I know we’ve come to expect very low standards from our political establishment, but Eamon Gilmore’s “warning” to the Israeli government with respect to the aid flotilla soon to depart from Greece for the Palestinian territory of Gaza is as limp as they come:
“Israel must exercise all possible restraint and avoid any use of military force if attempting to uphold their naval blockade,” Gilmore, who also holds the post of trade minister, said after meeting with Israeli Ambassador to Dublin Boaz Moda.
“In particular, I would expect that any interception of ships is conducted in a peaceful manner and does not endanger the safety of our citizens or other participants,” he added, reiterating the country’s position that the Gaza blockade was “unjust and counterproductive'” and that the violence that marked last year’s flotilla venture was “completely unacceptable and unjustified.” [via Haaretz. Emphasis provided by the Salon’s Glenn Greenwald]
“I would expect” is not a warning. A warning implies consequences. “I would expect” in this sense is a request. Essentially Gilmore anticipates the use of force, “if attempting to uphold their naval blockade”, before requesting that no +Irish citizens+ are harmed. An eventuality he would be politically unable to handle.
This moderated rhetoric towards Israeli military and political aggression is markedly different to even the low standards we expected under Fianna Fáil:
Taoiseach Brian Cowen has today warned Israel that if it harms any Irish citizens there will be “serious consequences”. [Irish Examiner]
Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin has demanded that Israel allows Irish humanitarian ship the MV Rachel Corrie through its military blockade of Gaza. [Irish Independent]
Ironically enough, if there is any warning in Gilmore’s statement it is for the activists:
“I have made it clear that I cannot advise any Irish national to participate in a venture which potentially brings them into harm’s way through seeking to break a naval blockade.” [Haaretz and the Irish Times]