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Zuckerman rag prints bald-faced lies on upcoming flotilla to Gaza

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It comes as no surprise that a newspaper owned by Mort Zuckerman, an ardent Zionist, would be anti-Palestinian and that it would strongly oppose efforts to break the Israeli naval blockade by sending a flotilla of ships to Gaza.  But a recent editorial printed by the Zuckerman-owned New York Daily News is a particularly egregious example of U.S. media’s aversion to the facts on Israel/Palestine.  The bald-faced lies–which follow recent Israeli pronouncements about the “terrorists” organizing the upcoming international flotilla to break the Israeli blockade–printed would be laughable only if it wasn’t going to be read by thousands of people.   

The editorial states:

Sponsors of the flotilla are happily playing with fire, as they did a year ago in sailing into the blockade under the guise of delivering medicines and the like to Gaza. In fact, some of those ships carried suicidal fighters instead of useful goods. Nine of the brigands died when Israeli commandos were forced to board and came under assault.

To claim that those aboard the Mavi Marmara were the aggressors is to completely invert reality. The attack was conducted in international waters after Israel cut off all communications from the ships and surrounded the flotilla with over 20 naval vessels and warships, along with multiple helicopters. In addition to the 45 highly-trained and heavily-armed commandos who rappelled onto the largest ship, the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, murdering at least 9 civilians and wounding about 60 more, about 650 other Israeli troops, including surveillance and support troops alongside those who actually boarded the ships, took part in the illegal assault on the flotilla. 

And then there’s these howlers:

No one of any credibility disputes that Israel’s blockade is legal under international law. In coordination with Egypt, Israel barred sea-going shipments into Gaza in 2009 after years of Palestinian mortar and rocket attacks on Jewish soil.

As a board of inquiry put it:

“Israel imposed the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip for military-security reasons, which mainly concerned the need to prevent weapons, terrorists and money” from entering.

The UN has recognized the blockade’s legitimacy under international law. Now, it must prevent this perilous propaganda ploy.

First of all, the naval blockade has been in place since 2007, along with the land and air blockade–not 2009 as the editorial claims.  The “board of inquiry” the Daily News refers to is the Turkel Commission, the name for the Israeli investigation into the flotilla events–hardly a neutral source of facts about the blockade of Gaza. 

And finally, it appears that Zuckerman’s newspaper likes to make up facts.  The UN has not “recognized the blockade’s legitimacy under international law.”  In fact, various UN reports have labeled the blockade illegal.  The UN fact-finding mission on the 2008-09 Gaza conflict, known as the Goldstone report, stated that the blockade was a form of collective punishment and that it was therefore in “violation of the provisions of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”  The UN report on the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara also clearly states that the blockade is illegal.  In 2009, the Associated Press reported that “U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay has accused Israel of violating the rules of war with its blockade stopping people and goods from moving in and out of the Gaza Strip.”

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City. His analysis of United States policy and Middle East issues, particularly with reference to current events in Iran, Israel, and Palestine, can also be found in numerous other online and print publications, as well as his own website, WideAsleepInAmerica.com.

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist based in New York City, blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States at alexbkane.wordpress.com.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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