Israel’s boarding and capture in international waters of The Spirit of Humanity, an unarmed boat carrying relief supplies to the suffering people of Gaza, shows that state-sponsored piracy is a real peril today. It is just one more breach of international law added to the global “rap sheet” of a rogue state that, as Netanyahu remarked a few weeks ago, is not like other countries. But Israel’s capture of this boat was also Netanyahu’s test of Obama’s resolve – a test Obama failed, to his shame and discredit.
It isn’t the first time Israel has done something like this. Virtually everyone who manages to get into Gaza is appalled by the destruction and suffering there. Most of the destruction occurred during Israel’s savage onslaught against Gaza six months ago, accompanied by applause from the US Congress and the Bush Administration, and silence from President-elect Obama. Most of the suffering, before and since that attack, occurred because of the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza, reducing the flow of basic necessities to a bare minimum and post-attack recovery aid to a meaningless trickle.