Hello everysoul! There has been so much noteworthy material coming to my attention today that I could simply not overlook it all nor wait any longer to share this with you. Normally other developments on this crisis will have to wait for my next compilation in a couple weeks.
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"Hi Jean, Thank you; Geneva Switzerland : Peace Vigil every evening in front of the United Nations
demonstrating and condemning the piracy, the terrorist assault of the the Israeli Government and the cold blooded murder of peace activists; Israeli Government must be brought before a Tribunal for breaking International laws and the Geneva Conventions. The siege on Gaza must stop now."
- Adriana Auderset (email@example.com)
"It is a sad day for human rights and humanity at large that Canada has a head of state who is also head apologist for every atrocity committed by the Israeli terrorist state - the latest being the attack upon and killing of civilians attempting to bring aid to the long-suffering people of Gaza. Harper's statement that the security of Israel equates to the security of Canada is such a stretch that only the wholly ignorant can possibly find some parallel in the fraud. What it all boils down to is that the disgusting Harper, by aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity, is himself a participant in the same gory record, becoming an equal partner in the destruction, decimation and genocidal Israeli actions against a defenseless people. Can someone with international legal experience please bring the charge before the International Criminal Court that will bring the repellant Harper to task for his satrap crimes and bring a measure of justice to the world."
Obama's Timidity and Deaths at Sea By Ray McGovern (June 1, 2010) http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/060110a.html
A chief lesson to learn from President Barack Obamas recent unwillingness to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Lobby is that such timidity can get people killed. Casualty figures are still arriving in the wake of Israels Sunday night-Monday morning commando attack on an unarmed flotilla trying to bring relief supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians crowded into Gaza. Already, at least nine civilian passengers aboard the ships are reported killed, and dozens wounded. Yet, seldom has an act of aggression been so well advertised in advance. Israel had made clear that it would use force to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza and heard no stern protest from President Obama, who apparently could not overcome his fear of Israels legendary political clout. Earlier this year, Obama did criticize Israels continued settlement of Palestinian areas and Netanyahus resistance to hold meaningful peace talks, but the President has failed to back up his words with firm action or resolve. For that reason, Netanyahu was left convinced that Israel could do what it wished, including dropping commandos by helicopters onto crowded ships and after an apparent clash with civilians on one of the ships, ordering the use of lethal force. CLIP
All At Sea By Yvonne Ridley (June 01, 2010) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25592.htm
I wonder how many of you remember the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship the Achille Lauro way back in October 1985? Four members of the Palestine Liberation Front took control of the liner off Egypt as she was sailing from Alexandria to Port Said. It was a bungled operation in which the hijackers killed disabled Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer and then threw his body overboard. The incident created headlines around the world and polarized people over the Palestinian cause. It also prompted the law makers to create new legislation making it an international crime for anyone to take a ship by force. And this is the reason for the brief history lesson - under article 3 of the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation of 1988, it is an international crime for any person to seize or exercise control over a ship by force, and also a crime to injure or kill any person in the process. The treaty necessarily adopts a strict approach. One cannot attack a ship and then claim self-defence if the people on board resist the unlawful use of violence. In other words, according to international law, the actions of the Israeli military were beyond the law and those involved should be treated no differently than, say, the Somali pirates who are also in the habit of boarding ships by force. Any rights to self defence in such dramatic circumstances rests purely with the passengers and crew on board. Under international maritime law you are legally entitled to resist unlawful capture, abduction and detention.What those on board the Freedom Flotilla did was perfectly legal. I believe they acted with great courage in the face of heavily armed IDF commandos, while others might have thought their actions reckless. Whatever your view, a number paid the ultimate price for their international right to resist.Israel now stands virtually alone having exposed itself as a pariah state. CLIP
Operation Mini Cast Lead By Gideon Levy (1.06.10) http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/operation-mini-cast-lead-1.293417
Like in "Mini-Israel," the park where there is everything, but smaller, Israel embarked yesterday on a mini Operation Cast Lead. Like its larger, losing predecessor, this operation had it all: the usual false claim that is was they who had started it - and not the landing of commandos from helicopters on a ship in open sea, away from Israeli territorial waters. There was the claim that the first act of violence came not from the soldiers, but the rioting activists on Mavi Marmara; that the blockade on Gaza is legal and that the flotilla to its shores is against the law - God knows which law. Again came the claim of self defense, that "they lynched us" and that all the dead are on their side. Once more the use of violence and excessive and lethal force was in play and once more civilians wound up dead. This action also featured the pathetic focus on "public relations," as if there is something to explain, and again the sick question was asked: Why didn't the soldiers use more force.Again Israel will pay a heavy diplomatic price, once which had not been considered ahead of time. Again, the Israeli propaganda machine has managed to convince only brainwashed Israelis, and once more no one asked the question: What was it for? Why were our soldiers thrown into this trap of pipes and ball bearings? What did we get out of it?If Cast Lead was a turning point in the attitude of the world toward us, this operation is the second horror film of the apparently ongoing series. Israel proved yesterday that it learned nothing from the first movie.Yesterday's fiasco could and should have been prevented. This flotilla should have been allowed to pass and the blockade should be brought to an end.This should have happened a long time ago. In four years Hamas has not weakened and Gilad Shalit was not released. There was not even a sign of a gain.And what have we instead? A country that is quickly becoming completely isolated. CLIP
'Israel used to violence and gets away with it' - blogger on Gaza Flotilla raid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtXgouPoxDg
Israel says it will continue searching vessels approaching Gaza. That's despite international criticism of its attack on a flotilla of aid ships heading to the region. Christopher King, a blogger on international affairs in London, says the Gaza crisis can only make the situation in the Middle East worse.
Israel to free Gaza flotilla detainees: sources (June 1, 2010) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6505UB20100601
(Reuters) - Israel decided on Tuesday to free hundreds of foreign activists detained aboard a Turkish-backed aid flotilla to Gaza, including some it had threatened to put on trial, two political sources said. The sources said cabinet ministers decided amid rising world protests against Israel's raid of the flotilla on Monday in which nine people died, that some 680 activists seized on the boats would be released.
The Lone Ship of the Freedom Flotilla: The Rachel Corrie MV Continues to Sail Towards Gaza in Defiance of Israeli Threats http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19481
Following Israel's criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats. In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie: RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza. The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean. In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza. We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie. We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza. Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie. Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie - by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang) In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis: "Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale." What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet. (Haaretz.com headlines RSS) The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure? What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids? What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27? Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel's military and intelligence establishment? Did the Obama administration give the Green Light? It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel's criminal embargo. In this endeavor we shall prevail. Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV. It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised "to respond even more harshly":Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war, the officer said. That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.
Israeli Soldier Shoots American Art Student in Face (May 31, 2010 - with pictures at the URL above) http://www.salem-news.com/articles/may312010/israel-girl-shot.php
(JERUSALEM ISM) - An American solidarity activist was shot in the face with a tear gas canister during a demonstration in Qalandiya, today. Emily Henochowicz is currently in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem undergoing surgery to remove her left eye, following the demonstration that was held in protest to Israels murder of at least 10 civilians aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters this morning. 21-year old Emily Henochowicz 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. Israeli occupation forces fired volleys of tear gas at unarmed Palestinian and international protesters, causing mass panic amongst the demonstrators and those queuing at the largest checkpoint separating the West Bank and Israel. They clearly saw us, said Sören Johanssen, a Swedish ISM volunteer standing with Henochowicz. They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. 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. Henochowicz is an art student at the prestigious Cooper Union, located in East Village, Manhattan. Henochowicz lost her left eye after being shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister. Israeli soldiers are allowed to do this, even encouraged. The demonstration was one of many that took place across the West Bank today in outrage over the Israeli militarys attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla and blatant violation of international law. Demonstrations also took place in inside Israel, Gaza and Jerusalem, with clashes occurring in East Jerusalem and Palestinian shopkeepers in the occupied Old City closing their businesses for the day in protest. CLIP
Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight: The 9/11 "Official Story" and the Collapse of WTC Building Seven - By Prof David Ray Griffin (May 30, 2010) REMEMBERING A PAST ILLUMINATI CRIME http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19420
At 5:21 PM on 9/11, Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed, even though it had not been hit by a plane - a fact that is important because of the widespread acceptance of the idea, in spite of its scientific absurdity, that the Twin Towers collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airliners plus the ensuing jet-fuel-fed fires. The collapse of World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7) thereby challenges the official account of the destruction of the World Trade Center, according to which it was accomplished by al-Qaeda hijackers, even if one accepts the government's scientifically impossible account of the Twin Towers. This fact was recently emphasized in the title of a review article based on my 2009 book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7, by National Medal of Science-winner Lynn Margulis: "Two Hit, Three Down - The Biggest Lie." The collapse of WTC 7 created an extraordinary problem for the official account of 9/11 for several reasons. One reason is that, because of the collapse of WTC 7, the official account of 9/11 includes the dubious claim that, for the first time in the known universe, a steel-frame high-rise building was brought down by fire, and science looks askance at claims of unprecedented occurrences regarding physical phenomena. New York Times writer James Glanz, who himself has a Ph.D. in physics, wrote:"Experts said no building like it, a modern, steel-reinforced high-rise, had ever collapsed because of an uncontrolled fire." Glanz then quoted a structural engineer as saying: "Within the structural engineering community, [WTC 7] is considered to be much more important to understand [than the Twin Towers]," because engineers had no answer to the question, "why did 7 come down?" CLIP - NOTE from Jean: If such a blatant proof that 9/11 was an inside job can be ignored by the media and the governments for all these years, one is left to wonder what it will take to finally blow the cover off to expose the evildoers responsible for this and many other atrocities and bring their impunity to an end.
I felt that I would not get out alive from Flotilla of humanitarian ships. It was possible to stop the fleet, but not in this way with the use of military brutality, weapons and the horrific attack on over 600 participants in the campaign, who all were civilians, parliamentarians, peace activists said Hanan Al-Zoubi, the Arab-Israeli Knesset member from National Democratic Alliance who was on one of the ships during the Israeli maritime piracy operation against the International peace activists on their way to break the genocidal siege imposed on Gaza. The remarks of Al-Zoubi came during a press conference hold in Nazareth after her release from the Ashdod detention center where she spent the last night under interrogation by the Israeli intelligence.
Al-Zoubi confirmed that the fire on the passengers on the ship Marmara began before the Israeli navy commandos landed on the ship and before any contact between soldiers and the passengers of the ship. She added: two of the wounded bled to death as a result of not receiving medical assistance, despite my persistent calls for medical treatment.
She said that it was expected that the ship would be stopped, but it was not expected it would be with the giant numbers of military, the excessive brutality the massive weaponry used in this terrible attack on the 600 participants in the campaign. They were civilians, parliamentarians, peace activists had been dealt by Israel since the start of the fleet as terrorists in order to justify aggression against them.
Al- Zoubi stressed that the attack took place on the ship in international waters, at a distance of 130 miles from the coast, at around quarter past four early at dawn. She pointed out that the campaign organizers had asked the passengers to wear life jackets, but that the commandos landing started out very fast. In less than 10 minutes there were already 3 dead and dozens wounded. The goal of the operations was to create an atmosphere of terror and fear among us. A participant raised a white flag. There were sufficient indications that we do not want any confrontation. And after that we were almost certain that a confrontation would not happen I felt that we were in danger and that I would not get alive from the ship. There was no provocation and the Israeli narrative spoke about provocation, but the truth is that there were people afraid for the safety of passengers, and the organizers gave instructions to the passengers to go into basements and to enter the rooms for their own safety.
I did not see any passengers carrying a stick, or a sharp object. The Israeli attack gave the impression that something big would happen. The commandos started shooting between quarter and half past four before landing. There was a clear message that our lives are in big danger, and that the goal was not to stop the ship, but more than that. That was the feeling of everybody on the ship according to Al-Zoubi.
She added: After an hour and a half the deck was under control of the commandos, and all the passengers were taken to large rooms and tied, except the women and the elderly. After that they searched the body of the people using police dogs during the inspection, and after all the inspection they did not find any weapons, no piece of weapon were found.
Al-Zoubi pointed out that the Navy commandos moved the ship to the of port Ashdod. We arrived at six in the morning. She added: We knew that there were 5 bodies and dozens of wounded, among them 7 injured in critical condition. I asked several times to provide them with first aid of emergency, but the military did not cooperate with us. The consequence of not giving them of any kind of relief was that two wounded peace activists bled to death.
After her release from detention, MK Al-Zoubi called for an international investigation committee which should be led by United Nations because crime was committed in international waters and the victims are nationals of many countries. She pointed out that this crime must not remain covered by the Israeli narrative and liess, and that reporters should be allowed immediate access to the 600 detainees which include 60 journalists, in order to listen to their testimonies.
Israels killing of 19 innocents with 60 more injured must have maximal consequences
Israel impunity is a threat to all
Even for eyes burnt witnessing human suffering, there is something shocking, something impossible, about watching Israeli soldiers, armed and in gas masks, fast-roping from helicopters onto an aid ship filled with civilians journalists, parliamentarians, human rights activists, mothers, doctors headed to Gaza to break the inhuman siege that keeps 1.5 million people somewhere between life and death.
The Mavi Marmara, carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid, was flying a white flag: a universal symbol of non-violence. It was also flying the Turkish flag, in international waters, giving it status as a sovereign extension of Turkey. Regardless, Israel attacked. For what does Israel fight? Its existence, or the continuance of a regime of collective punishment calculated to destroy the Palestinians? Or are these the same thing? Dead: 19. Injured: 60. Who gave the order? Will NATO react to an attack on one of its members?
Simple public murder
The right to exist cannot be asserted through murder. The very acceptance of Israel into the United Nations System was in 1948 conditioned on the former recognising the equal rights of Arabs, in particular the right of return of Palestinians. Not only has Israel prevented the return of refugees, it took over by force and occupied in 1967 the rest of historic Palestine. From founding until now we have witnessed an unending catalogue of Israeli atrocities. By these countless atrocities, Israel has forfeited any claim to legality it is moreover a state that refuses to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or consider giving up its nuclear weapons.
Gaza is both the worlds largest open-air prison and the 21st centurys undeclared concentration camp. Everybody knows it. The UN knows it. The US president knows it. Tens of thousands of civil servants in countries across the world know it. The siege is a way of sealing the exits, and of slow killing. It is an atrocity on the same level as genocide. Here every man and woman has a moral duty: inaction is complicity and a betrayal of humanity. All legal rights are with those who attempt to end this situation by whatever means.
The Freedom Flotilla is such an attempt: it is a refusal of inhuman suffering. Its symbolism is more powerful than any navy. As such, it remains what it was as it embarked on its journey: a signal of the collapse of the blockade. Where earlier lone vessels tried to reach Gaza, now they go in groups. More will follow. When a thousand ships set sail, what would Israel do?
Israel on trial
Israel lost the battle for international public opinion a long time ago. None can forget the relentless strafing of a captive civilian population in Israels last war on Gaza. Who can Israel hope to persuade now?
- We condemn the illegal, immoral and inhuman blockade on Gaza, and all who uphold it
- We condemn Israel
- We condemn Israels brutal attack on peace activists in international waters. We declare that 700 brave souls, from 50 nations, represent something real that Israeli propaganda cannot erase
- We mourn the 19 murdered and express hope and solidarity with the 60 injured. We demand of Israel the release of all activists detained
- We call on all international institutions including the UN, the EU and human rights agencies and organisations to declare themselves unequivocally on this latest Israeli atrocity and to work towards ending Israeli impunity
- We demand an international tribunal to judge all Israeli crimes, past and present. We call on the UN General Assembly to request of the International Court of Justice an advisory opinion on the legality of Israel within the United Nations System given its systematic and gross disrespect of international law and moral authority
- We support all efforts by all means to free the people of Gaza from their prison and their suffering, including sanctions and divestment against Israel, a general boycott, and the boycott by workers federations of all ships going to and from Israel
- We call upon people everywhere to express their solidarity with the dead and injured, and with Palestinians under occupation, in local expressions of outrage wherever it is deemed useful.
We call on all associations, unions, parliaments, professionals and others to endorse this appeal and its demands. Please distribute and act upon it. For information contact: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com or click here
Raid on the Gaza Flotilla Israel's Attack on Us All
By Jonathan Cook - May 31, 2010
Nazareth.- 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.
How many civilians were killed in Israel's dawn attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla of aid? We still don't know. How many wounded? Your guess is as good as mine. Were the aid activists armed with guns? Yes, says Israel. Were they in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Hamas? Certainly, says Israel. Did the soldiers act reasonably? Of course, they faced a lynch, says Israel.
If we needed any evidence of the degree to which Western TV journalists are simply stenographers to power, the BBC, CNN and others are amply proving it. Mark Regev, Israel's propagandist-in-chief, has the airwaves largely to himself.
The passengers on the ships, meanwhile, have been kidnapped by Israel and are unable to provide an alternative version of events. We can guess they will remain in enforced silence until Israel is sure it has set the news agenda.
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 and a Holocaust survivor.
* 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.
Will our leaders finally be moved to act?
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net
Date: 31 May 2010
From: Jewish Voice for Peace (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Emergency protests today
Jewish Voice for Peace condemns Israel's attack and killing of members of the Freedom Flotilla aiming to bring much needed aid to the besieged Gaza Strip.
Before the flotilla was attacked, Yigal Palmor, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, said,
Israel has more than egg on its face. Israel has blood on its hands. At least 10 passengers have been killed by Israel and about 30 wounded in international waters. This is just another deadly escalation of Israel's harsh repression of nonviolent protests against the occupation, paid with American tax-dollars.
The White House has stated that it "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."
This is not enough.
President Obama should call for an immediate lifting of the siege of Gaza. He should support an international and impartial investigation into the tragic killing of civilians in a humanitarian mission. And he should suspend military aid to Israel until he can assure the American public that our aid is not used to commit similar abuses.
Gaza Freedom Flotilla Shows Awesome Power of Nonviolent Resistance (May 29, 2010) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/gaza-freedom-flotilla-sho_b_594407.html
Sometimes the Israeli occupation authorities and their allies try to project a "mad dog" image to their opponents: don't bother trying to resist our power, because we are ready to crush you by any means necessary, and no-one who matters to us will care what means we use. But as the Israeli government reaction to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla shows, it ain't necessarily so. Al Jazeera reports:Some Israeli officials see the situation as potentially disastrous in terms of public relations."We can't win on this one in terms of PR," Yigal Palmor, a foreign ministry spokesman, said. "If we let them throw egg at us, we appear stupid with egg on our face. If we try to prevent them by force, we appear as brutes." You can read every word ever penned or spoken by Gandhi, King, or Thoreau, and you will never find such an eloquent expression of the power of nonviolence as the statement of the spokesman of the Israeli foreign ministry. In the face of an effective act of nonviolent resistance, the oppressor faces two unappetizing choices: concede ground, thereby undermining the image of absolute power the oppressor wants to project, and therefore encouraging further resistance; or resist with force, thereby projecting the image of "brutes," and therefore encouraging further resistance. You can see why the Israeli government spokesman would be irritated. Another great power of an effective mass nonviolent resistance action is when it gives "bystanders" a choice of taking sides - whether they want the opportunity provided by that choice or not. CLIP
Malta Peace Council Condemns Israeli Raid On Humanitarian Mission
The Malta Peace Council strongly condemns, with alarm and apprehension, the killings which took place as Israeli troops, in defiance of international law, boarded, assaulted, killed and wounded many civilians in its attempt to break and shut out the humanitarian aid mission to the people of Gaza.
VENGEFUL AND LETHAL ARROGANCE
The Malta Peace Council strongly condemns, with alarm and apprehension, the killings which took place as Israeli troops, in defiance of international law, boarded, assaulted, killed and wounded many civilians in its attempt to break and shut out the humanitarian aid mission to the people of Gaza.
The fact that this raid took place in international waters, as confirmed by senior United Nations officials, causes further alert and trepidation amongst all decent and peace-loving humans. This is a violation of international law and nothing less than a massacre.
No imaginable violence against the mighty Israeli forces by the civilian activists can be conceived. No retaliatory excuse can ever justify the action taken by the Israeli naval forces for firing at the ships, killing innocent civilians, boarding their ships and taking them over into Israeli waters and ports.
Further illegality involved the comprehensive Israeli media operation including the communications blockage and cut-off and the confiscation of all communication equipment, the quarantining of reporters and the defiant refusal of any legal assistance to the activists taken prisoners. However, such measures cannot hide the severity of the crime! None can trust the Israeli propaganda machine to know what happened.
The Malta Peace Council stresses the importance of urgently lifting the blockade of Gaza. We support the E.U. position declaring that the continued policy of closure is unacceptable, and calling for the unconditional opening of the crossing for the flow of humanitarian aid.
Have we become too cowardly to save lives?
How longer are we going to submit to Israels law of rule and its gunboat diplomacy?
Israel is the foremost threat to world peace! We join the worldwide condemnation of Israel!
Malta Peace Council
June 1, 2010
Recommended by Adriana Auderset (email@example.com)
I personally know over 80 of those kidnapped on the freedom flotilla. It angers us not having any information from all survivors. The only footage received after the vicious attack is brief and released by the Israeli authorities who have otherwise put a complete news blackout. If Israel has nothing to hide, why not allow the kidnapped to talk to the media or at least to lawyers and to their country representatives? In one video, we see three or four recognizable friends escorted by the Israeli pirates; my mind imagines justice prevailing and those Israeli criminals being led in handcuffs to International criminal courts. Our anger increased when Israeli forces attacked unarmed demonstrators near Qalandia yesterday injuring a friend. 22-year-old Emily Henochowicz lost her left eye after being hit with an Israeli gas canister. We met Emily in several events here in Palestine (see story and photos at http://palsolidarity.org/2010/05/12604). She is a visual artist who was documenting popular resistance (her art blog is here http://thirstypixels.blogspot.com/, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/people/Emily-Henochowicz/1223820147). A visual artist losing an eye is beyond words.
Each one of the hundreds abducted is a hero for joining the flotilla. Patriarch Hilarion Capuchhi who was jailed in Israel for many years and lived in Italy was one of the abductees. Sheikh Raed Salah, a Palestinian from the areas occupied in 1948 who is head of a branch of the Islamic movement. Hedy Epstein, a 86 year old Jewish women who lost her family in Nazi concentration camps and subsequently came to Palestine and was shocked to see people claiming to represent Jews mimic some Nazi crimes (and for this the Israelis strip-searched and humiliated this elderly woman). There was Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire. There is Joe Meadors, a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty (on a US ship in International waters that killed many good Americans in June 1967 but that political considerations buried this Israeli crime - see survivor webpage http://www.usslibertyveterans.org/ ). For Israel to repeat its atrocity against US citizens as the US commemorates Memorial Day is unconscionable (see also http://www.freepalestinemovement.org ). For the Obama administration to continue to shield Israel from International law makes us angry.
Those of us angry enough to get out and demonstrate here in the West Bank have a problem. In Bethlehem, over 50 members of the "Palestinian Preventive Security (as they are called) and police blocked our path to get to the apartheid wall area. We are told we can demonstrate as long as we do not bother those we are demonstrating against! Over the past few years, Palestinian authority heavily armed forces blocking roads had an amazing psychological impact on Palestinians and Internationals. No popular resistance can survive this. Popular resistance by definition involves increasing the cost to the occupiers and acts of civil resistance including disruptions. Popular resistance is not to be reduced to standing at the sidewalk carrying a flag or a sign. They involve daring and risky actions like the ones taken by the thousands of us who mobilized for the freedom flotilla.
Elite 'leaders' in Ramallah and in other Arab cities gave the rhetoric that they support the popular resistance as exemplified by the freedom flotilla. But words are cheap and words spoken in public are not the same as behind closed doors and in corridors of power. Even the rhetoric is not consistent. A key Palestinian leader once stated that such humanitarian boats to Gaza are stunts with no real impact. The Palestinian leadership that promised us no negotiations until there is a settlement freeze has engaged in negotiations while we see continued settlement activities all around us both in East Jerusalem and in other Parts of the West Bank. Instead of closing Israeli embassies in Arab countries, they were heavily protected by Arab security forces from demonstrators. Thus, it is not totally surprising that there was a larger demonstration yesterday in Sweden (7,000 people) than in Ramallah or Amman. But will this attack on the freedom flotilla be the straw that breaks the camel's back? Will it mobilize actions or deter future actions?
In looking at the geopolitical picture today, one can see trends that give us despair and those that give us hope. The political leadership in the fragmented Arab countries and Palestinian authority have convinced themselves that they have no option but to endlessly try to talk to politicians from Tel Aviv and Washington (the latter also Israeli occupied territory) hoping for some "gestures". The Israeli thieves who stole a whole country can flaunt international law repeatedly and get away with it. We had a bloody 62 years stretching from over 33 massacres in 1948, to slaughter of "infiltrators" (villagers trying to return home after the ethnic cleansing) in the 1950s, to massacres across borders (1956, 1970s, 1982, 2006), to the slaughter in Gaza last year. Will Israel be held accountable? Will Netenyahu, Barack, Livini and Olmert be brought before International courts to pay for the massacres? Even according to a report from the Zionist Judge Goldstone, the massacre in Gaza violated international law.
The larger atrocity this year is not the attack on these ships in International waters and the kidnap of 750 peace activists. The larger atrocity is the ongoing murderous siege/blockade on Gaza and the methodical destruction of life for Palestinians in the occupied territories. After the slaughter of 1400 in Gaza and thousands of homes destroyed, there was intensification of the siege that prevented rebuilding and other humanitarian supplies from reaching Gaza. Not able to do so, some money destined for Gaza rebuilding was siphoned off for elite Palestinians who claim to work for the people. Slowly Arab Jerusalem is erased off the map, villages around the city are squeezed (some like Al-Walaja and Wadi Rahhal are targeted for complete ethnic cleansing). What prevents its resolution base on justice to achieve a durable peace is not only the Zionist war machine but the countries that enable this. Turkey recalled its ambassador while Egypt and Jordan kept theirs in Tel Aviv and Egypt shamelessly collaborates in blocking Gaza at the order of Israel and the US administration.
For the sake of balance, the counter argument presented is that opening the borders before reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas will strengthen Hamas and deepen the division between the Fatah dominated West Bank and the Hamas dominated Gaza. To answer this I can only say that collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians is wrong and unacceptable on all grounds: moral, ethical, and legal. It constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity. But even on strictly utilitarian grounds for those who do not like Hamas ideology, what is happening is only strengthening Hamas (which also profits from the tunnel trade with the support of Egyptian elites in Sinai). But Hamas and Hizballah and Turkey and others seem far more responsive to the anger felt in the streets at the endless capitulation to murder and ethnic cleansing. We may disagree with their ideologies but I know many of my own family members who are Christian who cheer at the speech of Hassan Nasrallah (Hizballah leader). Fatah and Hamas need to let go of the trap set for them in Oslo and both dissolve their 'governments' (the quotes are deserved) and go back to being resistance movements. And that which does so first will be more respected among the Palestinian people. There can never be a government under occupation that is not tied in the service of the occupiers (unlike resistance movements, if they step out of line, they have fixed addresses). I wonder also what would happen if secular or non-democratic leaders like Hosni Mubarak or King Abdullah would get the courage to take positions based on principles and not (mis)calculations of US and Israeli imperial powers as omnipotent. My thought is that the US is finished as a superpower (thanks to it being bled dry by the Israel lobby dragging it into endless wars). I know most politicians like to feel 100% safe (mostly for their position of power) and are afraid of any change. But I wish they would realize that daring politicians make the history books and those who hang around trying to protect their seats will be forgotten. Cowardice is never a virtue.
Palestine brings the best in people who have dignity and self-respect and brings the worst in others who have tribalism and greed coursing through their veins. There was more dignity in any minute of the short life by Rachel Corrie who stood in front of the Bulldozer in Rafah and lost her life than is represented in lifetimes of by kings, prime ministers, and presidents. There was more dignity in the bloody T-shirt of Basem Abu Rahma when he was shot and killed with a gas canister in Bil'in than among all the palaces of rulers who gather in an Arab summit. And the dignity of one drop of blood shed in the Mediterranean is more than exhibited at the UN Security Council last night. Citizens of Greece and Turkey joined together in the freedom flotilla ships and in the Israeli detention centers. Zionists were out saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and politicians behind closed doors are trying to limit the damage to their reputation instead of asking themselves questions about their direction in life!
If humanity survives the next 100 years, it will have been because of those who act with dignity/self-respect instead of cowardice and self-interest. Lessons in dignity from those like Rachel, Basem and the freedom flotilla will be required study in the new people's history books, which I am sure will be very different than those we have in schools today. It is thus fitting that one of the freedom ships now kidnapped by the pirate navy was named 'the Rachel Corrie'. As I wrote in a number of articles, I am optimistic despite the challenges. Why: because of Basem, Rachel (the person and the Ship), the thousands of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for freedom and justice, tens of thousands injured, the millions around the world in solidarity, and most of all those Palestinians and other Arabs who have not sold their souls and who maintain the faith in the justice of this cause. In the demonstrations yesterday, a child in Gaza was carrying a sign that says 'we demand freedom' and a child in Cairo that says 'children in Egypt and in Gaza want the siege lifted'. That is our future - not elderly politicians meeting to do media damage control with empty words. Even as we mourn the martyrs, humanity won another victory yesterday.
Date: 01 Jun 2010
From: "Ricken Patel - Avaaz.org" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Gaza aid attack
The world is reeling from Israel's assault on an aid flotilla trying to reach Gaza. It's time for a full investigation to begin -- and for the siege of Gaza to end. Sign the worldwide petition, then forward this message:
Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world.
Israel, like any other state, has the right to self-defence, but this was an outrageous use of lethal force to defend an outrageous and lethal policy -- Israel's blockade of Gaza, where two thirds of families don't know where they'll find their next meal.
The UN, EU, and nearly every other government and multilateral organization have called on Israel to lift the blockade and, now, launch a full investigation of the flotilla raid. But without massive pressure from their citizens, world leaders might limit their response to mere words -- as they have so many times before.
Let's make the world's outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza -- click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:
The petition will be delivered to the UN and world leaders, as soon as it reaches 200,000 names -- and again at every opportunity as it grows and leaders choose their responses. A massive petition at a moment of crisis like this one can demonstrate to those in power that sound bites and press releases aren't enough -- that citizens are paying attention and demanding action.
As the EU decides whether to expand its special trade relationship with Israel, as Obama and the US Congress set next year's budget for Israeli military aid, and as neighbours like Turkey and Egypt decide their next diplomatic steps -- let's make the world's voice unignorable: it's time for truth and accountability on the flotilla raid, and it's time for Israel to comply with international law and end the siege of Gaza. Sign now and pass this message along:
Most people everywhere still share the same dream: for two free and viable states, Israel and Palestine, to live side by side. But the blockade, and the violence used to defend it, poisons that dream. As a columnist wrote to his fellow Israelis today in the newspaper Ha'aretz, "We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel's Vietnam."
Thousands of pro-peace activists in Israel today protested the raid and the blockade in demonstrations from Haifa, to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem -- joining demonstrations around the world. Regardless of which side threw the first punch or fired the first shot (the Israeli military claims it did not initiate the violence), Israel's leaders sent helicopters of armed storm-troopers to raid a convoy of ships in international waters bringing medicine and supplies to Gaza, and some now lay dead.
Their lives cannot be brought back. But perhaps, together, we can make this dark moment a turning point -- if we arise with an unshakable call for justice, and an unbreakable dream of peace.
Ricken, Alice, Raluca, Paul, Iain, Graziela and the rest of the Avaaz team
From: Dan Stafford (email@example.com)
Subject: The Heartbreaker - The Ruin Created By Oil And The Promise It Holds Back
Date: 31 May 2010
From the dying Gulf of Mexico to the deaths en route to Palestine, continued subservience to oil is a deadly abomination we can no longer afford.
The only real reason for the USA to even consider a continued alliance with the brutal nation of Israel is to maintain a military alliance in the Middle East and access to oil.
The only reason to risk deepwater drilling in any ocean whatsoever is for oil.
Trains, planes, plastics, and automobiles, as they currently exist, are killing people and entire ecosystems around the planet.
At the same time, money spent subsidizing this agent of global death, from military expenditures to 'foreign aid,' to direct subsidies robs from the financial resources that could otherwise be creating the sustainable, healthy technologies that should have replaced petroleum by now.
Over a trillion dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. Several trillion dollars of extra military spending supporting hundreds of bases all over the planet. Who knows how much in payments to foreign governments and officials.
The vast majority of our problems globally are a result of our collective failure to advance beyond these primitive technologies.
We can still have cars. We can still have air travel. We can still have trains. Ships were successful before oil. They can be even more so if we incorporate flexible solar cells into sailcloth.
The updating of transportation technologies to move them to clean energy sources would create millions of sustainable jobs.
There has never been more in-your-face evidence of the need for transformation of this basic part of the global infrastructure.
By Fall, we will have millions of voters in coastal areas who will have great reason to align with this purpose.
The atmosphere and the oceans are screaming for change. We need to be ready to push as the rock is tipping.
"Operation Justified Vengeance": Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda
By Michel Chossudovsky -- May 31, 2010
War Criminal Prime Minister Netanyahu, who directly ordered the strike on the international flotilla to Gaza, was on an official visit to Canada at the time of the Israeli attack. The strike constitutes an act of piracy in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Netanyahu's actions, which have resulted in more than 10 deaths and up to 60 injured, constitute a criminal act committed in international waters. (BBC News - Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship). In a cruel irony, Netanyahu, in a recent statement, committed himself to peace with Palestine: "We want to move as speedily as possible to direct talks because the kind of problem that we have with the Palestinians can be resolved in peace and can be arranged only if we sit down together". Several prominent personalities as well as several Global Research authors and partners were on board the ships.
The May 31st strike is a follow-up on "Operation Cast" initiated in late December 2008. It is meant to enforce the status of Gaza as a de facto urban prison.
Operation "Cast Lead" was part of a broader military-intelligence operation initiated at the outset of the Ariel Sharon government in 2001. It was under Sharon's "Operation Justified Vengeance" that F-16 fighter planes were initially used to bomb Palestinian cities. The strike on the Freedom Flotilla is part of the logic of transforming Gaza into an urban concentration camp.
"Operation Justified Vengeance" was presented in July 2001 to the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon by IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, under the title "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces". "Operation Justified Vengeance" was also referred to as the "Dagan Plan", named after General (ret.) Meir Dagan, who currently heads Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency. (See Ellis Shulman, Operation Justified Vengeance, A Secret to Destrythe Palestinian Authority, Global Research, 2002)
Meir Dagan, in coordination with his US counterparts, had been put in charge of various military-intelligence operations. It is worth noting that Meir Dagan as a young Colonel had worked closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on Palestinian settlements in Beirut in 1982.
The 2009 ground invasion of Gaza, in many regards, bear a canny resemblance to the 1982 military operation led by Sharon and Dagan.
Dagan as head of Israeli intelligence, no doubt also took part in the decision to launch the strike on the Freedom Flotilla.
Was the Decision Taken in Consultation with Washington?
On May 26, the Israeli military (IDF) confirmed that it would confront the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, while intimating that there may be terrorist elements on board the ships:
"As part of the military preparation, the navy carried out an exercise intercepting ships and arresting passengers.
Navy Commander Major-General Eliezer Marom said the navy forces will use measures to protect the soldiers' lives and ensure that there are no terrorist elements or explosives on the ships.
It is worth noting that prior to this announcement, the IDF launched a public relations campaign, describing the Flotilla as a "provocative act":
"Head of Gaza's Coordination and Liaison Authority, Colonel Moshe Levi convened a press conference and said that there was no shortage in food and supplies in the Strip.
"The planned flotilla to Gaza is a provocative act that is unnecessary under the existing conditions in the Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation is good and stable," he said, adding that Israel allows many products into the Strip, and only limits those that might serve Hamas in advancing terror activities." (Ibid)
Washington was fully aware as to the nature as well as the likely consequences of the IDF naval operation in international waters, including the killings of civilians. There are indications that the decision was taken in consultation with Washington.
The Role of Rahm Emmanuel
Obama's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was in Israel in the week prior to the launching of the raid on the Freedom Flotilla.
Although on a private visit, Rahm Emanuel met Prime Minister Netanyahu in high level discussions on May 26. And on that same day, the IDF confirmed the launching of a military operation directed against the Flotilla. On May 26, Rahm Emanuel also extended an invitation to Netanyahu to meet president Obama in early June following his scheduled official visit to Canada. In recent developments, Netanyahu has cancelled his US trip and is returning to Tel Aviv.
The Broader Military Agenda
It should be understood that the raid on the Flotilla also coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times "three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline." (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline). The report tacitly presents Israel as the victim rather than the perpetrator of military threat:
"Israel's business and defence centre, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. "There are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city," he said.
... The first [submarine] has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.
The submarines of Flotilla 7 - Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan - 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. Were operating deep and far, very far, from our borders."
... The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. "We're a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place," said a flotilla officer.
The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. "The 1,500km range of the submarines cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran," said a navy officer.
Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: "Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us."
Israel's urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
While these naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterraean. The war game codenamed "MINOAS 2010" was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete.
Also, in the wake of the decision directed against Israel's nuclear weapons under the auspices of the NPT, the White House reaffirmed not only its support to Israel, but also to Israel's nuclear weapons capabilities. The statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to US support of "Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities, which also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:
"a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel's strategic and deterrence capabilities.
According to the source, "Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations."
The presence of Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Tel Aviv undoubtedly played a role in the timing of this Sunday May 30th statement as well as the concurrent strike on the Freedom Flotilla.
The killing of unarmed civilians was part of the mandate of the Israeli naval commando. It was an integral part of the logic of Dagan's "Operation Justified Vengeance", which presents Israel as the victim rather than the perpetrator and uses civilian deaths "on both sides" to justify a process of military escalation.
The action by the IDF has triggered a wave of indignation throughout the Middle East. It will no doubt also trigger a response by Palestinian resistance forces, including possible suicide bomb attacks inside Israel, which could then be used by Israel as a pretext and justification for the launching a broader military operation.
Iran is being portrayed in Western media reports as supportive of Hamas and the Freedom Flotilla is said to be backed by a tacit Hamas-Iran alliance. Realities are turned upside down. Israel is the victim. In the words of Benjamin Netanyahu: "Our soldiers had to defend themselves to defend their lives." In the words of Netanyahu at a press briefing in Ottawa:
"Soldiers had boarded the vessel to check for any rockets, missiles or explosives headed for Gaza to be used for attacks on Israel, he said. They were mobbed, they were clubbed, they were beaten, stabbed, there was even a report of gunfire, and our soldiers had to defend themselves, defend their lives or else they would have been killed," he said Monday during a visit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Netanyahu added: "Regrettably in the exchange at least 10 people died. We regret this loss of life. We regret any of the violence that was there. I would like to wish speedy recovery to the wounded, including four of our own soldiers."
Meanwhile, a White House spokesman has confirmed that the United States "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained". But the action by Israel has not been condemned by the Obama administration: The administration is "currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy." (See The Associated Press: Obama administration concerned about Gaza incident)
For further details on Operation Cast Lead and Operation Justified Vengeance, see
Why did Israel attack civilians in the Mediterranean?
by Thierry Meyssan* - 1 JUNE 2010
Israel weighed in advance the consequences of its attack against a humanitarian convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. What were its objectives in triggering a world diplomatic crisis, and why did it defy its Turkish ally as well as its U.S. protector?
The attack launched by three Israeli Saar missile patrol boats on 31 May 2010 against the freedom flotilla in international Mediterranean waters denotes a headlong rush on the part of Tel Aviv.
The freedom flotilla stems from an initiative by human rights activists  , supported by the Turkish government. Its aim was to take humanitarian aid to Gaza and, in so doing, to break the blockade illegally enforced by the Israeli army against more than 1.5 million Gazans.
Under international law, the decision to accost a civilian vessel in international waters is an "act of war". Legally speaking, Israels acts constitute the appropriation of the vessels and their cargo, the kidnapping of the passengers, murder or possibly even assassination, if one accepts the reports relayed by Turkish television according to which the commandos were in possession of a list of people that had to be eliminated.
This act of war against vessels flying Greek and Turkish flags was carried out to reinforce the blockade, which is itself a violation of international law.
By choosing the argument of "self defense", the Israeli authorities have explicitly laid claim to their sovereignty over international waters up to 69 nautical miles off the coast of Palestine, on the pretext that this annexation - whether temporary or permanent - is essential for the continuation of the blockade, which in turn is necesarry for the security of the State of Israel.
By boarding a Turkish ship and killing passengers, Tel Aviv opted for a military response to the diplomatic crisis that has pitted it against Ankara since January 2009. Israel expects this decision will provoke a crisis within the Turkish Army command as well as between the latter and the Turkish government. However, it could also lead to a complete break in military ties between the two countries, even though Turkey has been Israels closest regional ally for over half a century. Turkish-Israeli joint exercises have already been canceled indefinitely. Moreover, this crisis could also affect trade relations between the two countries, despite the fact that Turkey is a vital partner for the Israeli economy.
However, it was imperative for Tel Aviv to undermine Turkeys credibility at a time when Akara has been moving closer to Syria and Iran with a view to constituting a new tripartite regional authority . As a first step, Israel had to sanction Ankara for its role in the Tehran protocol negotiations on Irans nuclear industry.
As for Turkey, which had anticipated a forceful Israeli intervention but not a lethal one, the time is ripe to fill the role of advocate for the Palestinian people, in accordance with the neo-Ottoman doctrine predicated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Ahmet Davutolu. Without waiting for Prime Minister Recep Erdogans return from his current trip to Latin America, the Turkish ambassador in Tel Aviv was recalled to Ankara and a crisis unit was set up around the Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arġnç. Immediate contact was established with the governments of the 32 countries whose nationals were on the convoy. All Turkish diplomatic staff was mobilized to brief a maximum number of states and international organizations on the situation. During a press conference, Mr. Arġnç demanded the immediate return of the three Turkish vessels and their stolen cargo, and in particular the release of the hundreds of kidnapped and sequestered Turkish citizens. He chose to describe the attack as an act "piracy" (not war) offering the Netanyahu government the opportunity to portray the events as a "mistake" rather than a policy. In keeping with this logic, President Abdullah Gul demanded that the Israeli courts should try those responsible for this massacre.
From Chile, Mr Erdogan stated: "These acts are totally contrary to the principles of international law; they are terrorist acts perpetrated by an inhuman state. I am speaking to those who endorsed this operation: you support bloodshed; we support peace and humanitarian law".
In the afternoon, as a member of NATO, Turkey addressed the Atlantic Council. If Ankara fails to receive the appropriate response from the Israeli government, it could decide to qualify the attack as an act of war and seek military aid from member states of the Alliance under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.
The Netanyahu government has urged its citizens to leave Turkey, while spontaneous demonstrations before Israeli consulates have been multiplying and crowds are calling for revenge.
As for the U.S., this case is reminiscent of the USS Liberty (June 8, 1967). During the Six Day War, the Israelis attacked a U.S. Navy electronic surveillance ship, leaving 34 dead and 171 wounded. Tel Aviv presented an apology for the mistake made in a battle situation; while accepting it officially, Washington regarded it as a deliberate breach. At that time, the Israeli intention was to sanction the U.S. for its criticisms of Israel.
This time, the attack on the freedom convoy could represent a retaliation in light of Washingtons vote in favour of a resolution by States signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty enjoining Israel to declare its nuclear arsenal and to accept inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The Israeli decision to attack civilian vessels in international waters came after the assassination in the Emirates a Palestinian leader by a Mossad cell, the discovery of a vast network of falsified copies of passports to the embarrassment of Western states; and after Israels refusal to attend the international follow-up conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This set of facts can either be interpreted as a succession of exploits on the part of a state which is confident of its impunity - in this case, it could amount to just one more exploit or one too many -, or as an escalation following a brief public friction with the U.S. administration - signifying that Israel is asserting itself as the leader of the Zionist movement by showing that Tel Aviv decides and Washington complies.
Travelling in North America, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to end his Canadian visit and cancel his visit to the White House. He was contacted on the phone by President Obama who asked for explanations.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, stated that the Israeli operation had absolutely no legal justification. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, made it a point to emphasize that beyond the violation of the freedom of movement at sea, the blockade remains the fundamental issue. "Unless prompt and decisive actions are taken to challenge Israels attitude vis-à-vis Gaza, we will all be complicit in a criminal policy that threatens the survival of a beleaguered community," he said. The Security Council was urgently convened the same day at 6 p.m.. The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs departed for New York .
Thierry Meyssan : French political analyst, founder and chairman of the Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace conference. He publishes columns dealing with international relations in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. Last books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.
Israeli Attack on Flotilla Sparks Wave of International Protests
01 June 2010 by: Nora Barrows-Friedman
Rami al-Meghari watched the news unfold from live video feeds monitoring international waters 65km off the coast of the Gaza Strip Monday morning, one of Gaza's 1.5 million residents anticipating a shipment of wheelchairs, prefabricated homes, crayons, raw construction supplies, dental surgery equipment and reams of paper brought by international humanitarian activists on board a flotilla of boats.
However, the flotilla was intercepted and attacked by Israeli naval commando units, flanked by armed speedboats and helicopters. Soldiers climbed on board the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ship and opened fire with live ammunition, killing at least 19 people and wounding 60, according to the latest reports.
A journalist living in Gaza's Meghazi refugee camp, al-Meghari tells Truthout that the attack was a devastating blow to the Palestinian people in Gaza - who have suffered through a three-year-long blockade as Israel forbids the entry of essential goods and humanitarian supplies, including medicines. He says he was horrified at what took place on the ship. "I am in absolute sorrow for the human loss," he said.
From the occupied Gaza Strip to the San Francisco Bay Area, global reaction in protest of the Israeli military's attack on the flotilla has been swift. Outraged by Israel's attack on the flotilla, and fueled by international news headlines and internet-based information swapping through sites such as Twitter and Facebook, tens of thousands of people across the world have taken to the streets in sustained anger against Israeli policies and the actions of its military toward the humanitarian aid flotilla, while the United Nations and the Turkish government work to impose diplomatic pressure.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank launched demonstrations against the Israeli military immediately following the attack, but the protests were quickly dispersed and banned by the Palestinian Authority's security forces. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces shot a young American journalist in the face with a tear gas grenade during a women-led demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. There were also protests inside the old city in occupied East Jerusalem, while others demonstrated outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's house in the Western side of the city.
In the Palestinian city of Umm al-Fahem in northern Israel, Palestinian youth burned tires as Israeli forces attempted to lock down areas of the city. Elsewhere, Israeli and Palestinian protesters descended on the city of Ashdod, where detention camps had been set up by the military to hold those arrested from the flotilla and to where some of the ships on the flotilla were being towed. Protesters in Haifa and other northern Israeli cities also joined the day of action.
People in Egypt and Jordan took part in similar protests as thousands across the region demanded that their governments sever diplomatic and political ties with Israel. Lebanese demonstrators surrounded the UN headquarters in Beirut to condemn Israel's policies and the violent attack against the flotilla.
In Turkey, thousands of protesters attempted to storm the Israeli embassy in Istanbul right after the killings. Later in the day, Turkish government officials categorized Israel's attack as "state terrorism" and withdrew its ambassador to Israel as thousands of protesters hit the streets in spontaneous demonstrations demanding justice for those killed in the attack and for Palestinians in Gaza.
In Canada, protests were planned at Israeli embassies and Federal buildings in an "emergency response" to Israel's aggressions. Seven thousand Swedish demonstrators hit the streets of Stockholm as the Swedish government summoned its Israeli ambassador, condemning the attack as "completely unacceptable" and demanding clarification by the Israeli government. Sweden had several of its citizens on board the ships.
Meanwhile, across the US, pro-justice activists took to the streets in anger and anguish over the killings. Protesters organized in New York City's Times Square, and in Houston, Cleveland and Seattle, among other cities. University of Chicago freshman Sami Kishawi tells Truthout he joined a massive demonstration in downtown Chicago on Monday afternoon. "I will remain open and willing to participate in dialogue that will reveal to the public the grim reality of the oppression of the Palestinian people," he said.
In the Bay Area, activists protested outside Israeli embassy in downtown San Francisco. Oakland resident Amir Qureshi told Truthout that he joined the protests in solidarity with the more than 600 activists on the flotilla, and is taking part in other actions as well, including countering some of the Israeli propaganda that's filtered down inside the US corporate media and calling US representatives in Congress. "Ordinary unarmed global civilians from more than a dozen countries have the courage to take on Israel's navy in support of the besieged population of Gaza and even give our lives in doing so," Qureshi said. "Such global solidarity shows the power of people and how it can affect global causes."
At the same time, condemnation of Israel's attacks have come from global leaders and icons of civil rights and justice. The Elders - a contingent of past and present world leaders and Nobel laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter - released a press statement on Monday declaring Israel's attack as "completely inexcusable."
"This tragic incident should draw the world's attention to the terrible suffering of Gaza's 1.5 million people, half of whom are children under the age of 18," The Elders' statement said.
Back in Gaza, locally-based civil society groups sent out a press statement urging the international community to take direct action against Israeli policies. They wrote:
"We Gaza based Palestinian Civil Society Organizations and International activists call on the international community and civil society to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings in Israel's attacks against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla sailing for Gaza, and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.
"We salute the courage of all those who have organized this aid intervention and demand a safe passage through to Gaza for the 750 people of conscience from 40 different countries including 35 international politicians intent on breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. We offer our sincerest condolences to family and friends who have lost loved ones in the attack.
"... The people of Gaza are not dependent people, but self sufficient people doing what they can to retain some dignity in life in the wake of this colossal man-made devastation that deprives so many of a basic start in life or minimal aspirations for the future.
"We, from Gaza, call on you to demonstrate and support the courageous men and women who went on the Flotilla, many now murdered on a humanitarian aid mission. We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the International protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged. Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as any other people, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the 6 million Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice."
From Gaza's Meghazi refugee camp, al-Meghari said of Israel's actions Monday morning, "violence only breeds violence. And as long as Israeli repression remains in place, Palestinian and pro-justice people around the world will keep up their resistance to that repression."
Date: 1 Jun 2010
From: "Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: The Gaza Flotilla: What next?
When I got the news about Israel's armed attack on the Gaza Flotilla at 2:30 am on the morning of May 31, I felt sick. I immediately called a dear friend in Jerusalem, one of the most committed activists I know. Across the ocean, I could hear in her voice that she was in tears. "The worst part about it, " she said, "is that nothing will change."
"No," I replied. "I can't believe that can be true. Things have to change." "Well," she said, "then it is up to you, the internationals."
She's right. It is up to us, the internationals both here in the United States and abroad.
We still don't know a lot about what happened to the flotilla of boats carrying some 700 human rights activists from around the world and over 10 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza-- Israel has kept the activists under a near total media blackout while sharing only its implausible narrative of events. What we do know is that Israeli commandos boarded a ship in international waters and killed at least ten activists, injuring dozens of others.
Israel insists that highly trained commandos were forced to lethally fire on activists, creating a new definition of self-defense. In the first alternative accounts to appear, an Israeli Knesset member and an Al Jazeera cameraman who were on board the ship at the time each described something different, a scene of chaos with civilians waving white flags and commandos using stun guns, rubber bullets and tear gas. Regardless of what actually happened when armed soldiers landed, Israel's wanton killing of civilians is unacceptable.
We still don't know the names of those who were killed or injured, or where they are from. And we don't know the whereabouts or well-being of more than 400 activists still being held by Israel.
These deaths, and the attacks on the boats, have hit all of us around the world particularly hard. There were people from 40 different countries on board the ships, including Israelis and Palestinians. Israel sent armed commandos onto a civilian ship in international waters, a brazenly illegal act to enforce Israel's nearly 3-year illegal siege of Gaza - a siege that has left 1.5 million men, women and children living like prisoners on substandard diets, deprived of the simplest things like potato chips, musical instruments, and toys. The flotilla wasn't just about this one delivery of aid. It was about the right of Palestinians to have sea, land and air routes to the rest of the world and for the need to end the blockade.
I know that there comes a point in one's life when you simply have to take a stand. You cannot sit by silently and watch ongoing and wholly unjustified destruction of life, tacitly supported by governments around the world, and simply do nothing.
The flotilla was filled with people just like you and me who finally decided it was time to risk life and limb to take a stand, to break through those prison walls, and we thank them for it.
Now, as citizens of the world, we owe it to the people of Palestine, and the people of Israel who want to live in peace, and the brave people on that flotilla, to build the movement to make Israel accountable to international law and standards of simple human decency - especially because our governments have failed us.
The response of the U.S. government thus far has been wholly inadequate, with a mild statement "regretting the loss of life," without assigning any blame for the fiasco, let alone applying any sanctions for Israel's acts.
US taxpayer dollars fund Israel's occupation, and together with wall to wall uncritical diplomatic support have sent the message that any Israeli action, no matter how foolhardy, will be backed by the full might of the United States.
It's time for that to stop.
We must also continue to build the already massive global people's movement for justice, which has undeniably found its greatest impact in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This is about all of the ways, big and small, people can bypass their often ineffective governments to use economic pressure to make the Israeli government accountable to international law. After launching our energetic support for campus efforts to divest from the occupation, Jewish Voice for Peace will let you know soon about our own divestment campaign to help bring pressure on Israel to reach a just solution.
It is time for the United States, as Israel's closest ally and most powerful nation in the world, to stop unconditional support for the Israeli government. Doing so will protect Israelis and Palestinians, American citizens, and internationals alike.
an international and impartial investigation into the tragic killing of civilians in a humanitarian mission, and the suspension of military aid to Israel until he can assure the American public that our aid is not used to commit similar abuses.
Jewish Voice for Peace
PS, We've prepared posters in PDF format that you can use at protests, in your car window or on bulletin boards. Download them here.
HERE IS HOW THE ISRAELI MEDIA REPORT THOSE EVENTS. OBVIOUSLY THEIR BRAVE SOLDIERS BADLY MISHANDLED THEIR MISSION...
Ron Ben Yishai recounts bloody clash aboard Gaza-bound vessel: The lacking crowd-dispersal means, the brutal violence of peace activists,' and the attempt to bring down an IDF helicopter
Our Navy commandoes fell right into the hands of the Gaza mission members. A few minutes before the takeover attempt aboard the Marmara got underway, the operation commander was told that 20 people were waiting on the deck where a helicopter was to deploy the first team of the elite Flotilla 13 unit. The original plan was to disembark on the top deck, and from there rush to the vessel's bridge and order the Marmara's captain to stop. Officials estimated that passengers will show slight resistance, and possibly minor violence; for that reason, the operation's commander decided to bring the helicopter directly above the top deck. The first rope that soldiers used in order to descend down to the ship was wrested away by activists, most of them Turks, and tied to an antenna with the hopes of bringing the chopper down. However, Flotilla 13 fighters decided to carry on.
Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.
However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.
One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other "don't shoot, don't shoot," even though they sustained numerous blows.
I saw the tip of a rifle'
The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances.
The planned rush towards the vessel's bridge became impossible, even when a second chopper was brought in with another crew of soldiers. "Throw stun grenades," shouted Flotilla 13's commander who monitored the operation. The Navy chief was not too far, on board a speedboat belonging to Flotilla 13, along with forces who attempted to climb into the back of the ship.
The forces hurled stun grenades, yet the rioters on the top deck, whose number swelled up to 30 by that time, kept on beating up about 30 commandoes who kept gliding their way one by one from the helicopter. At one point, the attackers nabbed one commando, wrested away his handgun, and threw him down from the top deck to the lower deck, 30 feet below. The soldier sustained a serious head wound and lost his consciousness.
Only after this injury did Flotilla 13 troops ask for permission to use live fire. The commander approved it: You can go ahead and fire. The soldiers pulled out their handguns and started shooting at the rioters' legs, a move that ultimately neutralized them. Meanwhile, the rioters started to fire back at the commandoes.
"I saw the tip of a rifle sticking out of the stairwell," one commando said. "He fired at us and we fired back. We didn't see if we hit him. We looked for him later but couldn't find him." Two soldiers sustained gunshot wounds to their knee and stomach after rioters apparently fired at them using guns wrested away from troops.
During the commotion, another commando was stabbed with a knife. In a later search aboard the Marmara, soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots used by the rioters ahead of the IDF takeover. It appeared the activists were well prepared for a fight.
Some passengers on the ship stood at the back and pounded the soldiers' hands as they attempted to climb on board. Only after a 30-minute shootout and brutal assaults using clubs and knifes did commandoes manage to reach the bridge and take over the Marmara.
It appears that the error in planning the operation was the estimate that passengers were indeed political activists and members of humanitarian groups who seek a political provocation, but would not resort to brutal violence. The soldiers thought they will encounter Bilin-style violence; instead, they got Bangkok. The forces that disembarked from the helicopters were few; just dozens of troops - not enough to contend with the large group awaiting them.
The second error was that commanders did not address seriously enough the fact that a group of men were expecting the soldiers on the top deck. Had they addressed this more seriously, they may have hurled tear-gas grenades and smoke grenades from the helicopter to create a screen that would have enabled them to carry out their mission, without the fighters falling right into the hands of the rioters, who severely assaulted them.
Other 06.01.10 articles and breaking news from ynetnews
US backs investigation into Israeli raid - US/OBAMA GREATLY SUPPORTIVE OF WHATEVER ISRAEL DOES! http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897723,00.html
White House says it supports UN Security Council resolution calling for 'credible investigation' into deadly raid on Gaza-bound ships, 'including international participation,' but stops short of condemning actions of Israeli forces. (...) White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the predawn raid on international waters, which left at least nine people dead, does nothing to change the "trusted relationship" between the US and Israel. "We are greatly supportive of their security," Gibbs told reporters Tuesday. "That's not going to change." Palestinians, Arabs and Turkey have all called for stronger condemnation from Washington. So far, Obama has voiced "deep regret" for the lives lost, and a White House statement said he "expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances" surrounding the incident. (...) The raid is likely to increase pressure on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Gibbs said the blockade is meant to keep weapons out of the hands of Hamas, not keep aid from reaching the Palestinian people. The incident, he said, further highlights the need for a comprehensive peace plan. CLIP
Clinton urges 'careful' response on Israel flotilla - HARD TO WIGGLE OUT OF THIS ONE HILLARY! http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897704,00.html
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged all parties to be careful in their responses to Israel's attack on a Gaza-bound flotilla, steering clear of outright condemnation of the deadly assault. "I think the situation from our perspective is very difficult and requires careful, thoughtful responses from all concerned," Clinton told reporters, while also underscoring US sympathy for the "tragic loss of life and injuries" among those involved in the incident.
Peres: Soldiers were beaten for being humane - DENIER IN CHIEF IS PROUD OF THE MURDER OF 19 PEACE ACTIVISTS http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897711,00.html
President Shimon Peres said Tuesday that he was proud of operation and conduct of the Israel Navy Commandoes who participated in the raid of the aid flotilla heading to Gaza Strip, Monday. Speaking at a Haifa University ceremony Tuesday, where he was given the Haifa University Board of Trustees Leadership Award Ceremony, Peres said that "the soldiers were beaten just because they did not want to kill anyone. "Any other army would have immediately used their guns. What we saw was an exemplar of troops who preferred getting hurt over hurting someone else. "If there is one humane thing, it is this kind of trial by fire to stand there, being shot at, and do nothing. I do not wish that on anyone." CLIP
Probe reveals flotilla lynchers have ties to Global Jihad (6.01.10) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897667,00.html
VIDEO - The ongoing interrogation of passengers who were aboard the Marmara the Gaza aid flotilla's flagship revealed that the majority of those who attacked the Israeli Naval Commandos boarding the ship have direct and indirect Global Jihad ties. Israel's investigation has revealed some 100 people infiltrated the peace and humanitarian aid activists making their way to Gaza, with the explicit design to attack Israeli soldiers using cold arm Some among that group are believed to have ties with World Jihad groups, mainly al-Qaeda. The majority of suspects are Turks, but some are Yemenites and Indonesian. One Yemenite Islamist was photographed with a dagger in his belt prior to the raid. The suspects are not cooperating with investigators. Most of them have no identification papers, and Israeli authorities are still trying to ascertain their identity. Nevertheless, it is clear that the majority were recruited by the same IHH handler who organized the flotilla. IHH is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Some of the suspects were found to be carrying large sums of money. Others had Kevlar vests and gas masks; and all were found to be carrying weapons such as knives, metal clubs and slingshots. Several of the suspected were wounded by IDF fire Investigators have already concluded that this was the group that planned the violent resistance, which centered on the Marmara's top deck. Meanwhile, the Israel Navy has launched its own inquiry into the raid. Senior officers told yet events probably went awry when the commandos lost the element of surprise especially in regards to the people waiting on the top deck.
Vatican: Israeli occupation politically unjust http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897712,00.html
A Vatican document leaked Monday night calls the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories a "political injustice". The occupation is a "political injustice imposed on the Palestinians," the Vatican says, according to extracts quoted by Italy's ANSA news agency. "The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories makes daily life difficult for freedom of movement, the economy and social and religious life," the text says. The Instrumentum Laboris, a working document on an upcoming synod of bishops on the Middle East, was embargoed for release until Monday, when Pope Benedict XVI was to present it during a visit to Cyprus. ANSA's report came as Israel drew worldwide condemnation for a deadly commando raid on Monday against a flotilla of boats laden with humanitarian aid for Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007. CLIP
Turkish foreign minister likens flotilla raid to 9/11 http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897683,00.html
Shortly before meeting with US Secretary of State Clinton, Ahmet Davutoglu tells reporters in Washington, 'Israelis think they are above any law, but we will stop them'. American sources tell Ynet decision to call off Netanyahu visit prevented embarrassment for Obama in light of events. WASHINGTON As the tensions between Israel and Turkey escalate, senior officials from both countries arrived in Washington on Tuesday for a series of meetings, on the backdrop of the deadly Israel Defense Forces raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. CLIP
State: Petitions over IDF flotilla op biased http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897558,00.html
State Prosecutor Moshe Lador filed a state's rebuttal concerning several Gaza aid flotilla High Court petitions, which claimed the Israel Navy violated international law in its raid. Lador, and several senior officials at the State Prosecutor's Office, asked the court to dismiss the petitions claiming they were biased, slanderous against the State and oblivious to international law milestones.
Al-Jazzera: Egypt opening Rafah crossing for humanitarian aid to Gaza http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897409,00.html
Al-Jazeera has reported that Egypt will open the Rafah crossing with Gaza in order to allow the passage of humanitarian aid to the Strip. It remains unclear whether the move has to do with the failed aid flotilla to Gaza, because the crossing opens once a month for a few days. Palestinian and Arab officials are pressuring Cairo to keep the crossing open indefinitely
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