Meanwhile, the Obama administration appears to still be debating what position to take on the raid, other than to express regret for the loss of life and to call for an Israeli investigation. Here is an exchange from the briefing by US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley yesterday:
QUESTION: And could you just clarify a point of international law for me? Because the Israeli Government says that it’s well within their rights to do what they did yesterday. They cite the Paragraph 62-A of the San Remo Manual, whereas the Turkish foreign minister this morning was quite emphatic that this took place in international waters and Israel had no right to board these ships. What is the opinion of the United States Government on this —
MR. CROWLEY: Well, not being an international lawyer, I’m not going to that from the podium. Clearly, that will be something that will be investigated, and I’m sure debated, as we go forward.
The Obama administration needed this incident about as much as it needed another undersea oil spill. Both Israel and Turkey are important US allies. The silver lining: maybe it will distract from any potential embarrassment emanating from the Rod Blagojevich trial which opens tomorrow.