Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

IOA editors: Israel Exposed

3 June 2010

Israeli reactions to the IDF attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
By IOA editors – 3 June 2010

IOA - Israeli Occupation Archive - again, following the last Israeli massacre of civilians in Gaza in 2008-2009, Israel has exposed its true face for the world to see: a brutal military regime of occupation and repression, driven by state power and fortified by a popular war mood. Since 1948, the Palestinians have suffered the brunt of Israel’s dispossessing violence. And now the citizens of the world are suffering as well, from Britain to Turkey and to Kuwait; from members of parliament to ordinary citizens, men and women of all ages, national origins and religious backgrounds. The conscience of the world continues to stir for Gaza, and Israel has hysterically and brutally crushed it: an evil deed for a good deed.

It is time for the world to tell Israel that its state terror shall not pass anymore.

As we focus on events following the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of vessels carrying humanitarian aid in international waters – which most nations, international law scholars, and diplomats regard as fundamentally wrong and illegal –  we also note with great interest Israel’s own reactions to the global protest that followed the attack.

It started with an irrational official pronouncements by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister (31 May 2010), including the following gems:

“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.”

In a matter of days, this nonsense was revealed for what it really was all along: nothing but hot air.  The usual Israeli Hasbarah, trying to invent reality in order to re-shine Israel’s tarnished image.

When placed under journalistic scrutiny, the IDF is being forced to admit that its claims about the flotilla’s links to international terror are based on innuendo, not facts.

That opening act was quickly followed by:

1. A global propaganda campaign with the usual suspects participating in disseminating disinformation, for example, this document that was issued by the World Zionist Organization.

2. Widespread demonstrations in Israel, expressing unequivocal support of the IDF, including on university campuses  (see: Israeli university students march in support of IDF), such as this one at Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva:

3. A legal challenge to the Israeli government’s decision to release all international activists without bringing them to trial – an attempt by Israelis to further punish the Flotilla activists, presumably for attacking the IDF.

4. An American activist was shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister as she non-violently demonstrated against the Flotilla massacre near Jerusalem.  She lost an eye and sustained serious facial injuries requiring two surgeries (so far).  This is only the latest case in a series of serious injuries or death sustained by international activists protesting the Israeli occupation.

5. The continued arrest of four Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel who participated in the Flotilla, including Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah.  They have since been released from jail but placed under house arrest, and and barred from leaving the country.  This comes in the wake of the arrest of, and very serious “national security” charges against, Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said, two Palestinian Israeli civil society leaders.  Clearly, it is part of a larger effort on Israel’s part to crush domestic resistance to the Occupation coming from its Palestinian Arab citizenry.

6. Vicious attacks on Palestinian-Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, one of the Flotilla activists.  These included call naming such as “traitor,” “terrorist,” “Trojan Horse,” and “Go to Gaza” [for good], as well as a call to have her parliamentary immunity removed – so that she, too, can be jailed like the other Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel who participated in the Flotilla.  Yesterday’s verbally-violent Knesset session very nearly resulted in physical violence against Haneen Zoabi and other Arab MKs.

7. Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai petitioned Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to help him revoke the Israeli citizenship of Haneen Zoabi, while he’s renewing his effort to remove her parliamentary immunity. (The attorney general’s involvement is required by law for a citizenship-removal process to take place.)

8. A new Facebook page, in Hebrew, created by Israeli Facebook users, with the support of over 500 Facebook members (at the time of this writing), calls for the execution of Haneed Zoabi.  (Complaints against it for violation of Facebook rules have been filed already.)

While these were going on, smaller demonstrations in protest of the IDF action also took place in large, mostly Jewish, Israeli cities.  One such demonstration took place in Tel Aviv, in front of Israel’s Defense Ministry.  Separately, a general strike was called by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, which resulted in a wave of demonstrations throughout Israel’s Palestinian Arab community.

Why did Israel act in the manner it did?

Was it an ill-informed,  badly executed, or otherwise mistaken act?  Or was it a more-or-less calculated, and executed as planned attack?  The following two analyses provide both background and insights:

1. Jonathan Cook: Israel’s ‘mad dog’ diplomacy doesn’t make it more secure

2.  Middle East Report Online: Outlaws of the Mediterranean

The IOA will continue to cover this subject as events continue to unfold in the coming days.

The complete IOA coverage of the Gaza Flotilla

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