Interview with Ken O’Keefe, political activist, London
Marom said the only purpose of the flotilla is to clash with Israeli soldiers, create media provocation, delegitimize Israel and create a PR stunt.
Last year, Israeli forces attacked the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara carrying aid for Gaza in international waters, killing nine Turkish activists onboard.
To further discuss the issue, Press TV interviewed Ken O’Keefe, an Irish- American activist, who was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara I and also spent the last six months in Gaza where he witnessed firsthand conditions under which the Gazans have been forced to live in an economy crippled by an Israeli siege.
Press TV: Ken, you were with the flotilla that went to Gaza earlier on and during that flotilla attempt, Turkish activists were killed when the Mavi Marmara was attacked. Do you think Israel will attack the second flotilla?
O’Keefe: Well, I think we cannot ignore the fact that with the Mavi Marmara not going and the Turkish elements not going as it was last year that we are missing these. It is an element that is by the propaganda machine supposedly violent but that is not the case. This is a humanitarian aid mission going to the benefit of 1.7 million people who are now five years into a blockade with over 800,000 plus children.
To me the defense of the Mavi Marmara was like defending one’s family and of course nobody in their right minds would say that it is improper to defend your family. What we will have on this one is an absence of the Turkish elements which is to me quite tragic. I was proud and honored to be with my Turkish brothers and sisters on the Mavi Marmara.
So it will be an Israeli aggression that will be met with passive resistance and I would imagine that it will all go by rather quietly in comparison to what happened the last time. So unfortunately I think there is going to be no success at this point but we have to keep pressing and I do very much respect all those who are on board and who are heading towards Gaza. But we have lost something quite substantial with the Turkish elements being gone.
Press TV: Well, the recent remarks made by the Israeli naval commander when he does say that this is a provocation flotilla that his forces will try not to allow it enter Gaza’s territory. Do you think that the international silence to speak over the killing of the Mavi Marmara activists has emboldened Israel in making these kinds of statements or in trying actually to prevent this flotilla from entering Gaza?
O’Keefe: Well, I think you make a very important point there on that. Really, I am kind of sick and tired of laying the blame on Israel. Israel is like America. It is for America and American imperial machine. It goes around occupying, invading and stealing resources. We know what it is. I mean, we know what America is and we know what Israel is.
Israel’s job is to maintain perpetual conflict in the region. Its job is to steal the land of the Palestinians. So there is no surprise when it does things like this, murdering people and assassinating people. But really a sick is the European Union which pretends as if it is a civilized society in which it is making all these incantations to respect for democracy and human rights and stuff like this, while it continues to do 25 billion euros a year and trade with Israel, while it continues trading weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, while it continues to do everything it can to capitulate Israeli demands and also not use international law as it should be used in the case of Britain, we see that universal jurisdiction is under attack and any probability of Israeli war criminals being indicted in England is trying to be cut short.
So I really think we should be directing our energy more and more towards the EU in particular but also the American citizens who are being duped to the tune of billions and billions a year on aid to Israel and they are not benefiting at all. So we know what Israel does. Why don’t we concentrate on what we can do?
(www.presstv.ir / 20.06.2011)