ISRAEL TRIED TO DROWN THE HOPE OF GAZA

hope

*

One of the greatest sources of inspiration and hope in Gaza is the Gaza  Ark Project …. a constant threat to zion as they worked tirelessly to destroy it.

*

However, it is now clear that Gaza’s Ark was deliberately targeted by Israel (for the second time). Israel is not worried about its security as it claims, what it is worried about and afraid of are peaceful projects like ours that expose its atrocities.

The good news is that no one was killed or injured in this attack as we had decided to pull the guard off the boat two days earlier, for his own safety.

*

One of the participants of the project wrote the following FOR

*

Why Did Israel Target Gaza’s Ark?

Ehab Lotayef*

*

ark_logo-squared

*

After being kidnapped from international waters, imprisoned in Israel, then deported for being on the Canadian boat to Gaza challenging Israel’s illegal blockage of the Gaza Strip in November 2011, I was only more determined to continue challenging that inhuman, unjustified and illegal blockade of a civilian population.

Throughout the months that followed myself and others put a lot of thought into how to continue challenging the blockade in a peaceful but effective manner. The naval challenges of the Israeli blockade of Gaza had started in 2008, before operation Cast Lead, the attack Israel launched against Gaza which left 1,400 dead in addition to the thousands injured. It continued throughout the years in the form of boats financed by civilians and NGOs worldwide and sailed from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey to Gaza.

After the first few missions reaching Gaza in 2008, Israel started fiercely attacking the boats and the activists on board. The violence Israel was showing reached new criminal heights on May 31, 2010, when it killed nince activists on the Mavi Marmara in cold blood. But as you can see, these murders did not stop our attempts to challenge the blockade.

In 2012 we decided to challenge the blockade in a new way. We decided to build a cargo ship inside Gaza using whatever resources were available and filling it with local products, purchased and paid for in advance by buyers all over the world. We planned to sail it out from Gaza — challenging the blockade from the inside out.

Gaza’s Ark had elements that other blockade-challenging efforts did not. Building a boat in Gaza created work opportunities in an area where unemployment is rampant due to the Israeli blockade. It gave the Palestinians in Gaza a a sense of empowerment by participating in the effort to challenge the blockade rather than wait for international boats to do so. It encouraged trade and manufacturing as international buyers ordered and paid for local products.

Above all, it totally disarmed Israeli claims that the blockade is for security reasons. If Israel would stop it from sailing what would be the rational? If Israel would stop the Ark, it would be exposed that the reason for the blockade is not security. How does a boat sailing out of Gaza threaten Israel’s security?

It seems Israel feared our peaceful plans supported and financed by thousands and thousands of normal individuals worldwide more than we expected or anticipated. On April 29 our boat, Gaza’s Ark, was subjected to a terrorist attack and nearly sunk in the port of Gaza just as we were finishing up construction.

But the boat did not sink. We pulled it to shore and started repairing it. Repairs were going well and we were projecting a September sailing date when the current Israeli attack on Gaza started.

Early morning on Friday, July 11, Gaza’s Ark received a direct hit by a shell fired from an Israeli navel vessel which badly damaged the boat and started a fire on board. The civil defense and fire brigades could not get to the boat to extinguish the fire quickly enough due to the continuous shelling of the port that night and the boat was completely destroyed.

The loss of Gaza’s Ark pales in comparison to the loss of life and injuries the people are facing in Gaza. If we can sacrifice a dozen boats to save one child’s life we would without hesitation. But Israel obviously thought Gaza’s Ark was very valuable and targeted it specifically.

Israel commits its atrocities hiding behind a smoke screen of lies and half truths, claiming always to be the victim. There is nothing as threatening to Israel as a peaceful project that will expose its lies. Thus it had to kill Gaza’s Ark.

We may build another boat. We may not and find other ways to challenge the blockade. Either way we will continue to work hard till the blockade of Gaza ends.

* Ehab Lotayef, a member of the Steering Committee of Gaza’s Ark and a spokes person for the project, is an IT engineer at McGill University in Montreal.

AS DEATH TOLL RISES, TURKEY CONTINUES TO SEEK JUSTICE IN FLOTILLA MURDERS

IHH said Monday that a 51-year-old activist who had remained in a coma following the incident died on Saturday, bringing the number of victims to 10.

*

ugur_suleyman_soylemez

*

Bringing the total murdered to 10

*

flotilla-dead-1

*

Turkish court orders arrest of Israeli top brass over Gaza ship raid
*
Turkish ship Mavi Marmara arrives at Istanbul’s Sarayburnu port as
people wave Turkish and Palestinian flags on Dec. 26, 2010
(AFP/File Mustafa Ozer)
 *
ANKARA (AFP) — A Turkish court on Monday ordered the arrest of four former Israeli military chiefs over a deadly 2010 maritime assault, in a move which could jeopardize reconciliation efforts between the countries.The court in Istanbul will ask Interpol to issue international arrest warrants for four men involved in a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship, Cihat Gokdemir, a lawyer working on the case, told AFP.

The ruling is part of an ongoing criminal trial in absentia of the four men on charges brought by aid group IHH and the victims’ families in 2012, which has been denounced as a “show” by Israel.

It also follows months of negotiations between former allies Turkey and Israel to end a diplomatic row sparked when nine activists were killed after Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged ship.

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the court’s decision on Monday as a “ridiculous provocation.”

“If this is the message that the Turks want to send to Israel, it was perfectly well understood,” said the official, declining to elaborate further on what this meant for the reconciliation process.

Turkish officials recently said they were close to a deal that would see Israel pay compensation for the deaths. Local media said Israel had insisted any deal be conditional on the lawsuits against the soldiers being dropped.

Turkish prosecutors are seeking life sentences for former military chief of staff Gaby Ashkenazi, former navy chief Eliezer Marom, former military intelligence head Amos Yadlin, and former air force intelligence chief Avishai Levy.

Nine Turkish activists died aboard the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the largest ship in a flotilla dispatched by Turkish relief agency Humanitarian Relief Foundation to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010.

IHH said Monday that a 51-year-old activist who had remained in a coma following the incident died on Saturday, bringing the number of victims to 10.

“Suleyman Ugur Soylemez became a martyr on Saturday,” a member of the NGO told AFP.

The assault sparked widespread condemnation and provoked a major diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador, demanded a formal apology and compensation and an end to the blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group.

An Israeli probe found that the raid did not violate international law, in a conclusion which Turkey said lacked credibility.

‘We won’t give up’

Talks on compensation began a year ago after Israel extended a formal apology to Turkey in a breakthrough brokered by US President Barack Obama.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, said in April he was prepared to normalize ties with Israel.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in February that a deal with Israel was “close,” adding: “When we say okay, an international agreement will be concluded and it will set a precedent.”

Turkish media have said any agreement would have the status of an international agreement and would give the Israeli military immunity from any liability over the assault.

Under the Turkish constitution, international treaties take precedence over domestic law if there is a disagreement.

It was not immediately clear what political repercussions the court’s verdict would have on the negotiations.

“We don’t know yet how an agreement will address the issue of criminal charges against the former Israeli commanders,” said Ozdem Sanberk, a retired ambassador who represented Turkey on a UN panel investigating the Mavi Marmara raid.

“In principle, the judiciary is independent and we must say that the judicial process is independent from the diplomatic track,” he told AFP.

But Serkan Nergis, spokesman for IHH, said the group would continue to fight in the court. The trial is due to continue, with the next hearing expected n December.

“We will not drop the lawsuits. We believe criminals must be put on trial,” he told AFP on Monday.

“Even if we do give up, victims’ families will not.”

There have been several other attempts to reach the Palestinian territory by boat since 2010, all of which have been stopped by Israel without bloodshed.

 

Source

ISRAEL BLOCKS YET ANOTHER FLOTILLA FROM GAZA

Israel tightened its land blockade on Gaza after the Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007, a blockade which is also being enforced by Egypt on its side of the Gaza border.
*
Siezed control??? Is that what we are calling free and democratic elections these days????
*
En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)
En route to Israel (Photo: EPA)
*
 

Hundreds of Gazans launch flotilla over naval blockade

Hundreds of Palestinians launched protest flotilla in protests of Israel-Egyptian blockade of Gaza but fail to make it to Israel

*
Hundreds of Palestinian youth activists sailed from the shores of the Gaza Strip on Monday to protest at Israel’s restrictions on fishing in the seas off the Islamist-ruled enclave.Around 20 Gaza fishing boats carrying several dozen activists claimed to have broken the naval blockade on the territory in a move denied by the Israeli military. The “resistance flotilla” was at sea for several hours before returning with the claim it had “broken” the blockade which bars fishing vessels from sailing six nautical miles from the shoreline.

Israel eased the blockade somewhat in 2010 after an Israeli commando raid on a ship in an activist flotilla bent on reaching Gaza left nine Turks dead and raised an international uproar, but Palestinians say the gestures were not enough.

On Monday, Gaza’s Coalition Intifada group said about 200 youths boarded fishing boats heading out of Gaza City toward the fishing zone boundary, before returning to shore. Organizers said some boats crossed the six-mile maritime limit.

Palestinian fishermen say they cannot meet demand in Gaza due to Israeli-Egyptian naval blockade on the territory and limit of six nautical miles (11 km) in which they can take out their boats off shore.

*

Photo: EPA

Photo: EPA
*

“We have sent a message of solidarity with the fishermen and a message to the world that they must act to end the Gaza blockade,” said Shorouq Mahmoud, the group’s spokeswoman.

*

Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)
Palestinian activist (Photo: Facebook)

*

An Israeli military spokeswoman said none of the boats breached the fishing zone limit.

Israeli forces have regularly shot at Gaza boats seen as trying to breach the blockade.

Israel tightened its land blockade on Gaza after the Hamas seized control of the enclave in 2007, a blockade which is also being enforced by Egypt on its side of the Gaza border.

Source

‘GAZA’S ARC’ PREPARING TO SAIL TO EUROPE

“This is a civilian, independent project, whose aim is to raise public awareness to the issue of Gaza’s maritime blockade and the activists have no intention of confronting with the Navy in case it tries to stop the shift.”
*
47267940100489408258no
‘Gaza’s Arc’
*
Activists to launch flotilla from Gaza to Europe

Gazans, leftwing activists plan to sail in September from Gaza to Europe, carrying local produce; project’s goal is to raise awareness to Gaza naval blockade, organizers say

Ahiya Raved

*

Canadian and European activists staying in Gaza are planning to launch a flotilla which will carry Gazan produce and textiles from the strip to Europe. The vessel, currently a fishing boat, is being converted to a cargo ship, and organizers are planning to set sails in the near future.

The project’s goal, the activists say, is to raise public awareness to the strife of the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Charlie Anderson, a Swedish activist who was on board the Gaza-bound Estelle last year, told Ynet that the group was planning to launch the flotilla in September and that the activists were not concerned that the Israeli Navy would stop the boat.

תעשה את כל הדרך מעזה לאירופה? ספינת הפעילים

Converted to cargo ship

*

“If it does,” Anderson said, “it will find it very difficult to explain to the world why it’s stopping a Gaza cargo ship carrying civilian products meant for Europe.”

International activists as well as Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are to take part in the project, which was named “Gaza’s Arc.”

Mahfouz Havriti, one of the Palestinians in the project, stressed that the project’s activists had nothing to do with Gaza’s Hamas government.

“This is a civilian, independent project, whose aim is to raise public awareness to the issue of Gaza’s maritime blockade and the activists have no intention of confronting with the Navy in case it tries to stop the shift.”

This will not be the first time that the Palestinians try to break the naval blockade the Gaza Strip is under. Two months ago, Hamas thwarted a project, run by leftwing activists who initiated the sailing of several fishing boats scheduled to sail from the strip.

Hamas’ foiling of the project was in keeping with understandings reached with Israel following Operation Pillar of Defense .

According to the IDFSpokesperson’s Unit, “The IDF… is pursuing its mission to secure Israeli borders, including Israel’s naval border. We will of course not specify military operations on the matter.”

Source

DEMONIZATION BY COVER-UP

From an Op-ed in today’s Ynet, you can see how silence and lies can destroy an elected official or a legitimate Peoples’ Movement. This practice is not only prevalent in the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’, but in Western ‘Democracies’ as well. 
*
pens-schools
*
The attorney general should have acted more responsibly and declared that MK Zoabi was not involved in any illicit activity. Such a statement would have possibly hurt his popularity a bit, but it could have prevented a two-year incitement and demonization campaign against an elected official.
Cover-up led to anti-Zoabi campaign

Op-ed: AG concealed information that would have cleared Arab MK of any wrongdoing during Gaza flotilla

Sawsan Zaher*

 

The request to disqualify Balad MK Hanin Zoabi from running in the elections for the 19th Knesset raises serious questions regarding the easiness in which an Arab Knesset member can be delegitimized and demonized – to the point where she is branded a terrorist. The Knesset revoked some of Zoabi’s privileges following her participation in the Gaza-bound flotilla, and the attempt to physically attack her while she was addressing the plenum was the only such incident in the House’s history. In addition, numerous MKs hurled insulting sexist slurs at her – all due to her participation in the flotilla.

 

Most regrettable is the fact that those in charge of the investigation knew the truth, but not one of them, including the attorney general, told the public the truth about Zoabi’s involvement. While the attorney general did oppose her disqualification, he did not reveal to the public, the Supreme Court or the Central Elections Committee the information he had, which would have exonerated the Arab MK of all the allegations against her. Zoabi’s attorneys disclosed to the Supreme Court the details of AG Weinstein’s investigation after obtaining the information accidentally while working on another case.

 *

The investigation conducted by the attorney general, who watched footage from the Mavi Marmara, concluded that there was no evidence indicating that Zoabi was involved in the violence that transpired when Israeli commandoes raided the Turkish vessel. A governmental committee headed by Judge Turkel also investigated the incident and found that Zoabi was not connected to the violence. The state comptroller, who also investigated the incident, drew the same conclusion. But the attorney general did not disclose these findings to the government.

 

During the Central Elections Committee’s deliberations, those who demanded that Zoabi be disqualified claimed that the MK expressed support for IHH, the group behind the Gaza flotilla. The disqualification clause bans MKs from running in the elections if it is proven that they support the armed struggle of a terrorist organization against the State of Israel. But in his response to the committee and the Supreme Court, the attorney general failed to mention that the government designated IHH as a terror organization long after the Gaza flotilla.
*
Zoabi aboard the Mavi Marmara (archives)
Zoabi aboard the Mavi Marmara (archives)

*

The Zoabi affair must concern the entire public, which did not receive relevant information from the law enforcement agencies. What should concern us most is the possibility that these agencies did not speak up for fear of criticism from the political establishment. The AG’s silence over the past two years and the failure to reveal relevant information to the Supreme Court and the Elections Committee must concern all of Israel’s citizens, but particularly the Arabs. In cases where incitement and the spreading of lies reach the level of revoking privileges, you may find out that the law enforcement agencies will not protect you.

The attorney general should have acted more responsibly and declared that MK Zoabi was not involved in any illicit activity. Such a statement would have possibly hurt his popularity a bit, but it could have prevented a two-year incitement and demonization campaign against an elected official.

*Sawsan Zaher is an attorney at Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. She represented MK Zoabi in the disqualification case

BREAKING BLOCKADES ~~ HOW QUICKLY ISRAEL FORGETS ITS OWN PAST

With every passing Humanitarian Aid Flotilla forging its way to Gaza to break the siege and blockade, Israel repeats the crimes against all of Palestine by doing what it does best; keeping the evils of the past alive.
*
How quickly they forget the blockade aimed at preventing Israeli statehood …
*

Speaking About Breaking Blockades …
(old Zionist poster praising illegal immigration to Palestine)

*

Let the Estelle pass

*

Gush Shalom to Israeli decision makers: Avoid another show of brute force in international waters and let the Estelle dock at the Port of Gaza – while implementing a UN inspection of her cargo, to which the activists specifically consent.

background (from the Ship to Gaza press release):

Israeli peace activist Yonatan Shapira, who had been a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force and refused to take part in the bombing of Palestinian cities, has arrived on board the Swedish boat “Estelle” which is making her way towards the coast of Gaza. When the Estelle passed near the shores of Greece, Shapira and other activists made their way in a motor boat, evading vessels of the Greek Coast Guard which sought to bar their way. “Along with the Greek Coast Guard we saw a ship which seemed very much like an Israeli Navy vessel, though it did not fly a flag” said Shapira. He was received with cheers by activists already on board. Shapira had taken part in a similar sailing last year, being taken off by Israeli Navy Commandos near the Gaza shore and spending time in police detention, but not charged with any criminal offence.

Meanwhile, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor has sent a letter calling on the United Nations to stop the Estelle from reaching her destination. To this activists on board of the Estelle respond: “If this means that Israel has decided to cede control over Palestinian territorial waters to the UN, this would actually be a step forward.

The UN and many other representatives of the International Community have for years characterized the siege of the Gaza strip as inhuman and incompatible with International Law.

Ship to Gaza Sweden assumes that the UN will not take over the implementation of this policy, by itself preventing a peaceful vessel from delivering humanitarian supplies.

Ship to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla have never opposed lawful inspections of cargo and vessel by representatives of the UN, as well as by national authorities in the ports and waters we have passed through. We welcome further inspections of this kind by the UN, once we have anchored at Gaza City. What we refuse to accept is something which also the UN and the majority of The International Community oppose: The illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, with its devastating humanitarian results.

Source

ISRAELI PIRACY ~~ EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT AND PHOTOS

 Image by Oliphant
*
After being released by the Israeli kidnappers, Marco Ramazzotti Stockel tells what has happened since yesterday morning, when at 10 am he was abducted from the ship Estelle, attacked by Israeli Navy ships.
He confirms the reasons behind his choice to take part in this peace mission, aimed at breaking the severe blockade of Gaza.
Stockel, is very important for him.. “Write it, please, so they understand I am Jewish and that if I fight against the occupation it is for the Jews themselves, because the occupation harms them and not only the Palestinians” 

Marco Ramazzotti has over 35 years of experience in development aid, as a legal anthropologist and socio-economist, and project manager and NGO representative. He has worked in twenty-six developing countries for Italian and international NGOs, international consulting companies, the EU and several UN agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP), and Italian Development Cooperation. He has been advisor to an African government and, most recently, has organised and taught in security courses for NGOs, religious missions and companies working abroad. He holds a degree in international law and is a Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge, UK.




He has a political past in the Italian Communist Party and was a member of the major Italian trade-union, CGIL. Since the year 2000, he has been a member of ECO (Ebrei contro l’Ocupazione, Jews against Occupation) and of EJSP, European Jews for a Just Peace. He joined the Freedom Flottilla for Gaza in Athens in 2010, with the French group.

*

*

EXCLUSIVE: Photos from the Gaza aid boat intercepted by the IDF

Mouse over photos for description

The following are exclusive photos taken on board the Estelle, as the ship was sailing toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break Israel’s siege on the coastal territory. The Israeli navy took over the ship before it reached its destination, and arrested some twenty activists, among them three Israeli citizens.

Huge efforts were made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office to curtail media coverage of the story. The ship was brought into the Ashdod Port after dark, more than ten hours after the Israeli forces took it over. Later that night, the Israeli citizens under arrest were brought to a police station through a back door, to prevent media from covering their arrival. The IDF spokesman told Israeli media there was no humanitarian aid on the boat, as claimed by activists, but refused to release documentation to support his claims.

The photos below shows the hours before the ship was intercepted, and minutes before the IDF takeover. The activists are seen releasing pigeons towards the Israeli forces. The last photo shows Israeli naval commandos advancing towards the ship, and we can assume that it was not possible to continue shooting afterwards. According to testimonies given by the arrested activists, IDF used taser guns during the takeover. All international activists were transferred to the custody of Israel immigration authorities.

The three Israeli aboard the boat were brought before an Ashkelon court on Sunday. The judge extended their custody until Tuesday, despite them not posing a threat. According to witnesses at the courthouse, the activists were charged with violating a legal order, violating the Disengagement Law, aiding the enemy and  incitement and sedition. After appealing the ruling, the activists will be summoned to a Be’er Sheva court on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Most charges against the Israeli Estelle passengers have been unofficially dismissed by a Be’er Sheva judge. They were  released earlier today to house arrest until Tuesday, and are barred from approaching the border with Gaza.

Source

THE GUARDIAN: IN DEFENSE OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

*

Guardian offers bizarre new defense for hiring Islamophobic murder-inciter Joshua Treviño

Submitted by Ali Abunimah

Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla — well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the Gaza flotilla, on which I salute the IDF for doing the right thing, the right way.

The Guardian is offering a bizarre new defense for its decision to hire Joshua Treviño, an extremist Islamophobic ideologue who openly, repeatedly and gleefully incited murder and celebrated the deaths of unarmed civilian Palestine solidarity activists.

Because Treviño’s brand of extremism, hatred and incitement is “ascendant,” an editor claimed, the Guardian is somehow obligated to give it a platform.

At the same time, The Guardian continues to refuse to correct Treviño’s blatant lie that he never made such statements, despite a growing mountain of uncontradicted evidence to the contrary.

In this post I take you through Treviño’s shocking incitement to murder and how he lied about it in The Guardian and provide you with information if you want towrite to the editors.

The Guardian: a platform for extremism?

On 20 August, the Guardian published Treviño’s first branded column about the debate over Medicare in the United States. However, almost two hundred reader comments to date focused almost entirely on Treviño’s history of racist and violent statements.

Today, Matt WellsThe Guardian’s New York-based blogs editor, made the following statement in the comments section of Treviño’s 20 August article:

I completely understand the strong reaction against Josh [Treviño]. Much of what he has said in the past on Twitter and elsewhere is tasteless, to say the very least. But we have taken Josh on to write about the Republican side of the US presidential campaign because he represents a strand of thinking in the GOP that is in the ascendancy. Whatever we think about it, the Republican party has taken a significant lurch to the right in recent years and we should try and understand why that is, and what’s going on there. Josh is well placed to articulate that.

Who else deserves a column?

This is utterly bizarre reasoning. It is also true that extreme Islamophobia of the kind that inspired mass killer Anders Breivik “is in the ascendancy” in many parts of Europe. Indeed, many of Treviño’s columns have appeared in thevirulently Islamophobic Brussels Journal.

Does this require the Guardian to provide Pamela Geller or Geert Wilders with columns and to arrange media bookings for them in the name of helping us to “understand” their views? What about David Duke? If his brand of racism and anti-Semitism finds itself “in the ascendancy” can we expect to find Mr. Duke joining the team too?

For many years it was thought Osama Bin Laden style jihadism was “in the ascendancy” in many countries. I don’t recall the Guardian offering a branded column and a media-booking service to any members of Al-Qaida.

Surely when extremism of any kind is “in the ascendancy” you report about it using people who are genuinely knowledgeable, rather than providing its proponents a privileged platform and a media booking service.

Has The Guardian noticed that Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian extremism are central to US electoral debates and campaigns? Thus writing about “the Republican side of the US presidential campaign” is not separate from these issues and Treviño’s hateful and violent views are not irrelevant to them.

Treviño’s experience

Notwithstanding his violent hate speech, the claim that Treviño has something valuable to offer is not particularly convincing. He is a marginal figure with little influence or following. He has never been part on any significant conservative or right-wing platform – except for the website he co-founded – in the United States.

His known experience as a political consultant was primarily to work for the campaign of Chuck DeVore, a right-wing California state assemblyman who came third in his 2010 bid for the Republican nomination for a US Senate seat from California.

Treviño has not disclosed all his consulting clients – a major problem for someone who is supposed to be helping readers understand as Wells claims, and a possible violation of the Guardian’s editorial code related to conflicts of interest.

And while he’s sometimes described as a “Bush speechwriter,” according to his own Linkedin profile, Treviño was a speechwriter for the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, not for the president. He was hardly at the center of anything.

There are many more informed and influential conservative commentators in the United States who at least come without Treviño’s history of violent hate speech.

Refusing to correct a lie

As I detailed in a post yesterdayThe Guardian has ignored requests to issue a correction to a blatantly false statement Treviño made in a “clarification” theGuardian published on 16 August after the initial outcry over a June 2011 tweet in which he wrote:

Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.

In his “clarification,” Treviño claimed:

any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.

However, this is simply a lie, and one that Guardian editors have continued tospread in Treviño’s defense. There are numerous examples of tweets by Treviño in which “applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings.” Here are a few:

Incitement to murder and hate speech

You can find many more examples at Topsy.

Write to The Guardian and demand correction of Treviño’s falsehoods

The Guardian’s editors have so far been unresponsive to requests that they correct the blatant falsehood in Joshua Treviño’s “clarification,” detailed above, that he never “applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings.”

Here are the people to write to should you wish to add your voice:

Feel free to send a copy of your letter to me atfeedback@electronicintifada.net

Note: Guardian email addresses are public information.

More  

Written FOR
*
There’s more …..
*

How The Guardian’s Joshua Treviño injected anti-Muslim hate into 2010 California senate race

Submitted by Ali Abunimah
*
*

The growing outrage over The Guardian’s hiring of Joshua Treviño as a columnist has focused on his tweets inciting Israel to murder American citizens aboard a flotilla to Gaza in June 2011 and his celebration of the killing of passengers aboard the flotilla a year earlier.

What has escaped scrutiny — until today — is Treviño’s record as a political consultant. This is important because The Guardian has justified its hiring of Treviño on the basis of his experience.

Treviño evidently used his position as communications director for California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore to disseminate his personal message of hate, vilification of Muslims, and support for the Israeli killings of civilians on the flotilla.

DeVore, then a California State Assemblyman, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican party nomination for the United States Senate in 2010.

This role, once again, flatly contradicts Treviño’s claim published in theGuardian that any reading of one of his controversial tweets “that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.”

Israeli-government sponsored rally

On 6 June 2010 — a week after the attack on the flotilla — DeVore spoke at an Israeli-government sponsored rally outside the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles. Treviño posted a video of his candidate’s speech on his Vimeo account.

Even by the standards of an American politician, DeVore’s speech was vitriolic. It never mentioned the word “Palestinians” but focused exclusively on “Israel’s enemies” who were always described in vague terms as “Islamists” and directly compared to Nazis.

Although the words came out of DeVore’s mouth and he is politically and morally responsible for them, they were undoubtedly written by Treviño himself.

For DeVore, the only people in Gaza are “terrorists” and any support or solidarity with 1.6 million people there — half of them children — was support for a “terrorist” enemy.

“Israel’s enemies are America’s enemies,” DeVore declared to loud cheers, “They hate Israel for the same reason they hate America…. They hate the free society, they hate the religious liberty and they hate people who will not bow down to their oppression.”

DeVore claimed that the battle between Israel and America and their common “enemies” is the battle between “civilization” and “barbarism,” the same message that has recently emerged in the form of Islamophobic hate-ads on public transport in San Francisco placed by notorious anti-Muslim inciters Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.

DeVore “unequivocally” endorsed Israel’s attack on the flotilla. “There is only one thing about the Gaza flotilla that contributed to peace,” DeVore said, “and that is when the IDF stopped it dead in the water.”

DeVore’s hate-speech and Treviño’s tweets

The following excerpts are transcribed from the video of DeVore’s speech, and although offensive it is important that they be quoted at length. The blockquoted text are DeVore’s words at the 6 June 2010 rally. The tweets in between are Treviño’s from the days preceding the rally.

They are juxtaposed this way to show that the tweets make many of the same points and sometimes even use the same words or phrases that DeVore used days later:

Make no mistake, defending Israel is defending America. If Israel disappeared tomorrow, who believes that the terrorists would disband? Who believes that the target would not simply shift from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles?

Why do I support Israel despite not being Jewish, nor Israeli? Because the people coming for it are coming for me next. 

Let us say this unequivocally and unashamedly and emphatically, what Israel did to the Gaza flotilla was right, it was legal and it was moral. It is never wrong to blockade a terror state. It is never wrong to defend your existence. It is never wrong to starve a movement that thinks theHolocaust was simply a good start.

Let me be clear: even if the worst reports of Israeli actions on the are true — and I doubt that — Israel is still right.

Let’s not forget:  sought to open supply lines to Hamas, an entity that thinks the Holocaust was a good start.

The fight between Israel and Hamas is the fight between civilizationand barbarism. It’s as simple as that. Our grandfathers left their homes and families to travel half-way around the world to defend freedom and it was on this day 66 years ago that they landed at Normandy beach in their righteous quest to destroy the Third Reich. If this generation of Americans does not fight Islamists who seek to complete the Third Reich’s work we dishonor the memory and sacrifice of our grandfathers.

 also makes clear that murderous Jew-hatred in the West did not die with the Third Reich. It merely evolved.

Our very identity as Americans compels us to stand with Israel and against Israel’s enemies. America stands against Israel’s enemies for the same reason it stood against Nazism, Fascism and Communism.

I say clearly that the enemies of Israel are just as genocidal, just as tyrannical and just as savage as those defeated movements. The defenders of the Gaza flotilla say it was a humanitarian mission. They say they were peace activists. They lie!

If you support the , you support supplying Hamas. If you support supplying Hamas, you support genocide. Simple as that.

What humanitarian mission opens sea lanes to terrorists, to Hamas? What peace activists lynch Israeli soldiers? What humanitarian mission refuses to cooperate with lawful authorities? What peace activists chant about Muhammad’s massacre of a Jewish tribe?

If you’re defending the  effort to open sea lanes to Hamas, no, you don’t: RT @ebertchicago: I support Israel.

The Gaza flotilla was not about peace. It was about war! It was about establishing a supply route to Hamas. It was about supporting theeradication of the Jewish state. It was about seeking and gettingcombat with young Israeli men who earnestly desire peace.

Said it before and I’ll say it again: the  wasn’t about humanitarian aid. It was about opening a maritime conduit to Hamas.

Again, I would feel better about  supporters if it wasn’t so clear they think the eradication of Judaism is a valid policy option.

Defenders of the  cannot avoid the emerging truth that its participants sought, prepared for, and initiated violence.

The Gaza flotilla is in short the greatest international fraud since the plight of the Sudeten Germans. There is only one thing about the Gaza flotilla that contributed to peace, and that is when the IDF stopped it dead in the water.

 proves that the busybodies who worried about justice for the Sudetendeutsche are still with us.

And indicating that Treviño had electoral politics, rather than merely a selfless concern for the well-being of Israel at heart, he tweeted:

While  is hot, I’m going to remind you that @chuckdevore is the only  candidate who’s always stood strong for Israel.

These are Treviño’s words

There can be little doubt that the words DeVore uttered at the Israeli consulate rally were penned by Treviño.

According to Treviño’s Linkedin profile, Treviño worked as Communications Director for the DeVore for California campaign from March 2009 to June 2010.

Treviño was “Responsible for all media” and messaging for the campaign. Among his self-proclaimed achievements was that he:

Created and conveyed public narratives that highlighted the candidate’s manifest strengths — in particular his qualities of leadership, integrity, intellectual power and civic-mindedness — in media and journalism.

From 2001-2005, Treviño worked as a speechwriter, and then communications director for the US Secretary of State for Health and Human Services.

Tweets as tests of political message

Treviño also boasts about how he “leveraged new media” for the DeVore campaign. This casts his tweets in a new light. Perhaps he was simply testing a political message.

The Guardian claims that Treviño’s political work qualifies him to be an informed commentator on its pages.

In a 15 August press release (note The Guardian was caught doctoring parts of the release after it was published), Janine Gibson, Editor in Chief of Guardian US, said that Treviño “brings an important perspective our readers look for on issues concerning US politics.”

The release quoted Treviño himself claiming, “My background in communications and activism has given me insight into what works and what doesn’t in the digital age.”

Contrary to any claim that Treviño’s tweets are in the past and no longer relevant, they are actually central to the political experience that is to inform his column.

Why won’t the Guardian correct this lie?

Meanwhile, The Guardian continues to ignore requests to issue a correction to a blatantly false statement Treviño made in his “clarification” the Guardianpublished on 16 August after the initial outcry over a June 2011 tweet in which he wrote:

Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.

In his “clarification,” Treviño claimed:

any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.

It is now amply clear this is a lie. In recent days, even more vile tweets from Treviño have come to light in which Treviño gloated about and celebrated Israel’s violent attack on the Mavi Marmara on 31 May 2010 and his mockery of the 9 unarmed civilians who were shot dead.

He tweeted, for example that Furkan Dogan, an American teenager “deserved” to die. Yasir Tineh has compiled even more examples.

After viewing this video of DeVore’s speech, can there be any doubt that Treviño not only “applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings,” but used his role with the candidate to push his extremist views to an even wider audience?

More

Also written FOR

ZIONISTS TEACHING HATE TO BOTH THE YOUNG AND OLD …

 … Both in the Guardian and in J Street

*

*
Guardian’s Treviño: Only way Mavi Marmara killings could be “better” is if “IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead”
Submitted by Ali Abunimah 

New revelations of Joshua Treviño’s bigotry and lies, as Guardian insists he hasn’t been “demoted.”

In his “clarification” of his June 2011 tweet calling on Israel to murder American activists aboard boats to Gaza, the Guardian’s new columnist Joshua Treviño claimed it was all a big misunderstanding:

any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.

I already explained in my Al Jazeera article that this was disingenous and dishonest, but thanks to EI readers, even more of Treviño’s violent and bigoted tweets have come to light exposing him as a liar.

On 1 June 2010, the day after Israeli forces murdered 9 unarmed civilians aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters, Treviño tweeted, “Only way the #flotilla story gets better is if it’s revealed the IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead.”

Only way the  story gets better is if it’s revealed the IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead.

In other words, after shooting dead the civilians, 8 Turks and one American, the student Furkan Doğan, Treviño wanted Israeli soldiers to carry out what he and others would have understood as an act of religious desecration.

In another tweet on 2 June 2010, Treviño wrote, “After examining the facts on #flotilla, I condemn Israel: for being too nice, too soft, too accommodating to the scum of the earth.”

After examining the facts on , I condemn Israel: for being too nice, too soft, too accommodating to the scum of the earth.

In answer to complaints about his hiring, The Guardian’s press office has been distributing Treviño’s piece in which he claimed never to have made such statements, thus making it directly accountable for his falsehoods.

Standing by their man

Yesterday, The Electronic Intifada revealed that The Guardian made surreptitious changes in a press release after it had been published, suggesting that the newspaper was demoting Treviño or distancing itself from him.

Today, the newspaper’s spokesperson denied that in a statement to The New Statesman:

I can confirm that there has been no change in Josh Trevino’s terms of employment – the contract has not been altered and he has most certainly not been “demoted” as some articles have suggested. In fact, a simple mistake was made in the press release and this was later corrected. It was clumsy but there is no change to Josh’s position.

Outrage at the hiring of someone who openly incites murder has grown: today the Guardian published a letter from academics, polticians and other public figures who support Palestinian rights expressing “shock and dismay” at the newspaper’s move.

Bigotry

What’s ironic is that while celebrating the murder of Muslims, and demanding religiously offensive acts as icing on the cake, Treviño, who identifies as an Orthodox Christian, is very sensitive himself.

Treviño said members of the group Pussy Riot had “desecrated” an Orthodox Church by singing a protest song in it, an act for which they were sentenced to two years in prison by a Russian court last week:

Well, @jstrevino, I wasn’t raised in a authoritarian state that was supported by the Russian Orthodox Church. Seems the ROC asked for it.

Of course, @markscrivens, one’s politics justifies desecration of an altar in a Christian church during Lent. That makes a lot of sense.

That desecrated a Church altar at Lent. Spare us this liberality. RT@markscrivens: …. This was clearly a “liberal” pro-freedom protest.

Anti-Muslim views

He has also expressed for years his hatred of Islam by demanding that the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul be turned back into a church. He claimed that a mosque was “sullying” the structure. Built as a church, it had later been used as a mosque, but is now a museum.

In exchange for the “Ground Zero mosque,” Cordoba/ASMA could advocate for the Hagia Sophia to be a Christian church again.

You know what’s also a desecration of a sacred object? The Hagia Sophia was made a mosque, then a museum. I’m just saying.

Also, remember that the Hagia Sophia is a Christian church first and always — and we ought to demand it back. That is all.

There is, of course, still a mosque sullying the Hagia Sophia: you just have to go to the right side of the complex to find it.

Remember this is the person who has an “important perspective” according to his new bosses at The Guardian.

More

Written FOR
*
There’s still more …..
*

American student shot dead by Israel “deserved” to die says Guardian’s Joshua Treviño

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 
*

“There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them.” – The Guardian’s Joshua Treviño on 3 June 2010.

Today, despite the uproar over his incitement to murder Americans, Joshua Treviño was allowed to debut his new regular column at The Guardian.

The Guardian is sticking to the fiction that Treviño’s tweet of 25 June 2011 in which he wrote, “Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me,” was a one-off and somehow not representative or typical.

Why won’t the Guardian correct these lies?

Guardian editors were as of today still directing readers to a so-called “clarification” Treviño wrote on 16 August in which he told the following bald-faced lie:

any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.

In fact Treviño regularly applauded, encouraged and welcomed the deaths of fellow human beings, specifically the 9 unarmed civilians killed aboard theMavi Marmara on 31 May 2010. A year later, in June 2011, he goaded Israel to kill passengers aboard a new flotilla. Some of the people aboard that later flotilla were American author Alice Walker and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein.

Earlier today, I wrote to Guardian editors Alan Rusbridger, Janine Gibson, Matt Seaton, Nell Boase and PR rep Jennifer Lindenauer asking for a correction of Treviño’s blatantly false statement. So far I have had no response.

Not only has The Guardian been purveying false information about Treviño’s record, but on Saturday I caught them surreptitiously altering a press release after publication apparently to downgrade Treviño’s status. Are these really the kinds of dirty tricks The Guardian has sunk to?

A few of Treviño’s most vile statements

You can find many more examples at Topsy.

These are vile dehumanizing comments. I encourage everyone to read our interview with Dr. Ahmet Doğan who spoke of the moment he heard that the Mavi Marmara, with his idealistic young son aboard, had been attacked. Furkan’s father sat down, buried his head in his hands and “felt that boiling water was poured over me.” Dr. Doğan is struggling for justice for his son.

These comments also demonstrate that Treviño is a liar, and by extention The Guardian’s editors are liars for continuing to spread Treviño’s falsehoods.

The Guardian was likely aware of Treviño’s record

In a radio interview with conservative radio host Peter Ingemi on Saturday 18 August 2012, Treviño explained how he became a columnist at The Guardian(starting at approximately 20 minutes). “The origin is in my Twitter feed. I started to engage over the past few years with a couple of Guardian personnel there.” In March 2012, he was invited to speak at The Guardian Open Weekend in London, and then in May 2012 he spoke at the DC launch event forThe Guardian’s US edition. “Shortly thereafter,” he says, The Guardian began to discuss hiring him for a daily column.

If we are to believe Treviño – admittedly difficult given his record – The Guardian knew about his vile tweets all along.

Enough. It is time for The Guardian to stop the lies.

More

Also FROM
*
J Street joins the hate bandwagon…
*

Teaching young people to hate: the ugly face of J Street’s anti-Palestinian bigotry exposed

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 
&

For years, J Street has posed as the kinder, gentler face of the Israel lobby, the alternative to hardline AIPAC.

Anyone who’s paid close attention knows that has never been the case, and behind the smiling exterior that J Street boss Jeremy Ben-Ami projects are similar hardcore anti-Palestinian views.

And it seems teaching anti-Palestinian bigotry to the young is part of J Street’s mission. Take a piece by Jeremy Zelinger, a J Street Summer 2012 Communications Intern, published on J Street’s website on 14 August which says (emphasis added):

I am not satisfied with a pro-Israel voice that shouts about military threats from Hezbollah but is silent about the demographic threat from a stateless Palestinian population. Just as Israel needs to prepare for war, it must also prepare for peace. A pro-Israel voice should express the importance of both.

This is bigotry and racism of the worst kind. As I’ve said and written many times before, we should have zero tolerance for talk of Palestinians as a “demographic threat” just because (a) they’re born and (b) they’re not Jews.

Widespread “liberal” Zionist bigotry

This bigotry is not restricted to the “right-wing” of Zionism. The Washington Post’s liberal columnist Ruth Marcus recently characterized Palestinians as a “demographic threat” and African refugees and migrants as a “deluge.”

Former State Department diplomat Aaron David Miller (who once described his role during his years of US government service as being “Israel’s attorney”), wrote in a New York Times op-ed about Israel last week that:

The country’s demographics look bad — too many ultra-Orthodox Jews, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs and not enough secular Jews.

What would you call someone who wrote, say, that, ‘Mississippi’s demographics look bad – too many African Americans, poor white people and Latinos and not enough White Evangelical Christians’?

Yousef Munayyer recently took this kind of widespread bigotry to task in a piece in The Daily Beast’s Open Zion:

An ideology that seeks to build a society around a certain type of people defined by ethnicity or religion is inevitably going to feature racism, supremacy and oppression—especially when the vast majority of native inhabitants where such an ideology is implemented are unwelcomed.

But this premise of too many Arabs, too many Palestinians, too many __________ (fill in the blank with people unlike you) is so common in the discourse on the Israeli/Palestinian question today that the racism inherent in it rarely ever questioned.

It’s not enough that Peter Beinart’s Open Zion publishes views by Munayyer. That does not get them off the hook. They ought to do much more, and come out clearly and explicitly against any talk of a “demographic threat.”

Don’t expect that any time soon, however, because the fear of Palestinian babies lies at the core of “liberal” Zionism.

From

WE’RE ON OUR WAY AGAIN TO GAZA

 Estelle, a beautiful sailing ship, is going to play a key role in Freedom Flotilla’s renewed attempt to break the blockade on Gaza. This summer we will be launching an entirely new project. This time, we are going to sail from Umeå [in northern Sweden] to Gaza, stopping on the way at ports in the Baltic Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. At each stop, there will be speakers, concerts and public festivals providing information about the situation in Gaza. We will be bringing a cargo of necessities that have been requested by the non-partisan, independent organizations in Gaza that we work together with.
*

COME JOIN THE ‘AIR FLOTILLA #3’ ~~ DON’T ALLOW ZIONISM TO RULE THE SKIES!

“We, Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals, who took part in the “Bienvenue en Palestine” initiatives of July 2011 and April 2012, call on you to continue the struggle with us for the freedom of movement in Palestine and against the isolation of the Palestinian people.
*
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
*
More info HERE …. Tweet it HERE

ISRAEL’S SILENT OFFER TO SILENCE FAMILIES OF MAVI MARMARA VICTIMS

*
Admission of guilt or whitewash?
*

According to sources in the Turkish foreign ministry who spoke to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Israel had not presented the offer to them directly. The source said that the principle of damages was accepted by Turkey but the obstacle was Israel’s admission of guilt which Turkey insists upon.

“Israel is opposed to declaring publicly that it apologises and Turkey is not prepared to accept a wording of regret that does not include taking responsibility, that is required in an expression of apology,” the sources said.

Mark Regev, the spokesman for Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, declined to comment.

*
The following report appeared in the Guardian a few days ago as well as THIS IBA News Bulletin which appeared on their Internet site.
*
*
*
Israel offers compensation to Mavi Marmara flotilla raid victims

£4m paid to Jewish foundation in Turkey, which will distribute the money to the victims and their families
By Conal Urquhart and agencies

 

The Israeli government has offered £4m in compensation to the families of Turkish activists killed by Israeli commandos who stormed a ship taking part in an aid flotilla in May 2010, according to a lawyer representing the victims.

Ramzan Ariturk said the money would have been paid to a Jewish foundation in Turkey for distribution and would be followed by a statement of “regret” for the raid by the Israeli government on the Mavi Marmara, which was bound for the Gaza Strip.

The lawyer, one of several representing 465 victims and relatives of the dead and injured on board the Mavi Marmara, said that the Israeli government had made a proposal to him through an intermediary foreign ambassador in Ankara.

Turkey cooled diplomatic relations with Israel after nine of its citizens were shot dead by Israeli commandos who landed on the Mavi Marmara to prevent its passage to Gaza. Protesters on the ship repelled the first wave of lightly armed commandos, but then the Israeli soldiers used lethal force against the unarmed passengers to end their resistance.

Ariturk said he told the ambassador a month ago that he did not think the offer was appropriate or moral. “I also discussed the issue with the victims and their friends and they also stated that they could not accept this,” he said.

He declined to disclose the nationality of the intermediary or the name of the Jewish organisation that would distribute the compensation but said the Turkish foreign ministry agreed with his decision, saying Israel should have contacted it directly.

According to sources in the Turkish foreign ministry who spoke to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Israel had not presented the offer to them directly. The source said that the principle of damages was accepted by Turkey but the obstacle was Israel’s admission of guilt which Turkey insists upon.

“Israel is opposed to declaring publicly that it apologises and Turkey is not prepared to accept a wording of regret that does not include taking responsibility, that is required in an expression of apology,” the sources said.

Mark Regev, the spokesman for Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, declined to comment.

On Wednesday an Istanbul prosecutor submitted an indictment seeking life sentences for four former Israeli military commanders in connection with the raid, including the chief of general staff at the time.

The United Nations report on the raid last September concluded that Israel had used unreasonable force but that its blockade of Gaza was legal.

STILL WAITING TO HOLD ISRAEL ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE MURDERS ON THE MAVI MARMARA

Nine Turkish families, including the parents of an American citizen buried their loved ones two years ago, all victims of Israeli terrorism at sea. May they never be forgotten. May their memory serve as an inspiration for all seeking Justice and Peace throughout the world. May their murderers never be forgiven for their crime against humanity.
*
Putting Names To the Faces

Furkan Dogan, 19. Born in the USA with dual Turkish-US citizenship. Student at Kayseri High School, planning to study medicine. Two siblings.


Necdet Yildirim, 32. From Malatya. IHH aid worker. Married with a three-year-old daughter.


Cevdet Kiliçlar, 38. From Kayseri. IHH aid worker, former journalist. Married with two children. You can see some of his photos
at Flickr.

Ali Haydar Bengi, 39. From Diyarbakir. Graduate in Arabic Literature by Al-Azhar University, Cairo. Married with 4 children.

Cengiz Akyüz, 41. From Iskenderun. Married with three children.

Fahri Yaldiz, 43. From Adiyaman. Firefighter. Married with four children.

 

Cengiz Songür, 47. From Izmir. Married with seven children.

 

Çetin Topçuoglu, 54. From Adana. Former taekwondo champion, coach of Turkey’s national taekwondo team. Married with one son. (Link to his Facebook page)



Ibrahim Bilgen, 61. From Siirt. Electrical engineer. Member of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers of Turkey. Married with 6 children.

 

*

Literally adding insult to injury, YouTube allowed the following ‘parody’ on its site despite saying it would be removed …. two years later it’s still there.

*

*
Views of our Associate, Mazin Qumsiyeh (from the archives)
*

Time to hold Israel accountable

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Israeli government refuses an International probe into its illegal piracy and massacre of Gaza humanitarian aid ships and ‘accidentally distributed a video mocking the humanitarian activists. The Israeli occupation forces admitted doctoring one audiotape from the Mavi Marmara ship. The lies are beginning to crumple with testimonies from survivors (see below). But we will not drop this case because it may yet prove to be the straw that breaks the back of International complicity. Today in Beit Jala, we had a mock coffin, a mock ship, Turkish and international flags and of course the obligatory Israeli tear gas and harassment. One Israeli peace activist, Roni Barkan, was arrested. We are dismayed that Palestinian security in coordination with Israeli security decided to prevent us from going to demonstrate from downtown Beit Jala (or to return to downtown) but we keep going from another location and we show Israeli war criminals that we care about the land and we care about the people of Gaza and we care about the victims of the massacre committed at sea Monday.

*

*

May they never be forgotten: Meet the victims of the Israeli massacre: names, pictures and brief biographies


And here are interviews and reports of the injured and kidnapped that contradict Israeli stories

*


(By the way, Israeli forces have stolen passports and belongings from dozens of activists)

*

Even in Israel within the green line, there were demonstrations against the massacres, this one in Tel Aviv drew 15-20,000 participants (and right-wing thugs tried to attack 86 year old Uri Avnery after the crowds dispersed)



and watch the Knesset fascists try to stop an Arab member of the Knesset from speaking and then attacking her (Haneen Zuabi has received many death threats and hundreds have signed onto a facebook page calling for her execution; so much for ‘democracy’ in the racist apartheid state)



*

The protests MUST continue and grow….

*

ACTIONS: Protest at Israeli missions, Israeli government appearances, and write to media, and politicians to demand that Israel be held accountable and end the siege on Gaza. Call the representative to Israel.


Call or send an email to US representatives


Call the White House: 1.202.456.1111, Department of State: 1.202.647.4000


Finally and most importantly, support the call from Palestinian Civil Society for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel




KOL NIDRE IN NOVEMBER ~~ MAKING VOWS

 Observant Jews flock to the synagogue on the eve of Yom Kippur to hear the Kol Nidre Prayer recited by the Cantor;
*
“All personal vows we are likely to make, all personal oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Let our personal vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths.”
*
Kol Nidre from a 19th-century machzor
*
Yom Kippur falls in late September or early October, but there is another day when vows are made …. today, the 29th of November is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Below you can read about vows that are taken on this day and why…
*

Attempts to break Gaza blockade won’t stop, vows Freedom Waves activist

Michael Coleman aboard the Tahrir. ( Lina Atallah )

Anti-Semite. Holocaust-denier. Terrorist-supporter. The government of Israel as well as its lobbyists and supporters commonly use these labels to describe Palestine solidarity activists and to discourage criticism of illegal Israeli practices. In this polarizing context, the United States, the European Union and Australia have escalated efforts to discourage activism in support of Palestine, creating financial, legal and physical barriers to expressing solidarity.

A longtime activist and Sydney-based youth worker, Michael Coleman has become accustomed to the challenges. As the Australian delegate on the Tahrir boat with the recent Freedom Waves initiative, he recently confronted all of the barriers that the government of Israel could muster.

Coleman first visited the West Bank city of Nablus in 2008 as a volunteer, teaching English and computer-based music production with the humanitarian organization Project Hope. Coleman recalled that “once the excitement of experiencing a new culture wore off, the realization hit me that what I was witnessing in the West Bank was the systematic and methodical ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine. I resolved at that point to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people until their human rights were upheld.”

After returning to Australia, he was eager to learn more and began participating in the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Then, “following the massacre on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish humanitarian aid ship with the May 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a friend Rihab Charida made an impassioned speech that ended with ‘There will be an Australian delegation on the next flotilla, who’s with me?’ and six of us put our hands up, and Free Gaza Australia was formed.”

This group successfully participated in Freedom Flotilla Two – Stay Human, which faced severe obstruction from the Greek authorities. Coleman was also involved in that trip, taking to the sea in a kayak to obstruct the Greek coast guard while boats from the flotilla attempted to launch.

In the context of both the violence inflicted on the Mavi Marmara and the international cooperation to prevent July’s Freedom Flotilla from leaving Greece, planning for the most recent flotilla required far greater secrecy. According to Coleman, the obstacles were primarily financial because “due to the covert nature of this new strategy we had to secure a loan for our share of the budget, as fundraising and promotion were not an option,” meaning that Coleman, now safely in Sydney, must retroactively seek funds.

Organizing such a large solidarity action would pose numerous challenges under normal circumstances, but he said that “there were also some issues around forming an executive to keep information sharing to a minimum.” Yet Coleman remains positive about the experience, joking that “personally, I just got sick of resetting the time and date on my phone, as every time sensitive information was discussed we had to remove the batteries from our phones.”

Piracy and kidnapping on the high seas

Moving from planning to implementation, Coleman joined his colleagues on the Tahrir in Turkey. While all aboard were in high spirits, they were also realistic in their preparation, especially when Israeli warships following the flotilla in international waters made it clear that boarding was imminent. “We did discuss how we would handle the boarding process as a group, we formed buddy pairs and nominated where we wanted to be during the boarding.” Coleman confirmed.

Agreeing in advance that they would not resist arrest, the group prepared for boarding in international waters. At this point, according to interviews with the other activists and journalists on board, Coleman was the most defiant. He clarified that “I did not resist the boarding in anyway, but I also did not cooperate in anyway.” Coleman went on to describe the boarding process, which involved the use of a water canon to ensure the compliance of crew and passengers.

In his own powerful account, Coleman said, “I was supposed to be at the port side door to the wheel house; however I was cleared out of there by the water canon, as that’s where theIOF [Israeli occupation forces] boarded the boat. I moved around to the starboard side with my buddy Majd, who was manning the other door to the wheel house. Because of the water canon by the time the IOF boarded all the delegates except [fellow activists] David and Ehab, who were in the wheel house, were together sheltering from the water canon on the starboard side of the Tahrir. So the boarding process really only involved the IOF clearing out the wheel house and bringing David, Ehab and George, our captain, to where the rest of us were on the starboard of the boat — which they did with the use of tasers. This was the point where I began to become more defiant seeing David [Heap] being pushed from the wheel house with blood dripping down his forehead, as he had banged his head after being tasered.”

Having just witnessed these aggressive actions, Coleman detailed his efforts to avoid cooperation. “I then challenged every direction that was made of me and stated at every opportunity ‘you have the responsibility as an occupying force to allow free access of humanitarian goods to the occupied territories’ and ‘that Israel has no authority to board a Comoros Islands-flagged ship in international waters — this is an act of kidnapping and piracy.’”

Illegal detention

After the ships had been boarded, the Tahrir as well as the Irish-led Saoirse and their passengers were forced to enter the port of Ashdod in Israel. All of those on board were subject to full body searches and then taken to Givon prison, where they were held after refusing to sign a document stating that they had entered Israel illegally. Despite the actions of the government of Israel, morale among the Freedom Waves detainees remained high even at Givon where they were quick to organize themselves.

“We were lucky to have the Irish boys with us, I think we had only been in the prison under ten hours and they had already formed a prisoner committee and where making demands on the prison authorities for free association, provision of reading and writing materials, knowledge of our sisters being held in another wing of the prison and access to the outside world, via phone calls,” Coleman recounted.

Indeed, even within the walls of an Israeli prison, the activists’ group solidarity remained strong. Coleman described these collective victories as “hugely uplifting” because they saw that they “could still affect our own conditions in the prison.”

During this time, much of the work to free all of those involved with Freedom Waves happened behind the scenes. Coleman stressed the importance of Free Gaza Australia during his detention at Givon.

“They ran a very effective media campaign for my release, pressuring the Australian government to stop being so apologetic for Israel violations of international law,” he said. On 11 November, Coleman landed safely in Sydney but his story and those of other solidarity activists continues to unfold as they consider how they can continue their involvement.

International and domestic push to repress solidarity movements

In the current environment of international hostility, the burden for the illegality of the government of Israel’s actions continues to be placed on activists. Countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia would much rather tell their own citizens to refrain from displays of solidarity than condemn the government of Israel for its continuous and flagrant violations of basic human rights and international law. This is not a reaction unique to the international efforts to break the illegal blockade on Gaza but applies equally to participation in protests and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign as well as the public criticism of Israeli apartheid practices.

The US, for instance, has repeatedly told its own citizens that participation in the flotilla to Gaza was tantamount to aiding Hamas, and threatened activists with criminal proceedings on their return stateside (“US warns against new Gaza flotilla plans,” Reuters, 24 June 2011). Furthermore, the US government has never criticized the Israeli use of high-velocity projectiles or live-ammunition at peaceful protests attended by Palestinians, internationals, and Israelis; and has even gone so far as to launch a grand jury federal investigation against 23 US-based solidarity activists (“Criminalizing Palestinian solidarity, Al Jazeera English,” 27 June 2011).

Domestically, the government of Israel has also acted to muzzle internal resistance to its policies. The Knesset (Israeli parliament) recently passed two controversial laws that madeparticipation in BDS campaigns illegal and placed a cap on foreign donations to domestic nongovernmental organizations. These latest steps mean that solidarity activists with Israeli citizenship can now be prosecuted for boycotting and organizations that are critical of government policies, the military and settler violence on Palestinians face severe limitations on their operational capacity.

A movement undeterred

In Coleman’s own experience, the repressive responses of the international community and the government of Israel have only served to make many activists more committed to Palestine solidarity — far from acting as a deterrent. “I like others in the international solidarity movement took the massacre on the Mavi Marmara as a challenge, a challenge we have answered and will continue to answer until the blockade of Gaza and the collective punishment it enforces ends,” he told The Electronic Intifada.

When asked about how people could become involved, Coleman urged those interested in learning more to visitthe website for the global BDS movement (http://bdsmovement.net/) and emphasized that even after his unlawful detention, his own participation would continue unabated, stating “as I told the guards at Givon, ‘see you next year.’”

Michelle Gyeney is a freelance writer and is researching the policy incoherence of development practice in Palestine.

 

Source

CONGRESS ATTEMPTING TO CRIMINALISE FREEDOM

The bill appears to be a transparent attempt to criminalize solidarity with Palestinians and opposition to US policy supporting Israel’s siege of Gaza. It would effectively further erode First Amendment rights in order to intimidate and suppress criticism of Israel.
*
*

Bill in Congress seeks to investigate US Boat to Gaza for “terrorist” ties

Submitted by Ali Abunimah
 *
A bill introduced in the United States Congress last month would require the State Department to investigate “The sources of any logistical, technical, or financial support for the Gaza flotilla ships, including the Audacity of Hope, that were set to set sail from Greece on July 1, 2011.”

The Audacity of Hope is the name of the ship, operated by US Boat to Gaza, on which Alice Walker, Hedy Epstein and dozens of others attempted to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza before being stopped by Greece last summer.

The bill, which contains numerous inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims from an Israeli “anti-terrorism” organization, would further criminalize American citizens’ solidarity with Palestinians.

House Resolution 3131 is sponsored by Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and is co-sponsored by 12 other members of Congress from both parties including notorious anti-Palestinian campaigners, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Eliot Engel (D-NY).

Defamation and falsehoods

The bill asserts, turning reality on its head, that “Recent past history has suggested that the sole intent of the flotillas is to provoke an Israeli military response in the international waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.”

It also claims, amid a laundry list of other dubious recitations, that “Since the beginning of 2010, Israel has provided over 100,000 tons of aid to the people living in Gaza.”

In fact, Israel does not provide any “aid” to Palestinians. Rather, Israel allows limited quantities of aid supplied by the United Nations and other countries into Gaza according to arbitrary restrictions as part of its siege.

Israel has deliberately restricted food supplies to the 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza using “mathematical formulas” designed to keep the population on the edge of hunger without attracting too much international attention, as the Israeli human rights organization Gisha discovered from an examination of Israeli defense ministry documents.

Claims of “terrorist ties” based on Israeli propaganda outfit

Reproducing unsubstianted Israeli propaganda and allegations, the bill accuses the Turkish humanitarian organization IHH, which was involved in earlier flotillas, of ties to terrorism:

The Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of the Treasury have determined that flotilla organizers Free Gaza and the Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri ve Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), an Islamic nongovernmental organization (known in English as the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief), have known terrorist ties.

In 2010, IHH organized a flotilla that included the ship Mavi Marmara carrying 40 IHH members, including Fatima Mahmadi, Ken O’Keefe, Hassan Iynasi, Hussein Urosh, Ahmad Umimon, and others with known links to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations who were armed with 100 metal rods, 200 knives, 150 military self-defense vests, 50 wooden clubs, gas masks, and a telescopic sight for a gun.

But the bill provides no evidence to back up these sensational and propagandistic claims. IHH is in fact not designated as a “terrorist” organization by any US government agencies. The claims in the bill are not based on US government or intelligence reports, but appear to come directly from unsubstantiated claims published by an Israeli propaganda and advocacy outfit calling itself the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. This group is closely connected with Israel’s military and intelligence establishments, the main sources for sometimes laughable anti-flotilla incitement and propaganda.

Laying grounds to prosecute Americans

The bill appears to be a transparent attempt to criminalize solidarity with Palestinians and opposition to US policy supporting Israel’s siege of Gaza. It would effectively further erode First Amendment rights in order to intimidate and suppress criticism of Israel. It demands,

Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189).

No concern for Americans

HR 3131 reads like a manifesto of the most extremist pro-Israel organizations. Fair enough, if that’s how members of Congress think they should be spending their time. But in addition to the bill’s utter disregard for facts and its dehumanizing contempt for Palestinians is the notable lack of any concern for US citizens and their lives, especially Furkan Dogan an American teenager who was murdered execution-style by Israeli soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

The bill is currently in committee.

 

Written FOR

LATEST UPDATE ON 21 STILL DETAINED BY ISRAEL

UPDATE ON FREEDOM WAVES POLITICAL PRISONERS

21 still detained and refusing to sign false statements

35new-logo-med3.jpg

[RAMALLAH] Of the 27 human rights defenders captured during Israel’s illegal takeover of the Freedom Waves to Gaza vessels on Friday, 4 November, 20 remain in Givon prison and the whereabouts of one is unknown.

Israeli officials have been claiming that all 27 people aboard the MV Tahrir and MV Saoirse have been released or are awaiting deportation. This is not true. Freedom Waves can confirm that six people have been released or deported. These are Majd Kayyal (Palestinian from Haifa), Lina Attalah (Journalist from Egypt), Casey James (Journalist from the US), Aimane Zoubir (Journalist from Morocco), Captain George Klontzas (Greece) and Captain Zacharias Stylianakis.

The whereabouts of British journalist, Hassan Ghani of PressTV is unknown. On Saturday prison authorities told lawyers that Hassan was not at the prison, yet we know that he has not yet been released. Freedom Waves organizers demand that the Israeli authorities reveal where Hassan Ghani is being held and that he be allowed access to a lawyer.

The Israeli authorities have tried to pressure the human rights defenders that remain in Israeli prison to sign a voluntary deportation agreement (waiver of right to see a judge) in order to be immediately deported. The activists refuse to sign, not because they want to come before an Israeli judge, but rather because the wavier states that they came to Israel voluntarily and entered the country illegally, which are patently untrue in light of the fact that Israeli naval ships violently seized the Tahrir and Saoirse, and forcibly transported them and all on board to Ashdod. Israeli authorities have ignored requests by the group’s lawyer to deport the activists immediately without having to sign this form that contains falsities meant to absolve Israel of responsibility for illegal abduction of foreign nationals in international waters.

Because they have refused to sign the waiver, according to Israeli law, they will be detained for 72 hours and then brought before an immigration judge, who will rubberstamp the deportation order. After this mock legal process, deportation will commence. For the first 24 hours of their abduction, none of the activists, crew, or journalists, were allowed to call a lawyer or family members. On Sunday, a few were able to make one one-minute phone call.

NOTE: Various accounts from prisoners have come out contradicting Israel’s claim of a peaceful takeover of the boats. Some activists were tasered and beaten, and at least one of the captains abused during interrogation. For accounts that we have been able to obtain, please see: www.tahrir.ca and http://www.irishshiptogaza.org.

For more information, please call:
+970-592-346-895 or
+970-598-336-215
www.WitnessGaza.com

ISRAELI PIRACY AFTERMATH ~~ THE PRISONERS SPEAK

 Criminals treating humanitarian aid activists as criminals? THAT IS CRIMINAL!
*
Following are a number of reports dealing with those arrested by the criminal state of Israel…
*
*

Activists: Gaza boat passengers refuse deportation deal

*
BETHLEHEM — Activists detained in Israel after they attempted to sail to Gaza are refusing to sign a deportation agreement, a spokeswoman for the group said Sunday.

The document states that they entered Israel voluntarily and in an illegal manner, which the imprisoned boat passengers dispute, Huwaida Arraf said in a statement.

Their refusal to sign the deal, which would see them deported immediately, means they will be held for 72 hours before an Israeli immigration judge reviews their deportation, Arraf added.

The Irish-flagged Saoirse (“Freedom”) and the Canadian ship Tahrir (“Liberation”) — carrying 27 activists and reporters from nine countries — were intercepted by Israeli naval commandos in international waters off the Gaza coast and taken to Israeli port Ashdod on Friday.

Israeli Interior ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad said on Saturday that six passengers had been released and the remaining 21 people were still being held at a detention facility in Ramla near Tel Aviv.

Coordinator of the Irish ship Fintan Lane said Israeli forces used high-pressure hoses to take over the vessel, and caused a collision between the vessels, in a telephone call made to boat organizers from jail on Sunday.

Greek captain of the Tahrir Giorgos Klontzas, since released from jail, told Greek Omnia TV that Israel forces handcuffed him tightly and stuck fingers in his eyes during interrogation.

The Israeli military said no one was injured in the operation to block the ships from reaching Gaza, under a tightened Israeli blockade since Hamas took power in 2007.

The Israeli military maintains a land and maritime embargo on the coastal enclave of 1.6 million people, which international organisations criticize as “collective punishment,” in breach of the Geneva Conventions.

Activists organised a major attempt to break the Israeli blockade in May 2010, when six ships led by the Turkish Mavi Marmara tried to reach Gaza.

Israeli troops stormed the Marmara, killing nine Turkish nationals and sparking a diplomatic crisis with Ankara, which expelled the Israeli ambassador and has cut military ties with Israel.

Earlier this year, a second flotilla tried to reach Gaza, but several ships were sabotaged at port. Activists — who blamed the disabling of the ships on Israel — kept this week’s voyage under wraps until they set off from a southern Turkish port on Wednesday to avoid similar attempts, they said.

Source via Uruknet

*

I write from cell 9 in the Apartheid State of Israel

David Heap

Dear sisters and brothers, friends and loved ones,

I write to you from cell 9, block 59 Givon Prison near Ramla in Occupied Palestine. Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir, and bruised during forcible removal dockside (I am limping slightly as a result) I am basically ok. We, Ehab, Michael, Karen from Tahrir, as well as Karen, Kit (US) and Jihan who we saw briefly this morning. We are most concerned about our Tahrir shipmate, Palestinian Majd Kayyal from Haifa, last seen by us at Ashdod being photographed and put in a police car.*

Although Michael and I (among others) were transported in handcuffs and leg shackles, let me stress that we are neither criminals nor illegal immigrants but rather political prisoners of the apartheid state of Israel. Four from the Tahrir are imprisoned with 12 Irish comrades from the Saoirse, who have more experience with such issues. The four of us, Ehab and I (Cdn), Michael (Aus) and Hassan (UK) have joined with the Irish in their political prisoners’ committee in order to press our collective demands:

* association in the block – i.e. open cells
* adequate writing and reading material
* free communication with outside world – i.e. regular phone calls
* information about shipmate women held at same prison

We add one Tahrir-specific demand: that Israeli state recognize the professional status of Democracy Now journalist Jihan Hafiz in accordance with her credentials from the US government. All political incarceration is unjust but let me stress that in duration and conditions, our situation pales in comparison to the plight of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners and to the open air prison of Gaza.

If you have energy to devote to solidarity actions in the coming days, please concentrate on them. We must get Tahrir back and hope Freedom Waves continue.
Free Majd Kayyal! Free all political prisoners! Free Gaza! Free Palestine!

Anishnabe-debuewin, restons humaine, stay human, in love and struggle,

David


* Majd Kayyal was released, but it appears David the other political prisoners weren’t told where he was taken.

*
*
Related to above …
*

Canadian on Gaza ship ‘beaten,’ friend says

Joe Belanger


LONDON, ON – A Canadian man aboard a Gaza-bound vessel was apparently beaten and injured when arrested by Israeli authorities when it was intercepted Friday, a colleagues says.

Israeli authorities on Saturday began deporting pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the Jewish state’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

David Heap, Peace and Social Justice chair for the London chapter of the Council of Canadians, is still in custody at Givon prison. Heap also sits on a steering committee with People for Peace, London and teaches French studies and linguistics at the University of Western Ontario.

The Israeli navy on Friday intercepted a Canadian vessel and an Irish boat carrying 27 activists and medical supplies which had set sail from Turkey toward the Gaza Strip.

Wendy Goldsmith, of People for Peace, said the boat was intercepted 30 miles from the Gaza coast in international waters.

“Our folks peacefully refused to leave and they were violently taken off the boat and beaten but I don’t know the extent of their injuries,” Goldsmith said.

“David was beaten. We’re pressing for independent evidence that they are okay and not hurt. They were visited by Canadian consulate authorities and all they’ve said is they are all right. Beyond that, our Canadian government has done nothing.”

Goldsmith said she’s “really concerned” about the protesters and, especially, Heap, who has made other trips to Gaza, most recently in July when the boat he was on was seized by Greek authorities and towed back to port.

“I’m also very concerned that these people were kidnapped in international waters and our government has said nothing.”

An Israeli Immigration Authority spokesperson said two Greek citizens were flown home on Saturday and two journalists – one American and one Spanish – were to board flights on Sunday.

One Israeli citizen was released, as was an Egyptian woman who had crossed back to neighbouring Egypt overnight, the spokeswoman said.

Twenty one other activists were being held in custody in Israel and were awaiting deportation.

There were no injuries in the interception of the two boats on Friday, according to officials.

Source via Uruknet


VIOLENT AND DANGEROUS ISRAELI PIRACY

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

*

Latest update on the Freedom Waves to Gaza Boats November 6, 2011

The take over of the Tahrir and the Saoirse was violent and dangerous. Despite very clear protests from the occupants of the two boats that they did not want to be taken to Israel, they were forcibly removed from the boats in a violent manner. The whole take over took about 3 hours. Many of those on the Canadian boat were beaten.

It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows. Fintan Lane, on the Saoirse, was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows where smashed and the bridge of that boat nearly caught fire. The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats, the Saoirse and the Tahrir collided with each and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse.  The boats nearly sunk, the method used in the take over was very dangerous.

The Israeli forces initially wanted to leave the boats at sea but the abductees demanded that they not be left to float unmanned at sea, for they would have been lost and possibly sunk. David Heap, a Canadian delegate, was tasered and beaten.  All belongings of the passengers were taken off them and crew and they still do not know if and what they will get back.  6 prisoners were released-both of the Greek Captains, 2 of the journalists and 2 delegates. The passengers remain in Givon detention center and many, including Kit Kittredge of the U.S., have not been able to make phone calls.

Those remaining are being asked to sign deportation papers which state that they came into Israel illegally and that they will not attempt another effort to break the Gaza blockade. If they sign they will not be allowed into Palestine, through Israel, for 10 years.  Obviously their goal was to go to Gaza not Israel, and a signature could validate Israel’s right to blockade Gaza, so they refuse to sign.  This will mean longer detention. Their continued detention is designed to force them to agree to abandon their legal rights and has nothing to do with the security of Israeli civilians – just like the blockade of Gaza’s civilians is clearly punitive and has nothing to do with the security of Israeli civilians

Our State Department has not been an advocate for its citizens. They would rather join Israel in stating that we are terrorists. Obama on Thursday said the passengers on these boats are defying Israeli and American law. He must have been confused. It’s the other way around.   State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. was renewing its call to Americans “not to involve themselves in this activity,” and warned of possible consequences.

WE NEED ALL OF YOU TO GET ON THE PHONE TODAY AND CALL:

U.S. Emergency Consular Services  202-647-4000

and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv  011-972-3-519-7575

Tell them you want them to insist Israel free the prisoners immediately and end its siege of Gaza.  

Just a few phone calls can make a difference.

*
THE TRUTH IS OUT
*
In a statement today Sinead MacLochlainn National Chair of the Irish ship to Gaza Committee condemned the reckless behaviour of Israeli Forces as they violently seized the Saoirse and Tahrir boats on Friday. She was speaking as the following harrowing account came through from one of the Irish hostage in Govin Prison.

“The takeover of the MV Saoirse was violent and dangerous. Despite very clear protests from the occupants of the two boats that they did not want to be taken to Israel, they were forcibly removed from the boats in a violent manner. The whole takeover took about three hours. It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows. I was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows were smashed and the bridge of the boat nearly caught fire. The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats, the Saoirse and the Tahrir, collided with each other and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse. The boats nearly sank. The method used in the takeover was dangerous to human life. The Israeli forces initially wanted to leave the boats at sea, but the abductees demanded that they not be left to float at sea, for they would have been lost and possibly sunk. All belongings of the passengers and crew were taken from them and they still do not know if and what they will get back. The 14 Irish citizens remain in Givon prison.”

Sinead MacLochlainn said.
“The Israeli forces acted with complete disregard for Human life never mind human rights. Please contact your local elected representative and the Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore – tell them about this act of piracy and tell them that we expect our colleagues to be treated properly from here on in and for their speedy and safe release from this illegal custody.” She continued “I also want to commend the hostages for their courage and steadfastness and congratulate them for establishing their political prisoner committee which succeeded in winning important concessions from the Zionist authorities,”
Free Free Palestine

 

ISRAEL’S INTERCEPTIONS WILL NOT STOP FUTURE FLOTILLAS FROM COMING

 They may have the guns, but we have the determination!

Nothing, no one can stop the struggle to end the siege on Gaza!!
Hasta La Victoria Siempre!!!
*

One of the two ships intercepted by the Israel Navy, Nov. 4, 2011.Photo by: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

*

Israel begins deporting Gaza flotilla activists

Israel Navy intercepted two vessels with 27 activists, medical supplies sailing from Turkey to Gaza on Friday; one Israeli citizen released, two Greek citizens flown home Saturday, two journalists flying Sunday.

Israeli authorities on Saturday began deporting pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli navy on Friday intercepted a Canadian vessel and an Irish boat carrying 27 activists and medical supplies which had set sail from Turkey toward Gaza.

An Israeli Immigration Authority spokeswoman said two Greek citizens were flown home on Saturday and two journalists, one American, and one Spanish, were to board flights on Sunday.

One Israeli citizen was released, as was an Egyptian woman who had crossed back to neighboring Egypt overnight, the spokeswoman said. Twenty one other activists were being held in custody in Israel and were awaiting deportation.

Israel’s navy has intercepted similar protest ships in the past, towing them to Ashdod and detaining participants. Israel says its naval blockade of Gaza is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching militant groups like Hamas, the Iran-backed group that rules the territory. Critics call the blockade collective punishment of Gaza’s residents.

Israel’s government has said the activists can send supplies into Gaza overland.

In May 2010, nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed when they resisted an Israeli operation to halt a similar flotilla. Each side blamed the other for the violence.

The incident sparked an international outcry and forced Israel to ease its land blockade on Gaza, which was imposed in 2006 and tightened, with Egyptian cooperation, after Hamas seized control of the territory the following year.

Militants in Gaza have fired thousands of rockets into Israel in the past decade, and now have much of southern Israel in range.

Speaking after prayers at a Gaza City mosque, Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, addressed the passengers aboard the boats, saying, “Your message has been delivered whether you make it or not.”
“The siege is unjust and must end,” Haniyeh said.

On Thursday, the Obama administration warned U.S.citizens on the boats that they may face legal action for violating Israeli and American law. The activists include Americans and citizens of eight other countries.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. was renewing its warning to Americans “not to involve themselves in this activity.”

The U.S., like Israel and the European Union, considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

 

Source
 

WE’RE OUT TO BREAK THE SIEGE ON GAZA …. NOT TO MAKE HEADLINE NEWS!

Activists from the Gaza-bound flotilla holding flags of the participating countries in front of the Greek parliament in Athens yesterday. Photo by: AFP

*

 Plan kept secret until last minute

Activists from the two-vessel flotilla say did not publicize plans out of fear they would be stopped before leaving port in Turkey.

The “Freedom Waves to Gaza” flotilla organizers kept their latest attempt to set sail to the Gaza Strip under wraps out of concern that they would be stopped again before leaving the port in Turkey.

The activists from the Canadian vessel the “Tahrir,” carrying twelve Canadian, American, Australian and Palestinian passengers, and the Irish vessel the “Saoirse,” carrying 15 Irish passengers, told Haaretz that preparations were kept low profile until the two-vessel flotilla reached international waters.

The activists are also accompanied by reporters from news outlets including Al-Jazeera and Iranian television.

The Tahrir is carrying letters of support from activists in the U.S. to the people of Gaza, as well as some medical supplies. Some of the participants are new, and some have attempted already to sail to Gaza from Greece in July this year.

The activists arrived in Turkey in the past few days, and the boats sailed on Wednesday afternoon from the Turkish port of Fetniye.

According to Israel Defense Forces estimates, judging by the speed judging by the speed of the ships and the conditions at sea, the ships will arrive in Gaza between Thursday night and early Friday morning.

The activists told Haaretz that Turkish authorities requested they reduce the number of people on board, so not everyone was able to embark. They stressed that no particular organization was behind this new effort to sail to Gaza.

Canadian activist Wendy Goldsmith said that it was organized by “civil society with no particular leadership – pretty much as the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests, people who protest the injustice.”

The flotilla has nothing to do with the rocket fire from Gaza or the recent prisoners swap between Hamas and Israel, added Goldsmith.

“The siege is still there. Israel had many ways to deal with its security problems, and the collective punishment of people living in Gaza is probably the worst – it’s ineffective, immoral and illegal,” she said.

She added that the activists expect an encounter with the Israeli authorities “at some point” and are concerned for their safety.

Ehab Lotayef, the organizer of the Tahrir, said in an announcement published on the website of the Irish boat that “the Palestinians living in Gaza want solidarity – not charity. They have made it clear to the world that their primary demand is for freedom. While humanitarian aid is helpful, Palestinians are still prisoners with no freedom of movement. Israel’s illegal blockade prevents not only imports into Gaza, but exports as well. And the blockade prevents Palestinians from moving freely between Gaza and the West Bank, in violation of fundamental human rights.”

The U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called on the international community to ensure the safe passage of the ships through international waters into Gaza.

CCR senior staff attorney Maria LaHood said that “CCR applauds the persistence of civil society to break the siege on Gaza, where Palestinians remain imprisoned and isolated, without access to the supplies necessary to sustain and rebuild their lives.”

Source

*

Israel’s reaction….

*

Israel Navy tracks new Gaza-bound flotilla

Two ships leave Turkey carrying between 20 to 30 pro-Palestinian activists; IDF says plans to intercept vessels, offer them to dock at Ashdod or port in Egypt.

The Israeli Navy is tracking two ships, believed be part of a new flotilla to Gaza, that departed Wednesday from Turkey headed for the Gaza Strip, according to the IDF spokesperson.

The IDF intends to intercept the vessels if they continue on their course.

According to information obtained by security services, the two ships left Turkey after announcing their intentions to sale to Rhodes. There is no information presently that indicates Turkish involvement in the flotilla.

The passengers on the two ships – a small ship named “Al-Tahrir” and a yacht named “the Saoirse” are believed to be activists in two pro-Palestinian organizations from Ireland and Canada.

The Tahrir is carrying twelve Canadians, Americans, Australians, and Palestinians. The fifteen passengers on the second vessel are from Ireland.

According to IDF estimates, judging by the speed of the ships and the conditions at sea, the IDF estimates that the ships will arrive in Gaza between Thursday night and early Friday morning.

The Israeli Navy intends to radio the ships and offer them to dock and unload equipment at the port in Ashdod or in an Egyptian port. A senior defense official said Wednesday that “in any case, we will not let them reach Gaza. The naval blockade is legal and was even recently approved by the Palmer committee. This is an incident that is intended mainly to draw media attention,” he said.

The first Gaza flotilla set sail from Turkey in May 2010. The six-vessel convoy had the intention of breaking through a comprehensive blockade Israel had placed on the coastal territory.

The navy took control of five of the ships without incident, but resistance by activists on the sixth vessel led to clashes that claimed the lives of nine of the boat’s passengers, and left dozens of activists and soldiers wounded.

Israel had requested that the flotilla turn off its course, and head for the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the aid it was carrying could be transferred via land to Gaza. This was rejected by the flotilla, leading Israel to dispatch its troops to intercept the ships before they reached Gaza.

The action was condemned internationally, in particular by Turkey, which recalled its ambassador and branded Israel a “terrorist state.”

The most recent flotilla attempt in July 2011 did not reach Gaza shores.

Source

*
Also see THIS Ynet report including video

« Older entries Newer entries »