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By Ray Fleming

I headed my Viewpoint yesterday “Israel Piracy”. With more space at its disposal than I have, yesterday's Guardian leading article began thus: “If an armed group of Somali pirates had yesterday boarded six vessels on the high seas, killing at least 10 passengers and injuring many more, a NATO task force would today be heading for the Somali coast. What happened yesterday in international waters off the coast of Gaza was the work of Israeli commandos, not pirates, and no NATO warships will in fact be heading for Israel. Perhaps they should be.”

There has been a global avalanche of condemnation of Israel's attacks on the Gaza flotilla and Israel has lost the only friend it had in the Muslim world --Turkey. But prime minister Netanyahu will not lose much sleep because he will have noticed that there was one place in the world where no criticism was heard -- Washington DC. A White House statement said that the President was “working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy”. If Barack Obama does not yet know what are the circumstances that surround all the tragedies of Gaza then there is no hope for any settlement in the Middle East. Although the threat of an American veto kept any condemnation of Israel out of the UN Security Council's resolution there was at least an expression of regret at “the use of force in Israel's military operation in international waters.”