Israel’s dangerous isolation

International reaction to the latest clash at sea between Israel and supporters of Hamas, the violent anti-Israel group that has seized control of Gaza, has been highly negative toward Israel. Even the United States has taken an ambiguous position in a case where Israel appears to have been acting within its rights under international law. This is a dangerous situation.

Under international law, humanitarian ships may be stopped in international waters to allow a boarding party to inspect their cargo for prohibited war material when an embargo is in effect. One ship challenged by Israel refused to stop. Israeli commandos boarded it. Video released by Israel shows the commandos being attacked by persons on the ship. The commandos then used lethal force to establish control.

While the incident deserves an impartial investigation, there is little reason to doubt that Israel acted within its legal rights. Whether it acted wisely is another question. But nothing justifies the accusation by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who called the incident “tantamount to banditry and piracy.”

The outcome of the uproar at the United Nations — which condemned “acts” during the incident and has been authorized to conduct an investigation supported by Washington — is likely to further isolate Israel in the world. European supporters of Israel have joined in the condemnation of the ship-boarding incident. Even the American Jewish community is deeply divided on … >>>

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