they were anything but peaceful.
they were pretty peaceful until acts of piracy on the high seas started happening.
lets look at some cold hard facts here:
Piracy is of note in international law as it is commonly held to represent the earliest invocation of the concept of universal jurisdiction. The crime of piracy is considered a breach of jus cogens, a conventional peremptory international norm that states must uphold. Those committing thefts on the high seas, inhibiting trade, and endangering maritime communication are considered by sovereign states to be hostis humani generis (enemies of humanity).
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) defines piracy as:
the act of boarding any vessel with an intent to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act.
In other words, boarding that ship was an act of piracy, there's no way around it, what they did was illegal, 200 years ago the commandos head would be in nooses now as they were swinging from the dockside.
A blockade is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as "an act of war by which a belligerent prevents access to or departure from a defined part of the enemy’s coasts."
A blockade is not defined as either legal nor illegal, but it's definitely an act of war.
the effects of this particular blockade are as follows...
Because of an import-export ban imposed on Gaza in 2007, 95% of Gaza’s industrial operations were suspended. Out of 35,000 people employed by 3,900 factories in June 2005, only 1,750 people remained employed by 195 factories in June 2007.
Closures have severely hindered health services in Gaza. During the period October to December 2007, the World Health Organization has confirmed the deaths of 20 patients, including 5 children.
Between 2007-2008, 120 people in Gaza died because they were not allowed to access medical treatment.
The Israeli Government's cut in the flow of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip has also been called collective punishment of the civilian population, which would be a violation of Israel’s obligations under the laws of war.
then lets look at the numbers of deaths so we can get a picture of why this blockade even exists...
in the years 2000 - 2008 1063 Israelis have died 126 of those were children.
in that same time 4948 Palestinians have died. 929 of those were children.
2,984 (i'm not counting the hijackers) died at the WTO on 9-11... it's kind of an unrelated thing, but for a supposed terrorist organisation Hammas are doing pretty bloody shoddily if in eight years they manage to kill (with rockets) less people that a bunch of guys armed with box cutters manage to kill in a couple of hours.
yet, by the same token, a professional, supposedly well trained, (in fact one of the world best) army, greatly funded by the US in terms of money, training, strategy and weaponry, manages to kill a Palestinian child at a rate of 1 every three days for 8 years.
now, I'm not stupid, I know as much as the next person that in wars people die. and children are people, in a population 0 - 80 people aged 0 - 18 will make up between a quarter and a third of the population. (which is likely why a almost quarter of the Palestinians that are killed are kids)...
Now Israel say that the blockade is needed to stop arms getting into Palestinian territories, which is pretty fair, if I was at war, I'd like to think that I'd be able to prevent my enemies getting weapons too.
but to be fair, the blockade hasn't actually stopped these rocket attacks at all. they still go on, and they were going on late last year, some 2 year into the blockade.
(notably an attack for which Israel responded by shelling civilians if I recall correctly).
but it has lead to what could reasonably be called a humanitarian crisis..
Israel as a state was only formed in the past 60 years.
At that time some quarter of a million Palestinians were evicted from their houses.
After the state was first formed in 1948 the UN stated.
No settlement can be just and complete if recognition is not accorded to the right of the Arab refugee to return to the home from which he has been dislodged. It would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine, and indeed, offer the threat of permanent replacement of the Arab refugees who have been rooted in the land for centuries
Israel, however, started retreating from its May 12 pledge almost immediately, when it proposed allowing only 100,000 of the refugees to return to the area, though not necessarily to their homes,
around a quarter of a million Palestinians were evicted, less than half have been allowed to return to the land, that's not return to their family houses, not even return to the towns that their families have lived in for centuries, that's return to a general area. to live in shanti towns just outside the town or the city.
* The unity of the Jewish People and the centrality of Israel in Jewish life
* The ingathering of the Jewish People in its historic homeland, Eretz Israel, through Aliyah from all countries
* The strengthening of the State of Israel which is based on the prophetic vision of justice and peace
* The preservation of the identity of the Jewish People through the fostering of Jewish and Hebrew education and of Jewish spiritual and cultural values
* The protection of Jewish rights everywhere
where is either the justice or peace in killing children, where is the justice or peace in setting up concentration camps an forcing those not like you to live in them?
where is the justice in ever expanding your states borders?
where is the justice in evicting people from their family homes and claiming it for people that are like you, or believe in the same god as you?
now don't get me wrong, I don't think that the actions of Hammas are exactly all rosy either, there can be no excuse for launching rockets into centres of civilian population, I think that governmental assassinations can be excepted as path of the course when you're repressing a population inside a country, but indiscriminately killing ordinary men women and children can't be excused.
I think that the way that this is going is pretty wrong however,
Neither side (IDF, Hammas nor Blockade runners) are right, or have a moral high ground.
it's a shame that a lot of people are just backing a side rather than saying that all sides need to sit down and talk.
The trouble is that for Israel this will mean making massive concessions,
I know that a lot of Jews in Israel want a Jewish nation, but that's simply not possible, you have to learn to live and let live, you worship your God, I'll worship mine.
Israel will have to make a concession that Arabs are free to live and move within the country.
Israel need to make concessions in that they'll treat Palestinians as equal citizens, and give them equal access to energy supplies, water supplies, and building land. and equal permission to build on those land.
Israel need to make concessions in that they need to make the government representational, that'd mean including Palestinians.
the only concessions that Hammas need to make is to stop launching rocket attacks into Israel...
the funny thing is that if Israel made these concessions then other Arabic states would find it easier to make peace with them, they'd stop the in fighting and warring inside their country.
If the Israeli government just decided overnight that they and all other Jewish people could live side by side in the region with all other people then there really would be peace in the middle east, (or at least that part of it).