Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Finkelstein: Israeli attack on Flotilla, act of lunacy

Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Press TV

"Norman Gary Finkelstein, an American lecturer, political analyst and author based in New York, says Israel's deadly attack on the Freedom Flotilla was an indication of Tel Aviv being "out of control."

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which was carrying food and medical supplies to Gaza, came under fire early Monday morning by Israeli navy forces in international waters more than 150km off the coast of Gaza.

Twenty international activists are reported to have been killed and 50 others injured in the incident.

Despite the international community's outrage over the attack, the US has so far declined to condemn Israel for the offensive.

The following is the transcript of Press TV's phone interview with Norman Gary Finkelstein....

Press TV: Do you think Israel will face justice for what it did in international waters?

Finkelstein: No, I think it is unlikely. Mainly because the United States will exercise its veto and prevent any kind of sanctions or repercussions for Israel.

I think a more important issue right now is that there is a numb in the whole sequence of what you might call illegal and lunatic actions by Israel. Some in a large scale and some in a tiny scale, but all of which seem to be off the spectrum of rational behavior. It begins with the massacre in Gaza in 2008 and 2009. Next, there was the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai. Then, obviously in a much tinier scale, there is the denial of entry of Professor [Noam] Chomsky into Israel. And now we have this new massacre which one has to say is … yet again placed at a larger scale. They are all evidence that Israel is out of control and is carrying on in a demented fashion.

One should not trivialize for a moment the deaths of between nine and 20 people abroad the Turkish vessel... One has to think through the serious implications of Israel carrying on out of control and demented. And by that I mean that Israel is threatening to attack Iran and Lebanon on a daily basis. Iran is a significant military power and the Hezbollah has said that if Israel attacks Lebanon it would be a tit-for-tat war. It would be Tel Aviv for Beirut and Ben Gurion Airport for Rafiq Hariri International Airport.

And now we have to contemplate the fact that the decision that was made to launch an armed commando raid at the dead of the night against the Freedom Flotilla was not a spur of the moment decision. Israeli newspapers have been reporting that the cabinet ministers met many times in the course of the week over the issue … And at the end of the day, Israel decided on the most provocative and most volatile solution. Israel had many non-violent options. It could have simply disabled the propellers on the Turkish boat… or could have blocked the passage of the tiny Turkish vessels. But their choice had to be the most insane option.

This raises many serious questions about the Israeli leadership. This decision was not made by just [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu but other cabinet ministers such as Defense Minister Ehud Barack.

Israel is out of control and it is insane, even in terms of its own self interest. And you just have to ask this question that if this is the kind of decision they make after a week of intense deliberations, what kind of decision would they make amidst a war if missiles are being sent to Tel Aviv?

Israel has over 200 nuclear weapons, and people in the region have to give this issue a serious thought.

Of course, Israel in part wants to convey the fact that it is out of control. For example after the Gaza massacre, several Israeli officials said that the reason they carried on the way they did in Gaza was because they wanted to show that they are capable of acting like a mad dog and capable of acting like a lunatic state. But the question now is... are they only "acting" like a mad dog and a lunatic or have they really "become" a lunatic?....."

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