There is more than enough guilt to go around in the unfortunate and quite avoidable incident that played out on Monday morning in the Mediterranean Sea.
Yes the Israeli government is guilty. Guilty of being politically out maneuvered. Guilty of being played in the world press. And guilty of being bated into using deadly force.
The organizers of the flotilla are also guilty. Guilty of precipitating an international incident by attempting to run a declared blockade in an internationally recognized war zone, guilty of endangering the lives of those on the ships and guilty of provoking the Israelis.
Turkey is guilty of supporting the flotilla and its intention to violate war zone and the blockade of an ally. The US, Russia, China and the UN are all guilty of allowing these events to unfold, without making any efforts to proactively diffuse the situation.
The Israeli government, as well as the rest of the world, was well aware of the flotilla before it launched. Whether the purpose of the venture was for humanitarian aide or purely to bust the blockade is debatable, but the point is that the flotilla and its destination were all publicly known in advance of the incident. The flotilla had the implicit backing of the Turkish government. Was a public appeal made to the Turks to intervene? The flotilla was intercepted in international waters. Was a public appeal made to the UN to intervene? Turkey and Israel are both key regional allies of the US. Was an appeal for the US to support some kind of intercession made? Both Russia and China have aspirations to become global powers, why were they both silent?
Had any appeals for intervention of discussion been made forcefully and publicly, perhaps the flotilla would have been diverted. Perhaps the humanitarian supplies would have arrived to those that need them. Perhaps no one would have been put in harms way. No one would have been injured. And most importantly, no one would have been killed.
This incident is just a small part of a larger situation that is inflamed with humanities darkest passions and emotions. And that is precisely the problem; the base emotions of those on all sides obscure meaningful dialog and constructive discourse. Empathy and passion are drowned out by hatred and bias. And rational thought is displaced by impulses to react mindlessly, and most regrettably, sometimes violently.
If humanitarianism and peaceful coexistence are the true goals, than these ideals should be clearly visible in all words and actions. Meaningful progress won’t happen until all sides admit their guilt.