Update: US Boat to Gaza returns to port after being stopped by Greek Coast Guard

Israel/Palestine
on 85 Comments

Update: Here is an update that Audacity of Hope passenger Medea Benjamin recorded for the Institute for Middle East Understanding at 3:10pm ET:

Listen to internet radio with IMEU on Blog Talk Radio

Update: Here is the Greek order against boats leaving its ports for Gaza, “the area of maritime blockade by Israel.” (thanks to Ali Abunimah):

Pursuant to a decision by the Minister of Citizen Protection Mr. C. Papoutsis, the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gazahas been prohibited today.

By orders of the Hellenic Coast Guard Head Quarters to all local Hellenic Coast Guard Authorities, all appropriate measures are taken for the implementation of the said decision.

Here’s video of the American boat leaving port before it was stopped by Greek Coast Guard:

335146956
(The Audacity of Hope leaving the port in Athens. Photo: US Boat to Gaza)

From the US Boat to Gaza website:

At 4:45 pm Athens time The Audacity of Hope left the dock to set sail for Gaza. We are awaiting news to see if they are stopped by Greek authorities or allowed to sail.

335149359

Passengers waving goodbye moments before the US Boat to Gaza set sail. (Photo: US Boat to Gaza)

Update: After sailing for 15 minutes the US Boat to Gaza was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard. Joseph Dana is tweeting from on board:

@ibnezra Joseph Dana
The coast guard is demanding that we return to port. “we are forbidden to leave” passengers are chanting and screaming at them
 

Update: US Boat to Gaza is urging you to call the Embassy of Greece in Washington.
Tel.  202.939.1300  202.939.1300
Fax. 202.939.1324

From the US Boat: “We are getting reports that people are having a hard time getting through to the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC….that just means lots of folks are making calls!! It also would be good to have people sending email messages. We understand they are all being forwarded to Athens. Here’s that email address: [email protected]

Here is the latest from Twitter:

 

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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85 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    July 1, 2011, 10:29 am

    Hell yes. Thanks Adam

    folks sign up here to respond if this boat is boarded or attacked by Israeli forces
    link to ustogaza.org

    Hope folks will call, email, tweet etc the Diane Rehm show during the International hour and bring this issue up. Starts at 11 a.m est. Direct listeners to Mondoweiss or US to Gaza website. Give it a try. Be polite. Sometimes you have to slip through the screener if they object to what you are asking or bringing up. Give them what they want. Be polite. And then ask what you want or comment on once you are on the program. Be polite…always. Ask Diane why she has not touched this story. she will get pissed but ask anyway. She will say something like “we cover the Israeli Palestinian conflict all of the time” Not true but she is better than most of the mainstreamers. Be polite if you challenge

    1800-433-8850
    or [email protected]

  2. lysias
    July 1, 2011, 10:30 am

    According to Democracy Now! this morning, Netanyahu just thanked Papandreou, he didn’t say for what.

    • eGuard
      July 1, 2011, 9:27 pm

      Probably Papandreou thanked Netanyahu in reverse for the 10bn euro the banks just decided to give to Greece. Netanyahu responded: “it was nothing”.

  3. Kathleen
    July 1, 2011, 10:32 am

    what is the coast guard saying that their reasons for demanding their return are?

  4. annie
    July 1, 2011, 10:43 am

    thanks adam and phil for bringing us such timely news.

    this would be a great time to call our congresspeople.

  5. Kathleen
    July 1, 2011, 10:45 am

    Ok just passed this on to the Diane Rehm show, Hardball, Race for Iran, Washington note, Huffington post. Nothing up over at the Huff Po

  6. Sherri Munnerlyn
    July 1, 2011, 10:50 am

    Does anyone have Email addresses for Greek officials?

  7. Kathleen
    July 1, 2011, 10:57 am

    Ed Teller had hoped to have this front page over at Firedoglake. Not happening at least for now. Hope he is successful over there
    link to my.firedoglake.com

    • Philip Munger
      July 1, 2011, 1:25 pm

      I don’t expect my diary to be front-paged at fdl. It has made it to top of the niche on the right hand side of the front page, under recommended MyFDL diaries, where I have linked to this article.

  8. richb
    July 1, 2011, 11:37 am

    Ma’an is reporting the Greek Coast Guard left after checking the air conditioning! Got make sure the Americans are cool and comfy.

    • annie
      July 1, 2011, 12:22 pm

      tweet from medea :

      medeabenjamin Medea Benjamin
      by USBOATTOGAZA
      @USBOATTOGAZA #flotilla2 Greek coast guard officers saying we are not
      seaworthy. They said “You dont have airconditioning” LOL–we do!

      • lysias
        July 1, 2011, 12:26 pm

        Since when have Greek fishing boats had air conditioning?

        (I remember once crossing in a ferry in midsummer from Chios to Samos. It left from the port of Chios City and sailed into the main town of Samos, also called Samos (i.e., the capitals of the two islands, with governmental offices.) Of course that ferry did not have air conditioning.)

  9. lysias
    July 1, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Recent statement by Netanyahu relevant, I think, here: Ha’aretz: Netanyahu: Israel has every right to stop Gaza flotilla:

    Israel is fully entitled to try to stop an upcoming flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled enclave, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.

    “Israel has the full right to operate against efforts to smuggle missiles, rockets and other weapons to Hamas’s terror enclave. Hamas is a ruthless enemy, who maliciously harms our cities and children,” he said at a graduating ceremony for Israel Air Force pilots.

    The Ha’aretz article very reasonably, I think, connects this statement with the sabotage attacks on the flotilla.

    • pineywoodslim
      July 1, 2011, 1:05 pm

      “Israel has the full right to operate against efforts to smuggle missiles, rockets and other weapons to Hamas’s terror enclave.”

      What a pathetic ass Netanyahu is. He’s all about confrontation. If he had a lick of leadership skills he could have finessed this operation by providing an Israeli naval escort into the port of Gaza.

      Good thing Israel is losing its PR skills. Best to judge any nation on its reality rather than its marketing ability.

  10. kalithea
    July 1, 2011, 12:20 pm

    The Greek government has turned into a door mat upon which Zionists wipe their feet as they enter to strike at the heart of Greek sovereignty.

    Obama and Harper are as usual bowing to Zionist authority.

  11. lysias
    July 1, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Kathimerini confirms Greek coast guard stopped the Audacity of Hope. No explanation for stopping her.
    Greek coast guard stops Gaza flotilla
    :

    The Greek coastguard intercepted a boat carrying U.S. activists soon after they set sail from Greece on Friday to join a pro-Palestinian flotilla to Gaza, one of the activists said.

    The boat, dubbed «The Audacity of Hope», had just left Perama port, near Piraeus, for the open seas, a Reuters witness said.

    A flotilla of boats planning to challenge Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip is expected to sail next week, after repeated delays that activists blame on Israeli sabotage. Israel has denied the accusations.

    “We are just here, two miles off Piraeus. We’ve been stopped by the coastguard, their ship manoeuvred in front of us and they are now talking to the captain, they want us to turn around,» Ann Wright, one of the activists, told Reuters.

    “We are non-violent, we pose no threat,» she added, saying that the group was informed of the sailing ban just as it was setting off.

    Greek authorities said earlier on Friday that ships bound for Gaza were prohibited from leaving Greek ports.

    It was not immediately clear how the boat’s departure would affect the overall flotilla plans.

    [Reuters]

  12. lysias
    July 1, 2011, 12:41 pm

    AP reports Greece has now banned all ships heading to Gaza from leaving Greek ports, again without offering any explanation for the ban: AP: Greece bars boats leaving Greek ports for Gaza:

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece on Friday banned ships heading to the Gaza Strip from leaving Greek ports, and a vessel carrying several dozen American protesters which left port without permission was ordered to return.

    A flotilla of nine Greek and foreign-flagged vessels and several hundred activists have said they want to break Israel’s sea blockade and deliver aid to the Palestinian territory.

    Greece’s Civil Protection Ministry said coast guard authorities had been ordered to take “all appropriate measures” to implement the ban. It also said the “broader maritime area of the eastern Mediterranean will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking, where applicable, the movements of the ships allegedly participating” in the flotilla.

    . . .

    On Thursday, an Irish ship, the MV Saoirse at the Turkish coastal town of Gocek, said it had to abandon plans to set sail because of what it called Israeli sabotage. Earlier this week, activists said Israeli agents damaged the propeller of a Swedish ship in the Greek port. Israel has refused AP requests for comment on the allegations.

    • lysias
      July 1, 2011, 2:17 pm

      Greece’s Civil Protection Ministry said coast guard authorities had been ordered to take “all appropriate measures” to implement the ban. It also said the “broader maritime area of the eastern Mediterranean will be continuously monitored by electronic means for tracking, where applicable, the movements of the ships allegedly participating” in the flotilla.

      So is Greece saying it will also be tracking all vessels in the eastern Mediterranean — and thus presumably assisting in stopping them if they’re headed to Gaza — even if they have never entered Greek waters?

  13. eee
    July 1, 2011, 12:49 pm

    One Israeli NGO has been able to outsmart the flotilla using legal strategies.
    I guess you were not prepared enough.

    And now they are singing to Greek commandos? I understand why you do not respect Israeli law, but Greek law???

    • annie
      July 1, 2011, 12:56 pm

      serious eee, if you think what’s happening now w/the flotillas is a result of one israeli ngo you’ve got rocks for brains. i have a bridge to sell you. you’re delusional.

      • eee
        July 1, 2011, 1:04 pm

        Did I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ships that are not allowed to leave their port? Let’s face the facts, it was a stupid waste of money.

        Of course you will leap into your conspiracy theory mode and start telling us how Israel controls the world. No it doesn’t. You were just ill prepared and outsmarted by Israeli institutions and Israeli diplomacy.

      • Taxi
        July 1, 2011, 1:25 pm

        And who’s spending BILLIONS on PR and other costly cosmetic surgeries – trying but FAILING to hide its ugly Apartheid face.

        eee you gotta know now that it don’t matter what happens to Flotilla2, Flotilla3 is already being organized.

        They ain’t gonna be stopping till you’ve packed up your settler bags and gone back to Odessa.

      • mig
        July 1, 2011, 1:28 pm

        3xe :

        “Did I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ships that are not allowed to leave their port? Let’s face the facts, it was a stupid waste of money.”

        ++++ Usually its up to the people decide how they wanna spent their money.

        “Of course you will leap into your conspiracy theory mode and start telling us how Israel controls the world. No it doesn’t. You were just ill prepared and outsmarted by Israeli institutions and Israeli diplomacy.”

        ++++ So in few lines you managed to claim 2 contradicting things. Good job Sherlock. May The force be with you.

      • Red
        July 1, 2011, 1:56 pm

        Poor eee – you, Netanyahu and all your fellow Zionists out there just don’t get it do you! The Flotilla and the activists have ALREADY WON!

        The primary aim of the flotillas is not to take aid to Gaza but to raise awareness about the illegality of Israel’s blockade and to highlight Israel’s human rights abuses. The Israeli government’s belligerent and bellicose strategy to try and stop or sabotage the flotilla has simply shone an even bigger the spotlight on the flotilla then they ever would have got in the first place. The coverage in both mainstream and alternative media of the flotilla has been overwhelmingly postive and Israel has been shown up to be a bully and liar and a several human rights abuser.

        And as for the money, I would eat my hat if any of the flotilla participants thought they had wasted their money. This is because unlike you, they understand that the primary aim of the flotilla is to shine a light on Israel’s illegal blockade and human rights abuse and as I said, the Israeli government has helped them get more coverage then they could ever hoped.

      • richb
        July 1, 2011, 2:00 pm

        Everybody’s asking the wrong question here. How much is the Greek Government spending at the behest of the Israelis? Wasn’t there just a couple days of general strikes because of the draconian austerity measures? If anybody is wasting money it’s the Greeks.

      • eee
        July 1, 2011, 2:28 pm

        Yes, you already won. Very good, I wish you many more victories like this. You are delusional. Let’s hope all Israel’s enemies are like you.

      • Proton Soup
        July 1, 2011, 2:51 pm

        sure, but the greeks being in an economic pickle are somewhat reliant on outsiders helping to bail them out. greece isn’t in much of a position to argue when told to do something. short-term, it will cost the greeks a small amount, but long-term the cost might be much higher. consider also the greeks now have a bargaining chip. greece could say they want the interest on their loans cut in half, or they will release the flotilla. how much is this really worth?

      • seafoid
        July 1, 2011, 3:56 pm

        Yee haw Taxi. I am so looking forward to Exodus 2
        Maybe in exile Israelis will get the mental treatment they need so badly. How long more can the Palestinians be expected to pay for World War 2?

      • richb
        July 1, 2011, 4:41 pm

        I’m talking about the relationship between the Greek people and their government. Combine the austerity measures blamed on the IMF and anti-Jewish popular feeling may not be all that far behind. In other words, money cannot be spent on the Greek people but for Israel that’s OK. The mistake Israel is making politically is blindly doing whatever Israel asks may be de easy politically in the U.S. but support for the September vote in Europe will most likely erode because of this and the acts of terrorism done in Greek sovereign territory and on Irish-flagged ships. Note as of 2009 Israel is treaty-bound to cooperate on investigation and prosecution of those guilty of the terrorist acts and to extradite them to the countries on which the ships are flagged.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        July 1, 2011, 7:40 pm

        >> You are delusional. Let’s hope all Israel’s enemies are like you.

        We be delusional? You completely miss this the import of what just happened. A small group of otherwise non-influential people, with little money, just caused a major shitstorm that consumed the resources of major powers. That’s how vulnerable Israel is. And the flotilla people just exposed this for all to see.

        This is only going to keep coming at you. Over and over and over again.

        You will lose. -N49.

      • Red
        July 2, 2011, 3:47 am

        LOL, sorry eee but its you and your ilk who are delusional. You live in your little Zionist bubble and scream delegitimisation but the reality is that the only ones delegitimising Israel is Israel and Zionists like yourself. As Huwaida Arraf points outs, in the interview Phil and Adam posted up, civil disobedience (which is what the flotilla is about) aims to provoke the oppressor into showing his/her true colours to the world, to highlight their aggression and abuses. And Israel has gladly obliged. Ghandi was absolutely write when he said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Sorry darlin’, but you and your beloved Israel have lost!

    • Chaos4700
      July 1, 2011, 7:22 pm

      Armed divers do not constitue an “Israeli NGO,” eee.

  14. annie
    July 1, 2011, 1:04 pm

    theIMEU The IMEU
    by avinunu
    .@MedeaBenjamin by phone on @USBOATTOGAZA: #Greek Coast guard capt
    swears they will allow us 2 leave 2morrow

    hmmm

  15. Jethro
    July 1, 2011, 1:46 pm

    The cost of your side’s stupidity so far has been nine lives and the condemnation of the world. I’d say the flotilla activists have a slightly better record.

  16. lysias
    July 1, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Pursuant to a decision by the Minister of Citizen Protection Mr. C. Papoutsis, the departure of ships with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gazahas been prohibited today.

    By orders of the Hellenic Coast Guard Head Quarters to all local Hellenic Coast Guard Authorities, all appropriate measures are taken for the implementation of the said decision.

    Isn’t it highly unusual for that kind of order not to state a reason?

  17. Leigh
    July 1, 2011, 3:05 pm

    This is my mail to Greek embassies. Come on, are you guys still writing/calling? Forget about eee and let’s do something useful.

    I am writing to express my strong disapproval of the Greek government’s decision to prevent the humanitarian aid flotilla from sailing to Gaza.

    While I understand the enormous American and Israeli pressure that the Greek government is currently under, the decision to prevent the boats from leaving quite obviously does not represent the wishes of Greece’s lovely people. Moreover, the decision seems to have been taken without any clear legal justification. If the flotilla is illegal, then the Israeli or American government should lodge a legal complaint against it. If they do not, then Greece is legally in the clear.

    The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) just released a report that puts the unemployment rate in Gaza at 45.2%, one of the highest in the world. They also stated that by the second half of 2010, real wages had fallen 34.5% since the first half of 2006 when Israel tightened the blockade. 95% of the water is undrinkable. 80% of the people need food aid. The health minister recently announced that Gaza lacks 178 types of medicine and 190 important pieces of medical equipment. There is no reason at all for Greece to participate in this deliberately inflicted suffering.

    As a South African whose country’s cruel and immoral actions were funded and supported by outside governments for decades, I plead with you to be courageous and do the moral thing. Please allow the boats to leave your ports and sail.

    • eee
      July 1, 2011, 3:44 pm

      Leigh,

      Life expectancy in South Africa is 52 years. In the Gaza strip it is 74 years.
      It looks to me that you are fighting the wrong battle. The “humanitarian crisis” is in South Africa.

      • Woody Tanaka
        July 1, 2011, 4:30 pm

        “The ‘humanitarian crisis’ is in South Africa.”

        No, the HIV/AIDS crisis is in South Africa, and the other states in Southern Africa.

        This is a new low in Israeli excuse-making: You shouldn’t pay attention to Israeli crimes until you’ve found a cure for AIDS.

      • eee
        July 1, 2011, 5:05 pm

        As usual you miss the point. Complaining about Gaza while your home is much worse is the worst kind of hypocrisy.

      • Chaos4700
        July 1, 2011, 7:24 pm

        eee: “There was never any Holocaust Nakba humanitarian crisis! IGNORE THE UN!!!! IGNORE THEM!!!!!”

      • Leigh
        July 1, 2011, 4:51 pm

        Like the rest of Southern Africa, South Africa’s low life expectancy is primarily due to HIV and neoliberal economic measures that have increased the rich-poor gap to the largest in the world. Since I live in SA part-time, I am a member of three organisations that work against both these.

        But since I live in Gaza about as much as in SA, there is no reason that I shouldn’t campaign in support of my people there too.

        Your argument is a very typical one: Gaza isn’t that badly off.

        Actually, Israel has broken down all its government and civil societal institutions, has forced it to live off aid, and yes, now that it’s living off aid it’s doing well in some areas. it certainly doesn’t provide an argument for having broken down its institutions or for not allowing it to get back on its feet so that aid can be re-directed to other countries that need it next.

      • eee
        July 1, 2011, 6:34 pm

        Leigh,

        When was the last international “flotilla type” operation targeted at the South African government for treating its people like shit? I rest my case.

        Two wrongs do not make a right, but only against Israel are these PR stunts organized. We both know why.

      • Chaos4700
        July 1, 2011, 7:25 pm

        To be fair, no South African government has ever fielded pirates, like Israel has. And while we’re highlighting differences — South Africa stopped its nuclear arms program. You know, the one you were selling to them, eee?

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        July 1, 2011, 7:34 pm

        >> Two wrongs do not make a right, but only against Israel are these PR stunts organized. We both know why.

        Because Israel is the only”civilized” nation on earth to disenfranchise persons solely on the basis of “ethnic” background?

      • Bumblebye
        July 1, 2011, 8:21 pm

        Actually eee, unless you’re too young (or so old you’re forgetful), when SA had its own plan for bantustans, and legally enshrined prejudice against its majority population, a rather successful BDS campaign helped bring an end to it. I think in Hebrew it’s called “hafrada”, right, segregation, apartheid, same thing with Brand Israel nuances? Those privileges at the expense of others can’t last.

      • weaver
        July 2, 2011, 5:51 am

        Life expectancy in South Africa is 52 years. In the Gaza strip it is 74 years.
        It looks to me that you are fighting the wrong battle. The “humanitarian crisis” is in South Africa.

        Ah, now that’s a variant of Tu Quoque Tourette’s I’ve not seen before.

    • Kris
      July 1, 2011, 4:25 pm

      Excellent letter, Leigh. I’ve written and called, too. I think it’s important also to contact media outlets (as Kathleen suggests, above), to get this story more attention in the U.S. My experience over the past few years is that even people who don’t especially follow news about Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians are realizing that Israel does not deserve our support. Or our money and weapons. I think that the public support in the U.S. for Israel is very thin and very weak.

      Ever since Israel’s massacre at Gaza, I have worn a large button with the photo of the face of a crying, bleeding Palestinian child on it. The words on the button say, “Your taxes at work: Israeli soldiers killed her family. This is what Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians looks like.”

      I print the photo and slogans out from my computer. I use a glue stick to glue it to the button–an old Kucinich for President button, which is the largest one I have found. Then I cover it with clear plastic tape, and it looks good and is easily read. It fades in a few months, and then I print it out again and start over.

      I have gotten some sour looks, but mostly people are curious, and ask me about the button, which I am always thrilled to discuss. These people are unaware and uninformed, and they are interested to hear what I say. Many other people secretly oppose Israel’s human rights abuses, and U.S. aid to Israel, but are afraid to speak out because of their fear of seeming to be “antisemitic.” These people are happy to see my button, and thank me for wearing it. Oddly, none of the few people who stare at my button and look disapproving have talked to me about it, not even the people whom I know! It’s because they know they can’t defend their position.

      I live in northwest Washington state, in a “liberal” town, but my button seems to be well-accepted and interesting to people even when I am shopping in nearby conservative cities like Bremerton and Poulsbo, which are navy towns.

  18. MHughes976
    July 1, 2011, 3:26 pm

    I think that this amounts to a sudden and unannounced Greek participation in the enforcement of the blockade. That should certainly, under any normal political morality, be explained and subjected to parliamentary debate. But these are not normal times for Greece and the question of Palestine/Israel is not a normal question.

  19. mhuizenga
    July 1, 2011, 3:47 pm

    Watching these events today, I can’t help but feel hopeless about any justice for the Palestinians. I was tarred and feathered at a right wing website (I didn’t realize how right wing it was at first) yesterday for even diplomatically pointing out injustices committed against the Palestinians by Israel and implicitly the U.S. That experience combined with seeing Greece capitulate today is deeply depressing. I am still hoping but feel more and more that there are fewer and fewer ways to battle the immense power these people possess. It’s sad, but I think that many more people are going to end up paying with their lives before there is any breakthrough. I hope I am wrong.

    • MHughes976
      July 1, 2011, 4:58 pm

      I stand somewhere between those who think that there is an imminent catastrophe and that there is an imminent breakthrough, usually based on some change in attitude in the US media, for the forces of reason and humanity. My guess is that the two – or the many – sides in the ME have reached a degree of balance and mutual deterrence that will probably (God knows not certainly!) last for a bit. On the ground in the ME, Israel loses the demographic battle a little bit more each day. In the West, opposition to Zionism has moved from near non-existent to clearly present, not to be ignored. But that’s about it. The Zionist grip on the political class in the United States and in Europe (this is what Greece is showing us) has barely wavered and popular readiness to attend to the problem has barely increased. They have the guns, the mighty voice, the familiar arguments, the money, the determination sometimes amounting to ruthlessness, the respectability in salon and church. All we have for the purposes of debate in the West is being right – is that enough? Actually I think that in all the circumstances it is, but there will certainly be many collapses and debacles, accompanied by gales of forced laughter and mockery, for us to live through.

      • mhuizenga
        July 1, 2011, 10:39 pm

        Mhughes976,

        Your comment has served as a good antidote to the pessimism of the day. Very perceptive and just a bit encouraging. :) I’ve just never done battle with these hardliners at this other news site yesterday who had me second guessing my own perceptions and judgments. It’s true if we want to win this battle we will need a strong sense of humor and some very thick skin.

      • MHughes976
        July 2, 2011, 10:27 am

        Were there any arguments or just a barrage of insults and sneers?

  20. joe79
    July 1, 2011, 3:48 pm

    The Greek Government is being silent as they use force.
    Force them to talk.
    Please call (202) 332-2727
    That the Greek press office in DC. I just called them.
    I asked if they could explain their ban on the departure.
    They said no comment.
    I asked when they would issue a comment.
    They said no comment.
    I asked who was in charge of issuing comments.
    Maria Galanou gave me the “ministry of Citizen Protection”
    0030 2106988152

  21. eee
    July 1, 2011, 4:12 pm

    Bib Netanyahu just proved that he is a diplomatic genius. Greece, Turkey and Cyprus all banned flotilla ships from leaving! The irony is that last year’s flotilla just made Israel stronger because Turkeys irresponsible backing of it scared the Greeks.

    • Shingo
      July 1, 2011, 4:48 pm

      The irony is that last year’s flotilla just made Israel stronger because Turkeys irresponsible backing of it scared the Greeks.

      The Greeks were not scared by anything to do with Turkey. Israel has pulled out all stops and gone to ludicrous lengths to pressure the Greeks – just as the US and Israel went to extraordinary lengths ro pressure the Turks.

      This is while the US and Greece are staring down at economic collapse. This has not made Israel stronger – it’s just an dcsmple of Israel pulling put all it’s guns to achivd very little.

    • Chaos4700
      July 1, 2011, 7:26 pm

      You know, when I see the Israeli equivalent of a die-hard Bush supporter, and I consider the fact that — unlike the US — in his country the twit corner of the electorate is the majority?

      Hang in the Palestine. Israel’s already off the cliff.

    • libra
      July 1, 2011, 9:35 pm

      eee: “Bib Netanyahu just proved that he is a diplomatic genius.”

      Yes, indeed he has. And surely the stopping of this fearful flotilla in Athens must rank as one of the greatest and most audacious naval actions of history. Indeed, it’s an almost uncanny rerun of the nearby Battle of Salernis when in 480 BC a small but plucky Greek fleet defeated a massive Persian fleet, thus saving Ancient Greek (and by extension Western) civilisation.

      Now Bibi’s manoeuvring has saved Israel (and again by extension Western civilisation) from the existential threat of this anti-semitic armada. For had it managed to set sail, breach the blockade and deliver its deadly cargo of letters into the hands of the Philistines then the course of history could have been irretrievably changed. Because there’s little doubt that these diabolical dispatches would have forewarned Goliath of the slingshot, thus stopping our Judeo-Christian heritage in its tracks.

      Yes, it’s sad that most people don’t realise just what’s at stake here. But then they are looking at it from a 21st century standpoint and wondering why Bibi moved heaven and earth just to stop a few boats of unarmed protesters sailing to Gaza. But once you turn the clock back 3000 years and look at it from the Israeli perspective, it all makes perfect sense.

      • annie
        July 1, 2011, 10:26 pm

        great comment libra

      • eee
        July 2, 2011, 1:15 pm

        If you called talking to the Greek prime minister “moving heaven and earth” then yes, that is what Bibi did. Bibi stopped the flotilla with words. That is called diplomacy.

      • Chaos4700
        July 3, 2011, 1:37 pm

        If by “words” you mean economical blackmail, then yeah. Don’t worry. You’ll be eating your words when the current Greek government goes the way of Mubarak’s regime.

  22. Sherri Munnerlyn
    July 1, 2011, 4:13 pm

    Here is a letter I just emailed to the Greek Embassy in San Francisco.

    The Gaza Flotilla boats, that includes The Audacity Of Hope, are trying to end an illegal Israeli siege/blockade, that includes a naval blockade of Gaza, through which Israel imposes a brutal Occupation on 1.7 million human beings in the Gaza Strip, over half of whom are children.

    Their acts, the passengers on the flotilla boats, of nonviolent resistance, violate no international laws. All they are doing is trying to sail to Gaza, through the illegally maintained naval blockade, to break the blockade, and deliver some humanitarian aid and letters and provide solidarity and hope to the residents of Gaza.

    Greece and no other nations should be acting to stop the Gaza Flotilla from carrying out their mission to Gaza, which violates no international laws.

    The Israeli siege of Gaza is illegal, it is collective punishment that violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, as addressed by the International Red Cross, in a June 2010 report:

    “As the ICRC has stressed repeatedly, the dire situation in Gaza cannot be resolved by providing humanitarian aid. The closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is about to enter its fourth year, choking off any real possibility of economic development. Gazans continue to suffer from unemployment, poverty and warfare, while the quality of Gaza’s health care system has reached an all-time low.

    The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law “.

    link to icrc.org

    Ambassador Craig Murray is an internationally recognized authority on maritime jurisdiction and naval boarding issues. He specifically addresses the illegality of the naval blockade in a recent article:

    This is His analysis of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the right of the Gaza flotilla to sail:

    “The legal position is plain. A vessel outwith the territorial waters (12 mile limit) of a coastal state is on the high seas under the sole jurisdiction of the flag state of the vessel. The ship has a positive right of passage on the high seas. The coastal state can regulate economic activity exploiting the resources of the seas and continental shelf up to 200 miles, the extent of the continental shelf, or the agreed boundary, but there is no indication of fishing, oil drilling or analagous economic activity in this case. The vessel is entitled to free passage.”

    “”This right of free passage is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, to which the United States is a full party. Any incident which takes place upon a US flagged ship on the High Seas is subject to United States legal jurisdiction. A ship is entitled to look to its flag state for protection from attack on the High Seas.”

    “Israel has declared a blockade on Gaza and justified previous fatal attacks on neutral civilian vessels on the High Seas in terms of enforcing that embargo, under the legal cover given by the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.”

    “There are however fundamental flaws in this line of argument. It falls completely on one fact alone. San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be. San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population.”

    “It should not be denied that Israel suffers from sporadic terrorist attacks emanating from Gaza. However this does not come close to reaching the bar of armed conflict that would trigger the right to impose a limited naval blockade in terms of San Remo. To make a comparison, in the 1970’s and 1980’s the United Kingdom suffered continued terrorist attack from the Irish Republican Army, with much more murderous impact causing many more deaths than anything Israel has suffered in recent years from Gaza. However nobody would seek to argue that the UK would have had the right to mount a general naval blockade of the Republic of Ireland in the 1970’s and 1980’s, even though the Republic was undoubtedly the base for much IRA supply and operations. Justifications of Israeli naval action against neutral civilian ships by San Remo is based on special pleading and an impossibly strained definition of the term
    “armed conflict”. ”

    link to oyetimes.com

    Please allow the Gaza Flotilla Ships to leave the ports in Greece and continue on to Gaza, which they have every right to do under international law .

    Please do not become a participant in enforcing the illegal Israeli Occupation and Israeli illegal siege and Israeli illegal naval blockade on the 1.7 million residents of Gaza, over half of whom are children.

    Sincerely,

    Sherri Munnerlyn

    • MHughes976
      July 1, 2011, 4:28 pm

      A very eloquent statement! I wonder if the Greek government is, in rejecting the principle of free passage which should be very important to a maritime country, breaking its own law.

  23. jon s
    July 1, 2011, 4:32 pm

    Latest report: Greek soldiers have boarded and taken control :
    link to ynetnews.com

    • annie
      July 1, 2011, 4:36 pm

      that was about 2 hrs ago jon

    • annie
      July 1, 2011, 4:42 pm

      here’s ‘the latest’

      MaxBlumenthal Max Blumenthal
      40-50 Americans being held in a barbed wire pen in Greece at behest of Israeli and (apparently) US governments bit.ly/lcMwDC #flotilla

    • Chaos4700
      July 1, 2011, 7:27 pm

      Try not to be too gleeful that Palestinian children will get to starve and your mad scheme to turn Gaza into the Warsaw Ghetto 2.0 continues, jon.

      • jon s
        July 2, 2011, 5:19 am

        Chaos,
        Once more your technique of slander, which I’ve written about before.
        Kindly show, with a direct quote , where I expressed glee at the suffering of Palestinian children, or where I proposed a scheme to turn Gaza into the Warsaw ghetto.

      • mig
        July 2, 2011, 9:39 am

        jon s :

        “where I proposed a scheme to turn Gaza into the Warsaw ghetto”

        ++++ Because it is allready….

      • Chaos4700
        July 2, 2011, 10:23 am

        Exactly.

      • jon s
        July 2, 2011, 3:52 pm

        mig,
        Please explain in what way is Gaza like the Warsaw ghetto.

      • Chaos4700
        July 3, 2011, 1:38 pm

        We don’t have to talk to Holocaust deniers, jon and we do not have to talk to you. Typical Israeli.

  24. rachelgolem
    July 1, 2011, 4:34 pm

    Just to let you know, the flotilla is full of “Zionist” saboteurs. Veterans of the Israeli navy, born in other countries, who you would never guess are Israeli.

    I know one of them.

    If the Israeli military can destroy nuclear plants in Iraq and Syria without a sneeze, imagine how easy it is to put a few fake “peace activists” on an old fishing boat.

    And sending notes to the Greek ambassador are really not worth the time. Greeks are a little busy with other problems right now.

    • Chaos4700
      July 2, 2011, 10:25 am

      I love how you’re proud that you’ve turned Judaism into the twisted caricature of Jews pulling strings behind the scenes and running around with knives in the dark that used to be an anti-Semitic trope, but is now business as usual for Israel and her supporters.

  25. seafoid
    July 1, 2011, 6:34 pm

    BateauGazaFr BateauGazaFr
    Les bateaux sont maintenant surveillés. Le bateau espagnol est entouré par les commandos alors qu’il est à quai.

    The spanish boast is surrounded by commandos.
    Funny the commandos couldn’t stop the Greek payoff of all its bondholders.

  26. Sherri Munnerlyn
    July 1, 2011, 9:36 pm

    Here is a list of Greek Embassies all over the world, their email addresses and phone numers, for those who want to send emails or make calls.

    link to mfa.gr

  27. dbroncos
    July 2, 2011, 12:35 am

    eee:
    “Did I spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ships that are not allowed to leave their port? Let’s face the facts, it was a stupid waste of money.”

    eee would have us believe that once we “face the facts” flotilla participants and their international supporters will conclude that helping Gaza was a stupid idea. On the contrary, this will galvanize the int’l solidarity and BDS movements. Israel will suffer another PR bruising because the story will get out that it was Israel’s arm twisting that resulted in scuttling the flotilla boats that were anchored in Greece. Israel’s coercive methods are frequently on display here in the US. Using the same methods in Greece won’t escape the notice of Israel’s most generous benefactors: American tax payers. This won’t be the end of efforts to call attention to the unjust siege and imprisonment of Gaza’s population.

    Israel’s supporters would like people to say nice things or nothing at all about Israel. That’s not going to happen. Americans will hear stories from fellow Americans who were flotilla passengers about damaged propellor shafts and buying off Greece’s government. It’s not hard to imagine that those passengers will sound more credible than US policy makers and State Dep’t lap dogs who essentially said that Israel has the right to kill or capture American flotilla participants.

  28. seafoid
    July 2, 2011, 8:01 am

    The Israelis are hoping to delay the flotilla long enough for all of the journalists to be called back to their jobs and for the volunteers to run out of money.

    It is so interesting to see the parallels between Israel’s reaction here and how the state responds to Zochrot visits to destroyed villages. There is no space for an alternative narrative. That is how fragile Zionism is. No pluralism tolerated.

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