After a false start with Gibraltar, the RNG stops in Malaysia today.
Although even in Malaysia, we're really talking about Israel, as the flotilla raided by Israeli troops contained 12 volunteers from Malaysia, who are all being deported and are scheduled to arrive back in Malaysia on Sunday.
Israel and Palestine have just really vexed me for a while. If you ask either side, they're both going to tell you that they don't want a war, they just wish to provide the best possible situation for their people. And, obviously, each side wants valuable religious ground for their given purpose. Each side will tell you that the other side forces them to fight.
And the hell of it is, both sides are right. Both sides routinely initiate actions that force the other side to reciprocate. (Israel has the same basic relationship with Lebanon.) This particular instance, looking at the tape that has so far been released, I pin on Israel. One can argue that the occupants of the ship fought back, but when you see soldiers boarding your ship commando-style, from helicopters, in international waters, there are almost never peaceful intentions.
And that's just from the portion of tape Israel has chosen to release. It's almost a given that they will release the portion of tape most beneficial to their side of the story.
And that's not even counting the testimony from at least six journalists also on the flotilla reporting that their equipment was confiscated and destroyed by Israeli troops.
More generally, one need only look at the situation in Gaza and the West Bank- largely created due to Israeli denial of basic supplies, as well as periodic wholesale annexation of Palestinian land to create settlements- to recognize why the flotilla was even there to begin with.
At the same time, though, Palestine is far from blameless. I'm thinking of suicide bombers here as the example. Anyone that goes to the trouble of strapping themselves with explosives and detonating oneself is initiating/renewing hostilities the moment the explosives go off.
It makes it very difficult for me personally to take a side- any side- in the conflict. Wars do not necessarily require good guys. It is entirely possible that all sides in a war can be wrong, that there is nobody in the conflict worth supporting. All one can hope for is that the vicious cycle be, at some point, stopped.
But given the history of the region, it's not a likely proposition.
In closing, Malaysia is by all accounts lovely this time of year.