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May 30, 2010

Rattling the Cage: Living it up in Gaza

Gaza is a paradise if Foreign Ministry statements are any indication.

Don’t you just wish you lived in Gaza? Don’t you just envy those people who get to raise their kids amid such abundance? Look at all the stuff they’ve got:

“Truckloads of meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other staples arrive in Gaza on a daily basis,” said the Foreign Ministry in advance of the “Freedom Flotilla,” due to either reach Gaza or get intercepted by the navy today.

“Since the cease-fire in January 2009, well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel – that is almost a ton of aid for each man, woman and child in the Strip.”

A ton each! Somebody put those people on a diet! They get “most types of food,” said the IDF. Most types! Even pasta, ever since Sen. John Kerry went to Gaza last year and found that the IDF was banning pasta, and convinced army officials, softies that they are, to start letting it in.

But the story of life in Gaza gets even happier. In the first quarter of 2010, the IDF said, “Israel transferred 250 trucks of equipment for the UNRWA summer camp, including arts and crafts equipment, swimming pools, inflatable toys, ice cream machines, musical instruments, clothing, sports equipment, etc.”

They eat ice cream, they swim, they play music. Paradise! And look at this: “Special permission was granted to Gaza footballers to train in Judea and Samaria and compete in international matches abroad.”

We even let their soccer team out to play. It took special permission, but hey, for those guys and those fans, if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.

SO WHO are these goddamn Jew-haters and their boats, The Rachel Corrie – the “St. Pancake” they should call it. Who are these Nazi human rights organizations? And who is this John Ging, this terrorist who runs UNRWA in Gaza? “We recommend the world send ships to Gaza,” he says. “Breaking the siege on Gaza is possible.”

We should put him on a ship and sink it.

The UN. Anti-Semites, all of them. They try to make everything in Gaza look terrible. Read this garbage by the “UN Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs, Occupied Palestinian Territory.” (“Occupied.” I love that.) They put out a report every week about how awful it is for the poor Palestinians. Look at this crap from their last one, for May 12-18:

“Imports of industrial fuel to operate the Gaza power plant further declined this week… this week’s figure represents 27 percent of the actual estimated weekly amount of fuel required for the power plant to operate at full capacity. As a result, the majority of the population continues to experience power cuts of eight to 12 hours per day, forcing them to rely on generators run by fuel… These generators, which are imported largely through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, can be unsafe… [A] generator fire broke out inside a house this week, killing two members of one family and injuring five others. Since the beginning of the year, 31 Palestinians have been killed and 41 others injured in generator-related incidents.”

They’re not careful – that’s our fault? They probably started the fires on purpose to blame it on Israel. Here’s some more garbage:

“Quantities of imported cooking gas also further declined this week… representing only 64% of the average weekly needs… As shortfalls continue, the rationing scheme for cooking gas, introduced in November 2009, remains in place.”

Oh, too bad, they won’t be able to heat their ice cream. A tragedy. Now look what big, bad Israel is doing to the poor fisherman in Gaza:

“Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from shore also continued to be enforced; in at least two incidents this week, Israeli naval vessels opened ‘warning’ fire toward Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore.”

Do we know these “fishermen” aren’t really terrorists? Can we take a chance? Nobody got killed, did they? Oh, but wait, now read this from the last weekly installment of the UN Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

“Israeli forces shot and killed one elderly Palestinian civilian and injured another one in two separate incidents near the Gaza-Israel border… On 14 May, Israeli forces positioned on the border east of Jabalya shot and killed an elderly Palestinian man while he was visiting the grave of his wife in a cemetery located in the area. In a separate incident, Israeli forces opened fire toward a group of Palestinians collecting rubble near the border, injuring one of them. Israeli forces continue to enforce access restrictions in the ‘buffer zone’ by opening ‘warning’ fire toward people entering the area, affecting farmers and workers, and leveling lands in border areas.”

Well, maybe if the terrorists in Gaza didn’t keep trying to get near the fence and kill our soldiers, we wouldn’t have to shoot old men in cemeteries and kids collecting rubble, would we? (Rubble? They have swimming pools, arts and crafts, musical instruments, and spend their time looking through rubble? A fat lot of good it does trying to help those kids.)

They’re terrorists, doesn’t everybody understand? They try to kill us and we never did anything to them. We got out of Gaza, remember? There’s no more occupation. Finished!

And now the Jew-haters are coming with their boats and their food and their medical aid – to make us look bad! That’s all they want to do. They don’t care about the people in Gaza. The people in Gaza don’t even care about the people in Gaza, about their own children. Only we do. Only Israel cares about those people. Look at all the things we do for them. And the world doesn’t appreciate it. Well, what do you expect?

I only wish somebody would treat us Israelis like we treat people in Gaza.

It’s too bad; we’d give the world a real lesson in how to show appreciation.

Galloway supports flotilla

George Galloway founder of the worldwide Viva Palestina movement and leader of three land convoys which broke the siege on Gaza today hailed the heroic sea-borne aid effort steaming towards Gaza.

Speaking from Miami Florida where he is in the middle of a twelve city speaking tour of the US on Palestine Galloway hailed the Turkish humanitarian organisation IHH which has organised and leads the flotilla as “heroes” who are facing the hardships of the seas and the threats of violence from Gaza’s beseigers the Apartheid state of Israel.
Galloway called on all people and governments of goodwill to insist on safe passage for the hundreds of humanitarians on board the ships and the unmolested delivery of the vital aid supplies on board.

Promising on behalf of Viva Palestina Arabia a second sea convoy later in the year – again in partnership with IHH – Galloway thanked the government of Turkey and it’s incomparable prime minister Erdogan for
showing the world the way to peacefully confront the international crime being committed against the people of Palestine.

Arafat Shoukri: “Conditions are ripe to make this flotilla the ‘tipping point’“

A coalition bringing together a number of organizations is preparing to send in May 2010 a relief flotilla of more than ten ships and cargo-boats to Gaza.
Dr. Arafat Shoukri, president of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) will participate in this spectacular convoy with his Campaign, which is an NGO. He has spared no effort for three years to lead delegations of European parliamentarians to allow them to see on the ground the untenable situation in Gaza and to encourage them to call on the Member States of the European Union to exert pressure on Israel with a view to ending its suffocation of the people of Gaza.
Dr. Arafat Shoukri responds here to the questions of Silvia Cattori.

Silvia Cattori: When was the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza created and what is its mission [1]?

Arafat Shoukri: The European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza was launched in late 2007 to mobilize the greater European community in opposition to the siege on Gaza. Even then, more than three years ago, the siege was strangling the productivity and culture of the people, and it has only gotten worse since then with the 2008/2009 Israeli attack. It is our mission to work through the 30 NGOs that make up our coalition, as well as individual supporters, to break the siege by lobbying European lawmakers, educating the media and delivering humanitarian aid.

Silvia Cattori: On April 4, 2010, people around the world who are concerned about the siege which asphyxiates Gaza learned with relief that after months of preparation your NGO, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, will sail soon as part of a new campaign to try to force the passage [3]. Why did you make your statement from Istanbul?

Arafat Shoukri: We chose Istanbul as the venue for the announcement of our latest – and largest – break-the-siege flotilla, both because it is the home of one of our major partners, IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi) – which brought one of the last convoys into Gaza (December 2009), and because Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayeb Erdogan, has so courageously spoken out against the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Despite Turkey’s close relationship with Israel – even conducting joint military exercises in the past – it has bravely and without apology called the attack on Gaza the war crime that it was. The West could learn from Turkey’s example.

read on

Egyptian Statement in Solidarity with the Flotilla

Dear all,

I am writing to you on the behalf of the “We are all resistance” movement (Kollona Muqawama). We salute all of you and each and everyone involved in organizing the Gaza flotilla. We also issued a statement in this occasion that a 234 Egyptian political leaders, members of parliament, labour activists, and student activists signed in support of the mission, all belonging to various types of political movements in Egypt (mostly on the left, Arab nationalists, and Islamic left). We would be very happy if you can forward this statement to our brothers and sisters on borad the ships. The least we could do is show solidarity at this moment. We are also holding a protest in front of the Egyptian parliament on June 1st to protest the extension of the emergency law. This protest has been scheduled for over two weeks now. We contacted the protest organizers and they welcomed lifting banners in solidarity with your mission in the protest, as most of the organizers have already signed this statement.

Key signatories include, Sun’ala Ibrahim, Egypt’s best novelist, and also one who rejected Egypt highest prize in literature before; Hamdeen Sabahi, an MP and popular nominee for Egyptian presidency; Ibrahim Yousri, ex-ambassador and key figure in the national movement; Magdy Hussien, leader of the labour party and currently serving two years in prison for having crossed to Gaza during the war in definace of the embargo; Abdelhalim Kandil, the general coordinator of the kefaya movement; Yahya al-Qaza, Mohamed Sharaf, Saeid El-Nashaei, all key figures in Kefya; Ahmad Fouad Nejm, one of Egypt’s top poets; Wajdi Ghoniem, and Maher Amr, key scholars of religion; known writers Ahmad El-Khamisi, Safinaz Kazim; and key syndicalists, Mohamed Abdel Qudus, and Yehia Qalash–among many other prominent signatories.

with all respect and best wishes,

Mohamed Waked,

Kollona Muqawama (we are all resistance) movement.

Gaza flotilla drives Israel into a sea of stupidity

An Israeli woman sunbathes off Tel Aviv coast as she takes part in a 16-boat protest against a Turkish ship sailing for Gaza, on May 22, 2010.

Of course the peace flotilla will not bring peace, and it won’t even manage to reach the Gaza shore. The action plan has included dragging the ships to Ashdod port, but it has again dragged us to the shores of stupidity and wrongdoing

The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the “peace flotilla” dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics.

read on

Gaza : We will not go down


At 08.50 am today we are awaiting the arrival of the European parliamentarians, who begin to shuttle from Northern Cyprus to our staging ground in international waters to the south of the island where they will board the lead ship. The decision by the Greek Cypriot government not only not to allow the flotilla to harbour there, but also to object to, and twice prevent, the departure of a
parliamentary delegation directly by sea to join the convoy is creating something of a scandal in Greece and beyond.

Cyprus recently elected its first ever Communist President, earning him the moniker the Fidel Castro of the Mediterranean. If this recent shabby episode is anything to go by, Akel, the Cypriot Communist Party, would be better served by its previous policy of supporting a left of centre figure for the highest office. The last such president allowed friends of Palestine to
muster there.

Five vessels are ready to go – three cargos and two passenger, three Turkish and two that sailed from Athens – one Greek and one Greek-Swedish. They are larger boats and the clear lesson is that for such an operation a few larger and well fitted vessels are more effective than a larger number of smaller boats.

A coalition of organisations and initiatives has come together in this flotilla, but the Turkish IHH has set the standard by raising around 20 million USD and setting about the mission with elan, peerless organisation and a collegiate approach that belies the extent to which they are responsible for the impressive force that is gathered now in the Eastern Mediterranean.

To my mind, the lessons are worth learning now, for whatever the outcome of the next 48 hours, there will be another sea mission to Gaza – and it will need to be even bigger and broader.

A small boat has pulled alongside with the parliamentary delegation. They will now join us on the Mavri Marmara and then it’s all a question of timing:when to start the 18 to 20 hour journey down to Gaza so as to avoid giving the Israeli forces the best conditions to attack us.

Kevin Ovenden
Viva Palestina

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