From someone with long experience planning “operations.”
- The preparation could not have been worse. Rather than thinking through the matter from the perspective of the opponent, they expected far less resistance than they got, and they played into the hands of the boat militants.
- They should have approached with a boarding party from the sea (which they also did), but also gunmen with rubber bullets on higher boats who could keep the gangs on board at a distance. Instead those boarding from the sea couldn’t board.
They went so far out into international waters because they didn’t want the boarding to happen in daytime when there would be cameras. In fact, the lack of footage of the violence against the IDF is hurting Israel.
- They had paint guns because they were expecting possible light resistance; and pistols which they weren’t authorized to use unless “necessary” – which took at least 10, by some accounts 40 minutes.
- This was not an operation for soldiers, but rather units from the SWAT Police, who have more experience with this kind of resistance, than Navy Commandos. But because it was beyond territorial bounds, the Police had no jurisdiction.
- They could have just disabled the boat by jamming to the propeller and rudder.
Now some of this may be Monday morning quarterbacking. But what is crystal clear now to those not blinded by the “human rights” halo that these groups claimed, and the MSNM adopted, is that this was an ambush. On one level, if Israel had anticipated it, they would have been accused (as they are now, but with no real substance) of provoking the confrontation – of coming in with guns blazing. On another, the lack of preparation for really violent aggression – street fighting if you will – has to surprise anyone paying attention to the chants and swagger of those on the Mavi Marmara.
I personally think that the planners, even as they denounced these folks as terrorists, actually bought into the MSNM narrative about “human rights” activists who would use only “passive resistance.” It’s ironic, but because Israeli military saw the enemy through the medias (deeply distorted) lens, they actually behaved exactly as their enemies wanted. It’s as if the IHH had sat at the table and developed the plan with the Israeli army.
As a result, as one Israeli commented: “We’re shit in the midst of deep shit.”
The operation was, as the Arabs would say, a major fadiha (a nice synonym for f***-up), or as the French put it so delicately, “une bavure” (a drool).