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June 11, 2010

Gaza Freedom March, Free Gaza Movement, and Code Pink voluntarily made themselves available for arrest in Rep. Brad Sherman’s offices on Capitol Hil

Taytaba2 — 11 juin 2010 — Responding to Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) who publicly called for the arrest and prosecution of “any U.S. citizens who were aboard or involved with the Freedom Flotilla” under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,’ Gaza Flotilla activists with the Free Gaza Movement, Gaza Freedom March, Code Pink, and Freedom Flotilla voluntarily make themselves available for arrest in Rep. Brad Sherman’s Capitol Hill offices on Thursday, June 10th, 2010

The moral failure of American liberals

A defence of Helen Thomas

by JONATHAN COO

JUNE 10, 2010

The ostracism of Helen Thomas, the doyenne of the White House press corps, over her comment that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Poland, Germany, America and elsewhere is revealing in several ways. In spite of an apology, the 89-year-old has been summarily retired by the Hearst newspaper group, dropped by her agent, spurned by the White House, and denounced by long-time friends and colleagues.

Ms Thomas earnt a reputation as a combative journalist, at least by American standards, with a succession of administrations over their Middle East policies, culminating in Bush officials boycotting her for her relentless criticisms of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. But the reaction to her latest remarks suggest that, if there is one topic in American public life on which the boundaries of what can and cannot be said are still tightly policed, it is Israel.

Undoubtedly, Ms Thomas’ opinions, as she expressed them in an unguarded moment, were inappropriate and required an apology. It is true, as she says, that Palestine was occupied and the land taken from the Palestinians by Jewish immigrants with no right to it barring a Biblical title deed. But 62 years on from Israel’s creation, most Jewish citizens have no home to go to in Poland and Germany – or in Iraq and Yemen, for that matter. There is also an uncomfortable echo in her words of the chauvinism underpinning demands from some Jews – and many Israelis – that Palestinians should “go home to the 22 Arab states”.

But Ms Thomas did apologise and, after that, a line ought to have been drawn under the affair – as it surely would have been had she made any other kind of faux pas. Instead, she has been denounced as an anti-Semite, even by her former friends.

The reasoning of one, Lanny Davis, counsel to the White House in the Clinton administration, was typical. Mr Davis, who said he previously considered himself “a close friend”, asked whether anyone would be “protective of Helen’s privileges and honors if she had been asking Blacks to return to Africa, or Native Americans to Asia and South America, from which they came 8,000 or more years ago?”

It is that widely accepted analogy, appropriating the black and Native American experience in a wholly misguided way, that reveals in stark fashion the moral failure of American liberals. In their blindness to the current relations of power in the US, most critics of Ms Thomas contribute to the very intolerance they claim to be challenging.

Ms Thomas is an Arab-American, of Lebanese descent, whose remarks were publicised in the immediate wake of Israel’s lethal commando attack on a flotilla of aid ships trying to break the siege of Gaza. Unlike most Americans, who were half-wakened from their six-decade Middle East slumber by the killing of at least nine Turkish activists, Ms Thomas has been troubled by the Palestinians’ plight for much of her long lifetime.

She was in her late twenties when Israel ethnically cleansed three-quarters of a million Palestinians from most of Palestine, a move endorsed by the fledgling United Nations. She was in her mid-forties when Israel took over the rest of Palestine and parts of Egypt and Syria in a war that dealt a crushing blow to Arab identity and pride and made Israel a favoured ally of the US. In her later years she has witnessed Israel’s repeated destruction of Lebanon, her parents’ homeland, and the slow confinement and erasure of the neighbouring Palestinian people. Both have occurred under a duplicitious American “peace process” while Washington has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into Israel’s coffers.

It is therefore entirely understandable if, despite her own personal success, she feels a simmering anger not only at what has taken place throughout her lifetime in the Middle East but also at the silencing of all debate about it in the US by the Washington elites she counted as friends and colleagues.

While she has many long-standing Jewish friends in Washington – making the anti-Semite charge implausible – she has also seen them and others promote injustice in the Middle East. Doubtless she, like many of us, has been exasperated at the toothless performance of the press corps she belongs to in holding the White House to account in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine.

It is with this context in mind that we can draw a more fitting analogy. We should ask instead: How harshly should Ms Thomas be judged were she a black professional who, seeing yet another injustice like the video of Rodney King being beaten to within an inch of his life by white policemen, had said white Americans ought to “go home to Europe”?

This analogy accords more closely with the reality of power relations in the US between Arabs and Jews. Ms Thomas is not a representative of the oppressor white man disrespecting the oppressed black man, as Mr Davis suggests; she is the oppressed black man hitting back at the oppressor. Her comments shocked not least because they denied an image that continues to dominate in modern America of the vulnerable Jew, a myth that persists even as Jews have become the most successful minority in the country.

Ms Thomas let her guard down and her anger and resentment show. She generalised unfairly. She sounded bitter. She needed to – and has – apologised. But she does not deserve to be pilloried and blacklisted.

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Khalid Amayreh – Israel’s Arab Hasbara Agents

•Abdul Rahman al-Rashed

By Khalid Amayreh • Jun 10th, 2010 at 10:51

WRITTEN BY KHALID AMAYREH IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE

Just as Israel’s barbarianism was being exposed to hundreds of millions of viewers around the world, following the criminal state’s bloody raid on the Gaza Freedom flotilla on 31 May, Abdul Rahman al Rashed was barking from London, blaming Hamas for the persistence of the Israeli or more correctly Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the coastal territory.

This is the same Abdul Rahman al Rashed that only a few years ago claimed that while all Muslims were not terrorists, it was clear that all terrorists were Muslim.
Thus, in just one sound-bite he exonerated the world’s premier terrorists from any wrong doing, effectively granting a certificate of innocence to murderous Ashkenazi vandals who stole Palestine from its rightful owners and also to Nazi-like America which had just occupied and destroyed two sovereign Muslim nations based on lies and baseless allegations.

Abdul Rahman al Rashed is literally translated into “the Servant of the Compassionate (Allah), the rightly-guided.” However, a more fitting name for this intellectual midget should connote or denote the fact that he is a willing slave for Zionist propaganda and decadent Arab tyrannies.

In his tedious, monotonous writings, this pseudo-intellectual has repeatedly demonstrated a shocking propensity to side with and support everything and anything Zionist or American against everything and anything Islamic or Palestinian or Arab or even human.

His unscrupulous espousal and advocacy of Zionist narratives are beyond disgraceful. He should be called Abdul al Shaytan, rather than Abdul Rahman, and al Dhal instead of al Rashed.

This intellectual midget, who is given ample tribune to spread his manifestly stupid but thoroughly poisoned vagaries, has claimed, among other things, that Iran stood behind the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Well, if Iran is in the business of trying to lift the Judeo Nazi siege imposed on 1.700,000 Palestinians languishing for the fourth successive year under one of history’s most draconian sieges, then we should salute the Iranian regime in the most cordial manner.

After all, taking part in alleviating the hardship and suffering facing helpless people being starved and tormented by the Nazis of our time, namely Israel, is the ultimate expression of humanness, gallantry, and self-abnegation, whereas cowering in the face of Israel and its guardian-ally, the United States, by letting the people of Gaza starve and die quietly, is the ultimate expression of cowardice, treachery and contemptibility.

Indeed, as the quality of metals is often tested by fire, so is the quality of men tested by their stands and attitudes toward the enduring scandal of the enduring Gaza nightmare as well as the overall Palestinian cause.

Al Rashed says he was absolutely sure that Israel viewed the “extremists in the region as her allies” because “both want to thwart Obama’s peace scheme.”
Well, what peace scheme is this ignorant man talking about? Indeed, if Obama can’t bring himself to denounce the maritime massacre of Mavi Marmara, who in his or her right mind would count on him and his administration to force Israel to give up the spoils of the 1967-war and enable the orphan-like Palestinian Authority (PA) to have a truly viable and territorially contiguous state with Jerusalem as its capital?

Besides, if Hamas and Hezbullah, who are defending the dignity of the umma, are not at the forefront of the resistance against Israel, who is then? The filthy-rich oil mega-thieves who squander the wealth of Muslims to satisfy their bestial desires and morbid fantasies? Or the mindless idiots who are building the world’s tallest skyscrapers when they can’t even manufacture their own underwear?
In the last verse of Surat Muhammed, the Almighty warns these misguided people: “If you go astray, God will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!”

This flamboyant ignoramus gives the impression that America’s failure or inability to pressure Israel to walk in the path of peace is attributed to Arab extremism, not Zio-Nazism.

So, what ideas does this idiot possess in order to nudge Israel to be forthcoming and come to terms with Obama’s peace scheme?

Does he suggest allowing Jews to return to al Madina al Munawarra, for example? Or perhaps he might be thinking that Arab states should start teaching Shulhan Aruch and Chesronot Shas to Arab kids starting with grade-1 in order to impress Israel and organizations like AIPAC?

Al-Rashed may be tempted to view himself as an Arab intellectual. However, he and his like-minded “intellectuals” are nothing more than cheap mercenaries serving Zionist propaganda against Islam, Arabs and the noble Palestinian cause.
This is amply evident from the fact that he and his fellow traitors are heavily quoted by the Zionist hasbara machine including the Israeli foreign ministry sites.
I am really reluctant to spend time exposing this scoundrel. During the genocidal Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip, he stood decidedly against Hamas as if Hamas, not Israel, were raining White Phosphorus on the children and women of Gaza. And now, he is blaming the democratically-elected movement for the persistence of the blockade of Gaza. Perhaps I shouldn’t be alluding to democracy, after all he comes from a land that doesn’t know how to spell the word “democracy” and is now trying to blindly imitate the west’s promiscuous ways in order to gain a certificate of good conduct from the sages of Zionism in North America.

Well, doesn’t this confused pseudo-intellectual realize that Israel has been occupying and tormenting Gaza for decades. Indeed, Israel had more than 20 years during which Hamas didn’t exist. However, instead of making peace and giving up the spoils of aggression, Israel was busy stealing Arab land, destroying Arab homes and building Jewish settlements.

Yasser Arafat gave the Israelis everything they asked for, in the hope that they would relent and come to terms with Palestinian rights and dignity. He even went as far as tormenting and torturing his own people in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from Isaac Rabin, the pseudo-peace dove who had ordered his troops to break the bones of Palestinian children. And what was the result of all this blindness of the mind? They killed him in his own headquarters in Ramallah.

And now the Commander of the Faithful in Ramallah, Abu Mazen, al-Rashed’s apparent darling, is even outmatching Arafat by indulging in all these stupid sycophantic theatrics that only serve to further degrade and dishonor the Palestinian people, while emboldening the Zio-Nazi leadership in Tel Aviv including the wild Jewish animals, known as the settlers in the West Bank.

The London-based quisling journalist is strikingly naïve. He is audacious enough to think that all the suffering in Gaza would come to an abrupt end if only Hamas and other Palestinian factions ignored the fate of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners and freedom fighters languishing in Zionist concentration camps by unconditionally releasing an Israeli prisoner of war and succumbing to “Chosen People” or “Master Race.”

Well, does this misguided man think that Shalit’s life is more important than the lives of thousands of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli dungeons? Is al Rashed a follower of Rambam or a flower of Muhammed?

Had he possessed a modicum of rectitude, he would have called for all prisoners, Israelis and Palestinians alike to be released. But the cheapness of character he seems to possess precludes any balanced approach on his parrt to this issue, which makes him an obedient mouthpiece at the Zionists’ beck and call.
In Surat Aaliimara, hypocrites are exposed for their treachery and moral duplicity as in the following verse (119)

“If good befalls you, it grieves them; but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you are constant and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you; for Allah Compasseth round about all that they do.”

The crimes I saw on the Mavi Marmara

Palestinians in Haifa demonstrate in protest of Israel's attacks on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, 1 June 2010. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

Lubna Masarwa writing from Kfor Qara, Live from Palestine, 8 June 2010

During the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, deep in international waters, I was inside the body of the ship. We were unarmed civilians ranging in age from a one-year-old child to an 88-year-old priest. We were going to Gaza to break the siege that Israel has imposed on a million-and-a-half people for the last four years. We were carrying a cargo of humanitarian and construction aid as well as letters from Turkish children to the children of Gaza. We were full of hope. When the attack began at 4am on 31 May 2010, our ship was transformed into a military target. On the deck, at first there was heavy firing, and then the Israeli occupation’s commandos took control of the ship.

Minutes after the attack began, wounded and corpses were being brought inside from the deck. We were then held for several hours with four bodies and dozens of wounded, some in critical condition. Blood was pouring from the bodies of the dead and the injured. We wanted to help them, but we had no medical equipment to treat them. There was nothing we could do. One Turkish woman was crying and saying goodbye to the body of her dead husband, petting his face and reading the Quran over him. Another man had a bullet wound in his head and was dying.

From 5am on, we were begging the Israeli navy to provide medical assistance to the wounded and dying but received no response. We made the request in English and Hebrew through the loudspeaker and also wrote a sign in Hebrew reading, “SOS … people dying in need of immediate medical attention” and put it on the window in front of them. They ordered the people with the sign to get lost.

At around 7am they ordered us to come to the exit door one by one. I requested in Hebrew that medics be allowed to stay with the wounded; a solider told me to shut my mouth. Later he called me, “You, tell the wounded that if they want to stay alive, they should come out one by one.” We tried to bring the injured out individually, but they could not walk and were falling down.

We were transferred to the upper deck. We were searched; our hands were tied, and we were forced to sit or kneel on the deck as a military helicopter hovered within meters above our heads. Heavily-armed soldiers with guns and knives strapped to their arms and legs stood guard over us with dogs. They were standing around us with the blood of their victims on their boots, joking and making lewd sexual suggestions to each other about the female prisoners. Then Israeli personell came and strutted around the ship. We were held this way for hours. I was held here until 1:40am on 1 June 2010.

As soon as the Israeli occupation forces learned that I was a Palestinian Israeli citizen, I was treated more harshly and isolated from the rest of the other imprisoned passengers. I was taken to a prison in Ashkelon where I was held in isolation and subjected to humiliations such as strip searches four times a day. The next day we were brought to court, and I was held in a small metal box inside the police car for eight hours with my hands and legs shackled. We were subjected to various accusations, from attacking soldiers to carrying weapons. The judge gave the police permission to extend our detention for another eight days. After international pressure forced the Israeli authorities to release all the foreign prisoners, all the Palestinian citizens of Israel were taken to court again. This time, the judge ruled that we would be subject house arrest and would be forbidden to leave the country for 45 days.

As an occupier and a colonizer, Israel depends on the principle of “divide and conquer” in order to maintain its control. It is especially threatened by people like the Palestinian delegation from 1948 (what is now referred to as Israel) who sailed to Gaza on the Mavi Marmara, because we defy Israel’s attempt to divide us as Palestinians. By struggling with our sisters and brothers under the siege, we also send the message that we are one people and our struggle is one struggle. Israel is threatened by solidarity.

That Israel should murder civilians in international waters is not strange. It is a direct continuation of its policy of targeting civilians with lethal force and deadly policies such as the siege of Gaza, and Israeli policies of occupation and apartheid.

Israel feels entitled to besiege, to kill and to attack civilians in international water. This results from the silence of the world that makes Israel believe it has the right to do so.

This is the time to break the silence and to take action. To say “enough is enough” for Israel. Israel’s impunity must end. Israeli war criminals, such as the ones who committed piracy and murder on the Mavi Marmara and their superiors, must be held accountable for their crimes in international courts.

Lubna Masarwa was a Free Gaza Movement representative aboard the Mavi Marmara and wrote this essay from her house arrest in Kfor Qara, Palestine. She can be reached at Lubnna A T gmail D O T com.

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Turkish Doctor Describes Treating Israeli Commandos During Raid

By ROBERT MACKEY AND SEBNEM ARSU

A photograph from the Flickr page of I.H.H. a Turkish aid organization which helped organize the flotilla of ships raided last week on its way to Gaza. According to Dr. Hasan Huseyin Uysal, a Turkish doctor, the image shows him treating a wounded Israeli commando who was taken prisoner during the raid.I.H.H./Flickr A photograph from the Flickr page of I.H.H., a Turkish aid organization that helped organize the flotilla of ships raided last week on its way to Gaza. Dr. Hasan Huseyin Uysal, a Turkish doctor, said the image was taken as he tended to an Israeli commando captured during the raid.

Updated | 2:53 p.m. In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Hasan Huseyin Uysal, a Turkish doctor, said that he treated Israeli commandos who were captured and briefly detained during the initial stages of a raid on a ship challenging Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza last week.

Dr. Uysal’s account seems to be supported by two photographs that show him treating one of the three bloodied commandos whom passengers said they subdued and disarmed at the start of the predawn raid on the main ship in the flotilla on May 31. Both of the images were published by the Turkish newspaper HaberTurk, in a gallery on its Web site showing photographs smuggled off the ship and out of Israel by one of its reporters, Sefik Dinc. One photograph was also posted on Flickr by the Turkish aid organization that helped to organize the flotilla.
A screen shot of an image published on a Turkish newspaper Web site.HaberTurk A screen shot of an image published on a Turkish newspaper’s Web site.

The capture of the commandos moments after they rappelled down onto the Mavi Marmara from helicopters to meet fierce resistance from the passengers on the top deck led several Israeli military and civilian officials — including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — to suggest that the subsequent use of deadly force was justified because otherwise the soldiers would have been “lynched” by the passengers who seized them.

Several of the passengers involved in the confrontation have disputed that interpretation of the chaotic start of the raid. As The Lede noted on Tuesday, Ken O’Keefe, a former United States Marine who told Turkish and Israeli newspapers that he had helped disarm the commandos said, “The lives of the three commandos were at our mercy — we could have done with them whatever we wanted.”

Ali Abunimah, a founder of the Electronic Intifada, argued in a post on his blog that images of the commando being treated by Dr. Uysal, along with other photographs apparently taken during the raid that show bloodied and disarmed commandos in the custody of passengers inside the ship, contradict Israeli suggestions that the aim of the passengers was to kill the soldiers.

In a telephone interview conducted in Turkish, Dr. Uysal said that he had treated three Israeli commandos and argued that this proved that the passengers had no intention of killing them:

First of all it’s against logic that these soldiers would not be killed but instead be taken to the medical center if the intention of the activists was to kill them. If people on board were so eager to hurt them, why would they not just shoot them to death once they had taken their guns? Why bother carting them inside for treatment? It just doesn’t add up.

I am a doctor, and the Israeli soldiers were brought to me to check their medical situation and treat them properly. I had our dead bodies and injured people lying in front of me and I was treating the soldiers that actually killed and wounded them. None of our friends in the center approached to harm or hurt them. Our injured people were lying on the ground, but I rested the soldiers on our chairs.

Asked about the wounds the commandos suffered, the doctor said:

None of the soldiers had any fatal wounds that would cause organ loss or defects. There were scratches on their faces, but since facial skin is sensitive and very likely to bleed in any trauma, there was blood on their faces — which I cleaned carefully to see what kind of injuries they had. In the end, they happened to be only scratches.

The third soldier, however, suffered a cut in his stomach that reached his stomach membrane but not the organ itself. It was nothing fatal. As a doctor, I wouldn’t want to guess the nature of this injury but it could have been caused by either landing on a sharp pole from the helicopter or a blow from a pipe with a sharp edge. I couldn’t tell.

In either case, it was not fatal but it had to be stitched. However, since we did not ever expect such a confrontation, we had not brought any stitching equipment on board. All we had was simple medical material to dress simple wounds, or drops to ease burning in case tear gas was used. If I had stitching material with me, although I am an eye doctor, I would have treated the boy properly in accordance with my general medical knowledge. I couldn’t.

Dr. Uysal said the commandos “were very startled and very scared.” He added:

With my broken English I tried to tell them that I was a doctor and there was no need to be afraid and that nobody was going to hurt them. They relaxed after a while and watched us running around, jumping from one patient to another in tears, faced with our friends bathed in blood. I also asked our assistants to keep an eye on them so that they would not be threatened.

We could have as well left them to their fate, but this is not the humanity that we act with. We asked photographers not to film in the medical center and I have no idea how and when that picture was taken but God never leaves good deeds unheard. That picture shows the difference between the Israelis and us.

Asked if he could tell how long after sound grenades were thrown at the ship, at the start of the raid, that the gunshots were fired, Dr. Uysal said: “I was in the lower deck, but could hear all the explosions and gunfire. There was no way I can differentiate the gunshots or other sounds — I am only a doctor, after all.”

After the Israeli military took control of the ship, the doctor said that he was treated no differently from the other passengers:

They handcuffed all of us with plastic bands so tightly that they could easily cause irreversible damage to our shoulder tissues. They made us kneel on our knees with hands handcuffed as the helicopters caused sea water to splash on us for three hours. I was shouting that I was a doctor and that my shoulder hurt in a very serious way. They pretended not to hear me. I wanted to go to the toilet; they didn’t let me. After I kept yelling about my shoulder they let my hands loose but not those of my friends.

On Tuesday, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published an interview with Murat Akinan, the man seen standing next to Dr. Uysal in the photographs of him treating a commando, and bringing the Israeli inside the ship in another photograph.

Mr. Akinan said that the captured soldier had been entrusted to him by Bulent Yildirim, the director of the Turkish aid organization I.H.H., who said: “Murat, take him and make sure that he’ll be safe. Be careful, don’t allow anyone to touch him.”

So, Mr. Akinan said, “I took him downstairs yelling, ‘Stop! No one will touch this man entrusted to me.’ ”

He added: “I called the doctor on board and asked him for treatment. Two more soldiers came. People were reacting. I had all three treated. I said to two to three wise people around me that we would not allow anyone to touch them.”

According to Mr. Akinan, during his subsequent interrogation in Israeli custody, he was shown a photograph in which the soldier he was leading inside the ship was hit despite his efforts.

“I told them that I couldn’t stop everyone,” he said. He also claimed that the interrogator admitted that photographs showed that he had acted “with goodwill” toward the Israeli captive in his care.

Update: A Turkish-speaking friend of The Lede has kindly translated the extensive eyewitness account of the raid from Sefik Dinc, the Turkish journalist who shot the images used in the Turkish newspaper’s slide show we referred to above. In the interest of completeness, here is an English translation of that text which was published by HaberTurk alongside Mr. Dinc’s photographs:

In the context of the “Our Road is Palestine, Our Route is Gaza” campaign, the Mavi Marmara ship, bringing aid to Palestine, had 16 Turkish journalists on board. Haberturk newspaper reporter Şefik Dinc took his place among them. Dinc’s photographs succeeded in being smuggled out.

**
Şefik Dinc lived every second the pressure of the Israeli commandos. He explained what he saw this way:

**
“Departing for Gaza on May 22, the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of the fleet, set out from Sarayburnu with 16 journalists aboard. I was among them, representing HaberTurk.

**
I was on the second floor deck of the ship talking to my journalist friends when we suddenly saw Zodiac boats coming. I called to friends on the other side of the ship that the Israeli soldiers had arrived. Their response was ‘The Zodiacs are on the other side.’ Approximately 10 to 15 soldiers were on each of the Zodiacs, blockading both the sides and rear of the ship, with two frigates about two miles off.

**
From the Zodiac boats, gas, noise and smoke bombs were being thrown on board. Some of the bombs dropped and fell into the sea when they struck the ship and some came on deck on the starboard side. Among those who sat on the deck with gas bombs, there was panic.

One group was spraying water from fire hoses onto the Zodiacs, while others were lighting them with lamps.

Shortly after the attacks of the Zodiacs, the Sikorsky helicopter began to approach the ship. Coming over the ship, the helicopter began to descend slowly, and I moved to a place where I’d be better able to take better pictures.

I had no bulletproof vest, gas mask, or life jacket. And the helicopter was descending toward the pilothouse. When it was about three meters away, commandos began to descend on ropes.

**
The three Israeli commandos who descended via rope to the pilothouse began to brawl with the volunteers waiting here on the ship. In the melee, one soldier was almost cast into the sea, but some members of the group were opposed to it. The neutralized soldiers were later taken down to the hall on the second floor.

**
Volunteers helped a volunteer injured as a result of the shots fired, bringing him downstairs on a stretcher.

With the Israeli troops disarmed, the sound of the gunfire from the helicopters began to change. The rubber bullets fired by Israeli commandos were now real bullets.

**
Most of the volunteers that died died as a result of this firefight. I was trying to both capture what was happening in photographs but at the same time trying to protect myself by hiding somewhere. When I saw two wounded passengers on the ship lying on the ground, I understood that the bullets could reach the deck I was on. Most of those shot were on the top deck of the ship. However, on the lower deck there were also those who were injured and killed. The doctors and some activists who had seen the dead said that two people were killed by bullets that hit their heads.

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The Crucifixion of Kindness by Gilad Atzmon

bandannie has qualms about this text by Gilad Atzmon and does not know enough about Judaism to pass judgement the way he does. Gilad has been labelled as a self hating Jew. We have no objections that I know of when a Catholic turns against the Pope or when a Muslim criticizes Islam. I do not see why a Jew would not enjoy the same freedom of expression.

“Panic is detected in Israel. Strategic affairs minister, Moshe Boogi Ya’alon who served as acting PM during last week’s massacre in the high seas said yesterday that “someone failed to prepare a standard operating procedure.” A senior IDF official was quick to respond “If there wasn’t a standard operating procedure, why didn’t he make sure there was one. He was the acting prime minister and it was his responsibility.” War criminal Tzipi Livni is also unhappy with the Government for failing to take responsibility. Two days ago she led a no confidence vote in the Israeli Knesset.


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