INDEX (stories follow)
ZIONISM = RACISM
from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by email@example.com (Democracy Now!)
- Greek Protesters Continue General Strike in Attempt to Block Austerity Measures
- Taliban Attacks Afghanistan Hotel Killing 10
- Pakistani Official Calls For End to International “Blame Game”
- Humanitarian Flotilla Ship to Gaza Sabotaged
- Israel Complains of “Radical Elements” In Delegation
- EPA Begins Monitoring Air As Wildfire Approaches Los Alamos Nuclear Lab
- Worst Drought in Decades Strikes Horn of Africa, Over 10 Million Affected
- U.N. To Release Report On Connection Between Climate Change And Weather Disasters
- Prominent Climate Change Skeptic Received Over $1 Million From Oil, Coal Companies
- Egypt: Hundreds Injured In Clashes Between Protesters And Security Forces
- Five Saudi Women Taken Into Custody for Defying Driving Ban
- Bank of America Agrees to Pay $8.5B Settlement in Subprime Mortgage Scandal
- Christine Lagarde: First Woman Ever Appointed to Head IMF
- GOP Presidential Candidate Tim Pawlenty Denounces Obama on Israel Policy
- First Images in Weeks Appear of Ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
- Gay, Lesbian Families Sue State of New Jersey to Recognize Same Sex Marriage
- Six Youth Undocumented Immigrant Activists Arrested In “Coming Out” Protest
- 173 Tyson Food Employees Hospitalized After Chlorine Gas Exposure
- New York City: 13 Activists Arrested In “Bloombergville” Budget Cut Protest
by annie on June 29, 2011
It pains me to write this.
Terrible news has reached us in the early hours of Thursday – the Irish Ship To Gaza, MV Saoirse, has been SABOTAGED, presumably by agents of Israel. The damage is extensive, and indeed, if it had gone undetected apparently may have been lıfe-threatenıng if the ship had been at sea.
This is an unacceptable act of aggression against an Irish vessel (which is sovereign Irish territory), against the Freedom Flotilla, and most importantly against the people of Palestine which this flotilla was intending to reach in an act of humanitarian solidarity.
Irishtimes.com has also reported the Irish ship, the MV Saoirse, is no longer taking part in the flotilla because it has been “dangerously” sabotaged.
“This was the type of sabotage that endangered human life,” Mr Lane said last night. “They put divers under the boat who cut a piece out of the propeller shaft. That means that the damage would have happened gradually and what would have happened eventually is that the propeller would have come up through the bottom of the boat, caused a flood in the engine room and would have caused the boat to sink.”
He said the attack was “unnerving” for the crew, classifying it as a “violent attack” on the lives of those aboard. He said pictures detailing the damage to the ship would be published by the campaign today during a press conference in Dublin.
Mr Lane said that, due to the extent of the damage, the MV Saoirse would not be in a position to sail, adding that just six of the 20-plus crew who had been due to set sail would be able to take part in the flotilla by joining an Italian-based vessel today.
from Max Blumenthal by Max
Israelis woke up to a front page Jerusalem Post story claiming flotilla passengers planned violence against soldiers. The story has completely unraveled.
On June 27, the Israeli army released a highly suspect claim that passengers on the flotilla planned to kill and maim Israeli soldiers. The claim looks like yet another anti-flotilla hoax emanating from Israeli government channels.
Today, I reached an official from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit after placing several calls and an email to the office requesting proof to support the army’s claim. The official was unable to supply me with one piece of evidence. Instead, she said, “Basically there’s a trust between the IDF and reporters. And like in any other army, you know, a senior IDF source says something, people are inclined to believe it because this is somebody high up, this is somebody that has a lifetime of experience and credibility and this is like any other army.”
When I asked why anyone would report such a claim without seeing any firm evidence, the army spokesperson said, “If there were something we probably would give it but because of sensitivities we can’t expand further.”
Listen to the whole interview here:
Despite an apparent lack of evidence, the army’s disinformation found its way into top Israeli newspapers through a select group of military correspondents including the Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz. Katz reported that flotilla passengers planned to kill Israeli soldiers and that they were bringing “bags of sulfur” to attack the soldiers. “This is a chemical weapon, and if poured on a soldier it can paralyze him,” an unnamed army source told Katz. “If the sulfur is then lit on fire, the soldier will light up like a torch.” Yedioth Aharanot’s Hanan Greenberg alsoreported, “IDF fears flotilla activists will try to kill Israeli soldiers.” And Haaretz hyped the claim in Hebrew.
Today, the army’s story was exposed as disinformation. First, Yedioth Aharonot military correspondent Alex Fishman reported, “There is no information that there is going to be a group of radicals on board that will form a hard core of violent resistance against IDF soliders. Nor is there any clear information about live weapons that will be on board the ships.” Then, a group of Israeli government ministers accused the army of “media spin” and “public relations hysteria” for claiming the flotilla passengers planned to attack soldiers with chemical weapons.
And now, an Israeli army official (who curiously did not want to give me her name) has refused to supply me with any evidence to support the army’s wild claims. As I wrote during Israel’s disinformation spree in the wake of last year’s flotilla, nothing the Israeli army says can be trusted. Unfortunately, many reporters still accept the army’s claims on trust, while others do not even bother to investigate.
from ‘Just World News’ with Helena Cobban by Helena
Nine boats of siege-busting ‘Freedom Rider’ activists are now gathering in the Mediterranean, preparing to challenge the longrunning siege that is one of the main tools through which Israel continues to stifle the lives and livelihoods of all of Gaza’s 1.6 million people.
An act of collective punishment like this siege is quite illegal under international law. Under international law, Israel has status over Gaza, as over the West Bank, only as a foreign military occupier, a status it has enjoyed for a jaw-dropping 44 years now. (Hey, even the Allied occupation of post-war Germany only lasted 14 years.) It is only that standing as occupying power that “allows” Israel to exercise control over all of Gaza’s land and sea borders, over its airspace, and even over the vital population registry that determines which Palestinians are allowed to enter into or reside in the Palestinian land of Gaza.
It is that long-running military occupation that needs to end; and we should never forget that.
Right now, there is zero movement in the “international community” towards ending Israel’s prolonged occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. There is no prospect of peace and none even of that long-running time-waster, the peace “process.” In the absence of any prospect of peace, actions to end the illegal siege through which Israel seeks to break the will of the civilian population of Gaza are a very valuable way to break the deadlock while also bringing hope to Gaza’s long-besieged civilians that no, the rest of the world has not forgotten about their plight.
I have such admiration for Freedom Riders like the amazingly talented and gutsy African-American writer Alice Walker. The essay in which she explains her reasons for joining the flotilla should be required reading in every class on Middle East politics, all around the world.
… Or Joseph Dana, an American-Israeli journalist who has decided to travel with and document the work of the flotilla, despite numerous attacks against him. Dana is great Twitterer. Follow his realtime updates here.
And then, there are all the sick attacks that Israeli government spokespeople and their fellow travelers in the U.S. State Department (including Hillary Clinton) and in pro-Israel circles in the U.S. and elsewhere make upon these courageous Freedom Riders… Including accusations from the IDF that the Freedom Riders are intent on using violence, from government sources in Israel and the U.S. that “Rafah is now open” and there are no remaining restrictions on the movement of goods or people in and out of Gaza, etc etc.
As I witnessed in Rafah with my own eyes (and suffered a bit with my sun-battered body) two weeks ago, claims that “Rafah is now open” are simply false.
In light of the above, what are we to make of this statement from an organization called “Americans for Peace Now” today? It includes this bit of verbal bullying:
- Let there be no doubt: the organizers of the flotilla are seeking to provoke a confrontation with Israel. In doing so they are playing a dangerous game. None of us knows what the consequences of their actions will be…
Oh, come on. The flotilla organizers are not seeking to “confront” the whole of Israel. They are seeking to confront the specific Israeli policy that maintains a quite illegal siege on all of Gaza’s people. And this “confrontation” is of exactly the same kind used by the Freedom Riders or lunch-counter activists in the days of the civil rights struggle in the United States.
I suppose APN, which is a U.S.-based support branch for the once-magnificent and powerful Israeli organization Peace Now, was trying to establish its pro-Israeli “muscularity” there before they made their core argument which was that Israel should simply let the flotilla make it to Gaza.
Their statement argues that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a “failed policy.” It does describe it as part of a campaign of collective punishment of the whole population of Gaza, though does not spell out the essential illegitimacy of any such collective punishment.
And nor, crucially, does the statement mention that Israel’s ongoing measures against Gaza are possible only because of Israel’s status as occupying power in Gaza: a status that is only ever intended under international law to be a temporary situation, and one that is always– and hopefully speedily–brought to end by the conclusion of a final-status peace between or among the belligerents.
APN’s statement makes it seem quite possible that Israel could continue to exercise its sway over Gaza for ever! It says:
- We recognize Israel’s right to stop and inspect ships it has genuine reason to believe are seeking to smuggle weapons into Gaza… More effective and defensible measures to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza – both via land and via the sea – must be implemented, in cooperation with Egypt, the United States, and the international community.
But how about calling for a speedy end to the occupation that Israel maintains over Gaza, which would be done in the context of a peace treaty between Israel and the PLO– like the one that the Oslo Accords stipulated should have been completed back in May 1999, but that very tragically, because of intense and often intentional Israeli and U.S. foot-dragging, is nowhere on the horizon even today.
In the context of a peace treaty, arms limitation agreements might (and should) be agreed to by both parties to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel as such would have no continuing right to inspect or control the movement of goods and people into or out of Gaza or the rest of the Palestinian state, though the Palestinian negotiators would likely agree to some form of trusted third-party monitoring.
But the idea– as seems encapsulated in the APN statement– that Israel has any unending “right to stop and inspect ships it has genuine reason to believe are seeking to smuggle weapons into Gaza”? Where did that come from? I thought APN was dedicated to achieving a fair and sustainable final-status peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Surely, they should have mentioned that?
“A Committee of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) passed a first draft of a law that will require that Palestinians whose homes are destroyed by Israeli forces pay the Israeli government for the demolition costs.”