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Gaza, France, Monaco and the Double Standard for Israel

By Edward Zelinsky

Nicholas Sarkozy, the president of France, has condemned as “disproportionate” Israel’s response to the flotilla bringing cargo to Gaza. Gaza today is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and which has repeatedly launched attacks on Israel and its civilian population. Israel had told the flotilla’s organizers to bring their goods to the Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection, with all civilian goods to be trucked subsequently from Ashdod to Gaza. The Israeli offer was rejected.

Mr. Sarkozy’s criticism of Israel raises an interesting analogy: Suppose that Monaco were controlled by a violent terrorist organization like Hamas, committed to the destruction of France. This terrorist organization, when it has the means, routinely lobs missiles at French civilians over the French-Monaco border. Would France passively accept this situation? Not likely.

Most probably, France would invade Monaco to destroy the threat to its civilian population. Alternatively, France would blockade Monaco by land and by sea, making sure that weapons and other supplies with military uses do not enter Monaco.

Suppose further that a flotilla were organized to break the French blockade of Monaco. France, concerned about military supplies being part of the cargo, would order its navy to intercept this flotilla. France would perhaps tell the organizers of the flotilla to bring their supplies to Marseille where these supplies could be inspected so that, after such inspection, civilian goods could be transported into Monaco.

Suppose that the organizers of the flotilla rejected this offer and instead proceeded to Monaco. Is there any doubt what, under these circumstances, the French response would be?

Finally, suppose that the President of Israel condemned this French response as “disproportionate.” Mr. Sarkozy’s likely retort: France has the moral and legal right to protect its citizens and its territory. Any violence which results is the responsibility of the flotilla’s organizers who rejected the French offer of inspection and transportation for civilian goods.

Mr. Sarkozy would be right.

Edward A. Zelinskythumb_faculty_zelinsky_ed is the Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is the author of The Origins of the Ownership Society: How The Defined Contribution Paradigm Changed America.

Recent Comments

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  2. TakeItOrLeaveIt

    The fact is..
    France was, once upon the time, one of the greatest powers in the world and even The greatest in terms of military power at some point and so is Israel backed by it’s allies under those terms. History, however shows that the same poor people who kicked France out from Algeria and GB from Indea will kick you out no matter how much lies you invest in or how much money you can spend.

  3. Elie

    I’m sorry to read that… I support Israel and strongly believes that it has to defend itself, but why using such a bad analogy?
    Unfortunately, France had to and is still dealing with terrorism, notably because of former colonies like Algeria. It also deals with terrorism organizations on its own territory like in Corsica or in the Basque region. France do have important security programs for its citizens. Have you ever thought that maybe France learnt from some of its mistake?
    Criticism for criticism’s sake has never lead to a real debate.
    And by the way, talking about France, please try to first spell its President’s name correctly (it’s “Nicolas”, not “Nicholas”).

  4. JS

    Disgusting lies and propaganda I never expected to see on this blog. I have now unsubscribed. Before I go I feel bound to say:

    If the people of Monaco had once been spread all over France and had been driven into that tiny corner by their bullying neighbour who starved their children and prevented them from rebuilding their homes, they would have every right to fight back.

    “Gaza today is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization…”

    This old chestnut. Who has killed more civilians lately, Hamas or Israel?

    “which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel”

    Look at the map linked below and tell me, who’s destroying who?


    You won’t be happy until the last Palestinian child has been driven out of their home. You are a disgrace to humanity.

  5. Sam Lupowitz

    Israel has never had any interest in marginalizing the inhabitants of Gaza. Israel would much rather have a harmonious relationship with the inhabitants of Gaza. Unfortunately though, the inhabitants of Gaza elected the Hamas into power and the Hamas is a terrorist organization that is committed to the destruction of Israel. Therefore, Israel has absolutely no choice but to enforce the blockade of Gaza to prevent weapons from getting into Gaza. That said, I will admit to you that I believe Israel handled the recent floatilla incident incorrectly, in-fact foolishly. In my opinion, Israel should have merely disabled the one ship that refused to stop and then, in the morning, with the sun shining, used its best effort to bring the matter to a peaceful end. In my opinion, nobody should have died or been injured that night. Sam in Miami.

  6. Timm!

    Yeah, if the Israel/Palestine relationship were as simple as two neighboring countries with a border dispute. Your flat refusal to deal with history as recent as 1946 does this company no credit.

  7. DavidDavidson

    Sam, if Israel’s blockade is to prevent weapons getting into Gaza can you explain why they don’t allow certain footstuffs in? For example, that well known terrorist weapon, canned fruit. Why do they often cut off fuel supplies so homes go without power for extended periods?

    It’s nothing to do with weapons. You allude to the real reason: the Palestinians voted for a party Israel doesn’t like. That’s called democracy, and Israel needs to deal with it, rather than punishing children for the actions of their parents.

    Make no mistake: the biggest terrorist in the Middle East is Israel. They’ve went too far this time, and the blockade is unsustainable now.

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