We are sailing … Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

As the Freedom Flotilla heads for Gaza, the Israel hasbara machine is in full flight, with scary promotional vids peppering Youtube replete with powerdressing blue suit, gold tie and shifty eyes accompanied on twitter with a cascade of spammy tweets aimed at whomever brings up the flotilla term – messages of gourmet dining in Gaza abound.

Ban Ki-Moon, figurehead of the US owned UN puppet theatre, wags his finger and fails to counteract counteract the spin and outrageous lies about aid to Gaza spewing from all orifices of the glutaginous Israeli Foreign Ministry. As Ali Abunimah [@avinunu] points out, if Ban Ki-Moon had any integrity, he’d be on the flotilla instead of issuing empty statements. Israeli panderer, Cyprus refuses to allow the flotilla to enter its territorial waters – wouldn’t want to jeopardise the illicit irreligious Israeli wedding business.

Meanwhile, in the fascist-operated ziocolony, Amira Hass relates the terrible story of Palestinian children abused whilst detained after kidnapping by the Israeli IOF.

There’s protests against the Israeli government on the 3rd June outside every Israeli embassy in the world from 12.00 – 14.00. If you can’t make it, send an email, or phone the Israeli consulate in your country.

You can follow the journey of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza live on the web at http://witnessgaza.com/.

Several folks are, like us, watching the flailing desperate hasbara attempts of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. ISM counteracts the pernicious Zionism slime effectively:

Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International’s Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli’s siege on Gaza has “deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law.”[1]

Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called ’security’ items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.[2] Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put ‘pressure’ on Gaza’s population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.[3]

Israel claims that if we wish to send aid to Gaza, all we need do is go through ‘official channels,’ give the aid to them and they will deliver it. This statement is both ridiculous and offensive. Their blockade, their ‘official channels,’ is what is directly causing the humanitarian crisis in the first place.

According to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter: “Palestinians in Gaza are being actually ’starved to death,’ receiving fewer calories per day than people in the poorest parts of Africa. This is an atrocity that is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in Gaza. It is a crime… an abomination that this is allowed to go on. Tragically, the international community at large ignores the cries for help, while the citizens of Gaza are treated more like animals than human beings.”[4]

Israel claims that we refused to deliver a letter and package from POW Gilad Shalit’s father. This is a blatant lie. We were first contacted by lawyers representing Shalit’s family Wednesday evening, just hours before we were set to depart from Greece. Irish Senator Mark Daly (Kerry), one of 35 parliamentarians joining our flotilla, agreed to carry any letter and to attempt to deliver it to Shalit or, if that request was denied, deliver it to officials in the Hamas government. As of this writing, the lawyers have not responded to Sen. Daly, electing instead to attempt to smear us in the Israeli press.[5] We have always called for the release of all political prisoners in this conflict, including the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, among them hundreds of child prisoners.[6]

Most despicably of all, Israel claims that we are violating international law by sailing unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to a people desperately in need. These claims only demonstrate how degenerate the political discourse in Israel has become.

In Counterpunch, in addition to annihilating the hasbara machine’s current claims, lawyer James Marc Leas refers back to Israel’s lies in November 08, when it attempted to justify its attack on Gaza.

However, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs own website “One Month of Calm Along the Israel-Gaza Border.” provides evidence that Israel successfully stopped rocket fire on June 19, 2008 with an Egyptian brokered ceasefire. Then the Israeli military launched an attack on Gaza on November 4, 2008 ending that ceasefire. Then, according to another Ministry of Foreign Affairs website , during the Israeli government’s 22 day Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza that started on December 27, 2008, 776 rockets and morters landed in Israeli territory, a doubling of the intensity of rocket fire from Gaza from the previous peak, until a new cease fire was announced on January 18. Thus, it was Israeli government action that belies its supposed concern about the safety of Israeli civilians.

Finally, Jeff Halper from ICAHD clears up any doubts folks may have about Israel’s motivations:

“It is simply not true that there is no humanitarian crisis. Actually two-thirds of the people of Gaza live in what the World Health Organization calls food insecurity,” Halper said. “More than 10 percent of the children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Goods like bananas, chocolate, beans and fresh meat are prohibited in Gaza. Each person in Gaza gets about half of the required calories for a normal life.”

“There are great problems with babies, iron deficiency with pregnant women. This is a controlled experiment in how to keep people hungry, to punish them, to keep them just a centimeter above the line of starvation,” the activist said.

“The thing behind it – and it’s true of the West Bank as well – that Israel is trying to impose a permanent occupation. Everything that Israel is doing is attempt to break the resistance and the will of Palestinian people, so in the end they give up and accept whatever Israel wants. But that is not succeeding”.

Again we are comfortably esconced in our Facebook cranny along with our near 1100 friends, a number which is matched with 1100 odd twitter followers, who are not necessarily the same folks. It was an interesting process to be reinstated to Facebook and our re-emergence marks the commencementt of a new online experiment – self-branding rather than brand branding 🙂 Enjoy!

6 Replies to “We are sailing … Freedom Flotilla to Gaza”

  1. CNN’s take on the flotilla, featuring customary shill Mark Regev:

    Hanin Zoabi, a member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and a passenger on the flotilla, called it a “humanitarian campaign for the 1.5 million Palestinian people who Israel put in jail for about the last four years without allowing building material, without educational material, without food into the Gaza strip.

    “Israel destroyed 165 schools and more than 100 (factories) and destroyed tens of thousands of houses without enabling the Palestinians to rebuild their homes and their lives,” Zoabi said. “This is a very strong political message towards Israel and towards the Arab world that stood silent regarding what is happening in Gaza.”

    A diagnosis of Israel – malignant narcissism. Is Munschausen’s syndrome by proxy a precursor of MN?

    From the Daily Beast:

    Despite the unprecedented humanitarian crisis facing Gazans, Israel’s blockade has gotten very little international attention. Despite a promise by the international community to pledge more than $4 billion of aid to help rebuild Gaza in 2009, almost none of that money has reached Gazans. Most Americans, it seems, could not care less about what is taking place in Gaza. Ask the average pundit on TV about it and the response will inevitably be, “Hamas.” End of conversation.

    From Swedish Wire:

    “We have the right to sail from international waters into the waters of Gaza,” said Greta Berlin, one of the flotilla’s organisers.

    “The only illegal presence in the area is Israel,” she told AFP, adding the “Freedom Flotilla” was on schedule to arrive in the Palestinian enclave on Saturday with more than 10,000 tonnes of building and other supplies.

  2. Statement from Baroness Catherine Ashton in support of the end of the hideous Israeli blockade on the people of Gaza and the delivering of aid to them.

    “Statement by the spokesperson of
    High Representative Catherine Ashton
    on the flotilla sailing to Gaza

    The spokesperson of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice
    …President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued a following statement today:

    “We strongly urge that all involved act with a sense of restraint and responsibility and work for a
    constructive resolution. The EU remains gravely concerned by the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
    The continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counterproductive.

    We would like to reiterate the EU’s call for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of
    crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza.”

    Weird headline considering the body of the story from Khaled Meshaal:

    Hamas leader says group has no problem with US

    “We don’t have a problem whatsoever with the United States or with American interests,” Khaled Meshaal told PBS television in an interview.

    “America is a great state, a superpower,” he continued.

    “But its interest should not be at the expense of the interests of others and the peoples of in the region.”

    Israel was “the obstacle on the face of peace in the region,” he said, urging the administration of Barack Obama to “deal with this reality” rather than pressuring the Palestinians.

    US support for Israel “complicates matters,” the Hamas leader added.

    “If America wants democracy and human rights, it has to give the same rights to the people in the region,” he argued.

  3. Nutjob Lieberman from the Israeli MFA throws a mental wobbly:

    “The aid convoy is violent propaganda against Israel, and Israel will not allow its sovereignty to be threatened in any way, in any place – land, air or sea,” Lieberman said during a foreign ministry briefing on the aid convoy’s progress towards the shores of Gaza.

    “There is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” Liebeman added. “Despite Hamas’ war crimes against Israeli citizens and the thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns, Israel continues to respond in the most humane way possible.”

    Lieberman stressed that Israel permitted thousands of tons of products to enter the Gaza Strip on a daily basis.

    Where does Israel find these shills?

  4. From the PalTelegraph:

    The president of the Swiss Rights for All Association pointed out that in case the Israeli side seized the flotilla ships and arrested supporters on their board, it would be taken to European and Swiss courts. According to him, “ECESG will assist in this process.”

    He explains that the plans developed to confront an interception of the flotilla include, inter alia, the organization of demonstrations in major European capitals in front of Israeli embassies, in coordination with civil society organizations supporting the Palestinian cause, in addition to a series of protest sit-ins and other actions in many Western countries, particularly those participating in the Freedom Flotilla.

    He went on to say that “organizers of the Freedom Flotilla have developed plans of action to use in the light of the scenarios expected to take place, particularly in view of the Israeli threat to use force so as to prevent the flotilla from achieving its humanitarian objective, i.e. the delivery of the more than 10,000 tons of aid to the population of Gaza who have been besieged for the fourth consecutive year.

  5. Where to complain to the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, Australia

    Embassy of Israel in Canberra, Australia
    6 Turrana St
    Yarralumla ACT 2600
    City: Canberra
    Phone: +61 2 6215 4510 or +61 2 6215 4504
    Fax: 02 6215 4555
    Office Hours: The Consular Section can receive phone enquiries from 9:30am to 1pm Monday-Thursday, and 9:30am to 12pm on Friday.

  6. GAZA FLOTILLA – Update: Jordanian delegation to join the Flotilla, Turkey&helicopters to protect the… http://bit.ly/96emO8 v @VEPalestine

    “The source said that “the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepared an action plan in case the fleet meets Israeli naval forces commandos; helicopters would take the activists, fly over the fleet and then land in Gaza,” believing that the Israeli Navy will not dare intercept the helicopter and forced them to land while far from the beach to not to cause an international outcry.”

    And from Today’s Zaman:

    Ankara urges Israel for restraint towards gaza aid convoy
    Volunteers from over 50 countries are on board ships in an international aid convoy heading to Gaza.
    Denying that a convoy of aid ships which were set to sail for Gaza later in the day were part of a “political show,” Ankara on Thursday repeated its call on Israel to regard the convoy as a humanitarian mission and approach the issue with common sense.

    After setting off from ?stanbul over the weekend, a Turkish passenger ferry with some 500 passengers docked in Antalya on Wednesday to wait for the other nine vessels in the convoy to gather in Greece and make their way to the meeting point. The ship was expected to depart from Antalya on Thursday evening. Volunteers from over 50 countries will be on board the ships, in an attempt to demonstrate a civilian reaction to the blockade in Gaza. “Giving a permit for the transportation of aid supplies that are needed in the region will constitute a positive step not only in Gaza, but also in regards to the resolution of the Middle East conflict,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Özügergin told reporters in response to a question at a press briefing held on Thursday.

    An Israeli military source said on Wednesday that Israel’s navy was ready to prevent the convoy of ships from entering the blockaded Gaza Strip.

    The Palestinian territory has been under a tight Israeli and Egyptian economic blockade since 2007, when Hamas took over the territory after being elected in the 2006 elections. The blockade was enforced to put pressure on Hamas and to stop weapons being smuggled in.

    “In accordance with the directions of the Israeli government, the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli Navy are preparing to prevent the flotilla from reaching the Gaza shore,” the military source said, noting that naval forces had held a number of exercises to prepare to enforce the sea blockade.

    In Ankara, Özügergin said that in addition to contacts with Israeli officials by Turkish Embassy officials in Tel Aviv, Ankara has also engaged in contact with Egypt and other countries in a bid to prevent any military action against the convoy. These contacts included “political-level” contact, he said, declining to elaborate on the level of the contact as he also highlighted that the convoy’s activity was “a non-governmental activity.”

    “This is an activity organized neither by us nor by any other countries. We believe that the time has come now to respond to the needs of Gaza people. We also told the Israeli side that it would be useful if they approached the issue in this way,” Özügergin said, denying suggestions that an intention of creating a “political show” was behind the voyage.

    “We do not want new tension in the region. We believe that if this assistance initiative is perceived as a humanitarian assistance activity, then undesired problems can be prevented,” he stressed.

    An extraordinary situation has been going on for several years in Gaza, he said, adding, “When there is an extraordinary situation, it should be natural that societies give uncommon reactions.”

    In Jerusalem, the Israeli military source said if the ships did not turn back after being given fair warning, they would be boarded by Israeli naval forces and taken to an Israeli port where the passengers and crew would be sent home and the goods transferred to Gaza.

    If forces did board the ships, they would ensure that no “terror operatives or explosives” were on board, the source said.

    The international flotilla, carrying some 10,000 tons of medical equipment, building materials and other supplies, is expected to reach Israeli waters in the next few days.

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