THE brutal attack on the six-ship flotilla, carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid and 600 passengers, for the Palestinian Gazans who have been besieged for the past three years, is just one more instance of Israels rank depravity that, nevertheless, would hardly have surprised anyone in the international community. Much before the Jewish state was thrust upon the Palestinians and usurped their land, the forerunners of the waves of settlers acted like marauding hordes, killing and plundering, destroying and expropriating the lands and properties of local inhabitants. And since the state machinery at Tel Aviv assumed the executioners role and powerful political forces in the world carry a dead conscience that tradition of open acts of inhumanity has flourished. Even today when the flotilla, organised by Greta Berlin, with notably a Nobel laureate, some European parliamentarians and human rights promoters, who also included two Pakistanis, on board, was peacefully sailing towards the Gaza coast, attempting to break the cruel blockade but was still 65km away in international waters, it was met with a barbaric display of force. Helicopter gunship, a popular weapon of Israel, used to mow down the helpless Palestinians fleeing from their periodic onslaughts, came into action on Monday morning, and the Jewish entitys navy launched a massive attack killing at least 19 and wounding 36 others. The ships were commandeered and being towed to the port of Ashdod, with the Israelis threatening that the passengers would be deported and on their refusal to leave the country jailed. The flotilla was accused by the Israelis of using deadly force and initiating violence; the unarmed passengers plead total innocence. Condemnation was quick to pour in from Pakistan (calling the killing of members of this humanitarian missionbrutal, inhuman and constituting a flagrant violation of international law and norms), Turkey (where protests also took place in front of the Israeli consulate at Istanbul) and Indonesia. Among the Europeans, only France condemned it and Spain and Sweden summoned Israeli ambassadors to their Foreign Offices. The EU just confined itself to calling for a timely probe of the incident. But it seems quite significant that the Americans could not hit upon stronger words than deeply regret the loss of life, with the Obama Administration currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. One can imagine their President, otherwise keen to improve the US image in the Muslim world and still carrying a semblance of an aura of peace and justice in the world, probably, still weighing the political cost of condemnation on the home front. While Tel Aviv merits severest condemnation, it is hard to put the US in a category of lesser offenders.