wars against Jews. At gatherings and rallies of extremists, this chant is often heard as a threat to Jews to expect to be defeated and killed again by muslims.”

These people were girding up for battle and matryrdom, under the blanket of “humanitarian” missions.

Earlier news reports claimed Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was considering relaxing the blockade so that the MV Rachel Corrie might go directly to Gaza. However, Netanyahu apparently has decided the blockade needs to be maintained.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the ‘Septet’ of leading ministers Thursday evening that the Gaza-bound Irish ship “Rachel Corrie,” and all other vessels, will not break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, “not now and not in the future.”

He said that the Rachel Corrie boat, now in Libyan waters about 400 miles from Israel and headed for Gaza, will be re-directed to the Ashdod port, where any humanitarian aid on board will be transferred overland to Gaza.

Israel may ease Gaza blockade after US contact.

In a dramatic reversal of policy, senior Israeli ministers were last night expected to approve a proposal by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ease the naval blockade on Gaza.

The move comes as activists on board the Irish-owned aid ship MV Rachel Corrie dismissed reports that the vessel was returning to dock and vowed to continue towards Gaza in defiance of the blockade. They expect to arrive at the Israeli exclusion zone over the weekend.

Under Mr Netanyahu’s proposal, international inspectors would examine boats destined for Gaza to ensure no weapons were on board.

The examination could take place either at Israel’s southern port of Ashdod or at an Egyptian port.

Former UN official Denis Halliday, who is on board the Rachel Corrie said:

“It may seem a little naive, but we are a peaceful group of Irish and Malaysian people who will not put up any resistance if we are boarded. We would hope, though, that the Israelis would show that perhaps they do actually care, and would allow open ports for ships like this carrying humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza.” Mr Halliday said the ship’s captain planned to make a daylight approach to Gaza tomorrow.

The Irish foreign ministry:

The Department of Foreign Affairs last night stated that it was not its role to negotiate on behalf of those travelling on the Rachel Corrie, and it stressed that any ongoing contacts it may have with the Israeli authorities are to ensure that the “clearly stated humanitarian intentions” of those on board are respected.

“The persons on the Rachel Corrie represent independent NGOs. The department respects this and it is not our role to negotiate on their behalf,” it said. “The Government continues to call for safe passage for the Rachel Corrie to Gaza.The Government’s top priority is the safety and welfare of the Irish citizens concerned and all those aboard the vessel; to avoid any further bloodshed or violence; and to see the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

Not so fast: New aid ship heads to Gaza, Israel vows to stop it

Thanks for the update, MugenOne.

I’d be very surprised if the ship got through, and I would be even more surprised if the Irish government made any meaningful protest. Just look at the use of falsified Irish passports by Israeli assassins. I’d imagine it would be something along the lines of 'Naughty boy Israel, you should not have done that!":nope:

I’m inclined to agree on both counts, JohnT58, but I somehow manage to live in hope :slight_smile:

I think it’s interesting that the government has delayed the publication of the Garda and departmental reports on the forged passports issue so that “this important matter be given the attention and focus it merits and does not become mixed up with events off the coast of Gaza.” I don’t think the Irish people will wear anything but the expulsion of the security official at the Israeli embassy that press leaks suggest will be identified in the reports. Whether the government will have the guts to do what the other countries whose passports were forged did, is another question. After all, they could have made a stand on the OECD issue but backed off it.

Update on the Rachel Corrie:

Those on board are saying their communications are now being jammed.

An email earlier on suggested they are now being flanked.

Let us pray no lives will be lost this time.

I may be jinxing this, but… I think when the Israelis board them they will be non-violent. Coming from Ireland, they will have a history of non-violent confrontation, following the example of Martin Luther King.

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