Another Showdown Looms Off Gaza Coast

A new aid boat has set off from the coast of Italy for Gaza, as the UN Security Council condemned Monday's deadly Israeli commando raid. An Israeli Navy commander told the Jerusalem Post, "Next time we'll use more force."

Early Monday, the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was boarded in international waters by helicopter-borne Israeli commandos, who then shot and killed nine activists on board. Israel claims its soldiers were responding to attacks from passengers, while activists on the boat say the Israelis came aboard firing. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon took a hard line, saying the protesters have links to Al Qaeda. The Mavi Marmara was part of a "Freedom Flotilla" carrying medical and school supplies, and construction materials to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Today, Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement said another ship was going to attempt to run the Israeli blockade, which has been in place since 2007. According to the AP, Berlin said, "This initiative is not going to stop."

So far the White House has only issued a statement expressing the president's "deep regret" at the loss of life. Foreign Policy's Marc Lynch writes that the crisis "is the fairly predictable outcome of the years of neglect of the Gaza situation by the Bush and Obama administrations." Israeli PM "Bibi" Netanyahu canceled a scheduled meeting today with Obama and headed home from Canada to address the situation.

With the world's attention focused on the incident, another deadly confrontation at sea would seem unlikely. But the J Post's quotes from an unnamed Israeli Navy commander are serious: "We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

[Image via Getty]