April 23, 2012
No, not the composer, but the ship. Though I have little doubt had Beethoven lived today he’d be writing a symphony for Gaza that would get him banned by the Israeli Interior Ministry as happened to another German artist, Gunter Grass.
Today, the Israeli navy forciby boarded a Liberian-flagged ship, the Beethoven, that was in international waters 160 miles off the coast and en route from Limassol, Cyprus to Alexandria, Egypt. Israeli intelligence suspected the vessel might be carrying weapons meant for Gaza or Lebanon, though it appears they found nothing. Someone will have to explain to me by what right Israel boards a ship on the high seas especially after it finds nothing amiss. This is yet another example of Israel’s high-handedness and cowboy attitudes toward its neighbors and international protocol, in this case the laws of the sea.
Someone will also have to explain to me how Israel might’ve thought the arms were bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon when the ship was en route to Egypt. It had set sail from Beirut bound for Cyprus on April 20th. It’s likely the Israelis believed the ship was carrying Iranian weapons loaded in Beirut and destined for Gaza via Alexandria. Though I’m basing this on assumptions and not clear knowledge. Clearly, Israeli intelligence was dead wrong. An Israeli official called the action “routine protection of our territorial waters,” though again he’ll have to explain to me how Israel justifies capturing vessels on the high seas (not in or even near Israeli territorial waters).
Israeli news stories make much of the fact that the ship captain “willingly” allowed the commandos to board. If you were a ship captain faced with a massively armed Israeli boarding party what would you do? That’s why I refuse to concede this was anything short of a forcible boarding.
H/t Dena Shunra.
This article appeared at Tikun Olam
Read all posts by Richard Silverstein