Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Founded by Mark Kleiman (1951-2019)
Why Doesn’t Israel Have a Floating Skunk Tank?
It’s best to withhold judgment on the clash between the IDF and pro-Palestinian activists until we know the facts; in the meantime, it does seem that Israel was completely unprepared to handle the situation.
The activists, of course, claim that they were entirely peaceful, and that the Israelis just boarded and started firing.Â The IDF can be stupid, but at least at this stage I’mÂ incredulous that it was that stupid.Â The Israelis claim that they boarded, and encountered violent resistance: some reports say that those aboard the ship start firing with light weapons.Â Others say that they attacked with clubs and stones.
One important question to answer is whether there are any other means short of forcible boarding to enforce a blockade.Â Obviously, you can shoot, but that would be worse than what the Israelis tried.Â I have no experience in this, but it would seem that the logical thing would be to have frogmen cut holes in the base of the boats.Â The boats would take on water, and then the Israelis would be in the position to rescue them.Â Readers who know more about such matters should comment on other options.
Israel had a few days to figure out how to respond.Â It seemed unprepared to do so.Â The analogy would be if there was a protest march, and the only response Israel had was soldiers with live ammunition.Â On land, the IDF is using options such as the “skunk tank“; consider me skeptical that naval technology is so primitive that there is nothing short of firing on the ship or using commandos to seize it.
UPDATE: Mark and I posted at the same time.Â Although I think we should withhold judgments, I agree completely that IsraelÂ was at least quite stupid.
Author: Jonathan Zasloff
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.
Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.
Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.
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