Lest we forget the mentality in the Arab world that led to 9-11, on Saturday, a mob broke away from "pro-democracy" demonstrations and stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo. They broke into the embassy and began throwing documents out the windows. Fortunately, the embassy staff had escaped. The Israeli ambassador, his staff and their families have been evacuated to Israel. The Egyptian army and police did not interfere with the mob or intervene at all until hours after the attack began, and then only after urgent calls to the Egyptian Defense Minister from U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who warned his Israeli counterpart that a failure to act swiftly to end the attack on the embassy would have grave consequences. (Under international law, a nation's embassy is its sovereign territory. The actions of the mob legally amounted to an invasion of Israel.) Following Secretary Panetta's call, Egyptian commandos rescued 6 embassy guards from the mob. Previously, the Egyptian Defense Minister had refused to take calls from Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Typically, in today's Los Angeles Times, a front page feature story portrays Israel's mounting tensions with Egypt and Turkey as Israel's fault. The story falsely distorts Israel's refusal to apologize to Turkey for May 2010 deaths of nine Turkish nationals on the Mavi Mamara, a ship that was part of a flotilla seeking to run Israel's Gaza blockade. The article fails to mention that Israel offered an expression of regret at the loss of life, but insisted that its soldiers not be exposed to civil liability; that Turkey demanded that any apology include a termination of the Gaza blockade (which even the United Nations report on the incident concluded is legal under international law); or that when Israeli commandos initially attempted to board the Mavi Mamara, armed only with paintball guns, the "activists" on board attacked them with clubs and knives. On the other vessels in the convoy, which offered no resistance to boarding by the Israeli commandos, no one was injured on either side.
Turkish Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan has announced that Turkish warships will now escort flotillas to Gaza. That is an extremely provocative action; if Israel is to maintain a legal naval blockade essential to its security, it must risk an armed confrontation with the Turkish navy.