The Story is Palestine, the Story is Freedom

Zoe Lawlor relates her experiences on the Freedom Waves voyage to Gaza aboard the MV Saoirse and subsequent abduction of crew members by Israel in November 2011.

Freedom Waves to Gaza – Tales of a kidnapping from the MV Saoirse

Freedom waves, freedom rides, freedom marches…. it won’t stop until Palestine is free.

On Wednesday 2nd November 2011 the MV Saoirse and the Tahrir sailed from Turkey to Gaza as part of Freedom Waves to Gaza – the international effort to break the illegal, immoral siege of Gaza and show solidarity with the people there. Although the Tahrir was carrying medical supplies and the Saoirse sports equipment, the aim of the mission was to break the political siege imposed by Israel on the people of Gaza, not as an aid mission.

These are my personal thoughts and recollections and really represent a means for me to put the events into some sort of chronology – it’s less an analysis and more a recounting of events. I would like to preface this by first stressing that the experience of the Saoirse and Tahrir people in Israeli captivity is in no way comparable to what the Palestinian people face daily from the apartheid state. Our brief time in captivity provided a minute snapshot of what Palestinian prisoners experience and I am in no way equating what happened to us with what happens to the Palestinians. The prisoners held in administrative detention were on my mind a lot when we were in prison as the thought of not knowing how long you are to be detained is truly frightening and is the reality for so many Palestinians. We also had the security of knowing that there were family members, friends and loved ones, solidarity initiatives, embassy and other political figures advocating for us and pressuring for our release – our European person’s privilege highlighted in stark contrast to the extremely limited rights of the Palestinian people.

We are not the story – the story is Palestine, the story is Gaza, the story is the Freedom Waves, the story is freedom.

I want to pay tribute to my shipmates, great and brilliant people that they are: Mags O’Brien, Fintan Lane, Hugh Lewis, Trevor Hogan, Chris Andrews, John Hearne, Pat Fitzgerald, John Mallon, Phil McCullough, Billy Smith, Paul Murphy, Felim Egan, Ger Barron and our Captain Zach. We also missed our shipmates from the summer: Gerry MacLochlainn, Charlie McMenamin, Rik Walton, Hussein Hammed and Jim Roche. The shore team were amazing too especially Claudia Saba, Laurence Davis, Ronan O’Dowd, Kev Squires, Raymond Deane, Greg Manahan, Sinéad MacLochlainn and Caoimhe Butterly.

Family, friends and loved ones went through so much and were strong voices for us throughout – I know my brother Gay burned the ear off DFA officials and media outlets, kept my mum and friends informed and was just brilliant.

Other friends gave amazing support, some of it very practical, you know who you are – many thanks a cháirde.


From Wednesday we sailed for two days, extremely happy that despite sabotage and international governmental complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people in June, we were at last on our way to Gaza. The significance of sailing and demonstrating to the people there that they are not isolated, that there are hundreds of thousands of people represented on these ships who stand with them and wish for their freedom was huge to us, we hadn’t given up, we were sailing – on course for Gaza.

Freedom Waves to GazaThe trip was fun, funny and hopeful, interspersed with some shipmates suffering badly from seasickness and very interesting times in the kitchen for the galley slaves, cooking while being fired from side to side is challenging! Sailing alongside the Tahrir was exhilarating and getting close and talking our comrades across the waves was very emotional. Seeing the ships heading to Gaza, flying the Palestinian flag was just beautiful, I can only imagine how amazing the larger flotillas must have been.

On the Thursday evening after dinner we had a refresher meeting about what to do in the event of an Israeli intervention. Shortly after that a ship was spotted on our radar, there were spotter planes in the sky and everyone got ready for an Israeli intervention that evening. When the phone call hadn’t come by the small hours, most of us relaxed and thought we would get through the night safely.


When the sun came up on Friday morning and we were still sailing unimpeded, hopes began to rise that we would get to Gaza. Looking at the Irish flag and the Palestinian flag fluttering on the Saoirse with Gaza in the not too far distance, it all seemed possible. Unfortunately and criminally it was not to be as the Israeli government sent an astonishing amount of force to stop twenty-seven people, armed solely with humanity and solidarity, from reaching Gaza. We were only forty nautical miles away when we were attacked, tantalisingly close. Our ships were surrounded by warships, zodiacs and gunboats, all populated by heavily armed, masked commandos. Our ships were corralled at sea and forced to collide causing much damage to the Saoirse which was taking on water – all of us put on our life jackets. Then the pirates water-cannoned the ships, causing massive electrical damage, almost causing the bridge to go on fire and forcing our coordinator Fintan Lane down the stairs into the front saloon where water was pouring through the closed windows, soaking absolutely everything inside. The Saoirse was then violently boarded with the windows smashed and commandos armed to the teeth boarding and threatening all the people on both ships. The crew on the Tahrir were also assaulted. In the front saloon of the MV Saoirse, Mags O’Brien and myself were held separately from our male colleagues and sat in the dark the entire trip to Ashdod as the lights had been blown by the water cannons – we were accompanied by at least four commandos for the journey, there were many more with the men. The efforts of our crew, especially Pat Fitzgerald the ship’s engineer, to keep us safe and also informed as to everyone’s welfare were incredible.

The commandos attempted to steal the Irish flag that they had removed from the Saoirse but were prevented from doing so. They also tried to put an Israeli flag on the Saoirse’s flagpole but we stopped that and ensured that our ship was not brought into Ashdod flying the apartheid flag. The commandos tried to sing military songs while saluting to each other in the front saloon but were ‘interrupted’ by our visits to the loo – we weren’t listening to that shit. From these actions the efforts to humiliate us are clear to see but thankfully were thwarted, equally obvious were pathetic efforts to capture propaganda footage to be used to paint the interception as not violent – offering us water and trying to film it (we refused), asking us if we were ok and telling us not to worry while pointing guns at our heads.

On shore captivity

Once in Ashdod the groups in both saloons unanimously demanded to see the Irish ambassador and refused to leave the ship. The presence of Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP no doubt lent weight to our demands as even for the Israeli government there are limits and they most certainly include the European Parliament. There was a very large group of people in the port waiting to see us dragged from our ship, most of them with film cameras at the ready. (The level of voyeurism that accompanied all of the Israeli encounters was amazing, from multiple, unnecessary searches to constant filming).

Conor Long, the Irish Deputy Head of Mission, came to speak to us and a representative of the Israeli Department of Foreign Affairs was the liaison. We left the Saoirse under protest, stating we had been kidnapped and brought to Israel illegally and refusing to accept any status of illegal entry to the state. We were guaranteed phone calls, no strip searches and refused to accept any physical assistance from the ship – no propaganda opportunities. In Ashdod the Israeli searching machine kicked into action with a vengeance and all of us were taken to temporary cubicles for a ridiculously thorough search of our belongings and the theft of all of our electronic equipment from phones, cameras, satellite phones and also personal items such as notebooks, work swipe cards, money etc.

Having been body searched twice and stripped down to my underwear the second time, I was taken to a prison van where one of my friends was handcuffed and shackled and one handcuffed (John Mallon and Phil McCullough), at the van a security person attempted to search me again, having just brought me from a search, I objected.


From there we were brought to Ofer military prison where we were ‘processed’, fingerprinted, photographed, and asked to sign deportation papers stating we had entered Israel illegally. Some of us were given copies of the papers for this procedure but most were not, the explanation of the process was negligible. Everyone also had an interview with Israeli intelligence who asked us if we were aware of the ‘military’ blockade of Gaza– needless to say we all explained that we were well aware of the illegal and immoral blockade of Gaza.


The next stop on this endless day in Israeli captivity was Givon prison in Ramle and the women went there separate from the men, our group now reduced to five: Mags O’Brien and me from the MV Saoirse and Jihan Hafiz, Kit Kittredge and Karen de Vito from the Tahrir. On arriving in Givon prison we were again searched thoroughly despite having just arrived from a lengthy search process, this time it was filmed and carried out before a large audience, some of our friends had their underwear sniffed. At 4 am I was locked into my cell and about half an hour later my friend and cellmate, Mags, was put in with me. Throughout this process we repeatedly asked for a phone call which we were denied.

During our incarceration in Givon we were denied a phone call and kept incommunicado until Sunday, we were also without books, pens or paper until then. In the women’s wing, as our numbers were smaller than in the men’s, we didn’t have a lot of free association with each other and spent 21 hours and 19 hours locked in on the first two days respectively. We tried to assert our rights as political prisoners and got some concessions but we were less successful than our male colleagues who were very organised. The prison guards were obnoxious, abusive and delighted in asserting whatever power they could over us. They would often refuse to tell us the time, repeatedly lying about it, wouldn’t turn our lights off at night, wouldn’t release us from the cells when it was our ‘out’ time. There were constant attempts to get us to sign the papers stating we had entered Israel illegally, to get us to buy our own tickets home, to threaten us with indefinite detention and there were constant lies – everything we were told was a lie. The guards dehumanised us in their own eyes as best they could, one of them screaming at Karen, Jihan and Kit that we were not human, not Israeli and had no rights. This was a constant among the security personnel we encountered, they hate supporters of Palestine, just less than they hate the Palestinian people.

Guards would burst into the cells in the morning, about 6 am, demanding we stand to be counted- there were usually two women and two men. We explained that if they couldn’t count two people locked in a cell while they were lying down, then that was their problem. There was a stream of disinformation from the prison people all the time, from lying about the time, to what the others were doing, to the timing of our release. We staged a protest in the corridor and refused to re-enter our cells unless we were guaranteed more time outside and free association with just the five of us. The prison commander came and the ‘rules’ were relaxed somewhat and we had more time in the air and the dreaded corridor – all better than the cells. Small victories, they seemed bloody huge at the time…

On a personal level, being with our sisters from the Tahrir and with Mags was a great experience and we got to know each other well, shared stories and laughs and planned more flotillas and BDS actions! Every time we got to meet with our friends in the male wing was a huge bonus and seeing them and their strength kept us going. From Monday, when our US and Canadian colleagues left, it was just Mags and me on our wing and while we felt more vulnerable and isolated, we kept each other going and never had a cross word, it was great solidarity and a little sanity, more insanity!

‘Court’ Part 2

A judge visited the prison and left shaking having been through individual meetings with each of the men. When we met him the following day, he seemed resigned to his fate! He admitted to me that we hadn’t been treated in accordance with Israeli law, that we hadn’t received our full rights, hadn’t been given a copy of our deportation orders, that we should have been given both phone calls and access to phone cards. When pressed as to where the decision for this treatment came from, the judge first tried to blame the prison governor and then the Ministry of the Interior or the Department of Foreign Affairs – he conceded that “some procedures were not followed” but insisted that “technically” it was all the same thing – I insisted that “actually” it wasn’t and also queried the situation regarding the location and legitimacy of many of the ‘legal processes’ that took place in the corridors of the prison. The judge was also unable to explain why he didn’t recognise international law.

The Ben Gurion Vortex

On Wednesday 9th November we were called to leave Givon prison and seven of us were put on a bus to a detention centre inside Ben Gurion airport complex, via a trip to a high security check in the airport where one of our friends was handcuffed for sitting on the same side of the room as us. I was elated to be leaving the prison, delighted to be reunited with some of my shipmates and looking forward to meeting the other seven later that night. The detention centre was worse than the prison with the staff there displaying even more sadistic tendencies than those in Givon had. We were again separated by gender and put into a cell with six other women and no water. When I banged on the door to ask for water and to get some air, one of the guards came to the window, shouting and banging his head off it – he perfectly set the tone for the remainder of our captivity – rotten and aggressive.

On Thursday morning Mags and I were brought to the airport to allegedly board a flight home, we were brought to the main terminal where I was taken for another search despite having been in Israeli captivity since the previous Friday and having to sleep in my clothes as my belongings were now ‘secure’. We then entered a twilight zone that was to last the whole day, driving randomly around the airport with our guards either not knowing, or pretending not to know, where to bring us. We were eventually brought to our plane but not allowed to board and were brought back to the detention centre while being told to stop protesting or we would stay in Israel “forever”. Our five friends were at the detention centre as were the Irish Ambassador and Deputy Head of Mission, all of whom were infuriated by the fact that we were not on a flight home. The guys were not even released from their cells or brought to the airport so there was clearly no intention to get us on that flight. At this point we were able to make only our second call home in seven days to let our loved ones know that we would not be home as expected. With much wrangling and many phone calls by the ambassador and deputy, the seven of us were organised for a flight to Frankfurt that afternoon, we were vouched for by the Irish ambassador, and the German and Polish embassies contacted the airline too. We were getting anxious about departure time but were assured that there would be time as there would be no further searches, then we were loaded into segregated prison vans and taken to the plane. There the main guard went on board with all of our documents and then we were driven away from the plane and up to the main terminal where Fintan Lane and I were taken off for another search. I was furious at this point and knew we would never get on that flight, especially as the search was so slow and there was no van waiting when we came out after it. When we were eventually put in another van, we were driven to near where the planes were and then turned around and driven away, we repeatedly asked where we were being taken to but they ignored us, saying only there was a passport problem. This was the time I was most worried as we were separated from the rest of the group and didn’t know where we were going. After some aimless driving around, we were brought again to the detention centre where the furious DFA people met us and attempted to get us on another flight. The guards in the detention centre refused to let them see our passports and treated the Irish officials with contempt, as they had with the Irish government with all the messing around regarding flights. Flights to Istanbul were organised finally and then we were told to run, get our bags and go to the airport again. When we got to the van to go to the airport one minute later we were told it was too late and we had needed to check in three hours previously – comical, groundhog day, malicious mind games stuff. Some sense prevailed in the centre and a call was made and we were brought to the airport in the same van as Hassan Ghani, one of our colleagues from the Tahrir. On our way out, we met the second seven of our friends – heading in to spend a night in that horrible place. Only when the flight took off did I believe I was out of Israel, which I never wanted to visit in the first place.

Twelve hours in Istanbul airport and then HOME.

Some final observations:

For me the most important aspect of this leg of the Irish Ship to Gaza, Freedom Flotilla 2 campaign was that we did sail and we refused to accept the crimes being perpetrated on the people of Gaza by Israel and that another year didn’t pass without people at least getting on the water. We didn’t reach the shores of Gaza but we got close and demonstrated our love and solidarity for the Palestinian people, also our immense respect and admiration for their incredible sumoud.

Civil society is key to ending Israeli apartheid – Palestinian civil society leads and the international solidarity movements follow. The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign is vital to delegitimising the Israeli regime’s crimes against the Palestinian people. All efforts to end complicity with this regime have to be supported – boycott all Israeli goods, ensure no artist performs there without huge protest, work to end EU funding for collaboration with Israeli research projects, highlight the importance of Israeli blood diamonds to the economy and to funding war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The security apparatus employed by the Israeli state is staggering, the sheer numbers of people employed to police and enforce apartheid are huge. The amount of searches reflects the matrix of control they try to impose and for every searcher, there are at least five observers.

While Irish embassy staff in Israel did a lot to help us, especially on the Thursday when they went all out to assist us to get home, it is profoundly depressing and disenfranchising for our government not to have called for our immediate release. I have no doubt that had another state kidnapped fourteen Irish citizens in international waters, illegally brought them to that state and then imprisoned them, the Táiniste would have called for their release – in our case he didn’t.

The clichés are sometimes true, small numbers of people can take on oppression – the reaction where the Israeli navy had to send gunboats, warships, massive weaponry to stop twenty-seven people is testament to that. Israeli pirates won’t stop us, their jails won’t break us. We will sail again to Gaza.

The inspiring resilience and resistance that the Palestinian people have displayed since the Nakba of 1948 is what moves people all over the world to act and to support them in their hundreds of thousands. No militarised, aggressive, apartheid state can stop the Freedom Waves and waves of love for Palestine. We’ll keep sailing, marching, freedom fighting until Palestine is free- they can do it, why can’t we? I’ve been trying to get to Gaza for years, I’ll get there yet.

Freedom waves, freedom rides, freedom marches…. it won’t stop until Palestine is free.

Thanks for reading and Stay Human.


Fintan Lane and Zoe Lawlor, who were among a group of 14 Irish activists arrested last week while trying to break the blockade of Gaza, speak about their time in detention in Israel after arriving at Dublin airport today.

Freedom Waves to Gaza : End the Blockade by Apartheid Israel

Freedom Wave to Gaza

With superb stealth in order to thwart sabotage by Israel which occurred on the last Freedom Flotilla earlier this year and with plans only alluded to in +972 Magazine last week, two Freedom Waves boats are en route to Gaza. They are attempting like 11 fleets before them to break the hideous illegal blockade of land, air and sea that Israel perpetrates as collective punishment on the people of Gaza.

“The Freedom Waves to Gaza emerged from the Freedom Flotilla initiatives,” says Irish Ship to Gaza organiser Fintan Lane from on board the MV Saoirse. “While the Freedom Waves to Gaza will be delivering some much-needed medicines, our primary goal is to help free Palestinians from their inhumane isolation in what is in effect an open air prison.”

Also on board in this civil society to civil society initiative are delegates from Canada, Australia, the US, Greece, Palestine, Poland and Egypt. “We have just entered international waters and hope to reach the shores of Gaza in a couple of days. The only obstacles in our way are Israel’s military, but international public opinion is behind this effort, and so is civil society in Gaza.”

“The Palestinians living in Gaza want solidarity – not charity. They have made it clear to the world that their primary demand is for freedom. While humanitarian aid is helpful, Palestinians are still prisoners with no freedom of movement,” adds Ehab Lotayef, the Canadian boat organizer. “Israel’s illegal blockade prevents not only imports into Gaza, but exports as well. And the blockade prevents Palestinians from moving freely between Gaza and the West Bank, in violation of fundamental human rights.”

From an October 2011 Report from the UN OCHA, some fast facts help explain why it is imperative to challenge and end Israel’s closure of Gaza:

. The population of Gaza is 1.6 million, with over 50% under 18.
. 38% of Gazans live in poverty.
. 26% of the Gazan workforce, including 38% of youths, is unemployed.
. The average wage declined by over 20% in the past six years.
. 54% of Gazans are food insecure and over 75% are aid recipients.
. 35% of Gaza’s farmland and 85% of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli military measures.
. 50-80 million litres of partially treated sewage are dumped in the sea each day.
. Over 90% of the water from the Gaza aquifer is undrinkable.
. 85% of schools in Gaza run on double shifts.
. About one-third of the items in the essential drug list are out of stock.
. Since the beginning of 2010, 64 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 621 injured by Israeli forces; over 60% of casualties occurred in the access-restricted areas. Another 60 civilians were killed and 137 were injured in tunnel-related accidents

The Gaza blockade (through the land, air and sea) is a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment. It severely restricts imports and exports, as well as the movement of people in and out of Gaza, and access to agricultural land and fishing waters. Gazans are unable to provide for their families and the quality of infrastructure and vital services has deteriorated.

Israel has now beleaguered the civilian population of Gaza, flaunting international law, for 1604 days.

The MV Saoirse from Ireland, sailing under the US flag, and the Tahrir from Canada carry 27 passengers between them. The humanitarians on the Irish boat include Parliamentarians and famous footballer Trevor Hogan while the Tahrir has several Al Jazeera journalists aboard.

After setting sail under the protection of a Turkish Coast Guard vessel from Fethiye in South West Turkey, the boats are now in international waters and expect to arrive at Gaza on Friday. According to Michael Coleman, Australian representative on the Tahrir:

I went home from the last flotilla feeling quite frustrated, as the ministerial edict that stopped us sailing to Gaza had no basis in law, and almost felt cheated out of doing the most meaningful thing I had ever set my mind to. And I’m hopeful that that won’t happen again, but if it does, it doesn’t deter my determination.

The aims of the flotilla are twofold. While we do have a small amount of aid on board—and that’s one of the goals, is to take aid to the besieged Strip—but the other is public awareness. And we’re well aware that the small amount of aid we have is tokenistic. It’s not going to prevent the suffering of 1.5 million people. Only governments and international institutions can do that. But we, as private citizens, can pressure governments and international institutions to do what is right.

According to Haaretz, the IDF ‘plans to intercept vessels, offer them to dock at Ashdod or port in Egypt’.

Yesterday, Israel brandished its phallic military objects as Netanyahu bellowed for a strike on Iran and more illegal racist Jewish colonies in Occupied East Jerusalem. Deceitfully, Netanyahu claimed support from long dead Gandhi, whom zionists have been wont to attempt to coopt in the past.

‘Talking about Gandhi, he said, “Each of us who knew him knows how deeply engraved Jerusalem was in his soul. It was the center of his being, it towered above all else in his world view.”

Yet Gandhi was no friend of zionism.

“My sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice. The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and in the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after their return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?”

The Israeli PM appears oblivious to US signals to Turkey of its favoured diplomatic position – Turkey’s recent promotion to co-chair with the US on the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum and 3 deadly new USMC AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters with which to assault the PKK along with messages of support from the US attest to this. Further, Turkey insisted boat passenger numbers be reduced prior to departure (this report says only 11 on the Tahrir and 10 on the MV Saoirse).

For these reasons, it’s unlikely that Turkey will send its navy to escort the vessels. In early September, in yet another of its ubiquitous bumbling Turkish affairs reports, Haaretz claimed that Turkish naval vessels would accompany future aid ships, relaying that ‘According to the report, Turkish naval vessels will accompany civilian ships carrying aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.’

However, Al Jazeera more reliably reported at the time:

Turkey’s naval forces would escort Turkish humanitarian aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister has said, following Israel’s refusal to apologise for its deadly raid on an aid flotilla heading to the besieged Palestinian territory in May 2010.

“We have humanitarian aid to be sent there. And our humanitarian aid will not be attacked anymore, as happened to the Mavi Marmara,” he told the Al Jazeera on Thursday.

“Turkish warships will be tasked with protecting the Turkish boats bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.”

Please contact your Federal Parliamentarians and Media Representatives and forward them a copy of the Freedom Waves for Gaza Press Release, explaining why it is important that these boats succeed on their mission. Fair sailing and firm hearts, folks!

Support Freedom Waves

Canadian and Irish ships set to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade with Freedom Waves to Gaza
CALL TO ACTION – We Need Waves of Support for Gaza

Related Links

History of Israeli blockade on Gaza
Turkish obstruction on departure outlined by one left behind.
From Tahrir to Gaza: The faces of ‘Freedom Waves’
Gaza flotilla organizers to Haaretz: Plan kept secret until last minute
Live time map (password is just the letter ‘a’)
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Voices from the Secret International Flotilla Now Sailing to Gaza
BREAKING: New flotilla en route to Gaza Strip reaches international waters
FreedomWaves to Gaza!
The ABC pushes false info about Turkey’s intentions but reveals the US requested Turkey not to accompany Freedom Waves

Palestine / Israel Links

Olympia Food Co-op fights back against Israel-backed anti-boycott lawsuit
The US abstains on the KP vote, effectively clearing Marange blood diamonds for sale to blood diamond producers like Israel. US sanctions prevent them being traded in the US, but as for US cronies – so the US wants to chair the KP process next year? that should smooth its way when it eases in its AFRICOM scam.
Goldstone walks alone on a bridge to nowhere

Flytilla! Israel Hustles Humanitarians Away From Its Crime Sites

Israel has a phobia of boats AND planes transporting humanitarians! While the Freedom Flotillas to Gaza highlight the illegal blockade Israel enforces on the 1.6 million people who live in Gaza, the Air Flotilla shows up Israel’s disgraceful blockade of the West Bank bantustan.

Israel’s fear of humanitarians accessing the West Bank was so great, the ‘provocation’ from ‘delegitimisation’ by people of conscience so frightening, that ziomoles combed facebook groups hunting for prospective passengers in advance.

Aided by Facebook, Israel on Friday prevented scores of pro-Palestinian activists from boarding Tel Aviv-bound flights in Europe, questioned dozens more upon arrival at its main airport and denied entry to 69, disrupting their attempts to reach the West Bank on a solidarity mission with the Palestinians.

Israel had tracked the activists on social media sites, compiled a blacklist of more than 300 names and asked airlines to keep those on the list off flights to Israel. On Friday, 310 of the activists who managed to land in Tel Aviv were detained for questioning, said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad. Of those, four were immediately put on return flights and 65 were being held until flights home could be arranged for them, she said. The rest were permitted entry, she said. [hasbara alert]

Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said the list was compiled by following organizers’ preparations on social networks and websites. In all, about 300 people were identified as planning to create “provocations” upon arrival, he said.

“These people announced on their Internet sites that they planned to come here and cause disruptions, and told their friends. We were able to contact other foreign ministries and simply give them links,” Palmor said. Barring entrance in such cases is “accepted practice in any country,” he added.

Larry Derfner describes the reaction of the locals once they realised who the humanitarian arrivals were:

A couple of dozen people, mainly men but also a few women, followed very close behind the tightly-bunched demonstrators, cops and reporters to the police van. “Throw them in the garbage,” shouted one woman. An old man tried to get at one of the activists, but the police stopped him.

I was there ostensibly as a journalist, and I was scribbling notes, but I felt cowardly not saying anything to these nationalist hooligans, so I started telling them in Hebrew, “What are these people doing?” The woman who wanted them thrown in the garbage said, “They’re hurting us!” I said, “They’re talking,” and the little mob turned on me, a couple of the men raised their fists. The woman told me, “Go back home, get out of here,” I said, “I live here.”

Now we know where the unbalanced, indignant girl in the psychiatrist’s office in the latest hasbara infomercial went after she stormed out. Mobs are primed and cued by propaganda, then act out the omitted conclusion.

It is not surprising that Israel denies and is desperate to conceal its ongoing crimes in the West Bank with self-righteous rage from humanitarians who would be sympathetic to Palestinians under brutal military occupation suffering frequent incursions, arrests, a draconian matrix of checkpoints stifling movement, home demolitions, water theft, olive tree burnings, land theft and settler violence. Two and a half million Palestinian people live in the West Bank bantustan, enduring a lack of basic human rights, without nationality, persecuted by encroaching, violent illegal settlers, tacitly and overtly supported by a racist, belligerent expansionist government, determined to evict them from the fraction of their birthright which remains intact betwixt the already usurped hilltops and pampered ziocolonies.

As flytilla humanitarians continue to jet in, more of the world cannot help but notice in abhorrence the loathsome discrimination and dispossession inflicted on Palestinians and the willingness of Israel to forego the incoming revenue, for these travellers must pass through Israel to reach the West Bank, so its glossy, privileged ‘western’ image is not ‘delegitimised’. Blithely unaware that it manically scuttles its own leaky vessel, Israel has run out of fingers to plug the widening holes.

Flytilla blocked: RT talks to only Gaza activist who ‘slipped through net’

Related Links

“Air Flotilla” successful in exposing Israeli blockade of West Bank
Israel blocks airborne protest, questions dozens
Mobocracy at Ben-Gurion Airport
Hysteria at the airport – If the intention of flotilla and fly-in organizers was to direct global attention to Gaza, Israel’s government and law enforcement agencies are doing everything to help them and even boost the resonance.
Pro-Palestinian activists barred from boarding flights in Paris
Israel tries to stop pro-Palestinian ‘flytilla’
#Airflotilla | Overview
Nearly 600 women, men and children, among whom more than 350 French citizens, will fly to the West Bank next Friday 8 July, in answer to the call from 15 West Bank Palestinian civil society organizations.
Gaza fly-in: 2 pro-Palestinian activists to be deported
Israel blocks 200 pro-Palestinian activists from flying into country
By Torpedoing the Gaza Flotilla, Israel Sunk its Own Ship
Israel: “Flytilla” activists threaten to go on hunger strike as they insist there is no ground for detention
Israel has been accused of over-reacting to a recent ‘fly-in’ of activists who say they were treated harshly.

Israel / Palestine Links

Israel thieves more land from Palestinians to bolster one of its illegal settler outposts
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (30 June– 06 July 2011)
IDF Castrator Earns Second-Highest National Award
Firm that produced anti-flotilla video works for Israeli government

The Israeli production company Zed Films that made the anti-flotilla propaganda video “Sex with the Psychologist” lists the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, the Government Press Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other official Israeli bodies as its clients. Does this indicate that this and other recent propaganda videos are the work of the Israeli government?

Is Palestine Next? by Adam Shatz

And there’s yet another reason for the lack of interest in the declaration: as the prospect of a genuine – a sovereign and independent – Palestinian state has receded, another discourse has returned, one with much deeper roots in the Palestinian political imagination than talk of statehood, and much closer to the ideas that inspired the Arab uprisings. It’s often forgotten that until the mid-1970s, Palestinians were looking not to establish a state but to achieve ‘national liberation’, to restore their rights in the land from which they had been driven – beginning with the right of return. Palestinians rarely talk about statehood, but they often talk about their rights; statehood is viewed, at best, as a means to achieve them. And because they don’t often talk about statehood, it seems unlikely that the failure to win recognition at the UN would be enough to spark an uprising. Any sign of serious unrest, moreover, would not be viewed kindly by the PA, which would do everything in its power to prevent a third intifada that might sweep it away.

U.S. House passes resolution threatening to suspend aid to Palestinians
Spirit of Rachel Corrie: Humanitarian Cargo Released and Shipped to Gaza
Palestinian civil society calls for comprehensive military embargo on Israel
In the top four – Israel hits 7.2 billion in arms exports
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I accept and exercise my social responsibility as an artist not to lend legitimacy to the State of Israel as long as it continues the occupation.

My conscience will not allow me either to participate in programs funded by the current Israeli government at this point in time, or to show my films at venues that receive funding from that government. I stand in support of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples who believe in justice for all, equal representation, and an end to the oppression of the Palestinian peoples. It is the least I can do. The most is yet to be seen.

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The boycott law is unconstitutional and undemocratic

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Ahmadinejad calls on Iran colleges not to segregate sexes – “It has been heard that in some universities, classes and disciplines are being segregated without considering the coincidences.” (I’m sure the translator meant ‘consequences’!
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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.


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


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.’


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


@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

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!

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