Break the Israeli Siege of Gaza or Attack at Sea, Detention Camps & Deportation
Edited by Elias F. Harb
GOING TO GAZA
Editors Note: How ironic, if 85 year old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein will be held in an Israeli Detention Camp
By Ann Wright
What will it be and What Will YOU Do About it?
By the time you read this, we will be on the high seas of the Mediterranean (we hope the seas will not be too high).
Our two U.S. flagged Free Gaza boats, will join two other passenger ships, a 600 passenger ship from Turkey sponsored by the Turkish humanitarian organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) and a 50 passenger ship from Athens sponsored by the European Campaign Against the Siege and the Greek/Swedish Ships to Gaza campaign, to sail to the shores of Gaza to break the Israeli naval blockade of the 1.5 million citizens in Gaza.
Four cargo ships from Ireland, Greece, Algeria and Turkey, will carry a total of 10,000 tons or 2 million pounds of construction materials for the housing of 50,000 made homeless during the 22 day Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1440 Palestinians and wounded 5,000.
Many of us would like to see our boat renamed “The Audacity of Hope” as that is what we want to see from the Obama administration– courage to challenge the Israeli government on the siege of Gaza. It would be a really brave, bold move as every U.S. presidential administration since the formation of the State of Israeli in 1948 has blindly given free-rein to Israel in whatever actions it wishes to undertake no matter if the actions are a violation of international law. The carte blanche given to Israel by the United States has been dangerous for Israel’s national security as well as for the national security of the United States.
Probable reaction of Israeli Navy Ships-Bow shots, ramming or boarding
In less than 48 hours, the Israeli Navy will probably fire U.S. made ammunition and rockets in international waters over the bows of two U.S. flagged boats and one Greek boat with U.S. citizens aboard as well as citizens from 13 other countries and over the bows of the Turkish 600 passenger ship.
Ironically, on one passenger ship will be Joe Meaders, a U.S. citizen who is a survivor of the Israeli air and naval attack on a United States Navy ship, the USS Liberty, in 1967 killed 34 U.S. sailors and wounded 173. The Israeli government has never acknowledged, much less apologized for, the deaths of these sailors, nor the destruction of the USS Liberty.
According to Israeli media (http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=176491), the Israeli military is preparing for our arrival off the shores of Gaza. The Israeli navy has been practicing its plan for preventing us from docking in Gaza, a plan that probably includes demanding by radio that the ships change course away from Gaza, firing weapons in front of the ships, ramming the ships and sending well-armed boarding parties onto the ships.
Israelis prepare a detention camp
As our 8 ship flotilla prepares to depart Greece and Turkey to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza, the Israeli military is preparing a detention camp for the flotilla’s 700 delegates from 20 countries who are passengers on four of the ships.
Those passengers include Hedy Epstein, an 85 year old holocaust survivor, Parliamentarians from Germany and Ireland, two former diplomats from the United States, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, authors, journalists, activists, businesspersons and clergy.
Additionally, the military has identified a warehouse in the Ashelod area, just over Gaza’s northern border that will be used to detain the 700 passengers on the 8 ships.
Taking a page from the New York City police who put over 1500 persons into a filthy, unclean warehouse on a pier in New York City during the 2004 Republican convention, the Israeli government no doubt will make the surroundings as difficult as possible for us.
The Israeli government has extensive experience in warehousing dissent, as over 10,000 Palestinians are in Israeli jails and prisons, including juveniles who are arrested regularly in nighttime raids in villages of the West Bank.
20 passengers on the May, 2009 Free Gaza boat trying to break the siege were imprisoned for 10 days before they were deported from Israel. They included Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Wish us luck as we challenge the Israeli, Egyptian, European Union and United State’s unlawful siege and collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza!
What will you do to help break the siege of Gaza?
Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. Wright made three trips to Gaza in 2009 and helped organize the Gaza Freedom March that in December, 2009 brought 1350 persons from 44 countries to Cairo, Egypt in an attempt to break the siege of Gaza. She is the co-author of the book “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.” (www.voicesofconscience.com)
Source: Gaza Freedom March
Fate of Gaza flotilla remains vague
By Jerusalem Post |
May 26, 2010
While the navy is preparing to stop nine international aid ships that will try to reach the Gaza Strip later this week, the military is still waiting to receive a final order of what to do from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
In the past, Israel has threatened, like it is now, to stop activists’ vessels from reaching the Gaza Port but then allowed them through the IDF blockade. Netanyahu has made no comment on the matter, remaining purposely vague to keep the organizers guessing as to Israel’s true intentions.
Though vague on whether the ships will be allowed to arrive, government spokesmen are unequivocal in stating that what interests the organizers are not human rights in Gaza, but rather bashing Israel.
The vessels, carrying 10,000 tons of cargo and some 550 pro-Palestinian activists, will probably reach the coastal waters of Gaza by Friday or Saturday, Dror Feiler, one of the organizers, said by satellite phone from aboard the Swedish-Greek ship Sofia.
The ships set sail from Ireland, Sweden, Turkey and Greece, Feiler said. Some are carrying television crews that plan to broadcast live any confrontation between the IDF and the activists.
“This is not going to look good on television,” said the 58-year-old Feiler, who was born in Tel Aviv and has lived in Stockholm since 1973. He served in the IDF Paratroopers Brigade and refused to serve in the territories in 1970 as one of the first “refuseniks.”
“We’re on a peaceful mission to help end the misery of the people in Gaza and it’s going to be very ugly if Israeli soldiers try to take over our ships,” he said.
In January 2004, Feiler‘s artwork “Snow White and The Madness of Truth” was vandalized by then-Israeli ambassador to Sweden Zvi Mazel. Mazel said it was anti-Semitic.
Feiler is now the chairman of the Swedish organization Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and the European organization European Jews for a Just Peace.
The navy is preparing an operational plan to stop the ships.
In addition, the IDF has established a task force together with the Israel Police, the Foreign Ministry and the Prisons Service to coordinate efforts to stop the flotilla and manage the media fallout.
The ministry and Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories have in recent days launched a media campaign to stress that the supplies the ships are carrying are unnecessary and that Israel – together with various international organizations – already transfers these supplies to Gaza via land crossings.
The police and the Prisons Service will be on standby to deal with the arrest of the activists, if that becomes necessary.
One official pointed out that the flotilla, billed as an effort to bring humanitarian supplies into Gaza, comes after the Financial Times, in a story it ran on Monday, wrote that the 200 to 300 smuggling tunnels from Egypt into Gaza “have become so efficient that shops all over Gaza are bursting with goods.”
According to the FT report, “Branded products such as Coca-Cola, Nescafé, Snickers and Heinz ketchup – long absent as a result of the Israeli blockade – are both cheap and widely available. However, the tunnel operators have also flooded Gaza with Korean refrigerators, German food mixers and Chinese air conditioning units. Tunnel operators and traders alike complain of a saturated market – and falling prices.”
Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev said, “These people call themselves human rights activist, but they are the opposite. They have nothing whatsoever to say about the human rights of Israeli civilians who have been on the receiving end of Hamas rockets for years. They have nothing whatsoever to say about the human rights of Palestinians who live in Gaza under the jackboots of the Hamas regime that oppresses women, Christians, and gays – a regime that has brutally suppressed all political opposition, destroyed independent media, closed down Internet cafes, and has even made it illegal for a male hairdresser to cut the hair of a woman.”
Regev pointed out that in the past the leaders of this movement have come to Gaza and “eagerly had their photographs taken with Hamas leaders. Some human rights activists,” he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that the land crossings were more than capable of meeting Gaza’s needs.
According to Palmor, 15,000 tons of supplies enter Gaza each week, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other staples. In addition, he said, building materials are allowed in when monitored by international organizations that ensure that the materials will not be commandeered by Hamas for the fortification of bunkers.
Palmor said the organizers of the flotilla are aware that land crossings remain the most efficient way of transferring goods. But, he said, “they are less interested in bringing in aid than in promoting their radical agenda, playing into the hands of Hamas provocations. While they have wrapped themselves in a humanitarian cloak, they are engaging in political propaganda and not in pro-Palestinian aid.”
Humanitarian Flotilla Vs Evil Navy
By Gilad Atzmon
Haaretz reports today that Israel will attempt to block the humanitarian Freedom Flotilla heading toward Gaza. However, according to the Israeli paper, the humanitarian cargo would then be unloaded, inspected and sent to Gaza overland via the United Nations.
Typical for Israel, it tries to win a lost battle. On the one hand, by stopping the flotilla Israel attempts to maintain its regional status as an omnipotent super power that controls the land, the air and the sea. On the other hand, the Jewish state pathetically also wants to evoke sympathy for being ‘sensitive’ to humanitarian issues and the Palestinian plight.
The Israeli government fails to gather that the tide has changed. We see through them. We all know what the Jewish state stands for. We all know about the devastation in Gaza, we know about the siege, the destruction and the crimes against humanity. We all watch the Israeli separation wall cutting through Palestinian family’s houses and olive orchards. We also follow the racist ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem. The Israelis better save us from their spins and manipulations.
In case the Israelis still fail to see it, they are dealing this time with an international flotilla that is sailing under Turkish and Greek flags, a fleet that carries 800 enthusiast activists from all over the world. The Israelis are dealing with peace lovers who are determined to break through the siege and deliver medical aid, cement, paper and food. On the deck we have 35 European parliamentarians who must have decided to say NO to Zionist fund raisers. This flotilla is a clear signal to Israel that the game is over. Israel is now all but officially isolated. All that is left for Israel is to come to terms with its true nature: a shameless racist, murderous and terrorist state.
Militarily and politically Israel locked itself into a limbo. For the Israelis it is a “no win situation. The Israelis may have the military means to stop the flotilla from accomplishing its humanitarian mission. The Israeli Navy can easily block the flotilla’s way, it can also impose an electronic blackout around the ships, such an act may lead to the loss of communication with the humanitarian mission. Israel would then have to act militarily.
Yet, taking control over 8 ships and 800 activists armed with relentless will and backed by many cameras is not going to serve the Israeli interest. If Israel dare use force, this will backfire. We also have to bear in mind that this time the Turkish Government is closely monitoring the situation and openly supporting the mission. Israeli aggression at sea could lead to an evolving incident with some unpredictable consequences. Israel better give up on any attempt to stop the flotilla.
On a further note, the Israeli Government and the Israeli people better start to come to terms with the fact that the game is soon to be over. The Zionist project and the Israeli state is in a state of moral bankruptcy. From that perspective the flotilla is not just a humanitarian mission, it is actually a reminder for all of us of the true meaning of humanism.
Source: Gilad Atzmon
Turkey Warns Israel against stopping the Freedom Flotilla
Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Chair, talkes about the Freedom Flotilla, already on its way to Gaza.
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