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Waiting for the Palmer Report : Turkey Remains Firm

In the past few weeks, the tumult of Israeli hasbara and magical thinking predicting the outcome of the delayed, dubious Palmer report into Israel’s attack of the MV Mavi Marmara and murder of 9 humanitarians on board, has been comically profuse.

Spokesman for the UN, Martin Nesirky on Tuesday said “the Secretary-General made clear that more time was needed; and when we get to that point we’ll let you know”.

In the UN notes of the press briefing by by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, the precise wording is this:

Question: Yes, it’s a follow-up to my earlier question. In the same BBC article there was — I am paraphrasing — but the article said that one of the reasons for more time being given for the report was that there were really frenetic negotiations going on between Turkey and Israel, and that the language could be toned down. If you’ve sent the report, can you tell me, is, was the language particularly harsh? And in what way does it need to be toned down? Is it the language itself, or is it a semantic thing or linguistic thing?

Spokesperson: Well, I haven’t sent the report, is the short answer. But what I would say is what we said at the time; and that is that there is clearly a need for the parties concerned to find consensus on the report, and the wording of the report. And that’s why more time was given.

Compare Haaretz, wherein the contents of the Palmer report are assumed before release:

Palmer says [sic] that although international law permits the interception of ships outside territorial waters, Israel should have taken control of the flotilla when the ships were closer to the limit of the naval blockade – 20 miles off the coast. Israel responded by saying that its interception of the flotilla so far from the coast was due to military and tactical considerations, following the organizers’ refusal to stop.

Meanwhile, the efforts to mend relations between Israel and Turkey have reached a deadlock yet again, said a senior political source in Jerusalem on Wednesday. According to the source, talks between Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Turkish senior officials Wednesday in New York ended without conclusive results, and each side remains unrelenting in its stance.

“There is no agreement and no breakthrough on the horizon,” said the source. “Everything still depends on the (Turkish demand for an Israeli) apology. The report will be released soon and a compromise seems very unlikely.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Turkish negotiation team not to back down from the demand for an official apology. Ya’alon told Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu that Israel will not apologize, but is willing to express sorrow for the flotilla’s tragic results.

Over the past two weeks there have been three rounds of negotiations between Ya’alon and Sinirlioglu – two of them took place in Europe and one in New York. They all ended in deadlock.

And the assumptions of Ynetnews:

‘Turkey is concerned over some of the clauses in the delayed report, which accuse the state of having ties with the IHH as well as direct involvement in the flotilla.

In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed Wednesday that Ankara would continue to demand an apology and compensation for the nine casualties in the May 31 IDF flotilla raid.

Earlier Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he does not believe Israel should offer such an apology. “There are some things I’m willing to discuss and some things I’m not willing to discuss. I will not have an apology harm Israel’s national dignity and I will not see IDF soldiers humiliated,” he said.

But Turkey remains adamant. “We have been saying the same thing since last year. Israel owes an apology and compensation. This is our principled stance on this matter,” he said.’

With Todays Zaman:

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, however, reiterated Turkey’s position that apology is a must to reestablish relations with Israel. “Israel slaughtered nine Turks, one of whom was a US citizen, in international waters,” Davutoglu said, while speaking at a joint press conference following talks with Mahmoud Jebril, chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), the Anatolia news agency reported.

“We said the same thing since last year. Israel must apologize and pay compensation for this issue,” he added.

And with AFP:

A UN-sponsored report accused Israel of using force prematurely and causing “unacceptable” deaths in its assault of a Gaza-bound ship that killed nine Turks over a year ago, a Turkish source said Thursday.
….

Israel refused to sign the report after a commission of inquiry concluded that its forces had acted in an “excessive” manner by swooping on the Mavi Marmara a long way from the Gaza Strip and without giving a final warning to the vessel.

The source said Turkey’s refusal to sign off on the report stemmed from the fact that it did not say Israel’s blockade of Gaza was illegal. Over the past year, Ankara has repeatedly said it was demanding apologies and compensation from Israel for the victims’ families.

Key to any reconciliation is Turkey’s demand that Israel apologise for its actions.

But Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his opposition to such a step in remarks to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

“We have no interest in a confrontation with Turkey and we are in favour of renewing our relations with Turkey; we have no territorial dispute with Turkey and we are ready to reach a compromise,” he said.

“We are not prepared to be dictated to and we are not prepared to be humiliated or to abandon our troops.

“An apology is not a compromise — in my view, it is humiliation and abandonment of our soldiers,” he continued.

Regardless of whether the tainted Palmer inquiry appointed at the request of Ban Ki Moon says so or not, Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal as the Turkish source above says.

At the end of May 2011, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu emphasised

Turkey’s demands that Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip and apologize and pay compensation for the killing of the nine Turks during the IDF’s raid on flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara last year.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments on Friday to discourage activists from launching a second Gaza flotilla, but Ahmet Davutoglu said democratic governments had no right to stop their people from challenging an illegal blockade.

In a flagrant piratical foray in May 2010, Israel murdered 9 humanitarians in international waters although the MV Mavi Marmara and other flotilla boats were sailing away from Gaza at the time.

Since then, Turkey has “cancelled dozens of military agreements, war games and military projects with Israel” and cancelled a project to sell Israel water.

Given Ankara’s adamant stance and actions to date, it’s unlikely that Erdogan will relent. Israel needs Turkey far more than Turkey needs Israel – a major destination for Israeli exports, democratic Turkey is a vibrant, growing economy led by mature, diligent politicians with an ability to conciliate on Israel’s behalf. Turkey does need however the approval of the balance of the region where it is arranging trade ties and mediating conflicts, not to be confused with ‘neo-Ottomanism’, of which some naive western orientalists accuse it.

MORE UPDATES

See later post “Palmer Report Release : Turkey Still Adamant”

UPDATE 29/8/11

Haaretz [Barak Ravid] is at it again, inferring Turkish government intent and actions without sources, this time imagining an already drawn up reconciliation agreement.

‘Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested a few days ago that the Palmer Report on the Israel Defense Forces’ raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed, be delayed by six months.

The suggestion was made to the Turkish government and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but Haaretz has learned that the Turkish government rejected Netanyahu’s proposal, claiming it was not serious.

An outline of the reconciliation agreement has already been approved by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and includes a softened Israeli apology for the events that occurred onboard the ship, in return for normalized relations with Turkey and a commitment on Turkey’s behalf not to take legal proceedings personally against the Israeli soldiers and officers involved.

Then at the bottom of the story, there’s an inkling of reality:

An official in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu told Clinton that Israel does not oppose the publication of the Palmer Committee’s report, but that the date of the report’s release depends on Ban Ki-moon.’

Note also that Haaretz again omits the tripartite nature of Turkey’s demands, focusing on the apology.

JPost carries a Channel 2 story that Nutanyahoo is snivelling to the US to delay the report. It then blames Turkey for initial delays in releasing the report and speculates wildly that Turkey wants to bury the report.

Compare Today’s Zaman, which quotes AP:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday stated that he has been postponing the delivery of a UN panel report about Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed nine Turkish activists.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Ban said the purpose of the delay was to give the two governments more time to reach a “harmonious agreement” on its findings.

“It is important that these two countries improve their bilateral relationship,” Ban said, adding, “That is why I have given additional time.”

Earlier last week, diplomats at the UN headquarters told the Anatolia news agency that the report could be presented to Ban by Sept. 2.

The UN assessment, titled the “Palmer Report,” is expected to clarify what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship, which set sail from Turkey last May but was aggressively stopped by Israeli commandoes, resulting in the deaths of nine peace activists aboard the ship. In the process of warming up relations between Israel and Turkey, the Palmer Report has faced multiple delays since its initial date of release in February of this year to allow the countries to reconcile. However, while Turkey considers a formal apology and compensation for the loss of life on the boat necessary conditions for reconciliation, Israel defends the killings as self defense and pleas that the charity campaign was an attempt to intimidate Israel triggered by the Turkish government, which vehemently denies involvement in the process.

AP omits the third demand of the Turkish government – the end of Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza.

The Journal of the Turkish Weekly quotes the TFM:

The report will be made public after Ban makes an assessment on it. The report will also assume an important role in Turkey’s stance regarding Israel.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that UN had postponed the release of its report on the flotilla attack upon Israel’s demand.

UPDATE 22/8/11

Triangulating again.

Yet again Haaretz is parroting the Israeli government line that Turkey asked for an extension for release of the Palmer report, while AFP via Maan reports Israel asked for one, just like all the other times!

Todays Zaman exposes Haaretz’s peculiar version and quotes the Turkish officials direct.

The release of the report was postponed and the request for the delay came from Israel, as in past postponements, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal said.

The Israeli side, on the other hand, has presented a different account, saying Turkey requested the postponement. On Sunday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying Turkey asked for the postponement. The US government has expressed its support for the Turkish request to delay the report, and Israel has not opposed the move and the decision lies with the UN chief, Haaretz had said.

Hurriyet reports from an Op Ed that ‘Among the steps Turkey is considering to take if Israel rejects apologizing and paying compensation are downgrading diplomatic representation to the level of second secretary, suspending all political and economic relations.’ but no direct quote from Erdogan or Davugotlu.

Israeli rag, Globes quotes rightwing Hurriyet and Richard Silverstein picks up on the underlying meme.

On the 21st, Todays Zaman reported direct information from Erdogan and Davugotlu:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on July 23 that Turkey now intends to move on to “Plan B,” which will include a campaign against Israel to be carried out at UN institutions, legal action against senior Israeli figures in European courts, and military cooperation between Turkey and Israel being put on hold.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Israel yesterday while on a trip to South Africa that relations between Turkey and Israel would only worsen if an apology was not forthcoming following the release of the Palmer report. He declared, “Relations will not remain as they are now. They will deteriorate even more, as the current situation cannot be sustained.”

UPDATE 11/8/11

Israel trying to bribe Turkey into waiving apology for Mavi Marmara killings (Heb)

Instead of an apology: Israel and Turkey offered to double the compensation
The new proposal was transferred to an informal channel, trying to bring Turkey to give up its demand for an apology from the flotilla to Gaza last year and U.S. pressure to reach an agreement. According to the initiative, Israel will pay 100 thousand dollars for each of the families of those killed and will express “deep sorrow”. Turkish response has been received

No decision on Turkey’s apology condition by Israeli ministers
Turkey condemns Israel’s decision to steal more Palestinian land for Jews-only housing
Turkey absent again from naval drills with Israel, US
Israel,Turkey Brace For UN Flotilla Report
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ya’alon lies:

“Turkish PM Erdogan desires nothing else but to humiliate Israel. It will bring him political dividends among his Islamic voters,” Ya’alon stated. “Erdogan does not guarantee that once Israel apologizes, relations between Israel and Turkey will be fully resumed. Turkey promises only to return the Turkish Ambassador to Israel. We can deal without him as well. Besides, it will be even worse if Israel apologizes.”

Israeli deputy PM: Turkey’s demand for apology rude

UPDATES 8

Today’s Zaman is quick off the mark with two stories on yet another delay in release of the Palmer Report! at Israel’s request.

The United Nations on Monday confirmed that the release of a UN report on a deadly Israeli raid that killed nine Turks aboard a pro-Palestinian activist ship last year would be postponed until late August.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky gave no specific date for the much-delayed report, which Israeli officials said on Sunday was now expected on Aug. 20, a Saturday.

Is there a nuanced counterthreat to Turkey in Ayalon’s gestures to his Armenian counterpart, reported in JPost?:

‘Ayalon emphasized Israel and the Jewish people’s sensitivity to the “Armenian tragedy,” a reference to the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks. The deputy foreign minister also stressed the importance Israel attributed to a continuation of developing ties and cooperation with Armenia.’

UPDATES 7

As should be crystal clear by now, Haaretz is unreliable on this issue. Today, it quotes Hurriyet saying:

The Turkish government has formulated a back-up plan that it has threatened to execute should Israel continue to refuse to apologize for the commando raid that killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

This plan includes further downgrading relations with Israel which are already on shaky grounds …

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the plan on Saturday at a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Marouf Bakhit. The Turkish newspaper reported that one of the steps Turkey would take if Israel does not issue and apology is downgrade its diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv.

Ynet regurgitates Hurriyet, which is the mouthpiece of the Turkish rightwing, also.

Hurriyet reports, quoting mysterious sources on the content of Plan B:

“We are going to wait for their [Israel’s] decision for a period of time. Then [if no apology comes], we will surely implement our Plan B,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an told reporters Saturday at a joint press conference with Jordanian Prime Minister Maroof al-Bakhit.

According to information obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News, the “Plan B” mentioned by Erdo?an will have a strong impact on further degrading relations between the two countries. One of the most important moves would be further reducing Turkey’s level of diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv. After the Mavi Marmara incident, Turkey canceled the appointment of Kerim Uras as ambassador to Tel Aviv in a show of reaction. If Israel refuses to apologize, the current level of diplomatic representation, charge d’affairs, would be reduced to the level of second secretary.

Diplomatic sources told the Daily News on Sunday, however, that the government in Ankara was still hopeful about seeing an Israeli apology and that in order not to give a wrong message, Uras’ appointment to a post other than Israel had once again been postponed. Uras was excluded from the Foreign Ministry’s summer reshuffle, signaling that he would still be appointed to Tel Aviv if relations normalized.

Reducing Turkey’s diplomatic representation would also affect Israel’s plans to appoint an ambassador to Ankara in the upcoming months if current envoy Gabby Levy’s plans to return his country can be carried out. Israel fears its new envoy would not be able to get a credential from Ankara if relations remain frozen.

Trip to Gaza

Erdogan had previously announced plans to visit Gaza but said this trip had nothing to do with the current crisis with Israel. The Daily News has learned, however, that this was part of the government’s Plan B.

“We are not aiming to create an environment of tension. Our friends [in the Foreign Ministry] are going to be working on it and this trip [to Gaza] will be realized if these works reveal a positive development,” Erdo?an told reporters. “It would be wrong to consider this linked to apology, compensation or lifting [of the Gaza] blockade.”

Todays Zaman reported on Erdogan’s meeting with Bakhit but did not mention this Plan B, noting merely discussions on ‘developments in Palestine and its bid for United Nations membership’.

TZ fields a Reuters story on Lieberman, noting

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he would not quit the coalition government if it decides to apologise to Turkey for killing 9 Turks aboard a pro-Palestinian activist ship last year.

On Saturday, TZ relates how Erdogan spoke at a meeting where Abbas was also present:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his country’s support for the Palestinian cause.

“We must find a solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state model. East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state is what we desire,” Erdogan said, while repeating his intention to visit to Gaza, a trip he said would be unrelated to Turkey’s demand from Israel of an apology for the nine Turks killed when Israeli troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Speaking just days before the submission of a UN report on the raid in May last year, Erdogan said Turkey would never forget the nine men and condemned the continuing blockade of Gaza as “illegal and inhuman.”

“Unless Israel officially apologizes for its unlawful action which is against international laws and humanitarian values, pays compensation for the families of those who lost their lives and lifts its embargo on Gaza, normalization of relations between the two countries is unthinkable,” he said.

UPDATES 6

In AFP, Israel’s childish tantrums and refusal to take responsibility for its actions continue as Erdogan remains adamant. Israel does make concrete mention of hush money though:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday it was “unthinkable” for Ankara to normalise relations with Israel until it apologised over its bloody raid on a Turkish ship heading for Gaza.

“As long as Israel does not apologise to Turkey, pay compensation to the families of the victims and lift its blockage on the Gaza strip, a normalisation of relations is unthinkable,” he said at the opening of a meeting of Palestinian ambassadors here in the presence of president Mahmud Abbas.


On Thursday Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon insisted that Israel would not “take responsibility” for the deaths.

“We are not ready to apologise, as apologising is taking responsibility,” he told reporters in Jerusalem.

“We are ready to regret the loss of lives, we are ready to create a kind of humanitarian voluntary fund,” he said, explaining that if such a fund were set up by Ankara, Israel would be prepared to pay money into it.

But he said there would be no official apology nor direct compensation offered to the families of those killed or injured.

“A voluntary fund is acceptable, but compensation… means that you are responsible,” he said.

Reuters pads out the story with the usual Israeli “point of view” as if the facts of Israel’s murders are in doubt, but adds Erdogan’s upping of the ante:

“We must find a solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state model. East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state is what we desire,” Erdogan said.

He also repeated his intention to visit Gaza, a trip he said would be unrelated to the apology issue.

JPost doesn’t mention the upping of the ante to East Jerusalem, rather focuses on Lieberman’s tantrum and Abbas’s position on declaring a state.

The Arab American News relates about Erdogan’s forthcoming Gaza visit, Lieberman’s tanty, no mention of East Jerusalem or Abbas.

A Hamas official in Gaza welcomed Erdogan’s intentions. “We welcome this visit by Mr. Erdogan, which will be historic if it goes ahead, as it shows Turkish support for the Palestinian cause and political and moral backing to break the political siege imposed on Gaza by Israel, Ismail Radwan told France Press Agency.

“This visit will encourage Arab and Muslim leaders to break the siege and visit the Gaza Strip,” he stressed.

Last month, Erdogan renewed a call on Israel to lift as soon as possible the inhumane and unlawful blockade of Gaza and allow the entry of goods, notably construction materials to rebuild infrastructure destroyed during the offensive attack ( in 2009).”

Haaretz mentions East Jerusalem, repeats Erdogan’s demands, Lieberman’s miffedness and regurgitates Weinstein’s worry about law suits if there was no apology – but no mention of money.

The Turkish prime minister said Turkey supports the Palestinian intention to seek UN recognition in September, and that the entire world should take action in order to remove the Gaza blockade. He added that Israel should accept the fact that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state. “Israel cannot stop the Palestinian people from creating a state,” he said.
On Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for his inclination to agree to an Israeli apology to Turkey.

According to Jerusalem officials, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein believes the UN investigation into the 2010 flotilla incident might prompt lawsuits against IDF soldiers. Therefore, he recommended Netanyahu reaching an understanding with Turkey, even if that means issuing an apology.

The officials added that Weinstein believes that if Turkey promises not to file lawsuits against IDF soldiers and officers that took part in the Marmara interception, Israel should consider apologizing for operational mistakes and misuse of force. The suggested apology would be a general one, and would not apply to stopping the flotilla or the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On the financial front, how would Turkey fare should Greece default – can the global loan sharks devalue Turkey’s currency if necessary to apply political pressure?

The flipside is that Greece could also derail the Turkish rebound. A Greek default could trigger a flight from investments seen as risky, depriving Turkey of the short-term funding it needs. That would undermine Erdogan’s claim to have ended a decades-old cycle of boom and bus

Today’s Zaman as usual is more informative than the rest put together, this time with several stories on the current events.

We discover in Senior Israeli ministers to render decision on Turkey’s apology conditions that Haaretz has lied about Turkey seeking ‘normalisation’:

The chief foreign policy adviser to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, meanwhile, denied a report that said his country aims to normalize relations with Israel “across the board,” saying an Israeli newspaper mischaracterized his comments on the topic.

“The bottom line is that Turkey’s position is the same, and no normalization will happen until and unless Turkey’s three conditions are met,” Ibrahim Kalin said in an e-mail sent to The Washington Times on Thursday. In order to normalize relations, Turkey wants Israel to apologize for the killings, compensate the activists’ families and lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Haaretz wrote Wednesday that “Turkey intends to normalize its relations with Israel across the board.” It also quoted Kalin as saying “from the return of the [Turkish] ambassador, the renewal of joint military maneuvers, military and civilian cooperation, ministerial visits, to all other areas, relations will return to the way they were before the flotilla incident.”

Calling the report false, Kalin said he has “asked for a correction.”

“The Haaretz piece has completely twisted what I said and put their words into my mouth,” he told The Times.

Former Israeli minister: Lieberman is Israel’s tragedy (Greek?)
Lieberman aghast about possible apology to Turkey
Lieberman objection hampered Israeli apology twice in past

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to offer an apology to Turkey over a deadly flotilla raid on May 31, 2010 to restore strained relations, but withdrew twice at the last moment from signing an agreement to that effect due to opposition from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, according to the Israeli media.

UPDATES 5

In Haaretz, Lieberman moans about apologies and seeming ‘weak’ (weakness is an anti-zionist trait)

Lieberman stressed that an apology to Turkey would be surrendering to Ankara.

“If we wanted to apologize, we would have done so right after the flotilla. Israel is showing weakness, embarrassment, and an inability to withstand pressure,” he said.

UPDATES 4

JPost gets the Turkish position on the Palmer report right:

‘The Turks are demanding an Israeli apology for the incident and compensation payments to the family of the victims, as well as a lifting of the Gaza blockade.’

Haaretz regurgitates Hurriyet:

It is believed that Erdogan is using a Gaza visit as a bargaining chip to pressure Israel to accept an agreement that includes an apology for the killing of the flotilla activists.

The Hurriyet report cited diplomatic sources as saying that Erdogan had planned to enter Gaza at the Rafah Crossing on July 21 during a visit to Egypt.

On Tuesday, the Turkish representative on the UN commission investigating the flotilla told Haaretz that July 27 is the “last chance” to solve the crisis between Israel and Turkey.

Todays Zaman reports on Erdogan’s possible trip to Gaza:

“The definite time of our visit to Egypt has not been set yet, but we have a desire to visit Gaza after visiting Egypt,” Erdogan said on Tuesday in response to a question at a press conference before departing for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) for an official visit.

Does Erdogan require Israel’s permission to visit Gaza? TZ says yes:

‘Yet, Israel’s consent is also needed for the visit as Gaza is under Israeli blockade, Safak wrote, citing again anonymous sources.’

The JPost says no:

“If he wants to go to Gaza, let him go,” one official said, who requested anonymity, adding that a trip there through Rafah does not need to be coordinated with Israel, and that a number of international diplomats and leaders – including EU Foreign- Policy Chief Catherine Ashton – have already made the trip.

Haaretz reports Turkey’s three conditions but spins the headling to amplify the Turkish carrot ‘Turkey set on fully mending ties with Israel, says Erdogan’s aide’:

Kalin emphasized that normalization between Israel and Turkey will not happen unless Turkey’s three conditions are met: an apology, compensation and the end of the Gaza blockade. He stressed that Turkey’s position on these conditions have not changed.

UPDATES 3

The zionist regime lies again about Turkish demands in regard to the May 2010 flotilla. (At the end of May, 2011, and reported in Jpost, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu emphasised ‘Turkey’s demands that Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip and apologize and pay compensation for the killing of the nine Turks during the IDF’s raid on flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara last year’.)

In Haaretz, Barak Ravid, who foamed about Arab states not issuing visas to Israeli journalists at the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, held in Budapest recently by the United Nations Department of Public Information also dissembles : U.S. scrambling to prevent Israel-Turkey ties from worsening

The Turkish president’s reaction was not different from the standard Turkish position on the matter to date. “If Israel apologizes for the killing of Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara and pays compensation, we will welcome this,” Gul said.

In contrast to the Israeli sources, Today’s Zaman is straightforward, confirming the evidence of Israel’s lies above, particularly the minimisation of the fact that Turkey is firm about illegality of the blockade. Clearly, Israel and its journalists are putting words in Turkey’s mouth by ommission:

The UN panel’s report accused Israel of using force prematurely and causing “unacceptable” deaths in its assault on the Mavi Marmara last May, an AFP report stated on July 6. “The report clearly indicates the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers, while also acknowledging that Israel has security concerns and the Gaza blockade is legal. However, we know that the Israeli blockade of Gaza amounts to collective punishment as it includes civilians, women and children who bear no responsibility for the perceived threat to Israel,” said Sanberk of the 90-plus page report.

He also said that even though these details are not clearly stated in the panel’s report, another UN body, the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission in Geneva, had said last October that Israel’s military violated international law during the raid. “The report said that the naval blockade was not legal. It is interesting to note that two bodies, both under the UN, have conflicting results in their reports,” Sanberk added. “I should stress that the report’s reference to the legality of the Gaza blockade is unacceptable to us. Furthermore, the report also highlights the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers for the deaths and injuries. Therefore, if Israel is ready for an apology and compensation, we are ready to leave the unfortunate event behind.”

I should stress that the reference to the legality of the Gaza blockade is unacceptable as other UN bodies challenge this view. As a maritime power with the longest coast in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is obviously unacceptable to us that a country be allowed to intercept ships according to its own interpretation of the law. The overarching rule of international law is freedom of navigation on the high seas. It’s the pillar of international law. Furthermore, the report also highlights the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers for the deaths and injuries. Therefore, if Israel is ready for an apology and compensation, we are ready to leave that unfortunate event behind.

The primary body pushing the idea of reconciliation with Turkey is the Israeli Defense Ministry, which wants to revive billions of dollars in frozen arms deals and exports with Turkey. Defense Minister Ehud Barak repeatedly called on the Israeli side to display a resolute position on burying hostilities. Barak, who has been touted as the most pro-Turkish minister in the current Israeli coalition government, said earlier this month that “reconciliation with Turkey is drawing near” and that Israel is very interested in “putting the past behind us.”

More from Today’s Zaman: But Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is against the idea of apologizing to Turkey, claiming that this could lead to lawsuits against Israeli officials and commandos

Erdogan affirms Gaza visit – there may be some fresh vituperations born from recent experience landing in the Palmer report folks’ and Israel’s lap in the not too distant future.

UPDATES 2

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has reiterated that Tel Aviv must formally apologize for its attack on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla last year.

Still the divergence of Turkish and Israeli media continues but to a lesser extent, with different versions of the same Reuters report, one of which the Haaretz version follows, quoting Barak, while the Todays Zaman version quotes Steinitz from an (earlier?) version, quoting an Israeli official saying the Palmer report has been finalised, and altering the end. Haaretz includes padding about concern for prosecution of Israel’s murderous soldiers:

Haaretz: Turkey PM: Israel must still apologize for last year’s Gaza flotilla raid

“Normalization of relations between the two countries is unthinkable unless Israel apologizes for this illegal act which is against all international law and values, pays compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this atrocious event and lifts the embargo on Gaza,” Erdogan said, to the applause of his AK Party lawmakers.

On Thursday, an Israeli official said that a UN report on Israel’s interception of last year’s flotilla would be published on July 27 after delays to enable talks between Israel and Turkey.

In remarks to Channel 1 television on Friday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak dismissed Erdogan’s call for an apology and said he expected the UN inquiry to vindicate Israel’s actions.

“Israel did not commit any crime … (in my opinion) the Palmer commission will (say) that Israel acted according to international law. The blockade is legal, stopping the ships is
legal, the use of force in these circumstances is justified,” Barak said.

Israeli officials have also voiced concern that the naval commandos who carried out the interception of the flotilla would be exposed to prosecution abroad because an apology would be seen as an admission of culpability. Israel has said that the commandos acted in self-defense after being attacked by passengers.

A Turkish official told Reuters on Friday that it was Turkey’s view that the Palmer report should not deviate from the UN Human Rights Council report issued last September, which
branded both the blockade and the Israeli raid as “illegal”.

“We are expecting any legal element mentioned in the report regarding the blockade not to contradict the established rules of the international law and not to contradict the report published by the UN Human Rights’ Council,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.

Todays Zaman: Erdogan: Israel must apologise to normalise ties

“Normalisation of relations between the two countries is unthinkable unless Israel apologises for this illegal act which is against all international law and values, pays compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this atrocious event and lifts the embargo on Gaza,” Erdogan said, to the applause of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lawmakers.

An Israeli official told Reuters on Thursday a UN report on the seizure was due to be published on July 27, after delays to enable further talks between Israel and Turkey.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss the findings of the committee set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chaired by former New Zealand premier Geoffrey Palmer, saying only that they had been finalised.

But Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favour of Israel.

“From what we understand, the report justifies the (Gaza) blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps,” Steinitz, who sits in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eight-member inner council, told reporters.

A Turkish official told Reuters on Friday that it was Turkey’s view that the Palmer report should not deviate from the UN Human Rights Council report issued last September, which branded both the blockade and the Israeli raid as “illegal”.

“We are expecting any legal element mentioned in the report regarding the blockade not to contradict the established rules of the international law and not to contradict the report published by the UN Human Rights’ Council,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.

UPDATES

Haaretz is now reporting that

But Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favor of Israel.

“From what we understand, the report justifies the [Gaza] blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps,” he told reporters.

Steinitz said the Palmer report would include “minor” criticism of the interception last year of the converted cruise ship Mavi Marmara as it tried to run the Gaza blockade.

The (Palmer) report’s compliance with international laws is very important to us, and an outcome that contradicts the UN Human Rights Commission report will be unacceptable,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.

Ynet publishes a seriously neurotic, hysterical childish tantrum : Israel a battered wife?

Related Links

UN report on ‘Freedom Flotilla I’ was questioned from the start
Israel still callous on flotilla killing
Turkish deep state and Cyprus
The unlikely alliance between Greek activists and the Flotilla

After a week of anti-austerity demonstrations and flotilla training, activists from both camps have emerged unified in their claim that Greek government no longer represents its people; rather it is now beholden to the interests of foreign bodies, be it Israel or the International Monetary Fund.

Mavi Marmara Links

“Even before the second flotilla departs,

the US, Israel and Egypt made a deal to open the Rafah crossing so as to prevent our trip. That means perhaps Palestine will be all free if we just sail,” Bülent Yildirim, who heads the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH), said on Sunday evening.

Israel has asked Turkey and European states to stop the flotilla but Turkey refuses to take any action, saying it is a civilian initiative. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu has recently urged Israel not to “repeat the same mistake” with regard to the second flotilla.

Mavi Marmara not joining Gaza flotilla for technical reasons, IHH says

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who earlier said the government would not interfere with a civilian initiative, said this month that the organizers should wait to see how an Egyptian decision to lift the blockade of Gaza and a Palestinian reconciliation deal will affect the situation in Gaza.

Yildirim, speaking at a press conference in Istanbul, said the IHH decision not to send the Mavi Marmara to Gaza had nothing to do with the government, emphasizing that it is a purely technical decision. “There is absolutely no obstruction by the government,” he said.

The IHH President said the Mavi Marmara boat,

which was hard hit in the Israeli raid and is still being fixed, could not take part in the Freedom Flotilla II. “The Mavi Marmara will definitely set sail for Gaza when it completes repair and maintenance works.”
….
Each day a new problem is spotted in the Mavi Marmara which was badly damaged in the Israeli attack, Yildirim noted. “On Monday the boat will sail for testing. However, the ship is not seaworthy enough to sail to Gaza yet and we do not think it will be appropriate to postpone ‘the Freedom Flotilla II.’

Unless the embargo is lifted, the Mavi Marmara is definitely going to sail to Gaza after completion of repair works, the IHH chairman said. “We have not forgotten that we were attacked in open sea nor have we forgotten our nine martyrs or volunteer Ugur Suleyman Soylemez who is still in coma. World leaders should act to find the culprits. And if they fail to do so, there is still a Mediterranean to sail in. And the Mavi Marmara will not be unseaworthy forever. And we will not always be sad for not participating in this sacred flotilla. The day Mavi Marmara is fixed we will set sail.

Palestine / Israel Links

Actor in Israel gov’s new anti-flotilla vid said to be Haaretz employee (Updated)
Sexy Israel” getting treatment for flotilla nightmares
Film production company Zed Films behind “Sex with Psychologist” hasbara video
Anti-flotilla videos: don’t believe the hype – includes faulty MEMRI
From DC to Athens: LET THE BOATS SAIL!
Egypt independent trade unions endorse BDS
Tutu boosts Murdoch-battered BDS campaign in Sydney
Greek Police purchase 900,000 euros worth of chemicals from Israel, France and the United States
Activists Protest Ban Confining Gaza Freedom Flotilla to Port
What about the Jews on the US boat to Gaza?
Amira Hass:

‘The flotilla’s organizers added a term from the world of business and globalization to their description of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians. Israel, they said, was outsourcing the industry of the blockade on Gaza. In exchange for reward, a foreign government – Greece – took on an active role and adopted a deliberate policy of keeping the Gaza Strip one huge prison.

Logic dictates that a government whose policy validates anti-Semitic stereotypes ought to worry Israelis and Jews worldwide. But the Israeli government is doing what its voters want and believe in. For there is one stereotype that has not been recycled here: that of the wise Jew.
Outsourcing, aggressive and vocal diplomacy and ridiculous lies thwarted the flotilla, but they have not taken Gaza off the international agenda. If Israel – which knew full well that there was not one gram of explosives aboard the ships – had let them sail to Gaza, the flotilla would not have preoccupied the international media as it did. ‘

Letter: Independent Jewish Voices says it’s proud to sponsor flotilla to Gaza

a State Department cable written from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv in October 2008 and published by WikiLeaks sheds light on Israel’s claims about the economic situation in Gaza.

According to this cable:

Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis… Israeli officials have confirmed … on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.

Israel’s deliberate effort to keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” is what is motivating participants in the Freedom Flotilla to break its illegal blockade.

The Freedom Flotilla 2 to Gaza : Highlighting Israel’s Crimes

The efforts of the Greek government at the behest of the US, Israel and EU to stop the Gaza Freedom Flotilla 2 have served to highlight the inhuman oppression and illegal blockade which Israel, with the complicity of those aforementioned nations, perpetrates against the defenceless civilian population of Gaza, half of whom are children.

As Adam Shapiro says:

It seems only the Palestinian people in Gaza must seek their freedom through established humanitarian channels that rely on the whim of their oppressor and the occasional glance of attention from the international community. Being born in Gaza is being born into a life sentence of living in a virtual cage, without fundamental human rights.

The flotilla effort, initiated by the Free Gaza Movement in 2008 when it sailed small fishing ships to Gaza and successfully reached the port of Gaza, is not about humanitarian aid. It is about Palestinian freedom and their rights to access the world as any other people.

And despite the chorus of “the flotilla is not necessary”, reality on the ground shows that it non-violent direct action that has been the only effective power to make change in the lives of Palestinians.

Greece’s offers to deliver the aid aboard the Flotilla vessels is irrelevant, as it is Israel’s illegal blockade which must be challenged. Edith Garwood from Amnesty USA writes:

The blockade does not target specific individuals, but collectively punishes the entire population which contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention. It violates the Gazans’ right to health (including access to clean drinking water and sanitation), education, work, an adequate standard of living and freedom of movement. It violates their basic dignity; their basic human rights.

The blockade is illegal and must end. Period. And Israel, as the occupying power (in effective control of area), is responsible for ending it. Israel is a sophisticated, militarily advanced country that should be able to effectively meet their national security needs without unjustly punishing an entire population

The activists aboard the Tahrir in Greece have released an action plan and a list of demands for Canadians and other supporters to take.

If you are in Sydney, join the Rally outside the Greek Consulate to convince the Greek Government to let the Flotilla sail.

The Star offers a comprehensive update on the state of play with our humanitarian friends on the Canadian Boat to Gaza.

Three others — Torontonian Sandra Ruch, 50, Soha Kneen, 40, of Ottawa, and Aussie Michael Coleman — were released from jail Tuesday but will appear in court Wednesday, facing charges related to a clever getaway plan that ended with Greek commandos taking the ship.

Kneen and Coleman are charged with obstructing the vessel, a relatively minor crime.

Ruch, who lived in Greece for several months preparing for the flotilla, is charged with more serious offences related to sailing without permission. She was not on the boat when it made its run Monday but represents the company that owns the boat.

“They are felony and criminal charges, which I am proud to accept,” said Ruch.’

Meanwhile the French flotilla vessel, Dignite al Karama, continues its voyage to breach Israel’s blockade on Gaza.

The vessel’s passengers include Olivier Besancenot, head of the New Left Party in France, French politician and member of the European Parliament Nicole Kiil-Nilsen, and other well-known French personalities.

In Athens, some activists from the Spanish flotilla vessel, the Guernica, are occupying the Spanish Embassy.

Alejandro Fierro, an activist aboard a Spanish boat, Guernica, that is currently in port in Crete, told Al Jazeera that activists from his boat remained fully committed to going to Gaza.

“We have a few people on the boat now, and they will remain on the boat, in Crete, until they can go to Gaza,” Fierro said, “Some people are going back to Spain, but we are going to continue to keep our boat in Crete, and keep people on the boat, until we can sail to Gaza.”

Some of the members of the Spanish boat are currently occupying the Spanish embassy in Athens, and have hung a Palestinian flag from the balcony of the embassy.

Demonstrators in Athens protest the Greek government’s blocking of the Flotilla at Syntagma Square and in front of the American Embassy.

Meanwhile, 300 French activists prepare to land at Tel Aviv airport with the intent of travelling to Palestine and showing solidarity with the people of Palestine. They will join humanitarians from all over Europe – this is the first ‘flytilla’ and Israel is hysterical about it!

UPDATES

@ibnezra: I clearly spoke to soon. Coast guard is en route according to sources on the ground. Looks like a repeat. #flotilla2
@Soha Kneen We’re free! Got a 30 day suspended sentence for obstruction (aka being kayactivists) in Greek court today!!!! #
@ibnezra: A Greek flagged vessel has apparently set sail for Gaza with the last hours #flotilla #
@ibnezra MV Juliano arriving at first stop. Coast guard is still close. flotilla Broadcasting live at http://ustre.am/zQHM

Juliano ship heads for Gaza“We are at sea,” former Israeli Dror Feiler, one of the organizers, told Ynet. “All roads lead to Gaza. It will be a small but high-quality flotilla.”

Related Links

Following boarding and arrests, Canada boat demands end to Greek interference ‘Today, the activists on board the Tahrir issued a statement to explain their current situation and the action they want Canadians and other supporters to take.’

Freedom Flotilla Live Blog
John Klusmire, Gaza Boat’s U.S. Captain, Released From Custody In Greece
A Pipeline of Injustice: Greek consular official admits that natural gas pipeline drives complicity in Gaza siege
Israel refuses Dutch journalists access
UN says more time needed for flotilla report
FM won’t apologize to Turkey
Turkey holds out for an apology :

Turkey is concerned over some of the clauses in the delayed report, which accuse the state of having ties with the IHH as well as direct involvement in the flotilla.

In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed Wednesday that Ankara would continue to demand an apology and compensation for the nine casualties in the May 31 IDF flotilla raid.

Earlier Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he does not believe Israel should offer such an apology. “There are some things I’m willing to discuss and some things I’m not willing to discuss. I will not have an apology harm Israel’s national dignity and I will not see IDF soldiers humiliated,” he said.

But Turkey remains adamant. “We have been saying the same thing since last year. Israel owes an apology and compensation. This is our principled stance on this matter,” he said.

Palestine / Israel Links

Border Guard Officer Shani Sivilya who was charged with abusing a 17 year old Palestinian detainee, aiming a gun to his head and pulling the trigger while saying “death to Arabs” and “Arabs are whores” was convicted Tuesday at the Jerusalem District Court.

The teen is then alleged to have screamed “no, no” after which, when she finished her countdown Sivilya pulled the trigger while yelling “Death to Arabs” and “All Arabs are whores”. During the incident Benishti urged Sivilya to stop, but she refused.

In the revised indictment sheet Sivilya admits to forcefully hitting the minor with her fists, while slapping his head and shoulders. The sides have not reached an agreement over the sentence and the Police Internal Affairs Bureau has made it clear that it will demand a prison sentence.

In response, Sivilya’s attorney Refael Farig said: “I believe that the person convicted in this case was not just Shani Sivilya but all those who enlist 18-year old teens to serve in the Border Guard and put them at the center of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

“Though we haven’t decided upon a specific sentencing in this case, we did agree that the probation service would present a review of the defendant’s case and examine the possibility of closing this case without a criminal conviction.”

Welcome to Palestine – if you can get in : Israel’s threat to deny visitors entry to Palestine is as disturbing as it is shocking. Our protest will be a civil society tsunami
UN: Israel used unnecessary force against protesters on Nakba Day

In its conclusions the secretary general expresses concern about Nakba Day and notes that IDF soldiers “used direct live fire against unarmed demonstrators” who tried to breach the border fence.

Palestinian-American Zionist Ray Hanania Denies Being Removed From ADC Board
Israel’s body transfer debacle likely to damage Palestinian trust
Defend the Boycott Israel 19

‘In response to the brutal attack on the protest in Melbourne, we have decided to launch an all out effort to build a protest on August 27 against Max Brenner inBrisbane. We will launch this campaign at the BDS protest that will take place here this Saturday.’

In a significant legal victory for palestinian solidarity as well as freedom of political speech,

the ASA released a ruling on 5 July 2011, dismissing each and every complaint made by the SAJBD against the advert and instead ruled in favor of the submissions made by SA Artists Against Apartheid. The ASA also refused to provide any sanctions in favor of the SAJBD.

Reggae DJ, “The Admiral”, and member of the SA Artists Against Apartheid collective, welcomed today’s decision:

“The ASA decision is significant due to our own history of Apartheid. The decision sends a clear message to the Zionist lobby that the time has come for an end to the baseless accusations of “discrimination” and “hate speech” whenever criticism of Israel is voiced. Calling Israel an Apartheid state is legitimate because Israel practices Apartheid. The boycott of such an oppressive regime should be supported as it was in our own Anti-Apartheid freedom struggle.”

Israel corrupts British justice. ‘Unfounded claims against Salah were first made by the Zionist media in Britain, which has become an uncritical cheerleader for Israel, and by the Board of Deputies, Britain’s representative body for Jews.’

And the answer to Israel’s crimes? BDS!

Other Links

Send a message opposing Murdoch’s media takeover

Detailed Information on the Sabotage to the MV Saoirse, Turkey Denies Support for Thwarting the Flotilla

Detailed Information on the Sabotage to the MV Saoirse “It looks very much like underwater explosives, probably plastic explosives, were used on the shaft.”

In Al Jazeera’s latest Inside Story, “Outsourcing the Gaza blockade” , it is highlighted that pressure is being brought to bear on Greece by Israel and its undying friend the US, and as well by countries in the EU. Huwaida Arraf and Mustafa Barghouti insist to Akiva Eldar that the truth of apartheid and denial of Palestinian human rights must be acknowledged despite the lily-livered Israeli faux left thinking it is not palatable to the Israeli public.

Turkey Rebuts Barak’s Claim It Supported the Prevention of the Flotilla

@Levent Basturk: ”Ibrahim Kalin, the chief foreign policy adviser to PM Erdogan, has recently sent a twitter message saying that Barak’s statement regarding Turkey’s cooperation to prevent flotilla is A FABRICATION. The Turkish Foreign Ministry will soon deny what Barak said regarding Turkey’s role in thwarting the mission of the flotilla.” #

Translation of confirmation in TRT.NET.TR:

Turkey rejected the Israeli minister’s statement that Turkey has been in positive attitude in the attempts to thwart the mission of the flotilla.

Publication Date: 07/04/2011 12:19:23
Updated: 4/7/2011 12:19:23

The statement of the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak with respect to Turkey’s “positive position” in thwarting the mission of the Gaza flotilla was denied by Ankara .

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said the participants of the fleet going to Gaza was entirely composed of international non-governmental organizations, therefore, was not affiliated in any way with the Turkish government.

“Flotilla, Totally A Civilian Initiative …”

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Selcuk Unal emphasized that the flotilla was totally a civil initiative.

Unal said “the news about a group of countries that tried to prevent this civilian initiative does not reflect the reality and is groundless with respect to Turkey.”

Israeli Defense Minister Barak has said previously Greece, Cyprus and Turkey had positive approaches in efforts to thwart the mission of the flotilla heading to Gaza.

I’ll end with a diversion to the past :

“And Phrygia shall with earthquakes groan again
Wretched. Alas, alas, Laodicea”

Book X11 Sibylline Prophecies

Related Links

Geoffrey Palmer, the head of the commission that’s investigating the incident that led to the death of nine Turks as they tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, has said he intended to issue his committee’s report on Thursday – regardless of whether Israel and Turkey came to a prior agreement on a statement on the matter
Israeli hasbara site CAMERA seems to think the Palmer report has been released already too.
If a compromise is not reached soon, the UN report will be released as is, and bilateral ties will likely be frozen for a long period, the source said. If a compromise is reached, the report will be reworded and toned down.

Equally as important were the recent comments of Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon,

who nearly two years ago humiliated the Turkish ambassador to Israel by deliberately placing him in a lower chair during a televised meeting. In a meeting last month with seven Turkish journalists, Ayalon said he never meant to humiliate the ambassador, that he had meant it as a joke, and that he had immediately sent a letter of apology to him.

He told the journalists that the time was ripe to restore Israeli-Turkish relations and that he supported Turkey’s decision to have talks with Hamas in an attempt to forge a unity government with the Palestinian Authority.

“We would kiss the hands of every Turk if Hamas said they accept the Oslo [Treaty], condemn terror and recognize Israel,” Ayalon said.

Greece blocks Gaza banned boat with 30 ‘captains’ on board

Israeli peace groups support the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla

The Gaza Flotilla is indeed a courageous act of political protest, an expression of worldwide solidarity with the Palestinian people and rejection of Israeli practices of oppressive occupation, as manifested in the continuing siege and blockade of Gaza and the imposition of collective punishment upon a mass of civilians.

Flotilla II: Brave Activists, Spineless Politicians
Icelandic MP visits Gaza aid flotilla and calls on others to do same
Greek consulate, governor confirm ‘powerful’ pressure on Greece led to flotilla ban
Since when do humanitarians, one quarter of whom ARE Jewish, bearing aid and letters of compassion equal ‘kill-the-Jews’? This obnoxious hasbara is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Palestine / Israel Links

MKs to ask Knesset: Disqualify Tibi bill on Nakba denial : Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin expressed doubt over whether it was legal to disqualify Tibi’s bill, but said the bill is an act of provocation against the state.
Letter to Israeli left: Choose one state, not apartheid ‘The solution to this conflict will not be the separation of both people into two different states, but rather, it is living together and coexisting with equal rights that will bring an end to this conflict.’
Hundreds of settlers break into Yousef’s tomb
Gaza border opening holds less opportunities than hoped for
Top Israeli pol meets far-right German millionaire

Israeli Likud politician, Ayoub Kara, deputy minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, has no qualms about meeting with ‘Patrick Brinkmann, a Swedish right-wing extremist who has supported neo-Nazi and right-wing populist parties in Europe’. Building islamophobia is a shared interest.

Blast hits Egyptian gas pipeline – more motivation for the Israelis to steal gas from the offshore Gaza gas fields
Now is no time for ASEAN to stop supporting Palestine
IDF: Netanyahu OK’d transfer of terrorist bodies – did Yehuda Hiss keep the skulls?
Rabbi promotes ‘modesty wounds’ Why doesn’t the Israeli state fire this rabbi who is on a state paid sinecure and teaching self-mutilation to young women? Nutanyahoo made it clear in another article yesterday by Rachlevsky what the evil purpose of these messianic villains are:

‘They are the elite commando unit leading the nation and paving the way’.

This as an extremely telling quote illustrating Nut’s cynical use of myth and it verifies the mechanism of expansionism – how the secular zionist gameplayers utilise messianic settlers, and why these extremist rabbis are supported by government.

Israel’s strategy, tactic and aim is always expansionism and each supports the other. This is the nexus which underlies what Jeff Halper describes as the ‘matrix of control’. The settlers advance, which requires military backup. The next beachhead/hilltop is taken, then rinse and repeat. The infrastructure follows, all justified by the hasbara of ‘security’ to protect the ‘civilians’. Obviously, these ‘elite commandos’ aren’t civilians.

Equal rights for all as a principle, contained in BDS, attacks the basic zionist strategy, tactic and aim. This might be the main reason why the zionists hate BDS so much. From the ongoing zionist wailing about it, BDS appears more effective than a settlement freeze. Equal rights for all as a principled aim also has more chance of resounding in the working class who after all are the puppets of the international elite, the main beneficiaries of the government-assisted religious bigotry/apartheid/racism/elitism and other societal divisions.

There’s a distinct sociopathy in the sheer malevolence of the design and practice of the governmental gameplayers who use these rabbis to inspire and lead settlers to steal Palestinian land.

The rabbis are cultists, which means that some are not technically insane, they are delusional, but since their delusion is supported by the government, it’s probably better to examine those who are the malignantly narcissistic gameplayers at the top who cynically use the rabbis and who farm them, paying for their delusional education and employment as the part of the strategy of expansionism, as a tactical vanguard commando unit to achieve military and political goals.

Egypt Links

Hillary Clinton announces Brotherhood talks
Tahrir’s journey to Palestine

Turkey Links

Five generals, one colonel put behind bars on coup charges

Australia Links

Repressive ASIO law extensions passed – ASIO gets wider investigative powers – ASIO can now spy on WikiLeaks along with anyone who forms groups to campaign on political and social issues.
Police make vicious attack on Palestine solidarity protest

Max Brenner Chocolates was targeted because it is owned by the Strauss Group, the second largest Israeli food and beverage company. The company boasts on its website that it has supported the Golany reconnaissance platoon of the Israeli Army for more than 30 years.

The Daily Danby

Danby said: “There was no meeting with Danny Danon in the Knesset during my recent visit. Many Knesset members attended a session at the International Conference of Jewish Parliamentarians with myself and other Jewish Mps such as Irwin Cotler ( Canada) and Gary Ackerman ( Democrat of New York). I have not discussed with Mr Danon the possibility of Australia taking refugees from Israel. I did not meet him. I have no such power as the Jerusalem Post claims to bring this before parliament, and I was never contacted by the Jerusalem Post to check the validity of the claims made in the article. There was no meeting, no discussion and no agreement. Danny Danon is a nice guy. He must have been misquoted. The last time I saw him was at the leadership forum in Israel in December, where I made a public speech outlining the recent history of Australia’s immigration policy. I deplore the use of terms like ‘Muslim infiltrators’. I publicly told the forum then that the Israelis had to do what we did, and that is make an assessment of asylum seekers status and background. I said publicly then and restate that it is impossible for any one country, Australia or Israel to forcibly return people who have good grounds for fearing for their lives. That is not to say that Australia or Israel cannot return people to their countries of origin if they have agreements with those governments and that the people being returned have not been assessed as refugees or have legitimate fear for their lives.”

Danby’s judgment is suspect. Danny Danon is not a ‘nice guy’. Recently in his NYTimes Op Ed he proposed Israel annex all West Bank settlements and uninhabited lands.

‘Moreover, we would be well within our rights to assert, as we did in Gaza after our disengagement in 2005, that we are no longer responsible for the Palestinian residents of the West Bank, who would continue to live in their own — unannexed — towns.

These Palestinians would not have the option to become Israeli citizens, therefore averting the threat to the Jewish and democratic status of Israel by a growing Palestinian population. ‘

Protests, Diplomatic Flotilla Sabotage & Other Scuttlebutt

Flotilla Related Links

Please email Greek PM to release Freedom Flotilla II
@jvplive: pers @ NY Greek Consulate told JVP supporter “It’s your government [US] that ordered us not to let the ship sail!” flotilla2# @USBOATTOGAZA #
Leftist Greek MPs accuse government of caving to Israeli pressure to stop Gaza flotilla
Middle East Quartet: Additional Gaza flotillas should be discouraged
Palestinian NGOs condemn Greek government decision to block Freedom Flotilla II
Aboard the Gaza flotilla LIVE
Greece detains Gaza-bound boat captain
Israeli-Swedish activist Dror Feiler, acting spokesman for the flotilla

, said although there was no proof of Israeli involvement, the Jewish state was “the only party who would benefit” from such vandalism.

Israel has made no secret of its determination to prevent the flotilla reaching Gaza and has accused passengers of harbouring “terror activists” who are “looking for blood.”

Endless delays and fading hope while waiting to sail to Gaza

Palestine/ Israel Links

PACBI-Behind the Boycott: Why South Africa’s academic boycott of Ben Gurion University took hold
Get ready for cheers of “Bi-bi, Bi-bi!!”
Lessons Learned And The Coming Theocracy – charming weekly malevolence from the ziocolony.
A racist, messianic rabbi is the ruler of Israel Nutanyahoo of the extremist rabbis who incite murder of those who oppose expansionist zionism and even Jews: ‘They are the elite commando unit leading the nation and paving the way’.

Nor does Lior stop at non-Jews. Leading rabbis have testified that Lior was the source of rulings labeling the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin a “rodef” and a “moser” (a traitor who endangers Jewish lives ). Here, too, he didn’t stop at incitement. Rabin’s assassin used to travel to Hebron to see the rabbi. Baruch Goldstein (who massacred Arabs at the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994 ) also visited King Lior for instruction. After he massacred dozens of people, the rabbi ruled that Goldstein was “holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust.”

Israel bans use of words that start with “b”, “o” and “z”

Turkey Links

Moving Beyond the Dichotomy Writer falls into his own trap?

The dichotomous perception of the choice in the orientation of Turkish policy between “pro-Western” and “anti-Western”, or “pro-Muslim”, is more reflective of a mental division of the world between Occident and Orient than of the complex reality of 21st-century international politics.

Other Links

2011-07-02 Cables reveal the logic of Nicaragua’s social welfare programs for street children: ‘Cut the budget and hide it in secrecy’

Why Israel’s Blockade on Gaza is Illegal

From Samah Sabawi, Palestinian Advocate for Australians for Palestine.

Who says Israel blockade of Gaza is illegal and is a violation of international humanitarian Law? Here are a few and there are many more where these come from:

1) U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay “Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal and should be lifted” “International humanitarian law prohibits starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and…it is also prohibited to impose collective punishment on civilians” http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/06/05/us-israel-flotilla-un-idUSTRE6541JD20100605

2) UN Panel of Human Rights Experts published report compiled by by a former UN war crimes prosecutor Desmond de Silva, a judge from Trinidad, Karl Hudson-Phillips, and a Malaysian women’s rights advocate, Mary Shanthi Dairiam. They reiterated “the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian enclave is illegal because of the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/23/un-panel-israel-war-crimes

3) Amnesty International “As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law.” http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/suffocating-gaza-israeli-blockades-effects-palestinians-2010-06-01

4) Gisha “The closure of Gaza is neither a siege, nor a blockade, nor an economic sanction – it is an illegal act of collective punishment and stands in violation of both international and Israeli law.” http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/publications/GazaClosureDefinedEng.pdf

5) The International Committee of the Red Cross “the blockade violates the Geneva Convention, which bans “collective punishment” of a civilian population.” The ICRC called on Israel to lift the blockage. http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Red-Cross-Israels-Gaza-Blockade-Breaks-International-Law-96280463.html

6) Human Rights Watch “The blockade, which amounts to the unlawful collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, has severely damaged the economy, leaving 70 to 80 percent of Gazans in poverty and dependent on humanitarian aid.” http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/31/israel-full-impartial-investigation-flotilla-killings-essential

7) Center for Constitutional Rights “Israel’s position is that a lawful maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza. International law recognizes blockades in the context of armed conflicts, but it does not recognize a blockade by a country against a territory which it is occupying” http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/press-releases/ccr-condemns-israel%26%23039;s-killing-freedom-flotilla-participants

8) OXFAM “Though Israel has the duty to protect its citizens, it cannot impose a blockade on every civilian in Gaza. This constitutes collective punishment, which is illegal under international law. The EU should make any future upgrade in economic and political relations dependent on the end of the blockade.” http://www.oxfam.org/pressroom/pressrelease/2010-03-17/eu-foreign-policy-chief-gaza-blockade

9) The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.Mr. Richard Falk “In the Gaza Strip, the illegal blockade continued to violate the human rights of Palestinians in Gaza, despite the much proclaimed “easing” of the blockade by Israel in 2010.” http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=10871&LangID=E

10) Ambassador Craig Murray, an internationally recognized authority on maritime jurisdiction and naval boarding issues. He is former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He was deputy head of the teams which negotiated the UK’s maritime boundaries with France, Germany, Denmark (Faeroe Islands) and Ireland. “San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be. San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population.” http://www.freedomflotilla.eu/en/information/13-opinion/130-the-blockade-is-illegal-no-matter-what-israel-claims

11} UNSC Resolution 1860 “Calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment” http://daccess-dds ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N09/204/32/PDF/N0920432.pdf?OpenElement

12) The United Church in Canada http://www.countercurrents.org/uc110610.htm

13) Other groups who signed on a report (see link below) calling the blockade illegal:

  1. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL UK
  2. BROE DERLIJK DELEN
  3. CAFOD
  4. CCFD-TERRE SO LIDAIRE
  5. CHRISTIAN AID
  6. CHURCH OF SWEDEN
  7. CORDAID
  8. DIAKONIA
  9. EURO-MEDITERRANEA N HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK (EMHRN)
  10. HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL
  11. ICCO
  12. IKV PAX CHRISTI
  13. INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (FIDH)
  14. MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINIANS
  15. MEDICO INTERNATIONAL
  16. MERLIN
  17. MS ACTION AID DENMARK
  18. NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL (NRC)
  19. QUAKER COUNCIL FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
  20. OXFAM INTERNATIONAL
  21. Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT )
  22. REDD BARNA
  23. SAVE THE CHILDREN UK
  24. TROCAIRE
  25. UCP

“Dashed Hopes” published by the above organizations about Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza
http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/policy/conflict_disasters/downloads/dashed-hopes-continuation-gaza-blockade-301110-en.pdf

Related Links

Freedom Flotilla 2 Assailed by Piratical Scuttlebutt – other relevant international law