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The Pirates of the Mediterranean: Israel waives the rules

Starring Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot as Captain Jack Sparrow, Tzipi Livni as Elizabeth Swann (one flutter of her eyebrows and grown men swoon) and Benjamin Netanyahu as old slobberchops himself, Davy Jones, this is one film that you are unlikely to see. The Israelis don’t do piracy, you see, they “maintain a maritime blockade”; they “intercept” boats in international waters, then “divert them, if necessary” to Israeli ports where they can snaffle the cargo and the crews can be “voluntarily deported or detained”. All of which is a bit of a mouthful, so let’s just call it piracy, shall we?

Of course, international law must be respected, which is why Israel’s Foreign Ministry has fielded Sarah Weiss Maudi, “the ministry’s expert on maritime and humanitarian law” according to the New York Times. The “humanitarian law expert” has been wheeled out to support Cap’n Jack Dangot’s assertion that “no humanitarian crisis exists” in Gaza. Which is true; it’s a catastrophe not a crisis. That’s why good ol’ Cap’n Jack “would be willing to transfer the ships’ cargo, after inspection, to Gaza”. Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly. Naturally, say the Freedom Flotilla organisers (the targets of Cap’n Jack and his crew of scoundrels), then you can use your “official channels” for transferring relief to Gaza, the same channels that operate the blockade in the first place.

But wait, what’s this? The plot thickens: “We will not allow ships to come to Gaza while Hamas is in control there,” says Cap’n Jack. “They won a democratic election, after all, and we can’t have that sort of thing going on in our backyard,” he adds. Well, OK, that last bit was made up. Cap’n Jack didn’t add it, but he would if he was being honest. Hamas did win the election, although the New York Times’s correspondent Isabel Kershner still labours under the delusion that Hamas took over Gaza “by force” in 2007.

Like the franchise namesake based on another sea, this one looks as if it is going to leave us with a cliff-hanger and spawn interminable sequels until Russell Crowe can swash his buckle and save the day. Has anyone got his email address?

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