A WELCOME SURPRISE AT THE JERUSALEM POST

How the following got past the evil eyes of the editorial board at the Jerusalem Post will remain a mystery until or unless Caroline Glick explains its appearance in the weekend edition…. She might even dedicate a new YouTube video for the author (she was one of the producers of We Con The World).
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Read it while it’s still available on-line, something tells me that won’t be for long.
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Hysteria, ‘hasbara’ and the flotilla

By LARRY DERFNER *

Israel’s propaganda machine is in full swing prior to the ships’ upcoming arrival.

 

I just love Israel’s “hasbara” campaign against Freedom Flotilla 2. I mean, butter wouldn’t melt in these people’s mouths.“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” says Ehud Barak. Gazans are “importing televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to the entire Arab world,” says IDF chief Benny Gantz.

Yes, Gaza is economically on the mend – but not because of Israel’s good intentions; rather, despite its bad intentions.

If it were up to the government, Gazans would still be unable to receive terrorist infrastructure equipment such as toys, musical instruments, heaters, newspapers, fishing rods, tractor parts, irrigation pipes and, of course, coriander, on relief trucks coming across the border.

Why did that policy change? What forced Israel to start letting everything through except construction equipment, which it fears Hamas might use to make bunkers? It was Freedom Flotilla 1, remember? It was the killing of nine Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos on May 31, 2010, after which Israel was compelled by international outrage to begin allowing all those previously banned weapons of mass destruction – cumin, ginger, dried fruit, industrial margarine, clothing fabric, sewing machines and more – into the Strip.

Likewise, if it were up to the government, Hosni Mubarak would still be ordering Egyptian troops to search out and destroy the tunnels built by Gazans to smuggle in goods. But to the government’s dismay, Mubarak was overthrown and Egypt’s new leadership is less eager to collaborate with our Gaza policy.

The result? “Sacks of cement and piles of gravel… are smuggled through hundreds of tunnels in double shifts, day and night, totaling some 3,000 tons a day… Streets are being paved and buildings constructed,” wrote The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner last weekend.

“Things are better than a year ago,” a leading activist in the Strip told him. “The siege on goods is now 60 to 70 percent over.”

SO YOU see? No need for a flotilla, Gaza’s doing just fine, say Israeli hasbaratists, smiling through gritted teeth.

Incidentally, when Gantz said that Gaza exports agricultural produce, he neglected to mention that that’s all Israel allows Gaza to export – and not much produce, either, or for very long.

“Export from Gaza is prohibited,” wrote Gisha, a Tel Aviv-based NGO, in a pre-flotilla report last week. “Between November 2010 and April 2011, Israel exceptionally allowed export of a minimal amount of strawberries, flowers, peppers and tomatoes from Gaza to European markets. The average rate of export during that time was two truckloads per day… Since May 12, 2011, no trucks carrying goods for export have left the Strip.”

I think Freedom Flotilla 2, even without making much progress toward Gaza, is playing hell with Israel’s image – or, rather, inducing Israel to show off its worst self (much as Freedom Flotilla 1 did.) Once again, Israel has gone hysterical, it’s lost touch with reality.

The Prime Minister’s Office threatened to ban foreign journalists for 10 years and confiscate their equipment if they dared report from aboard the ships. It also publicized a YouTube video made by a Tel Aviv actor pretending to be a foreign gay activist telling how he’d been banned from the flotilla. Israeli agents, presumably, sabotaged one of the Gaza-bound ships docked in Greece. “Senior officials in Jerusalem” claimed to have intelligence that flotilla activists planned to throw sulfur on IDF soldiers coming aboard and light them on fire.

Regarding that last item, Yediot Aharonot’s Alex Fishman, dean of Israeli military correspondents, wrote Wednesday: “There isn’t a shred of substance to the report that extremist elements will put up violent resistance to IDF soldiers aboard the flotilla. Neither is there any clear information regarding deadly weapons on any of the ships. It can be assumed that this is considered a possibility – along with many other scenarios and possibilities that come up in brainstorming sessions among military and intelligence officials preparing for the flotilla. But when a possibility such as this gets turned into a fact within the context of the Israeli hasbara campaign – this can boomerang and show Israel to be lacking in credibility.”

Lacking in credibility? You don’t say! I’m still waiting for the IDF to release all the videos confiscated from the Mavi Marmara – not just those that show the people aboard beating the commandos sliding down the ropes, but the stuff that happened before and after, too, especially the footage of the commandos killing those nine people.

Why won’t the IDF let us see that? Why do “senior officials in Jerusalem” make up scare stories about the flotilla? Why does Benny Gantz try to portray Gaza as a horn of plenty? Why does Israel twist and distort and cherrypick its way through the truth about Freedom Flotilla 1, Freedom Flotilla 2, Operation Cast Lead and everything else that has to do with its treatment of Palestinians?

And why on earth does anyone believe this “hasbara” – which has come to mean “Israeli disinformation” – anymore?

*The writer blogs at Israel Reconsidered (www.israelleft.com)

FLOTILLAMANIA 2

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The very foundations of zionism are being challenged this week by International Solidarity Activists attempting to break the siege on Gaza. Israel is desperately responding on many fronts, apparently in an attempt to avoid another incident of piracy at sea, by stopping the boats before they set sail.
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Threats of imprisonment, deportations, of confiscation of equipment haven’t seemed to work, so sabotaging the boats is the latest tactic. As of this writing, two boats have been damaged, one earlier in the week, another last night. Both incidents received worldwide press coverage, but Israel presses ahead with their reign of terror hoping to show the world that the activists are the threat, not them.
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To date, the Irish government is the only European Union member state to back the Flotilla, all other nations seem to care little about the lives of their citizens being put to risk by the Israelis.
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Derry Friends of Palestine posted the following in regard to last night’s incident;
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Terrorists Attack Irish Boat

Clr Gerry MacLochlainn, John Mallon and Charlie McMenamin sailing on the MV Saoirse just minutes before deadly sabotage was discovered. Photo by Phil McCullough

On Monday the ships 3 crew members along with Clr Gerry MacLochlainn, Charlie McMenamin (both from Derry) with John Mallon and Phil McCullough (both from Belfast) set sail on the MV Saoirse for re-fueling.

On the way back from the re-fueling location the ship’s engineer Pat Fitzgerald noticed that something was very wrong with the boat. Upon returning to the dock the first inspections began, it was then we realised that sabotage had been done to Ireland’s boat.

Pat and the crew then hired experts to dive down and inspect the damage closer, upon their return to land it was noted that the boat has very serious damage done and that a piece was missing from one of the propeller shafts. The boat was then removed from the water and inspected on dry land (videos below) where the deep cuts inflicted onto the propeller shaft could be clearly seen and photos taken for evidence, the shaft was also very bent. These things together create a very dangerous life threatening situation for those who had just been sailing on the ship. The sabotage was intended to endanger and/or inflict injury or death on Irish citizens as the went abou their lawful right to sail on the high seas.

Clearly terrorists divers had come up under the boat and intentionally cut out pieces of the propeller shaft, thus weakening it so that it would shear off and sink the boat or kill people onboard. As the boat’s engine placed stress on the shaft it would have given way and the propeller would have come up through the bottom of the boat, causing flooding in the engine room and the boat to sink. Moreover, any Irish passengers standing nearby when the propeller came through the deck could have been killed immediately, or seriously injured.

The passengers form Derry and Belfast who were onboard the ship travelling to the re-fueling point were a bit un-nerved when told the possibilities of what could have happened on that short journey they had just returned from.

The terrorists have now struck twice, in two different countries! This same type of sabotage was done to another vessel in Greece only days ago. We have the videos below of both the ship in Greece and the Irish Ship which was located in Turkey. Followed by a short video of Pat Fitzgerald the ship’s engineer after inspecting some of the damage.

This was a vicious attack on Irish property by terrorists against a boat flying the Irish flag. The ship is so damaged it will now be unable to take part in the Flotilla. However arrangements are being made to find seats on other ships for as many Irish passengers as possible including members of Derry Friends of Palestine. We will continue to keep you updated on this website regarding the Irish passengers who will be travelling now on other ships.

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GREEK SABOTAGE DAMAGE

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MV SAOIRSE SABOTAGE DAMAGE

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Ships engineer Pat Fitzgerald inspects the damage, note that the damage was meant to sink the boat and would have cost Irish lives

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With all of the above goings on, the US State Department had nothing better to do than issue  THIS travel warning…
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THIS link will take you to the many press releases published by the US Boat To Gaza
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The attempt to ‘Con The World’ (see supposedly removed video HERE) as Israel did a year ago is not working … the Flotilla WILL leave this week for Gaza. The eyes of the world are on those boats this time, Israel is very well aware of that fact. Not only will the siege eventually be broken, but International waters will once again become exactly that, NOT ISRAELI WATERS. Again, stressing the fact that the very foundations of zionism are being threatened this week.
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Gideon Levy has a brilliant post in today’s HaAretz;

Israel has become a society of force and violence

What will Israelis think about when they are spoon-fed scary stories about the flotilla, if not about the use of force? Those activists want to kill IDF soldiers? We’ll arise and kill them first.

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It’s definitely worth reading and can be found HERE.
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Even the zionist press, which usually ignores such incidents, is giving coverage to the latest acts of Israeli terrorism….
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From the Jerusalem Post

‘Damaged ship won’t join flotilla after sabotage’

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From Ynet

Flotilla activist: Israel wanted Irish ship to sink at sea

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From The Jewish Chronicle

Irish flotilla activists accuse Israel of sabotage

AMERICAN BOAT TO GAZA HAS NOTHING TO HIDE! ~~ INVITES MEDIA TO INSPECT

The following Press Release was issued earlier today….
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Audacity Invites Media to Inspect  

Boat and Passengers

“We’re Sulfur-Free and Ready to Sail”



Passengers on the U.S. Boat to GazaThe Audacity of Hope, invite Greek and international media to inspect The Audacity of Hope at 3 pm Athens time on Thursday, June 30, in the town of Perama (next to Piraeus), 42 Democratis.

The entire boat will be open for view, photography, and video. The captain, crew, and passengers on the boat will be available for interviews and inspection. The cargo of the ship – 3,000 letters from Americans to the people of Gaza – will also be available for view, photographs, and video. Everything that will be on the boat when it sets sail, including food and passengers’ personal medications for use during their voyage, will be available for inspection.

The Audacity of Hope was inspected by Greek officials on Monday, June 27 after a complaint was lodged by an Israeli group that the vessel was not seaworthy. We have not yet received notification of their findings nor a copy of their report, but we are certain that our boat is up to code. Meanwhile, Israeli officials have made outrageous allegations that passengers on the flotilla will be bringing “sacks of sulfur” to pour on Israeli soldiers. Even Members of Israel’s own security cabinet have dismissed these charges as “media spin” and “public relations hysteria.”* We invite the media onto our boat to conduct a thorough inspection. We are confident that such an inspection will show that our boat is “sulfur-free” and ready to sail.

“On behalf of the 36 passengers and 4 crew on The Audacity of Hope, I invite the media to ask us anything, inspect anything, taste our food, look inside our bags” said Gale Courey Toensing, a passenger on the American boat. “Our voyage is totally transparent and we have nothing to hide. All we want to do is sail to Gaza with our cargo of letters from Americans to the people of Gaza.”

For regular updates follow the US Boat to Gaza on Twitter: http://twitter.com/usboattogaza and visit the US Boat to Gaza website.

GAZA BOUND IRISH BOAT SABOTAGED AS ISRAEL CONTINUES ITS REIGN OF TERROR

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Still another boat bound for Gaza was sabotaged last night,undoubtedly by thugs working for the Israeli government. Activists are sure that Israel is to blame for causing damage to Irish ship ‘Saoirse’ (Gaelic for freedom), which was slated to carry some 20 activists. The damage, if gone undetected, could have resulted in the loss of many lives.
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A report by Amira Hass can be read HERE
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Another report regarding this criminal act will be posted later this morning after a press conference is held by the activists involved. A demonstration is also being organised for later today.
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Following is a report from Britain’s Morning Star
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No credence to Israel’s claims

Israel’s hysterical overreaction to the Freedom Flotilla 2 Stay Human initiative has not intimidated hundreds of brave people who are determined to challenge Tel Aviv’s illegal siege of Gaza.

They are gathering on a number of boats in several European ports ready to take humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Palestinian people.

The amount of aid that they intend to deliver to Gaza will not affect the level of Palestinian deprivation significantly, but it will be of crucial importance.

The presence of campaigners from organisations in around 20 countries will remind the Palestinian people that they are neither alone nor forgotten.

And the international publicity generated by the flotilla and how Israel reacts to it will fuel ever-growing numbers of humanity to take up the Palestinian cause.

Israel relied on the iron fist in May 2010, sending in its elite commandos to assault the Turkish aid vessel Mavi Marmara, opening fire as they abseiled onto the ship from their helicopters.

Not content with killing nine supporters of the Turkish IHH aid organisation, the Israeli forces beat and robbed other peaceful campaigners.

They also enforced a news blackout before putting out their own doctored film coverage, complete with obligatory anti-semitic comments, including references to nazi death camps, said to have been uttered by the pro-Palestinian activists.

Israel’s refusal to return film recordings and mobile phones is eloquent testament to the reality of what took place.

The Netanyahu government’s dirty tricks department has been at it again, trying to misrepresent the mission and the motives of those taking part.

Freedom Flotilla 2 Stay Human has conducted non-violence resistance lessons for participants and insisted that there should be no violent responses to any assault on their vessels.

However, Israel has tried to ratchet up tension by claiming to have “intelligence assets” inside the flotilla who have identified individuals intent on using “chemicals” against Israeli troops.

However, not too much credence should be given to these claims in light of Israel’s record last year and the bizarre claims this week by “US gay rights activist” Marc Pax, who said that he had been denied a place on the flotilla because of his sexuality and to have then discovered that Hamas is behind it.

Marc Pax is actually Guy Seeman, who works as an intern in Netanyahu’s office, although, needless to say, his actions were “without authorisation and without approval.”

The same goes for the Israeli government’s threat to confiscate journalists’ equipment and ban them from Israel for 10 years if they accompany the flotilla.

Only when the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem condemned this “chilling message” as raising questions about Israel’s commitment to freedom of the press did Netanyahu surface to deny that this was government policy.

It probably isn’t official government policy to sabotage the propeller shaft of a boat in Piraeus harbour taking Greek, Swedish and Norwegian passengers to Gaza, but it happened.

The US boat Audacity of Hope was also delayed after Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin told the Greek authorities that the boat wasn’t seaworthy, necessitating a time-consuming inspection.

But ships are already sailing towards Gaza, including the Irish vessel Saoirse, and two French boats.

The only European Union member state officially backing the flotilla is Ireland, but every country has a responsibility to protect its own citizens and defend international law during this forthcoming challenge to Israel’s lawlessness.

NEWS AND VIEWS FROM DOWN UNDER

Bin Laden, Palestine, Sri Lanka, resistance etc

Prepared by Antony Loewenstein

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As the West desperately fights to avoid real democracy in the Arab world (despite giving lip service to “freedom” and “human rights”), there are battles closer to home that require attention. The Obama administration has unleashed the strongest war against whistle-blowers in US history. It’s been directed against leading journalists , a senior figure at the National Security Agency and of course Wikileaks and Bradley Manning. These issues matter because a healthy democracy can only thrive with transparency and accountability. Barack Obama spoke before being elected as a man who believed in these concepts; his actions since assuming office prove otherwise. America now maintains a permanent national security state and a (likely) future head of the CIA who backs torture. Jack Balkin, a liberal law professor at Yale, recently told the New Yorker: “We are witnessing the bipartisan normalisation and legitimisation of a national-surveillance state.”

In my work over the last months:

- My appearance on ABCTV News24′s The Drum talking about the death of Bin Laden and what it means for Muslim resistance.

- Article on ABC online about what Bin Laden’s murder tells us about our violent post 9/11 world (this article was attacked in Murdoch’s Australian newspaper as embracing nihilism and undermining Western civilisation. Really).

- Recent speech, alongside Al-Jazeera reporter Matthew Cassel, on the political and social significance of the Arab revolutions.

- Appearance on ABCTV News 24′s The Drum talking climate change and Gaza flotilla 2.

- Essay in literary journal Overland on the politics of literary festivals and the reasons why abuses in Sri Lanka and Palestine must not be ignored. ABC published a shorter version and Overland published an interview with me about the essay’s issues.

- Article in Australian magazine New Matilda on Barack Obama’s recent Middle East related speeches and his unwillingness to support the Palestinian cause.

- Essay in literary journal Overland about Omar Barghouti’s new book on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and the moral and legal case for enforcing international law.

- I appeared at the recent Sydney Writer’s Festival alongside Palestinian doctor Izzaldin Abuelaish, American journalist Mike Otterman and others. Because I didn’t praise Israel enough (or at all, actually), I was attacked by the Zionist lobby.

- Book review in the Sydney Morning Herald of The Net Delusion on the role of the internet in repressive regimes.

- Attending the Celebrate Israel day in New York.

- Interview in Electronic Intifada about Palestine, boycotts and the Middle East.

- Reviewing Terrence Malick’s new film masterpiece, The Tree of Life.

- Open letter to the Chinese government from the Australian cultural community demanding the release of famed artist Ai Weiwei.

For a daily dose, see my website, Twitter and Facebook.

NEW YORK TIMES ATTEMPTING TO MAKE GAZA LOOK LIKE PARADISE

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Instead of presenting a TRUE picture of what Gaza is today, the New York Times has published a report today showing a Gaza that only exists in their dreams.
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Rather than describing the dire health conditions that exist because of the Israeli siege on the region, the unemployment and shortage of housing, the article speaks of an abundance of farm products and foreign cars.
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One of the quotes from the article which more or less sets the theme of it is;  “We thought about tourism and hotels and turning Gaza into the Arab Riviera.”
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The article itself, A Bountiful Harvest, Rooted in a Former Settlement’s Soil, written by Ethan Bronner can be read HERE. The timing of the article is nothing short of hasbara’s m/o of trying to undermine the efforts of the Humanitarian Aid Flotilla that WILL BE HEADING TO GAZA in a few days. Once again grasping at straws to show the world that their mission is nothing short of a provocation towards Israel and totally unnecessary.
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The Israeli zionist press was quick to jump on the Times report as if it was the evidence needed to prove their point. A Ynet report today, The untold story of Gaza’s bloom, sites the Bronner article as if it were the truth, when in reality, nothing could be further than that. One of Bronner’s claims is that  “the siege on goods is now 60% to 70% over.” In other words, why the Flotilla? The Ynet report can be read HERE. Notice that the article mentions that Bronner is in Gaza, indicating that Israel’s ban on foreign journalists there does not apply to zionists.
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It has become apparent by zionism’s ‘fightback’ that it is not only the siege of Gaza that is being challenged by the Floitilla, it is the occupation of Palestine itself. Watch the following to see how far Israel is willing to go to stop the boats from entering Gaza’s shores…
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Read the following as well to see how zionism’s influence on world politics has turned into a
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A Pattern of Abuse Against American Citizens  (from THIS report)
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In coming days, ten ships will take part in a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Among the ships will be the U.S.-flagged “Audacity of Hope,” carrying 36 U.S. citizens. Last year, the Israeli navy attacked a previous humanitarian flotilla in international waters, killing nine passengers, including one American.

Passengers on the “Audacity of Hope” have contacted the State Department, the White House, and members of Congress to notify them of the flotilla. They have urged the government to work to ensure the safety and free passage of the ships and to warn Israel against attacking unarmed civilian vessels with U.S. citizens on board who are exercising their legal rights. Instead, the State Department – whose mission in part is to protect and assist U.S. citizens traveling abroad – has issued numerous statements labeling the flotilla as an “irresponsible and provocative” action that risk[s] the safety of their passengers” and “creat[es] a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves”. The administration has also alluded to prosecuting the passengers, who will be delivering thousands of letters of solidarity and friendship to the people of Gaza, for providing material support to a designated terrorist organization. [3]

Though Israeli state violence against foreign nationals is often portrayed as an aberration, over the past 8 years alone, Israel has killed and/or severely injured a number of American citizens. Below are 10 such examples:

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Furkan Dogan
Troy, NY
19 year-old American Furkan Dogan was on the Mavi Marmara, a 600-passenger ship sailing as part of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid. In the early hours of May 31st, 2010, Israeli commandos dropped onto the ship in international waters and attempted to commandeer it, leading to a struggle for control of the ship. Among others, Dogan was shot at close range with 4 bullets to the head and 1 to the chest.


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Emily Henochowicz
New York, NY
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(After attack)
On May 31st, 2010 21-year old Emily Henochowicz was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint. Henochowicz was taking part in a demonstration against the widely-condemned Israeli attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla. As a result of the attack, Emily lost her left eye.


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Tristan Anderson
Oakland, CA
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(After attack)
On March 13th, 2009 in the Palestinian village of Ni’lin, American peace activist Tristan Anderson was critically injured after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear-gas canister. Anderson, 37 years old and from California, was taken to Israeli hospital Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv.He was unconscious and bleeding heavily from the nose and mouth. He sustained a large hole in the right part of his forehead where he was struck by a tear gas canister. After 15 months in Tel Hashomer, some of that time in a coma, and at least one surgery, Tristan recently returned to his home in Northern California, still quasi-paralyzed.


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Brian Avery
Albuquerque, NM
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(After attack)
On April 5, 2003, Israeli troops shot peace activist Brian Avery in Jenin. Avery, a 24-year-old American citizen from Albuquerque, New Mexico, experienced serious wounds to his face after Israeli troops shot at him with heavy machine gun fire from an armored personnel carrier (APC).There were no reports of clashes on the street where the shooting took place and Avery was clearly marked as an observer. Avery’s cheek was torn and his eye socket and jaw bones were smashed, leading to at least 6 rounds of surgery. In a rare occurrence in November 2008, the Israeli government paid Avery $150,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against them.


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Rachel Corrie
Olympia, WA
On March 16th, 2003 in Rafah, occupied Gaza, 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie from Olympia, Washington, was murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver. Rachel was in Gaza opposing the bulldozing of a Palestinian home as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement.According to a Palestine Monitor report of the incident, “Other foreigners who were with her said the driver of the bulldozer was aware that Rachel was there, and continued to destroy the house. Initially he dropped sand and other heavy debris on her, then the bulldozer pushed her to the ground where it proceeded to drive over her, fracturing both of her arms, legs and skull.”

Zaid Khalil
New York, NY
In April of 2002, while participating in a peaceful march along with other internationals in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, New York City resident Zaid Khalil was struck in the leg as Israeli soldiers opened fire.


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Lucas Koerner
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During Arrest
On June 1, 2011, 19-year-old Tufts University student Lucas Koerner was assaulted and arrested by Israeli police while he peacefully protested the annual Jerusalem Day march, an official Israeli holiday when Israelis parade through occupied East Jerusalem to celebrate its 1967 occupation by Israel. Police grabbed, punched, choked and then threw Koerner to the ground. After being arrested he was taken to the emergency room to be treated for the wounds inflicted by police.


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Munib Masri
A 22-year-old Geology student at the American University of Beirut, Munib Masri was shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli forces along the Lebanon border on May 15, 2011. Participating in a march to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba – the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel – Masri was leaving the demonstration when he was shot. Treated in a Beirut hospital, the bullet destroyed Masri’s left kidney, his spleen and broke apart in his spine. During the demonstration, eleven people were killed by Israeli forces and more than 100 wounded.


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Christopher Whitman
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Whitman’s injury
On May 13, 2011, 25-year-old Christopher Whitman, a Master’s student of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at Hebrew University, was shot in the head at close range with a high-velocity tear gas canister by Israeli Border Police. He was in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, at the weekly nonviolent demonstration against the construction of Israel’s separation wall in the village. That week’s demonstration also commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba – the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the establishment of Israel. Whitman was treated at Ramallah Hospital.


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Sandra Quintano After assault
On May 1, 2011, Sandra Quintano, 60, was assaulted by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Izbet al-Tabib in the Qalqilya district during a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a fence which would cut off villagers’ access to their land. She suffered a gash to the top of her head and both her wrists were broken, one severely. She was treated in an Israeli hospital and continues to undergo physical therapy in the U.S.
*The above are just a few of the truths that apparently are not considered ‘news that is fit to print’ in the pages of the New York Times or other outlets that obviously are serving the interests of zionism, not the readership. Again, once again pointing out the importance and strength of the blogesphere.

AN EXERCISE IN DEMOCRACY IN ITS VERY BIRTHPLACE

Greece, the birthplace of Democracy, is in upheaval today as workers begin a 48 hour General Strike throughout the nation.
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Amidst the crisis sit our Gazabound activists who show their support to the Greek people as they themselves prepare to leave on a mission that will hopefully bring change and Democracy to their destination.
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Democracy Now was there as well to cover the events….
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FLOTILLA UPDATES; SABOTAGE AND VICTORY

A scuba diver who examines the ship on a daily basis discovered Monday that the ship’s propeller shaft, which connects the transmission inside the vessel directly to the propeller, was cut off.
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Irish Boat to Gaza ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Gaza flotilla activists: One of our ships was sabotaged

Israeli activist says his ship, which is docked in Greece’s Piraeus port, was found with its propeller shaft broken which he believes was a deliberate attempt at sabotage.

By Amira Hass

One of the ships due to participate in the Gaza flotilla was deliberately tampered with while it was docked in Greece’s Piraeus port, Gaza flotilla activists told Haaretz on Monday.

The ship, due to carry Greek, Norwegian, and Swedish passengers to Gaza, was found  with its propeller shaft broken, the ship’s spokesman Israeli activist Dror Feiler told Haaretz.

A scuba diver who examines the ship on a daily basis discovered Monday that the ship’s propeller shaft, which connects the transmission inside the vessel directly to the propeller, was cut off.

According to Feiler, there is no doubt that the action was a deliberate attempt at sabotage, which he believed also violated Greece’s sovereignty.

Even though the problem can be fixed, it is still unclear how long it would take, especially with Greece’s recently declared general strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This action adds to a series of delays that have kept the Gaza flotilla from sailing, including Greece’s determination to carry out additional non-routine examinations on several of the ships.

Earlier Monday, organizers of the Gaza flotilla accused Israel of pressuring Greece to halt the ships’ departure.

American activist Ann Wright told a news conference that Israel is mounting a “tremendous diplomatic offensive” to prevent the flotilla from setting sail.

Organizers urged the Greek government in a statement not to “become complicit in Israel’s illegal actions by succumbing to this pressure.”

Written FOR

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Meanwhile….
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Protesters urge Israel to lift Gaza blockade

Israel vows to stop international activists from breaking the siege on the Gaza Strip.
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Israel’s security cabinet has voted to prevent an international flotilla from reaching Gaza, by any means possible.

The group of boats is due to leave Greece in a few days. Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, says any resulting confrontation will be the responsibility of the organisers.

The Freedom Flotilla II is part of the “Free Gaza movement” – a coalition of human rights groups which sends ships to break Israel’s strict naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. In 2008 it successfully entered Gaza five times.

However, the movement has been intercepted on the past four voyages – including the lethal attack by Israeli forces on the Freedom Flotilla last year on May 31.

Nine people, mostly Turkish activists, were killed and many more injured.

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Philips reports from the Greek capital, Athens.

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Source
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One Small Victory as Israel steps back a bit….
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Netanyahu rescinds decision to sanction journalists on board Gaza flotilla

PM changes tack: Israel won’t deport, bar foreign journalists aboard Gaza-bound vessels.

After a day in which every single news media outlet in the world seemed to weigh in, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rescinded a Government Press Office decision to sanction any foreign journalist who participates in the Gaza Strip flotilla.

GPO director Oren Helman had announced on Sunday that any foreign journalist on the flotilla would be treated as an illegal infiltrator, meaning they would be deported and then barred from entering Israel for 10 years. But yesterday Netanyahu’s bureau issued a press release rescinding that decision.

“When the matter was brought to his attention, the prime minister directed that the regular policy against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally not be implemented,” the terse statement said. “It has also been agreed that members of the Israeli and international media will be attached to Israel Navy vessels in order to create transparency and credible coverage of the events.”

The Foreign Press Association, which had condemned Sunday’s decision for sending “a chilling message to the international media” that “raises serious questions about Israel’s commitment to freedom of the press,” welcomed yesterday’s reversal.

“We are pleased to see that Israel has recognized the value of allowing reporters to cover an important news event, and understands that journalists should be treated differently from political activists,” it said in a statement.

Sebastian Engelbrecht, a senior journalist from the German television network ARD, said that last year’s flotilla, in which nine people were killed, was the most widely covered news event in Germany; hence the media interest in this year’s sailing. Netanyahu, he added, did well to reverse course, as the attempt to bar journalists from covering the flotilla was “a provocation” unbefitting a democracy.

Last year’s flotilla, Engelbrecht continued, was “a terrible anti-Israel provocation,” and Israel should give thought to the mistakes it made in dealing with it. “A free press is a sign that Israel isn’t afraid and isn’t hiding anything,” he said.

Helman declined to comment yesterday.

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Source

TODAY’S IMAGE ~~ ‘THIS LAND IS MY LAND!’

 Image by Skulz Fontaine
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Click on image to enlarge
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Related….. (click on links)
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Kiryat Arba chief rabbi arrested following his support of book which justifies killing of non-Jews

Police arrest Rabbi Dov Lior for refusing to appear for questioning on his endorsement of controversial book ‘Torat Hamelech’; Lior was released after being questioned.

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And the support racism is getting…..
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Right-wing activists try to block Jerusalem entrance in protest of rabbi’s arrest

Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior was arrested earlier in day for refusing to appear for questioning on his endorsement of a book justifying the killing of non-Jews.

VOICES FROM THE FLOTILLA

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INTERVIEW: Ray McGovern US Ship, Gerry MacLochlainn Irish Ship, and IDF Colonel Avital Liebovitz

Lia Tarachansky from RealNews interviews Israeli Defence Force Lieutenant Colonel Avital Liebovitz, Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer on board the US boat to Gaza the “Audacity of Hope” and Gerry MacLochlainn, an Irish politician, on board the Irish boat the MV Saoirse.

Flotilla members spoke about the pressure the US and Israeli government put on Mediterranean countries to stop the Flotilla from sailing. Lieutenant Colonel Avital Liebovitz states that the IDF will avoid “personal contact” with passengers on the Flotilla.

 

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Passengers on the Irish Ship to Gaza add their voices as well….
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MESSAGES FROM THE MV SAOIRSE

Irish Ship to Gaza passengers John Mallon, Phil McCullough and Charlie McMenamin send messages from on board the MV Saoirse:

Message from Belfast Friends of Palestine committee member John Mallon:

Well folks hope you are all good, everythıng ıs goıng well over here we are wıth the rest of our friends and comrades onboard the MV Saoirse. The Irısh flag ıs flyıng ın the wınd on your shıp which was paid for by the people of Ireland North and South. Please come out and support our comrades ın Derry and Belfast on Tuesday and Wednesday and above all else, STAY HUMAN :)

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The passengers on board the MV Saoirse are asking for your support back home. Please, take ONE minute out of your day and ring the office of Eamon Gilmore, Tánaiste and Foreign Minister, to protest against the Israelis stopping our people from sailing. Tell him loud and clear to deliver a message to the Israelis to “LET THEM SAIL”

Eamon Gilmore’s office
+353 1 618 4037
Email:
eamon.gilmore@oireachtas.irlgov.ie

All of the above via Derry Friends of Palestine

 

THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK

Trying to kill two birds with one stone; the LGBT Rights Movement and the Gaza bound Flotilla…
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Israel is taking advantage of a new phenomenon by engaging in an on-line ‘Pinkwashing‘ campaign. As was reported on this site earlier today, ISRAEL GRASPING AT STRAWS TO STOP THE FLOTILLAS, the following just might be the straw needed to ‘break the camel’s back.’
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Israeli actor in anti-Gaza Flotilla pinkwashing video identified

Submitted by Benjamin Doherty

The disillusioned “gay activist” called “Marc” who appeared in a YouTube video condemning the Gaza Freedom Flotilla for alleged homophobia, that was tweeted by the Israeli Government Press Office, has been identified as an Israeli called Omer Gershon.

This definitely proves that the video is either a hoax or a piece of propaganda designed to discredit the flotilla and use a mask of concern for gay rights to pinkwash Israel and justify the persecution of Palestinians in Gaza.

Last night The Electronic Intifada confirmed that one of the first people to tweet the video was Guy Seemann, a staffer in the office of the Israeli prime minister.

The following images clearly identify Gershon by his face and tattoos.

Gershon, as an Israeli, could not possibly have been so naive as “Marc” claimed to be in the video about either the flotilla or the situation in Gaza. It is puzzling that a piece of propaganda that was meant to pass as the genuine work of an activist previously uninformed about the situation in Palestine would use a figure who is fairly well-known in the Israeli gay scene.

Gershon has been profiled in leading Israeli publications such as Haaretz, Maariv and Ynet (here and here).

A 2008 report gave his age as 33 and said he lived in Tel Aviv. Gershon was described as a “producer, entrepreneur, and PR manager for clubs.” Gershon says he went to school in New York where he got a degree in marketing and advertising at the age of 25 and lived there for almost four years. He also said he had volunteered for IGY (the youth LGBT organization in Israel) and a women’s rights org called “Ladies Circle.”

In 2011, he appeared in a promotional video for XL Energy Drink featuring a man beating a Muslim woman.

Questions still remain about who commissioned the “Marc” video and the role of the Israeli government in disseminating it. Is this official Israeli government propaganda?

Postscript

We thought it was important to debunk this project for a few reasons. The message of the video—however clumsy, transparent and fradulent—attacked Palestine solidarity actions and tried to undermine the relationships the Palestine solidarity movement has with other movements and activists such as LGBT rights. It may have also had intelligence gathering objectives. In the YouTube video description, “Marc” explicitly asked people to write to him. “Let me know if you’ve had similar experiences- marc3pax@gmail.com.” It is hard to believe anyone might have written to “Marc” sincerely offering information about LGBT and Palestine solidarity activists and organizations, but the creators of this video clearly invited such contacts.

Written FOR

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Max Blumenthal adds the following…
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Israel Law Center behind harassment of flotilla funded by homophobic End Timer Pastor John Hagee

Pastor John Hagee is a major financial supporter of Shurat Hadin, the Israel Law Center behind the legal campaign against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Pastor John Hagee is a major financial supporter of Shurat Hadin, the Israel Law Center behind the legal campaign against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

On June 24, Joseph Dana, a journalist who will traveling aboard the US boat to Gaza, discovered that an anonymous private legal complaint had been filed against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The complaint alleged that US boat, “The Audacity of Hope,” was not sea worthy and therefore was unfit to sail. In response, the harbor master in Athens, Greece, where the boat was docked, told the crew that he could not allow them to leave until the complaint was resolved.

Two days later, the Israel Law Center, Shurat Hadin, accepted responsibility for the complaint, which was essentially a baseless but startlingly successful exercise in legal harassment. Who is Shurat Hadin, and what is their agenda? According to the group’s website, Shurat Hadin is a Tel Aviv-based law center that specializes in lawsuits against “terrorists.” Its founder, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, describes herself in her bio as a “human rights activist.”

Darshan-Leitner began her harassment of the US boat to Gaza began weeks ago when it filed a civil action against “perceived supporters of Hamas” on behalf of Alan Bauer, an American doctor who was injured along with his son in a 2002 Jerusalem bombing attack. The action also threatened maritime insurance companies with legal consequences if they insured any of the boats involved in the flotilla.

I have discovered that a major donor to Shurat Hadin is the homophobic far-right Pastor John Hagee. In March 2010, I reported that Hagee appeared beside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a major rally in Jerusalem to denounce the two state solution and announce the financial contributions he and his supporters were making to Israeli organizations. Among the organizations Hagee said he had bankrolled was Shurat Hadin.

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Read the rest HERE

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Despite all of the above, PASSENGERS ON THE AUDACITY OF HOPE NOW CONFIDENT GREEK AUTHORITIES WILL ALLOW U.S. BOAT TO SAIL

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U.S. BOAT TO GAZA RESPONDS TO REPORTS THAT ISRAELI “LAWFARE” GROUP FILED COMPLAINT DELAYING DEPARTURE OF BOAT 

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Athens – Passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, said news reports that an Israeli “lawfare” group, Shurat HaDin, is behind the complaint delaying the departure of the U.S. boat from Greece substantiate the Americans’ assertions that the complaint is frivolous. The passengers expressed confidence that Greek authorities will now quickly dispense with the complaint and allow The Audacity of Hope to sail.

On Sunday, June 26, the Jerusalem Post reported: “Sources in the Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) on Sunday took responsibility for lodging an anonymous civil complaint against the American-flagged ship, The Audacity of Hope, which is a part of the flotilla expected to sail towards Gaza later this week, Army Radio reported.” The Israeli group is known for making frivolous legal complaints against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

“We reiterate that the boat we are leasing for this journey, after its refitting for the voyage to Gaza, was surveyed by a professional surveyor and successfully completed its sea trials,” said Ann Wright, an organizer and passenger on the U.S. boat. “There is no reason for any further delays on this matter, we are ready to sail.”

 

‘LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING’ ….. AWAY FROM RACISM

Many Israeli publications have ads in them advertising ‘Jewish Only Labour’, one being the local version of the Yellow Pages. This practice is now under fire as Civil Rights Organisations attempt to boot those businesses in question.
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If there are indeed businesses that in practice intentionally refrain from employing members of minorities, in order to employ Jews exclusively, this a racist act that is contrary to the law and Golden Pages denounces it.”
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Israeli group urges yellow pages to boot businesses advertising Jewish-only labor

Golden Pages distances itself from businesses’ ads, denounces ‘racist’ practice of excluding Arabs from jobs.

Israel’s version of the Yellow Pages allows businesses to advertise Jewish-only labor in its phone directories, according to a complaint filed by a local umbrella group for civil rights organizations.

The group, Shutafut-Sharakah, approached the Israel Golden Pages (Dapey Zahav ) CEO, Nir Lampert, with a request to remove from the directory businesses that advertise “avodah Ivrit” or Hebrew labor, and to refrain from letting them advertise in the future.

According to the group, even if these businesses do not specifically say so, it is clear that they discriminate against Arabs.

The forum also contacted the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry’s supervisor of labor laws, Koby Suweid, and asked him to step in.

A Haaretz survey of several of the businesses offering Jewish labor found that they offer their customers the option of choosing Jewish labor exclusively.

However, businesses noted that they also employ Arabs.

“If you specify, Jewish labor, then yes, only Jews will come,” said a representative of Beitar Moving, which operates in the Beit Shemesh area.

A representative of A.S. Plumbing, which also operates there, said in a conversation with Haaretz that only Jewish laborers will be dispatched to the home of a customer who requests it.

Ron Gerlitz, the co-executive director of Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel, is leading the effort against the directory.

According to him, the yellow pages cannot avoid responsibility for the content of the ads: “This is a really terrible thing. The Arab citizen who sees ‘avodah Ivrit,’ what does he understand from this? ‘They don’t want me here,’” he said.

Shutafut-Sharakah launched an Internet campaign in an attempt to pressure the Golden Pages to remove the ads. At the same time, they are also considering legal action.

“The mere statement by business owners, employers that they are ‘free’ of everything that is non-Jewish, this means that they are violating the equal employment opportunity law,” said attorney Sawsan Zaher, the director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights. According to her, the Golden Pages also bears responsibility.

Golden Pages said in response that the phone directory never had and does not have a category for “Avoda Ivrit” or “Blue and White.”

“The Golden Pages directory includes people and companies registered under those names with the Justice Ministry’s Registrar of companies, and some that added those words to their commercial name, or to the content of the ad they chose. The Golden Pages itself as the publisher of phone directories has nothing to do with the use of these terms. If there are indeed businesses that in practice intentionally refrain from employing members of minorities, in order to employ Jews exclusively, this a racist act that is contrary to the law and Golden Pages denounces it.”

 

Source

 

ISRAEL GRASPING AT STRAWS TO STOP THE FLOTILLAS

Israel has been open about its intentions to stop the flotilla using any means possible — including diplomatic avenues, lawsuits, and a media smear campaign. …. INCLUDING LIES
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Complaint against US boat threatens Gaza voyage
By Mya Guarnieri
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ATHENS, Greece  Organizers of the second Freedom Flotilla say that an administrative complaint has been filed against the US Boat to Gaza, claiming that the vessel is not seaworthy.
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This could delay or altogether prevent the “Audacity of Hope” from leaving Athens.

The harbor master received notification of the complaint Thursday afternoon, two days after a group of suspicious persons showed up at the ship and began asking questions of the crew members, at one point offering money for the members to leave the ship unattended.

The complainant is unknown and a Greek lawyer representing the flotilla is working to obtain more details.

Israel has been open about its intentions to stop the flotilla using any means possible — including diplomatic avenues, lawsuits, and a media smear campaign.

Also Thursday, Greek port authorities made the unusual move of advising ship captains to steer clear of the coordinates that correspond with Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.

The advisory included the warning, “Continuous electronic surveillance of the region of East Mediterranean will also take place in order to record, wherever possible, the movements of ships that will possibly participate in such an action.”

Both moves came in the wake of a US Department of State travel warning, issued Wednesday, which appeared designed to dissuade American activists from challenging Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea,” the travel warning reads. “Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel.”

Speaking to reporters Thursday, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton remarked that the American leaders do not consider the flotilla “a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza.”

She added that the flotilla creates “a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.”

The one-two punch of the US government’s attempts to distance itself from its citizens, and the administrative complaint filed against the US Boat to Gaza, spurred American participants to pay a visit to their embassy in Athens on Thursday afternoon.

As the group made their way through the city to the metro, Medea Benjamin — the Jewish-American co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink — discussed the change of events with Ma’an.

“The statements that have come out of the State Department and Hillary Clinton’s statement have been atrocious because it assumes that Israel has the right to attack unarmed civilians who are on a humanitarian mission and that US has no control over Israel.”

Benjamin, a petite blonde with large brown eyes said the US had “no influence over this country that is our ‘best’ ally and that [America gives] $3 billion a year to? In addition to that that Israel says it has a right to protect itself from us? From us? I mean we’re taking letters, for God’s sake. And look at us — we are no threat to Israel’s security.”

More than half of the activists on the Audacity of Hope are women. Nearly 30 percent of the group is Jewish. Many of the participants are middle-aged or elderly. And the only cargo on the US Boat to Gaza is letters of support written to the Palestinian people.

“We are traveling on a mission that is seen in the eyes of most of the world as something that is worthy of the legacy of Martin Luther King,” Benjamin commented. “We are the freedom riders of this era.”

She called on the US government to put the safe passage of American citizens over the perceived interests of Israel, adding that it is Israeli policies that endanger Israel’s security.

Once inside the US embassy, the 36 American citizens sat in plastic chairs in a large waiting area of the visa section. It was off-hours and the clerks’ windows were empty.

One by one, participants gave their name, hometown, and asked the two US officials standing before them for their unequivocal support.

When an activist remarked that she didn’t expect the US government to help, an embassy official laughed and responded, “That’s a good expectation.”

Alice Walker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet, commented, “I grew up in the South under segregation, under the state terrorism of apartheid. When I was in the West Bank and Gaza recently, it was like stepping back into that.”

Walker added that she didn’t want Palestinian children “to grow up feeling inferior.”

“Humanity cannot bear this,” she said, adding that Israel’s policies are harmful to the Jewish people and that she viewed the attempt to break the blockade as a move that benefits both the Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking to US officials, Hedy Epstein, an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, remarked, “I want to talk to you on a compassionate level. I’m Jewish, I was born in Germany, I left when I was 14 years old. My parents perished in the Holocaust.”

The Gaza Strip under Israeli blockade, Epstein continued, “is the largest open air prison in the world.” She mentioned the students who are unable to reach their universities and the residents who can’t get adequate medical care.

“Israel says it’s out of Gaza but it controls the air, land, and sea,” Epstein said. “And what are we bringing? Letters. So let us go.”

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Reporting in HaAretz, Gaza bound Amira Hass reports the following today;
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In preparations for Gaza Flotilla, passengers briefed how to face Israeli soldiers
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Based on the experience of previous Gaza-bound boats, with the exception of the Mavi Marmara, the lecturer presents the options. “On deck you will be exposed to a few minutes of physical violence from the soldiers that will feel like a few hours,” he says.
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Read the article HERE
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Joseph Dana has a report today on +972;
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Israel warns journalists against covering the Flotilla

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Journalists from CBS, CNN, The New York Times, Democracy Now and The Nation (I am on assignment for the Nation) will be on board the US boat to Gaza, set to sail later this week from Greece. Previously, Israel warned activists on board the boat that they will be subject to a ten year ban from the State of Israel if the boats are intercepted by the state of Israel.

In a bold statement, the government of Israel has now extended the same warning to the press wishing to cover the flotilla. It has also stated that equipment will be impounded and additional fines could be levied against any journalists on board. Israel has said that it will ‘embed’ members of the press on Israeli navy ships sent to intercept the boats.  Army commandos are also being equipped with advanced recording devices to film any raids that take place aboard the flotilla ships. Israel has not released any footage collected by activists– it has confiscated all footage and has subsequently ‘lost’ all of the footage collected– on last year’s flotilla.

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Read the rest HERE

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Joseph speaks to Al Jazeera about the mission below …

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DESPICABLE ‘PINKWASHING’ ISRAELI LINKED TO PM’s OFFICE

Anti-Flotilla video fraud linked to PM Netanyahu’s office, official Israeli hasbara agents

 By Max Blumenthal
What is Netanyahu aide Guy Seemann's role in the anti-flotilla pinkwashing hoax?

What is Netanyahu aide Guy Seemann’s role in the anti-flotilla pinkwashing hoax?

As the new Free Gaza flotilla prepares to sail to Gaza, a suspicious video has emerged by an unknown “gay rights activist” claiming that he was rejected by the flotilla activists because of his sexuality. The anonymous activist, who had no previous online history, produced no evidence to support his claim. Within minutes, Benjamin Doherty — the man who helped expose our friend Tom MacMaster — was able to cast serious doubt on the video’s authenticity. It appeared pretty clear that the video was a pinkwashing hoax.

Since then, Doherty and I have gathered evidence suggesting that the video has links to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, or is at least being promoted through an official government hasbara operation.

The video was promoted early on — if not initially — by someone named Neil Lazarus, who shared it on Facebook (see screenshots here and here). I happened to have met Neil Lazarus during my Taglit/Birthright Israel trip in 2001. Lazarus was brought before my group to present the Israeli government’s hasbara and to demonize the Palestinian Authority. He was as slick as any good used car salesman. Since then, Lazarus has become a major figure in the world of hasbara. From Neil’s bio:

His client list is extensive and includes; The Prime Minister’s Office, The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Israeli Ministry of Tourism, Jewish Federations…

He acted as the Israel advocacy policy advisor for Israel’s leading reality television program, “The Ambassador

Earlier today, the Israeli Government Press Office promoted the apparent hoax video on Twitter. In the tweet, @GPOIsrael cited @guyseemann. I headed over to Guy Seemann’s twitter feed and found that he had only tweeted one item in his entire history: the pinkwashing anti-flotilla hoax. In fact, Seemann only joined Twitter on June 15, 2011. Then I took a look at Guy Seemann’s bio:

Guy Seemann studied government, international policy, philosophy and physics at American University in Washington, DC. Before moving to Israel, Guy worked for United States Senator Robert Menendez, and then as a special projects coordinator in the North Eastern campaign for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Since the campaign and moving to Israel, Guy was awarded a fellowship to work with international journalists and diplomats at the Prime Minister’s Office, served as the international director for Lev Echad, and volunteered for the IDF. Guy will soon begin a new job at the Prime Minister’s National Security Council working on Iranian, US and UN policy.

Why would the Israeli GPO have tweeted at Guy Seemann, a Netanyahu aide who seems to have created a Twitter account for the sole purpose of promoting the pinkwashing hoax? And what was Seemann’s role in the video’s creation? How did Lazarus know about the video before it had garnered any media interest — and only a small handful of hits? These questions remain unanswered. However, the video’s promotion by an exclusive cadre of official Israeli hasbara entities and figures suggest the hoax was part of a desperate government operation designed to discredit the Free Gaza flotilla. I will be updating here as I learn more.

Posted AT

THREE BRAVE ISRAELIS BOUND FOR GAZA

Three Israelis who care enough to try and make a difference; I am speaking about those that are about to sail to Gaza on the Humanitarian Flotillas…. despite threats from both the Israeli and US governments …
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The first is Yonatan Shapira, a crew member on the Audacity of Hope ….
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In his own words … I was a captain in the Israeli Air Force and a Black-Hawk Pilot until 2003 when together with other pilots I initiated the pilots’ letter and refused to take part in the crimes of the occupation. Today I am a member of Boycott, a group of Israeli citizens who are actively supporting the Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions from within. I have a Master degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, I facilitate dialogue groups and volunteer as a sailing instructor for children with disabilities. I’ve been sailing since I was a child and in September of 2010 I was a crew member on the Jewish boat to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli Navy. I work as a commercial pilot in the US and am still dreaming to be a musician.
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The second is Amira Hass, journalist for HaAretz. Her work frequently appears on this site. She is a passenger on board the Canadian ship to Gaza, ‘The Tahrir’, named after the now famous Square in Egypt.
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Her first report, Fear and no clean clothing: Amira Hass preparing to sail for Gaza can be read HERE.
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Last, but not least is a dear friend, another frequent contributor to this Blog, Joseph Dana. Joseph has joined the passengers on the American Boat as well. His first report from Athens can be read HERE.
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About Joseph; (from his Blog) Joseph Dana, a journalist and writer based in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, is a contributing editor to the independent web magazine +972. His work has appeared in The Nation, Le Monde Diplomatique, The National, Tablet Magazine, Al Jazeera English The Jewish Daily Forward and Haaretz. His reporting from the West Bank has been cited in the New York Times, the Guardian and the BBC. Dana is a regular media commentator with appearances on Al Jazeera English, BBC Arabic and National Public Radio.
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A recent interview with Al Jazeera …
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REPORTING LIVE FROM THE AID FLOTILLA

Despite the presence of former State Department official Wright and former CIA officer Ray McGovern, the US government has largely bowed to Israeli pressure over the flotilla. Issuing a rare maritime warning this week to American vessels traveling near Gaza, Washington has effectively distanced itself from offering protection to its citizens if they are attacked by Israel on the open sea. The import of the message is, “We warned you not to go.”

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With the Gaza Aid Flotilla

By Joseph Dana
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Amid the economic and social upheaval of Greece’s beleaguered capital city, where demonstrators have been protesting government-imposed austerity measures, forty activists from across the United States began training this week to nonviolently confront the Israeli military blockade of Gaza. The Americans are part of a flotilla of ten ships—from France, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Greece, Sweden and other countries—planning to set out for Gaza’s main seaport in the next week to relieve the siege.

With an age gap of sixty years between the youngest and oldest passenger, the diverse group of Americans have taken over a hotel in a trendy Athens neighborhood for days of nonviolence training and preparation.

Israel has stated that it will enforce its naval blockade by any political, military and economic measures at its disposal. This week it submitted an urgent request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking for international cooperation in stopping the flotilla. Ban embraced the Israeli government’s position, arguing in a public statement that aid should be delivered to Gaza only through “legitimate crossings and established channels,” all of which are controlled by Israel. Ban added that the flotilla is not helpful in assisting the economy of Gaza and encouraged organizers to cancel their voyage.

According to flotilla organizers, who are reticent about their sources, Israel has been meeting with Greek officials in a bid to persuade them to block Gaza-bound ships leaving from their ports. Israel, organizers say, could use economic incentives at a delicate time of EU-imposed austerity to put pressure on Athens. In recent years Greece and Israel have expanded trade ties, have carried out joint air force exercises and have begun discussions on a joint pipeline project that would exploit vast new Israeli natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Israel has pulled out the stops in trying to get the flotilla to stop before it begins by threatening the Greek economy,“ said Ann Wright, a retired State Department official and former Army colonel who is the main organizer of the US boat to Gaza. Sitting in the lobby of the noisy Athens hotel, she added, “Greece is caught in the middle. There is tremendous public support for the flotilla, but the government is getting pounded by the Israelis.” Not naming her sources, Wright, visibly exhausted from a year of organizing for the flotilla, contended that “Israel is going to try to sink the Greek economy if they allow the flotilla to sail from Greek ports.”

In response to the growing pressure, the Greek foreign ministry released a public statement on June 22 regarding its own citizens sailing with the flotilla. According to the statement, the ministry “urges Greek citizens as well as Greek-registered vessels not to participate in the new flotilla headed for the Gaza port.”

“Everything is explained in great detail,” foreign ministry spokesman Georgy Delavekouras told me over the phone from his office in Athens, referring to the statement. However, the statement is vague and does not say whether Greece will stop Gaza-bound ships registered in other countries.

Confirming that meetings between Greece and Israel have taken place recently over “many issues, including the flotilla,” Delavekouras said the Israeli government has not applied economic pressure. When pressed on the nature of the Israeli-Greek discussions, he simply referred to the statement.

Israel is doing everything possible to avoid a repeat of last year’s flotilla debacle, when Israeli commandos stormed the largest of six boats, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, and killed nine passengers, including one Turkish-American citizen, as they seized control of the ship.

Last week Turkish organizers pulled out of this year’s flotilla, citing “technical problems.” Flotilla organizers in Greece believe Israeli diplomatic and military pressure was the primary motivation for the cancellation. Citing internal discussions with their Turkish counterparts, flotilla organizers believe the Turkish government intervened directly to block the Mavi Marmara after negotiations with Israel.

Writing in the English-language Turkish daily Hurriyet on Monday, columnist Semih Idiz argued that the Turkish government probably did intervene to stop the Mavi Marmara’s participation, even though both the government and the IHH, the Islamic charity sponsoring the boat, have denied it. Citing growing tensions on the Turkey-Syria border, Idiz argued that Ankara is simply not prepared for a fresh crisis with Israel, especially since the two countries have been working to mend ties since last year’s disaster. While speculative, his analysis is echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent calls for the need to repair Turkish-Israeli relations.

Regardless of the pressure, the American boat, dubbed the Audacity of Hope after the title of President Obama’s autobiography, is determined to sail from an undisclosed Greek port with its passengers, among them Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker and 87-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein. Unlike other ships in the flotilla, the US boat will be carrying only personal letters from American citizens to Gaza Palestinians. Boats from Ireland, Canada, France and Greece will be carrying goods ranging from medical supplies to sewage repair systems. The American boat, and perhaps some of the others, will be outfitted with advanced satellite communications systems that—if Israel does not jam them—will allow passengers to use social media platforms such as Twitter directly from the boat.

Despite the presence of former State Department official Wright and former CIA officer Ray McGovern, the US government has largely bowed to Israeli pressure over the flotilla. Issuing a rare maritime warning this week to American vessels traveling near Gaza, Washington has effectively distanced itself from offering protection to its citizens if they are attacked by Israel on the open sea. The import of the message is, “We warned you not to go.”

On the top deck of a recently refurbished ferryboat, the enormity of the upcoming voyage was visible on many of the US passengers’ faces. They busied themselves with tasking who would be cooking, maintaining lookout and helping with the upkeep of the ship while on the sea, but the nervous excitement of the pending journey was difficult for most to conceal.

“If the Israeli public could look around and see these wonderful people going on this boat, I think they would take pause and wonder what it is that Israel is doing in Gaza that has caused these types of people to risk their lives in challenging it,” Code Pink and Global Exchange founder Medea Benjamin noted on a bus ride through Athens. “I’m scared about going on this boat because I know the Israelis might attack us and my American passport is not going to protect me, but at the same time I feel incredibly privileged.”

During an intense day of nonviolence training in a dank underground karate studio in Athens, US passengers watched graphic videos of the Israeli raid last year on the Mavi Marmara. Anticipating how the Israeli navy will attempt to take over the Audacity of Hope, the organizers rehearsed violent scenarios in which Israeli soldiers beat passengers as they boarded the ship.

“We are making sure that the passengers will be able to stay calm in whatever scenario they face as they approach Gaza,” one of the organizers remarked in a break from the training. She added that the most important objective is that passengers remain nonviolent even if the Israelis provoke them with attack dogs, tear gas or—in the worst case—live ammunition shot from helicopters hovering above the ship.

With the participation of unarmed, older civilians, many of whom are Jewish, the Gaza flotilla may have found Israel’s Achilles heel, a way to neutralize its military prowess. The internationalization of nonviolent protest, also seen in the years-long demonstrations against Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank, is drawing worldwide attention to Israel’s occupation and control over Palestinian life. So far, Israel has shown that it is ill equipped to stop it. 

 

Written FOR

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Al Jazeera adds…

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The Stream – Freedom Flotilla 2

Israeli diplomatic and economic pressure is looming large over preparations of the second Gaza aid flotilla, set to sail from a number Greek ports at the end of the month. Israel has clearly stated that it will use every diplomatic and military avenue to maintain its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The events of the past few days in Athens confirm that Israel is making good on its claim. Learning from last year’s botched military operation against the flotilla – which left eight Turkish civilians and one Turkish-American civilian dead – Israel is seemingly applying pressure directly on the Greek government to stop the flotilla boats from setting sail.
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BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING ORDERS TO BLOCK US BOAT TO GAZA

The passengers are wondering if Israel, which has extensive economic trade and investments in Greece, is using its clout to pressure the Greek government. “Israel has said openly that it is pressuring governments to try to stop the flotilla, and clearly Greece is a key government since several of the boats plan to leave from Greece,” says passenger Medea Benajmin. “It is unconscionable that Israel would take advantage of the economic hardship the Greek people are experiencing to try to stop our boat or the flotilla.”
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GREEK OFFICIALS ATTEMPT TO BLOCK U.S. BOAT TO GAZA FROM LEAVING GREEK PORT
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PASSENGERS SUSPECT ISRAEL/US ECONOMIC PRESSURE ON BELEAGUERED GREEK GOVERNMENT

Athens – Passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, are asking Greek government officials to clarify whether the boat they are leasing is being blocked from leaving Greece because of an anonymous request of a private citizen concerning the seaworthiness of the ship or whether a political decision has been made by the Greek government in response to U.S. and Israeli government pressure. They specifically want to know if the U.S. is using its leverage at the International Monetary Fund over the implementation of an ongoing bailout of European banks with massive Greek debts to compel the Greek government to block the U.S. Boat to Gaza from leaving Greece.

On the morning of June 23, the American passengers learned that a “private complaint” had been filed against the U.S. Boat to Gaza, which is part of an international flotilla scheduled to sail to Gaza in the next few days. This complaint, its origin still unknown to the Americans, claimed that the boat is “not seaworthy” and therefore requires a detailed inspection. On June 25 a police order declared that until the complaint is resolved the boat will not be permitted to leave.

The passengers are wondering if Israel, which has extensive economic trade and investments in Greece, is using its clout to pressure the Greek government. “Israel has said openly that it is pressuring governments to try to stop the flotilla, and clearly Greece is a key government since several of the boats plan to leave from Greece,” says passenger Medea Benajmin. “It is unconscionable that Israel would take advantage of the economic hardship the Greek people are experiencing to try to stop our boat or the flotilla.”

Given the very close relationship between Israel and the U.S., and the public efforts by Israel to denounce and try to stop the flotilla, the passengers on the U.S. boat want to know if the Obama Administration is using U.S. leverage at the IMF to compel the Greek authorities to stop the U.S. boat from leaving Greece. Greece’s economic and political crisis is a result of extreme austerity measures imposed by the European Union and the largely U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund. Past U.S. governments have used their influence at the IMF to impose political conditions on indebted countries that have nothing to do with restoring economic growth.

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, said: “Greece is not going to be able to meet the targets that it is pledging to the IMF and the European authorities. In this situation the IMF and therefore the U.S. government will have enormous leverage because the Fund and EU authorities will decide what will be acceptable benchmarks for Greece to receive future tranches of IMF/EU funding.”

“We are guests here,” said Robert Naiman, a passenger on the U.S. boat. “But we ask the Greek authorities to be honest with us. What is the origin of this complaint? Is the decision to stop our boat from leaving truly due to legitimate technical issues that can be resolved, or is it a sign that our boat will be stopped from leaving no matter what we do? What is the role of the Israeli and U.S. governments in the Greek decision to stop our boat from leaving?”

“We have a right to protest the blockade of Gaza,” said Ann Wright, an organizer and passenger on the U.S. boat. “To its credit, the Greek government, like the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Oxfam, agrees with us that the blockade on Gaza must be lifted. But for years, the only effective international action to challenge the illegal blockade has been freedom flotillas. We call upon the Greek government, which agrees that our cause is just, not to stand in the way of our peaceful protest in pursuit of our shared goal of lifting the blockade. The boat we are leasing for this journey, after its refitting for the voyage to Gaza, was surveyed by a professional surveyor and successfully completed its sea trials. There is no reason for any further delays on this matter, we are ready to sail.”

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For regular updates follow the US Boat to Gaza on Twitter: http://twitter.com/usboattogaza and visit the US Boat to Gaza website.

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Also read this related post by Joseph Dana

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Greece: Israeli assault on the Flotilla is well underway

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ATHENS: Israeli diplomatic and economic pressure is looming large over preparations of the second Gaza aid flotilla, set to sail from a number Greek ports at the end of the month. Israel has clearly stated that it will use every diplomatic and military avenue to maintain its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The events of the past few days in Athens confirm that Israel is making good on its claim. Learning from last year’s botched military operation against the flotilla– which left eight Turkish civilians and one Turkish-American civilian dead– Israel is seemingly applying pressure directly on the Greek government to stop the flotilla boats from setting sail.

Early this morning, I discovered that a ‘private complaint’ had been filed against the US boat to Gaza. The complaint, it is still unclear who filed it, stated that the US boat to Gaza is not ‘sea worthy’ and requires a detailed inspection.The harbor master where the boat is in port has declared that until the compliant is resolved the boat is not permitted to leave. Currently, lawyers representing the US boat are looking into the origins of the complaint and weather it was filed as a result of Israeli economic or diplomatic pressure on the Greek government. The boat is US flagged and registered in the United States.

The government of Greece has been on the edge of collapse due to expected European Union austerity measures which are overwhelmingly unpopular among the majority of the population. Demonstrations and riots have been rocking Athens for the past two weeks. Greek officials have confirmed that Israel and Greece have met in recent days to discuss various issues including the flotilla.

Given the fact that the Greek government is fighting for its political survival, it is unlikely that Greece would bend to Israeli diplomatic pressure. However, it is more probable that Greece would bend to direct Israeli economic pressure. Israel and Greece have a strong economic relationship which includes a joint gas pipeline project in the Eastern Mediterranean.

If substantiated, rumors that Israel is threatening the Israeli-Greek trade relationship could have profound effects on the economy of Greece which, in turn, would make implementing upcoming austerity measure much more difficult. Right now, these sentiments are merely rumors and the Greek government is maintaining silence on economic relations with Israel in connection with the Flotilla. What is clear is that Flotilla ships are being targeted in Greek ports and might not sail.

10 ships are expected to sail as part of the Gaza aid flotilla. Currently three ships, including the US boat, have had complaints levied against them.  US boat organizers believe that Greece will attempt to delay the ships indefinitely by using a serious of bureaucratic measures such as endless safety checks and cargo inspections. Despite the setbacks, organizers are continuing with their nonviolence and safety training. They are hopeful that the Greek government will allow the ships to sail next week as initially planned.

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VICTORY CELEBRATION IN PALESTINE MARRED BY TEAR GAS AND LIVE BULLETS

The army had other plans. When the bulldozer approached the old fence, dozens of tear gas canisters were shot simultaneously at the crowd. Live fire was used to stop the bulldozer. A teargas grenade penetrated the driver’s cockpit.
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Among tear gas and injuries, Bil’in celebrates victory

By Noam Sheizaf
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Hundreds gathered in the West bank village to witness the removal of the Separation Wall after more than six years of protest, but the IDF was in vindictive mood

Protesters march from Bil’in to the wall, June 24 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills)

Bil’in, West Bank – It was a hot Friday in Bil’in – one of those early summer days here that remind you what to expect come August. The crowd at the village’s center was unusually large: The weekly march to the fence—a protest which made this village an international symbol of unarmed resistance—was to take the form of a celebration, after the Israeli army has began moving the infamous barrier that separated Bil’in’s people from their land.

Some context: Instead of having its separation wall on the Green Line—the internationally-recognized border until 1967—Israel decided to have it run deep into the Palestinian territory, cutting through villages and neighborhoods, separating farmers from their lands and families from their loved ones, and most important, annexing to Israel lands which had excellent market value, for their proximity to the Israeli cities along the Mediterranean coastline. Under the pretext of “security concerns,” communities like Bil’in, Nil’in and Budrus saw their fields being taken away, olive trees uprooted, and valuable land annexed to nearby settlements.

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Click HERE to continue reading and to see more photos and videos.

SEEING THE FLOTILLA AS A POLITICAL PROVOCATION

But let there be no mistake: All of us who are part of the Flotilla effort, in ways great and small, have chosen a side, and it is not theirs. We stand with the people of Palestine in their struggle for equality and self-determination. And unlike architects of Operation Cast Lead and apologists for the Nakba, we have nothing to hide.
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Of course the Flotilla is a political provocation
By Joe Catron*
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As the launch of the Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human approaches, increasing numbers of Zionist officials and commentators illuminate the depths of their moral and intellectual bankruptcy by arguing that it is a political – not humanitarian – project.

Ran Curiel, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, offers an example as good as any other. On May 10, he actually went to the trouble of calling a press conference in Strasbourg to offer this conclusion. “In our view, the flotilla is clearly a political provocation … since there’s no need for a flotilla to aid Gaza,” he said. “You can pass whatever you want to Gaza through normal channels.”

Curiel’s reasoning leaves much to be desired. Nobody seems entirely clear on what can enter Gaza through his “normal channels,” namely the Erez Crossing, and a large majority of its necessities continue to arrive at a high premium via tunnels from Egypt. And humanitarian opposition to the siege has always had more to do with its crippling effect on Gaza’s economy than its obstruction of aid. Due to the impossibility of legally importing most goods, or exporting nearly anything, unemployment now reaches 45%, and 300,000 people survive on a dollar a day.

Nevertheless, his conclusion is sound, if self-evident. The Freedom Flotilla is indeed “a political provocation.” Why shouldn’t it be? And when has it pretended to be anything else?

Like its predecessors, from the successful Free Gaza boats of 2008 to the Freedom Flotilla that suffered lethal violence by Israeli commandos in international waters last year, this Flotilla is an unabashed act of solidarity with a people fighting colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid.

The Flotilla targets the denial of Palestinian self-determination, not a humanitarian crisis. It aims to break the siege, not only because the siege causes hardship for Palestinians, but also because it obstructs their inherent rights to determine their collective destiny, and that of their historic homeland. The goal is not a reliable flow of international charity, or even a functional economy, but rather Palestinians’ sovereignty over their own coasts and territory.

Efforts to obscure these obvious truths, by holding the Flotilla to some other standard that it has never aspired to meet, are part of a Zionist “big lie,” a myth that its tellers hope will carry the weight of truth because its listeners believe it.

Zionists would have us accept that any effort not loyal to their regime must be apolitical and rooted only in charitable impulses. In the narrative they hope to spread through their frequent observations of the obvious, theirs is the only acceptable side, and strict neutrality the only possible alternative. Nothing else may exist within the strict parameters of thought and action they seek to impose.

But let there be no mistake: All of us who are part of the Flotilla effort, in ways great and small, have chosen a side, and it is not theirs. We stand with the people of Palestine in their struggle for equality and self-determination. And unlike architects of Operation Cast Lead and apologists for the Nakba, we have nothing to hide.

Flotilla organizers have hardly kept this a secret. In a June 24 statement, the Free Gaza Movement “reiterate[d] that our effort is not simply about delivering humanitarian aid. The goal of the Flotilla is not aid; it is freedom for Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. As such, there are no ‘established channels’ for freedom – there is only one – an end to the Israeli occupation.”

In more ways than one, Zionists criticizing the Flotilla as a “political provocation” share the mentalities of those who condemned the Salt Satyagraha or the Montgomery Bus Boycott for similar reasons. These efforts were also indisputably political and provocative; salt marchers could have simply paid the British tax, while Rosa Parks would actually have reached her destination more quickly by moving to the back of the bus. That these, too, were “political provocations” is equally obvious, and no less beside the point.

And the point, for the Freedom Flotilla, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and countless related efforts to rally support for embattled Palestinians, is one of solidarity with a liberation struggle, not charity for helpless victims. As the late Juliano Mer-Khamis told The Electronic Intifada about his own Jenin Freedom Theatre:

We are joining, by all means, the struggle for liberation of the Palestinian people, which is our liberation struggle. Everybody who is connected to this project says that he feels that he is also occupied by the Zionist movement, by the military regime of Israel, and by its policy. Either he lives in Jenin, or in Haifa, or in Tel Aviv. Nobody joined this project to heal. We’re not healers … We are freedom fighters.

His words also describe Flotilla participants, and growing millions of supporters of the Palestinian cause. Yes, out solidarity is political. Yes, it is provocative. And unlike the racism and oppression of Zionism and its enablers, there is nothing shameful about it.

*Joe Catron is a resident of Brooklyn, New York and a current member of the International Solidarity Movement – Gaza Strip. He writes in a personal capacity.

POLITICAL THEATRICS IN PALESTINE

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Theater of the absurd

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
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The theater of the criminal and absurd continue.  Merril Lynch reported that Israeli millionaires’ net assets rose from $43 billion to $52 billion in 2010. Apartheid Prime minister Netanyahu announced that he will strip Political prisoners held by Israel of basic rights like the right to continue their education.  It is believed this announcement came in response to his unwillingness to exchange prisoners with Hamas (sad note: leaked documents showed that Abbas authorities lobbied hard against any release of prisoners in exchange for a captured apartheid soldier). Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) also invaded several Palestinian communities in the past few days including setting up flying checkpoints in the middle of area A (Palestinian “security forces” withdrew upon orders from Israeli commanders).  This also happened in my village of Beit Sahour (one young man was kidnapped by the invading IOF criminals) the same day that our mayor had departed town to Jordan. Syrian troops killed 15 demonstrators Friday. Bil’in residents tried to bring down the apartheid wall separating them from their land.  NATO forces killed a Palestinian family in their raids in Libya “Palestinian ambassador to Libya Atif Udah told Ma’an radio the family was in a three-story building targeted by a NATO air attack. He identified the victims as Abdullah Muhammad Ash-Shihab, his wife Karima and his 6-month-old twins Khalid and Jumanah.”  And Fatah and Hamas seem to have backed down on their promises to the Palestinian people about forming a technocrat government and to allow for a representative PNC of the PLO.

It is difficult to know though what is happening behind the scenes: my feeling is that the growing civil society participation and pressure on all these governments and quasi-governments is putting them in a very difficult spot. But more needs to be done by us to tip the balance and uthorities still resist doing what is right. Perhaps that is why the US government, instead of demanding Israel comply with international humanitarian law, had to send three outwardly threatening statements to its own citizen about joining the freedom flotilla (see below). The European Union meanwhile while visibly showing no sign of weakening its complicity in war crimes is working feverishly behind the scenes to respond to the changing political landscape.  A high level official told me privately that what we are doing at the grassroots level is getting lots of attention behind closed doors and at the highest levels of Western capitals. I always reiterate that silence is complicity especially at this extremely sensitive period in our history. For us here in Palestine and abroad, activists are focusing on the flotilla  and on the July 8-16 initiative . We hope you will give your support. Many volunteers are needed especially to disseminate information via the internet and increase pressure on mainstream media and politicians to finally make the right choices and end the last remaining apartheid system on earth (as defined bu the UN Convention on the Suppression of the Crime of Apartheid and Racial Discrimination).

Famous novelist Alice Walker writes in CNN: Why I’m sailing to Gaza
An American Jew writes in Haaretz why he is joining the freedom flotilla
An ex Jew (now Pagan) Starhawk writes brilliantly on the Gaza flotilla
State Department Made a Travel Warning: If You Try To Sail To Gaza, Israel May Kill You
ACT NOW: Call the state Department (202-647-5291 and press 1 to leave comment) then call the white house 202 456 1111 (I did it and it takes just a few minutes and I talked to a real person)

Brilliant letter from “Boycott from within” Israeli citizens asking for boycotts

A good cause to donate to? Here are three examples

Great song released: Freedom for Palestine – OneWorld

The arc of the moral universe is long, But it bends toward justice. -Abolitionist Theodore Parker, c. 1850′s

The choice: A poem (I am not a poet so bear with me!)
Our choice is not between
Israelis vs Palestinians
Afghans vs Americans
Muslims vs Christians
seculars vs religious
collaborators vs rebelious

Our choice crystalizes when facing
A child who lost a leg ..moaning
A mother who lost a son.. grieving
A father jailed… yearning
An uprooted tree.. wilting
A Refugee … longing

in pained eyes, we look or stay away
the balance of where we sway
Between ignorance and compassion
Between love and hateful obsession
Between Justice and repression
Between might makes right
…and right makes might

Children not of “our tribe” wait silently
We must kneel to look at their faces intently
in those dark troubled eyes,
in the fleeting brief smiles
We see our reflection, our bonding
But we need to do the deciding
To find our inner voice
To finally make the choice
For dignified life not criminal apathy
To shun death and gain empathy
To shed paralyzing fears
To taste joyful tears
Now that our hearts get uncovered
Alas…love and humanity are (re)discovered

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