Monday, May 31, 2010
-Protest in Sydney tonight
-Action alert: Call your governments, demonstrate support for Freedom Flotilla
-Press Release: Israeli Attack on Free Gaza Boats Violates International Law, Shows Need to End U.S. Aid to
-Facebook Page: Protest Gaza Flotilla Massacre, Demand UN Investigation, End to Gaza Siege
-IKF FOOTAGE: Flotilla Activists Disembarking at the Ashdod Port
-Israel tows aid ships to Ashdod, detains 700 activists including Parliament members and dignitaries
-US activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister
-Gaza Freedom flotilla carried world-renowned names and veteran activists
-Australian shot in Israel ship attack: foreign minister (AFP)
-Israeli police say 16 Gaza-bound activists sent to jail
-VIDEO ROUND-UP: Israel Kills 20 : Attacks Gaza Aid Fleet
-Irish citizens 'kidnapped' in international waters
-Crime writer Mankell held in Israel after aid boat attack: Sweden
-Former US paratrooper & diplomat had joined Gaza flotilla
-Reactions from World Leaders
-UN Security Council members urge Israel to lift Gaza siege
-NATO to hold emergency session at Turkey's request
-Arabs demand independent probe of Israeli raid (AP)
-Erdogan: Aid ship raid is Israeli state terrorism
-Turkey vents fury at Israeli armed action
-Israel aid ship attack is terrorism - Hezbollah
-Hague 'deplores' Gaza aid ship deaths
-UK PM tells Netanyahu Israeli raid was 'unacceptable' (AFP)
-Germany shocked by Israeli flotilla action
-Egyptian president denounces Israeli attack on aid ships
-Arabs furious over deadly Israel raid, demand UN action (AFP)
-PA cabinet condemns assault on Freedom Flotilla
- 12 nations summon Israeli ambassadors
-Rights expert says attacks hard to justify under law
-Amnesty International: Israeli killings of Gaza ship activists must be investigated
-Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories: "Those responsible must be held criminally accountable"
-An Excellent Video with Dr. Azmi Bishara, About the Freedom Flotilla Massacre (Arabic)
-'Israel is a Lunatic State' - Finkelstein on Gaza Flotilla Attack
-Nobel-winning Elders deplore Gaza flotilla attack
-Rights org condemns "hideous" attack on Freedom Flotilla
-Stop the Wall: Israeli declared war against international solidarity
- Gaza responds to the freedom flotilla massacre
-Gazans unite in call for solidarity with Freedom Flotilla
-Reactions to the Israeli Attack on Freedom Flotilla
-Alarmed by ‘military operation,’ rabbis’ group calls for end to siege
-Al Jazeera English Video: World condemns Israel raid on Gaza aid convoy
-Istanbul rally: Israel will drown in blood
-Bethlehem Protests Against Flotilla Deaths
-Riots in Umm al-Fahm over naval raid on Gaza aid flotilla
-Israeli Arabs call general strike over Gaza flotilla takeover
-Several Israeli Arab protesters arrested in mass rallies over Gaza flotilla deaths
-Thousands of Iraqis protest Gaza aid ship deaths
- Thousands protest across Lebanon against flotilla killings
-The flotilla crisis seen from Cairo
-Thousands protest flotilla deaths, clashes in Athens
-Massive protests in Sweden to condemn Israel for attacking Gaza aid flotilla
-One thousand protest against Israel in London (AFP)
-Gaza aid ship protesters try to storm BBC Manchester
-Gaza Freedom Protest pictures
-Lowkey | Gaza Freedom Flotilla Massacre protest | London 31 May 2010
-Paris: 2,000 protest flotilla deaths
- Demonstrators in Tel Aviv call Erdogan 'fascist'
-Robert Fisk: Western leaders are too cowardly to help save lives
-Operation Mini Cast Lead, Gideon Levy
-Israel reveals its true face | Ahdaf Soueif
-Israel's 'gunboat diplomacy' provokes global outrage
- Gaza: From blockade to bloodshed | Editorial
-Israel's latest brutal blunder, Stephen M. Walt
-ANALYSIS / Whatever Turkey does, it will be bad for Israel and good for Hamas
-A Special Place in Hell / The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea
-International solidarity and the Freedom Flotilla massacre
-Mourning the Dead of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, Cynthia McKinney
-Israeli Butchery at Sea, Gilad Atzmon
-Israel's Attack on Us All, JONATHAN COOK
-Israel’s Murderous Sea Piracy a Horrendous Moment of Truth for US Policy, Finian Cunningham
Naomi Klein (author of "No Logo"), gives a speech at the end of the pro-Palestine march at Yonge-Dundas Square on May 31st, 2010.
"We will not let this carnage stand... The only response to illegal collective punishment is collective solidarity and action. That is what the humanitarian boats embodied.... Gazans live in an open-air prison sealed off from the world. These boats, these messages, they're like the messages passed between the prison bars. In addition to desperately needed aid and supplies, they are also messages of hope and solidarity that are saying, You are not alone, we are all connected.
Those boats and the movement they represent are unsinkable..Israel is the clear and indisputable aggressor in this situation, having sent armed soldiers on to boats in international waters..."
This email was posted on Jews Sans Frontieres blog
Taken From an email circulated by the Canada-Israel Commitee outline key hasbara talking points:
Key Points for Consideration Re: Gaza Flotilla
Israeli sailors, attempting to board one of the six ships of the protest flotilla en route to Gaza, were attacked by dozens of activists armed with knives, metal bars, and handguns. Fearing for their lives, the Israeli soldiers had no choice but to respond. At least four Israeli personnel were wounded by various means, including by gunfire from activists.
Israel made every effort to provide the flotilla organizers with an opportunity to avoid a confrontation. Israel offered to bring the flotilla into the port of Ashdod, and to transfer their aid to Gaza following appropriate security checks. The organizers rejected this offer, stating clearly that "this mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it's about breaking Israel's siege." (Greta Berlin, AFP, 27 May 10).
Israel gave repeated warning of the maritime blockade in effect off the coast of Gaza and that the flotilla would be turned away and brought to an Israeli port to offload their cargo.
The organizers of the protest deliberately invited a confrontation with Israeli sailors. This was not an aid mission, but a PR stunt designed to undermine Israel and bolster Hamas, internationally recognized as a terrorist organization. Among the protestors were a group of highly-trained extremists with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadist groups in Afghanistan.
There is no blockade on humanitarian aid to Gaza. In fact, Israel delivers 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid - including medical supplies, food, and water - to Gaza every week. The blockade exists to prevent unauthorized individuals and unknown cargo from entering Gaza and falling into the hands of its ruling Hamas regime.
Hamas is presently smuggling in massive amounts of military supplies into Gaza to fortify its positions and continue its attacks. Under international law Israel has the right to intercept vehicles that are "believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture." (Section 67A of the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea).
The Guardian is riding the two horses of being a newspaper of record whilst doing what it can for the zio war criminals. It seems to have wound down its minute by minute updates and the comments to them are closed but the bullet points to the article are now as follows:
(This is the same IDF video our inane one linked to today)
The leaders of the Israeli gang of War criminals, the so-called “Israeli government” is currently engaged in inciting and planning to launch a nuclear war against Iran, was not able to do anything in response to the Turkish- Iranian-Brazilian agreement of last May 17 2010 to transfer 1.200 Kg of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for nuclear fuel. In retaliation, they perpetrated the massacre on the Freedom Flotilla of humanitarian aid-carrying ships aiming to break the Israel genocide of siege on Gaza imposed since 2006. The Turkish-Iranian-Brazilian agreement stood as an obstacle against the Israeli ambitions to force the world to enter into a spiral of bloody nuclear war. It is wrong to believe that the Turkish government was not expecting the massacre against the Freedom Flotilla which carried 10.000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
IDF blonde spokeswoman: International activists cause their own deaths by attacking nonconfrontational Israeli commandos
At a press briefing this morning following the massacre by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commandos of passengers on board the Mavi Marmara, one of the boats pertaining to the Freedom Flotilla attempting to break the siege of Gaza, IDF spokeswoman Avital Liebovitch claimed that the passengers had engaged in “severe violence against our soldiers.”
According to Liebovitch, the violence was premeditated and was administered via live fire, sharp items such as knives, and weapons “grabbed” from the IDF commandos. While underscoring Israel’s unique ability to portray its armed forces as victims, the analysis failed to provide a compelling reason for why—if the alleged attack using grabbed weapons was indeed premeditated—the IDF did not throw a wrench in the works by simply refraining from raiding the ship.
Seizure of the Gaza flotilla: Press conference with Deputy FM Ayalon
DEPUTY FM AYALON: Good morning, everyone. I want to report this morning that the armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror organization was a premeditated and outrageous provocation.
Thus begins the greatest lie/hasbara of the day. The invention of a catchy little phrase that only the most audacious would utilise word for word, but the hasbarists will have time to refine it. That they choose to put Hamas and “terror” right in the first line, though is the most important part. This is what may pass to the international news agencies, which is the whole point, and the statements made earlier in the day by outraged politicians the world over are being softened as the minutes pass. Of course the flotilla was premeditated, and of course it was a provocation! How else can one do things with Israel there? Spontaneous, improvised and expecting applause? The intent, however was not violent and there’s not a stitch of evidence for this, but the violence that follows such an act of a bloody massacre indeed is spontaneous and very real. People are enraged. It is right to be enraged by such an attack on humanitarians bringing aid!!! However, let’s assume that cement powder can be lethal if the bags are swung around, and that paper can cause lots of cuts on the fingers that make it hard to pull triggers of Uzis.
8:45pm: William Hague, the British foreign secretary, says one Briton was among the injured on board and calls for an independent inquiry.
"So far we have been given access to one UK national who was injured, we don't know yet for certain about any deaths," Hague told journalists.
"We know there may have been UK nationals who have been detained and we are seeking consular access."
8:05pm: Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, has called US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisory James Jones on Monday to brief them on the assault.
A statement from Barak's office said he had told them that the raid was in keeping with maritime law.
"The passengers on the Marmara beat our soldiers with every object they had and wounded some of them," the statement quoted him as saying.
"The soldiers defended themselves."
7.53pm: Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the chief foreign policy official of the United Nations, asks Israel to end its "counterproductive" and "unacceptable" blockade on Gaza in the emergency UN Security Council meeting.
7:30pm: Following a 90-minute open meeting, the UN Security Council goes into closed-door consultations.
Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, urged the council to adopt a presidential statement circulated by Turkey which would condemn the raid by Israeli forces "in the strongest terms" as a violation of international law.
It would also express deep regret at the loss of life and call for Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, to undertake "an independent international investigation" and consider the issue of compensation.
The draft also calls on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza and immediately release the ships and civilians it is holding.
7:05pm: Mohammad Dahlan, a senior member of Fatah, just announced that the party will send a delegation to Gaza to meet with Hamas for reconciliation talks, and that the Palestinian Authority will push for a UN Security Council resolution on lifting the blockade of Gaza.
Hamas and Fatah have been bitterly at odds since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, and months of recent reconciliation talks haven't led anywhere. So a Fatah delegation to Gaza could be a significant step.
6:53pm: Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries have issued a statement:
The EU condemns the use of violence that has produced a high number of victims among the members of the flottilla and demands an immediate, full and impartial inquiry into the events and the circumstances surrounding it," the ambassadors said in a statement.
Protesters in Istanbul wave Palestinian flags after the raid (Photo: AFP)
|Israeli security forces fired tear gas at protesters in the occupied West Bank [AFP]|
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Turkish city of Istanbul and around the world to denounce Israel over its attack on the convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships that left at least nine people dead.
Around 10,000 people marched from the Israeli consulate in Istanbul towards the city's main square shouting slogans and waving banners saying "Killer Israel".
Bulent Arinc, Turkey's deputy prime minister, said there were up to 400 Turks among those aboard the Mavi Maramara, the Turkish cruise vessel which was leading the so-called Freedom Flotilla.
Other demonstrations denouncing the Israeli raid have been held in many cities around the world, including the capitals of Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and the UK.
A shocked world has responded with outrage. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and warned of unprecedented and incalculable reprisals.
Two Turkish activists (more now) were reported to be among those killed in the flotilla. Ankara warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy, a development with unpredictable consequences.
U.S. President Obama says he deeply regrets loss of life, plans to reschedule meeting with Netanyahu.The White House's cautious response, which contrasted with an outcry against Israel's actions in Europe and the Muslim world, reflected a difficult balancing act for Obama.
Soli Özel from Bilgi University says the worst-case scenario has come to pass and will lead to a revision of Turkish-Israeli relations, which were already strained by Israeli actions in Palestine over the years.
Officials from the Customs Undersecretariat said every passenger was searched before getting on the ship with the help of X-ray machines and metal detectors. Senior officials from the undersecretariat said Israel's allegations were tantamount to “complete nonsense.”
Netanyahu Praises Slaughter as 'Self Defense'
Incredibly, Israeli officials are praising the attack and shrugging off the large civilian toll. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted the massacre constituted “self defense” and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon accused the aid workers of secretly being terrorists in league with al-Qaeda.
Massacre Further Harms Israel-Turkey Ties
Once Israel’s closest ally in the region, the Turkish government has reacted with fury at last night’s Gaza aid ship massacre, condemning it as ‘inhuman state terror.’
The attacked ship was Turkish in origin and at least two of the slain aid workers were Turkish citizens. Turkey says future aid ships will be dispatched with a military escort so as to prevent future Israeli attacks.
Turko-Israeli relations have been on the decline in recent months, including a staged photo-op by the Israeli Foreign Ministry designed to shame Turkey’s ambassador. Israel also reportedly arrested a Turkish citizen weeks ago for being a member of a humanitarian group involved with the aid ship.
In what could be a serious blow to Israel's cover story on the murder of at least nine humanitarian activists making their way to Gaza through international waters, raw video by an Al Jazeera producer, who was filming during the raid, appears to provide evidence that the IDF opened fire on the flotilla even before boarding it.
In the capital Ankara about 1,000 people gathered outside the residence of Israeli ambassador Gabby Levy and shouted "Damn the Zionist murderers!" and "Israel will drown in the blood of the martyrs!".
They threw eggs and plastic bottles into the garden of the residency. Reports said demonstrations were held in dozens of cities across the country.
In London more than 1,000 people -- some of whom had friends on the ships carrying aid to blockaded Gaza -- protested outside the residence of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Israeli embassy.
Chanting "Free Palestine" and brandishing the Palestinian flag and banners condemning Israeli "war crimes", activists blocked a major route through the capital. Hundreds of police stood guard outside the embassy.
"We have close friends on the boat on which people were killed and we are here waiting for news," said Kate Hudson, the chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
In Paris about 500 people joined a noisy protest near the Israeli embassy, waving Palestinian flags and shouting "Palestine will survive, Palestine will conquer".
Scuffles broke out when a dozen rival protestors waving Israeli flags approached, prompting police to fire tear gas, but calm was soon restored. Another 1,300 people rallied in the city of Lille.
Greek police used tear gas to force back around 1,500 protesters outside the Israeli embassy in Athens, while another 2,000 people rallied in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
In Lebanon thousands of Palestinian refugees and activists waving Palestinian flags and banners marched in the country's 12 refugee camps.
"Where is the international community? Where are human rights?" they chanted in the Al-Bass camp in the southern coastal city of Tyre.
In Beirut hundreds gathered in the city centre called on Israeli embassies in the Arab world to be shut down and for Israeli ambassadors to be expelled.
At a demonstration of about 3,000 people at the Beddawi camp in the northern city of Tripoli, anger also turned on Israel's traditional ally, the United States.
"God is great and America is the greatest evil," they chanted. "Give us weapons, give us weapons and send us on to Gaza."
There were even demonstrations inside Israel, where hundreds of protestors flooded the streets of the northern Arab city of Nazareth as Israeli police raised the level of alert across the country and deployed reinforcements.
More than 2,000 people in Amman protested what Jordan's Information Minister Nabil Sharif dubbed a "heinous crime".
Demonstrators included Islamist opposition leaders and carried banners that read "We Will not Surrender" and "Break Gaza Blockade." They also demanded that Jordan shut down the Jewish state's embassy and expel the Israeli ambassador.
In Iran's capital Tehran, dozens of people pelted stones at the UN office chanting: "This savage regime of Israel must be wiped out."
They burnt the Israeli flag and tore up pictures of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In Pakistan politicians, lawmakers and journalists staged a peaceful protest in Islamabad, denouncing the killings and calling on the United Nations and the United States to intervene.
Hundreds of Bosnians marched through Sarajevo, brandishing Palestinian flags. "We wanted to raise our voice to denounce a new attempt at genocide in modern times," one of the organisers, Edvin Cudic, told Srna news agency.
Around 200 people demonstrated outside the UN's European headquarters in Geneva demanding an inquiry into the raid, while in the Netherlands 400 rallied outside the Israeli embassy in The Hague.
There were also protests in Egpyt while in Kuwait activists were planning rallies.
It is quite astounding that Israel has been able to create over the past 12 hours a news blackout, just as it did with its attack on Gaza 18 months ago, into which our main media organisations have willingly allowed Israeli spokespeople to step in unchallenged.
So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let’s reiterate a few simple facts:
* Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an imminent “lynch” by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it deserves.
* The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must be held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the lives of all the civilians onboard, including a baby.
Israel has no right to control Gaza’s sea as its own territorial waters and to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it is still in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip’s inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity.
Today Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians under occupation but at the international community itself.
BTW, this massacre has an official name: Operation Sky Winds.
-Israelis are refusing to confirm to the media the details of which hospitals the wounded have been taken to.
"....The names of the dead are not yet known. The flotilla passengers included retired US diplomats Amb. Edward Peck and Col. Ann Wright as well as humanitarian aid and human rights workers, several Members of Parliament from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Malaysia, and Palestinian Members of the Knesset.
Numbers for Israeli officials:
Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office: +972 2670 5354 +972 2670 5354 +972 5 0620 3264
Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defense: +972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
Major Liebovitz from the Israeli navy: + 972 5 781 86248
The Israeli Ministry of Defense, Fax: 972-3-697-6717
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fax: 972-2- 5303367
List of Israeli embassies in other countries
Organize a demonstration at an Israeli embassy
Register your demonstration or find a planned action in your area at the Gaza Freedom March......"
Support Freedom Flotilla http://gazafreedommarch.org/cms/en/fl...
The Israeli Navy massacres 20 unarmed international humanitarian activists in international waters and injures dozens. The Freedom Flotilla had European MPs, priests, people from many nationalities, including Israeli, and 10,000 tons of aid to the 3-year besieged Gaza.
# freegazaorg...about 14 minutes ago:
Israeli spin is that THEY were attacked first. Of course, you can see the video where they rappel, aim and shoot at civilians sleeping
about 1 hour ago:
There was no fire from our side. Watch the IHH video of soldiers firing the moment their feet hit the deck. They shot civilians asleep.
about 1 hour ago:
Israeli mouthpiece says soldiers responded to fire by firing back.That is a lie. Video from IHH shows soldiers landing on deck and shooting
- “Reuters reports that among the Turkish activists were 3 Turkish soldiers”
- “the israeli press conference called the flotilla a “violent armada”, parallel universe!” …3 minutes ago
- “israel is claiming that the turkish #flotilla ship was pre planning to attack israel, and that is why israelis attacked first… 6 minutes ago
-” Israel has ordered its citizens to leave Turkey after the attack on the #flotilla 7 minutes ago
-”I have news confirming that sheikh Raed Salah is undergoing an operation in Israeli Hospital! share .8 minutes ago
-”Greece, Turkey, and Spain have summoned Israeli ambassador. Jordan has done nothing. Egypt continues its co-siege of Gaza. … 9 minutes ago- Israel has just announced that it will prosecute the convoy members who “attacked” its soldiers … 11 minutes ago
- Unconfirmed: Arabic language tweets claiming that Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador in response to the attack.. 12 minutes ago
-Sweden summons Israeli ambassador over ships to Gaza attack.. about 1 hour ago
- about 5 minutes ago Now we're getting threatening phone calls from Israeli thugs telling us we should drown or can we swim.
- about 23 minutes ago Israeli spin is that THEY were attacked first. Of course, you can see the video where they rappel, aim and shoot at civilians sleeping
- about 31 minutes ago injured to Tel Hashomer in Tel Aviv, Belinson according to Israeli source. They are also posting 16 dead
- about 48 minutes ago ACTION: email to protests at freegaza.org information about all the protests and demonstrations going on worldwide related to the #Flotilla
- about 1 hour ago There was no fire from our side. Watch the IHH video of soldiers firing the moment their feet hit the deck. They shot civilians asleep
- about 1 hour ago Israeli mouthpiece says soldiers responded to fire by firing back.That is a lie. Video from IHH shows soldiers landing on deck and shooting
- about 2 hours ago Aljazeera report on the attack, 16 killed: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/05/201053133047995359.html
- about 2 hours ago Reports coming from Istanbul is that Turks are storming the Israeli embassy there in outrage over what Israel has done
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Live stream on Al jazeera
Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza, according to a Turkish aid agency being quoted by Turkish media.
At least two people were killed and more than 30 people injured, the report said early on Monday.
Footage from the flotilla's lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, appeared to show armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.
Earlier, the Israeli navy had contacted the captain of the Mavi Marmara, asking him to identify himself and say where the ship was headed.
Shortly after, two Israeli naval vessels had flanked the flotilla on either side, but at a distance.
Organisers of the attempted siege break, dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, then diverted their ships and slowed down to avoid a confrontation during the night.
They also issued all passengers life jackets and asked them to remain below deck.
And From an earlier report from Mondoweiss:
Update: Initial reports – at least two people killed, 30 injured in Israeli attack on freedom flotilla
Friday, May 28, 2010
by Paul Woodward on May 27, 2010
The niceties of America’s often straight-laced political discourse generally preclude the use of a phrase as provocative as this: Jewish revenge. One of the virtues of the Israeli press, however, is that it can be refreshingly blunt.
“Officials in the Democratic Party are afraid that the Jews will take revenge in the midterm elections, which is the reason for the vigorous courting of Israel,” reports Yedioth Ahronoth today. Some of the courting the paper refers to just came from White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, whose recent trip to Israel was ostensibly a family affair — he was there to attend his son’s Bar Mitzvah — but it turned out that he also had important and very public business to take care of: a kiss-and-make-up session with Benjamin Netanyahu.
War In Context
by Paul Woodward on May 28, 2010
Israeli foreign ministry spokesmen Yigal Palmor told the Wall Street Journal that in dealing with the Freedom Flotilla, Israel faces the choice of either looking stupid or like brutes — or like pirates!
Masked Israeli commandos — with daggers clenched between their teeth? — will soon likely take control of the ships.
Israel on Thursday unveiled a massive makeshift detention center in the country’s main southern port and announced the end of days of intense naval maneuvers, vowing to stop a flotilla of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists trying to break a 3-year blockade of the Gaza Strip this weekend.
by Paul Woodward on May 28, 2010
President Obama is either a liar or he has lost control of his own administration.
In a letter he sent to the president of Brazil in late April, Obama spelled out the terms on which the US would support a diplomatic initiative by Brazil and Turkey who hoped to revive a nuclear swap agreement that Iran had rejected last fall. Obama expressed his skepticism that Iran would make the necessary concessions. He was proved wrong, but then instead of welcoming Lula and Erdogan’s diplomatic accomplishment, Secretary Clinton dismissed it out of hand. If she did so with Obama’s consent, he has shown his word is worthless. If she did so on her own initiative, this president has lost his authority as chief executive.
War in Context
Even the right wing Jerusalem Post is laughing at the new Israeli propaganda about Gaza's "abundance"
"Don’t you just wish you lived in Gaza? Don’t you just envy those people who get to raise their kids amid such abundance? Look at all the stuff they’ve got:
“Truckloads of meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other staples arrive in Gaza on a daily basis,” said the Foreign Ministry in advance of the “Freedom Flotilla,” due to either reach Gaza or get intercepted by the navy today.
“Since the cease-fire in January 2009, well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel – that is almost a ton of aid for each man, woman and child in the strip.
They’re terrorists, doesn’t everybody understand? They try to kill us and we never did anything to them. We got out of Gaza, remember? There’s no more occupation. Finished!
And now the Jew-haters are coming with their boats and their food and their medical aid – to make us look bad! That’s all they want to do. They don’t care about the people in Gaza. The people in Gaza don’t even care about the people in Gaza, about their own children. Only we do. Only Israel cares about those people. Look at all the things we do for them. And the world doesn’t appreciate it. Well, what do you expect?
"We really have all determination and political will to prevent this provocation against us," he said. "I think that we're ready at any cost ... to prevent this provocation."
|Makhoul’s case had left everyone in Israel's human rights community 'afraid'.|
A leading human rights activist from Israel's Palestinian Arab minority was charged yesterday with the most serious security offences on Israel’s statute book, including espionage.
Prosecutors indicted Ameer Makhoul, the head of Ittijah, an umbrella organisation for Arab human rights groups in Israel, with spying on security facilities on behalf of Hizbollah after an alleged meeting with one of its agents in Denmark in 2008.
Mr Makhoul, who had been held incommunicado by Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, for much of the time since his arrest three weeks ago, appeared in court and pleaded not guilty. In his first public statement, he told the court: “The Shin Bet controls the Israeli justice system.”
"Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International's Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli's siege on Gaza has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law." Read more here.
While boats battle to get through the siege of Gaza, Gazans can eat out in fancy restaurants and have no need of aid.
That's what Israel has been telling journalists, at least.
Sherine Tadros picks apart the media campaign.
When, two days ago, the usual jubilant Israel lover posted a comment/link to an article claiming that Gazans are doing amazingly well, talking about fancy restaurants and growing economy and similar nonsense, I smelled a rat. With the news about the flotilla trying to break the blockade what could the BS artists in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem come up with now in terms of PR..There it is..Mind boggling disinformation, whitewashing and lies..
Avigail Abarbanel is an Israeli-born psychotherapist who migrated to Australia in 1991. A few months ago, she and her husband moved to the Scottish Highlands where they plan to set up their counseling practice. I spoke with Avigail from her home near Inverness. (The full interview is available as a podcast.)I found it refreshing and interesting to talk to a psychotherapist about a subject—Israel—that I find increasingly confusing. Along with more and more people it seems, I am asking: Why do the Israelis do what they do? Why do they keep on doing it? Can’t they see what damage they are doing to themselves, to the Palestinians, to us all? I asked Avigail if she would diagnose Israel as if the nation were a client of hers and then suggest an appropriate treatment regimen.Here, summarized as succinctly as I can, are the main threads of Avigail’s response along with her emphatic assertion that underlying everything she says is a clear distinction between explanation and excuse. (I do urge you to listen to the podcast and listen to her compelling, fluid presentation. Sometimes an mp3 is worth thousands of words of text!)Trauma and its ramifications lie at the heart of the Israeli nation:it is the organizing principle of the Israeli people and the psychology that has shaped its national character. But not just because of the Holocaust of World War II; rather, the seeds are already there, in the culture, the biblical stories (see Joshua, see Deuteronomy, Numbers, Exodus) and through centuries of history, including the Zionist movement in the late 19th century.The roots of victimhood and persecution go back to a long time ago.Unfortunately, one of the characteristics of trauma is that it is passed on, through the generations and proliferates within the generations.Trauma, as we know from PTSD, is a clinically-established phenomenon that can manifest whenever the suffering individual perceives existential threat. The problem is that this threat may or may not be real today. Objectively, Israel with its military might and nuclear power is one of the most formidable forces in the world; however, the irrational aspects of insecurity persist, nourished rather than managed, treated and healed, amplified now to include Iran. With an identity forged by its enemies and reinforced by the state’s religious, education, military and cultural institutions along with the trauma narrative, Israelis are not open to seeing themselves in new ways.Those who suggest such alternatives—you, me, liberal Jews, Judge Goldstone–are dismissed as hostile to Israel and included among the expanding number of enemies. As George W. Bush put it: “You’re either with us or with the terrorists.”Protective isolation against what is perceived as a highly dangerous world and against anyone perceived as an enemy is a natural consequence of trauma. The huge dimensions of the wall and fence complex built by Israel in the West Bank speak clearly to just how dangerous every Palestinian man, woman and child is seen to be.
On her blog in the extensive section about Palestine/Israel, Abarbanel writes: “the story of Israel and the Palestinian people is the story of trauma being transmitted from one generation to the next” and “my people…have allowed the quality of their life and their identity to be determined by those who hated them and committed crimes against them.” But, she continues: ”Healing is a risky business that requires a willingness to change one’s identity” and not, as she puts it, an endeavor for the faint-hearted.
Abarbanel draws on the work of the American psychiatrist Murray Bowen, and the “close relationship between trauma and persecution, and a tendency to emphasize the force of togetherness. When togetherness is emphasized, those those who do not feel, think, agree, act in the way that the group does, can be seen as traitors.” Citing Bowen’s theory of differentiation, she believes Israel is a “culture of consensus” and a “very poorly differentiated society …with the sense of self very, very meshed and entangled with the sense of the group.”Based on this analysis, Avigail Abarbanel believes “Israel cannot be reasoned with”, that it “is a traumatised society and it is therefore very dangerous.” Applying family therapy models, she compares Israel to the abusive husband, the Palestinians to the abused wife and the United States to the enabling neighbor.She advocates for a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict but warns that the coexistence of two traumatized people will require a great deal of imagination and intelligence.She suggests that there are enough good and skilled and spiritual people in the world whose energies can be mobilized to do the work of healing and reconciliation when the time comes. “It can be great, you know!” she adds.The interview ends with Avigail reflecting on the ‘secondary traumatization’ that can affect volunteers and human rights workers who are dealing with traumatized populations all over the world. “Look after yourself first,” she counsels, since “you have to be well to help other people…The only way I am able to work sustainably without burning out…is because I do put myself first.”
My husband Ian and I have recently moved from Australia to the Scottish Highlands. It has been three months since we arrived here and we are still feeling an enormous sense of dislocation. We feel lost, confused and insecure much of the time. This is despite the fact that we chose this move ourselves, that we have been planning it for years, that we have reasonable financial back-up, that we have all our possessions and even our cats with us and that we absolutely love it here. This beautiful green and serene environment around us is precisely what we were looking for.
All these uncomfortable feelings that we are experiencing are a part of the process of adjustment to a big life change. It is an inevitable process that our brain goes through each time our reality changes in a significant way and we lose everything that was previously familiar to us. We cannot speed this process up, and we cannot avoid it. (See my paper on adjustment to change ‘Grief and how to deal with it — a no-nonsense approach to grief’ at http://www.fullyhuman.co.uk/resources/grief-and-change.pdf or http://www.avigailabarbanel.me.uk/grief.html.) It doesn’t matter whether we initiated the process ourselves or whether it was imposed on us, we have to adjust to our new reality. It’s uncomfortable and it’s going to take time before we feel sufficiently familiar with our new environment and start to feel ‘normal’ again.
In our case Ian and I are dealing only with the effects of this adjustment process and it’s really hard. Imagine what people feel on top of all that, when they do not choose to leave and the dislocation is brutally forced on them by powers that they cannot fight. Imagine what they feel when they are not allowed to take their possessions with them, when they know their houses and their land will be stolen by the same forces that are kicking them out, when they are forced to move somewhere where they do not want to be, where the living conditions are far worse than where they come from, when they are torn away from loved ones without any consideration for the emotional effect it has on them and when they have no certainty about work, about their citizenship, or anything really. Read more.
Avigail Abarbanel -Palestine think tank
Thursday, May 27, 2010
The search for the City of David may offer tourists a reminder of Jerusalem's ancient past. But for the Palestinians whose homes are threatened by the excavations, archaeology is merely the latest weapon being used against them
"Most scholars agree that, to this day, no evidence of the presence of Kings David or Solomon has been found at the site. But our group of elderly American tourists are spellbound by the stories they are hearing from Elad's guides, stories which are conjecture, projection and myth ."
Today, however, there does exist a plausible way to advance peace, democracy, and prosperity in the Middle East; and one that does not involve fighting protracted wars in the Muslim world: Solve the Palestine Question.
The real catalyst for peace and democracy in the region is not to be found on the rocky road through Tehran or Baghdad, but rather on the road through Jerusalem. Were the U.S. to once and for all apply its full weight on Palestine-Israel, peace in the region as a whole would become more attainable. It’s not a magic bullet, not all regional problems would be solved, but a just Israeli-Palestinian peace would help considerably.
U.S. General David Petraeus grasped the import of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when he addressed the Senate Armed Services Committee in March. He noted that "enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the area of responsibility." And, he added, "Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples [in the region]." Full article here
Freedom Flotilla en route to Gaza
Three cargo ships. Ten thousand tons of reconstruction materials, medical and school supplies. Over eight-hundred passengers, fifty nationalities and one aim: breaking the siege on Gaza. This is the nine-vessel Freedom Flotilla: another action as part of “the blockade busting”. It is a multinational grassroots effort to deliver humanitarian relief aid to the besieged Gaza and to raise awareness of Israeli policies.
What is Israel’s response?
Israeli authorities have declared that they will not allow the Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza with its cargo. Israel is using both diplomatic pressure and the threat of military force to try to block the initiative. According to the Israeli press, the navy has been training to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza. Ma’ariv, a Hebrew language daily tabloid published in Tel Aviv, reported this week that preparations had been completed at Ashdod port to block the flotilla: the port is expected to be turned into a “giant interrogation room” where activists are to be sent. The police, the GSS (General Security Service of Israel), and the Ministry of Interior’s Oz unit have set up a detention and interrogation facility capable of handling hundreds of people. According to Ma’ariv, “Every Israeli citizen on board will be arrested and questioned by the police, Palestinian citizens will be questioned by the police and GSS, and foreign nationals and diplomats will be handed over to the Oz unit for handling and will be expelled to their countries of origin”.
Growing tensions between Israel and Turkey
Turkey, which has politically sponsored the Freedom Flotilla, urged Israel to allow the humanitarian convoy to enter Gaza and to lift the blockade. During a press-conference, Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that “Tensions should be avoided and the siege on Gaza lifted.” Turkey, which is a NATO member, is a close ally of Israel, but following Operation Cast Lead, tensions have grown between the two countries. The Turkish Government has promised reprisals if the Israeli Navy prevents the Freedom Flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip.
- Courtesy: Freedom Gaza
Counter-flotilla of Israelis
Hundreds of Israelis in yachts and boats lifted anchor on Saturday May 22 from Herzilyia, a coastal city north of Tel Aviv, launching a counter flotilla. Among other acts of protest, participants waved panels describing “barbaric Hamas” and signs showing Armenian genocide, in response to Turkey’s critical position towards Israel and aimed at embarrassing Turkey’s government.
Ships sailing toward Gaza
The first ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, set sail from Ireland in Mid-May on its way to the Mediterranean Sea and is presently off the coast of Portugal. The second left Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday afternoon, carrying seven-hundred passengers. Sponsored by the Turkish humanitarian organisation, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), this second ship will join additional boats coming from three other countries in the Mediterranean. The flotilla will then turn towards Gaza and is expected to reach Gaza City port by Friday.
Among the passengers:
Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, former U.S. diplomat, and active Gaza Freedom Marcher, will be joining the crew. Colonel Wright says, "The Israeli siege of Gaza is illegal and a violation of international law. We demand that the Israeli, Egyptian, United States and European governments end this siege. If the governments will not stop the siege, it is up to the citizens of the world to break it – and that is what we will do!"
Joe Meadors, a decorated Navy veteran and a survivor of the 1967 attack on U.S.S. Liberty, and Edward L. Peck, a retired US Ambassador, also will be joining the delegation to Gaza, as part of the Free Palestine Movement, a California based human rights organisation that helped to purchase one of the ships.
“It’ll be like old home week” said Meadors, recalling the Israeli attack he survived 43 years ago. “I’m determined to land with this internationally coordinated effort on the shores of Gaza to deliver relief to the 1.5 million inhabitants suffering under the Israeli-led illegal blockade”. Ambassador Peck explained that “many Americans oppose Israeli’s oppressive policies in Palestine and especially in Gaza.”
International and institutional support
“Irish passport holders (must) be treated respectfully and be allowed complete their mission”, said Green Party spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Senator Mark Dearey, who has personally inspected the cargo onboard the M.V. Rachel Corrie. Senator Dearey position complemented that of Mr Breifne O’Reilly, the Irish Ambassador in Tel Aviv, who travelled to the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem “to ensure a peaceful outcome which will enable the safe delivery of these humanitarian supplies”.
Helen Pettersson, Social Democratic member of the Swedish Parliament, submitted a written inquiry to Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, asking what measures the government intends to take to protect the Freedom Flotilla initiative. An audience with the Foreign Minister was also requested by Mehmet Kaplan, of the Green party, in order to discuss plans that would be adopted by Swedish government and the EU to ensure safety of the passengers and cargo.
UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
John Ging, Head of United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, who recently called once again upon the international community to break the siege on Gaza, said, “We believe that Israel would not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and many human rights organisations have been successful in previous similar operations, proving that breaking the siege on Gaza is possible.”
Israeli organisation Gush Shalom
The Israeli organisation Gush Shalom has called on the Israeli government to allow the aid convoy to reach Gaza. The statement released by the group says: “The State of Israel has no interest in footage of its navy violently assaulting peace activists at sea flooding television screens all over the world. It is time to remove the suffocating siege.”
Well wishes from Noam Chomsky
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is comprised of: Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, with hundreds of groups and organizations around the world supporting the effort.
Witness what happens on board the boats: http://witnessgaza.com