Israel: Politics of Piracy and Pirates

By Dallas Darling

When Israeli forces attacked and killed and injured dozens of people on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, it reminded me of the recent pirate attacks that have occurred off the coast of Somalia.

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, one such pirate, recently raided and boarded the Maersk Alabama container ship. He was taken into custody by the U.S. Navy and is now being held in a New York federal court. His charges are two felony counts of hijacking maritime vessels, two felony counts of kidnapping, and two felony counts of hostage taking. While on board, Muse pointed a gun at one of the ships hostages and threatened to kill him.

Piracy and pirates are where groups-whether individual or state-sponsored-rob, steal and plunder ships on the high sea. They also consist of felonies, robberies and murders committed by those who board and seize ships.

President Barack Obama said hijacking ships and threatening or killing crew members is considered a crime against humanity and the international community. He also said it was a form of terrorism, and pirates who attack U.S. ships overseas and take American hostages should know they will face stiff justice in an American courtroom.

When Israeli warships attacked and boarded the Freedom Flotilla on Monday, it was an incomprehensible crime against humanity and the international community. The military and naval assault occurred outside of Israeli territory in international waters. Not only did Israeli troops use live ammunition, but at least 19 people were killed and many more were wounded. Prior to this incident, Israeli warships had fired shots at other freedom flotillas, even ramming ships and damaging vessels.

The Free Gaza Movement and Freedom Flotilla wanted to merely deliver 10,000 tons of food, medicines, books and other humanitarian aid. Was Israel’s military action state-sponsored terrorism? Protesting this horrendous crime will not be enough. Not only should there be swift consequences for Israeli forces that stormed the ships in international waters and murdered several individuals, but also severe penalties against Israel’s punitive embargo against the people of Gaza (which is a type of land-based piracy, is it not?).

I am sure Musa will receive a stiff and harsh penalty for his crimes in a U.S. federal courtroom. Will Israel?

– Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John‘s Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for You can read more of Dallas’ writings at and darling. He contributed this article to

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