Tunisia to host key BDS event in August

Tunisia to host key BDS event in August

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies will convene in Tunisia this summer a conference on the re-emergence of boycotting as a means to combat the Israeli occupation.

Over 40 academics and activists from across the globe will gather in Tunisia this summer to discuss how to further the growing movement to boycott Israel.

Under the title “Boycott as a Strategy to Counter Israel’s Occupation and Apartheid: Present-day Realities and Aspirations”, the conference will be organised by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in the capital city of Tunis from 4 to 6 August 2016.

It will discuss the re-emergence of boycotting as an expression of solidarity with Palestinians by the world community, allowing participants to share their experience and analysis concerning the global campaign to boycott Israel – known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) – as a means to combat the occupation, which is gaining more momentum.

“This growing movement allows the Palestinians to take the reins of their national struggle, and to rebuild alliances with progressive forces around the world,” read the upcoming event’s background paper.

“It also gives long-time friends of the Palestinian movement a role to play, after having been relegated to the role of bystanders in the negotiations process,” it added, describing the movement as a “cornerstone” of the Palestinians’ popular resistance to the Israeli occupation.

“This forms a sharp break with history, when the commercial boycott of Israel was limited to official Arab circles, enjoined by member states of the Arab League.”

Initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, BDS describes itself as a global movement of citizens that carries out and advocates for non-violent campaigns of boycotts, divestment and sanctions as a means to overcome the Israeli regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, as well as to achieve freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.

The movement called on civil society around the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.

This growing movement allows the Palestinians to take the reins of their national struggle, and to rebuild alliances with progressive forces around the world.

The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organisations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Based on volunteerism, the BDS movement is not subject to financial pressures from external parties, drawing strength from the fact that its aims embody the unassailable, legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, enshrined in UN resolutions.

The pressing questions that prominent scholars and commentators hope to answer during the conference’s sessions include:

– Is the boycott movement merely a protest movement that responds instantaneously to Israeli aggressions? Or is it, instead, a complete strategy with both medium- and long-term aims?

– What role is there for Arab states, and emigre communities to play in the boycott movement?

– To what extent can Palestinians living both within the Occupied Territories or within the Green Line be expected to take part in the boycott movement?

For more information about the full conference agenda and speakers, click here.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Netanyahu: We are willing to negotiate based on the Arab Peace Initiative

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [File photo]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his willingness to enter into negotiations with Arab countries on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative.

“The Arab Peace Initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said during a joint press conference held with Avigdor Lieberman after the Knesset approved the appointment of Lieberman as defence minister yesterday.

“I remain committed to making peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbours, as the Arab Peace Initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians,” he said.

We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states’ revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002, but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples,” he added.

Netanyahu also welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s offer to advance peace and security in the region. Al-Sisi had called for the need to achieve peace between Israelis and Arabs and Palestinians.

The Arab Peace Initiative stipulates the establishment of an internationally recognised Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as reaching a fair solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. It also calls for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese territories still under occupation, all in exchange for the Arab countries’ recognition of Israel and normalisation of relations.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Adib Mafarjah on 59th day of hunger strike: family urge international action

mafarjah-press

Palestinian prisoner Adib Mafarjah is on his 59th day of hunger strike in protest of his imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. According to Asra Voice, Mafarjah will face a court hearing today; he has been imprisoned without charge or trial since 10 December 2014 and his detention renewed repeatedly.

Mafarjah, 28, launched his hunger strike on 3 April alongside Fouad Assi, also from his hometown of Beit Liqya, near Ramallah. Assi ended his strike in an agreement for his future release, but Mafarjah’s strike is continuing. He is held in Barzillai hospital, shackled hand and foot to his hospital bed. In a press conference in Ramallah on Monday, 30 May, Mafarjah’s wife, Aya, joined other family members and advocates to urge international and Palestinian action for his release.

mafarjah-horseMafarjah has lost approximately 30 kilograms of weight (approximately 63 pounds) since he began his hunger strike, is vomiting blood, and has lost consciousness; however, Aya reported that he is refusing medications and supplements. She said that he had not received offers to end his strike and that he had been pressured repeatedly through multiple transfers from prison to prison via “Bosta” and long-term solitary confinement.

Speakers at the press conference urged international official actions from United Nations bodies and international governments, as well as support from grassroots groups and civil society, to free Mafarjah and end administrative detention.

Mafarjah is joined on hunger strike by Musallam Eshtayyeh, striking for 32 days against the conditions of his detention; Imad Abu Rezeq, refusing food for the 17th day in protest of torture and mistreatment under interrogation; and Malek Qadi, 19, of Bethlehem, in protest of his re-arrest and torture and mistreatement under interrogation, on his eighth day of hunger strike.

Palestinian activists in Nazareth are holding a protest in support of Mafarjah on Wednesday, 1 June at 5:30 pm, demanding his freedom; a permanent solidarity tent has been erected outside his Beit Liqya home.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urges people around the world to participate in actions and protests to free Adib Mafarjah and all Palestinian prisoners. Mafarjah is one of nearly 750 Palestinians held without charge or trial under administrative detention. We salute his steadfastness and commitment to win his freedom and that of his fellow imprisoned Palestinians, and urge the amplification of his voice, his struggle and his strike, with demands for freedom for all Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

What they Said about Israel’s attack on Mavi Marmara

1. Laura Arau, a filmmaker who was on board Mavi Marmara: “By the end of the attack, the floor of the boat was red from blood.”

2. Mustafa Ahmet, a 33-year-old from London “We were a convoy of peace. But the Israeli choppers overhead, the smoke grenades … all the screaming, all the noise. People were running all ways and there was blood everywhere. But before we could do anything, it was all over.”

3. Jerry Campbell, an Australian activist: “I saw two men die out there … the floor was covered in blood and the IV units were tied to the ceiling with bandages… One man’s stomach was opened – his intestines were out and the doctor reached inside and pulled out some bullets, before pushing everything back in and wrapping him up,” she said. “I don’t know if he survived.”

4. Kathy Sheetz, American activist who survived an Israeli attack, accused Israeli forces of looting money from her bank card: “What it means is that I witnessed the Israeli Navy going and killing people and at the end buying beer with my card.”

5. Hanin Zoabi, a Palestinian activist who was on the Mavi Marmara and also is a Palestinian member of Israeli parliament: “An international court must try the people involved in the political decision that gave a green light to kill the activists on the Marmara… ” She said. “The issue is not only Marmara, Marmara was the small crime. The big crime was the siege on Gaza.”

6. Dr. Ahmet Doğan on America’s indifference to Israel killing its citizen Furkan Dogan: “What I understand from US policy is if Israel is the issue, they can ignore [Furkan’s] citizenship…We’re disappointed with the approach of the US. The fact is, the United States does not protect its citizens.”

7. Sarah Colborne, Mavi Marmara survivor: “The increased solidarity around the world with Palestine sends a clear message to the Israeli government that every attack it launches on Palestinians or their supporters simply galvanizes international solidarity for the people it so brutally oppresses.”

8. The Norwegian activist Randi Kjos: “They treated us with hatred – the old were made to kneel for long periods and women had to sit with their arms crossed. Some of the wounded were naked to the waist … many were in shock…. Palestinians and Arabs were treated very differently to Europeans or Westerners. Palestinians who asked for anything were belted, pushed around or treated with contempt. People warned me of the hatred I would see – but still, I was shocked.”

9. Hamas confirms that the attack on Marmara was “an act of piracy that reflected the criminal nature of the Israeli occupation,” whileKhaled Mishaal, Chairman of Hamas political bureau tells the activists: “You may not have arrived, but your message was received loud and clear.”

10. Then Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tells reporters in Washington: “Psychologically this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey because Turkish citizens were attacked by a state, not by terrorists, with an intention, a clear decision of political leaders of that state.”

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Palestinian Assembly urges Germany to break the siege on Gaza

BERLIN, (PIC)– A memorandum was handed over by the Palestinian Assembly in Germany to the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urging the German government to work on breaking the Israeli siege on Gaza. The letter was handed to the German Foreign Ministry delegate at the ministry headquarters in Berlin. Speaking during a press conference, member of the Palestinian Assembly in Germany, Khaled al-Dhaher, said the memorandum sounds the alarm over the tragic situation endured by the Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip due to the repeated Israeli military offensives, backing up his remarks by U.N. data. The Assembly’s head Suheil Abu Shamaleh called on the German government to urgently intervene and work on halting Israel’s oppressive policy towards the besieged enclave of Gaza. “Since 2010, the German Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for immediately ending the siege on Gaza,” said Abu Shamaleh. “We call on Merkel’s government to intervene and urge the Israeli occupation to lift the siege.” He slammed the silence maintained by the international community as regards the “siege crime,” saying: “This is an intolerable crime that transgresses all human ethics.” The Assembly’s deputy head, Fadi al-Tayesh, also appealed to the mass media to speak up for Gaza’s tragedy, adding that preparations for the Global Week to Break the Siege on Gaza have been underway. The Palestinian Assembly in Germany also said a delegation is expected to head to the European Commission in Berlin to mobilize support for ongoing efforts to lift the blockade and press ahead with reconstruction projects.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Will Palestinian-Jordanian confederation see the light?

Demonstrators wave Palestinian and Jordanian flags during a protest to express solidarity with Palestinians and against the escalation of Israeli-Palestinian violence, Amman, Oct. 9, 2015

Palestinian-Israeli relations have reached an unprecedented political stalemate, with Israel’s recent refusal of the French initiative to renew the peace process. This process has been suspended since April 2014, following the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) announcement of its refusal to recognize the existence of a Jewish state and Israel’s imposition of economic sanctions on the PA, such as halting the transfer of Palestinian tax revenues to the PA’s treasury following the PA’s accession to numerous international organizations without coordination with Tel Aviv.

With Israel’s refusal of the French initiative on renewing peace talks, the Palestinians now must think outside the box and reopen talks about the Palestinian-Jordanian confederation structure.

The Palestinian-Jordanian confederation means the establishment of two states for two peoples, after the establishment of the Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines. This confederation solution was first raised by Jordan in 1972, but the PLO categorically rejected it in the same year. According to the confederation system, there would be two capitals — Jerusalem for the Palestinians and Amman for Jordanians — a centralized judiciary and one armed force led by the Jordanian king, one centralized council of ministers and one national assembly elected by the two peoples. The state should allow citizens to have full freedom of movement between the two regions.

Sari Nusseibeh, the former president of Al-Quds University, former Fatah official and an advocate of the Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, told Al-Monitor, “The confederation option with Jordan is a good idea, provided that a Palestinian state is established and that East Jerusalem remains a capital for the Palestinians. The relationship between the Palestinians and the Israelis does not bode well in light of the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which makes the confederation with Jordan an appropriate solution for the Palestinians to overcome this impasse and their difficult situation. Yet this requires prior Jordanian and Israeli approval. The Palestinians and the Jordanians have historical relations and ancient family ties and the confederation may be an alternative accepted by the Palestinians to get rid of the Israeli occupation.”

Concurrently with the increasing Palestinian talks about the Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, An-Najah National University in Nablus published May 12 the results of an opinion poll showing that 42% of Palestinians support the confederation option with Jordan. Online newspaper Al-Hadath, which is issued in Ramallah, also conducted an opinion pollamong Palestinians that showed that 76% support the option of a confederation with Jordan.

A survey carried out by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that 25% of Palestinians supported the establishment of a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation in 2007 compared to 31% in 2013, while 52% refused this option in 2007 compared to 40% in 2013.

Shaker al-Jawhari, editor-in-chief of online newspaper al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, and close to the decision-making circles in Amman, told Al-Monitor, “The confederation option is being considered and discussed between the two sides, Palestine and Jordan. There is constant communication between officials from both sides, and I know that some of the most prestigious Palestinian figures in the West Bank are visiting Amman and meeting with senior officials in the kingdom. They are strongly supporting the confederation option and openly showing a great deal of loyalty to the Royal Palace. The confederation, however, should be preceded by a declaration of a Palestinian state.”

In an article published by the Division of Refugees Affairs — Hamas, Palestinian legal expert Anis Kassim wrote in January 2013 about the legal problems facing the Jordanian-Palestinian confederation that requires a referendum among the Palestinians in the occupied territories and abroad. He explained that this is not possible given that the Palestinians abroad are spread out across dozens of countries around the world. He added that the PLO’s Executive Committee that will be tasked with holding this referendum is unconstitutional and its legality is being challenged since it was not formed following democratic elections by the Palestinians.

He said the confederation would give legal legitimacy to the Israeli settlements and solve the issue of return of the Palestinian refugees by integrating them in the confederation, pointing out that the expected Palestinian state in the West Bank will take the form of dismembered and disarmed cantons that fall within the scope of a confederation with Jordan and that do not enjoy a full-scale sovereignty, while Israel would get rid of the legal burdens of its occupation of Palestine and dodge the international community’s condemnations.

In the midst of the Palestinian buzz about the confederation with Jordan, former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali visited the West Bank May 21 and announced in front of roughly 100 prestigious Palestinian figures in Nablus his support for the confederation through the establishment of a common legislative council and a common government. During his visit, Majali said the Palestinians are not qualified enough to handle their own affairs, especially their financial affairs.

Other Jordanian officials also visited the West Bank, including Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh on March 24 and the Director General of the Jordanian Customs Wadah al-Hamoud on May 19.

Al-Monitor learned from a tribal source in the city of Hebron, who preferred anonymity, that a prominent tribal delegation representing some cities in the West Bank has been making arrangements in the past few days to visit Amman and raise demands to King Abdullah II to activate the confederation project.

Ghassan al-Shaaka, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO who lives in Nablus, told Al-Monitor, “The Palestinian-Jordanian confederation is widely accepted and supported among the Palestinians, in light of the interrelated and positive family relationships between the two sides. This option must be preceded by ending the Palestinian division, declaring the Palestinian state and holding referendums in Jordan and Palestine.”

Talks about the confederation were not limited to the Palestinians and the Jordanians. The Israelis — through former Israeli diplomat and Al-Monitor contributor Uri Savir — have been also promoting this option as a solution that would rid them of what they see as the Palestinian burden, according to Yoni Ben-Menachem, a former Israeli officer in the Military Intelligence Directorate and expert on Arab affairs.

In the past few weeks, Israel has been expressing its support for this option in several articles in the Israeli press. Majali announced during his recent visit to the West Bank May 21 that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to implement the Jordanian-Palestinian confederation solution as soon as possible and has been calling for such option on several occasions.

If we take a closer look at the Palestinian and Jordanian positions toward the confederation, we would understand Jordan’s concerns of this option, in terms of demographic statistics. According to data released by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, Jordan hosted 2.2 million Palestinian refugees in 2015, while the total population of the kingdom, according to preliminary results of the official census of the same year, stood at 9.5 million people, of whom only 6.6 million are Jordanian.

In case a confederation was established with the Palestinians, the kingdom may feel threatened, fearing that it would be turned with time into a Palestinian state given that the majority of its population would be Palestinian nationals, according to a Jordanian study conducted in 2014 by Mahmoud al-Jundi, titled “The Problem of Palestinian-Jordanian Confederation: A Reading in Fears and Repercussions.”

Azzam Huneidi, the former head of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, told Al-Monitor, “The confederation option with our Palestinian brothers is unacceptable because this means that the Palestinian cause would be forwarded to Jordan and would give Israel a comfortable solution allowing it to maintain its settlement expansions and control the entire Palestinian territory. We believe the only proper solution to the Palestinian cause is to grant Palestinians their own state on their national soil.”

The Palestinian enthusiasm and increasing support for the option of confederation with Jordan raises suspicion, perhaps because the Palestinians have lost all hope to establish an independent state and no longer have confidence in the PA, in light of its successive political failures with Israel. The Palestinians see in Jordan a gate to the world in light of the siege imposed on them by Israel and the restrictions on their movement from and to their own country.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Baghdad on high alert following recent bombings

Iraqi security forces and people gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad’s mainly Shiite district of Sadr City, May 17, 2016

May 17 was another bloody day for Baghdad. Terrorists targeted Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, al-Shaab district in northern Baghdad and al-Rasheed neighborhood in southern Baghdad with explosive belts and car bombs, killing and wounding 162 people.

On May 11, blasts targeted Shiite-majority Sadr City, which is inhabited by supporters of Sadrist movement leader cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, killing nearly 100 people and wounding 170.

The tragic events that occurred in a short period in Baghdad at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) showed that security agencies are still unable to protect its citizens and anticipate IS attacks, despite previous experiments, warnings and expectations.

Security officials did not attribute the bombing to their ineffectiveness, but rather to sleeper cells in the capital and other Sunni-majority areas of the Baghdad Belt, which are regions surrounding the capital that they described as a safe haven for terrorist organizations and possibly the primary source of terrorists carrying out the bombings.

Moreover, some attributed the security deterioration in the capital to poor intelligence efforts and the security forces’ recklessness in handling the obtained intelligence information. Others believe that IS seeks to distract attention from its defeats by targeting Baghdad with bombings.

In this context, IS is expected to conduct a new series of bombings. Unidentified intelligence sources at the Iraqi Federal Police said May 17 that “information indicates that IS intends to carry out more bombings in Baghdad in the coming days.”

The sources added, “There were instructions that security forces be on red alert and deploy additional staff in the capital’s neighborhoods in anticipation of any terrorist act.”

Saad al-Matlabi, deputy head of Baghdad’s provincial council’s security committee, told Al-Monitor, “There are sleeper cells in the capital and Baghdad Belt, which pose a threat to the capital. This is because they are always thinking and planning how to target civilians in the bombings, which are conducted to disrupt the security situation and distract attention from [IS] defeats on the battlefronts.”

He added, “Intelligence efforts must be activated and pre-emptive operations need to be conducted against IS before it carries out any terrorist acts.”

A source at Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office told Al-Monitor that Abadi intends to make “changes among security leaders in charge of protecting the capital and to announce that new security officials have been delegated.”

The source said, “The investigations that Abadi as commander in chief of the armed forces ordered to open due to security breaches in Baghdad proved that security officials neglected the tasks of protecting civilians.”

Since May 22, tight security measures have been taken in Baghdad. A security source at the Interior Ministry told the media May 21, “The joint forces [the Iraqi army, police and the Popular Mobilization Units] have taken strict security measures in the Baghdad Belt, particularly in Abu Ghraib, Yusufiyah, Rashidiya and al-Mada’in, in anticipation of any terrorist attacks that could be carried out from these parts against Baghdad.”

The source added, “The crackdown in some of these parts prohibited the movement of people and vehicles; the area has become almost under a curfew.”

Security expert Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf told Al-Monitor, “IS is well-equipped and has employed several people to carry out terrorist acts. This sign of danger requires that significant intelligence efforts be made to identify and dismantle these cells before they conduct any terrorist acts.”

Khalaf added, “The security investigations proved that the Baghdad Belt is not the source of terrorist acts occurring in Baghdad. Rather there are sleeper cells within the capital, and these cells are contributing and conducting the ongoing bombings in the Iraqi capital.”

Khalaf noted that “terrorist acts in Baghdad will increase, because IS is incapable of making any confrontation on the battlefronts and proves its strength in car bombs and explosive belts. The bombings will not end unless IS is eliminated and political differences are resolved. This is because they provide IS with incentives to conduct terrorist operations.”

The only available option for the Iraqi government seems to be the activation of intelligence efforts. The fraudulent sonar handling system is still being used at checkpoints inside Baghdad, which has angered Iraqis who have been critical toward checkpoints and considered them futile, as bombings continue to be carried out in their areas.

IS has found many opportunities to carry out operations in Baghdad, given the city’s size and the lack of any effective security plans, which are limited to cutting off access to roads. Furthermore, IS sleeper cells in Baghdad are yet to be identified, although security forces are deployed in the streets.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Israel rejects third condition for normalisation of relations with Turkey

File photo of houses and buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes.

File photo of houses and buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes

Israel has agreed to two out of three conditions set forth by Ankara for the normalisation of relations between the two countries, however it has refuses to lift the siege on Gaza, Turkey’s deputy prime minister has said.

Numan Kurtulmus told reporters following the weekly cabinet session that his country has set three conditions for normalising relations with Israel and restoring ties to pre-2010 levels: the first is for Israel to make a formal apology for the storming of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship by Israeli forces and the killing of 11 of its passengers; the second is to compensate the victims’ families; and the third is to end the naval and air blockade on the Gaza Strip.

In 2010, the Israeli naval forces stormed the Mavi Marmara ship, carrying activists and politicians from several countries to the Gaza Strip. Prominent figures who were on board the flotilla included Arab Member of Knesset Haneen Zoubi, among others.

Israeli soldiers killed 11 Turkish activists, which led to diplomatic relations between the two countries being severed.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Military court to hold hearing for prof. Barghouthi next Thursday

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The military court in Ofer decided to hold a hearing for Palestinian professor Imad al-Barghouthi next Thursday to look into an indictment filed against him by the Israeli prosecution, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) on Monday. The Shin Bet had refused to comply with a court verdict ordering it to release the professor last Sunday after one month of administrative detention, with no charge. Barghouthi, 54, a renowned astrophysicist and professor at al-Quds University, was arrested on April 24 at Nabi Saleh checkpoint near Ramallah. The military prosecutor has accused him of inciting violence on his Facebook page.

(Source / 31.05.2016)

Gaza Freedom Flotilla six years later: 10 things you need to know

Six years after Israel’s most horrible naval crime in recent years, victims of the families still await justice, and Palestinians an end to the siege and occupation. The attack was harrowing, unprovoked and barbaric. Israel came for one thing, to kill and maim.

Here are 10 facts you need to know about Israel’s 2010 act of piracy:

1. The flotilla carried much needed aid such as food, medicine, school supplies and building materials. On board were human rights defenders, including a former President, MP’s, Nobel peace prize winner, diplomats, writers, and artists. In total, 688 people from 41 nations were on board the flotilla when it was raided.

2. On 31 May 2010, Israeli navy rained the flotilla with bullets from close ranges, while commandos landed on the largest aid ship, the Mavi Marmara. Autopsy results revealed that nine Turkish men (one also an American citizenship) on board Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times. Four years later, another activist passed away of wounds sustained during the attack. Around 189 activists were also wounded. Israel dragged the ships to its ports, detained all passengers and confiscated all aid.

3. Furkan Dogan, 19, was an American activist who was brutally slaughtered by Israeli heavily armed commandos. Filming the Israeli assault, Furkan was shot in the face from point blank. When he was down, he was hit by more bullets that left him dead and unrecognizable. The U.S. administration still ignores this crime. A letter sent to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains unanswered.

4. Israel instantly claimed the ships carried weapons to Gaza. Later, it claimed activists were armed, and the occupation Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed Israeli soldiers who committed the crimes acted in self-defense. Truth is no weapons were ever found, and….

5. On 22 March, occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for what he described as “operational mistakes” during the raid.  Israel also pledged to pay reparation to the families of the victims.

6. Israel stole more than 3 million dollars in aid, cash, electronic devices and personal properties. Moreover, activists’ credit cards were used by Israeli soldiers to buy beer(!!)

American nurse and aid worker Kathy Sheets, who survived the attack, has provided bank statements proving her bank card, taken by the Israeli forces during the attack, was used in Tel Aviv.

“[The solders] tried to use it without the PIN code and could not, but they could use it in a vending machine and had multiple accesses to my card to buy beer.”

She adds:

“What it means is that I witnessed the Israeli Navy going and killing people and at the end buying beer with my card.”

Mocking the whole world, especially the victims, Israel indicted only ONE soldier of looting!

7. Turkey reacted fiercely to Israel’s crimes against the fleet, issuing indictments against those responsible for Israel’s assault on unarmed humanitarian aid workers. Later Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that the Turkish government would downgrade its diplomatic relations with Israel and suspend all military relations with Israel.

8. Israel’s unprovoked attack was met with international uproar. Courts in Spain and South Africa found Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and 10 other senior Israeli officials liable for prosecution for crimes against humanity. A UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) report into the raid found “clear evidence to support prosecutions” of crimes under the Geneva Convention, such as willful killing, torture, inhuman treatment and willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.

9. Gaza is still under siege and occupation. The UN report described the Gaza siege as “totally intolerable and unacceptable in the 21st century”.

10. Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip still honor the victims every year. A memorial was erected in the center of Gaza’s seaport. The memorial’s inscription bears the names of the Turkish solidarity activists killed by Israeli occupation commandos.

(Source / 31.05.2016)