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May-31-2010 23:27printcommentsVideo

Israel's Attack on the Gaza Flotilla, Western Media Propaganda, & the UN's Convention on the High Seas

It seems clear that Israel violated International Law.

Frame from an IDF video shows a commando descending onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara.
Frame from an IDF video shows a commando descending onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara.

(SALEM, Ore.) - One of the most important things to consider with regard to Israel's attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla, is International Law itself. As Israelis commemorate the deaths of the ten peace activists with street celebrations. A quick review of a UN Treaty, enforced by the International Maritime Organization, shows Israel in violation once again, on several counts.

On a national and local level, U.S. mainstream media is hard at work broadcasting false information about the affair, and that is not biased on my part, simply true.

Portland television station KGW began and ended their news drop about it in total unwavering support of Israel. It is interesting, as Palestinians claim there is a strong Jewish/Israeli bias in American mainstream news; that the most evil and horrific war crimes committed by Israel are easily accepted and or dismissed by supporters of Israel's military- long under suspicion for several war crimes tied to the attack on civilian targets in Gaza during the winter of 2008/09. The level of bias, and the lack of factual research, or fair presentation, is clearly present at the local level also, based on KGW Channel 8 News.

The station, like most, did not mention the American art student from Manhattan shot at point blank range in the face by an Israeli soldier today for taking part in a peace demonstration. Their staffs clearly dismiss news that reflects poorly on Israel.

There are regulations established to define how military intervention at sea happens. The document that sets those international laws is the United Nations Treaty: Convention on the High Seas 1958[1].

According to a review of this document, there is no legal justification for yesterday's unilateral military assault on the Flotilla Vessel Mavi Marmara, one of six ships comprising the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Overtaking a vessel underway against its will certainly equates to the description of "hot pursuit" at sea. Those aboard the vessel say Israel fired at them with live rounds before boarding.

Article 23 in the High Seas Convention states that the "hot pursuit of a foreign ship" is permissible when local authorities have good reason to believe that the ship has violated the laws and regulations of that State, which in this case is Israel.

"Such pursuit must be commenced when the foreign ship or one of its boats is within the internal waters or the territorial sea or the contiguous zone of the pursuing State."

The Flotilla by every account, was in international waters. This being the case, Israel or any other nation had a right to board it, if they believed it was involved in either piracy or the slave trade.

However, there was no suspicion or allegation of either of those things. The vessels contained vast amounts of relief supplies, ranging from thousands of pounds of concrete, to toys, food, medical supplies and wheelchairs.

This is Article 22 as stated:

Article 22

1. Except where acts of interference derive from powers conferred by treaty, a warship which encounters a foreign merchant ship on the high seas is not justified in boarding her unless there is reasonable ground for suspecting: (a) That the ship is engaged in piracy; or (b) That the ship is engaged in the slave trade; or (c) That though flying a foreign flag or refusing to show its flag, the ship is, in reality, of the same nationality as the warship. 2. In the cases provided for in subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c) above, the warship may proceed to verify the ship’s right to fly its flag. To this end, it may send a boat under the command of an officer to the suspected ship.

If suspicion remains after the documents have been checked, it may proceed to a further examination on board the ship, which must be carried out with all possible consideration. 3. If the suspicions prove to be unfounded, and provided that the ship boarded has not committed any act justifying them, it shall be compensated for any loss or damage that may have been sustained.

According to Article 22, a warship, "may send a boat under the command of an officer to the suspected ship." It does not state that an aircraft can be used for this purpose. If the word "vessel" had been used, a debate could possibly be raised, as the U.S. has considered the Space Shuttle a vessel. The language in this case seems clear.

There is also a change taking place among sea captains about crews defending their vessels against piracy, and the idea of having their vessels "boarded"[2].

Another interesting connection to the case is found under Article 11, where it is stated that: "No arrest or detention of the ship, even as a measure of investigation, shall be ordered by any authorities other than those of the flag State".

Israel has been accused of piracy by different journalists and activists; this however does not appear to be the case under the Convention on the High Seas 1958

It states that piracy consists of any of the following acts: (1) Any illegal acts of violence, detention or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft."

Israel is a government, not a private agency. Other than that, boarding a vessel on the high seas for the purposes of injuring its passengers and ultimately seizing control of it, would certainly resemble piracy.


[1] United Nations Convention on the High Seas 1958

[2] Apr-11-2010: Unions Back Use of Guards with Weapons Aboard Vessels - Charles Kuneff Special to coverage of the Flotilla Massacre so far:

May-31-2010: UN Security Council Holds Emergency Session on Israel's Deadly Interception of Aid Convoy -

May-31-2010: Israel: The Madness of Arrogance - Dr. Alan Sabrosky

May-31-2010: U.S. Memorial Day Overshadowed by Israel's Deadly Attacks on Humanitarian Relief Ships - Tim King

May-31-2010: International Activists Cause their own Deaths by Attacking nonconfrontational Israeli Commandos - Belén Fernández Special to

May-31-2010: Israeli Deputy FM Ayalon Lies Through His Teeth About the Flotilla Massacre - Commentary by Mary Rizzo Special to

May-31-2010: What if Iran Had Carried out the Gaza Carnage? - Kourosh Ziabari

May-31-2010: Israeli Butchery at Sea - Gilad Atzmon for

May-31-2010: World Outcry Over Israeli Flotilla Attack - Ma'an News Agency special to

May-31-2010: Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Speaks Out Over Flotilla Massacre -

May-31-2010: Time to Redefine U.S.-Israel Foreign Policy - Ralph E. Stone

May-31-2010: Massive Protests Planned Over Israel's Pirate Massacre in International Waters - Mazin Qumsiyeh for

May-31-2010: GAZA Flotilla Massacre - By Israel Shamir Special to

May-31-2010: Israel Attacks Unarmed Americans in International Waters - Tim King

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address:



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Vero_Eretico August 18, 2010 6:36 pm (Pacific time)

Yet another editorial. Excellent. Are there any news sites left in the world?

Editor: Well 99% of US news sites are blindly zionist and you are visiting the one that isn't.  Don't ever suggest that this is not a news site, it makes you appear very ignorant.  

Philip June 8, 2010 4:13 am (Pacific time)

Israelis are bound and determined to go over the abyss and drag the US down with them. How did this nation become such a gigantic millstone around the neck of the US and convince millions of Americans that they are our "closest ally?" Israel is an ally to the US as the flea is the ally of the dog.

Jess June 2, 2010 8:44 am (Pacific time)

"Millions saw Israeli soldiers roping down from helicopters to deck of ship...WHY has that video-coverage now disappeared from tv view continuing with other full coverage?" Henry I don't know what channels you're watching, but the ones I do are constantly showing this footage. There is also other video showing different angles during and after this insertion. I guess, depending on one's perspective, it will always be interpreted as per those different perspectives. Just like most events witnesses see, they seem to interpret those events differently.

both sides June 2, 2010 3:17 am (Pacific time)

What would you do when a nation seek to destroy you since when you were born,bombing your bus to school shooting rockets at your home kidnap your best friend and to say if you want to him again they put a ransom of a billion dollars. try maybe look at the other side of the story. the soldiers came with paintball guns,they shout Khaibar when the soldiers came Khaibar was an Arabian oasis populated by Jews. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, stormed the oasis and massacred the Jews there and seized their land and possessions self defense i call it

Henry Clay Ruark June 1, 2010 11:37 am (Pacific time)

 Millions saw Israeli soldiers roping down from helicopters to deck of ship.
  One does NOT do that as game-play, I'm informed by one who knows from experience.
  It is unmistakably the soldier's willful decision to descend, per orders.

  WHY has that video-coverage now disappeared from tv view continuing with other full coverage ?
  Who shot it ? Why provided to worldwide tv if NOT TRULY AUTHENTIC ? By WHOM PROVIDED AS FALSIFIED RECORD ?
  If so-provided AND PROVEN AUTHENTIC, WHY NOT continually shown NOW ??

  Content analysis provides strong negative evidence vs Israeli claim "OUR soldiers ATTACKED !"; if they roped down from heli to ship, no matter what other conditions  might be claimed NOW or before
open, visible, millions-viewed video released to world.

  "See with own eyes" damned hard to contrive unless truth being recorded as actually happening ... AND when so discovered as false, then is deadly to falsifiers.

Anonymous June 1, 2010 8:00 pm (Pacific time)

Bill, what exactly are you trying to say? I am not understanding you.

Bill Wilson June 1, 2010 6:41 pm (Pacific time)

So, we use current sea law to undermine Israli security and ship in support and food to undermine their position. What happened to sea law when the subject is Somalian Pirates? Nothing/ It's amazing that people believe this put up story by the media. So, you all getting ready to have a krystal nacht for the jews in your town better be ready for what happens.

Editor: Can you stop playing the victim even for a brief moment?

Anonymous June 1, 2010 5:00 pm (Pacific time)

it looks as tho the U.S. admin is going to do nothing..they say, let israel do the investigation...Update, israel investigation is in!!! the IDF were taking donuts and coffee to the activists, after such a long trip, it was a good will gesture..all the sudden, out of nowhere, the activists started beating the IDF with nuclear bombs. Then the activists started shooting each other, cause they were having disagreements on the trip, and osama bin laden, who was on the toilet watching it all. the white house and israel will be having a ceremony for the brave israeli soldiers in July.

Oregon Reader June 1, 2010 3:40 pm (Pacific time)

Of course, the San Remo Manual is NOT BINDING, and relates to WARTIME activities.!OpenDocument

Anonymous June 1, 2010 2:33 pm (Pacific time)

There are more important issues facing Americans than this situation in the middle east. Americans top concerns are the economy and jobs. We have a huge oil spill that is going to be a major problem for many years. It's too bad what's happening over there, but our military personnel in harms way around the world, and maybe a 100 other issues are of more relevence than what has been happening in the middle east for time immemorial. A worry I do have is if Israel is attacked, then they will use nukes if it means their survival, then that radiation will drift over here. Considering that both Turkey and Israel are our allies, we will most likely just look like we're concerned but no do much of anything. Israel has very powerful forces in Congress, so don't expect much to happen there. The United Nations is a joke, so their impotent voice will have no effect. I expect there will be a war, and instead of six days, maybe 3 days and it will be over, unless Iran enters, then it will be over in a matter of minutes. Have your your iodine tablets at the ready...

Editor: Iran doesn't seek war, only Israel. Iran seeks peace, Israel seeks domination.    

Oregon Reader June 1, 2010 1:32 pm (Pacific time)

According to the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994:


Neutral merchant vessels

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;

(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;

(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;

(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;

(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or

(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

just wondering June 1, 2010 12:01 pm (Pacific time)

Israel boards a ship with an American flag, in international waters, kidnaps 9 Americans..ummm, anybody upset as I am? and those 9 Americans should be released immediately? Other countries are showing outrage, and some are getting their citizens returned. Sure was an outrage when Iran captured 3 Americans ON IRANIAN SOIL!!!! Whats wrong with this picture? everything... Release the Americans NOW!

Oregon Reader June 1, 2010 9:38 am (Pacific time)

Excellent reporting angle, Tim.

Sarah Milewski June 1, 2010 8:32 am (Pacific time)

The information war waged against Israel is a prelude to a regional war that will start soon. Israel lost the so-called PR war, but has truth on its side. The truth is: Islamists want to destroy Israel, takeover the Middle East, replace Western Civilization with a global caliphate. For now, Leftist allies of Islamists are merely tolerated until they are eventually forced to convert to Islam or die. In spite of a so-called losing streak, Israel's destruction will not become an historic inevitability. The defeat of Israel's enemies is inevitable.
It does look like a disaster for Israel but it is all according to "plan." Those who hate Israel have reached a burning critical mass of unquenchable hate.
The flakes and sometimes supporters of Israel will now run away.
The separation and divide against Israel is complete as there is no middle ground left.
Israel's God is firmly in charge and He is setting up the nations for His Jehoshaphat trap.
The PR will never go 'right' for Israel because Israel's God is setting a trap not a love Israel fest.... and nothing will stop this pre-determined appointment in the Jezreel Valley.
"I will gather all nations and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and there will I deal with and execute judgment upon them for [their treatment of] My people and of My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and [because] they have divided My land.
Joel 3"

Editor: "Your land", "Your" this and "your" that.  Can you step outside of the situation and look at the bigger picture?  You represent it very well.  You do not have a superior place in this world, Jews could have moved into Palestine and showed respect, used all of the damned money that my government and the British government gave them to buy land, not for weapons to murder people off the land.  Man I think when judegement day comes, God will me more disappointed with anyone who used the "Chosen people" line to commit murder, whining and crying always about security while you rape and pillage your way through the Palestinian lands that you stole.  Then even the Holocaust survivors are living in poverty, yes we covered that story, and Israeli thug militants enforce your whacko religious extremism by murdering fishermen in Gaza, bombing and killing almost 1500 Gazan civilians, ducking war crime charges, again... then we reported recently that more apartheid laws were implemented to enforce the Jewish state's zionist racist philosophy and their nazi-like treatment of the local indigenous Palestinian people.  For our part, we will crank up the volume, as of today we are carrying Hamas press releases, and we will publish every possible item to show the world what Israel is doing, and why it must be stopped.   



Anonymous June 1, 2010 6:45 am (Pacific time)

Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime. Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorized Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law. Israel says what they did is ok because they are at war with Hamas. Funny how they say they are NOT at war, til it suits them. ie:prisoners should be part of the Geneva Convention, and they aren't. So which it is israel?? Depends on which day it is?

gp June 1, 2010 5:54 am (Pacific time)

Once again, truth is served by Salem-News. Thanks Salem News.

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