An Israeli patrol boat struck a boat carrying medical volunteers and supplies to Gaza early Tuesday as it attempted to intercept the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, witnesses and Israeli officials said.
The incident occurred in international waters about 90 miles off Gaza. The Israelis ordered the vessel to turn back, and it headed to Lebanon after the collision.
The boat was carrying boxes of relief supplies, volunteers and journalists to Gaza, the Palestinian territory now subject to an intense Israeli bombing campaign. Among the passengers were physicians from Britain, Germany and Cyprus and several human rights activists, including former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.
"I would call it ramming. Let's just call it as it is," McKinney said. "Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front and once on the side.
"Our mission was a peaceful mission, but our mission was thwarted by the Israelis, the aggressiveness of the Israeli military."
Responding to Palestinian militants' rocket attacks with radically disproportionate force is already a violation of international law, but attacking a boat carrying medical supplies, journalists, and a former U.S. congresswoman is just a really bad idea. It's not only immoral but also immensely stupid in terms of public relations.
I have some vague hopes that Obama will put his foot down and tell the Israelis to knock this shit off, but we'll see. There's yet to be an American president who actually played hardball with them.