IDF to use dogs when boarding future Flotillas

A report posted overnight in the Jerusalem Post says that “The IDF’s Oketz canine unit will be used to assist soldiers in boarding Gaza-bound ships during future interceptions, a military source said on Thursday. The decision followed intensive deliberations by military chiefs on how to improve boarding techniques following the bloody confrontation on board the Mavi Marmara ship on May 31″… This is posted here.

The Israeli naval interceptions are part of Israel’s formal maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, announced on 3 January 2009, during the IDF Operation Cast Lead [27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009].

The Israeli declaration of a naval blockade appears to be aimed at stopping the various flotillas that were trying to “break the siege” — as much as at the official reasons given [interdicting possible arms shipments into Gaza or weakening the position of Hamas in the Gaza strip].

YNet reported that “The dogs will be the first to board the decks, to prevent harm to soldiers from hostile elements on board. ‘As soon as you put an attack dog in an area where soldiers are supposed to get to, it keeps the place sterile and prevents anyone from approaching’, a military source said. ‘Dogs can be placed by crane or other means. They’ll be the first, and after them, the soldiers’. Dogs from the Oketz unit are trained to immobilize an enemy by biting – the more the enemy struggles, the harder the bite. ‘Attack dogs have proved their capabilities on many occasions’, the source said. ‘They are strong and merciless, but in fact this is a non-lethal weapon that can certainly do the work (on the deck)’. The same source said dogs were involved in preparations for boarding the Turkish flotilla, but it was believed there would be no violent opposition from the people aboard the Marmara, so they were not sent onto the decks. ‘After that flotilla, we understood that this is indeed a good method and we’re improving our abilities’, he said. ‘A dog has no problem operating on a boat and can do great work’.” This is posted here.

4 thoughts on “IDF to use dogs when boarding future Flotillas”

  1. Dogs have already been put to use at Qalandia Checkpoint, as we reported here months ago… The first time I saw this, in person, was on Israeli Independence Day [according to the Jewish Calendar it was either in late April or early May 2009]. Their handlers are dressed in civilian clothes, and they open all four doors of the car — as well as the hood and the trunk — and lead the dogs to put their noses into both sides of the front and back seats, no matter who is sitting inside…

    Haven’t seen them recently, but that might be because I avoid almost totally the horror at Qalandia Checkpoint.

  2. Would this be considered an infringement of international paw? is it a paw crime?

    But seriously, surely this is better for both sides, no violence if the dogs are not threatened. They are trained to sniff out weapons or explosives, so if there is none there is nothing to fear. At worst a dog may die.

  3. At Qalandia, there is absolutely no reason to stick the nose (+ unmuzzled mouths) of dogs inside the four doors of every single passenger car passing through — or, every single car passing through with Palestinian passengers, including infants, small children and the elderly, who are normally terrified of dogs, as you are probably aware, and even more so with this kind of extremely threatening and intrusive inspection.

    It was sickening to watch these inspections.

    Trained dogs can surely detect any possible explosives from the exterior of the cars, or from a car as it just passes by.

    Now, as to the dogs and any future flotillas, there is no reason to think that the participation of the dogs will have a calming effect on the IDF troops who are about to board a boat — and the combination can be easily imagined as very fearsome and intimidating, which is most probably the intent…

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