Israel lost flotilla war

Op-ed: Best way to counter PR flotilla to Gaza Strip would have been to ignore it

When the first reports surfaced about yet another international flotilla heading to Gaza, it was difficult to understand its aims. After all, the opening of the Rafah Crossing put an end to the halcyon days of Israel’s blockade on Gaza, and we are now hearing about an improvement in the standard of living in the Strip; according to optimistic predictions, it may rise to almost-humane levels this year.

However, slowly we are discovering that the latest flotilla has its own objectives. If the Marmara that took part in the previous sail sought to present Israel’s brutality to the world (and managed to do so, thanks to our kind assistance,) it appears that the current flotilla was meant to present Israel’s stupidity.

At this time already, when it’s still unclear whether and when the ships shall arrive, it appears that this objective had also been fully achieved.

First, at this current stage, which is replete with belligerent Israeli statements, we can see the Israeli government’s impressive willingness to accurately reenact every critical mistake made in the previous round.

This includes virtuous disregard for the fact that the failure in the Marmara affair had to do with the very attempt to stop a symbolic flotilla in a way that would turn it into a much greater symbol; indeed, the thickness of the rope soldiers slid down on to get on board the ship was not the issue.

This conduct is even more bizarre when we realize that this time around there is no chance whatsoever that the ships are transferring something to Gaza that has not been brought into the Strip via Egypt 50 times already since this morning.

Moreover, instead of realizing that the best way to counter a public relations flotilla is to ignore it, Israel’s PR geniuses made sure to promote the event with spine-tingling leaks to the media about flotilla members being equipped with chemical weapons, laser guns and dragons.

The only optimistic aspect of this conduct is the hope that flotilla organizers would realize that they don’t really have to sail here and get seasick and all. Their objective – isolating Israel on the international stage and driving it mad – had already been secure

( / 01.07.2011)

Gadhafi threatens to take war to Europe

Moammar Gadhafi, rallying his supporters in war-torn Libya, threatened Friday to take the fighting to Europe, according to an audio message aired by state TV.

“You are mistaken, you are involved in a battle that you don’t know what you are going to face, so withdraw, and run away,” Gadhafi told a pro-government gathering in Tripoli. “Our people is able in one day to move the battle to the Mediterranean, and able to move the battle to Europe.”

Gadhafi referred to NATO, which began bombing military targets in Libya after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution in March authorizing force by whatever means necessary, with the exception of a ground invasion, to protect civilians.

He vowed vengeance for the bombings, saying the Libyan military could be “like locusts, like bees” in Europe. Homes and offices could be potential targets, he said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States was taking seriously the Libyan leader’s remarks. “Certainly this is an individual who’s obviously capable of carrying out these kinds of threats,” he told reporters. “It’s what makes him so dangerous. But he’s also someone who’s given to overblown rhetoric.”

He said the United States would continue to support NATO’s mission of increasing pressure on Gadhafi to step aside.

The French government, meanwhile, is in talks with Libyan rebels about supplying them with weapons and ammunition, a Libyan opposition military spokesman in Misrata said late Thursday.

The French government has not confirmed the claim, which follows an acknowledgment earlier this week that its military has previously dropped light weaponry to rebels elsewhere.

( / 01.07.2011)

Activists Challenge Israel’s Other Blockade by Air

Activists Challenge Israel’s Other Blockade by AirThe eyes of the world are currently on a small group of unarmed boats ready to challenge Israel’s illegal and unjust naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.  The second Freedom Flotilla, like its predecessor a year ago, aims not simply to bring aid to the people of Gaza, but to bring the world’s attention to the crippling siege that has brought Gaza’s economy to a grinding halt, resulting in an official unemployment rate of 45%, according to UN figures.  The blockade of Gaza has produced dire shortages of electricity, clean water, and critical medicines in Gaza’s hospitals, and continues to stifle the desires of 1.5 million Palestinians—overwhelmingly young—to work, study and travel freely.

The focus on Gaza is certainly justified.  But the West Bank and East Jerusalem are also blockaded, in ways that may be less obvious but are just as pernicious.  The 24-foot-high concrete slabs slicing Jerusalem off from the West Bank are just the most visible element of an elaborate, all-consuming matrix of walls, checkpoints, roadblocks, permits, closed military zones, segregated highways, soldiers, and secret police that together exercise a choke-hold on Palestinian free movement and political activity.  The Israeli government may not be driving the West Bank to the brink of economic collapse—at the moment.  But one has only to pass through a few checkpoints or attend one of the Friday protests that happen all over the West Bank, every week, and are met with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and heavily armed soldiers, every week, to appreciate that the West Bank is also under siege.

On July 8, I will join over 500 internationals and Palestinians living abroad in a week of action designed to challenge this blockade.  To my knowledge, this is the first attempt to bring such a large number of internationals to Palestine in such a coordinated manner.  Responding to a call to action from a coalition of 15 Palestinian civil resistance groups, hundreds of internationals will fly into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport on a single day and openly declare that we are here to visit Palestinians and travel in the Occupied Territories.

Anyone who has traveled to Israel/Palestine knows the potential risks associated with this action.  Israel controls all entry points into historic Palestine, except for the Rafah crossing into Gaza, which is controlled by Egypt and has its own Kafkaesque challenges.  The Israeli government routinely denies entry to people it knows or simply suspects of being Palestine solidarity activists; journalists, academics and cultural workers sympathetic to the Palestinians; even people coming to do volunteer or charity work in the Occupied Territories.

For this reason, the most common strategy among activists and volunteers planning to work in the Occupied Territories has been to not be entirely forthcoming about their travel plans when interacting with Israeli authorities.  From a practical standpoint, one can see how this strategy makes sense: if the goal is access to the Occupied Territories, many argue that doing whatever is necessary to appear as innocuous as possible to the Israeli authorities is the most prudent course of action.

However, we should be clear that Israel’s border controls and repressive entry policies are part of the apartheid system—a big part.  Entry restrictions on solidarity activists, journalists, and NGO workers are a natural outgrowth of the restrictions that prevent a large percentage of the worldwide Palestinian population from returning to their own country and/or moving about freely within it.  They are part and parcel of the occupation machinery that seeks to isolate the Occupied Territories and make life there unbearable so that Palestinians will leave, and that frequently forces them out whether they want to go or not.  And like all other parts of the apartheid system, they deserve to be challenged.

( / 01.07.2011)

Demonstrations in front of the Greek ambassades!!

zaterdag 2 juli · 12:00 – 15:00

in front of the Greek ambassades all over the world

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demonstrations all over the world in front of the Greek ambassades!!
Greek Embassy lines tied up, send email to: to express anger
because Less than one hour after leaving the Athens port, the American ship in the Gaza flotilla was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard, which demanded it return to the port.
The boat, named the Audacity of Hope, left the Athens port at 16:30 en route to the Gaza Strip, carrying 35 passengers, five crew members and 11 journalists. It departed without permission from the Greek authorities to sail.
1. We urge you to immediately contact the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC, by phone at 202-939-1300 and by fax at 202-939-1324. You can find contact information for your nearest Greek consulate here. Tell them to let The Audacity of Hope leave Athens safely and sail to Gaza.
2. Call the State Department at 202-647-6575 and demand that it retract its June 24 statement that the flotilla and the U.S. Boat to Gaza are “irresponsible and provocative actions.”
Demand that the United States stop threatening U.S. citizens acting peacefully to break Israel’s illegal and immoral blockade of Gaza that their actions “could violate U.S. civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration.”

Griekenland verbiedt vertrek Gaza freedom flotilla: demonstratie

zaterdag 2 juli · 12:00 – 14:00

Griekse ambassade, 10, rue des Petits Carmes – 1000 Brussel

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De Griekse regering heeft aangekondigd dat “geen enkele boot vanuit een Griekse haven zal vertrekken richting Gaza”. Belgium to Gaza roept op tot een mobilisatie tegen deze beslissing. Afspraak aan de Griekse ambassade zaterdag om 12 uur ‘s middags.

Gaza flotilla ship held by Greek officials

One of the ships in a Gaza-bound flotilla was stopped Friday by Greek authorities, who warned that other ships headed to the Palestinian territory would also be blocked.

“The Audacity of Hope” — a U.S. vessel carrying 36 American passengers and four crew members — was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard roughly 20 minutes outside the port of Perama, according to CNN reporter Phil Black, who is on the ship.

Dimitris Delavekouras, a spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry, confirmed that the vessel had been detained. Athens warned that all ships bound for Gaza will be prohibited from leaving Greek ports.

The ten-ship flotilla, which has faced a series of bureaucratic and technical delays, is a commemoration of the one-year anniversary of a similar flotilla that resulted in a clash in international waters with Israeli navy commandos that killed nine people, including an American.

The flotilla is intended to challenge Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza strip.

The decision to stop “The Audacity of Hope” is the “latest example of another government being strong-armed by Israel into colluding in its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip,” said Jane Hirschmann, one of the American flotilla organizers.

“When governments fail to act, as they have done for so long when it comes to the human rights and freedom of the Palestinians, people of conscience must act in their stead,” she said.

Flotilla organizers have called Gaza an “open-air prison” that is “under seige.”

Israeli defense officials released a statement asserting that “it is clear that the goal of the flotilla organizers is provocation: to challenge Israel’s right of self-defense against a terrorist group that has caused close to a million Israeli civilians to live under the constant threat of attack for the better part of a decade.”

On Thursday, organizers claimed another flotilla vessel — the Irish ship Saoirse — was sabotaged while anchored in Turkey’s territorial waters.

The propeller of the Saoirse was damaged by what coordinator Fintan Lane said was plastic explosives.

“We believe that plastic explosives were used to blow and weaken the propel shaft, and this would have sunk the ship in open sea,” said Lane.

Lane said the damage was similar to what happened to another flotilla boat docked in Piraeus, outside of Athens.

He called on the Greek and Turkish authorities to investigate what he called an act of terror.

CNN could not independently verify the claim.

While Lane on Thursday did not outright blame Israel for the alleged sabotage, there have been a number of accusations by organizers about the Israeli government’s effort to block the flotilla.

A spokesman for Israel’s foreign minister said he was “not going to get inside accusations. They are vague. There is nothing behind them.”

“We have not concealed our case, our arguments, our diplomatic efforts. It’s all out in the open.”

On Tuesday, the Israeli government claimed flotilla participants had threatened to kill Israeli military personnel should their boats be boarded. They allege sacks of sulphuric acid were being stockpiled on boats to be used in attacks on Israeli commandos.

Flotilla organizer Medea Benjamin dismissed the allegations as ludicrous, saying: “They see this nonviolent, rag-tag group of ships as such a threat they’re using their entire propaganda apparatus, and their diplomatic and economic clout to try to stop 300 peace activists. It’s pathetic.”

In May 2010, the Mavi Marmara — owned by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or IHH — and five other ships were on their way to Gaza with humanitarian aid and about 700 activists from various countries when the Israeli soldiers boarded it.

In clashes with Israeli navy commandos the nine people were killed.

An independent Israeli commission, led by retired judge Yaakov Turkel, later found that the Israeli commandos “acted professionally and in a measured manner in the face of unanticipated violence” when they seized the Gaza-bound aid ship.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters last Friday that she didn’t think the flotilla plan for this year “is useful or productive or helpful to the people of Gaza.”

“We have certainly encouraged that American citizens not participate in the flotilla,” she said, “and we are urging that all precautions be taken to avoid any kind of confrontation.”

Clinton’s comments followed an even harsher statement by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, in which she criticized what she called “irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers.”

( / 01.07.2011)

Flotilla II to Gaza 010711

the Greek Government have been bought by the Zionist Bankers in order to stop Gaza Flotilla 2 here is The new PROHIBITION Orders for all ships not to go to Gaza, Shame on you, the revolution shall stick this order up your Zionist backside.

>>>>Prohibition of the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza today

Pursuant to a decision by the Minister of Citizen Protection Mr. C. Papoutsis, the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza has been prohibited today.
By orders of the Hellenic Coast Guard Head Quarters to all local Hellenic Coast Guard Authorities, all appropriate measures are taken for the implementation of the said decision.
As it is known, the Hellenic Coast Guard local Authorities have already been instructed to submit to ships Masters of ships of any flag the relevant notice to mariners that designates the area of maritime blockade by Israel.
More specifically, for ships flying the Greek flag, relevant entries shall be made in the ships logbook together with the reception of the above mentioned notice to mariners as well as with the communication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated 22 June 2011.
Furthermore, the broader maritime area of eastern Mediterranean will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking, where applicable, the movements of the ships allegedly participating in such campaign.
Finally, police controls of passengers and crews are conducted while there is cooperation with local police and customs Authorities for rigorous controls on issues of their competence.


The port is ringed with barb wire fences. I do not know what the passengers are planning to do when the boat is boarded

I have a feeling that the Greeks are going to take over the boat. Lots of police on the docks

We are being pulled into a coast guard port. There are a lot of police on the docks

RT @SmithSofia: Never forget the Mavi Marmara flotilla where they killed 9? Get involved with #Flotilla2 now..eyes on the #Flotilla

MT .@medeabenjamin Greek confrontation was done in full view of media on board: CNN, CBS, NYT, The Nation, Democracy Now #flotilla2

As we head back to an unknown port under threat of Greek commandos boarding our ship, please keep pressure on Greek gov’t #flotilla2

Form Greek order prohibiting sailing of flotilla to Gaza to the interception of US boat in mid sea: a wrap-up of events


MT .@medeabenjamin Psngrs were serene & ready for Greek commandos to board; we were not going to move but our captain decided to go back.

What was the price to betray Palestinians & the will of your own citizens, #Greece? I wonder, how much did Israel pay or offer? #flotilla2

@avinunu: Don’t be surprised if Abbas & Fayyad visit Athens soon to thank Greece for stopping #flotilla2

The Audacity of Hope is now being escorted to another harbor by Greece Coast Guard. We hope that Greek officials are honest and just with us


Brinkhorst en Pronk betuigen steun aan Nederlandse Gazaboot

Nog maar één gekozen politicus is tot dusver uit de kast gekomen als opvarende van het Freedom Flotilla, dat eind deze maand zal opstomen naar Gaza.
Deze eer komt toe aan de volstrekt onbekende Nourdin el Ouali, raadslid voor GroenLinks in de centrale gemeenteraad van Rotterdam. Twee andere deelnemers hebben meer naam gemaakt als politicus, maar dan voor extremistische groeperingen. Max van Lingen, voorman van de Internationale Socialisten, vaart mee namens het Nederlandse trotskisme. Amin Abou Rashed, grondlegger van de European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, vertegenwoordigt Hamas en de Moslimbroederschap.

Dat de Gazavloot een gezamenlijke onderneming is van extreemlinks en de Moslimbroeders mag onderhand genoegzaam bekend zijn bij iedereen, die zich in deze kwestie verdiept. Inmiddels is ook duidelijk dat de hulpgoederen voor de straatarme bevolking van Gaza een ondergeschikte rol spelen. Zelfs Ban Ki-moon, algemeen secretaris van de Verenigde Naties, spreekt van een provocatie. En dat zegt wat voor een organisatie die meestal niet op de hand van Israël is.

Desondanks is de Stichting Nederland-Gaza erin geslaagd een aantal Bekende Nederlanders te strikken als ‘steunbetuigers’. Uiteraard kunnen de Gazavaarders rekenen op de steun van Gretta Duisenberg, oprichter van Stop de Bezetting, en tevens strijdster tegen de zionistische bezetting van Amsterdam-Zuid. In haar voetspoor volgen twee leden van het comité van aanbeveling van Stop de Bezetting, de ‘oprijlaansocialist’ Marcel van Dam, en ex-GroenLinkser Mohamed Rabbae, ondersteuner van alles wat radicaal en extremistisch is. Sympathie geniet de vaartocht ook van de schrijvers Carrie Jansen, Karin Spaink, Stan van Houcke en Thomas von der Dunk. Het fundamentalistische smaldeel wordt gevormd door de televisiemakers Esmaa Alariachi, Abdelhakim Chouaati en Salaheddine (het duo Ab & Sal). Voor de artistieke inbreng zorgen cabaretier Najib Amhali en schrijver Abdelkader Benali. En dan is er nog priester Antoine Bodar.

Actieve politici lopen met een grote boog om de Grettaboot heen. Maar de opvallendste slag heeft Nederland-Gaza geslagen door naast Van Dam en Rabbae nog enkele bekende oud-politici voor zich te winnen. Support uit de PvdA-hoek komt van oud-staatssecretaris Elizabeth Schmitz en van de onvermijdelijke oud-minister en bijna-partijvoorzitter Jan Pronk. De opvallendste naam op de steunlijst is die van D66’er Laurens Jan Brinkhorst – de vader van prinses Laurentien. De oud-bewindsman ‘weet wat er gebeurt als je in een munitiemagazijn een sigaret opsteekt’. Dat zei hij destijds over de film Submission van Theo van Gogh en Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Nu draagt hij wat extra brandstof aan in het Israëlisch-Palestijnse conflict.

( / 01.07.2011)