The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the Israeli attack on a civilian aid ship in international waters, an attack which killed at least 19 aid workers and left dozens wounded. It resulted in criticism of the attack and calls on Israel to lift the aid blockade on the Gaza Strip.
“I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation,” insisted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Several governments have summoned Israeli ambassadors to demand an explanation of the attacks, and Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Israel in protest.
Incredibly, Israeli officials are praising the attack and shrugging off the large civilian toll. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted the massacre constituted “self defense” and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon accused the aid workers of secretly being terrorists in league with al-Qaeda.
The killings sparked massive protests across the Middle East, and Israeli police were out in force, arresting anyone inside the nation who protested against the attack.
But while Western governments expressed official “shock” at the killings, few seem inclined to do much of anything about them, with Germany adding that it “supports unconditionally Israel’s right to self defense.”
The claims to self defense are common from Israel whenever it decides to slaughter civilians, but they ring particularly hollow in this case as the attack on the ship was decidedly illegal to begin with. Claiming self defense in the midst of commiting a crime of this caliber is akin to a bank robber claiming self defense in shooting the teller who threw a roll of pennies at him.