‘Freedom Waves to Gaza’ flotilla leaves Turkey headed to Gaza; Organizers: ‘It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free.’

(Map created by Benjamin Doherty at Electronic Intifada)

On Wednesday, November 2, two international ships left the Turkish harbor to carry humanitarian aid through the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The event, called ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’,  unites 27 activists from 9 countries, including America, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Australia, alongside Palestinians from Bethlehem and Haifa, in a broad-based international movement to break Israel’s illegal and immoral suffocation of the 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. The Irish yacht Saoirse (Freedom), which carries 15 activists, and the Canadian boat Tahrir (Liberation), which holds 12, will attempt to carry $30,000 in medical supplies beyond the Israeli blockade later this week. ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’ is the 11th attempt by international activists to deliver humanitarian aid through the Israeli blockade of Gaza since 2008.

For more Democracy Now reporting on the Freedom Waves flotilla see here.

As the boats navigate international waters, Palestinian youth activists will parade a large wooden effigy of the aid boats through the streets of Ramallah, while distributing white armbands and ribbons emblazoned ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’. In addition, they will hold a demonstration outside of the UN office in Ramallah on Thursday, demanding that the UN end its compliance with the Israeli blockade and protect the humanitarian mission.

Indeed, in a letter given to the UN on Wednesday, Palestinian youth insisted that “it is incumbent upon the UN to take urgent steps to protect the boats en route to Gaza and all of the humanitarian volunteers aboard, as well as to declare its support for nonviolent, humanitarian action, designed to do what the UN and its members states have thus far failed to do.”

tahrir boat for web
The tahrir docked in Turkey. (Photo: Lina Attalah

Organizers of the flotilla mission withheld the news from the world until the boats reached international waters, to prevent Israeli or international sabotage that plagued previous aid attempts. Though the humanitarian vessels departed from Fethiye, Turkey, organizers insist that the Turkish government is not involved with Freedom Waves for Gaza. Says Huwaida Arraf, “because Freedom Flotilla 1 was mostly an international effort, and because with the Mavi Marmara Turkish people were killed, it became mainly a Turkish thing…which detracted from the fact that it really was an international effort. So this time we want to show that it’s not just Turkey, its an international effort.” In fact, no Turkish citizens are aboard either of the two ships.

Freedom Waves for Gaza comes at a time when minor improvements to the situation- such as the opening of the Rafah land crossing from Egypt to Gaza in May- or minor concessions by Israel- such as its allowance of minor consumer goods into Gaza in the wake of the Mavi Marmara massacre in 2010, touted internationally as an ‘easing of the blockade’ (though it led led 10-year-old Gaza schoolchild Abed Rahmen Jadee to lament ‘I don’t want any more snacks or coke. I want a new school’)- have done little to meaningfully alleviate the humanitarian crisis that plagues the 1.6 million inhabitants of Gaza, half of whom are under the age of 16.

Organizer Huwaida Arraf, chair of the Free Gaza movement, stresses that “by reaching Palestinians through their own port, the flotilla defies the dehumanization of a whole population and supports the continuing efforts of the people of Gaza to assert their dignity. The Palestinians will accept nothing less than a total end to the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and all forms of violence and discrimination against them.”

The most recent figures published by the UN and international humanitarian and human rights organizations confirm that roughly 75 – 80% of the population rely on international aid in order to survive; 65% live below the poverty line; 52% are food insecure; approximately 40% are unemployed; there are no building materials for much-needed schools and hospitals; 90 – 95% of the drinking water is contaminated and unfit for consumption; seriously ill patients cannot get access to the specialist treatment that would potentially save their lives; and children are suffering untreated post-traumatic stress as a result of the white phosphorous shells used illegally in Israel’s invasion in January 2009.

In its declaration to the UN, the Palestinian youth stated that “in our schools, universities and through our organizations, we are taught about human rights and international law, and yet it seems like Palestinians fall into a class of people upon whom these rights don’t apply. Like the blacks in America a half a century ago, or in South Africa two decades ago, we are victims of an exclusivist ideology and those who tolerate and enable it.”

The declaration continues- “Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been returned to his family, removing one of Israel’s main pretexts, albeit not a justification, for its Draconian closure policy.  And while 1027 Palestinian prisoners have been exchanged for Shalit (although 550 have yet to be released), over 1.5 million Palestinians remain caged in the prison that is Gaza.”

During the campaign, Witness Gaza (witnessgaza.com) will be a central information hub, in contact with representative organizations from activists’ home countries. Palestinian youth representatives will be updating the world via Twitter at #PALWaves, as will international activists aboard the ships- unless Israel jams the communications signal, as has occurred in previous flotilla aid attempts.

In Wednesday’s press release, Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian activist from Haifa aboard the Tahrir, insisted that “Israel has caged Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, prohibiting physical contact between us. We want to break the siege Israel has imposed on our people. The fact that we’re in international waters is already a victory for the movement.”

As new Israeli airstrikes are claiming lives in Gaza, and as Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to intensify the bombardments, it is due time to once again bring to the world’s attention what the UN in 2009 called the ‘protracted human dignity crisis’ caused by Israel’s closure of Gaza. Says Huwaida Arraf, “the people of Gaza have called on the peoples and governments of the world to challenge an illegal, immoral, and irrational Israeli naval blockade that has caused, and continues to cause, incalculable human suffering. We are responding to that call. Our primary aim is to overcome the continuing blockade of Gaza through civil resistance and non-violent direct action, and to establish a permanent sea lane between Gaza and the rest of the world.”

For up to the minute information on the Freedom Waves flotilla:  http://witnessgaza.com/

On Twitter: @PalWaves #FreedomWaves

Ben Lorber is an American activist with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank and a journalist with the Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem. Visit his blog at freepaly.wordpress.com.

Editor note: Below is a press release and call to action that was sent out today:

For immediate release, November 2, 2011

TWO BOATS WITH PASSENGERS FROM 5 COUNTRIES (INCLUDING THE U.S.)

HAVE SET SAIL TO GAZA

Organizers say: “It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free.”
The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse have successfully reached international waters, initiating the “Freedom Wave to Gaza.” The boats have embarked from Turkey and are on the Mediterranean Sea. In all, the 2 boats carry 27 passengers from Canada, Ireland, U.S., Palestine, and Australia.

Kit Kittredge on board the Tahrir was previously a passenger on the American ship, The Audacity of Hope, which attempted passage to Gaza last July. Kittredge says, “ The only obstacles in our way are Israel’s military and the complicity of the Obama administration but in our sails is the wind of worldwide public opinion which has turned against the illegal blockade.”

Ann Wright retired US army Colonel and former US Diplomat says, “We carry inspiration from the Arab Spring and the worldwide “Occupy” movements that are demanding freedom and justice. Where governments fail, civil society must act. As Americans we are fed up with our government’s unquestioning support of Israel no matter how violent, illegal and oppressive its actions. We will not stand by and watch $30 billion of our tax money committed to buying Israel weaponry used to carry out this illegal occupation of Palestine including the blockade of Gaza.”

Jane Hirschmann added, “Our sailing coincides with UN agency UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine as a member state, defying US threats to cut off $80 million of US funding in retaliation. This shows the growing strength of opposition by the international community to U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine. We call on the international community to go further and take effective action to lift the siege of Gaza. Hirschmann was one of the organizers this past summer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope which is still captive in Greece.

Act now!! 
 

BOATS SAILING  NOW TO GAZA! SPREAD THE WORD. 

Israel and the US outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing 8 boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring world-wide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Our efforts in Greece only fueled our determination to challenge the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We said we would continue to sail and so we are!!! 
  
At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza.  One boat, the Saoirse from Ireland, includes parliamentarians among its passengers.  The other, the Tahrir, carries representatives from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine.  The U.S. Representative on the Tahrir, Kit Kittredge, was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope mission in Athens in July.  A journalist from Democracy Now is on the Tahrir also. Civil society organizations in Gaza await their arrival, and look forward to the delivery of letters collected from thousands of U.S. supporters in the To Gaza With Love campaign.   
  
We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately. 
  
1. Check these websites for updates:  US to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza,  watch  or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir..  Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves. 
  
2. Spread the word far and wide – send this alert to your contacts. 
  
3. Call the State Department  and the White House- demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza. 
  
Call the State Department: 
      Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291 
      U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro 011-972-3-519-7575 
      Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs Paul Sutphin 202-647-3672 
      Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter 202-647-8308 
  
 and the White House: 202-456-1414 
   
  email President Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact 
  
Here are some talking points or suggested messaging:  
  
Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights.  Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians.  Civil society has had to act where governments would not.  Two ships with 27 passengers from 5 countries are sailing to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support.  
  
As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel insures the ships’ safe passage and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local press to cover this story.  Up-to-date information will be available at www.ustogaza.orgwww.irishshiptogaza.org  and www.tahrir.ca 
  
  
FORWARD THIS ACTION ALERT TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS, PLEASE INCLUDE THE PRESS RELEASE. 
  
THANKS 
FELICE GELMAN, JANE HIRSCHMANN AND ANN WRIGHT

Update:

The Center for Constitutional Rights issued this statement:

Two boats carrying twenty-seven human rights activists from five countries, including the United States, have made it to international waters and are headed to Gaza.  Today, the flotilla set sail unannounced from Turkey with the aim of ending the siege and isolation of Gaza.  The boats are carrying letters from people in the United States to the people of Gaza, as well as medicine.  This latest attempt comes less than six months after the “Stay Human Flotilla” was detained and sabotaged in Greece by local port authorities in response to mounting pressure from the United States and Israel.

In light of Israel’s attack on the May 2010 flotilla, which killed nine civilians including 18-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) calls on the international community to ensure the safe passage of the ships through international waters into Gaza and prevent a repetition of last year’s lethal assault by Israeli forces.

Said CCR senior staff sttorney Maria LaHood, “CCR applauds the persistence of civil society to break the siege on Gaza, where Palestinians remain imprisoned and isolated, without access to the supplies necessary to sustain and rebuild their lives.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights also denounced the introduction in early October of House Bill H.R. 3131, in which the sponsors “express gratitude to the government of Greece for preventing the [July 2011 Freedom Flotilla II-Stay Human] from setting sail” and “direct the Secretary of State to…report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the [flotilla] should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization.”  The Freedom Flotilla II was a July 2011 attempt by human rights activists to break the Israeli blockade and deliver aid to the Gaza Strip.  As the International Committee of the Red Cross recently stated, “the easing of the closure in June 2010 has had little impact on the daily lives of the residents in Gaza,” and “Israel retains effective control over the Gaza strip, in particular the movement of persons and goods.”  

 CCR issued the following statement:

 

“The Center for Constitutional Rights denounces H.R. 3131 as another example of the increasing use of the word ‘terrorism’ to create fear and stoke irrational response to activism, including the growing use of ‘material support’ charges to punish people for humanitarian activity and expressions of international solidarity or dissent.  The Center for Constitutional Rights has long called for the end of the siege of Gaza and has supported the flotilla efforts, which, at their core, seek to end the isolation of Palestinians living in Gaza.   In May 2011, CCR filed a lawsuit against numerous government agencies, including the Defense, Justice, and State Departments, seeking the release of documents regarding the U.S. government’s knowledge of, and actions in relation to, the May 31, 2010 attack by Israel on a six-boat flotilla in international waters, resulting in the death of nine civilians, including a 18-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan.  It is Israel’s illegal blockade and the May 2010 killing of unarmed flotilla participants by Israeli commandos that should be condemned and for which accountability should be sought, rather than the victims’ attempts to break the siege on Gaza.”  

 

“H.R. 3131 is a disgrace and an attempt at fear-mongering based on the libelous assertion that if you are against the illegal blockade of Gaza, you are a terrorist.  This is yet another attempt to silence the voices of ordinary citizens acting in good conscience.  We will continue to organize and send boats in order to show our support for the imprisoned population of Gaza. We will not be silenced,” said Jane Hirschmann, one of the organizers of a U.S. boat with the Stay Human flotilla to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope.

The July 2011 flotilla was not the first aid attempt to be stopped.  On May, 31, 2010, more than 700 civilians from nearly 40 countries on the Freedom Flotilla I sought to bring aid and supplies to the Gaza Strip, but Israeli commandos intercepted the six-boat flotilla in international waters, killing nine passengers, including one U.S. citizen, Furkan Doğan.  There had been five successful voyages to Gaza in 2008, and all four attempts to reach Gaza in 2010 were forcefully blocked.

Also, Monday, UNESCO voted to recognize Palestine as a full member of the organization, which Center for Constitutional Rights attorneys said demonstrates that the international community increasingly rejects the United States’ isolation of the Palestinian people, and is a small step toward their self-determination.   Because of the vote, the United States is cutting funding to UNESCO. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights is engaged in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation seeking information about the U.S. knowledge of, and response to, the attack on last year’s flotilla. For more information, please see our case page.  For a factsheet about the illegality of the blockade of Gaza and the attack on the Gaza flotilla, please click here.

About Ben Lorber

Ben Lorber is an activist with the International Solidarity Movement in Nablus. He is also a journalist with the Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem. He blogs at freepaly.wordpress.com.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. tod says:

    Best of luck to the people involved!
    Thumbs up for their ingenuity in planing this also.

    • seafoid says:

      Fingers crossed for this trip. There is no Gilad Shalit excuse either.
      BTW where is the second leg of the prisoner swap?

      • tod says:

        It got postponed because of the recent attacks on Israel! Those damn Arabs will do anything to prevent their people being liberated to delegitimize(TM) Israel.

  2. lysias says:

    Turkey was willing to go along with the U.S. and Israel and stop boats from sailing from her ports in the second flotilla, when Turkey thought negotiations with Israel were going to result in an Israeli apology for the attack on the first flotilla.

    Now, after Israel’s refusal, Turkey feels free to allow such sailings once more.

  3. eee says:

    What a waste of money. Oh well, some people never learn.

    • Saleema says:

      People’s lives and ideas are more important than money.

      • eee says:

        The money could be used for much better purposes than a futile effort that will get very little PR.

        • Shingo says:

          The first flotilla garner a huge ammout of very bad PR for Israel eee. That’s what’s got you so frazzled.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Tell me what these better purposes are that exceed the feeding of starving children and providing medication that your country actively denies to Palestinians.

        • Sumud says:

          Tell me what these better purposes are that exceed the feeding of starving children and providing medication that your country actively denies to Palestinians.

          Based on eee’s ardent zionism and wholly unoriginal hasbara, his ‘better purposes’ will consist of spending American taxpayer’s money to fund a siege designed to starve children and prevent them and their family from receiving medication, and then spending even more money trying to convince people that the victims of these horrific crimes are all a bunch of terrorists with no reason to be angry – so what does it really matter if we wipe a few thousand out here and there…?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      So how many people are you planning to murder this time? Americans particularly, since you can slaughter pretty much anyone from the US or Canada and neither of our foreign relations departments will care.

      • Djinn says:

        The Australian kid should try to keep his head down too. Don’t imagine a little thing like the murder of one our citizens would be enough to remove our government’s* head from the fetid bowels of Zionism.

        *and the opposition, Zionism and the invasion/occupation of Iraq & Afghanistan being the unholy trifecta of bipartisan feeling down here.

      • eee says:

        Let’s see.
        You guys want to abolish the Jewish state. And you want to make Hebrew illegal. And you want to BDS me and my family. And you want to be able to fire rockets from Gaza at targets in Israel without any response from Israel. And you want to force millions of Palestinians refugees into Israel and trash it.
        And then you complain about the Gaza blockade? You are hilarious. You say Israel wants to starve children which is false while based on what you say it is clear you want to harm Israel’s children. Keep trying though. The Jewish people had to deal with people like you throughout their history.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          So you are prepared to kill all of the unarmed civilians to protect your lebensraum? Thanks for the clarification.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “You guys want to abolish the Jewish state. And you want to make Hebrew illegal. And you want to BDS me and my family. And you want to be able to fire rockets from Gaza at targets in Israel without any response from Israel. And you want to force millions of Palestinians refugees into Israel and trash it.”

          No, this is all your paranoid delusions which you use to justify your inhumane treatment of other people. Nothing different from the paranoid delusions that every oppressor has held about those who he oppresses, from the white bigots in the American South talking about black crime and the sins of miscegenation to Germans in the interwar years talking about how the Jews stabbed the Imperial German army in the back. Same shit, different victim.

        • Shmuel says:

          Let’s see. You guys …

          Yes, let’s see.

          Abolish the Jewish state – If you mean abolishing a discriminatory political system in favour of one that affords equal rights to all citizens – including Jewish Israelis – I think most posters and commenters here would agree.

          Make Hebrew illegal – Proposed by one commenter and immediately contested. Draconian and stupid (sorry, seafoid), but hardly worthy of a “you guys want to”.

          BDS me and my family – If you mean BDS Israeli institutions and businesses (Israeli and non-Israeli) complicit in the occupation, and isolate Israel in the international arena (culture, sports, etc.) until it respects human rights and international law, fair enough.

          Be able to fire rockets from Gaza at targets in Israel without any response from Israel – If you mean resist Israeli oppression and occupation by striking legitimate targets, and call upon Israel to abide by international humanitarian law, that would be a reasonable generalisation.

          Force millions of Palestinians refugees into Israel and trash it – If you mean force Israel to recognise the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to the areas in which they lived (or would have lived) and from which they have been barred for far too long, and negotiate reasonable modalities for the realisation of this right (for those refugees who wish to do so), without “trashing” the legitimate rights of Jewish or non-Jewish Israelis, guilty as charged.

          It is clear you want to harm Israel’s children – Patently false.

          The Jewish people had to deal with people like you throughout their history – When in doubt, play the eternal anti-Semitism card.

        • eee says:

          “If you mean abolishing a discriminatory political system in favour of one that affords equal rights to all citizens – including Jewish Israelis – I think most posters and commenters here would agree.”

          Patently false, most posters and commenters want to first abolish the Jewish state in the hope that a system that affords equal rights emerges. But if a system emerges where Jews lose their rights, they will say, oh well at least we tried and move on. So yes, you are irresponsibly for abolishing the Jewish state and cover your care for Jews with worthless words.

          “Make Hebrew illegal”

          This was proposed by the one of the most prolific commenters on this site and very few disagreed with him. We can safely say that seafoid represents quite a lot of people here.

          “If you mean BDS Israeli institutions and businesses (Israeli and non-Israeli) complicit in the occupation, and isolate Israel in the international arena (culture, sports, etc.) until it respects human rights and international law, fair enough.”

          Most people on this site are for BDS of anything Israeli, not even complicit with the occupation. Why are you trying to hide that?

          “without “trashing” the legitimate rights of Jewish or non-Jewish Israelis, guilty as charged.”

          Since you have no way to control what happens with your plan and no way of reversing it if Israel is trashed, you are an irresponsible person that does not care about the fate of the Jewish community in Israel.

          “It is clear you want to harm Israel’s children – Patently false.”

          Patently true. Your plans are irresponsible and quite likely will lead to much harm to Israel’s children. You know it quite well. You are asking Israel to take huge risks that you have no way of mitigating if things go wrong.

        • Donald says:

          “You are asking Israel to take huge risks that you have no way of mitigating if things go wrong.”

          So is Israel. There is a huge risk Israel takes every day it continues to oppress Palestinians.

          Personally, I wouldn’t push a one state solution unless there was a huge nonviolent Palestinian movement calling for that. It’s theoretically the fair solution. The only justification for Israel’s continued existence as a predominantly Jewish state is simply the danger of civil war. That danger exists in part because of the attitudes of people like you, but it’s a real one. The other justifications people give for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state are essentially racist, but one can’t ignore the possibility of a catastrophic civil war.

          That said, though, you guys seem determined to drive your own state into the ground sooner or later.

        • eee says:

          “So is Israel. There is a huge risk Israel takes every day it continues to oppress Palestinians.”

          The risks Israel takes because there is no peace are well known. They are not nearly as catastrophic as the risks you guys are advocating Israel take. As for your contention that wanting a Jewish state is racist, you can keep howling at the moon. It is not racist, and most of the Jews are never going to give up on this simple demand.

        • annie says:

          This was proposed by the one of the most prolific commenters on this site and very few disagreed with him.

          that’s crazy. did even one person agree with him? even one? not one. even charon said s/he wouldn’t stoop to that level and tod said it was extremist and ‘just plain wrong’. now shmuel’s weighed in with “Draconian and stupid” so that makes 4. is everyone supposed to weigh in on this preposterous idea lest they be charged with supporting it? seriously eee are you going to be dragging this around and bashing us over the head with it unless we put a stake thru this idea because i am ready to bury it once and for all.

        • Donald says:

          “As for your contention that wanting a Jewish state is racist, you can keep howling at the moon.”

          I know you can’t understand this, but I didn’t say that wanting a Jewish state was racist. I think such desires for ethnic states are stupid, but not necessarily racist. I said the arguments for Israel as a Jewish state are racist. Now, hm, you think to yourself, what’s the difference? We’ll wait for you to figure it out.

          Crickets chirp. A dog howls at the moon. (Not me, by the way.) Seasons pass. Continents drift. Mountains are eroded away and new mountains appear. Israel is subducted into some future oceanic trench. The sun swells into a red giant and as the oceans boil away, it finally occurs to one of eee’s future descendants (in some unimaginably transformed state) what I could be talking about. “Oh, he meant that the rights of Palestinians were trampled underfoot.”

        • eljay says:

          >> a Jewish state is racist

          I agree, although I prefer the term “religion-supremacist”.

          >> Israel is subducted into some future oceanic trench.

          Aha!! Clearly you want nothing more than to see Israel “wiped of the map”! ;-)

        • eee says:

          “I think such desires for ethnic states are stupid, but not necessarily racist. I said the arguments for Israel as a Jewish state are racist. ”

          Trying to split hairs and count angels? If a person has a desire for a Jewish state but can’t back it up with an argument, then he is just stupid. But if he does have an argument, then it must be a racist one. So people who want a Jewish state can be put into two categories:
          1) Stupid
          2) Racist
          How benevolent of you! You basically believe millions of Jews are either stupid or racist. Keep howling at the moon.

        • eee says:

          Annie,

          Charon said he understands seafoid. And please, if a Zionist commenter would have said something like that about Arabs, you would have 100 response comments. How many were there to what seafoid said? Very few. So clearly it is safe to assume that most commenters support this view.

        • Shmuel says:

          3e,

          If there is one consistent thread at this blog (posts and comments alike), it is the need for democracy and equality in I/P, based on the principles of human rights and international law. Could you please demonstrate how that amounts (in the eyes of “most posters and commenters” yet) to “first abolish the Jewish state in the hope that a system that affords equal rights emerges. But if a system emerges where Jews lose their rights, they will say, oh well at least we tried and move on”?

          On the subject of Hebrew, see annie’s reply: link to mondoweiss.net

          As for BDS, the focus so far has been institutional and/or associated with the occupation. One notable exception has been the call to international artists not to perform in Israel – with the stated goal of isolating Israel internationally and drawing attention to the situation in I/P. This is how Palestinians have defined BDS and this is how they have been leading the movement. This is the BDS that most posters and commenters at this site support.

          Since you have no way to control what happens with your plan and no way of reversing it if Israel is trashed, you are an irresponsible person that does not care about the fate of the Jewish community in Israel.

          “We” advocate a solution that will guarantee equal rights for all, without privilege or domination by one group or another. “We” find your idea of a solution unacceptable because it is designed to safeguard the privileges of one group at the expense of another. That is not “responsibility” – except of the criminal variety.

        • annie says:

          i understand you too eee, it doesn’t mean i agree with you. if i say i understand where you’re coming from but i wouldn’t stoop so low that doesn’t represent agreement. if you wanted to know how any of us feel about seafoid’s idea you could just ask anyone but you don’t do that. you’d rather make absurd accusations. seriously you should give it a rest, or else just ask someone. normally every single poster doesn’t weigh in on every idea. there is nothing ‘clearly indicating’ anything here (other than the opposite of what you’re saying)with not ONE person weighing in agreeing with seafoid. not one and already 4 against so your theory trying to smear virtually our entire side of the community is a massive fail. either ask someone and get even one person to agree w/him or stop w/ this silly allegation.

        • eee says:

          Annie,

          What Charon is saying is that he supports seafoid to a certain extent and he thinks his argument has merits but is reluctant to endorse the conclusion.

          Why do I need to ask anyone here what he thinks about abolishing Hebrew? If people were really against it, many more would chime in as would be the case if someone said something as heinous about Arabs. Just the discrepancy in the number of answers makes it clear that there is quite a bit of support for that here.

        • Donald says:

          You didn’t follow the argument eee, so where does that put you? The argument was that forming a Jewish state in an already inhabited land against the wishes of those inhabitants and then expelling the inhabitants is racist.

          On the language proposal (abolishing Hebrew), I thought it was too silly to merit a response. People say dumb things sometimes on both sides at this blog and I don’t feel obligated to respond to most of them. It’s silly to assume people agree if they don’t all object. Some might not have even seen it. But yes, if someone actually tried to abolish Hebrew I would think that a monstrous idea.

        • Shmuel says:

          Why do I need to ask anyone here what he thinks about abolishing Hebrew?

          The old “absence of evidence as evidence of absence” gambit? I wouldn’t have “chimed in” either, if it hadn’t been for your ludicrous generalisation. I understand that it’s not easy for you to be in the minority here, but that doesn’t mean that “we” are an undifferentiated mass.

        • eee says:

          Shmuel,

          If there is one consistent thread on this blog it is bringing an end to the Jewish sate, or making predictions about its impending doom, or wishing for a regional war to bring its end. You mask this under “need for equality and democracy” but who are you fooling? How do you know what will follow the Jewish state? There is what you wish for, but what guarantees do you have that this is what will emerge? The UN partition resolution led to war. How do you know that your plan will not lead to war? And if it does what will you do then? Nothing. So basically you are preaching some Utopia and you have no idea what to do if it doesn’t materialize. Wouldn’t you call that irresponsible?

          As for BDS, you are just plain wrong. Most people on this site support a complete BDS of all Israeli people and companies irregardless if they are involved with the occupied territories or not. Let’s have a poll and see the result.

          Why would I care that you find my solution unacceptable if your solution is completely irresponsible and will lead to great harm to me and my family? What you call “privileges” I view as basic things that I am not willing to give up on. What is “criminal” is your attempt to make me and my family suffer.

        • eee says:

          Donald,

          What is there to follow when you change your tune every comment?

          You clearly wrote:
          “I think such desires for ethnic states are stupid, but not necessarily racist. I said the arguments for Israel as a Jewish state are racist. ”

          That clearly says that you believe that arguments for maintaining Israel as a Jewish state are racist and then what I wrote clearly follows. According to you, if someone today supports a Jewish state he is either stupid or racist. Do you want to change your mind and say that arguing for a Jewish state in 1948 was racist and now it isn’t?

        • annie says:

          ludicrous! i love it. i wish i had thought of that.

          now we’ve got donald weighing in w/”monstrous idea” for a grand total of 5 vs 1.

          i want to read eee accusing hostage of supporting abolishing the hebrew just to get his reaction. this could be entertaining.

          oh and eee, i used to imagine my ex’s wife getting run over by a truck. one time a friend of mine said he wanted to kill his ex wife and i said ‘i know what you mean’ but that didn’t didn’t mean i supported the idea.

        • annie says:

          ‘clearly’ is eee’s new favorite word.

        • eee says:

          Shmuel,

          Please, I don’t put you in the same category as seafoid, but you underestimate the amount of seafoid in the movement you are supporting. It is just like the tendency here to view Palestinian society as something pure and breathtaking when the amount of extremism, misogyny and racism there is huge.

        • Donald says:

          “Israel is subducted into some future oceanic trench.
          Aha!! Clearly you want nothing more than to see Israel “wiped of the map”! ;-)”

          Ha, you joke, but I fully expect eee to denounce everyone at this blog as supporters of geological anti-semitism. Start distancing yourselves from plate tectonics, people, or you will have only yourselves to blame.

        • Donald says:

          It’s the same tune, eee. Ethnic cleansing doesn’t become right with the passage of time. The one morally defensible argument for a two state solution is a purely practical one–a one state solution might result in some horrific civil war, similar to what Iraq has gone through or what Lebanon experienced. I think a one state solution is the ultimately fair and reasonable one, but it might have to be approached in stages, with a two state solution that was at least somewhat fair to Palestinians, then with tensions dying away (if all goes well) and then people on both sides realizing that Palestinians would like to live in their former homeland and many Israeli Jews would like to live in the West Bank and so why not form one state? But that’s expecting too much rationality at present, perhaps.

        • eee says:

          Annie,

          It is quite simple. If any Zionist commenter here wrote something like what seafoid wrote: “The Hebrew language is contaminated” but about Muslims or Arabs, there would be a storm of comments calling him a racist and worse. Where is all that reaction? It is not there. When something that usually happens does not happen that is evidence. And it is evidence for the frame of mind of bloggers here. It is quite a plausible assumption that most here support seafoid’s view.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “‘clearly’ is eee’s new favorite word.”

          When someone is trying to argue and they use the term “clearly” or something similar, it is a signal that they want to reach a conclusion but either don’t know how to argue to that conclusion or they do not have the factual support for it. So they try to tell you the conclusion they want you to reach, rather than showing it. It is a sign they’ve lost and just won’t admit it.
          (Simiarly, when someone starts a response with “So you’re saying…” or “So, in other words…” it is a clear sign that they simply have no response to what you’re actually arguing and are going to engage in strawmanning.)
          As eee has shown through his little meltdown today, it seems clear that he is working on pure paranoia and is imposing those paranoid ideas on everyone else. Whether it’s an act, a mental illness or what, I cannot say.

        • Shmuel says:

          3e,

          I would humbly suggest that your views of “the movement” are coloured by your expectations and perceived “mission” here. You expect a den of iniquity and so, that is what you find. I’ll spare you the הכל חוזר עליך argument.

        • eljay says:

          >> Ha, you joke, but I fully expect eee to denounce everyone at this blog as supporters of geological anti-semitism.

          Yes, I do joke. And I, too, wouldn’t put it past eee to conclude that geological events can be “anti-Semitic”. After all, he uses “common sense”.

          (I can’t wait for him to declare war on plate tectonics because, y’know, if geology tries to kill him, he will do his best to kill it first.)

        • eee says:

          Shmuel,

          And I would suggest that you take of the rose colored glasses you are wearing and take a good look at who your fellow travelers are. I am reacting simply to what I read on this site, nothing more nothing less. You want to whitewash what is clearly written? Be my guest.

          Seafoid clearly wrote that Hebrew is a contaminated language and should be abolished. Most commenters here just ignored him. If a Zionist would have written something like that about Arabs or Muslims, there would be 100+ responses. Plus, that doesn’t stop seafoid from being part of many other conversations on this blog. So apparently the people interacting positively with him are not bothered by this kind of prejudice. These are facts, not “things I am looking for”.

        • annie says:

          2 more ‘clearly’ allegations for 3eee’s flatlining argument. he’s really putting on an effort to keep this fish hooked on the line but it’s ain’t got much bite, never did.

        • Am_America says:

          he’s really putting on an effort to keep this fish hooked on the line but it’s ain’t got much bite, never did

          and that is proof of the double standard here.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “If a Zionist would have written something like that about Arabs or Muslims, there would be 100+ responses… These are facts…”

          LOL. Speculation on what might happen if someone had said something about Arabic or Muslims now constitues a “fact”??? Rather than banning Hebrew, we should, instead, call for mandatory remedial English (and logic) for eee.

        • Bumblebye says:

          eeeee
          What of the (scholarly) argument that the language as spoken in the modern state of Israel is so remote in structure and usage from the biblical hebrew that it should be renamed ‘Israeli’?

        • annie says:

          ouch! should have read ‘it ain’t got much bite’.

          i concede, i total double standard.

          ;)

        • eee says:

          “What of the (scholarly) argument that the language as spoken in the modern state of Israel is so remote in structure and usage from the biblical hebrew that it should be renamed ‘Israeli’?”

          So now you are trying to justify seafoid’s position. Very nice.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Eee, Modern Hebrew as it exists today is a fabricated language. Anything modern in it has been derived from Arabic and nobody spoke it in their households at all before the 1930′s, give or take.

          You might as well be advocating for Esperanto.

        • Bumblebye says:

          Hardly. Renaming isn’t abolition. All languages evolve, some change more dramatically than others, in that they become the languages of new people. The people i’m talking about were arguing that the change was so great that it merited the new name. Also takes into account that today’s modern Israeli is a very different person from an ancient Judean. These are people who’ve been around the world and kind of brought it back in their genes.

        • Shmuel says:

          So now you [Bumblebye] are trying to justify seafoid’s position.

          Trying to flush ‘em out, one by one, 3e? You’ve got a lot more to go before you hit “most commenters” or even “you guys”. You could also ask Bumblebye what he meant, but maybe you’d better not. The answer could wreck your stats.

        • Am_America says:

          Where do you come up with this stuff Chaos? Why do you try to talk about things you know nothing about?

        • eee says:

          Shmuel,

          No need to flush out what was always there. You may have missed the Chaos comment above. You know, if you close your eyes, the world is still the same.

        • annie says:

          try refuting it an actual argument so we can learn something a_a, since you’re so smart and all.

          Where do you come up with this stuff Chaos?

          do you even know anything about esperanto?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          It’s called a college education. You might want to try it once you have your high school diploma, AM_Radio.

        • Donald says:

          “You’ve got a lot more to go before you hit “most commenters” or even “you guys””

          I’m wounded that he didn’t ask me to take off my rose-colored glasses. What is it about you Shmuel that he is concerned with the bad company you are keeping? Why isn’t he concerned about the bad company I am keeping? Hmm, it’s almost like he’s judging people according to their…well, what could it be?

        • Donald says:

          eee–

          You know, if you wanted to raise the double standards issue in a serious way you wouldn’t pick some random dumb suggestion made by one person that most people just ignored. You could pick some issue that actually matters in the real world. I come here because I don’t like the fact that the US supports Israeli oppression of the Palestinians and I’m sick of the BS we hear from our politicians and most of our pundits about that. Most of my comments deal with that subject because that’s what concerns me.

          But anyway, what you should ask is whether we hold Palestinians to the same human rights standards we (or most of us) claim to hold Israel. International law forbids targeting civilians, so do we support that behavior from either side? I think you’ll find that most of us don’t, but there may be a few exceptions. But you probably won’t do this, because your own position isn’t any too noble on this if I remember correctly. (One reason I don’t know for sure what your position is stems from the fact that I don’t take it upon myself to keep track of every stupid remark made at this blog.)

          But anyway, if there is ever a serious movement to ban Hebrew in the name of Palestinian rights, you can count on me to denounce it as immoral, stupid, monstrous, and so forth. Until then I’ll probably just roll my eyes and move on to the next comment.

        • annie says:

          i wonder if there will be a dailykos diary ‘mondoweiss advocates banning hebrew, only 5 denouncements!’

          where’s red sox?

        • eljay says:

          >> … I don’t take it upon myself to keep track of every stupid remark made at this blog.

          Ditto.

          >> But anyway, if there is ever a serious movement to ban Hebrew in the name of Palestinian rights, you can count on me to denounce it …

          +1.

        • eee says:

          Donald,

          I may not agree with Shmuel about many things, but at least he is not an extremist like most others here. Also I get the feeling that he really cares about the well being of the Jewish community in Israel while the feeling I get from you and other commenters is that you don’t give a shit. Shmuel is not my enemy, you and your ilk certainly are.

        • Shmuel says:

          I’m wounded that he didn’t ask me to take off my rose-colored glasses.

          3e keeps singling me out. I suspect he’s trying to ruin my reputation.

        • Donald says:

          eee–

          That’s the tribalist in you. All the rest of us are just an undifferentiated mass, all the same, and you don’t trust any of us. You confuse anger with hatred–I get very angry with some of my fellow Americans and even some of my real life friends on political issues, but don’t want any harm to come to them. I get angry with you, but want a peaceful solution for people on both sides. I’d even like to visit Israel someday, if that mutually beneficial peace agreement ever comes to pass.

        • Shmuel says:

          Fer cryin’ out loud, 3e. Next thing you know, they’ll be calling me “Zionist’s pet” or something.

          Seriously though, if you think that Donald – one of the most fair-minded commenters here – is an extremist who doesn’t give a shit, you are the one who needs to do something about his glasses.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “3e keeps singling me out. I suspect he’s trying to ruin my reputation.”

          Frankly, we’re now all somewhat suspicious of you, being mentioned so glowingly in one of eee’s posts. Watch your step. You’re suspect.

        • annie says:

          3e, to hear you say donald is ‘certainly’ your ‘enemy’ strikes me as very sad. why do you go to these extremes? i don’t think of anyone here as my enemy. my ideological opponent perhaps but not my enemy. what is the point of declaring someone like donald as your enemy? or me or any of us for that matter. it is almost as if you would prefer we all wanted to ban your language to prove something to yourself. can’t you imagine some people here really want peace there? you can’t make peace in a fortress state of mind where everyone outside your bubble of reality is your enemy.

        • Shmuel says:

          Frankly, we’re now all somewhat suspicious of you, being mentioned so glowingly in one of eee’s posts. Watch your step. You’re suspect.

          Careful, or I might just say something nice about you.

        • eee says:

          Annie,

          Do you really not understand why you are my enemy? You want to end the Jewish state in Israel. How can you not be my enemy? This is not a disagreement about some policy, you want to put an end to Israel and you don’t care about what 99% of Israeli Jews want.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Do you really not understand why you are my enemy? You want to end the Jewish state in Israel. How can you not be my enemy? This is not a disagreement about some policy, you want to put an end to Israel and you don’t care about what 99% of Israeli Jews want.”

          LOL. You better watch out, she might be after your PRECIOUS BODILY FLUIDS!!!

        • annie says:

          and the beat goes on:

          Yesterday someone said to me “I am arguing against those who want Israel to not exist”. Who says that?

          Beware, this is the strawman we are up against.

          i want Israel to be a nice place, so you should fix it and direct your energies towards those ruining it.

        • Mooser says:

          “Shmuel is not my enemy, you and your ilk certainly are.”

          Leave us ungulates out of this! We mostly live together quite peacefully, except during rutting season, of course.

        • Mooser says:

          “You want to end the Jewish state in Israel.”

          Just think of it, the Jews from Israel forced down to the status of the Jews of America! Not even Hitler would do anything that cruel!

        • Mooser says:

          “And you want to make Hebrew illegal. “

          Oh, don’t worry, “eee”, nobody can outlaw speech defects, and most can be treated and successfully overcome. For example, I had a hell of a case of taciturnity once, and listen to me now!

        • eee says:

          Annie,

          What BS. If someone said he wanted to make the US better by joining it into one state with Mexico, would Americans consider him an enemy? Of course. Let’s see ONE Hispanic leader say that and what the reaction will be. What Israel becomes is not for you to decide. It will be decided by Israelis. You should direct your energies towards fixing your own country.

        • eee says:

          “Just think of it, the Jews from Israel forced down to the status of the Jews of America! Not even Hitler would do anything that cruel!”

          Are you for real? The Jews of Israel would be forced to the status of the Jews in Syria. How little you care for the millions of Jews in Israel is unbelievable.

        • eee says:

          “Oh, don’t worry, “eee”, nobody can outlaw speech defects, and most can be treated and successfully overcome. For example, I had a hell of a case of taciturnity once, and listen to me now!”

          I did not expect any other response from an ignoramus who understands no Hebrew yet calls himself a Jew.

        • annie says:

          . You should direct your energies towards fixing your own country.

          i am. i happen to believe the trillions we spend in ME wars supports israel’s expansion. i think an i/p resolution is very important for my country. if it wasn’t an issue you wouldn’t have politicians constantly mentioning israel. but they do, or haven’t you noticed?

        • eee says:

          Annie,

          If you really cared about changing your own country, you would do what works instead of wasting money on flotillas. You would use these funds to support candidates that support your views.

        • Mooser says:

          “Yes, I do joke. And I, too, wouldn’t put it past eee to conclude that geological events can be “anti-Semitic”. After all, he uses “common sense”.”

          Well, I don’t know about geology, but in the classic form of the joke, astro-physics and astronomy have it in for the Jews: “Rabbi, it says here that in 15 trillion years the sun will explode and destroy the earth” Rabbi: “But is that good for the Jews….”
          Wait, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

        • annie says:

          you crack me up. there have not been any politicians that call as much attention to what’s happening in palestine/gaza as the flotilla has. supporting the flotilla works as far as i a concerned.

          ciao

      • Am_America says:

        eee, you are in the Navy? or are you taking your own boat out to stop these ‘flotilla’s of peace’

        • Chaos4700 says:

          So now someone who claimed to be a survivor of the USS Liberty is making light of Israel attacking ships with Americans on board? You’re such a blatant fraud.

    • Dex says:

      eee,

      Are you an American or an Israeli? From your posts, I would gather you are Israeli. Which is it (unless you are another nationality, of course)?

  4. seafoid says:

    First UNESCO, now this.

    I can feel a big antisemitism meme exploding out of Israel

    And everything is linked to the failure of US power in the region.

  5. lysias says:

    The boats sailed from Fethiye. I’ve been in Fethiye. It’s a resort town on the southwest coast of Turkey.

    David Heap, a member of the steering committee on board the Tahrir, told Al Jazeera that the activists chose to leave from Fethiye because of the strained relations between Turkey and Israel.

    “The Turkish government has been creating more distance from Israel diplomatically and we know there is support from Turkish society for what we are doing.

    “Our judgment was that the Turkish state would not interfere with us if we didn’t make too much of a public issue of our plan to depart from there,” Heap told Al Jazeera.

  6. iRevolt says:

    As someone who was a part of the first Gaza Freedom March, denied – along with many others – entry to Gaza by Mubarak’s regime, I wish every involved the best. Good luck, stay strong -I hope one day we can all be able to visit a free Palestine – from the river to the sea!

  7. annie says:

    they are supposed to arrive on friday. very excited. i’ve known about this for awhile.

    • iRevolt says:

      I loved watching the reaction of so many re: surprise of the flotilla. There was no idea there was a flotilla, let alone that it was already in international waters!

      • annie says:

        i know, my twitter feed is going nuts. i was a little amazed this was kept underwraps so well. someone came by my house to tell me about it, she said they were not communicating by email, just skype. something about interception. anyway it’s been in the works for awhile.

        as the msm is ratcheting up on iran (a hasbara campaign that is surely to be very expensive) the week before the UN vote the little engine that can is plugging away. smart move imho.

    • Bumblebye says:

      I noticed your comment last week that it was supposed to be secret. I am surprised tho, as I thought the quake might take precedence for while and cause a delay. Fingers and toes crossed that everyone stays safe and gets through.

      • annie says:

        i think they feared the boat would be sabotaged. understandable considering what happened last june.

        • James says:

          annie – not to be a downer, but i wonder what it will be this time… there is no way israel is going to let this get very far, but if they can turn it into some publicity stint to express something they think furthers there end, no doubt they will…

      • kursato says:

        The quake happened near the border with Iran. The Turkish FM Davutoglu (means son of David in Turkish) said the aid (12 prefabricated housing) would not make relations better because it wants an apology for 8 Turkish deaths by the IDF on the flotilla 1 on international waters. Besides that Turkey helped israel during the carmel mount fires in 2010

  8. Les says:

    Impressive. I wonder what this does to Israel’s plans to attack Iran, of which the US is surely aware. Will our media notice/follow this as does Al Jazeera?

  9. kursato says:

    “May 31, 2010 attack by Israel on a six-boat flotilla in international waters, resulting in the death of nine civilians, including a 18-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan.”

    This boy got shot 5 times, 3 of them in the head from close range by the IDF.

    He was executed…

    • lysias says:

      And the only weapon he had on him was a camera.

    • Charon says:

      “five gunshot wounds, to the nose, back, back of the head, left leg, and left ankle, at a distance of 45 centimeters. He was shot when he was filming the events in the ship”

      There is a video of somebody being beaten and then shot at point-range several times by a commando with a pump-loading rifle. This is probably Furkan Doğan.

      Although the identities of the commandos have not been released, my money is on the ones photographed beaten and bloody. Israel hasn’t released the identities of his killers but somebody once visually identified the beaten commandos in the photo and said the were Avishay Shasha and Nir Ohayon. Googling there names also shows they are war criminals who participated in Cast Lead (along with their home addresses) but if they’re only visually identified from poor photos, I’m not convinced.

      Whoever did it, I hope they get what they deserve. And they don’t deserve to live a normal life, grow old, or raise a family like normal people do. Doğan will never get the chance to since they took it away from him and Israel protects his murderers and smears the victims.

  10. With the recent rocket fire from Gaza, it is an odd fantasy to assume that Israel will allow the flotilla to reach Gaza.

    • Les says:

      Just as achieving civil rights was an odd fantasy of Martin Luther King. He was such a dreamer.

    • Cliff says:

      How is that relevant?

    • Samuel says:

      According to Ha’aretz (Hebrew, publicised at 19:30 Israeli time),
      link to haaretz.co.il
      the IDF spokesman affirmed that Israel will not allow the flotilla to reach Gaza, and explained that as per the Palmer report, the seige is in accordance with International Law.
      The report also claims that the Turks vetted the participants and many activists thus didn’t make it to the sailing.

      Somehow I don’t think this will be big news what with all the other “better” stories happening in the ME and in I/P specifically right now.

      • mig says:

        Ooops : Palmer Report Did Not Find Gaza Blockade Legal, Despite Media Headlines

        The media has gone crazy these past couple of days announcing that the UN-appointed panel of inquiry into the flotilla raid last summer, known as the Palmer Commission, found that the Israeli imposed blockade on Gaza is legal and that Israel used excessive force during the raid.

        From the Jerusalem Post to the BBC, headlines scream that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is legal. This is not only completely false, it distracts from the main point of the inquiry which was to determine if excessive use of force was used by Israeli forces during the raid on the flotilla in international waters and how to avoid a similar incident like this from happening again.

        The contents of the Palmer Report were made public Thursday by the New York Times. The report itself, which was completed last February, was being delayed at the UN while Turkey and Israel negotiated over language and played behind-the-scenes politics.

        Sadly, the report does not spend a lot of time on the victims or accountability for the wrong-doing, although it states,

        “Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel.”

        And critically notes that Israel’s treatment of the passengers, “included physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified confiscation of belongings and the denial of timely consular assistance,” while acknowledging that once the commandos were on board, they faced violent resistance and felt forced to defend themselves.

        The report also found the naval blockade of Gaza by Israel legal.

        As the occupying power over the Gaza Strip, Israel has the right to determine where and how goods and people should enter the territory it occupies so the maritime blockade as a tactic is legal. The report did not make a ruling on the entire closure regime or blockade on the Gaza strip.

        The Palmer report’s finding that the naval blockade is lawful should NOT be interpreted to mean that the entire closure regime imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip is legal. An excellent analysis of this can be found on the ‘Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement’ website.

        Gisha even goes one step farther to argue that the maritime blockade should actually be found to be illegal. In a Q&A they put together, they argue that when taken into context with the full blockade on Gaza and Israel’s failure to adhere to international law and legal obligations as an occupying power – then the maritime closure is actually illegal:

        “By preventing the passage of civilians and goods of a civilian nature to and from the Gaza Strip, Israel has paralyzed the economy of the area and caused substantial damage to key aspects of civilian life. In so doing, it has violated its obligations under international law, rendering its policy of closure – including the maritime closure – unlawful.”

        Amnesty also believes the entire closure regime (blockade) on Gaza is illegal. It is a form of collective punishment which breaches international law. Amnesty pointed out in a public statement released Friday, that the best way to avoid similar incidents like this one in the future is for Israel to fully and immediately lift the blockade imposed on Gaza since June 2007, and allow Gazans to rebuild the homes, schools, clinics and infrastructure destroyed by the Israeli military.

        Update: Gisha, the Legal Center on Freedom of Movement, a highly respected Israeli organization that concentrates much of its work on the Gaza Strip, just issued a short, concise statement called ‘Myths and Facts on the Palmer Report‘. This document clarifies many of the misconceptions about the Palmer Report created by confusing media reports and misconceptions about the Israeli imposed closure regime on the Gaza Strip.

        link to blog.amnestyusa.org

        link to gazagateway.org

    • Shingo says:

      With the recent rocket fire from Gaza, it is an odd fantasy to assume that Israel will allow the flotilla to reach Gaza.

      With 2000 settlements annouced yesterday, as a punishment for the UNESCO vote, it is an odd fantasy to assume that the two state solution is not dead.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      No, the “odd fantasy” is assuming that Israel will let anyone oppose their genocidal policies toward Palestinians for any reason.

  11. lysias says:

    According to the Irish Times, Irish ship to reach Gaza by Friday, some pretty prominent Irishmen and Irishwomen are on board the Saoirse:

    The 15 passengers on board the MV Saoirse include Dr Lane, former Leinster and Ireland rugby player Trevor Hogan, Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy, former Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews, Siptu official Mags O’Brien, artist Felim Egan, People Before Profit councillor in Dun Laoghaire Hugh Lewis, Sinn Féin councillors Pat Fitzgerald and John Hearne, both from Waterford City Council, and Zoe Lawlor, who teaches at the University of Limerick and is a member of the national committee of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The Canadian boat, named Tahrir, the Arabic word for liberation, is carrying 12 people.

  12. BillM says:

    Is it me, or has Israel’s media become sillier than normal of late? I mean, I know it’s perfectly natural for any national media to reflect that nation’s bias, but this passage just made me shake my head and laugh:

    link to haaretz.com

    “The navy took control of five of the ships without incident, but resistance by activists on the sixth vessel led to clashes that claimed the lives of nine of the boat’s passengers, and left dozens of activists and soldiers wounded.”

    Even after all this time, Israelis can still not admit to any active agency in events that, apparently of their own volition, “claimed the lives” of protesters. This is as silly as recent reporting on the Israel-Gaza shooting, in which Gaza rocket attacks were trumpeted followed by a short paragraph on “retaliatory” Israeli airstrikes. Only at the end of the paragraph was the admission that the “retaliation” had actually come before the rockets.

    • tod says:

      You must understand that this comes from the same people that widely believe Arabs want to get shot to make Israel look bad, it’s geocentrism all over again.
      As for the media, they shamefully took advantage of the quake in Turkey to promote Israel, not much credibility left here in my book.
      About the strikes in Gaza, I read one night that Israel launched a bombardment in Gaza and the next morning that rockets fired from Gaza prompted a “retaliation”. These people just have no shame.

      • Charon says:

        They believe it because that is what they do themselves. They somehow assume it is normal and everybody else does the same. Studies on sociopaths and psychopaths show that in many cases their brains believe that others around them also lack empathy and are faking it. There is no real intelligence that Iran is building nuclear facilities spread out underground. They just assume this because Israel’s facility was created in a similar fashion.

        The guy who came up with the term “Pallywood” is an American and an awful immoral human being. Palestinians can’t even use the bathroom without Israel knowing about it. They don’t have the theatrics or technology for media fakery. If they play dead it is probably to save their own lives.

        Zionists show no shame when it comes to undermining the memory of other people’s deaths. The wikipedia article on the flotilla is a perfect example of this. It goes into Aspergers-style detail about the Israeli side, most of which is proven bs. An ‘official’ source reporting a lie does not make that lie true.

      • Samuel says:

        Actually you have no shame, since whatever you read it can’t change actual facts – the Jihad Islami group fired mortars the day before the Israeli retaliation.
        This I report from my daughter who lives in the area and can hear every mortar or bombing on either side of the border. The mortars started Thursday, the retaliation on Friday night. Fact.

        • tod says:

          Yeah, it’s one of those strange coincidences. Like a major western news service, or newspaper, in my case BBC, just forgetting to mention that the Israeli raid was because mortars were fired from Gaza. That could like totally happen.
          My apology to your daughter also, a great strategist that can distinguish mortar fire from rocket fire while hearing what happens on both sides of the border.
          And also my apology for your inside knowledge of WHO fired those rockets, the “Jihad Islami group” in this case. I’m sure your family gets briefed by this organization every time they launch a mortar.

          But hey! If you say so, it’s probably true. And my sources in the Israeli army, that I cannot name, say exactly the same. I’m also sure no Arab daughters heard any explosions whatsoever, although animals have a keen sense of hearing.

        • kapok says:

          The “Jewish State” will not abide by Jewish Law. Fact.

      • seafoid says:

        Ordinary Israelis are doped out of their amygdalas on propaganda about Gaza. Here is Rabbi Donniel Hartman . He is not the sharpest of blades but he does represent an important constituency.

        link to hartman.org.il

        “Neither political overtures nor concessions, or conversely, sanctions will transform the population of Gaza from foe to friend. They have fed themselves a steady diet of evil ideology from which only they can free themselves.”

        Gaza is Amalek to Israelis.

        If I was running a post war defeated Israel I would do 2 things

        -Introduce a constitution
        -Forbid the speaking of Hebrew

        The language is contaminated .

        • annie says:

          don’t you think forbidding someones mother tongue is extreme?

        • seafoid says:

          It’s only the mother tongue of a proportion of them, Annie. Remember all the immigrants. Israel is a demented conversation carried out in Hebrew.

          I wonder what will happen when it all falls apart. Many people will probably just leave. Will they keep up their Hebrew in exile ?

        • annie says:

          i’m not going to quibble about what portion of the population. going after a language is extreme and strange. think peace seafoid. if they want to speak hebrew let them. choose your battles. a constitution is an admirable goal.

        • lysias says:

          Victor Klemperer’s LTI: Lingua Tertii Imperii, published right after the war, was about how the German language would have to be decontaminated after the Third Reich.

        • tod says:

          Come on man, how is the Hebrew language related with all this mess? Ok, it’s not their mother language, so what? This sound very extremist and just plain wrong.

        • Charon says:

          A while back I was looking for a solution to a problem with my wife’s macbook. The forum google brought me to had a user helping out with Hebrew in their signature. I threw it into Google translate and remember it kind of being racist. The Hebrew Wikipedia is less neutral in some of the I/P articles. Gives me the impression that some are using it as a ‘code’ to take advantage of the obscurity.

          Israel wants to remove Arabic as an official language so I wouldn’t stoop to their level and follow that example, but I understand what you’re saying seafoid.

        • seafoid says:

          Annie

          Maybe if you demilitarised the state it would be better but the combination of a secretive religion and a language that nobody else speaks is lethal.

          Israel needs a reset. Hartman is supposed to be a religious leader FFS and he talks like a soldier.

        • annie says:

          hartman and his ilk ARE the problem. the problem is not the language it’s what’s behind the minds of the majority who speak the language. really, choose your battles. banning a language is like book burning, beneath us. it’s stabbing at all the wrong places. fix the problem not the language or dialect it is spoken. i get really sick when i hear about policies to punish kids on the schoolyard for speaking their mother tongue and i do not care if that is in the US or anywhere. i will not stoop to this level, get your priorities straight. don’t waste energy on crazy shit.

        • annie says:

          thnx tod. some sanity.

        • Djinn says:

          Plenty of Palestinians speak Hebrew, so do many anti-Zionist Jews. Hebrew is a language not a problem.

  13. Isn’t it about time to boycott Israel?

    link to youtube.com

    What are the campuses waiting for? A permission slip?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Courage. College campuses in the US aren’t the bastions of free speech and open debate that they used to be.

    • Charon says:

      The Zionist lobby extends their influence to the campuses. Events are cancelled all the time due to donor pressure.

    • Kathleen says:

      Campus Watch, Camera and other Israeli lobby groups have done their best to block speakers, any movement on this critical issue from taking hold for a solid decade or more. Things are quickly changing. Keep pushing.

  14. tod says:

    One interesting fact that no one seems to point out, it’s the way this flotilla stayed out of politics. I find this to be the real news of the day!
    The fact that no Turkish citizens are on the flotilla can mean only one thing:
    They tried very, very hard to avoid any confrontation!

    Erdogan said before that Turkey will protect the Turkish citizens on humanitarian missions to the occupied territories with it’s navy. This, of course would have led to a nasty confrontation, not that Israels Navy would have any fighting chance against the Turkish Navy.

    But the people of this flotilla chose not to take advantage of this! Makes you think! If you have the necessary apparatus to think.

  15. kapok says:

    Hope they know enough to get their stuff uploaded to the Cloud before the Hebrew Wehrmacht swoops down.

  16. Kathleen says:

    Yes

    As Israel pushes the UK and the US closer to a confrontation with Iran based on unsubstantiated claims

    ———————————————————————
    UK military steps up plans for Iran attack amid fresh nuclear fears

    British officials consider contingency options to back up a possible US action as fears mount over Tehran’s capability
    link to guardian.co.uk

    link to cnn.com
    Iran threatens to ‘punish’ any Israeli attack
    By Shirzad Bozorgmehr and Kevin Flower, CNN
    updated 3:30 PM EST, Wed November 2, 2011

    Iranian military official: We will use “suitable equipment” to punish any attack
    Israel test-fires a rocket propulsion system
    The events come amid speculation in Israel about possible military plans

    Tehran, Iran (CNN) — Iran issued a warning to Israel on Wednesday, with a top military figure saying Iran will “punish” any threat.

    “The United States is fully aware that a military attack by the Zionist regime on Iran will not only cause tremendous damage to that regime, but it will also inflict serious damage to the U.S.,” said Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, commander of the joint chiefs of staff, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

    “We, as the military, take every threat, however distant and improbable, as very real, and are fully prepared to use suitable equipment to punish any kind of mistake,” he added, according to a CNN translation of his remarks.

    Another semi-official Iranian news agency, ISNA, published a story in English quoting Firouzabadi as saying, “The U.S. officials know that Zionist regime’s military attack against Iran will inflict heavy damages to the U.S. seriously as well as Zionist regime.”

  17. Kathleen says:

    Iran’s nuclear activity under scrutiny as evidence of weapons threat emerges

    Atomic agency report uncovers Iranian nuclear experiments experts claim could only be used for development of warhead
    link to guardian.co.uk

    Russia threatens to supply Iran with top new missile system as ‘cold war’ escalates
    Russia is deploying the threat to sell a “game changing” air defence system to Iran as a high stakes bargaining chip in its new “cold war” with America, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

    link to telegraph.co.uk

    • annie says:

      kathleen, that guardian report is suspect

      A report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog due to be circulated around the world next week will provide fresh evidence of a possible Iranian nuclear weapons programme, bringing the Middle East a step closer to a devastating new conflict, say diplomats.

      it’s all anonymous diplomats and ‘officials’.

      • Kathleen says:

        Here we go…the warmongers trying to get out in front of the report coming out. Spinning before it comes out

        Iran: the damning nuclear evidence
        Iran is attempting to engineer and test nuclear weapons at a series of banned production sites in defiance of United Nations sanctions, according to a report to be released next week.

        link to telegraph.co.uk
        The research by the UN’s watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will add a substantial layer to seven years of investigations that is likely to inflame tensions in the Middle East.

        Yukiya Amano, the organisation’s director-general, is unlikely to draw a definitive conclusion that Iran is making nuclear weapons, but according to Western diplomats the facts will make any other conclusion implausible.

        They believe the IAEA has substantiated evidence from intelligence reports, interviews with Iranian scientists and on-the-ground inspections that Iran is carrying out a nuclear weapons programme in parallel to its civilian energy goals.

        The agency will sound the alarm over Iranian scientists’ work to develop a ballistic missile warhead capable of carrying a nuclear device. It has already uncovered evidence that Iran has been carrying out research into triggers for nuclear weapons.

        Inspectors have also questioned Iranian scientists on simulation programmes that they believe are designed to design and test a potential weapon.

      • Kathleen says:

        Julian Borger is highly regarded. He was really on it before the invasion of Iraq. Out ahead of most

        • annie says:

          i have no doubt what borger says is true. he’s reporting diplomats are claiming they know what’s in the report, and they are.

          and what about that telegraph report by Damien McElroy, Adrian Blomfield in Jerusalem, Duncan Gardham and Alex Spillius..why don’t they just quote people? why all the “according to Western diplomats”?

          it’s too weird for my taste. instead of just saying ‘the IAEA will not conclude Iran is making nuclear weapons’ they say

          “Yukiya Amano, the organisation’s director-general, is unlikely to draw a definitive conclusion that Iran is making nuclear weapons, but according to Western diplomats the facts will make any other conclusion implausible. ”

          well wft? why don’t the western diplomats just say the IAEA is not capable of coming to plausible conclusions?

          all this does is come out in front of the likely results, the ones that do NOT conclude iran is making nuclear weapons, and prep the audience for spinning that they are. “unlikely to draw a definitive conclusion that Iran is making nuclear weapons” is hasbara speak for ‘we are predicting the IAEA report will NOT conclude iran is making nuclear weapons.’

          gee, i could have told you that.

  18. annie says:

    dbg, as far as i know this is the first and only report claiming to know what the next IAEA report is going to disclose. what other report are you referencing?

    • DBG says:

      annie, not this report specifically, but all reports regarding the this ‘attack’ on Iran come from ‘diplomats’ or ‘anonymous’ sources. You just chose to pick this one because the report isn’t to your liking.

      • annie says:

        no i picked this report because it claimed what was going to be in a highly anticipated future report by an agency not known for leaks. it’s not like the goi who’s famous for leaks and lies. just hold your horses. nov 8th is only a few days away. there’s plenty of time to hyperventilate over the report then.

        • Kathleen says:

          The radical warmongers always trump the IAEA reports before they come out. Generally there is a declassified summary report for the public’s consumption. One of the last IAEA reports on Iran no summary was released. hmmmm

        • annie says:

          always trump the IAEA reports before they come out.

          yep, it’s the best time for humping it. it’s harder to hump after it comes out deflating their meme. so this is go time for hasbara central. all gears on full speed ahead.

  19. Kathleen says:

    That alleged “top Iranian officials involved with trying to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador” looked like a false flag operation and was all over the news a couple of weeks ago. Seemed to hit a brick wall within days. Although at that point the warmongers have all ready turned the public into a bit of a frenzy about Iran. It was all over the front pages of local papers “Iran planning attack” sort of crap.

    And now more serious drumming out of the UK, trumping of the IAEA’s upcoming report. They are beating the drum more and more

  20. I do not recall the new UN report being addressed on Mondoweiss, but I want to point out it says, according to this Special UN Committee, that the Blockade of Gaza is collective punishment. That means it is illegal, a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. And the Flotilla has every right to do all it can lawfully do to break this illegal Blockade of Gaza.

    “12. The overarching observation of the Special Committee regarding the situation in Gaza is that Israel’s blockade, which has been in place for over four years, continues to collectively punish the civilian population. The Committee further observes that the blockade neither undermines support for the de facto authorities in Gaza nor enhances Israel’s security. This collective punishment, which violates Israel’s international legal obligations, is having a grave impact on the children of Gaza. ”

    And this report, unlike the Palmer Commission report has a clear UN Mandate:

    “II. Mandate

    2. The mandate of the Special Committee, as set out in resolution 2443 (XXIII) and subsequent resolutions, is to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories. The occupied territories are considered those remaining under Israeli occupation, namely, the occupied Syrian Golan and the occupied Palestinian territory, which comprises the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

    3. The present report is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution
    65/102. By this resolution, the Assembly requested the Special Committee, “pending complete termination of the Israeli occupation, to continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, especially Israeli violations of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and to consult, as appropriate, with the International Committee of the Red Cross according to its regulations in order to
    ensure that the welfare and human rights of the peoples of the occupied territories are safeguarded and to report to the Secretary-General as soon as possible and whenever the need arises thereafter”. The Assembly also requested the Committee “to continue to investigate the treatment and status of the thousands of prisoners and detainees, including children and women, in Israeli prisons and detention centres in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967”.

    “Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

    Note by the Secretary-General

    The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General Assembly the forty-third report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, which was submitted pursuant to Assembly resolution 65/102.”

    daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/…

    • My link to the UN Special Committee Report dated September 22, 2011, is not working, here is the correct link.

      link to daccess-dds-ny.un.org

      The report addresses appalling conditions in Gaza:

      15. Pregnant women, in particular, were suffering: 54 per cent of pregnant women were experiencing depression; 33 per cent were overweight and 33 per cent were suffering from anaemia. It was emphasized that pregnant women did not have access to sufficient nutrients to safely and successfully carry their pregnancies full term. It was alleged that that was likely to be driving the increasing incidence of stunting in Gaza and the fact that 95 per cent of Gaza’s water was unfit for human consumption was leading to cases of methaemoglobinaemia (“blue-baby syndrome”) among babies born in Gaza. In addition, the Special Committee was briefed on allegations that the Government of Israel has a “red-lines document” that outlines how many
      calories a day each Gazan requires simply to survive, which according to
      information received, has been determined by Israeli authorities to be 620, and guides Israeli policies regarding the importation of basic foodstuffs.

      The urgent need to reconstruct Gaza

      16. The Special Committee saw first-hand that much of the devastation of
      infrastructure that occurred during Israel’s operation “Cast Lead” in December 2008 and January 2009 remains. Interlocutors informed the Committee that the reconstruction of Gaza was not possible in the present circumstances, as Israel’s blockade inhibited the importation of sufficient materials. The members received reports that about 51,000 civilians had lost their homes during the operation and that there was a need for about 76,000 homes to be built on an annual basis, including to account for natural population growth. While UNRWA noted that its Gaza recovery
      plan called for the construction of 100 schools and 10,000 homes, it stressed that the process of receiving Israel’s approval for projects was extremely slow, with bureaucratic intricacies making it unnecessarily difficult and burdensomely expensive to carry out construction projects. UNRWA also noted that, currently, only 28 per cent of its Gaza recovery plan had been approved by Israel.

      The report also addresses appalling conditions in the rest of the OPT and in the treatment of prisoners, over 200 prisoners have reportedly died from drug experiments carried out non the Palestinian prisoners by their Israeli Occupiers.

      • “620 calories to survive”.??
        It is immposible to survive on 620 calories.
        It’s like what?? 5 slices of plain bread and one ,small coffee with milk nad sugar? Or a few bowls of plain rice and 1 apple juce per day?
        And we are just taking about survival ,not a proper daily nutrition that is needed for overall growth.
        Especially ,that majority of Gaza population are children and youth ,and they DO need badly a proper nourishment for their development.

  21. thetumta says:

    Who is Bibi going to Nuke and when. Barry won’t step up. Six million Iranians evaporated. That’s what it will come to once the Iranians hit back as they should and will. Oh well, a small price to pay, a peaceful nation with problems gets obliterated. I expect the comments will be kind of thin. What are you going to talk about ?
    Hej!

  22. Theo says:

    Great news, best of luck to those brave people.

    But, where are all those big mouths from this blog who so vehemently fight for the rights and freedom of the palestinians, from their armchair, posibly sipping a drink or a coffee.
    DID YOU EVER DO ANYTHING; BUT WRITE BRAVE COMMENTS!!!

    Those blog riders, who scan the internet for the latest comments and change their opinions according the latest gossip, when needed twice a day.
    Why are you not on those ships?
    Only the doers can change history, so do something beside hitting those keys.

    • annie says:

      theo, i’ve been to gaza tho not on one of the flotillas but that wasn’t for lack of trying. there was a waiting list. it’s expensive putting a flotilla together and there always seem to be more people want to go than there’s room for.

      change their opinions according the latest gossip, when needed twice a day.

      since, according to you it happens twice a day, you shouldn’t have any problem giving us a few examples. i don’t know what you’re referring to.

      • Mooser says:

        Oh, there’s no need to beat around the arbutus here; he’s talking about me. Who else could it be? He’s only avoiding specific quotes out of pity. And don’t think I don’t appreciate it!

        • annie says:

          beat around the arbutus? i swear you keep me in stitches. they’d never let you on one of those boats mooser. you’re the seasick type, you’d be throwing up all over the deck.

        • Mooser says:

          “you’re the seasick type”

          Yes, but my whole life is a journey, as I travel from here to infirmity!
          I even took LSD once, but had a bum-voyage.*

          *(Hey, if Madoff can do it, so can I! Sorry, Woody.)

    • Djinn says:

      Theo, I’ve been to the West Bank and Gaza and will be back next year as soon as the bank balance allows to work with a village in the West Bank, stuff like human rights reports, escorting kids to school and farmers to their lands as an international presence tends to somewhat (sometimes) lessen the chances of violent attack by the IOF or settlers terrorists. While at home I am active in the BDS campaign and other actions – flash mob against the Apartheid Wall this weekend for anyone in Melbourne – and speak about Palestine at various functions. Many people here have longer ‘CVs’ than mine, you’re barking up the wrong tree here.