A response to the killers of Vittorio Arrigoni (and to my family)

When the news first broke that Vittorio Arrigoni, the Italian who had been volunteering in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement, had been kidnapped and murdered, the response in the U.S. and international media was similar to this comment by Charles Glass in The National: “After what happened to this brave young man, how many others will volunteer to take his place – when it may mean death to those who love them?”

The New York Times commented: “(The murder) raised embarrassing questions for Hamas about the security it says it has restored…. It also raises the specter of a growing boldness on the part of more extreme, virulently anti-Western Islamic groups in Gaza, which would pose a challenge not only to Hamas but to foreign activists promoting the Palestinian cause.”

No wonder that both my sister and my daughter, who had come to support my increasingly frequent trips to Gaza, now are discouraging me from continuing my work there. “I have to admit that now, with things becoming more dangerous in Gaza every day (from all sides–for example, Vik being killed by the very people he was trying to help), I completely understand why your daughters would be hoping that you don’t go back,” wrote my sister. Another friend, who had visited Gaza with me on one of my first trips, put it even more bluntly: “I would never have thought that the people he was supporting and helping would turn on him.”

I am sure this reaction is exactly what Vik’s killers – whoever they are–had been hoping for.

Whether the murder was committed by collaborators with Israel or religious extremists who abhor Western influence and/or want to make Hamas look bad, the motive seemed to be – at least in part — to scare off other internationals who might think to come to Gaza, whether via the next flotilla (planned for late May) or other route. Although no one knows — and we may never know – the true motivation of Vik’s killers, Israel has certainly worked overtime in the last few months to stop the next flotilla from reaching the shores of Gaza. The newspaper Ha’aretz reported last month that Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi has threatened that if the boats try to reach Gaza, “forcing” the military to attack, “there may be no alternative to deploying snipers to minimize troop casualties.” Meanwhile, theJerusalem Post reported that the IDF will deploy attack dogs from its Oketz canine units. Likewise, Israel has not been shy about assassinating individuals it doesn’t like (the most recent example is the murder of Hamas official Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai). 

However, whoever committed this gut-wrenching crime, and whatever their motivation, they are not Gaza (and the murderers of Juliano Mer-Khamis– the popular director of the Jenin Freedom Theater — are not the West Bank – or Palestine). After all, should Americans be judged by Timothy McVeigh, or the Unabomber? When word began spreading like wildfire that Vik had been murdered, my friends from Gaza – and many whom I barely knew, but were just connections on Facebook – messaged me to apologize on behalf of their entire people. One email I received was titled “WE ARE SO SORRY.” 

Even those who didn’t know Vik felt the need to express their deep sorrow and shame; in fact, they were the majority of the individuals who reached out to me. Sameeha Elwan, a young blogger in Gaza, wrote: “All of us were agonized by the news of his abduction, spending the whole night anticipating and hoping that morning would bring us the news of his release…(But) morning brought us mourning. The first unconfirmed news of his death came at 2 a.m., leaving us all speechless and confused…’Did you know him personally?’many asked me today in the funeral that was held by Gazans in honor of Vittorio. In fact, I did not meet him in person, as was the case of so many Palestinians who were there…(But) to know how brave Vittorio was, I only had to look around, and see the agony and anger in the faces of hundreds of people…”

Vik’s death was considered a national tragedy in Gaza – indeed, throughout Palestine. I can’t help but compare this to how Americans would react if a foreigner in their midst –albeit one who was there in solidarity with them – was randomly slain. I doubt it would elicit the same outpouring of grief, or that Americans who didn’t even know him would feel a personal responsibility for the perpetrators. Even when my purse was apparently stolen one night by a coffeehouse, everyone I knew felt compelled to apologize – going out of their way to track it down.

This is the reason that in the eight months I lived in Gaza – five months in 2010 and three this year, coming home barely two weeks before Vik’s death – I felt safe and literally “embraced.” Crime can happen anywhere; yes, Gaza is a “hot spot,” and may be more dangerous than most, but not because of the Palestinians. I am not unlike the other international volunteers who are drawn to Gaza, or to Palestine in general. We know the spirit of the people there; we see inside their collective heart. And we agree with Sameeha when she writes, “No matter who was behind this vicious crime against humanity, he is not the least Palestinian.”

So to my friends and family who ask why I want to continue to return to the region, when “the people I help may turn on me,” I say no, they will never turn on me. And if I am ever in danger, they will have my back. They may not always be able to protect me from the criminal elements that are present everywhere, but I know they would lay down their lives for mine.

And to Vik’s killers, I say you will never win. Because we will keep coming back.

Pam Bailey is an American who has been on several of the Codepink delegations to Gaza. She then lived in Gaza for five months last year and three months this year. Vittorio Arrigoni was her friend.

About Pam Bailey

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 79 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. hophmi says:

    Every time you suggest, with no evidence whatsoever, that Israelis collaborated in this crime, you discredit yourself further.

    • Red says:

      Yes, Pam, you wouldn’t to discredit yourself with Zionists now would you! After all, they have repeatedly proven themselves to be open mind folk. And, of course, the Israeli state has never, ever, ever, ever, ever carried out covert assassinations or kidnappings or such things… well except for when they kidnapped Mordecai Vanunu and that Gazan Engineer fella, you know Dirar Abu Sisi or when the stole some passports from their supposed allies to assassinate a guy in a Dubai hotel or that time when they tried to assassinate Khalid Meshal in Jordan and all those times in Gaza and the West Bank. And they have never, ever, ever, ever, ever used collaborators to do their bidding… well except maybe during the lead up to the Nakba when they used Palestinian collaborators to gather information on the Palestinian villages and perhaps during Israel’s military regime from 1948 to 1966 which they imposed on Palestinians in Israel. And maybe during the 43 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem. You know Hillel Cohen has actually written to books on Israel’s use of Palestinian collaborators, but hey what would he know! Ater all his research is only based on Israeli defence archives.

    • Citizen says:

      Hophmi, that’s all you got out of Pam Bailey’s article? You looked in it only for anything that might in the slightest ruin Brand Israel? Don’t they teach you to be less transparent in Hasbara class? What is the meat of her article? It is that even if one or a few Palestinians decided for whatever reason to kill an obvious persistent working heart for the Palestinian people’s plight, she, Pam, would not let that inhibit her courage to keep on trying to alert the world to the Palestinian cause as a top-notch humanist cause, one that is particularly not addressed practically by the powerful West. If you, hophmi, read Swift’s Modest Proposal, you would be looking for any imaginary sign that a single Jew in Ireland might not having a sufficient stash of rare healthy potatoes.

      • hophmi says:

        I get that Pam Bailey, like most of you, have spent way more space on this guy than any Palestinian death, and a lot of that space has been devoted to suggesting that Israel collaborated in the death, for which you’ve present zero evidence.

        • MRW says:

          I wouldn’t say that, hophmi. What if the suggestion to the IDF in 2009 to murder Arrigoni was followed up on by the Mastaravim (you know who they are don’t you?):
          link to scribd.com

        • DBG says:

          uggghhh, this nonsense again, weren’t you blaming them for Itamar before MRW? and the murder of Mer-Khamis.

          Who does this help?

        • MRW says:

          DBG,

          Well, it doesn’t help you or your ‘arguments’, but I’m not trying to. I don’t give a damn about sliming the truth for your country.

          I realize I’m going to have to wait at least eight years to find out who committed these murders when someone finally tells the truth, because right now Israel has put a clamp on all info, it can’t be trusted to tell the truth (witness the Mavi Marmara & Cast Lead) and Israel lives by two things when it comes to info/events it doesn’t like: deception and hasbara. SOP.

        • DBG, are you suggesting that the majority of people actually believe the story that two teenagers, one whose recent surgery would preclude him getting through or over the barbed wire that surrounds Itamar, actually were responsible for the settler deaths at Itamar?

          Confessions under torture are meaningless. It’s possible that Palestinians did it, it’s possible that foreign workers did it, it’s possible disgruntled neighbor settlers did it, it’s even possible the settler father himself did it. Unfortunately for Israel, it has lied for so long that it has almost no credibility at all, anywhere in the world.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      TOTALLY unlike yourself, who contorts so far as to suggest that Hamas is responsible for Israeli jets dropping bombs on schools and hospitals.

      • hophmi says:

        Saying Israel is responsible for Arrigoni’s death in the way it is being suggested here is equivalent to suggesting that Hamas flew the jets and dropped the bombs on Gaza.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Of course. But what YOU say is that Hamas should be blamed for Israelis flying their jets and bombing the crap out of their children.

        • aying Israel is responsible for Arrigoni’s death in the way it is being suggested here is equivalent to suggesting that Hamas flew the jets and dropped the bombs on Gaza.

          Utter nonsense. When a crime is committed the first thing investigators do, before any evidence has been collected, is ask themselves: Who had the means? And Who had the motive?

          Means. Motive.

          Hamas has neither the means nor motive to drop bombs on Gaza.

          Israel, on the other hand, ….

  2. annie says:

    hi Pam, very good to hear your voice here. i have been wondering about you lately. i agree completely it will not deter us one bit. especially what you have to say about the gracious character of palestinians.

    Sameeha Elwan is an amazing talent. she participated in our Gaza 2 years later series and won a mondo award for The Land, the Gun, the Olive Tree. we can read her post in it’s entirety about the tragic loss of Vittorio. A mournful morning. includes photos from gaza and here is the finale:

    No matter who was behind this vicious crime against humanity, he is not the least Palestinian. I was more than glad to know that other internationals felt the same way, too. Those whom I was fortunate to talk to not only said they were more committed to the cause but also vowed to never give up on Palestine.

    For me, Vittorio is every international I met and felt inspired by. He’s the voice of solidarity that shall not fade as long as there is a just cause called Palestine. He is the voice of humanity that should stay alive all of us. He is the voice of freedom that shall not be silenced.

    Rest in Peace, comrade.

    brings tears to my eyes

    pam, if you’re back in dc please give my regards to shelly and let’s stay in touch. thanks for all you’re doing. in solidarity.

  3. Graber says:

    Thank you for sharing Pam! I completely agree with you, and I’m so happy that you put this into public space. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to go to Gaza, Vik’s story is inspirational for me, and I have no doubt in my mind that the work that Juliano and Vittorio were doing will only increase in the coming months.

  4. Theo says:

    As I have already commented a few days ago, one has to ask: who benefits from the death of Victorio?
    The Hamas? No way, they already have a very bad press, the US and EU are overdoing eachother to blame them for everything.
    The Salafists? Why would they murder him, after all he helped the palestinians with their cause. I would rule them out.
    Israel? Yes, most likely. The Mossad is well trained to carry out such an actions, with a local help to muddy up the case.
    Just look at 9/11, what did those young Mossad agents do there taking picture and dancing? Was it a coincidence? Why did the FBI hush up the case and let those agents leave a country?
    The new leasor, and israeli, took 1.3 billion dollars insurance on those buildings only a few weeks before the attack. Where is the money? Why did the insurance companies pay the claim so fast when they usually take years in such a murky case?
    Questions after questions, but you cannot get a satisfactory answer.

    • hophmi says:

      Like I said, keep going. You only look like more and more of a whackjob, and less and less helpful to the Palestinian cause.

      • Avi says:

        hophmi April 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

        Like I said, keep going. You only look like more and more of a whackjob, and less and less helpful to the Palestinian cause.

        And as everyone and their uncle knows, you are extremely dedicated to the Palestinian cause.

        Look up “Pathetic” in the dictionary, see if you can find your picture next to it.

        • hophmi says:

          “And as everyone and their uncle knows, you are extremely dedicated to the Palestinian cause.

          Look up “Pathetic” in the dictionary, see if you can find your picture next to it.”

          That’s nice, Avi. Which third grader did you learn it from?

          There’s no monopoly on caring for the Palestinians, and embracing every yahoo who thinks there’s a Mossad agent behind every international death (and by the way, when the hell have any of you spent this much space talking about a dead Palestinian anyway) is not part of advocating for the Palestinian cause.

        • clenchner says:

          I don’t agree with hophmi in general. But calling out Avi for writing childish insults? It’s true. He does. No matter the topic, the instinct to berate is there, with the same vocabulary from which we get ‘same to you but more of it.’
          It’s positively Bart Simpsonish.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Avi didn’t set the tone. Hophmi was the one who barged in on this blog shrieking “You’re all liberal loonies!”

        • clenchner says:

          @Chaos,

          You are right, and I observe that I’m way more sensitive to feces flinging from one side of the aisle rather than the other. Hrm. Given that I’m probably closer to Avi’s views than Hophmi’s, it’s worth thinking about!

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Find those WMDs in Iraq yet, hophmi? Or are you aiming to look for them in Iran now?

        • DBG says:

          Chaos,

          are you saying Iran doesn’t have a chemical or biological weapons program?

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “are you saying Iran doesn’t have a chemical or biological weapons program?”

          Why shouldn’t it? Given the apparent act of war against it by Israel and the US with that computer virus, as well as the continued threats of further action by these two nuclear armed entities, it is only natural that they would want a little disincentive.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          What was found in Iraq, DBG? What did people like you and hophmi lead us to in Iraq?

          Fool me once…

        • DBG says:

          Whether it should or shouldn’t is irrelevant, it was a response to Chaos.

        • Shingo says:

          are you saying Iran doesn’t have a chemical or biological weapons program?

          Neither of which are WMD.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Whether it should or shouldn’t is irrelevant”

          Actually, when you have a couple of nuclear-armed psycho-states, filled with bigots and paranoids, like the US and the Israeli Authority, are itching to go kill a bunch of Iranians for sport, not a decade after the US started a war (purportedly at the behest of the Israeli state) over allegations regarding WMDs, whether Iran should or shouldn’t pursue those weapons is the most relevant question of the all.

        • Citizen says:

          No, DBG, are you saying Israel and the US say they don’t comment on whether or not Israel has the big war nuke?

      • Cliff says:

        Thanks for giving us tips on how to help the Palestinian cause, hophmi.

        This is the guy who can’t see red, white, black and green on a picture of a snake (a piece of ZioNazi propaganda) symbolizing Palestine.

        link to salsa.democracyinaction.org

        Troll elsewhere you hack.

        • hophmi says:

          “Thanks for giving us tips on how to help the Palestinian cause, hophmi.”

          Hey, you guys are doing such a great job. The Palestinians have a state, have gotten out of poverty, and there’s peace in the land.

          When you can explain to me with actual evidence how blaming the Mossad for this guy’s death helps your cause, I’ll stop bothering you about it.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          How did blaming “the Arabs” help find the real killers of the children in Itamar? I’m not refering to the two teens who had confessions wrung out of them after hundreds of people in Awarta were terrorized by the IDF. I mean the people who really did kill them, instead of the people that you wrote a story about leaping over an eight foot tall fence topped in razorwire past cameras and guards after having testicular surgery?

        • DBG says:

          ahhh zionazi, great discourse.

        • Shingo says:

          Hey, you guys are doing such a great job. The Palestinians have a state, have gotten out of poverty, and there’s peace in the land.

          And what a stifling job you’re doing, with Israel’s reputation hovering just a little higher than North Koreas’s.

        • tree says:

          Hey, you guys are doing such a great job. The Palestinians have a state, have gotten out of poverty, and there’s peace in the land.

          You’re hilarious sometimes, hophmi. You claim people are “whackjobs” for suspecting Mossad involvement in the death of an activist, and then insist that Cliff is personally responsible for Israel’s half century-long denial of Palestinian rights. So who’s the real whackjob here?

        • tree says:

          ahhh zionazi, great discourse.

          I guess you missed the “whackjob” reference which started this. Not particularly elevated discourse, but it seemed to sail right by you.

          And the cartoon Cliff linked to did bear a strong resemblance to Nazi propaganda about Jews, except that it made Palestinians the venomous snakes. And hophmi couldn’t believe that it was depicting Palestinians as snakes, despite multiple posters here pointing it out to him, until the artist assured him that that was his intent in drawing the cartoon.

        • Palinoia says:

          Hey hophmi,

          I’ll explain to you how it could be a Mossad job; or if not Mossad then some other kid of conspiracy. I’ll just copy and paste from my post (link to palinoia.wordpress.com) in response to what happened which I suggest you read and think about:

          “There are so many great exclamation marks and question marks about this whole thing. It stinks to high heaven.

          For one, Vik was killed only hours from when he was kidnapped; meaning that the intention was to kill and not to trade prisoners.

          Secondly, it’s VITTORIO!!! What does that mean? It means a big, muscled-up man! Of all the ISM activists and internationals in Gaza, they chose the one physically most challenging! Kidnapping a female or a male of a smaller size would have definitely been a whole lot easier and more effortless, and would have had the same effect still had the intention really been a ‘kufor’ matter or a prisoner-exchange! And on this note, it is worthy to note that Vittorio was the #1 ISM activist on Israeli hit list!
          Thirdly, the timing! This is the first an international (A GREAT SOLIDARITY FIGURE FOR THAT MATTER) is kidnapped and killed in Gaza, and it happens only 10 days after the Juliano Mer Khamis murder~! I find this too much to be a mere coincidence! Not only that, but it is happening at a time when Israel is doing its utmost to prevent the next Flotilla sailing to Gaza in attempts to break the siege, and to end this growing momentum of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Such ‘security’ concerns would intimidate potential passengers coming with the next flotilla “those unsure of the exceptional good will and generosity of the people there. A good will Vik would tell you about. If he were still here.“, as Lauren Booth writes, but would they?

          Booth adds: “Both men [Juliano & Vittorio] were part of a new uprising, arguably, the most successful yet. The uprising that hurts Israel where it hurts most – in the TV studios of Europe and the US, right in the intelligentsia. Their impact on the Israel ‘fascisti’ [as Vik calls it] machine was a phenomenon in the expanding worlds of twitter and facebook. They had voices like no others in this movement.
          More though. Vik was pivotal in the reformation of the ISM Gaza Group, the non violent resistance team, put on hold after the murders of two of its members by Israeli forces ; Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie. After it became clear that Israel’s leaders had taken the decision not only not to ignore the human rights of internationals in the West Bank and Gaza (thus putting them on a par with Palestinians), but to actively target them. “

          To top it all off, the three suspects involved in the kidnap and the murder are Abdul Rahman Breizat, Jordanian, and two Palestinians, Belal Al Omari and Mohammed Al Salfiti. So a freaking Jordanian ‘salafi’ is involved!! And this guy has apparently entered Gaza with the Viva Palestina Convoy, and is an agent for 3 countries! Smelling some filthy rotten rat, eh?
          Hamas has managed to find the three suspects and surround them in a building in Nuseirat Camp. Hamas tried to negotiate, and one of the suspects’, Belal’s, mother came and tried to talk him out. This only resulted in clashes, and then this Jordanian proclaimed ‘salafi’ SHOT HIMSELF, and threw a grenade on his fellow suspects, critically wounding Belal, who died of his wounds, and lightly injuring Al Salfiti, who is now under arrest and taken to hospital.

          Now, the ‘salafi’ committed suicide. Haha, what a joke. Anyone who knows a tiny speck of Islam knows that a true salafi would not, under any circumstance, commit suicide. It is Un-Islamic and it is an intervention with God’s well. It is also evident that this Jordanian did not just want to end his life in fear of torture or the like, but he wanted to make sure that all of them are! Thoughts?

          ……

          Vik may not have been a Muslim, but he sure gained our FULL respect, love, and appreciation. He was a human. And he has won. He left this world a beautiful symbol for humanity and freedom. While this Jordanian bastard has a left a hated, cursed bigot; so to hell he may go.

          Whatever their motives were, they FAILED, and FAILED MISERABILY. Vic is alive inside every Muslim and every compassionate true Palestinian. His soul will always be in Gaza and he shall never be forgotten. From the fishermen in the sea, to the farmers in the buffer zones. From the restaurant and shop owners who knew him, to every child in Gaza whom he drew a smile on their faces. From every Real Madrid lover, to every Barca brother.

          And the next flotilla is coming with even greater determination- STAY HUMAN. Vik, you have been our unknown soldier all along and the world is coming to realize it. I salute you. Gaza loved you and will always continue to do.”

          And again, I am so sorry for the ignorant bastards who committed the crime (which I highly doubt they plotted themselves). But ignorance and treason is everywhere.

        • annie says:

          Hamas tried to negotiate, and one of the suspects’, Belal’s, mother came and tried to talk him out. This only resulted in clashes, and then this Jordanian proclaimed ‘salafi’ SHOT HIMSELF, and threw a grenade on his fellow suspects, critically wounding Belal, who died of his wounds, and lightly injuring Al Salfiti, who is now under arrest and taken to hospital.

          wow, amazing.

        • Palinoia says:

          It’s also important to note that all salafi groups in Gaza denied any responsibility:

          (The reports of his kidnap came as a loathsome SHOCK to everyone in Gaza. Waking up to the tweets and Facebook pages and statuses demanding the release of a KIDNAPPED Vittorio was well-beyond predictable, dislocating any sense of reality! The YouTube video of Vik, blindfolded and beaten, and the demands of exchanging Vik with ALL Salafi prisoners arrested by Hamas in Gaza claimed that it was done by a Salafi group. The YouTube video gave Hamas 30 hours to release all Salafi prisoners or else they would kill Vittorio. Meanwhile, all salafi groups had denied any involvement or responsibility: “We strongly deny any responsibility for or connection to the kidnapping of the Italian (Vittorio Arrogani)… Our statement are distributed exclusively through Shoumoukh al-Islam, Attahadi Netwrok, and the Ansar al-Mujahedeen Network… Any statement attributed to us that are not released through these channels, has nothing to do with us, even if they are published on Jihadi websites.”)

      • You only look like more and more of a whackjob, and less and less helpful to the Palestinian cause.

        Hophni, you would have said the same thing if folks here suggested that dude in Dubai was offed by Mossad.

        Oh, wait, he was.

  5. Red says:

    Pam, thank you. As a fellow international, I absolutely and resolutely agree with you when you write that “they will never turn on me. And if I am ever in danger, they will have my back. They may not always be able to protect me from the criminal elements that are present everywhere, but I know they would lay down their lives for mine”.

  6. DavidHeap says:

    Thank you so much Pam: this helps a lot, personally. My sister also brings up the personal danger issue in this regard — she supports our work for Palestine but doesn’t think I, as a parent of two teenagers, should try to go to Gaza (with canadaboatgaza.org). I remind her that our dad traveled to Alabama in 1965 (he was a parent 6 children under 15 at the time) for the second Selma march, despite the fact that there was a certain degree of danger for white northerners (and the odd Canadian) who answered MLK’s call. Then as now, it is simply the right thing to do, if we believe in solidarity. And now as then, the risks we face as “outsiders” pale in comparison to the dangers faced daily by “locals” (southern African-Americans in the 1960s, and Palestinians today). You are so right: we have to keep going, and kep going back, until Gaza and all of Palestine are free.

    • Citizen says:

      DavidHeap, I sure hope a lot of American Jews who answered MLK’s call back then, and their children who I am sure know it well, will finally at least get up the intellectual integrity and, hopefully, then the courage, to bring the message to their local Jewish American communities. We need more righteous people, even if they get no award for being so from either the US or Israeli government, or from the American Jewish Establishment.

    • David, I haven’t found a single person who has cancelled plans to go to Gaza on the boats or any other way. In fact as you know there aren’t nearly enough places for all those clamoring to go. I was lucky enough to have sailed with my friend Vittorio on the first boat, the FREE GAZA, (and to fly the only Canadian flag that broke the siege; which I still have for you) You can bet I’ll be back with this flotilla too if I can fight my way on board. Israel still doesn’t get it. Ram our boats and sink them, murder unarmed passengers in cold blood in international waters, kill Gaza fishermen and farmers, murder activists… we will not be intimidated. Vik’s death hasn’t had the result Israel hoped for. Bibi is desperate to stop the flotilla. All the begging and pleading hasn’t worked. All the threats haven’t worked. He doesn’t understand that people like you and me and Pam and all those who are committed to the struggle for justice in Palestine will never be intimidated. Does it take courage? I never felt particularly courageous. I just never see any other option when I see an opportunity to go to Palestine. I’ll board any boat, any plane (heck, I’ll fly one there myself) join any freedom march, and if the IDF wants to kill me then it’s out of my hands. Like Vik, I don’t want to die yet, but if I have to die at all I would be happy to have it happen in Gaza. Vik’s murder has only made us stronger. As for who is responsible for his death? Let’s hope the truth will come out. Since it’s not Israel that is doing the investigating, I’m hopeful we’ll soon know the whole sordid story. Bless you, Vik. Restiamo Humani

  7. Avi says:

    There has been far more information in the Arabic press than there has been in the English language press.

    For example, the body of the suspected ringleader was flown to Jordan yesterday. A Jordanian national — of Hashemite/Bedouin, not Palestinian decent — entered the Gaza Strip on a forged passport. There he met up with two other accomplices. Together, the three are believed to have kidnapped, tortured and murdered Vittorio.

    When Hamas forces came to arrest the three, shots were exchanged, at which point the Jordanian tossed a grenade at his two accomplices and then turned the gun on himself.

    The two accomplices, however, survived, but remain in critical condition.

    ========================

    Anyone who looks at Palestinian society from the inside — unlike those who look at it from the outside — knows that given current political conditions, Palestinians are extremely, extremely unlikely to harm any foreigner who stands with them in solidarity, even if some locals do not approve of that foreigner’s customs/traditions/norms. The ’cause’, that is the Palestinian ’cause’, takes precedent over everything else.

    Every Arabic website I have read in the last week has called the killers “despicable”.

    Still, as far as collaborators go, even in the Warsaw ghetto there were kapos, Jews who collaborated with the oppressor for their own personal interests.

    • Pamela Olson says:

      The whole thing stinks to high heaven. The more I learn, the less it passes the smell test. Sickening either way.

      • hophmi says:

        “Every Arabic website I have read in the last week has called the killers “despicable”.”

        And yet, the people here can’t avoid suggesting the Mossad did it.

        • Avi says:

          hophmi April 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

          “Every Arabic website I have read in the last week has called the killers “despicable”.”

          And yet, the people here can’t avoid suggesting the Mossad did it.

          Keep playing dumb. I’m sure it will pay off in the end.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          …I don’t think he’s pretending, actually. I think he is that, er, impaired.

        • seafoid says:

          Hophmi- you have the Zionist achilles heel. You don’t know when to shut up.

          It was the same when Israel murdered Mohamed ad Durra and over the Goldstone report. Sometimes silence is more effective.

        • MRW says:

          And yet, the people here can’t avoid suggesting the Mossad did it.

          Who appointed you Saviour and Father Protector of the Mossad? What’s your obsession with it?

        • hophmi says:

          Sorry, the al Dura thing is not so cut and dried anymore. But who cares. You accusing me of talking too much is rich.

        • Mohammed al-Doura was executed by the IDF. Just as the family on a Gaza beach was executed by the IDF. And the al-Samouni family, and the three daughters and niece of Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish. All of these innocent civilians and thousands more. Israel’s pathetic attempts to re-write history, as in the case of the Goldstone Report, are making it a laughing stock.

    • Citizen says:

      Yeah, AVI, and look what Beck says about George Soros. Yes, that hugely sentimental, blubbering Beck, the German American who likes to bond with the audience by saying how he was once a drunk, until he saw the light.

  8. The motive of kidnapping for a prisoner exchange, is NOT to keep solidarity out.

    The reason that Hophmi got so hot, was that that is the theme of the article, as if the killers were Israel, as has been posted in a couple articles by Phil and others.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      No, the reason hophmi got so hot is because it conflicts with his “Blame the Arabs for EVERYTHING” meme.

      So you defend hophmi, yonira was your cheerleader, eee bobble-heads with you and a homophobic Orthodox Jewish woman praised you on your blog. Nice friends. How does it feel to be surrounded by like-minded “liberals” like yourself?

    • Citizen says:

      Witty, there was no motive of prisoner exchange. You don’t prematurely kill your prisoner you hope to exchange. Nobody concocted a theme that said Israelis were to blame. They merely pointed out the inconsistencies in the evidence as it comes out in the press from Israeli government sources, and remind us of Israeli bent for false flag OPS in the past. Not everyone, Witty, is like you–ready to fully accept whatever Israeli government sources say. Speaking for the Americans here, we don’t do that with our own government’s statements either, and for equally good cause. You’re a real pip, Witty.
      Or, better, a real pep. Your offered shiny apple always has a zionist worm in it. We won’t eat it.

      • Its wierd Citizen and Chaos (for a change). With kidnappings, s*** happens, big time.

        But, you still then accuse Israel, wierd.

        The smell test is prejudicial, didn’t you know that?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Do you mean that it’s “weird?” Or did you mean “wired?”

          You know what’s prejudicial? Claiming that a 19-year-old American citizen who was killed execution style in international waters was a “violent militant.”

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Also? You have never had a “shit happens” attitude toward Gilad Shalit. He’s part of your supposed justification for Israel killing over three hundred children. (Of course he wasn’t kidnapped. Soldiers don’t get kidnapped when they’re captured in the course of their duties. They become prisoners of war.)

  9. Kathleen says:

    “And to Vik’s killers, I say you will never win. Because we will keep coming back.”

    Your belief in justice runs deep. You are a brave and loving person.

    What a gift to the world Vittorio was and continues to be. What a gift to those committed to justice. He set the bar high!

    • Citizen says:

      Yep, as high as Richard Witty and his ilk have set the bar low.

    • Kathleen, you are so right. Vik’s friendship was a wonderful gift for us. He always wore a hat with a picture of Che Guevara who said:
      “Don’t cry for me if I die, do what I was doing and I will live on in you.”
      Right now we are crying, but we will do what Vittorio was doing in hopes he will live on.

  10. clenchner says:

    If the killers aren’t ‘Palestinian’ why would a Palestinian message to apologize on behalf of their entire people? Are folks saying this sentiment is premature, since we haven’t ruled out that the murderers are Mossad agents?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Why would he have been held hostage under threat of murder, then murdered, then have the people who supposedly issued the first threat claim the message wasn’t from them and that they weren’t responsible?

      I think we don’t know yet who was specifically responsible. It wasn’t necessarily the Mossad but something isn’t right about the media glare on this case.

      • MRW says:

        Neither was the maudlin and corny kidnapping video complete with title, a musical soundtrack, Ken Burns effects, a hostage who didn’t speak, and scrolling demands in Arabic as if it were necessary to show the west that it was Arabs behind it, but not necessary to speak directly to the people they wanted action from (Hamas). [And as a savvy commenter pointed out, this group that is being accused of the crime would not have singled out the Gaza Strip in the film (graphically) as being the totality of Palestine.]

        With a looming ‘deadline’ they spent three hours after nabbing this guy (and bloodying him up) to produce a ransom video in Adobe CS5 while they’re on the run? Kidnappers travel with a fully-loaded graphics laptop, and a savvy techie to boot?

        They just need to round up all the CS5 users in Gaza, right?

        • bijou says:

          MRW, other commenters here pointed to some other inconsistencies in the video as well… the phrase on the flag I believe was religiously wrong (blasphemous, if I am not mistaken), and something else to do with the music wasn’t right. I wish we could hear from a resident Arabic speaker whether the rolling text itself had any oddities. Not to mention that the video producers didn’t dare put an actual voice behind their demands…

      • bijou says:

        Why was he taken to an apartment that had just a mattress in it? Who obtained it and how and when? Why was he tortured before he was killed? Why was he killed long before the deadline for the demanded ‘prisoner exchange?’ Why was the video that circulated with the footage of him so suspect and ‘off’ in so many respects? Why did the video get snatched out of circulation almost as soon as he had been killed? Why did the salafists who had supposedly done it deny having done so? Why the sudden “outbreak” of “savage” Palestinian violence in quick succession?

        There are far too many questions. But one thing is crystal clear: Whatever Arrigoni’s killers hoped to achieve, their plan has backfired, big time, as Pam’s and others’ words attest. And not only is the Flotilla still en route, but it has a new high-profile passenger: Vittorio’s mother. Imagine the intensity of that situation, of that welcome scene… and Israel won’t be able to do a single thing to stop it with her on board. Unless, of course, they fancy hauling her off to prison and handling the media storm over that.

        No, as Pam and mariapalestina and others have so movingly stated, the game is up and the world is not going to take it any more. Egypt is moving to end its role in the siege; the world is sailing to open the sea front; the UN is rolling on to recognize Palestinian statehood, including Gaza. To all the battered, stoic, and steadfast Gazans, those who sought refuge in a forgotten corner of the world that was cruelly converted into their permanent open-air prison, your days of inhumane entrapment are nearing an end. Full national liberation and rehabilitation may be a long way off, but ‘solitary confinement’ will hopefully soon be a thing of the past.

        • Citizen says:

          And, it’s even faintly possible that one day Rachel Corrie will be a name known to most Americans, although most still have never even heard of the USS Liberty and some of the crew is still alive.

        • Our two little boats that sailed to Gaza in August 2008 were named the FREE GAZA and the LIBERTY. Before leaving Cyprus the press attended a ceremony where we threw roses into the Mediterranean as we read out the names of the LIBERTY victims. We felt that naming one of the boats after the USS LIBERTY would honor the memory of the Americans who died and might also afford us some degree of protection from the Israeli forces who had promised to stop our boats. Israel had always tried to avoid any discussion of what had happened to the USS LIBERTY in Gaza waters 41 years earlier, and we hoped there might be an awareness that attacking a second LIBERTY would put the spotlight back on the original LIBERTY. We’ll never know why, when we were well on the way to Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Office decided not to stop us after all. We suspect that naming our boat LIBERTY might have been one of the reasons.

    • Avi says:

      clenchner April 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      If the killers aren’t ‘Palestinian’ why would a Palestinian message to apologize on behalf of their entire people?

      Who was it that apologized for their entire people?

      But, remember, “minorities are desired in Israel”.

      • clenchner says:

        Avi, are you suggesting that this Italian was a ‘minority in Israel’? That would be strange….

        • Avi says:

          clenchner April 22, 2011 at 10:01 am

          Avi, are you suggesting that this Italian was a ‘minority in Israel’? That would be strange….

          You’ve resorted to playing games. I see.

          No. You know very well that you were the one who after having claimed to be an expert on everything Middle East, stated that “Minorities are desired in Israel,” (Despite all the discrimination, Apartheid and racism).

          Keep spinning, sweet cheeks, keep spinning.

    • DavidHeap says:

      The sentiment is obviously genuine, as Pam’s post points out most eloquently. If bad things happen to guests in my home or my city, my instinct is to apologize, even if I am not responsible. This is not an admission of guilt, it is a expression of sorry for what has happened. These sincere apologies are quite independent of the investigation of the perpetrators — which still has far more questions than answers.

      • Avi says:

        DavidHeap April 22, 2011 at 12:55 am

        The sentiment is obviously genuine, as Pam’s post points out most eloquently. If bad things happen to guests in my home or my city, my instinct is to apologize, even if I am not responsible. This is not an admission of guilt, it is a expression of sorry for what has happened. These sincere apologies are quite independent of the investigation of the perpetrators — which still has far more questions than answers.

        DavidHeap,

        First, welcome to Mondoweiss. If this is not your first time posting here, please forgive me as I do not recall seeing your name before.

        Second, your explanation contains the type of reasoning that some of Israel’s lovers do not like. Instead, they prefer to feign ignorance so as to continue peddling their ideology.

  11. Palinoia says:

    Thank you so much, Pam.

    Love you,
    JeJe