Saturday, June 5, 2010
By James Petras
"....In the face of Washington’s complicity with Israeli war crimes, the only road is to intensify the world-wide boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against all Israeli products, cultural activities and professional exchanges. Hopefully, the Islamic led mass protests will find echo in the wider anti-Zionist Christian and Jewish communities – especially, when Israeli apologists for state terror make public appearances. Even more important each and every Israeli involved in the mass assault should be subject to criminal prosecution wherever they visit. Only by making the Israelis understand that they will pay a high price for their serial homicides and violations of international law will reason possibly enter their political narrative. Only by moving beyond symbolic protests, like recalling diplomats, and taking substantive actions, like breaking relations, will the international community isolate the perpetrator of state terrorism. All Americans should send loud and clear to President Obama –NEVER AGAIN. Otherwise, with the Zionist Power Configuration active 7/24, the Obama regime, true to the Zionist agenda, will once again focus attention on attacking Iran. Israel’s action today with US complicity is a prelude of the kind of deadly force it has in store for sabotaging the recent Turkey-Brazil-Iran diplomatic agreement...."
"UNITED NATIONS, Jun 4, 2010 (IPS) - If, as expected, the U.N. Security Council remains politically impotent and refuses to penalise Israel for the killings of nine pro-Palestinian civilians on a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, what is the next course of action?
A global civil society campaign to de-legitimise Israel? Formal or informal sanctions by individual states? Worldwide arrest warrants?
All of these - and more - are in the realm of possibility, say two leading constitutional experts, Professor Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Michael Ratner, president of the New York- based Centre for Constitutional Rights....."
"June 04, 2010 — Nine Turkish activists killed in an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship were shot a total of 30 times and five died of gunshot wounds to the head, Britain's Guardian newspaper has reported.
Autopsy results showed the men were hit mostly with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range, the Guardian said, quoting Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine which carried out the autopsies on Friday.
Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught managed to speak to some of the injured activists, who are recovering in Ankara Hospital."
"As the MV Rachel Corrie, the last boat in the Free Gaza Movement's Flotilla, is being dragged to Israel's Ashdod port after being boarded and taken over in the early hours of Saturday, Israel continues to react to its Flotilla attack. Protests have been taking place throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. In the meantime, The Real News' Lia Tarachansky investigates how Israel prepared for the Flotilla attack, and how the media repeatedly portrayed a connection between the activists and terrorism. After the attack, Israel went on the offensive to prove there was indeed a connection to terrorism. The IDF published a press release saying the activists on board the Mavi Marmara ship that was the site of at least 9 deaths on Monday morning were actually al Qaeda mercenaries. When Tarachansky and journalist Max Blumenthaul questioned the IDF for evidence of this allegation, the IDF said it didn't have any and changed the title of the press release to "attackers of the IDF soldiers found without identification papers.""
".....Yet the Israeli government seems unable to admit that its policy is failing. Vocal elements of Israeli public opinion are pushing for a still tighter squeeze on Gaza. Israel is a country which has ceased to listen to the voice of even its firmest allies in the outside world.
International intervention is needed to break the deadlock. If Israel will not lift the blockade, then a United Nations aid flotilla should be sent. The Israeli military might feel no compunction about boarding private vessels, but a UN convoy would be a different prospect. Meanwhile, the US[It is the US that is demanding the blockade and the US Army is actually building the steel wall to block the building of tunnels!!] must put pressure on Egypt to open Gaza's southern border. Cairo has opened the Rafah crossing in the wake of this week's flotilla deaths. But this is likely to be only a temporary measure.
The Gazan people need more than short-term relief. They must be allowed to breathe freely again. And the international community has a moral responsibility to ensure that this freedom is granted."
"......I wasn't personally at all surprised at the killings on the Turkish ship. In Lebanon, I've seen this indisciplined rabble of an army – as "elite" as the average rabble of Arab armies – shooting at civilians. I saw them watching the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians on the morning of 18 September (the last day of the slaughter) by their vicious Lebanese militia allies. I was present at the Qana massacre by Israeli gunners in 1996 – "Arabushim" (the equivalent of the abusive term "Ayrab" in English), one of the gunners called the 106 dead civilians, more than half of them children, in the Israeli press. Then the Israeli government of Nobel laureate Shimon Peres said there were terrorists among the dead civilians – totally untrue, but who cares? – and then came the second Qana massacre in 2006 and then the 2008-09 Gaza slaughter of 1,300 Palestinians, most of them children, and then...
But back to our chronology. Then we had the Mossad murder of a Hamas official in Dubai with the Israelis using at least 19 forged passports from Britain and other countries. And the pathetic response of our then foreign secretary, David Miliband? He called it "an incident" – not the murder of the guy in Dubai, mind you, just the forgery of UK passports, a highly "controversial" matter – and then... Well, now we've had the shooting down of nine passengers at sea by more Israeli heroes.
The amazing thing in all this is that so many Western journalists – and I'm including the BBC's pusillanimous coverage of the Gaza aid ships – are writing like Israeli journalists, while many Israeli journalists are writing about the killings with the courage that Western journalists should demonstrate.....
Yes, the Israeli army is second to none, elite, humanitarian, heroic. Just don't tell the Somali pirates."
The Guardian, Saturday 5 June 2010
".....The rules of the game are changing: overwhelming force no longer guarantees the right outcome. Turks, not Arabs, have taken up the cudgels of the fight to end the occupation; Palestinians are increasingly looking away from the air-conditioned offices in Ramallah for moral leadership and casting nervous glances at Gaza City. Call the Hamas-run regime what you will, but beseiged Gaza remains a potent political symbol.....
The most important Palestinian occupant of the doomed convoy was a man called Sheikh Raed Salah, one of the founders of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a campaigner on East Jerusalem and a popular former mayor of his home town Umm al-Fahm, where he was elected with 70% of the vote. He is currently under house arrest in Israel, but had he been killed in the Israeli operation – and he has since alleged that Israeli commandos tried to kill him – it would have been Hamas, not Fatah, flags flying over Umm al-Fahm. The Fatah-run Palestinian Authority is one of the main sponsors of the siege of Gaza, and is still paying tens of thousands of its former employees in Gaza not to turn up for work for the government there.....
In the Israeli prisons, in the refugee camps, Fatah no longer enjoys the hold it once had, so that if a deal on the borders of a Palestinian state were cut between Abbas and Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, it would be questionable as to what it would be worth, especially if it fell short of the two other core demands: East Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees....
Whether Hamas is ready to assume the leadership of the Palestinian movement is another matter. If Fatah is falling off the cliff, Hamas still describes itself as being on the first foothold up it. There is a concern about keeping the Islamist movement together as it shifts from resistance only to resistance and negotiation...."
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 5 June 2010
"Holed up under the belle époque domes of his presidential palace this week, ailing Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak would not have heard the crowds chanting his name on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Fayoum and other major cities across the country.
(Hugh Pope is the Turkey/Cyprus project director for the International Crisis Group.)
guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 June 2010
".....Turkey's dispute with Israel is therefore not evidence of a Turkish animus against the west. Turks may have been the main organisers of the Gaza flotilla, but they were joined by activists, vessels and supplies from more than 30 countries, including several politicians from EU states. There is nothing un-European about protesting against Israel's punishment of the inhabitants of Gaza. All that is uncharacteristic of today's European states is that Turkey is actually doing something to end it."
The Guardian, Saturday 5 June 2010
".....So in those 11 hours, I have time to take stock. We have been attacked while in international waters. That means the Israelis have behaved like pirates, no better than those who operate off the coast of Somalia. The moment they start to steer this ship towards Israel, we have also been kidnapped. The whole action is illegal.We try to talk among ourselves, work out what might happen, and not least how the Israelis could opt for a course of action that means painting themselves into a corner.
The soldiers watch us. Some pretend not to understand English. But they all do. There are a couple of girls among the soldiers. They look the most embarrassed. Maybe they are the sort who will escape to Goa and fall into drug addiction when their military service is over? It happens all the time.....
We are split up, no one is allowed to talk to anyone else. Suddenly a man from the Israeli ministry for foreign affairs appears at my side. I realise he is there to make sure I am not treated too harshly. I am, after all, known as a writer in Israel. I've been translated into Hebrew. He asks if I need anything.
'My freedom and everybody else's,' I say. He doesn't answer. I ask him to go. He takes one step back. But he stays.
I admit to nothing, of course, and am told I am to be deported. The man who says this also says he rates my books highly. That makes me consider ensuring nothing I write is ever translated into Hebrew again....
On board the plane, the air hostess gives me a pair of socks. Because mine were stolen by one of the commandos who attacked the boat I was on.
The myth of the brave and utterly infallible Israeli soldier is shattered. Now we can add: they are common thieves. For I was not the only one to be robbed of my money, credit card, clothes, MP3 player, laptop; the same happened to many others on the same ship as me, which was attacked early one morning by masked Israeli soldiers, who were thus in fact nothing other than lying pirates....."
guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 June 2010
"Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range....
The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine...."
(George Bisharat is a professor at Hastings College of the Law and writes frequently about law and politics in the Middle East. This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and is republished with permission.)
"Israel's deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was flagrantly illegal. The Flotilla, carefully searched for arms before disembarkation, enjoyed the right of free navigation in international waters, and Israel had no legal justification to interrupt its peaceful mission...
Israel has claimed that it is in "armed conflict" with the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip and that its actions on the high seas to enforce the blockade of the Gaza Strip are therefore permissible. That claim is wrong.
In fact, under customary international law that Israel accepts as binding, Israel continues to occupy the Gaza Strip, despite the withdrawal of its ground troops and settlers from that region in 2005. A territory is "occupied" when foreign forces exercise "effective control" over it, whether accomplished through the continuous presence of ground troops or not.....
Moreover, collective punishment is specifically barred under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the objective of the blockade is to weaken the Gaza economy and undermine support for Hamas. That is a political, not a military, objective, and it is impermissible under international law to target innocent civilians to achieve nonmilitary goals...."
(Israeli soldiers stand guard as the Israeli navy raids one of the ships in the Freedom Flotilla.)
(Alice Walker is a poet, novelist, feminist and activist whose award-winning works have sold over ten million copies)
"You will have no protection
-- Medgar Evers to Civil Rights Activists in Mississippi, shortly before he was assassinated, 12 June, 1963
My heart is breaking; but I do not mind.
For one thing, as soon as I wrote those words I was able to weep. Which I had not been able to do since learning of the attack by armed Israeli commandos on defenseless peace activists carrying aid to Gaza who tried to fend them off using chairs and sticks. I am thankful to know what it means to be good; I know that the people of the Freedom Flotilla are/were in some cases, some of the best people on earth. They have not stood silently by and watched the destruction of others, brutally, sustained, without offering themselves, weaponless except for their bodies, to the situation. I am thankful to have a long history of knowing people like this from my earliest years, beginning in my student days of marches and demonstrations: for peace, for non-separation among peoples, for justice for Women, for People of Color, for Cubans, for Animals, for Indians, and for Her, the planet.
I am weeping for the truth of Medgar's statement; so brave and so true.....
It would be to support boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel to End the Occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and by this effort begin to soothe the pain and attend the sorrows of a people wrongly treated for generations. This action would also remind Israel that we have seen it lose its way and have called to it, often with love, and we have not been heard. In fact, we have reached out to it only to encounter slander, insult and, too frequently, bodily harm.
This we can do. We the people; who ultimately hold all the power. We the people, who must never forget to believe we can win.
We the people.
It has always been about us; as we watch governments come and go. It always will be."
"Cyprus, June 4, 2010. The Rachel Corrie, is in international waters on her way to Gaza. They will arrive on Saturday morning. The 1200 ton cargo ship is the last ship from the Freedom Flotilla and is loaded with construction materials, 20 tons of paper and many other supplies that Israel refuses to allow into the imprisoned people of Gaza.
Who are the passengers on board?
Why are we so determined to go to Gaza?
Please watch the video and support the Freedom Flotilla. "
"Sarah Colborne was on the boat attacked by Israeli commandos.
Full account from today's press conference organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign. "
عرب48 / وكالات
"كشفت مصادر تركية مطلعة لـ"المستقبل" أنه في إطار المواجهة المفتوحة بين تركيا وإسرائيل عقب مجزرة "أسطول الحرية" المتوجة الى غزة وعاصفة الاحتجاج والإدانة التي أثارتها في العالم، يفكر رئيس الوزراء التركي رجب طيب أردوغان في التوجه بنفسه الى غزة لكسر الحصار المفروض عليها من قبل جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي وأنه طرح هذه الفكرة على الداوئر الرسمية القريبة منه.
وعلمت "المستقبل" أن أردوغان كاشف الإدارة الأميركية أنه ينوي الطلب من سلاح البحرية التركية مواكبة أسطول جديد لسفن الإغاثة يجرى الإعداد له للتوجه الى غزة، لكن المسؤولين الأميركيين طلبوا منه التريث لدرس الموضوع.
مصير القدس مرتبط بمصير اسطنيول.. و مصير غزة مرتبط بمصير أنقرة..
وفي ما اعتبر تصعيداً لا سابق له للهجة التركية في عملية لي الأذرع مع إسرائيل، اعتبر اردوغان أمس في مهرحان شعبي في مدينة كونيا وسط الأناضول أن "مصير القدس مرتبط بمصير اسطنيول.. وأن مصير غزة مرتبط بمصير أنقرة"، متعهداً "عدم تخلي تركيا عن الفلسطينيين وحقوقهم، حتى ولو تخلى العالم عنهم".
اعتذار.. وتحقيق مستقل..وانهاء حصار غزة..
وفي إطار التصعيد التركي نفسه، دعا السفير التركي في واشنطن نامق طن الى مؤتمر صحافي واسع طرح خلاله شرطين: الأول: على الحكومة الإسرائيلية أن تعتذر علانية عن الجريمة التي ارتكبتها بحق الناشطين الأتراك المبحرين على متن "أسطول الحرية"، والثاني: قبولها بتحقيق مستقبل حول هذه العملية الإسرائيلية وإنهاء الحصار على غزة.
Report: Turkish PM May Sail to Gaza Himself
Erdogan Would Bring New Flotilla, Turkish Navy With Him
But now it looks like this may come to fruition in the near term and in very high profile fashion, as security sources within Turkey are reporting that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not only planning to dispatch the Navy on the next flotilla, but that he is considering accompanying them personally....."
"04/06/2010 Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Nasrallah on Friday stressed unity of Arabs and Muslims to stand by Egypt and Turkey to prevent Israel and the US from pressuring them.
His eminence called for more participation in the Freedom flotilla 2 which he said will be the door to end the siege of Gaza. The S.G. was speaking [Video of speech posted below] during the Solidarity with the Freedom flotilla festival organized by Hezbollah in Beirut’s southern suburb.
Addressing cheering crowds waving Lebanese, Turkish, Palestinian, and Hezbollah flags, Sayyed Nasrallah paid tribute to the besieged people of Gaza and the Palestinian people in general. “I salute the activists who took part in the freedom making flotilla, their martyrs, and their wounded. I also salute the Lebanese activists who participated as messengers of the resistance and the Lebanese will.”
Nine coffins draped with Turkish flags were placed under the platform to show respect to the nine Turkish martyrs who were massacred by the Israeli navy commandos last Monday as they were sailing in international waters with aids to besieged Gaza.
TURKEY HAS ESTABLISHED ITS COURAGE AND PRESENCE
“The martyrs were of one nationality. This was not a coincidence. It is God’s will. God chooses who He wants to be a martyr. I congratulate Turkey and I express my deep sympathy to the families of the martyrs. I pay special respect to the Turkish people who united behind the Freedom flotilla, and the Turkish leadership that established its courage and its presence,” his eminence said.....
FLOTILLA EXPOSED ARAB IMPOTENCE
Sayyed Nasrallah stressed the flotilla crime exposed Arab impotence.
“The Arab position was, and is still impotent. The activists were released in a record time, but thousands of Palestinians are still in Israeli jails. What’s different today is that there were hundreds of Turks involved. Israel has miscalculated its moves because it perceived that its aggression will force the Turkish leadership to back down. I am pretty sure that Israel was shocked to hear the Turkish reaction on the popular and official levels. When Turkey told Israel that it will cut ties if the Zionist authorities kept any activist in custody or tried any of them, Israel was shocked because Turkey is a strong country with a strong leadership that knows how to use it power. For Turkey to cut ties with Israel would be tantamount to an earthquake in Israel. This is a weapon that Turkey has used; it did not demand the release of its nationals but all of the activists. This is a lesson for some of those who preach the policy of humiliation, delusion and wishful thinking that only result in disgrace. On the other hand a policy based on power can accomplish a lot.”......
DID ANY ARAB PARLIAMENT FOLLOW KUWAIT’S SUIT AND WITHDREW FROM ARAB INITATIVE?
Sayyed Nasrallah praised Turkey stance during the war on Lebanon in 2006 and the war on Gaza in 2008- 2009. “The Turkish position developed significantly when the attack on the flotilla took place. I will not say that Israel has lost Turkey, but I can say that Israel has begun to lose Turkey and this is a very significant change in the region. Will it entirely lose Turkey? This is interrelated to the developments.
Of the very important results of this crime is the Kuwaiti stance. The Kuwaiti parliament demanded that Kuwait withdraws from the Arab initiative and the government agreed. Did any other Arab parliament take a similar step? We salute Kuwait for taking this step that bears political and moral values, because the Arab initiative includes major concessions to the Israelis. What happened embarrasses all those who call for the normalization of ties with Israel and those who bargain on negotiations with the enemy. What Israeli did to the Freedom flotilla embarrasses the so called Arab moderation. I have read in some Gulf newspaper impudent articles that defended the deeds of the Israeli soldiers; such articles are rarely found in Israeli newspapers.”.....
TAKE PART IN FREEDOM FLOTILLA 2
The Secretary General stressed the Gaza cause should remain the center of the international concern. “The Palestinian cause should become an international cause. In the past, they said that this is the cause of the Arab world, not the Islamic world. In our Arab world, the cause was transformed into a Palestinian cause; the cause itself became the cause of Gaza, the West Bank, and the refugees. We have to underline that this cause is a humane, Islamic, Arab, and global cause....."
"Irish aid ship Rachel Corrie is some 55 km (35 miles) from the besieged Gaza Strip but the Israeli foreign minister has said that the humanitarian convoy will not be allowed to dock at the coastal sliver.
The activists on board the ship say they will not resist Israeli soldiers if they come under attack. Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin says those on board the Rachel Corrie have made clear that their intentions are peaceful and should be allowed to proceed to Gaza. He, therfore, argues that any use of violence against the ship cannot be justified. Martin has also mentioned an agreement reached with Israeli officials to allow the vessel to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod.
The offer, however, has been rejected by activists on the ship that is carrying 19 people and 1000 tons of aid for the Gazans.
Former UN assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, who is aboard the Irish ship travelling in the Mediterranean Sea toward Gaza, joined Press TV in an interview to explain the goal of the humanitarian mission.....
Press TV: You have called on the UN to inspect the cargo and to escort the boat into Gaza and to send a UN representative to get onboard before they enter the exclusion zone. Have you received any word about whether the UN is open to your offer or not?
Halliday: No, we have received no response to our offer that the UN inspects the goods. We are sure that the Israelis have no security issue here. So we are waiting for response to that. "
(Left: Nobel Laureate, the Irish Mairead Maguire.)
"Israeli soldiers have boarded a Malaysian-funded Irish aid ship headed towards Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid.
The Israeli military in a statement said troops boarded MV Rachel Corrie on Saturday after activists aboard the ship ignored warnings to divert to the port of Ashdod.
"There was no violence or injuries amongst the soldiers or crew...and no shots were fired," the statement added, saying the ship was now being led to Ashdod.
Activists on board the ship were attempting to break the siege of Gaza imposed by Israel, five days after Israeli troops violently intercepted a flotilla of aid ships carrying humanitarian aid for the territory, killing nine activists.
Israeli naval vessels had been trailing the ship for several hours before storming it. Rachel Corrie's radar had also been jammed, cutting off all radio communiation.
Pro-Palestinian activists had earlier said they were determined to press ahead towards the Gaza coast, despite the Israeli warnings.
"We are not afraid and we are all advocating non-violence… and we will just sit here and go if they insist on commandeering our boat and forcing us into Ashdod," [Nobel Laureate]Mairead Maguire, an activist aboard Rachel Corrie, said before radio contact with the ship was lost....."
Friday, June 4, 2010
On a press call hosted by a pro-Israel organization, Rep. Brad Sherman, Democrat of California, told reporters that he intends seek the prosecution of any U.S. citizens who were aboard or involved with the Freedom Flotilla.
“The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 [PDF] makes it absolutely illegal for any American to give food, money, school supplies, paper clips, concrete or weapons to Hamas or any of its officials,” Sherman said on the Israel Project call, conflating Hamas and Gaza’s civilian population. “And so I will be asking the Attorney General to prosecute any American involved in what was clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization.”
Sherman also said that he plans on working with the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that any non-U.S. citizen involved with or aboard the Flotilla are excluded from entering the U.S.
Hamas, considered a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006 and has held de facto rule over the Gaza Strip since it took the area by force in 2007 in anticipation of an impending U.S.-backed coup d’etat by the rival Fatah faction.
he following is a transcript of the audio:
ISRAELI SHIP "This is the Israeli Navy, you are approaching an area which is under a naval blockade"
MAN'S VOICE 1 "Shut up, go back to Auschwitz."
WOMAN'S VOICE "We have permission from the Gaza Port Authority to enter."
MAN'S VOICE 2 "We're helping Arabs go against the US, don't forget 9/11 guy"
On hearing the recording Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, identified the woman's voice as that of his wife Huwaida Arraf, chair of the Free Gaza Movement. However, Arraf was not aboard the Mavi Marmara. She was aboard one of the small passenger vessels in the six-boat flotilla, called Challenger 1. She recounted what she experienced on Russia Today, among other major media outlets (video below). It would appear that Israel has once more been caught fabricating evidence in its desperate effort to justify its violent assault on the Free Gaza Flotilla, a civilian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
"....The flotilla sailing unprotected in international waters, appeared a good target against which Israel could exercise the plan of action it knows best - the lethal use of force.
The 2006 war on Lebanon and the 2009 war on Gaza revealed the limits of Israeli military supremacy in achieving its political goals and the attack on the flotilla has backfired disastrously.
The bullets that pierced the bodies of the activists have boomeranged, shattering the myth of Israeli morality.
In fact, the increasing calls in its wake for an immediate end to the blockade of Gaza now show that Israel has failed and the Free Gaza Movement prevailed."
The Guardian, Thursday 3 June 2010
A Letter by Iain Banks
"Following the murderous attack on the Gaza-bound convoy, is it not time to revisit the idea of a full cultural and educational boycott of Israel (Report, 2 June)? The sports boycott of apartheid South Africa hit the Afrikaners where, arguably, they felt it most and helped them understand precisely how despicable their regime's policies were held to be by the rest of the world.
Writers and artists refusing to visit Israel, and the cutting off of as many other cultural and educational links with Israel as possible, might help Israelis understand how morally isolated they really are. It would be a form of collective punishment (albeit a mild one), and so in a way an act of hypocrisy for those of us who have criticised Israel for its treatment of the Palestinian people in general and those in Gaza in particular, but appeals to reason, international law, UN resolutions and simple human decency mean – it is now obvious – nothing to Israel, and for those of us not prepared to turn to violence, what else can we do? For the little it's worth, I've told my agent to turn down any further book translation deals with Israeli publishers. I would urge all writers, artists and others in the creative arts, as well as those academics engaging in joint educational projects with Israeli institutions, to consider doing everything they can to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing more to do with this outlaw state."
".....All these actions indicate growing support for the sentiment expressed by Scottish writer Iain Banks who emphasized the need for academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Writing in The Guardian the renowned science fiction writer argued that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to "convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation" is "simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.""
This photograph of Emily Henochowicz's bandaged face needs to be seen by the world.
Like many of us around the world, Henochowicz, a 21-year-old Cooper Union art student, joined protests on Monday against Israel’s outrageous attack on the humanitarian flotilla. But unfortunately, the protest Emily attended was in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and like so many protests in the West Bank, it was violently attacked by the IDF. According to a report from the International Solidarity Movement, Emily was “hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during the demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint today.” Sören Johanssen, a Swedish activist standing beside Henochowicz, reported that, “They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.”
By ESAM AL-AMIN
"One year ago President Barack Obama addressed the Muslim World from the University of Cairo. The speech was magnanimous, humble, articulate and well received by most Muslims worldwide. It was strikingly different in rhetoric and tone from any speech ever given by former President George W. Bush. Obama sought “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”, emphatically declaring, “Islam is a part of America” and “is an important part of promoting peace.”.....
So on the anniversary of his most celebrated speech, how does Obama score on his most important declarations?
Part of the answer to the frustration of the American policy makers with regards to the battle to win the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world may be found in the following report card. It lists ten political promises Obama made before the world, half of which directly relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, demonstrating whether or not his words matched his policies.....
Final Score: Promises Made: 10, Promises Kept: 0. "
By NEVE GORDON
"In Israel, almost all of the protests against the navy’s assault on the relief flotilla took place in Palestinian space. Palestinian citizens in almost every major town and city, from Nazareth to Sachnin and from Arabe to Shfaram, demonstrated against the assault that left nine people dead and many more wounded. The one-day general strike called for by the Palestinian leadership within Israel was, for the most part, adhered to only by Arab citizens.
In Jewish space, by contrast, business continued as usual....
At one point a Jewish provocateur, who is not a member of any group (and could even be a police agent), raised his hand in the air: ‘Heil Lieberman!’ The response of the pro-government students was immediate: ‘Death to the Arabs!’ Luckily the university security managed to create a wedge between the protesters, and in this way prevented the incident from becoming even more violent......
What is troubling about these pro-government students is not that they are pro-government, but the way they attack anyone who thinks differently from them, along with their total lack of self-criticism or restraint. If this is how students at Israel’s best universities respond, what can we expect from the rest of the population?"
By DIANA BUTTU
".....Yet while Israel can and must be held to account for its desire to perpetuate its control over the Palestinians and their land, so too must the PLO be criticized for falling into the trap of approaching negotiations in a piecemeal fashion and sticking to the six pre-defined issues without looking at the broader implications of Israel’s strategy of disaggregating the components of sovereignty. By accepting to approach the negotiations process in such a manner, the PLO communicated that “compromise” could be reached on essential elements of sovereignty. Palestinian negotiators must also be heavily criticized for buying into and continuing to hold onto a failed process that seeks to grant Palestinians little more than a statelet without real sovereignty. The experience following Israel’s unilateral evacuation from the Gaza Strip sheds light on its future plans for the West Bank. It is hoped that Palestinian negotiators will learn from their experience of negotiations with Israel and realize that the sum of the disaggregated parts can never be greater than the whole."
As Obama Refuses to Condemn Flotilla Assault, Survivors Recount Shootings, Beatings Aboard Mavi Marmara
With Amy Goodman
"While the Obama administration has refused to condemn the Israeli flotilla raid outright, survivors of the assault continue to challenge Israeli military claims that soldiers acted in self-defense after rappelling onto the lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara. We speak to two passengers who were aboard the ship: Kevin Neish of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Kevin Ovenden of Viva Palestina...."
43 Years After Surviving Israeli Attack on USS Liberty, US Veteran Joe Meadors Seized by Israeli Forces on Gaza Aid Flotilla
With Amy Goodman
"Joe Meadors was on one of the other Free Gaza boats that was seized early Monday morning. For Meadors, this marks the second time he has been aboard a ship attacked by Israeli forces in international waters. In 1967, Meadors was a signalman aboard the USS Liberty, a US Navy electronic intelligence-gathering ship that was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats in 1967. Thirty-four Americans were killed and more than 170 were wounded in the attack...."
"June 04, 2010 — Egypt has built an underground metal wall to stop the smuggling of weapons and goods through tunnels into Gaza.
It is an ongoing construction project, but it appears to have failed.
The tunnels are still operating -- and that is because smugglers have found a way to break through the barriers.
Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Rafah, on the border between Gaza and Egypt. "
"June 03, 2010 — Though international criticism has been mounting against Israel's raid on civilian aid ships bound for Gaza, reaction from the United States has been cautious.
Glenn Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer and civil rights litigator, said this muted response is due to the "huge political price" US politicians must pay for being seen as adversarial to Israel.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Greenwald, a contributing editor for Salon.com, said what is clear is that the Obama administration has given its full support to the Israeli government once again. "
"June 03, 2010 — We continue our coverage of events surrounding the deadly Flotilla ships carrying aid to Gaza. Norman Finkelstein and Daniel Pollack debate the Flotilla raid and whether the facts are true or not. Also there is new evidence that an American citizen has been reported to have been among the nine people killed during the incident. Could this bring further diplomatic isolation for Israel, or will the United States continue to back up Israeli officials?"
"On May 31, 2010, Torontonians took to the streets to protest the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla carrying aid supplies to Gaza overnight.
The rally and march ended in Dundas Square, where Naomi Klein delivered an impassioned speech about the attack which has left an estimated 20 people dead and many more injured, and about the need for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.
Filmed by Bob Chandler, edited by Michelle Langlois for rabbletv."
"Cyprus, June 4, 2010] The Rachel Corrie is 150 miles away from Gaza in international waters and on her way. They will arrive on Saturday morning. The 1200 ton cargo ship is the last ship from the Freedom Flotilla and is loaded with construction materials, 20 tons of paper and many other supplies that Israel refuses to allow into the imprisoned people of Gaza.
Some of the High-Profile people on board:
Mairead Maguire from Belfast, Ireland, a Nobel Peace Laureate (l976) and Co-founder of Peace People, Northern Ireland.....
Denis Halliday, from Ireland, a UN Assistant Secretary-General from 1994-98....
The passengers on board the ship have stated, “Communication is difficult and sometimes impossible and there are many rumors out there started by Israeli authorities, but there is no way we are going to Ashdod. We are, for sure, on our way to Gaza.”
Contact: Greta Berlin, 00 357 99 18 72 75
Mary Hughes 00 357 6 38 38 09"
By Dennis Bernstein and Jesse Strauss
June 4, 2010
"Scholar Norman Finkelstein, author of a new book on Israel’s 2008-09 assault on Gaza entitled “This Time We’ve Gone Too Far,” deemed the attack on the six ships in international waters that left nine people dead Monday the actions of a “demented... lunatic state.”
According to survivors -- who include a former ambassador, a Nobel laureate and several well-known human rights activists -- the Israeli commandos came heavily armed with explosives and automatic weapons, and some opened fire from the air before landing on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish-flagged vessel leading the flotilla....
The additional fact that Israel has an estimated 200 or more nuclear warheads worries author Norman Finkelstein.
“If this is the kind of decision-making that they make after a week of intensive deliberation against a humanitarian convoy, to launch an armed commando raid in the dead of night in international waters, then what kind of action may they take in the midst of a full-fledged war, with missiles flying toward Tel Aviv, is very scary.
“I honestly don't believe that people are giving serious consideration to the fact that things are rapidly getting out of control.”
Meanwhile, despite the deadly brutality of the raid on the "Freedom Flotilla," Arraf said she and her colleagues are committed to breaking the Gaza blockade, and will not be intimidated....."
"If you once thought
that when you crushed her bones
and stopped her mouth with sand and stone
murder would bring silence,
then think again.
If you once counted
on distance in time and space
to wear away the memory and in its place
leave blank acceptance,
then think again.
If you once believed
that your great lie could hold
back the tide until by virtue of its growing old
it could be taken for the truth,
then think again.
See how proudly she breasts
a merciful sea,
defiant of your tanks and jets and mines,
laden with the best in all of us,
full of love for Palestine. "
by Justin Raimondo, June 04, 2010
"What is US foreign policy in the Middle East all about – and for whose benefit is it being conducted? In two short paragraphs, this news story says it all:
"The U.S. confirmed that an American citizen, identified as 19-year-old Furkan Dogan, was killed by multiple gunshots during the Israeli raid on a flotilla carrying activists attempting to run a blockade of the Gaza Strip.
"State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said the U.S. has made no decision on a response to Dogan’s death."
Apparently official Washington is torn between issuing a mild protest, and thanking them.
"Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental repsponsibility of our government," Hillary Clinton assured the media, "and one that we take very seriously" – but not seriously enough to issue an official protest......"
By Johann Hari
".....Everyone now knows the Israeli navy committed a machine-gun massacre on a ship in international waters that was carrying humanitarian aid for the blockaded people of Gaza, who Israeli officials joke they have "put on a diet". The boat was armed with Holocaust survivors, Nobel Peace Laureates, food, medicine, cement to rebuild bombed-out homes, and a couple of metal bars that were grabbed at when armed gunmen illegally boarded the boat. Several of the photos released by the IDF "proving" there were other weapons there have already been exposed as old images that have been on the web for years. Some even still had tags on them identifying them as having been taken in 2003.
But how many people know that the Israeli government is slowly obstructing and silencing the organisations within Israel that are trying to get the country on to a saner and safer path? Israel has some of the most admirable peace campaigners in the world – people who remember the lessons of Jewish history and so document every abuse against human rights their government commits. But they are now facing – as Daniel Sokatch, the director of the pro-peace New Israel Fund, puts it – "a co-ordinated effort to stifle dissent and shut down the human rights community in Israel".
It began a year ago.....
So who are we to talk about Israel or Ethiopia or Honduras? We are humans, like them. Just as people there can – and should – oppose our Government's crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, we should oppose their governments' crimes against innocent people. It's called solidarity. It's one of the few things that can help the people of Gaza, or the women of Ethiopia, or the dissidents of Honduras now. Instead of sealing ourselves away behind cultural borders, we need more ships carrying hope to suffering strangers."
"A British journalist today told how Israeli commandos had carried out a "brutal" assault on the boat he was on as it attempted to take aid to Gaza.
Hassan Ghani, 25, from Glasgow, was on board the Mavi Marmara, the main ship in the aid flotilla which was targeted by the Israelis.
He told how the Israelis had first fired grenades on to the boat as some of its passengers were at morning prayers.
And he went on to describe how soldiers first tried to board the vessel from the side, before dropping down onto it from helicopters....
But Mr Ghani insisted those those on the boat were civilians who did not have weapons.
He told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that people "used sticks, chairs, anything to stop these solders who were coming down with machine guns and tasers and firing rubber bullets and later on using live ammunition on civilians".
The journalist said: "We knew Israel would do some sort of action, but we thought they would perhaps just try to scare us and then allow us through......"
The New York-based press watchdog accuses the Israeli defence force of releasing edited portions of confiscated video on YouTube that fail to get across the reality.
It refers to claims by the Foreign Press Association in Israel that the military "is selectively using footage to bolster its claims that commandos opened fire only after being attacked."
The CPJ has called on the Israeli government to return all equipment, notes, and footage confiscated from journalists.
Its Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator, Mohamed Abdel Dayem, said: "Israel has confiscated journalistic material and then manipulated it to serve its interests. It must cease this practice without delay, and return all property seized from journalists who were covering this legitimate news event."....."
"....With Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu's threat to halt the Rachel Corrie boat on Thursday, saying, "We shall not allow the ships to reach Gaza. Not now and not later on," countries have been pressured to speak out.....
In Norway, following Norwegian Health Minister and leader of the country's Socialist party, Kristin Halvorsen's call for a ban on arms trade with Israel, a survey conducted by the InFact Institute shows that 40% of Norwegians want Israeli products to be boycotted....
Diana Buttu, international lawyer and a former legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) joined Press TV in an interview to discuss the consequences Israel should face for committing 'war crimes' and the legal aspects of the blockade.
Below is the transcript of the interview:
Press TV Over a dozen civilians killed in Israel's attack on the Freedom Flotilla, what do you think should be the consequences for Israel?
Diana Buttu Sanctions. It is very clear that what Israel has done has violated international law in a number of respects. First and foremost the blockade itself is illegal. If you read the Goldstone report, one of the conclusions that the Goldstone reports came to, was that the blockade itself was a form of collective punishment which under the Geneva conventions is a war crime.....
Press TV Among those killed was a US citizen of Turkish decent, and a lot of people are saying this could lead the US to at least try to adopt a tougher stance on this. I want to see if you agree on that and what is your reaction to the US' response up until now?
Diana Buttu It is really fascinating actually to listen to the US' response, because you have to juxtapose it to the US' response of the sinking of a South-Korean ship back in March. The time, or immediately afterwards in May, [US] Secretary [Hilary] Clinton came out and said very strongly that North Korea must be held accountable. Now, the ship that the North Koreans sunk was a military ship. Yet you juxtapose that with a response that has come in now from the United States which is tepid, at best.
They have not condemned Israel's actions; they have simply called for some impartial investigation, and we are not entirely sure what that is. We have heard Vice-President [Joe] Biden, in a way; justify what Israel is doing by the fact that there is a US citizen who was killed.
So I don't really place a lot of faith or a lot of hope in what the United States is going to say or do. Rather I think that the Obama Administration is going to continue behind the same shroud that every other administration has hidden behind for the past 15 years which is to say that we need to have a negotiated settlement and that is the only way to undermine or un-do all of these evil deeds.
That is not the correct answer, if you look at the peace process, the peace process is not working, it never has and it never will. Rather, the only thing that will work is to try to change Israel's direction in terms of international law. It must be held accountable, and this is the time to hold Israel accountable finally."
By Marwan Bishara
".....Not in our name!
I heard a young Jewish woman activist yesterday on Al Jazeera saying that Israel should no longer be allowed to carry on with its crimes in the name of the Jewish people.
True. What about the silent and alienated Jewish majority!
Many Jews do not want their identity, politics or worldview limited to or identified strictly with their religion and rightly so, especially when they are secular or unbelievers.
But that leaves the door open for those who underline their Jewishness and Zionism as one and the same to be more vocal "representatives" of the Jewish people on Israel.
Remember, just as there is nothing Muslim about terrorism and nothing Christian about genocide, there is also nothing Jewish about colonialism. All religions and peoples should, first and foremost, stand against all crimes carried out in their name.
So once again, where is the silent Jewish majority around the world in whose name Israel commits war crimes and who have a great contribution to make to bringing peace and justice to Israel/Palestine - indeed to the Middle East region?"
Thursday, June 3, 2010
"A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.
Dogan was a high school student studying social sciences in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey. He was born in Troy, N.Y., and moved to Turkey at the age of 2. He will be buried in his hometown tomorrow.
Dogan's body was returned to Turkey today along with eight others, all Turkish nationals, who were on board the Mavi Marmara...."
"لم تأت نتائج اجتماعات وزراء الخارجية العرب في مقر الجامعة العربية في القاهرة مفاجئة لأحد، ليس لانها جاءت متأخرة بضعة أيام، وغاب عنها عدد كبير من الوزراء الفاعلين، وانما لانها كررت مواقف سابقة خالية من اي مضمون، مثل العمل على كسر الحصار والعودة بالقضية الفلسطينية الى مجلس الامن.
السيد عمرو موسى كان في وضع بائس وهو يتلو البيان الختامي أمام الصحافيين، فقد امتقع وجهه، وخانته تعبيراته، ولم يستطع ان يمارس عاداته في 'رش الموت بالسكر' مثلما يقول المثل، اي نحت بعض العبارات لاضافة جديد يجعل من العمل العربي المشترك جذابا بالنسبة الي مندوبي وسائل الاعلام.
النظام الرسمي العربي يعاني من الافلاس التام حتى في الكلمات، ناهيك عن الافعال، وهذا ما يفسر انعدام اهتمام الرأي العام العربي بقممه واجتماعات وزرائه، حتى ان البيان الختامي لاجتماع مجلس الجامعة الاخير لم ينشر الا في ذيل الصفحات الداخلية في الصحف العربية المستقلة.
السيد عمرو موسى يقول ان العرب سيعملون على كسر الحصار المفروض على قطاع غزة، ولكنه لم يقل كيف، وكان الاولى به ان يكون اول المبادرين في ذلك، والذهاب الى القطاع المحاصر للتضامن مع ابنائه، خاصة ان الوصول اليه لا يستغرق اكثر من ثلاث ساعات بالسيارة، ولكن السيد موسى مشغول في قضايا اهم فيما يبدو، بل اكثر انشغالا من كل الزعماء الاجانب الذين زاروا القطاع وعلى رأسهم بان كي مون امين عام الامم المتحدة.
كنا نتوقع ان يتبنى وزراء الخارجية العرب قراراً بفتح موانئ بلادهم لتهيئة قوافل من السفن، تتوجه الى قطاع غزة بالعشرات محملة بكل ادوات البناء ومواده وصناديق الادوية وقطع الغيار الاساسية، محروسة بالفرقاطات البحرية العسكرية، ولكن هذا لم يحدث، فمن المؤسف ان قوافل كسر الحصار تنطلق من قبرص ومن الموانئ التركية والمالطية وترفع اعلاماً ليس من بينها علم عربي واحد.
كان امرا مؤسفا ان كل ما استطاع النظام الرسمي العربي ان يقدمه، وما جاء على لسان الامين العام للجامعة، هو الذهاب الى مجلس الامن الدولي لبحث مسألة الحصار المفروض على غزة. وكأن وزراء الخارجية العرب لا يعرفون ان مجلس الامن الدولي انعقد فعلاً وبعد ساعات قليلة من بدء العدوان على سفن اسطول الحرية، واتخذ قراراً باجراء تحقيق وفق المعايير الدولية في المجزرة، وأدان بصورة عامة الفعل الاسرائيلي.
الذهاب الى مجلس الامن مجددا هو حجة العاجز المفلس منعدم الخيارات. فقد كان مؤسفا ان تقدم دول مثل نيكاراغوا على قطع علاقاتها مع اسرائيل وتسحب دول مثل جنوب افريقيا سفراءها من تل ابيب احتجاجا على المجزرة، بينما يبقى السفراء الاسرائيليون في سفاراتهم في العواصم العربية، يعملون بصورة طبيعية، وكأن شيئا لم يحدث على الاطلاق لسفن الحرية في عرض البحر المتوسط امام السواحل الفلسطينية.
فليحتفظ وزراء الخارجية العرب بالسفراء الاسرائيليين، وبسفرائهم في تل ابيب، وليبقوا مبادرتهم للسلام على الطاولة لعقود او حتى لقرون، فلم يعد يهتم بهم وبانظمتهم احد في الشارع العربي باستثناء بعض المنافقين العاملين معهم.
الغضب التركي، وانتفاضة الكرامة التركية التي يقودها رجب طيب اردوغان، وضعا النظام الرسمي العربي في المكان الذي يستحقه، اي في سلة مهملات التاريخ.