Reporters hector State: Is the blockade legal? What right does Israel have to ‘defend itself’ from humanitarian aid?

on 98 Comments

Matt Lee of AP is on fire. Be like Matt Lee, you docile bovine seven-stomached beasts of the mainstream media, grow a pair. And it looks like other State Department reporters are emulating him. Here’s the video. And here’s an extended excerpt from the briefing, below. Gaza is just about the first order of business. Watch State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland squirm. She’s the wife of Robert Kagan, former Principal Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney, July 2003-May 2005. And she’s in the Obama administration? What does she know, when did she know it?

Be sure to listen to Lee’s genius question toward the end about Saudi Arabian women driving and breaking the law. “It seems to me that’s a pretty provocative act,” too, but Hillary Clinton defends them. I have to believe stuff is shaking. Oh brave flotilla, be safe and make it to Gaza!!!!

QUESTION: This morning, Victoria, you put out a statement – or a statement went out in your name – about the flotilla. This is the third warning in three days from this building or people in this building about this. What is the big concern here? Are you – is there a worry that this is going – that this may upend your efforts to get the peace talks restarted?

MS. [Victoria] NULAND: I think this just continues a year of diplomacy and public statements that we’ve had making clear that we don’t want to see a repeat of the very dangerous situation that occurred last year. So we thought it was timely to put out all in one place our views on this issue, and I do commend to all of you the very detailed statement that we put out earlier in the day.

QUESTION: Right. But is there a concern that this may have broader – if it goes ahead, that there may be broader implications for the effort?

MS. NULAND: We have seen some warming in relations between Turkey and Israel, as we talked about I think it was on Tuesday. We want to see that effort continue. We want to see those who want to aid humanitarian situation in Gaza use the appropriate channels. There has been some progress, as the statement makes clear, in opening the way for more humanitarian aid. More humanitarian aid is getting in through legitimate channels. So we’d like to see that process continue and not have a repeat of the dangerous situation we had last summer.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, one of the things that the Secretary said yesterday in – when – in her comments to this was that attempts to go into Israeli waters were provocative and irresponsible. And it’s my understanding that the flotilla organizers do not intend to go into Israeli waters but in – they will stay in international waters. Is that your understanding or is that not your understanding per what the Secretary said yesterday?

MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to the intentions of those involved in the flotilla. I think the Secretary was clear it was in response to a question yesterday —

QUESTION: Correct.

MS. NULAND: — as you remember, so that also speaks to the fact that publicly this issue is out there, that we do not want to see the bad situation of last year repeated. We do believe that channels exist for providing humanitarian aid to Gaza in a safe and secure way and that that situation is improving. And we urge all NGOs who want to participate in that to use those channels.

QUESTION: But does a flotilla sitting in international waters off the Gaza – off the coast of Gaza, is that a problem for the U.S.?

MS. NULAND: Again, I don’t want to get into the Law of the Sea issues here. I simply want to say that we don’t want to see a conflict at sea, on land. We want to see appropriate legitimate channels used for the —

QUESTION: I understand, but in the briefing that just preceded this —


QUESTION: — you talked about wanting to – in another instance, in the South China Sea, the U.S. has been very concerned about the freedom of navigation.


QUESTION: And so I’m not quite sure what the U.S. problem would be with a flotilla that stays in international waters, whether it’s off the coast of Gaza or off the coast of the Philippines.

MS. NULAND: I think we’re not talking about a freedom of navigation issue. We’re talking about appropriate and safe and agreed mechanisms for delivering aid to the people of Gaza.

QUESTION: So it’s —

MS. NULAND: So I think the statement speaks for it —

QUESTION: Well, but you believe that Israel is within its rights to defend itself to take on or to prevent ships from going into international waters?

MS. NULAND: Again, I’m not going to speak to international waters, territorial waters. I’m simply saying that we are encouraging those who want to aid the people of Gaza to use the channels that have been established.

QUESTION: All right. And then was – on the flotilla – this is on the Middle East – I just want to know, wondering if there’s any update on the Quartet meeting in Brussels?

MS. NULAND: Simply that they had a good meeting today, they did begin a conversation about when they’re going to meet next, and they’re looking to do that in the next few weeks. But I don’t have any specific announcements out of the Quartet today.

QUESTION: Is there – is the thought that the next meeting would be at the principals level or is it going to be, again, at the – at an envoy level?

MS. NULAND: I think decisions have not been made on that subject.


QUESTION: To follow up on —

QUESTION: Just to – this is a follow-up.

MS. NULAND: Are we on flotilla too or are we —

QUESTION: We’re on flotilla. Just to make sure, does the U.S. consider that blockade legal?

MS. NULAND: I think the main point that we were trying to make in the statement was that we’ve got to use the channels that are safe, the channels that are going to guarantee that the aid get where it needs to go to the people it’s intended for, and to discourage, in strongest terms, any actions on the high seas that could result in a conflict.

QUESTION: Right, but again, that doesn’t answer the question of the legality or the – whether the U.S. perceives that blockade as legal or not.

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything for you on legality here. We can take a stronger look at that if you’d like, but again, the reason that the Secretary spoke to this yesterday when she was asked, the reason that we’ve put out this very fulsome statement that points people in the correct direction, is because we want to avoid the problems of last year, and we do believe that there are good and reliable channels for getting assistance to the people of Gaza.

QUESTION: And just one more. I’m sorry. The people who are putting this together have a rather elaborate website, and they say that – on that that the U.S. should be protecting the rights of American citizens, protecting their safety abroad. So that is the argument that they are making. They’re very disappointed and shocked that the State Department would be warning people off. What do you say to that?

MS. NULAND: It is in the interest of protecting both Americans and other citizens from around the world who might be thinking about engaging in provocative moves like this that we were putting out these warnings so strongly in the same season where we had this problem last year. We don’t want to see a repeat, and we do believe that those who want to aid Gaza can do so and need to do so in the correct manner.


QUESTION: You kept repeating that they have available to them —


QUESTION: — proper channels and so on. What – could you share with us some of these proper channels?

MS. NULAND: Well, the Rafah Crossing, as you know, is open again, and we have seen an uptick in the humanitarian aid that is going through there. There are also channels through Israel, and we’ve been relatively encouraged that the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza through these appropriate channels is improving.

QUESTION: But the Rafah Crossing was only recently opened. I mean, until then, it was completely closed. So that’s one issue. And another: Could you clarify for us whether, in fact, the Gaza waters or crossing through the Gaza waters, is that legal or illegal under the Laws of the Seas and so on? Could you clarify that, please?

MS. NULAND: I think that’s the same question that Jill was asking. And I will admit to you I’m not a Law of the Sea expert here, but let me take the question.

QUESTION: Okay. And a quick follow-up on the Quartet: You said that it was a good meeting. Now what constitutes a good meeting? How was the, let’s say, the meeting today different or improved the situation from, let’s say, 24 hours ago?

MS. NULAND: Well, as you saw and as we’ve been discussing here for the course of the last week, David Hale has been involved very intensively with the parties, with the regional states. For the members of the Quartet, I think it was a chance to compare notes on diplomacy that we’ve been doing, on diplomacy that other members of the Quartet have been doing in our shared effort to get these parties back to the table. So, from that perspective, there was a lot to discuss and then to take stock of where to go next.


QUESTION: Can I do a follow-up on the flotilla?

MS. NULAND: Please, yeah.

QUESTION: My understanding is that there were a number of the Americans who planned to participate and went into your – I believe in your Embassy in Athens and sought some advice. Can you tell us what the message to them in person was today?

MS. NULAND: I’m sure that the message to them in person was identical to the statement that we’ve put out today, that we would ask them to use established and reliable channels and to refrain from action that could lead to the kind of difficulty that we saw last year.

QUESTION: When you say that you want – you don’t want a repeat of last year, you want people to refrain from action that could lead to the kind of difficulty that you saw last year, does that only apply to the flotilla organizers or does that also apply to Israel?

MS. NULAND: We’ve been urging all sides, whether it’s the NGOs or whether it’s governments involved, that we not have a repeat of what happened last year.

QUESTION: Right. Well —

MS. NULAND: And I think this speaks to the fact that the neighboring states that – to Gaza have worked hard to establish legitimate mechanisms, efficient mechanisms to get aid in so that people have a way to do this other than to risk provocative action.

Please, Jill.

QUESTION: Another subject?

MS. NULAND: Anybody – anything else on this? Lachlan?

QUESTION: Just one more on this. Yeah. I don’t think you said it, but people at the State Department have said Israel has a right to defend itself against these flotillas. What exactly would it be defending against, though? That’s what’s not clear to me.

MS. NULAND: Like all states, Israel has a right of national self-defense. Again, I don’t want to get into where the boat might be and Law of the Sea and all this kind of stuff. We are simply saying this is the wrong way to get aid to Gaza. The correct way to get aid to Gaza is through the established mechanisms which are improving, which are open, and which can get aid to the people that it’s intended for.

QUESTION: But it’s just humanitarian aid, so I don’t see why it would be – Israel would have to defend itself if it’s just humanitarian aid coming in.

MS. NULAND: It’s the matter of all states to provide coastal defense, but I’m – again, I’m not going to get into the Law of the Sea issues here. We’re simply trying to make the point that we want this done in a way that not only is going to get the aid where it’s intended, but is going to ensure that we don’t have dangerous incidents.

QUESTION: In general, would you say that the Administration, the U.S. Government, is – would advise anyone against provocative acts?

MS. NULAND: I think that’s a fair point.

QUESTION: It is. Okay. So you don’t see, when the Secretary comes out in support of women who want to drive in Saudi Arabia, deliberately violating Saudi laws and regulations, that – her support of that is – doesn’t mean that you’re not – I mean, I don’t understand where you – if you’re coming out against all provocative acts, it seems to me that that’s a pretty provocative act, and yet she’s supporting that.

MS. NULAND: The Secretary was supporting the right of not only Saudi women, women around the world, to live as men do. She wasn’t encouraging any particular course of action one way or the other. She was simply making a strong public statement of empathy and support for the campaign that these women are on to have these laws changed.

QUESTION: Okay. So a provocative act in support of the Palestinians in Gaza is not okay, though?

MS. NULAND: I don’t think we are supporting provocative acts of any kind. I think you can’t equate these two issues. The Secretary was simply speaking to the aspirations of Saudi women to have the laws of their country changed. She wasn’t encouraging any particular course of action for that.

QUESTION: Okay. Let me try and put it a different way, then. You believe that because there are established – already established means, the Israeli port where things are inspected and the Rafah Crossing, that in this case, being provocative is unnecessary and unwise because it’s just not needed; there are other ways to do it? Is that – that’s the bottom line?

MS. NULAND: That’s certainly the case, and we don’t want further incidents. It’s not in anybody’s interest.

QUESTION: Is the regular blockade a provocative act?

MS. NULAND: I think we’ve gone as far as we’re going to go on this subject.

QUESTION: I’ll ask again. Is the naval blockade a provocative action?

MS. NULAND: We would consider it provocative and it would be dangerous to have a repeat of the situation that we saw last year.

QUESTION: But the current existing blockade, the naval blockade of Gaza, is that provocative action or is it not?

MS. NULAND: As I said, we believe that there are legitimate and efficient ways to get assistance into Gaza and that those mechanisms are working and that we’re seeing, as a result of them, an improvement in the humanitarian situation.

Jill, are we moving on now? Yeah. Thanks. Please, go ahead.

98 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail
    June 25, 2011, 9:35 am

    How revealing is that? She can’t answer the simplest of questions, and lies about the availability of aid to Gaza, swallowing the line peddled to her by Likud. Spineless, and obviously completely uninterested in human rights.

    • Bumblebye
      June 25, 2011, 9:52 am

      But all those questions….yet will they appear on the screens and pages of the MSM?

      • Citizen
        June 25, 2011, 12:30 pm

        No, Bumblebye, that would be considered a provocative act.

      • Bumblebye
        June 25, 2011, 2:03 pm

        Ah! Of course, mustn’t provoke the campaign funders! Silly me forgetting that simple fact.

    • Haytham
      June 25, 2011, 10:30 am

      I interpreted her body language differently. She seemed like she was uncomfortable having to defend an indefensible position.

      She wasn’t indignant or righteous about it. She was politely trying to get off the topic without saying too much, since the State Department advisories had tied her hands.

      • annie
        June 25, 2011, 11:37 am

        she doesn’t even know if the US considers the blockade legal or not! she doesn’t know whether the US considers it legal for the flotilla to be on international waters! she doesn’t know if the blockade itself is a provocation!

        israel is like the tiger we move around. the US is not warning israel off, the US says israel has a right to defend itself yet she claims otherwise:

        QUESTION: When you say that you want – you don’t want a repeat of last year, you want people to refrain from action that could lead to the kind of difficulty that you saw last year, does that only apply to the flotilla organizers or does that also apply to Israel?

        MS. NULAND: We’ve been urging all sides, whether it’s the NGOs or whether it’s governments involved, that we not have a repeat of what happened last year.

        so where exactly is the press release from the sec ‘urging’ israel from the /us not to repeat last year? there isn’t one. all the ‘urging’ is to the flotilla, telling THEM to change their course. no statements asking israel to back off, encouragement to israel by saying they have a right to defense. well what about others rights to navigate on international waters?

        if she doesn’t know anything about navigation and the laws of the sea as she claims then doesn’t that also apply to israel alleged ‘right’ to defend itself on international waters? apparently not, that she knows about. that they have the right.

        it’s such blatant BS!

      • Kathleen
        June 25, 2011, 12:19 pm

        Blaming the human rights activist for their executions by the Israeli soldiers.

      • Chaos4700
        June 25, 2011, 1:31 pm

        she doesn’t even know if the US considers the blockade legal or not! she doesn’t know whether the US considers it legal for the flotilla to be on international waters! she doesn’t know if the blockade itself is a provocation!

        With peddling all these “known unknowns,” she sounds like Donald Rumsfeld. Change you can believe in, huh?

  2. Donald
    June 25, 2011, 9:42 am

    It’s shocking to read about reporters not acting like stenographers for the US government, but this would start to make a difference if it gets out into the mainstream.

    • LeaNder
      June 25, 2011, 11:10 am

      Amazing, how insistent they are. But what a pity no one addressed that it isn’t even about aid, but about bringing letters from US citizen to Gaza. It would have been interesting to see how Ms Nuland would have explained that it creates a very dangerous situation to do something like that.

      but yes, one point for Phil Weiss, the times they are a-changing it felt, watching this. So the Flottila’s work after all.

  3. Cliff
    June 25, 2011, 9:43 am

    Zionist hasbara collapsing on itself!

    Imagine if Richard Witty was up there giving answers. It would be hilarious. He wouldn’t have the option to windbag it up on the spot.

    • Shingo
      June 25, 2011, 11:12 am

      Imagine if Richard Witty was up there giving answers. It would be hilarious.

      If Witty was up there giving answers, he’d be just as evasive and incoherent as she was, though Witty woudl not have been so reticent to give his version of law of the sea.

      • Citizen
        June 25, 2011, 12:35 pm

        Yep, Dick w would just say, “Israel’s actions are within the law.”

      • Chaos4700
        June 25, 2011, 1:32 pm

        Actually how would what Witty would say be any different from the vague word salad and circular hypocrisy that Nutland spouted?

  4. stevieb
    June 25, 2011, 9:51 am

    I think that little exchange demonstrates conclusively that the blockade is illegal and that certain individuals and groups within the U.S are criminally complicit in it’s operation. And that those people/groups should be prosecuted under the law

  5. mudder
    June 25, 2011, 10:02 am

    Matt Lee is also the journalist who recently brought up the IDF shooting of U.S. citizen Munib Masri. link to The press needs more like him.

  6. Shingo
    June 25, 2011, 10:45 am

    This is truly incredible. Reporters actualyl behaving like reporters and putting the government on the spot.

    Isn’t it amazing to see how fragile the pro Israeli talking points are when subjected to even limited scruitiny. When I heard that reporter raise the hypocrisy of the state department’s position on the South China Sea with Gaza, I couldn’t believe it.

    Hasbara collapses like a pack of cards under the slightest breeze.

    I can’t help but wonder – is this what happens every day or does this mark a significant shift among reporteres in Washington?

    • seafoid
      June 25, 2011, 11:10 am

      She wouldn’t answer the question as to whether or not the blockade was legal.

      I’m sure she wanted to say “Look you guys, Obama is funded by Zionists for 2012 and they make the rules”.

      She looks so different to Bachman. It’s nice to see what a real person looks like.

    • Chu
      June 25, 2011, 12:38 pm

      Matt Lee from last year:
      link to

  7. Richard Witty
    June 25, 2011, 10:54 am

    The blockade is legal if Israel is occupying Gaza, as dissenters claim.

    It is the responsibility of the occupying power to control the borders of territories that it is occupying.

    According to the UN, Israel is still in a state of occupation over Gaza, which is not yet a sovereign state.

    The path to normalized transit in Gaza is through the sequence of:

    1. Unification
    2. Recognition of Palestinian state
    3. Establishment of peaceful relations through treaty (preferably coordinated with 2 to GREATLY reduce the risk of a state of war upon Palestininian sovereignty).

    • justicewillprevail
      June 25, 2011, 11:24 am

      this is hilarious. So it is the dissenters who have made the blockade legal? Israel claims not to be occupying Gaza, so as far as Israel and Israeli-occupied US are concerned the blockade is illegal. Hmmm.
      Recognition will come in September, I expect to see you marching in favour of it, and putting lots of energy in opposing the continuation of apartheid which Israel/US are promoting, as recognition is one of those deadly existentialist threats like all the other items which might give Palestinians human and civil rights.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 25, 2011, 12:14 pm

      Richard Witty,
      What a load of crap. Imagine the situation being reversed and an Arab state was starving and oppressing a million and a half Jews, in an enclave like Gaza. If you are saying that you would be okay with it, quoting international law as to the supposed legality, my response would be that you are a fucking liar.

    • Donald
      June 25, 2011, 12:39 pm

      Shorter Richard–Isn’t it amazing how the law always supports whatever act of cruelty Israel decides to commit?

      • Cliff
        June 25, 2011, 1:54 pm


        Israel is stealing and colonizing Palestinian land. Israel kills 10 times the number of children and 5 times the number of civilians – on top of every single other crime it commits and yet, Dick manages to justify every single thing it does AND reverse the blame.


      • Richard Witty
        June 25, 2011, 2:46 pm

        The reason that Israel’s actions in fulfillment of its responsibility of its state is seen as that (most of the time), is because it is a democratic state with confident continuity of succession of elected governance, rule of law, acquiescence and conformity even to international law.

        The objections to Israeli conformity to international law are exceptions to its norm.

        It contrasts with Hamas “governance” of Gaza, in which they do not identify themselves as obliged to conform to international law.

        Hamas can accept Israel, join the PA as a participant not as a petulant opportunist, participate in the governance of Palestine, and establish normalized relations with its neighbors.

        If it chooses. Until then, it maintains an unnecessary and unnatural blockade on Gaza.

      • Citizen
        June 25, 2011, 4:01 pm

        Israel does NOT have a track record of conformity to international law, Dick w. It has never even fulfilled the condition subsequent the UN gave it to earn recognition as a nation among nations at the UN, to wit, it has never allowed the dispossessed Palestinians back in to their homes, which it promised to do practically at the state’s inception. Further, since Israel is legally an occupier, it has never fulfilled the duties it has under international law towards the occupied people. There is little normal about Israel or its occupation under Western civilized standards–what there is, is a partial democracy on paper only–and an abuse of international law as and occupier, even though Israel officially says it is not occupying, but administrating, as if its treatment of the Palestinians outside the ’67 line is like a US public school’s handling of its students.

      • justicewillprevail
        June 26, 2011, 7:20 am

        Exactly, Citizen. But Richard isn’t interested in facts or detailed argument. He just makes stuff up, asserts it as fact, with no references or links, and then proceeds to make pompous windbag statements, always as if Israel could do no wrong. I don’t think he realises what a figure of fun he is here. The court jester. But he is indicative of the general level of intellect which defends Israel come what may, and swallows the ludicrous hasbara it pumps out.

      • Citizen
        June 26, 2011, 7:35 am

        If you think Dick Witty is a joke, get a load of what the Christian Zionists parrot. Too bad one of them is now running for POTUS.

      • stevieb
        June 26, 2011, 12:17 pm

        “The objections to Israeli conformity to international law are exceptions to its norm.”

        Really? So maybe you could enlighten me as to say, with maybe one or two examples that demonstrate Israel conforming to international law.

        Or an example of any Israeli leader voicing an objection to Israeli actions that don’t conform to international law.

        Good luck.

    • Kris
      June 25, 2011, 12:44 pm

      “Flotilla II prepares to sail for Gaza”
      link to

      There is no legal basis for Israel to intercept ships and prevent them from delivering humanitarian supplies, say experts in international law.

      “Israel only has jurisdiction over its territorial waters of 12 nautical miles, and neither the waters off Gaza nor international waters are under its authority,” said Juan Soroeta, professor of international law at the University of the Basque Country.

      “No UN resolution authorises the Gaza blockade,” said Soroeta. “On the contrary, it is an illegal, unilateral measure imposed by force by Israel in the context of an equally illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.”

      UN Security Council Resolution 1860, adopted on January 8, 2009, calls for “the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment”.

    • Sumud
      June 25, 2011, 12:50 pm

      The blockade is legal if Israel is occupying Gaza, as dissenters claim.


      The blockade represents the imposition of collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza. It represents a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. Israel has responsibilities as to the welfare and wellbeing of the occupied population.

      The only instance where the borders of the occupied territory are relevant would be in the instance that the occupied territory was under attack, where Israel can act to defend the population of the occupied territory. Hmm, so when Israel is the aggressor (the ~3000 Palestinians in Gaza killed by Israel between 2005 and 2009), do ya thunk there might be a conflict of interest?

      • Richard Witty
        June 25, 2011, 1:26 pm

        Collective punishment is an interpretation.

        Maintaining the borders is still Israel’s responsibility, if it is in fact occupied.

        If you wish to change the argument to kinder management of the borders, wonderful.

      • Cliff
        June 25, 2011, 3:29 pm

        Nope, it’s collective punishment to violently compel the Palestinians to renounce Hamas and conform to a leadership, Zionism will accept.

        Your Swiss-Cheese solution is a scam, as is everything else you say. You’re no liberal. You’re just a Zionist hasbaranik.

      • Sumud
        June 25, 2011, 5:14 pm

        Collective punishment is an interpretation.

        Now is the perfect time for some neo-nazi to come along and say how the jews were really living it up in the Warsaw Ghetto, and fact, they even made a film to celebrate life there!

        How about if we permit 80 types of items only into your household Richard and occasionally bomb it by F16 and drones. We’ll also shoot you if you enter your front or rear garden, and we’ll only let in a certain amount of calories per month, enough that you too will be ‘on a diet’. If you have any livestock we will kill them. You’ll won’t be permitted to work much, so money will be a critical issue. Your kids will get sick from malnourishment.

        After 5 years of this misery you can speak out of your mouth rather than your rear and tell us if you feel punished. That this treatment has been collectively imposed on the civilian population of Gaza is obvious to all honest observers.

      • Shingo
        June 25, 2011, 5:26 pm

        Collective punishment is an interpretation.

        It also happens to be the interpretation of the Israeli government, according to Sharon and internal Israeli government documents.

    • Seham
      June 25, 2011, 1:04 pm

      Wowwww, Richard is quoting the UN on Israel. That must have been so HARD for him. Did you all hear the newbie say she doesn’t want to go into the technicality of “the law of the sea” but that Israel does have the right to defend itself against international threats on its waters? But before that she admitted that she didn’t know anything about “the law of the sea” or what were Israel’s waters or international waters. Obama has been picking people as incompetent as Sarah Palin to answer Middle East questions since the beginning of his administration. I wonder how long before this seemingly soft spoken new one breaks under the pressure of having to deal with repeated questions about why her country defends and explains apartheid. Wouldn’t it be fun if journalists continued to ask legitimate questions? Lee is awesome.

      • Richard Witty
        June 25, 2011, 2:34 pm

        The question won’t die, and she’ll need to get clarification.

        It will be that as occupying power, Israel is responsible to control Gazan borders (which would include the borders with Egypt). And, it should include that Israel is responsible per international humanitarian law to maintain reasonable level of humanitarian aid across its borders.

        The opening of the Rafah borders completely would convey the reality that Gaza is not occupied. I don’t know if it was Israel, Egypt, or Hamas that requested that that status remain.

        Noone here is articulating the reasoning the left Israeli patriot theme, that Israel can only remain Israel if it moderates and treats its neighbors well, realizing peace.

        Everyone so far has articulated the condemn Israel theme.

        Exceptions please raise your hands.

      • Cliff
        June 25, 2011, 3:30 pm

        Israel does not own Gazan waters. It does not belong to Israel. Israel does not control the sea. Just because Israel is holding the Palestinians hostage, does not give it the right to do whatever it wants with them and/or prevent people from helping them. End of story.

      • Kris
        June 25, 2011, 3:53 pm

        “Noone here is articulating the reasoning the left Israeli patriot theme, that Israel can only remain Israel if it moderates and treats its neighbors well, realizing peace.”

        That’s because Israel can’t “remain Israel,” since the world will not tolerate apartheid and colonialism. Even the C.I.A. has said that Israel’s days are numbered.

        Israel might have been able to “remain Israel” if it had decided to control its greed for Palestinian land, but that didn’t happen. As I work in my garden, I find myself thinking about this: we will reap what we have sown. Not a happy thought for “Israel,” or for the U.S., either.

      • livingbridge
        June 27, 2011, 7:47 am

        What is being overlooked in the discussion of the blockade of Gaza, maritime in particular, is Palestinians’ rightful claims to the proceeds of offshore natural gas deposits, in the form of Gaza Marine and other, which it is estimated would reap at minimum a neat $4 billion in revenues to the PA, over 20 or more years.

        Israel has used the convenient declaration of Hamas as a ‘terrorist organization’ to prevent British Gas from exploiting the offshore fields and according the legal proceeds to their rightful owners: the Palestinians.

        Why does anyone suppose Israel is so keen on blocking the Gaza coastline, declaring it their own?

        The constant, free-fire on Palestinian fishermen, with weekly casualties, the 3-mile fishing limit, when maritime law accords 13 miles of autonomy, is simply yet another measure to accustom Gazans / Palestinians to forfeiture of their rights.

        Israel is doing precisely the same to Lebanon, proclaiming ownership of all hydrocarbon resources along the entire eastern Mediterranean coast. Israel has declared that it will go to war with Lebanon, again, if Lebanon persists in making claims to offshore gas fields.

        These are significant factors that need to be taken into account with regard to any challenge to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

    • Charon
      June 25, 2011, 2:43 pm

      You really will try every trick in the book in order to support the Zionist narrative. I see this sort of thing not only from yourself, but from all your think tank colleagues trolling the comments sections in blogs pertaining to Israel.

      The truth is irrelevant to you unless it supports Israel. If the UN had a resolution condemning the flotilla, Israel would be jumping all over it and demanding enforcement despite ignoring virtually all UN resolutions against themselves to date. You really believe there is a double standard when there isn’t. Israel is not an exception to the rule

      I am sure that Israel would use the very information that you wrote to claim Gaza’s waters as their own. But that would go against all that stuff they’ve said about giving up Gaza and being at “war” with them. Your argument is invalid anyway because you resort to the same tiring rhetorical tricks that we see all over the web. Nice try, it made me laugh

    • Hostage
      June 26, 2011, 12:33 am

      The blockade is legal if Israel is occupying Gaza, as dissenters claim.

      Here is a short list of legal experts in the field of international criminal law who have investigated the situation and disagree with you:
      *Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour (served as Justice on Canadian Supreme Court and as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia)
      * UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay (served as Justice on High Court of South Africa, Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Judge in the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court in The Hague)
      *Richard Goldstone (former Justice on Transvaal Supreme Court, Justice on Supreme Court of South Africa, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda)
      *Karl T. Hudson-Phillips (served as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs for Trinidad and Tobago, served as Judge in the International Criminal Court)
      *Desmond Lorenz de Silva (served as Chief Prosecutor in the Special Court for Sierra Leone)

      According to the UN, Israel is still in a state of occupation over Gaza, which is not yet a sovereign state.

      You are confusing independence with sovereignty. Occupied states cease to be independent, but remain juridically equal or “sovereign”. In 1932 the Council of the League of Nations adopted a resolution which affirmed that “the ability to stand alone” and “effective control of territory” did not include the ability to defend against external aggression. See Luther Harris Evans, The General Principles Governing the Termination of a Mandate, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Oct., 1932), pp. 735-758 link to

      The UN has published press releases acknowledging that Palestine is recognized by the majority of other states as a “sovereign state” in accordance with international law. In 2005 Hamas won internationally supervised elections. According to the UN, US, and Israeli governments, Hamas officials “seized control” of the Gaza Strip and are the “de facto government” there. They have police powers and have established courts that carry out sentences resulting from convictions. That means they are exercising sovereign jurisdiction over a part of the territory of Palestine.

    • Shingo
      June 26, 2011, 12:46 am

      According to the UN, Israel is still in a state of occupation over Gaza, which is not yet a sovereign state.

      Ao according to Witty, Israel can brutalize Gaza all it wants because there is no Palestinian state. The fact that Israel is blocking the creationof one is beside the point.

      The path to normalized transit in Gaza is through the sequence of:

      1. Unification

      Which Israel rejets.

      2. Recognition of Palestinian state

      Which Israel rejets.

      3. Establishment of peaceful relations through treaty (preferably coordinated with 2 to GREATLY reduce the risk of a state of war upon Palestininian sovereignty).

      Which Israel rejets.

    • Chaos4700
      June 26, 2011, 8:43 am

      FOURTH GENEVA CONVENTION. How many times are you going to act senile about international law, you fraud?

    • Citizen
      June 26, 2011, 8:54 am

      Did the British have the legal right to blockade the Federal Republic of Ireland because of terrorist activity by the IRA? No. That’s why that was not done. International law, including the law of the seas, holds that Israel cannot legally stop the Gaza flotilla, nor can it maintain its current blockade because of a few rockets landing in Israel once in awhile. The US additionally has a duty to protect its citizens in the flotilla, as do the Brits under their laws–and includes before they are murdered or maimed, not just after some or all are murdered or maimed. (The German & Greek regimes have forbidden people from going on the flotilla) The Brits pushed Israel on this before the last flotilla set sail, and the Israelis let 2 of the Brit ships through their blockade. Now, neither the Brits, nor the EU, nor the USA will do anything to help their citizens in this latest flotilla, unless, perhaps after they are murdered or maimed by Israel. So they have all chosen. But the Zionists have no stranglehold anywhere? I don’t see or hear 28 standing ovations by any western government assembly in behalf of the freedom fighters of Palestine, do you? World Goydom needs to declare a boycott of Israel; they seem only to understand such things.
      link to

  8. Bravo
    June 25, 2011, 11:01 am

    holy crap. i got goosebumps when reading that. that was just amazing. wow

  9. Chu
    June 25, 2011, 11:20 am

    the reporters are concerned, because they realize there are going to be american corpses. Hopefully this will wake up more Americans that
    our staunchest ally is not much of a partner in peace.

  10. yourstruly
    June 25, 2011, 11:48 am

    in october ’83 when there was turmoil in grenada & american medical students there supposedly were endangered, the u.s. government didn’t hesitate to send in the armed forces

    but now in the mideast when there’s no question as to whether americans
    on the audacity of hope are threatened by the idf?

    not so much as a hint from the obama administration that the zionist-entity should back off

    why the rush to “save” americans in grenada but the total indifference to what happens to u.s. citizens aboard the audacity of hope?

    the invasion of grenada was to overthrow an anti-imperialist government

    whereas the hands off policy in regards to the audacity of hope is to protect an entity that’s in cahoots with empire-usa

    empire-usa uber american citizens?



  11. Kathleen
    June 25, 2011, 11:56 am

    “Matt Lee of AP is on fire. Be like Matt Lee, you docile bovine seven-stomached beasts of the mainstream media, grow a pair.”

    “grow a pair” and be recognized.

    they sure went round and round. Kept repeating the appropriate channels response. He did nail her on the Rafah border being closed.

    Been out of the loop for a few days. Anyone hear or see any reports about the flotilla on MSNBC, NPR etc?

    Just as I did several years ago have started contacting qualified folks to sit on a panel at Netroots nation focused on Iran and the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Two separate panels. Both Prof Cole and Medea Benjaman have responded basically saying yes. Will continue to contact qualified folks for these panels. Lets get these folks booked. Netroots needs to open their gates. They are no different than the MSM on these two issues. Iran and the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Mostly silence or complicity. Guess that is one and the same. Silence is complicity

    Please pile on and request that Netroots open up to covering these issues at next years conference. Long overdue
    link to

    • Citizen
      June 25, 2011, 12:43 pm


      • Kathleen
        June 25, 2011, 1:11 pm

        Thanks. Hopefully we can line up qualified folks to speak on these issues at Netroots next year and we can break that wall of silence since Netroots birth down. Silence is complicity

      • American
        June 25, 2011, 3:35 pm

        That’s admirable but you do realize don’t you that just talk won’t
        do it ……at least not in time to prevent Israel getting even more violent and dangerous.
        At some point we are going to have to actually ‘do’ something…here in the US. And by do something I mean a giving the politicans an in their face shock and awe treatment by dogging their campaigns with Traitor posters.

        We and the Palestines are both running out of time.

    • Philip Munger
      June 25, 2011, 5:03 pm

      I’d even consider finally going to traitorfest netroots nation, if they re-formatted their approach to ME and I/P issues.

      Thanks, Kathleen

  12. Taxi
    June 25, 2011, 12:01 pm

    Hahahaha Victoria was like a pinball bouncing about involuntarily inside a pinball machine called Gaza Strip! Boing-boing-boing-boing she kept bouncing and being spun here and there with speed and getting dizzier and dizzier then visibly irritated, demanding the players unplug the game from the wall socket to stop the loud ringing bonus bells bedeviling her (non) explanations.

    The flotilla lawyers should mark this footage as exhibit A: there’s practically an admission of aiding and abetting idf piracy in that governmental briefing!

    Bravo to all the slick journos in that room. I sure would like to buy each and everyone of them a cigar and a quart of whiskey!

  13. Kathleen
    June 25, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Ray McGovern’s site. McGovern was supposedly interviewed by BBC recently about why he is on US to Gaza boat the “Audacity of Hope” Can not find the interview

    link to

    link to

  14. Kathleen
    June 25, 2011, 12:18 pm

    Now here is an interesting piece. Rippling with double standards and hypocrisy

    The Flotilla of Fools off to Gaza

    Posted by Phyllis Chesler on Jun 23rd, 2011
    “Novelist and poet Alice Walker is also on board the “The Audacity of Hope.” She has been giving interviews and publishing op-ed pieces about her upcoming flotilla folly.

    Ah, Alice. She and I go way back, and we have watched each other’s backs in significant ways over the years. Her current stance is painful, puzzling, unbalanced, and treacherous.

    Walker has been in the forefront of the American civil rights, feminist, “womanist,” and ecological and animal rights movements; for many years, Walker was an activist against female genital mutilation—an African and African Muslim practice. She is best known and loved for her novel The Color Purple, which was made into a popular movie and Broadway play.

    Tragically, but typically, Walker believes that Israelis are a more diabolical version of the white southern American racists who enslaved black Americans and then lynched, impoverished, exploited and segregated them. She imagines that the Palestinians are an even purer version of oppressed African-Americans. Most of all, she sees the Palestinians and herself as “non-violent” actors in this great drama.

    Walker does not view Jews as the indigenous peoples of the Middle East or as equivalent to the “blacks” of Europe or as the most currently endangered infidel race in the Muslim Middle East. Walker refuses to acknowledge that Arabs and Muslims still practice (mainly African and skin color-based) slavery and real gender and religious apartheid. Instead, Walker scapegoats the Jews, specifically Israeli Jews, for the grave sins and crimes of blatant racism that are being committed by ethnic Arab Muslims in Muslim-majority countries such as Sudan, the Egyptian Sinai, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere.

    Walker seems to have no idea that Muslims have a long, long history of slave-trading, sex slavery, imperialism, colonialism, conversion by the sword, and barbaric misogyny. Indeed, she seems to understand nothing about the reign of terror that Hamas has brought to the women, gays, artists, and vulnerable living beings in Gaza.

    Walker does not command the facts; she has been fatefully tainted by crude propaganda, which she believes with her whole heart.

    For example, Walker claims that 1,400 Gazans died during Operation Cast Lead, yet she fails to point out that, by Hamas’ own admission, between 600 and 700 of these were armed Hamas militants.”

    • Shingo
      June 25, 2011, 5:34 pm

      For example, Walker claims that 1,400 Gazans died during Operation Cast Lead, yet she fails to point out that, by Hamas’ own admission, between 600 and 700 of these were armed Hamas militants.”

      Typical lies from Front Page. Hamas said 200 were militants – and made no mention of howmany were armed.

    • Bumblebye
      June 25, 2011, 5:48 pm

      For Chesler, Islam is the source of all evil and antizionism the new antisemitism. And she’s a psychotherapist?? Someone who’s gone a long way over the edge.

      • Miura
        June 26, 2011, 1:10 am

        Such psychotherapists remind one of the clinical staff in High Anxiety as this diagnosis by as Norman Finkelstein suffices to show:

        If virtually any criticism of Israel signals anti-Semitism, the sweep of the new anti-Semitism, unsurprisingly, beggars the imagination. Apart from usual suspects like Arabs, Muslims, and the Third World generally, as well as Europe and the United Nations, Chesler’s rogues’ gallery includes “Western-based human rights organizations, academics, intellectuals”; “Western anticapitalist, antiglobalist, pro-environment, antiracist,” and “antiwar” activists; “progressive feminists,” “Jewish feminists” (“American Jewish feminists stopped fighting for women’s rights in America and began fighting for the rights of the PLO”); “European, and left and liberal American media” like Time magazine, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, British Guardian, Toronto Star, the BBC, NPR, CNN, and ABC, as well as many Israelis like the late “Yeshayahu Leibowitz of Hebrew university”–an orthodox Jew and one of Israel’s most revered intellectuals. And “anyone who denies that this is so,” Chesler throws in for good measure, is also “an anti-Semite.” Small wonder that Chesler sees a world awash in “Nazi-level” anti-Semitism: “It’s as if Hitler’s Brown Shirts have returned from the dead, in greater numbers, and are doing their dirty Kristallnacht work everyday, everywhere.”

    • mudder
      June 25, 2011, 1:59 pm

      Chesler writes, “She [Alice Walker] claims that over 300 children were killed during the war but fails to understand that many of these children actually participated in the Hamas war effort, serving as child soldiers, mortar spotters, and support personnel.”

      I know Horowitz’s site is a magnet for the fringe right, but Chesler’s rant is unacceptable discourse. Unfortunately in America, the fringe is becoming GOP mainstream.

      • seafoid
        June 25, 2011, 4:59 pm

        Zionism is going to die within 10 years.

      • yourstruly
        June 25, 2011, 8:32 pm

        better yet, within 1-2 years

      • mudder
        June 25, 2011, 8:11 pm

        seafoid–I’m afraid your view is too rational. The I/P position of Americans (and American Jews and Evangelicals) is increasingly being defined by the irrational. And in [Greater] Israel, it is the right who are increasing in political power. The future is bleak.

      • seafoid
        June 26, 2011, 4:57 am

        Israel is finished because

        1. The EU is not going to sponsor Israel’s cruelty indefinitely

        2. BDS

        3. The gap between Israeli image and Israeli fact is too wide

        Apartheid = Zionism
        Zionism = colonialism
        are the memes of the future

        4. There won’t be an attack on Iran. The neocon realist/Zionist dream of eternal war in the Middle East is dead and Israel is going to have to deal with the consequences.

        link to

        “Ms Bensahel says the view that American money would better be spent at home “is becoming very prevalent in US society and it cuts across Republican and Democratic lines””.

        5. the settlers have won in Israel so there is no resilience against what is coming down the line

      • Citizen
        June 26, 2011, 5:47 am

        Yes, there’s a growing bipartisan consensus in America that the money would be better spent at home, but all the pundits in the media on both sides of that aisle diss Ron Paul as a lonely crank on the Fed & Wall St & as a dinosaur isolationist, while the conservatives simultaneously applaud Michelle Bachmann et al.
        And the entire Congress, except for Kucinich & Ron Paul, give Bibi N 29 standing ovations, while Obama is gearing up to engage Bachmann et al in a I -heart -Israel -more contest. And the Arab bugagoo stays dangling in front of most American eyes, while our government works frantically behind the scenes to put a damper on the Arab Spring and bend it to the US-Israel agenda.

        All spending is on the ax table? Not spending on Israel, and no serious cuts to endless war either. OTH, let’s float the geezers, who worked all their lives and paid into SS (along with their employers) & fought our wars, out to sea on an ice berg. And give people who never worked a day in their life or paid taxes more food stamps and medicaid, right along with GM.

      • Citizen
        June 26, 2011, 6:15 am

        The world’s richest individuals just keep getting richer; the enormous disparity in wealth finally resulted in the Arab Spring; and the American Spring is coming, make no mistake about it. Arabia and Greece are just foreplay for what’s coming down the class warfare pike–big and international banking won’t stop until they are stopped, which they won’t be, when the dust settles, even by a WW3 instigated by AIPAC/Israel by way of Iran. The ultimate question is, what comes next, since Communism has been discredited as utopian in real life, after Capitalism is discredited? Is China the model? Yet, doesn’t China too have
        a new Chinese Spring warming in its sooty air?

        The income/asset gap keeps growing like Topsy the world over:
        link to

      • mudder
        June 25, 2011, 8:34 pm

        Where is my prozac?

  15. Kathleen
    June 25, 2011, 12:26 pm
  16. Kathleen
    June 25, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Democracy Now has a page set up for pieces about this years flotilla and last years, with much more
    link to

  17. Proton Soup
    June 25, 2011, 12:40 pm

    heh, she started freaking out when asked if israel’s blockade was a provocative act.

  18. Citizen
    June 25, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Israel is pressuring Greece, threatening to sink what’s left of the Greek economy, and hence Israel is threatening to sink the world economically, if the Greek government does not stop the US boat; additionally somebody has filed a claim with the harbor authority that the boat is not in condition to pass inspection. Greeks are forbidden to take part in the flotilla, although it is very popular in Greece. Israel is also leaning hard on the Turkish regime, who apparently is not prepared to reverse its recent kiss match with Israel.
    Israel will do anything within in its power to get its way; don’t be surprized if Americans die if the boat actually gets onto the high seas towards Gaza. If they do, I don’t think the American MSM will be able to hide it this time.
    link to

    • Citizen
      June 25, 2011, 12:58 pm

      Ray McGovern: Will Israelis Kill Americans Again?

      When I stuffed my backpack to board “The Audacity of Hope”, the US boat to Gaza, I received a call from a puzzled friend, who advised me: “You know they kill Americans, don’t you?” When I served as Intelligence Operations Officer of the American 4th US Armored Division in Goeppingen I intercepted an emergency call from the USS Liberty, which was being strafed by our Israeli “Allies”, until most of their crew had been killed. General Sherrer, the commander of our division had only one comment: “With ‘friends’ like these, we have no need of enemies”! But I digress – Ray McGovern, who boarded The Audacity of Hope, was cautioned by friends, not to board that ship. He was also cautioned by a source with access to very senior staffers at the National Security Council that NOT ONLY does the White House plan to do absolutely nothing to protect the Americans on board from Israeli attack or illegal boarding, but that White House officials “would be happy if something happened to us”. They are, I am reliably told,”perfectly willing to have the cold corpses of activists shown on American TV.” Bedrock American virtues like honesty and honor seem in very short supply these days, having been sacrificed on the altar of fear and overweening concern for “security”. Most Americans are used to watching their tax dollars enable the worst kinds of brutality abroad!

    • Kathleen
      June 25, 2011, 2:44 pm

      “I don’t think the American MSM will be able to hide it this time.”

      Rachel Maddow, Cenk Uygar, Chris Matthews, Wolf Blitzer will all do their best to “hide it this time”

      • Citizen
        June 25, 2011, 4:04 pm

        Yeah, Kathleen, you’re probability right, but maybe Israel will botch it up so bad they will sink the little US mail ship to Gaza. That might at least make Matthews, the wayward altar boy who found a new AIPAC Pope, literally spit more when he talks about it, trying to gloss it over.

      • Kathleen
        June 25, 2011, 5:11 pm

        Last year after Israeli soldiers executed the 9 human rights activist Chris Matthews showed the Israeli released tape of Israeli soldiers slid down the rope on to the deck of the Mavi Marmara and were attacked by the activist (allegedly after two activist had all ready been shot from the Israeli copter) 9 times in seven minutes. Chris Matthews never touched the story again. Did not show the tapes that the journalist were able to get off the Mavi Marmara. Never interviewed Ambassador Peck the way Keith Olbermann did. Made sure he was going to keep getting that big pay check. No hardballs on this issue. Chris Matthews answers to his masters

        This was a breakthrough and it was not on Hardball
        Ambassador Peck
        link to

      • Pixel
        June 26, 2011, 3:38 am


        Words matter. Thanks, Kathleen, for calling this out for what it was.

    • Kathleen
      June 25, 2011, 3:16 pm

      Thanks for linking Citizen. Annie just put up a post after you linked this

  19. Kathleen
    June 25, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Over at Washington Note a piece focused on what Secretary of State Clinton said last year about “freedom of navigation and respect for International law in the South China Sea”

    link to

    “The South China Sea is only one of several flashpoints in Sino-American relations. But it is a serious one. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton declared last July that the United States had a “national interest” in freedom of navigation and respect for international law in the South China Sea”

    Nothing about the disregard for freedom of navigation and respect for International law in International waters when it comes to the Gaza Flotilla II

  20. Keith
    June 25, 2011, 4:42 pm

    I dunno. This is your idea of hectoring? Why doesn’t anyone come out and say the obvious? The US fully supports the blockade, wants to see Hamas crushed or turned into quislings, and probably wants Gaza fobbed off on Egypt. All of this semantic dancing to avoid saying that the US is an empire that implements geo-strategy, and that the “shining city on the hill” imagery is just so much propaganda. The whole business is like some perverse ritual where people act out their parts with only slight variation, the actual truth avoided at all costs. Constant deception.

    • Citizen
      June 26, 2011, 4:52 am

      Keith, you are right that America is being controlled by a convergence of interest between the elected and highly appointed officials of the US government (whatever they want to do in office, to materially benefit anyone additional to themselves and their own immediate family) it cannot be done by them without passing the AIPAC test) and the aggregate Jewish Establishment with its Israel uber alles agenda.

      What to do about it, considering that the IDF is stronger than ever; Israel is economically stronger than ever; there’s more settlements than ever before–with no end in sight, and Bibi just received 29 standing ovations from virtually the whole US Congress except for Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, and the next two POTUS candidates, Obama & possibly Michele Bachmann, will be fighting over who loves Israel more, not to mention that Goldman Sachs et al still rules both main political parties, partnering with the Fed/Treasury, despite what Wall St did
      to the US economy with the help of socialists like Barnie Frank on the other end?

      How do you convince small town America, and middling urban-suburban America that they must end the power of the Zionist 5th Column in the USA? And that this Column is enhanced by Big Banking partnering with the Fed? That these two forces determine not just foreign policy but domestic policy as well, no matter which political party is the US regime at any given time? That the Arabs are merely their scapegoats who happen to stand on sand beneath which the world’s energy supply sits? That Zionism, usury, and oil/gas are the three legs of the stool upon which the 21st Century sits, and that it is no odd coincidental factoid of history that the Balfour Declaration was made to Lord Rothschild and nobody else, and not long after the Federal Reserve System (and IRS) was snuck into legislative history over a dark Xmas holiday?

      And then came the USS Liberty, and 9/11, and now the push is on to crush Iran while simultaneously subverting any real fresh air swirled up in the Arab Spring?

      We need an American Spring and it must come from getting the Tea Party involved yet how do you dent Michelle Bachmann? Follow her around in every small Iowa town with signs saying TRAITOR? Take the BDS money and buy some small AM radio stations?

      Rachel Corrie’s image and name needs to be known to every American the same as they know the name Ann Frank. She shouldn’t be on a pancake box any more than Aunt Jemima.

      Here’s some thoughts and recommendations for Americans who care about America First: link to

  21. Debonnaire
    June 25, 2011, 6:38 pm

    I used the acronym PEP yesterday to describe Rachel Maddow and the HuffPost blocked it. Someone needs to confront Arianna Huffington the next time they see her.

  22. dianab
    June 26, 2011, 3:58 pm

    “GROW A PAIR”? REALLY, Philip? In June 2011 you’re still saying/writing “grow a pair,” which means that courage is only found among those lofty human beings who possess testicles? PLEASE try and correlate your language to your professed beliefs regarding humanity and equality. BLATANT and unapologetic SEXISM has no place in the public discourse, especially in conversations about Palestine-Israel, and ESPECIALLY on MONDOWEISS. Saying “grow a pair” is stupid, adolescent and offensive; it is NOT hip. Philip, I strongly suggest that you GROW UP.

    • Taxi
      June 26, 2011, 8:12 pm

      Oh dear, mother has spoken.

      I’m a female and I don’t find the expression ‘grow a pair’ offensive in the least.

      Looks like you have personal issues and your rage is misplaced dianab.

      Besides, when you tell an editor-in-chief that they’re wrong, you gotta at least provide them with an alternative headline. You provided nothing but politically-correct uptight scorn and authoritarian finger-wagging.

    • Shingo
      June 26, 2011, 9:16 pm

      PLEASE try and correlate your language to your professed beliefs regarding humanity and equality.

      PLEASE try and get a live Diana. In fact, I strongly suggest that you GET ONE.

    • annie
      June 26, 2011, 9:40 pm

      what do you think of mrs. robert kagan’s ever so light pink suit diana? or the lilting way she she says “good afternoon everybody, happy friiiiiday” and announces this is american caribbean month? do you think she’s a turn on?

  23. Richard Witty
    June 26, 2011, 9:20 pm

    One point in the Bronner article was that a large amount of materiel continues to be transported through the tunnels, that the Egyptian military has greatly reduced its monitoring of tunnel activity.

    If that is the case, then Israel is not monitoring Gaza’s borders and cannot be accurately said to be occupying, or maintaining a siege.

    A siege is a prophylactic effort, complete.

    Is that the case, in fact?

    • Bumblebye
      June 26, 2011, 9:35 pm

      Have you never read about historic sieges, y’know, like, centuries ago? Cos without the UN, and the few tunnels, it would look very different. Israel is prevented from excess as there would indeed be an international outcry if the death toll in gaza was climbing exponentially. Just as they can’t let the Settlers “go wild” in the West Bank the way Livni allowed the IDF to in Gaza. “A siege is a prophylactic effort”. No dear, that’s a Trojan with nothing to ride in on. Nothing’s 100%.

    • Shingo
      June 26, 2011, 9:42 pm

      If that is the case, then Israel is not monitoring Gaza’s borders and cannot be accurately said to be occupying, or maintaining a siege.

      If there is no siege, then the flotilla will reach Gaza unhindered,

    • Hostage
      June 27, 2011, 12:08 am

      Richard one requirement of any blockade is that it must be effective and applied to shipments from all other countries. Israel cannot allow any uninspected shipments from Egypt, or the blockade will automatically become an illegal ban on other neutral shipping. The requirement for effectiveness runs completely counter to the prohibitions against collective punishment or starvation contained in the Geneva Convention and Protocol I (e.g. GC IV Article 33 and Protocol I Article 54 (1) and (2) ).

      So many countries, including the majority of ICC member states, believe that blockades have simply become illegal. Only 28 countries participated in the San Remo process. There are 114 ICC member states. Remember that the ICRC is one of the”Protecting Powers” cited in Article 103 of the San Remo Manual and that it has declared the blockade to be an illegal form of collective punishment and deprivation that cannot be addressed by simply providing humanitarian aid. So, the ICRC has already triggered the obligation of Israel under articles 102.3 and 103 of the San Remo Manual ” to allow relief shipments to gain access to the coasts of the blockaded belligerent.” Israel has a right to visit and inspect, but there is no inherent right to divert shipments to its own ports or those of Egypt. In fact it has an obligation to provide “free passage” to foodstuffs and other essential supplies. Hillary Clinton and the State Department can parrot propaganda about legitimate and efficient mechanisms to get aid in to people all day long, but so long as the ICRC calls it collective punishment, they are merely putting lipstick on the proverbial pig.

      If Israel allows Egypt to open crossings without inspections, then the blockade violates fundamental neutrality requirements and it becomes an illicit arrangement. The US and UK are maritime powers with their own implementations of the San Remo manual principles of international law, but all of the sources agree on that point. The UK manual has much better coverage about the requirements for safe passage of humanitarian aid and international humanitarian law considerations. See The Commander’s Handbook On The Law Of Naval Operations Edition July 2007 (United States Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard) and JSP 383 The Joint Service Manual Of The Law Of Armed Conflict 2004 Edition (United Kingdom’s Armed Forces and officials within the Ministry of Defence and other departments of Her Majesty’s Government).

      • Richard Witty
        June 27, 2011, 7:48 am

        You are referring to the blockade of a state, not of a militia controlled entity.

        IF Israel is occupying Gaza, as MANY dissenters claim, and has the obligations of a temporary occupier, managing the ports is one of those responsibilities.

        It is a big consideration, defining what are the legal responsibilities of Israel.

        That it remains ambiguous, and that Hamas and dissent and likud continue the ambiguity is a tragedy for civilian Palestinians.

        Again, Hamas, solidarity, and likud largely urge a state of struggle, rather than a state of security and normalization.

        I consider that counter-productive to the goal of normalization of borders for example.

      • Shingo
        June 27, 2011, 8:45 am

        IF Israel is occupying Gaza, as MANY dissenters claim, and has the obligations of a temporary occupier, managing the ports is one of those responsibilities.

        Blocking the delivery of aid, foods, medicines and building materials is not managing the borders.

      • Hostage
        June 27, 2011, 3:19 pm

        IF Israel is occupying Gaza, as MANY dissenters claim, and has the obligations of a temporary occupier, managing the ports is one of those responsibilities.

        What part of the ICRC and the UN HCHR declarations regarding the illegality of the blockade did you not comprehend? Israel is a signatory to treaties in which it has recognized the legal competence of those two treaty monitoring bodies. FYI, none of Palestine’s ports are located in Ashdod. What part of free passage to the coasts of the blockaded belligerent did you not understand? When Israel reoccupied its territory, the laws and treaties of Palestine did not simply become null or void in accordance with the Hague regulations or the Geneva Conventions. So what ports are you discussing? Palestine is a member state of the Economic and Social Council of Western Asia (ESCWA), e.g. page 5 link to

        The Secretary General has accepted the deposit of highway, rail and maritime transportation treaty instruments from Palestine that were opened for accession and ratification by contracting ESCWA states, e.g. Memorandum Of Understanding On Maritime Transport Cooperation In The Arab Mashreq, Damascus, 9 May 2005 Where in any international law does it state that, after Israel exercises its right of visit and inspection, a humanitarian aid ship can’t proceed to the port of Gaza and distribute its cargo under the supervision of a neutral protecting power like the UNRWA or ICRC? I’ve already given you a link to the official San Remo Manual commentary which explains that’s how the rules of blockade are supposed to work. Are we just winging it Richard or are these arguments supposed to be coherent?

  24. Richard Witty
    June 27, 2011, 6:05 am

    It is ambiguous whether Israel is occupying Gaza.

    If it is not, then the siege still may be legal, but not on the grounds of Israel’s responsibility as occupier.

    The defense rationale still stands to an extent, especially with the precedent of open unmoderated borders.

    Israel has allowed materiel to be shipped through internationally reputable NGO’s.

    Which argument do you want to make, that Gaza is occupied, or not?

    • Shingo
      June 27, 2011, 8:03 am

      It is ambiguous whether Israel is occupying Gaza.

      It’s eitehr oen or the other Witty. If Israel is occupying Gaza, then the siege is collective punichment and a violation of it’s oblgations under international law.

      If it isn’t, then it’s both collective punichment and an act of war.

      The defense rationale still stands to an extent, especially with the precedent of open unmoderated borders.

      False. The rationale according to Israel’s own internato documents have nothig to do with self defense.

    • Citizen
      June 27, 2011, 8:53 am

      Witty, if Gaza is occupied it is not living up to its obligations under international law wrt the people over which it administers such control.
      And if Gaza is not occupied, then why can’t Palestinians, e.g., go anywhere quickly for an emergency hospitalization service?

    • Hostage
      June 27, 2011, 12:33 pm

      Witty, here we go again. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled “that between Israel and the various terrorist organizations active in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip (hereinafter “the area”) a continuous situation of armed conflict has existed since the first intifada.” See the subsection of the targeted killings ruling under the heading “The General Normative Framework, A. International Armed Conflict

      So, when Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the PLO insurgents and agreed to allow a popularly elected government to be established in an autonomous part of the occupied territory of Palestine, that was an act of belligerent recognition. In accordance with customary international law, recognition of any government necessarily has the consequence of accepting the statehood of the entity that the regime is governing. See for example Peter Malanczuk and Michael Barton Akehurst, “Akehurst’s modern introduction to international law”, Psychology Press, 1997, page 82 But we all know that Israel would like to eat its cake and still have it too.

      Wikileaks revealed that Israel’s former Military Intelligence Director, Amos Yadlin, said that Israel would be “happy” if Hamas took over Gaza because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a HOSTILE STATE. (emphasis added)

      The Hamas faction won internationally supervised elections of an entity that was already widely recognized as a State in civilized parts of the world outside of Israel. The US and Israel then backed a botched overthrow attempt by an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, briefly touching off internecine slaughter in Gaza. See for example David Rose’s The Gaza Bombshell” in Vanity Fair.

      The U.S. State Department explains that blockades have historically resulted in belligerent recognition, because they are “a weapon of war between sovereign states.”

      I’ve mentioned the consequences of Israel officially designating Gaza as an “enemy entity” and declaring the existence of a continuous state of international armed conflict between Israel, Fatah, Hamas, & etc. before:

      Once the decision has been taken to recognize an insurgent government as belligerent, the legal consequences of the decision are not limited to its concession of belligerent rights. So long as it maintains an independent existence, the insurgent government is considered to have all the normal rights and liabilities of a State. Its legal position is not merely that of a military occupant as defined by the Hague Convention No. IV, of 1907. — See Ti-chiang Chen, “The international law of recognition, with special reference to practice in Great Britain and the United States”, Nabu Press, 2010, page 307-308.

      It is ambiguous whether Israel is occupying Gaza.

      It is unambiguous that some individual in the chain of command of the Israeli armed forces has ordered Israeli vessels to be stationed in the territorial waters of Gaza, an entity that Israel is obliged to treat as a hostile state. Palestine is a widely recognized State within the 67 borders, which included those same territorial waters. JCPA fellow Ruth Lapidot has explained that recognition of statehood is a political act, and every state has the right to decide for itself whether to recognize another entity as a state. The majority of states agree that Israel’s blockade is taking place in the occupied territory of Gaza.

      The ICJ has already ruled that Israel cannot invoke necessity to justify its actions in the occupied territory, because Israel has contributed (big time) to the state of necessity. So, the defense rationale is nonsense. The laws of blockade require Israel to permit free passage to shipments of foodstuffs and essential supplies to “the coasts of the blockaded belligerent.”

      But we all know that Israel would like to have its cake and Gaza’s too.

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