Two of the foreign ships experienced similar forms of sabotage, creating allegations of Israeli responsibility.
The reports that two of the foreign flagged ships planning to be part of the ten vessel Freedom Flotilla II experienced similar forms of disabling sabotage creates strong circumstantial evidence of Israeli responsibility.
It stretches the imagination to suppose that a sophisticated cutting of the propeller shafts of both ships is a coincidence with no involvement by Israel’s Mossad, long infamous for its overseas criminal acts in support of contested Israeli national interests. Recalling the lethal encounter in international waters with Freedom Flotilla I that took place on May 31, 2010 and the frantic diplomatic campaign by Tel Aviv to prevent this second challenge to the Gaza blockade by peace activists and humanitarian aid workers, such conduct by a state against this latest civil society initiative, if further validated by incriminating evidence, should be formally condemned as a form of ‘state terrorism’ or even as an act of war by a state against global civil society.
The Israeli Government has so far done little to deny its culpability. Its highest officials speak of the allegations in self-righteous language that is typically diversionary, asserting an irrelevant right of self-defense, which supposedly comes mysteriously into play whenever civil society acts nonviolently to break the siege of Gaza that has persisted for more than four years.
From the perspective of the obligations to uphold international law it is the Flotilla participants who are acting legally and morally, certainly well within their rights, and it is Israel and their friends that are resorting to a variety of legally and morally dubious tactics to insulate this cruel and unlawful blockade from what is essentially a symbolic challenge.
The most relevant precedent for such government-sponsored sabotage is the Rainbow Warrior incident of 1985. There, French agents detonated explosives on a Greenpeace (an environmental NGO) fishing trawler docked in the Auckland, New Zealand harbour prior to proactively challenging the French plans to conduct underwater nuclear tests off the shore of the nearby Pacific atoll, Moruroa.