Tariq Ali speaking outside Downing Street after the attack on the aid flotilla to Gaza
Norman Finkelstein on Gaza Flotilla Attack (TV)
Israel’s regional allies froze military ties as angry protests erupted over the storming Monday of aid ships bound for Gaza, while Muslim leaders demanded swift U.N. action to punish the “criminal” assault. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “shocked” by the navy assault on a convoy carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, lawmakers and journalists through international waters toward besieged Gaza.
The Palestinian Human Rights Council condemns the unlawful assault by the Israeli navy on a flotilla of international ships bringing aid to Gaza early this morning. The assault is unprecedented and illegal under international law.
Demonstrations are being organized in Washington DC, New York, and Boston. Please join in where you can or organize your own. It is time to end the blockade of Gaza and the Israeli occupation of Palestine by ending US support for Israeli slaughter.
ALL EVENTS TODAY – 31 May 2010
New York – 3pm, Times Square
Washington, DC – 3pm, Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Drive NW (Van Ness metro) – Moving on to the White House at 5pm
Boston – 4pm, Park Street Station
Seattle (JVP): 1:00 pm – 5th Avenue and Broad St, Seattle Center, near the Experience Music Project
Miami (JVP): 5pm-7pm – Torch of Friendship (Downtown)
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the crime perpetrated by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) earlier this morning, 31 May 2010, when Israeli Naval Forces attacked the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” in international waters as it was sailing towards the Gaza Strip. IOF used excessive and lethal force in its attack on the ships, which left dozens of international civilian solidarity activists who were on board dead or injured.
The Alternative Information Center (AIC) places complete responsibility with the Israeli government and we request that the international, legal, political and humanitarian bodies move immediately to condemn this crime and to hold Israel accountable for its harsh actions. We also request the immediate lifting of the siege on Gaza so supplies can enter without any conditions.
The Israeli navy this morning massacred at least 10 peaceful, unarmed citizens from many different countries sailing to Gaza with humanitarian aid. The massacre took place in international waters, 65 km off the coast of Gaza. Over 700 other participants have been abducted to Israel by the Israeli military.
READ MORE FOR DETAILS ABOUT DEMONSTRATIONS AND POLITICAL ACTIONS IN SCOTTLAND
“Only a crazy government that has lost all restraint and all connection to
reality could something like that – consider ships carrying humanitarian aid
and peace activists from around the world as an enemy and send massive
military force to international waters to attack them, shoot and kill.”
“It should be known that we will not stay silent and unresponsive in the face of this inhuman state terror,” Erdoğan said in live televised remarks ahead of his departure from Chile to Turkey, cutting short a Latin American tour.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon:
“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. The organizers are well known for their ties with global Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror. On board the ship we found weapons – prepared in advance and used against our forces. The organizers’ intent was violent, their method was violent, and the results were unfortunately violent.”
IOA Editor: Those of us who follow the actions and behavior of Israeli Occupation Forces already know that blaming the victims is an old Israeli trick. However, as the statements by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon demonstrate, Israel is surpassing its own record of irrationality and criminal irresponsibility, and its propaganda machine has now reached well beyond its previous limits of the imagination.
The Elders group of past and present world leaders, including former South African president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on Monday condemned as “completely inexcusable” the deadly Israeli attack on a flotilla carrying aid for Gaza.
Adam Shapiro: It is utterly absurd to think that we could face down a military with the strength and the kind of technology and weapons that Israel possesses. To even think for a second that we could use violence in any way that would be to our advantage, it’s utterly absurd. Israel has always tried to portray its victims, whether they be internationals like Rachel Corrie or Tom Hurndall or Palestinians, as — to present the victims as the perpetrators. And I think we’re seeing the response of the world today.
IOA Editor: Indeed. See our earlier comments on Israeli propaganda, past and present
The number of Palestinians under questioning by the Shin Bet security service who are not permitted to meet with an attorney is a state secret, the State Prosecutor’s Office told the High Court of Justice last week.
LVMH-owned Sephora has been taken to court by the Palestinian rights organisation CAPJPO-EuroPalestine over the sale of cosmetics brand Ahava, according to press reports. Separately, the US women’s peace organisation, CodePink, organised a boycott of the products.
The submarines of Flotilla 7… have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels. The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.” Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile.
“It is disgusting that the Foreign Office is exaggerating the impact on the peace process to get a few people who are suspects of very serious international crimes off the hook,” said Daniel Machover, partner at the law firm Hickman & Rose.
And facing them on the seas has been the Israeli ship of fools, floating but not knowing where or why. Why detain people? That’s how it is. Why a siege? That’s how it is. It’s like the Noam Chomsky affair all over again, but big time this time. Of course the peace flotilla will not bring peace, and it won’t even manage to reach the Gaza shore. The action plan has included dragging the ships to Ashdod port, but it has again dragged us to the shores of stupidity and wrongdoing.
The word “Arab” is not mentioned in the legislation, but the bill is directed against the Arabs. Will anyone consider stripping Anat Kamm of her citizenship if she is convicted of espionage? … The problem is a viewpoint that considers a community, by its mere existence, ethnic origin, language and links with what are described as enemy states as the target for this legislation. Without Arabs there would be no need for such obscene bills, because only Jews can be loyal to the state.
A United Nations humanitarian relief agency is accusing Israel of deliberately disrupting the international community’s aid efforts for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. According to a special report released by the UN’s OCHA, Israel is not permitting construction of buildings for needy Palestinians and is encumbering on the freedom of movement of aid groups and their staffs.
How can we rely on those Palestinians? For 43 years, they have been building the settlers’ homes with the sweat of their brows, paving roads for them and building their fences, and then suddenly, out of the blue, a boycott? Is that the way for partners to behave? Is that how they pay us back after we educated them for so many years to be our hewers of wood and drawers of water?
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Washington in a much-feted effort to restore damaged ties with the United States, new tensions in East Jerusalem threaten to rekindle a diplomatic row over Jewish building beyond the Green Line in the city. On Saturday lawyers served eviction notices to two Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, a focus of clashes between Arab residents and settlers.
[Mubarak] has developed a partnership with Israel on trade and ‘security’ that is far more extensive than Sadat could have imagined. Their intelligence services work closely together, and Mubarak has supplied weapons and training to the Palestinian Authority in its war against Hamas. The government is also doing what it can to maintain the siege in Gaza.
Mr Makhoul’s arrest had angered many in Israel’s Palestinian minority, nearly a fifth of the population, who suspect he is being persecuted for his leading role in promoting internationally the boycott movement against Israel and his prominent opposition to Israel’s attack on Gaza nearly 18 months ago.
Adalah: “Trumped-up accusations made in indictments have become alarmingly common practice in security cases in Israel. They aim to justify the complete isolation and use of illegal methods of interrogation against detainees, and the imposition of gag orders on their cases.”
In indictment against Ameer Makhoul, state prosecutors claim prominent political campaigner was recruited in Denmark to spy for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah… Makhoul has denied all charges against him.
In annual report, international human rights group says Israeli blockade ‘hit hardest on the most vulnerable – children, the elderly, the homeless and the sick’; claims Israel ‘forcibly evicts Palestinians, demolishes their homes and expropriates their land.’
Today is the 21st day since the arrest of Ameer Makhoul at his home in Haifa, Israel, under the cover of darkness, by officers of the International Crimes Investigation Unit and General Security Service (GSS or Shabak). The arrest was conducted in a brutal and terrifying manner.
Citing the US and Israeli refusal of the Arab Peace Initiative since 1976 until this day, Chomsky countered the mainstream argument that it is Palestinian rejectionism that is blocking a settlement. “These facts are not part of general discourse because they lead to the wrong conclusion. The most crucial facts are invisible if they do not conform to the interests of power,” he said. “If the US changes its policy, Israel has no option but to go along – the parameters agreed upon at Taba would be a start.”
Of all the world’s statesmen, the one closest to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They have met four times since Netanyahu returned to power, and unlike U.S. President Barack Obama, Mubarak has no qualms about shaking Netanyahu’s hand in public. “Ties are much closer than they seem,” said a highly placed Israeli source.
IOA Editor: A credible analysis, from an Israeli-standpoint, of the very close relationship between the Mubarak government and Israel.
Israel faces unprecedented pressure to abandon its official policy of “ambiguity” on its possession of nuclear weapons as the international community meets at the UN in New York this week to consider banning such arsenals from the Middle East. Israel’s equivocal stance on its atomic status was shattered by reports that it offered to sell nuclear-armed Jericho missiles to S. Africa’s apartheid regime in 1975.
Makhoul’s brother, former MK Issam Makhoul… accused the Shin Bet of employing illegitimate means to “trump up” charges against his brother. The Shin Bet has denied allegations that it used torture to extract information from the suspects. “We will demand that an outside body headed by a judge investigate this matter,” Issam Makhoul said. “We will not hesitate to appeal to an international agency. There’s no doubt that we are about to see a trumped-up case manufactured by the Shin Bet, which operated in dark corners and backrooms to put this together. The results of their investigation should be viewed with doubt.”
The bill, which was proposed a few weeks ago, struck resonance with a ministerial committee that on Sunday approved the bill, following the arrest this month of Israeli Arab Ameer Makhoul on suspicion of spying for Hezbollah.
Although photojournalist Imad Bornat from Bil’in was acquitted over a year ago on charges of assaulting an officer, police still regard his case as “open” and continue to bar him from entering Israel.
Defense Minister Peres, 1974: “This cooperation [Israel - South-Africa] is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and refusal to submit to it.”
President Peres on judge Richard Goldstone: “A small man, devoid of any sense of justice.”
“I guess most Israelis would view me as a traitor… They would ask what right does someone who wasn’t born in Israel and who didn’t serve in the army have to criticize the state? But I came here out of great love, and I don’t intend to keep quiet just because I came from afar. I believe that there is no choice, that Israelis and Palestinians will live together. When I try to build connections between the two sides, I’m working for Israel’s good. The Bil’in people are very special… But they are not a rare species. There are many Palestinians like them.”