June 1, 2010, - 12:02 pm

Yes, International Law Allowed Israel to Board HAMAS War Flotilla

By Debbie Schlussel

Much of the fallacious defense of the barbarism and violence perpetrated by the terrorist provocation theater crowd on the Gaza “peace” flotilla (with their “peaceful” iron pipes) is based on some false claim that Israel boarded the boats in international waters and is somehow forbidden to do so.  Not the case.


HAMAS “Naval Police” Exercised Protecting the NON-Neutral Terrorist Flotilla

The San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea–an international treaty in effect since June 12, 1994–expressly allows Israel’s actions . . . actions which our own Navy, Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection officials would probably take as well (board and inspect ships approaching our shores). The following is the applicable section of the treaty, although it’s beyond a doubt that the vessel in question was neither “neutral” nor “civil,” and, frankly, laxer standards than even these–with which Israel complied–apply.


Neutral merchant vessels

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;

(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;

(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;

(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;

(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or

(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy’s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety.Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

Clearly, the convoy–which was in solidarity with HAMAS and done with the cooperation of HAMAS (the HAMAS “naval police” conducted exercises to protect them)–fits all of these subsections. Israel was allowed and justified in boarding the ships. And, as required, Israel gave the required warning, a warning which was ignored.

The San Remo treaty further allows Israel’s response to the barbaric violence of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara ship under its “Armed Conflicts and the Law of Self-Defence” section, as well as various other sections throughout the rest of the treaty.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

46 Responses

Those Palestinian peace activists knew that Israel had the right to board and inspect the ship. This was an obvious setup. Israel had every right to retaliate.

Norman Blitzer on June 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Miss Schlussel, Et Alii:

Please go to my blog, “OUR ETERNAL STRUGGLE”.

I created and embedded a YOU TUBE playlist, entitled, “ISRAELI SEA BATTLE”, which is composed of eight (08) official Israeli Defense Force videos of the events that transpired on Monday 31 May 2010.

You might wish to copy the embedding code and place it on this (or another) web site, which you are certainly welcome to do.

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee on June 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm


Naturally, you’re correct.

This whole story is just another big media circus. Believe it or not, the average guy on the street doesn’t care that much. The flotilla was warned. Alternative means of delivery for their cargo were arranged. The Israelis had every right and reason to stop the flotilla.

N. Korea sank a S. Korean sea vessel and there was no foaming-jawed media frenzy like this.

There’s starving people in Somalia and Darfur; where are the “peace activists” and their “supplies”?

There is NO Santa Claus on June 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Debbie – You are sadly mistaken about international law and you obviously missed the memo.

Every treaty, legal decision, etc. under international law has an implied exception – “Except when Israel is the country involved.”

I_AM_ME on June 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Perhaps it is time to mine the Mediterranean Sea around Israel. Then just let these dumbass ragheads try to do the same thing again. I’d definitely grab a beach chair and watch the display.

Jarhead on June 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I absolutely concur. The left has been cloaking itself in the mantle of ‘civil rights’ and ‘peaceful humanitarian’ causes for so long the terms have lost all meaning. I honestly believe that Obama would look at this as a opportunity to threaten Israel with our military. If a shot is fired in anger at Israel then the military will fracture and the lines will have to be drawn; people will have to choose. I for one choose the constitution and standing up to Israel’s enemies. The possibility of civil dialoge is fading fast. The possibility of civil war here in the US is growing.

DougP on June 1, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Why makes these jewish pirates any different than the muslim ones? Same, same. Attack-kill-confiscate-imprison.

BD on June 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Uh…because these ‘jewish pirates’ are basically at war with a Islamic terrorist cult that practices Jihad on Israel every day. Israel that allows an unlimited amount of food, drugs and medical aid into Gaza. Who offered to take such legitimate goods as may be on the ship and transport them to Gaza. Who takes no prisoners for ransom, but flies them home so they can commence their activities yet again. No. no difference.

    pat on June 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    It is not racist to hate Muslims because Islam is not a race. There is no need to capitulate to Muslims who are conquering the world as their cult tells them to. Considering the fact that the U.N. is made up mostly of Muslims who want to kill every last Jew on the planet along with every Chritian, Pagan, and Atheist, I don’t blame Israel for telling them off. The only propaganda is coming from Muslims and Marxist, Islamic apologists. This boat contained concrete for indirect fire systems and was planned and operted by Hamas and Code Pink, who are known terrorists and communists, repectively. Every last member of Hamas and Code Pink must be killed. Every action necessary to halt the global Jihad must be taken immediately. Israel has the right to exist and the only dissruption of peace in the Middle East is Islam itself, and has been since its creation by that sick, murdering, false prophet Muhammed(shame be upon him). I hope Israel sinks the next war flotilla and kills every last murderous Muslim in Syria and Iran.

    Marcus on April 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Turkey was an allied force that was going to have military exercises with Israel. I have to guess someone had a loaded weapon and shot their comrade in the foot? Or was Israel going to board Turkish warships as well?

AY: Some “ally.” Turkey’s own government funds anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda TV shows and movies. And Turkey is a big part of this, to show its Islamic dominance. Israel doesn’t need Turkey’s joint “military exercises.” DS

Atlee Yarrow on June 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I have to agree with Debbie. When Turkey abandoned secular Kemalism, it adopted the extreme Islam that Kemal Ataturk wanted no part of in his country. He tried to take Islam out of Turkey but apparently taking the Turks out of Islam was a lot harder than done. That’s the truth about Turkey today.

    NormanF on June 1, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Hmmm. Bill Ayers, Dhorn, and Obama money bundler Jodie Evans were on flotilla?

pat on June 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Too bad those three pukes weren’t taken out as well. One more job American’s just won’t do…..

    perception of truth on June 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

The law above keeps repeating “enemy”, but the fact is Hamas was elected and was overseen by Americans as just elections too. Israel has to deal with this as equals like it or not. There is a line that has been crossed here and there is no turning back for “do overs”. Even you own video show an illegal act to war and piracy in international waters. Most of the time I am right there with you on many issues, this is bad, real bad.

Atlee Yarrow on June 1, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Atlee, do you have trouble reading? Just because an enemy is an elected representative, it does not follow that it is not “an enemy.” In any event, one-election-one-time does not even begin to confer democratic legitimacy (not that this would matter).

    skzion on June 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Oh, and Atlee, the Fakestinians are NOT equals. For one, they have no STATE, and the treaties are fundamentally about relations between STATES.

    Do you see now?

    skzion on June 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Israel’s right of self defense is undisputed. Israel could have very easily sunk all the boats but didn’t do it. What Israel has learned from the world condemnation is Jews get no brownie points for being nice to anti-Semites. For all that grief, Israel might as well kill them all next time and make the message stick. The best way for Israel to ensure another war doesn’t happen is to uphold its sovereign rights even if it brings unpleasant verbal repercussions upon the country. That is a lot more preferable to a lot of widows and orphans next time around in Israel.

NormanF on June 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Sorry, Atlee but the term “enemy” has nothing to do with whether a government is “elected” or recognized by the United States. International law does not replace sovereignty of nations and their right to take the actions they think correct to defend themselves. International law is just a way to try and reduce violence and arbitrary actions of governments, but it is law without a political entity to enforce it. It’s like the rules for schoolyard sports; you agree until you get mad enough to not play anymore. It’s obvious that if Israel has the right to create a blockade then it has a right to enforce it. The issue here is not this incident but the blockade itself. And ultimately Israel’s right to defend itself and to exist as a political state. Has Hamas recognized this? I don’t think so. So let’s not talk (write) about rights. The Koran does not recognize rights nor do Muslim scholars accept the very concept of rights, which is based on the idea of man’s nature – the equal right of every person to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (Nothing there about obeying Allah.)

David O. on June 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm

P.S. To the above: THANKS once again to Debbie for giving me in ten seconds (my time, not hers) more information about international law and its application to this issue than all the tv news combined.

David O. on June 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm

In other words, we have “empty words” among nations claiming to be civil? Thou shall not kill seems to cover all our faiths here and yet those to fall on deaf ears in a blind world. We will only gain that which we sow.

Atlee Yarrow on June 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Disgusting liar. The San Remo manual has conditions, which you convieniently left out–conditions forcing the military to NEVER ATTACK OR RAID CIVILIAN VESSELS.

No. on June 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    What a ridiculous lie, “No.” Indeed, even if it were not a lie, that flotilla was not “civilian.”

    Israel’s operation was an operational mess, showing incompetence at the highest levels of the IDF, but a civilized person can’t can only be pleased that some Nazis were killed.

    skzion on June 2, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Every time I read a stupid insult, I see it’s with no name. Again, another coward Muslim-lover, probably Muslim, by now not too many love you, they’re afraid of you, unfortunately. This you call civilian, you stupid no-name? Coming with knives, bats, weapons? That’s the problem, they were funded by terror organization, probably gave them some money, not alot, because above all they’re suckers that get hurt for peanuts, and by the way, the New York Times, which is definitely not an Israeli-lover, published that the ships were funded by the same group that help fund Arduan, even the weak Left-wing journalism already admit it, too bad you can’t keep your lies anymore, right?

    Tal on June 3, 2010 at 4:08 am

I don’t want to second-guess Israel in their actions re the flotilla. They did a good job in a difficult situation. But I just read an AP story which, if true, is disquieting. It said that Israel and Egypt are loosening their joint blockade of Gaza in light of what has happened, enabling swarms of Muslims to enter Gaza. Can’t see any good reason why Israel would want to do that.

Also, the story said that Israel is promptly releasing about 700 people on the boats. Why not question them thoroughly, which would take a little longer than one day, and get more intelligence about what the terrorists’ next move is. Also, don’t at least some of these people belong in prison for committing the crime of supporting terrorism?

Little Al on June 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Another excellent post, Debbie.

JeffE on June 1, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Now there you go again – YOU GREASY ISLAMOPHOBES! Don’t you know that Islam is the Religion of Peace?

Quran-33:26- “And He brought those of the People of the Book [Jewish people of Banu Qurayza’s] who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts, some of them you slew (beheaded) and some you took prisoners (captive)”

Quran-33:27- “And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things.” [Merciful Allah asked Prophet Muhammad to confiscate entire properties of surrendered Jews.]

Qur’an 9:111: “The believers…shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain…”

Qur’an 9:5: “When the sacred forbidden months for fighting are past, fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

Qur’an 5:33: “The punishment for those who wage war againsHadith Qudsi 19:5: “The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance.” (The Hadith Qudsi, or holy Hadith, are those in which Muhammad transmits the words of Allah, although those words are not in the Qur’an.)

George M Weinert V on June 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Ataturk tried to bring Turkey into the 20th century. How sad that it has regressed to its former self…

Alan on June 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I think of this place every time I hear gaza and famine together in the same sentence.


How dare they even think they need aid, send them all to the lavish Roots Club!

Chad D on June 2, 2010 at 12:50 am

skzion, it took 2,000 years for a standing army to take Israel back when it was not a country too. Traditionally in western schools of thought an “enemy” is at war and a declaration of such has been made.

Plato wrote about democracy long before we knew what it was all shiny and new. He hated it in fact. And now we see why Plato was so right in its messiness and mob rule. One cannot have laws or respect without democracy even in the basic neolithic sense. Only our weapons and means have evolved.

Atlee Yarrow on June 2, 2010 at 9:28 am

    “skzion, it took 2,000 years for a standing army to take Israel back when it was not a country too.”

    What’s your point? Today’s nation-state system was put in place in general form by the Treaty of Westphalia. States, not gangs, are the legal players in this system. The Fakestinians have no legal standing, if one were really to attend to the essence of this body of law. Self-defense by a state is an absolutely central component, and it is sufficient justification to wage war against a state. A non-state bunch of animals who launch aggression don’t even register as deserving protection.

    “Traditionally in western schools of thought an “enemy” is at war and a declaration of such has been made.”

    Huh? First of all, the non-state of Fakestine HAS declared a war against Israel. Indeed, as we are discussing as well a non-Western “school of thought” (namely, Islam), it is worth noting that Islam is inherently and permanently at war with the kuffar (non-Muslim). Why do you think they call our part of the world “Dar al-Harb” (House of War)?

    “Plato wrote about democracy long before we knew what it was all shiny and new. He hated it in fact. . . .”

    We do not have a democracy, we have a democratic republic. Plato was referring to a whole different animal.

    “One cannot have laws or respect without democracy even in the basic neolithic sense.”

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. Sorry.

    skzion on June 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

Debbie, do not forget that Turkey is also a long time ally of the US long since the Soviet era as we have had bases there almost from post WW I.

Atlee Yarrow on June 2, 2010 at 9:32 am

That was the Turkey of Ataturk. Turkey is now a Muslim state. Things change.

skzion on June 2, 2010 at 10:22 am

According to this analysis by Kevin Jon Heller (http://opiniojuris.org/2010/06/02/why-is-israels-blockade-of-gaza-legal/) the blockade of Gaza may not be legal in the first place and therefore the Israeli’s actions were also illegal. If Israel is not occupying Gaza and if Gaza is not a state which is at war with Israel (and so not an “enemy”)– and those are both the official positions of Israel– then the blockade was illegal in the first place.

I’d be interested in a more complete legal analysis by Debbie that takes into account the points raised in Heller’s article.

Clark on June 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Clark – “if Gaza is not a state which is at war with Israel”

    If 2 + 2 does not equal 4 …

    Take my word for it. I am being kind, VERY kind, with you here.

    I_AM_ME on June 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Hey Crazies, Once again thanks for the laughs. You guys just crack me up so much with your simpleminded racism.


Dan on June 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm

>inplying that truth is racism
hay Dan, lolumad bro?

Jake on June 3, 2010 at 12:13 am

I’m not sure why you are “being kind” with me or what that is supposed to suggest. If you have a comment about the law and how it applies to this situation, I’d be interesting in reading it.

Israel’s official position is that it is not at war with an independent Gaza state. That’s Israel’s position, not my argument or opinion. The fact that Israel has taken this position undermines the legality of the blockade and its actions regarding the flotilla.

Debbie originally addressed the legal justification for Israel’s actions, so I think it’s a fair to point out that some of the underlying legal justifications for her argument are questionable. I’m no expert and won’t claim to be one, but I am interested in a fact-based discussion of the law here.

Clark on June 3, 2010 at 10:30 am

Clark, the Fakestinians of Gaza have no legal standing whatsoever, as they do not constitute a state right now. Even under Oslo, Israel has control over ports. It therefore has every right to create a blockade to protect these ports.

So-called “neutral” ships from states such as Turkey can indeed be blockaded, and they can be destroyed as well. Of course, the ships are hardly neutral or from neutral entities.

skzion on June 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

But Israel withdrew in 2005 and officially states that it is not occupying Gaza. Many others have and do argue that Israel is the de facto occupying power in Gaza, but *Israel’s own position is that it is not occupying Gaza.*

Israel’s official position vis a vis Gaza undermines its right to legally blockade Gaza, and in fact Israel, until now, has claimed it is imposing “sanctions” and refused to characterize its actions as a “blockade.”

In 2009 Mark Regev, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, said: “We have imposed sanctions on the Gaza Strip; ‘blockade’ is an incorrect term since every day scores of trucks are entering Gaza and the pipelines that bring fuel and water into the Gaza Strip from Israel are open.”

By Israel’s own arguments, it is not a blockade, nor does it have the right to impose (and therefore defend) a blockade.

Clark on June 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm

The author failed to grasp that the San Remo Manual is NOT a treaty. It’s merely a draft…

T on June 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm

The sudden interest by Muslims in international law is suspect. Why would a culture that literally sets fire to everything it touches bother with international law? Unless of course it somehow fit into their propaganda machine.

Man Overboard on June 4, 2010 at 12:23 am

@Man Overboard
You know, I don’t think I’ve noticed anyone self-identified as Muslim raising the question, nor have I noticed that any of the questions about international law have come from people with Arabic-sounding names.

There certainly is a lot of propaganda being pumped out around this issue, and there are certainly no saints involved in this. That’s why I think it’s important to get to the facts and address the question objectively.

Clark on June 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

hi every one!
see, sometime one picture or one song can explain everything, so here you have the best israeli expression to all the flotila scam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOGG_osOoVg

kobi on June 7, 2010 at 12:44 am

Hate Monger 😀

Don/tCare on June 9, 2010 at 1:24 am

Aside from the obvious racism in the thread, you guys are not addressing the strongest arguments against the actions of the Israel during the flotilla attacks. Here’s a couple that you (and Israel) will have to grapple with:

1. The U.N. declared the Gaza blockade illegal as far back as April 2009.(http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,539363,00.html) Since Israel’s pretense for boarding the Mavi Marmara (enforcement of the blockade) was invalid, their boarding was illegal. During the boarding (which has been shown to be illegal) it is the case that they killed at least 9 people and injured many others. Therefore, Israel is guilty of murder and stymieing legitimate humanitarian efforts.

2. One of the popular arguments against the flotilla is that their intention was to “break the blockade and provoke a confrontation with the IDF”, not “provide Gaza with humanitarian aid.” Assuming this is correct, the argument is still meaningless. There is nothing wrong or even sinister about breaking an illegal blockade (again, illegal according to the U.N.) or confronting authorities that are committing crimes (enforcing an illegal blockade). In fact, there seems to be an analogy here between the flotilla and the U.S. civil rights activists in the 60’s; during their sit-ins, they weren’t there to eat breakfast, they were there to confront their oppressors.

3. The pro-Israeli narrative makes a couple major claims intended to depict the flotilla crew in a negative light.

The first is that the crew of the Mavi Marmara attacked first. Let’s analyze this claim for a moment. Let’s say for the sake of argument that the crew of the Mavi Marmara were the aggressors. There are two places where it was possible for the IDF to be attacked; on their own vessels or on the Mavi Marmara. Now, even this early on, before an official impartial investigation has been conducted, the unanimous consensus is that the crew of the Mavi Marmara had no guns except the ones they confiscated from the first IDF raiding party. They were using slingshots, but makeshift slingshots that didn’t have the nearly the power or range necessary to have posed a credible threat to the IDF. In fact I would argue that it is extremely intellectually dishonest to say that a slingshot, even the best slingshot in the world, poses a credible threat to the IDF. So it seems that it is not credible to say that the crew of the Mavi Marmara ‘attacked’ first while the IDF was on thier own vessels. Now, what about while they were boarding? Well, as we have already established, the boarding was an illegal act. So it seems that even if the crew attacked first while they were boarding they were well within their rights to do so. The conclusion of this analysis is that the crew of the Mavi Marmara did not present a credible enough threat to the IDF in their own vessels to justify an attack, and were well within their rights to defend themselves from the IDF boarding party while they were being boarded.

But really, all this analysis is unnecessary; every objective firsthand account, that is to say all of the journalists on board the Mavi Marmara during the flotilla incident, claim that Israel attacked first. You may question the credibility of the source, but realize that the same criticism can be leveled at Israel, thus forcing you to withhold judgment on the issue until an official, impartial inquiry is made.

The second is that the crew of the Mavi Marmara was “bloodthirsty.” Similar to the first claim, it does not hold up to scrutiny. Many people cite the al-Jazeera video depicting a group of about ten or so crew singing an anti-Semitic song with references to war, along with an interview with a crew member saying she wanted to be a “martyr.” My first objection to this is that it is a hasty generalization. Here is a video of an IDF soldier with similarly repugnant opinions: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP8uZrytG48). I could not claim that all IDF soldiers are like this based on this one instance, and it is similarly invalid to make the same claim about the crew of the Mavi Marmara. Second, the term “martyr” is poisoned. When we think of a muslim “martyr”, we think of a suicide bomber that targets civilians. This, however, was not the case here. It was a humanitarian/civil rights effort, not a suicide bombing.

But the major objection to this accusation is that there is no evidence to support it. The actions of the crew simply cannot be characterized as bloodthirsty. It is not the case that a bloodthirsty crew would have taken 3 IDF soldiers captive, treated their wounds, then returned them to IDF vessels as an act of good faith, as the crew of the Mavi Marmara did. A bloodthirsty crew would have “lynched” them, torn them apart, etc.

If you choose to reply, please think objectively and be polite. Thank you.

PMuriello on June 24, 2010 at 5:48 am

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field