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A Modest Proposal for Resolving this Flotilla Business

So, there's been a lot of talk about this business of Israel and the "flotilla."  Some have suggested that Turkey could put significant pressure on Israel by invoking Article V of the NATO charter.  The idea is that the United States would have a treaty obligation to assist Turkey against Israel, thus effectively isolating the Jewish state.

Here's my proposal:  we should positively insist that NATO's Article V be invoked.  Then, the US Navy and the British Royal Navy can escort these ships to whatever dock they prefer. 

Of course, as a guarantee to Israel, NATO could conduct complete inspections of all passengers and cargo, removing any war material we discover.  Any additional, reasonable terms that the State of Israel has for ensuring that these are indeed peaceful, humanitarian shipments could be honored as well.

These inspections would be conducted by either United States Marines, or Royal Marines, acting with trained inspectors.  As these inspectors and Marines would be part of the flotilla, any resistance to the inspections would not constitute an act of aggression against the flotilla; it would simply be a matter of the flotilla enforcing its own internal laws.

Among the ships that should participate is a hospital ship, like this one, the USNS Comfort:


The image of that ship rendering aid and assistance to the people of Gaza would be worth the whole trip.  But this is not the only advantage.  It removes a useless flashpoint between two allies, Turkey and Israel; and it provides genuine humanitarian aid to the poor civilians of Palestine, who have been so long and so cynically used by their leaders, the militants who hide among them, and many Arab states.