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Free Gaza Greta Berlin 2015

On June 29th, 2015, the Israeli navy boarded and seized the boat “Marianne” in international waters, some 100 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza. 18 passengers on board were taken against their will to Israel, and the boat was towed by the Israeli navy to the port of Ashdod. Greta Berlin, a founding member of the Free Gaza Movement talks about the latest attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

FREEDOM FLOTILLA II : PRESS STATEMENT

Sunday, 4 September 2011

For immediate release

 

Palmer/Uribe Report Whitewashes Israeli Crimes

 

Sadly the Palmer/Uribe Report on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla Incident, leaked to the New York Times on 1 September, is an expected whitewash of Israeli crimes. While it blames Israeli forces for using excessive force when they raided our Gaza-bound civilian ships, it erroneously justifies Israel’s blockade of Gaza, casts doubts on the intentions of the flotilla organizers, and does not seek accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses.

The Palmer/Uribe Panel was flawed from its inception. The appointment of ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as the Panel’s vice-chair casts serious doubt on the integrity and impartiality of the Panel. Uribe’s intimate association with the military and paramilitary practice of murdering civilians in Colombia and notorious disdain for human rights defenders makes his appointment to a Panel dealing with human rights issues problematic. Furthermore, Uribe’s government is on record as advocating closer military cooperation with Israel. [1]

In addition to the problems in the composition of the Panel, its goal was not to arrive at the truth of what happened or to seek justice for victims, but rather to reach political compromise in order to repair relations between Israel and Turkey. The mandate of the Panel was limited to reviewing the reports of the national investigations by Turkey and Israel, and it did not interview witnesses or otherwise conduct an in-depth objective investigation. This is a political attempt to overshadow the only independent and impartial investigation and report on the flotilla raid, which was commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/15/21) and conducted by three internationally renowned human rights experts. The findings and recommendations of this report, released on 23 September 2010 have yet to be acted on by the United Nations.

One of the most outrageous findings of this Panel is that Israel had a right to impose the naval blockade on Gaza as a “legitimate security measure.” This finding completely ignores the fact that the naval blockade is part of an overall closure regime that numerous human rights bodies, including various UN agencies, have declared illegal. Furthermore, it ignores incontrovertible evidence that the naval blockade and overall closure are not about security, but rather about putting pressure on the people of Gaza. Israeli leaders are on record noting that the purpose of the blockade is economic warfare – to keep the Gaza economy on the brink of collapse in order to pressure the civilians to rise up against the Hamas government. [2]

Using civilians as a means of pressuring a government violates international humanitarian law, which prohibits intentionally harming civilians, and constitutes collective punishment, forbidden under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Palmer/Uribe Report mistakenly identifies IHH as the “leading group involved in the planning of the flotilla,” accuses us (the Freedom Flotilla organizers) of acting recklessly, and casts doubt on the humanitarian nature of our action (pages 46-48). Six non-governmental, international civil society organizations, all having equal say and responsibility, planned Freedom Flotilla I. Our action was a legitimate form of nonviolent direct action. We reject the Panel’s finding that Israeli soldiers faced “organized violence.” What the heavily armed commandos faced while they tried to forcefully take over the Mavi Marmara on the high seas was legitimate acts of non-armed self-defense by a handful of passengers, acting against unwarranted aggression.

Although our ships carried 10,000 tons of much needed cargo for the people of Gaza, we have repeatedly stated that our goal is to break the illegal blockade of Gaza, not simply to deliver aid. The humanitarian crisis that exists in Gaza is a result of a deliberate, illegal and immoral policy. To challenge that policy in order to bring an end to the cause of people’s suffering is humanitarian.

While the Report correctly faults Israel for using excessive force on unarmed civilians, it does not call for accountability. The Report notes that Israel has not accounted for the forensic evidence showing that most of the nine volunteers killed were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range, or for the consistent accounts of abuse suffered by other volunteers at the hands of Israeli forces. The Report’s recommendation that Israel simply express regret over the incident is insulting to the victims and their families, and seriously undermines international human rights and humanitarian law.

Finally the report fails to address the issue of the remaining four ships of Freedom Flotilla I still held by Israel as well as its refusal to return to the passengers over $1 million in money and equipment including cameras and videos which are of evidential value.

We welcome Turkey’s decision to downgrade relations with Israel, expelling the Israeli ambassador, and cancelling military ties, as well as its statement that it will take legal action against those Israelis responsible for the attack on the flotilla. Such sanctions are needed in order to put an end to the impunity with which Israel has been violating Palestinian human rights and disregarding international law.

###

Free Gaza Movement contact:

Huwaida Arraf +970-598-336-215, huwaida.arraf[at]gmail.com
Greta Berlin +1 310 422 7242, iristulip[at]gmail.com
Audrey Bomse +44 (0)78615610932, audreybomse[at[gmail.com

www.freegaza.org

www.witnessgaza.com

www.freedomflotilla.eu

[1] See “Colombia seeks to broaden Israel ties,” Apr 28, 2010, Jerusalem Post at: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?ID=174179
2 See e.g. “Wikileaks: Israel aimed to keep Gaza economy on brink of collapse,” Jan 5, 2011, Haaretz, reporting on a leaked Cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv saying Israeli officials wanted Gaza’s economy ‘functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis’ at:
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/wikileaks-israel-aimed-to-keep-gaza-economy-on-brink-of-collapse-1.335354


Greta Berlin

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Meets in Stockholm Next Flotilla on its Way Back to Gaza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Stockholm, August 4, 2010) It has been over two months since Israel’s 31 May 2010 deadly assault on the Freedom Flotilla and little to nothing has been done to hold Israel accountable for its savage attack that led to the killing of nine of our colleagues, or to end Israel’s continued violations against the Palestinian people, especially the 1.5 million residents of Gaza. Therefore, we are continuing our global, grassroots effort to stand up to Israel’s ongoing intransigence, including planning our next direct action, plans to enlarge our coalition to include groups from around the world who want to join us, as well as intensify our efforts to mobilize for the new Freedom Flotilla 2.

The world must continue to demand that Israel cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation committee to ensure independence, thoroughness, credibility, and justice for the victims.

We have real concerns with the new UN panel tasked by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to investigate Israel’s raid. as an apparent attempt to downgrade the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation, which Israel has yet to accept. The Secretary General’s new panel will have a very limited mandate of evaluating only current national investigations by Israel and Turkey, and therefore will hardly meet international standards for being impartial, and thorough.

Moreover, the appointment of ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as its vice-chair further corrodes the legitimacy of this UN panel. Not only is the Uribe government on record stating a desire to strengthen Colombia’s military relationship with Israel, but President Uribe’s own human rights record in Columbia should be a matter for investigation as evidenced by the report from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. http://forusa.org/content/report-military-assistance-human-rights-colombia-us-accountability-global-implications.

The United Nations must not be involved in any attempt to whitewash atrocities or to preempt international legal action on behalf of the victims of the flotilla. Israel’s alleged easing of the closure on Gaza has been purely cosmetic, intended only to deflect criticism from its illegal policies. Expanding the list of items permitted into Gaza does not address the most fundamental concern of the people there – freedom of movement. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are still denied the right to travel freely for medical care, educational opportunities, or even to reunite with family members in other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory. What we demand is an immediate and complete lifting of the closure including a lifting of the travel ban as well as the ban on exports from Gaza. We also demand that Israel release, unconditionally, our captured vessels and stolen equipment.

Israel and our respective governments must know that we represent a growing movement of international civilians unwilling to stand idly by while Israel continues to act with impunity — killing, maiming, jailing, stealing, and assaulting the very basics of our common humanity. Israel has not only deliberately created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but it has created a crisis of human rights and human dignity in all of Palestine that the world must address.

This is why our flotilla aimed to challenge the very policies that have left Palestinians in need of humanitarian aid, and not just to deliver essential goods to Gaza. It is why, in the coming months, we will send larger and larger flotillas to Gaza.


Contact: Huwaida Arraf 970-598-336-215, 972 54 881 7046

Mattias Gardell: +46 703036666

Dror Feiler: +46 702855777

Greta Berlin, +33 607 374 512

Irish press release about Turkish victims and Netanyahu’s

Free Gaza Movement –

In the dark, early hours of May 31, Israel launched a commando and navy attack on 6 unarmed civilian ships carrying humanitarian aid in the international waters of the Mediterranean sea, opening fire before they landed. These highly trained, professional soldiers killed and wounded tens of civilians, many of whom were on the Mavi Marmara, a boat owned by the Turkish charity, IHH (The Foundation for Human Rights & Freedoms & Humanitarian Relief).

We in the Free Gaza Movement would like to offer our deepest sympathy to the people of Turkey and particularly to the 9 families who have lost loved ones. 28 children have lost their fathers due to the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper quoted Yalcin Buyuk, the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, as saying that the nine victims were shot a total of 30 times. Based on preliminary autopsy reports, two men were shot four times each and five others were shot either in the back of the head or in the back. Ibrahim Bilgen, a 60-year-old activist, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. Nineteen-year-old Furkan Dogan, a US citizen of Turkish descent, was shot five times from less than 45cm away, in the face, the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two IHH aid workers, Cevdet Kiliclar and Necdet Yildrim, were amongst the victims.

We in Free Gaza are proud and honored to work and be associated with the IHH and its honorable track record of humanitarian missions worldwide. As a human rights organization, it is hard for us to comprehend this kind of violence, especially when used against civilians embarked upon a humanitarian mission, such as that of the highly respected IHH. Furthermore it is appalling that the inflammatory remarks of Netanyahu, referring to them as “a ship of hate organised by violent Turkish terror extremists” should subsequently be repeated or even referred to by the media as anything but a pathetically transparent attempt to justify the inadmissable.

The facts are simple: The blockade of the port of Gaza is illegal, as deemed by international law and the UN. This point cannot be argued with, the siege must end, the rights and dignity of the Palestinians in Gaza must be honoured, the port must be opened. Alongside of our partners in the Freedom Flotilla, we demand that Israel returns our boats including the Spirit of Humanity, detained by Israel since early 2009. The Free Gaza Movement and our international parteners intend to launch another flotilla at the first available opportunity. After that there will be yet another… and another… until this diabolical blockade collapses and steps towards peace are finally taken.

Yesterday another boat was announced by the ”Jüdische Stimme”. Along with her partners, the EJJP and JJP (UK), they are sending a boat and call to world leaders to help Israel find her way back to reason, a sense of humanity and a life without fear. ”Jewish Voices” expects the political leaders of Israel and the world to guarantee safe passage for their small vessel to Gaza, thus helping to form a bridge towards peace.

The FGM and our partners would like to acknowledge and thank the many governments in particular that of Ireland and Turkey, for their support for our mission. However most importantly of all, we would like to thank the ‘ordinary’ people from everywhere who contributed to the cargo and raised their voices together to spread the message worldwide: This siege of the Gaza strip and the imprisonment of its people must end.

We will return

(Cyprus, June 5, 2010) Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the peaceful outcome to the operation when they seized our ship in international waters in direct violation of maritime law. Through his speech writer, he said:

“We saw today the difference between a ship of peace activists, with whom we don’t agree but respect their right to a different opinion from ours, and between a ship of hate organised by violent Turkish terror extremists,”

So we’d like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that the only hate evidenced on board all six boats on Monday morning came from the Israeli attackers. Israeli soldiers violently boarded the entire flotilla, beating, shooting and hooding passengers as though they were in Abu Ghraib

“People had been shot in the arms, legs, in the head – everywhere. We had so many injured. It was a bloodbath,” said Laura Stuart on board the Marmara, a British housewife and resue worker.

She described frantic attempts to treat the injured in a makeshift sick room on the ship, and failed attempts to resuscitate some of the dead. http://www.stuff.co.nz/s/L1BG

Therefore, we are putting Mr. Netanyahu on notice that we are returning in the next couple of months with another flotilla, that his actions and the actions of his soldiers have energized thousands of people who have stepped forward with offers to help and participate on the next voyage. We’d also like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that siezing our ship, the Rachel Corrie, is yet another violent act from a long series of violent acts against civilians that Israel has committed this week.

Contact: Greta Berlin 00 357 99 18 72 75
Mary Hughes 00 357 96 38 38 09


Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com

MV Rachel Corrie avoided capture during flotilla raid but Israeli lieutenant says ‘we will be ready’

“Medical supplies being loaded into the MV Rachel Corrie, which was named after a 23-year-old American killed in Gaza in 2003. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA”

The final boat in the Gaza aid flotilla was sailing at full speed towards the territory’s coast tonight despite warnings that it would be intercepted by Israeli forces.

The MV Rachel Corrie, a 40-year-old cargo ship bought by the Irish arm of the Free Gaza Movement, was delayed and avoided capture during Monday night’s assault. Tonight it was still in international waters about two days from Gaza, carrying a consignment of aid and 19 activists and crew, among them five Irish nationals, the organisation said.

The Irish taoiseach, Brian Cowen, warned Israel tonight that he expected no violence against those on the Rachel Corrie.

“If any harm comes to any of our citizens it will have the most serious consequences,” he said, calling on Israel to guarantee the vessel safe passage through the military blockade of Gaza.

The ship, named after the 23-year-old American killed in Gaza in 2003 while trying to prevent an Israeli bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home, had halted in the Mediterranean following the assault while those on board – among them the Nobel peace laureate Máiread Maguire and Denis Halliday, a retired senior UN diplomat – discussed whether they should continue.

It was now carrying as a “second wave” of the flotilla, said Niamh Moloughney, who organised the sailing in Ireland.

“I’d say the mood on board is resilient and steadfast. When people signed up to this they knew what might happen,” said Moloughney. “We expected we would be confronted and there would be a stand-off, but no one expected this. But there’s never really been a question of the boat turning back.”

As well as the Irish nationals, the 1,200-tonne boat is carrying six Malaysians and eight crew of varying nationalities.

All those on board had received training in non-violent resistance before the sailing and had pledged not to fight back if the boat was boarded, Moloughney added.

Speaking on the boat’s satellite phone, Maguire said she was determined the boat should continue on its course.

“We’re not frightened, no, we hope the Israeli government will allow us to go freely in and we know the international community are calling for our safe passage,” she said.

Halliday said he had spoken to Ireland’s foreign minister, Micheál Martin. “He was very reassuring that the government was behind us and he gave us a complete green light to do what we’re doing and he’ll protect us as much as he can,” Halliday said.

Martin himself told parliament: “We will be watching this situation very closely – as indeed will the world – and it is imperative that Israel avoid any action which leads to further bloodshed.”

It appeared clear, however, that Israel planned to stop the ship.

The country’s military was carrying out “professional investigations” into what happened in Monday’s raid, an Israeli marine lieutenant, who was not identified, told Israel’s Army Radio. He added: “And we will also be ready for the Rachel Corrie.”The boat, which was bought at auction by the Free Gaza Movement after being impounded a year before in Dundalk, is carrying a consignment including medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement, according to the organisation.

source

MV Rachel Corrie continues en route to Gaza

* MV Rachel Corrie continues en route to Gaza as all-party motion Dail motion calls for its safe passage

* Two Irish deported, three remain in detention, including one wounded

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Press Release – 1st June 2010, 3pm

Yesterday’s Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in which up to 19 human rights activists were murdered in international waters has not deterred the Irish cargo ship the M.V. Rachel Corrie which is currently en route to Gaza and hopes to arrive this Saturday. Meanwhile the fall-out from the attack has pressured Egypt into opening the Rafah Crossing.

In the Dail, an all party motion which calls upon the government to ensure the safe passage of the MV Rachel Corrie and calls for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted is expected to be passed at around 7pm this evening. The IPSC welcomes this motion and hopes the Israeli government will heed it.

The Rachel Corrie was slightly behind the rest of the flotilla due to having to dock in Malta to undergo some engine repairs. The crew and passengers – which include 5 Irish people – made the decision to continue their journey to deliver supplies and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza despite further threats from the Israeli military. The Irish on board are Denis Halliday, Mariead Maguire, Fiona Hamilton, Derek and Jenny Graham (bios below).

Speaking in support of the mission, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) spokesperson Freda Hughes said: “We commend this brave direct action taken by international activists, an action who’s significance has increased exponentially in both humanitarian and political terms since Israel committed yet another act of state terrorism by murdering 19 passengers on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and hijacking their aid flotilla, “

Ms Hughes continued: “The IPSC has been in contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs urging them to take all measures necessary to ensure that Israel does not attack this ship and that it lets them bring their independently checked humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. The government of Ireland has a clear duty to protect Irish citizens, uphold international law and help bring an end to the siege of Gaza. We welcome the the all-party Dail motion calling for the Rachel Corrie’s safe passge.”

Meanwhile, Shane Dillion, the kidnapped first mate of the Challenger II is on his way home after being deported from Israel. He will arrive in Ireland later today, but his family are asking that the media do not go to the airport. According to family, he will hopefully be available for media interviews sometime tomorrow. Isam Bin Ali, a Libyan-Irish citizen is also due to be deported.

Al Mahdi Al Harati, a wounded Libyan-Irish citizen remains in Israeli detention, as do Dr Fintan Lane of the IPSC and Fiachra O Luain.

Mr Al Harati’s wife Eftaima Al Najar today said: “I lost all contact with my husband four days ago and have been telling my four that he is on holiday. I have just got news that he is in an Israeli detention centre but have no news on if and when he will be released. We are of course, all extremely worried.”

The Irish Ambassador to Israel was due to meet with all the detainees this afternoon.

Speaking yesterday, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michael Martin, said: “These people did not enter Israel illegally. They were essentially kidnapped from international waters, taken into Israel. And now they are being asked to sign a document almost confirming that they entered illegally. And we think that is unacceptable”.

Last night over 3,000 people attended a demonstration in Dublin against the unprovoked attacks by Israel where they heard from speakers Jack O’Connor (ICTU President), Aengus O Snodaigh TD, Chris Andrews TD, Senator Mark Daly, Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello, Dr David Landy and Freda Hughes of the IPSC.

Addressing the rally at the Spire, Ms Hughes took Israel to task for its portrayal of events: “For the Israel PR machine to now attempt to brand a humanitarian mission to Gaza as an act of provocative violence is abhorrent. The irony is that for the Israeli state to sanction and carry out the murder of 19 international aid activists in international waters itself constitutes an act of state terrorism. This is not a conflict of equals and we must not believe the Israeli propaganda that would have us believe that the unarmed civilians on the Flotilla set out with the aim of attacking the fourth biggest military power in the world, namely Israel.”

Over the past two days there have been protests around the country in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Sligo, Kilkenny and Galway and further protests will occur over the coming days in Dublin, Wexford, New Ross, Kilkenny and Castlebar.

Bios for Irish on Board Rachel Corrie

Mairead Maguire (66) [Belfast, Ireland]

A Nobel Peace Laureate (l976) and Co-founder of Peace People, Northern Ireland, She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace and a nonviolent solution to the Ethnic/political conflict in Northern Ireland. Mairead has travelled many times to the occupied territories of Palestine to support the nonviolent peoples’ movement for Human Rights, International Law, and Self Determination of the Palestinian people. Maguire was shot with a plastic bullet whilst participating with Palestinians/Israelis/Internationals in a peaceful protest March to the Wall in Bilin, in April, 2007. Mairead went on the maiden Voyage of Dignity in October, 2008, the second successful voyage for the Free Gaza Movement. She was also on Board ‘Spirit’ when Israel hijacked the Boat in International Waters, taking all 2l humanitarian passengers to Israel, where they were arrested, detained for a week in an Israeli prison and then deported.

Denis Halliday [Manhattan, NYC and Connemara, Ireland]

UN Assistant Secretary-General from 1994-98. Appointed by SG Boutros Ghali, he served as ASG UN Human Resources Management in New York and in mid 1997 to end 1998 as Head, Humanitarian Programme in Iraq to support the Iraqi people struggling under the genocidal impact of UN Sanctions. Prior to that, as a development manager, Halliday served UNDP from 1964-94 in Iran, New York Hqts, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Samoa, New York again and finally as head of the UNDP Regional Office in Thailand. Since resigning from the UN in 1998, Halliday has delivered numerous parliamentary briefings, provided extensive media inputs and has given public/university lectures on Iraq, human rights, and the UN, in particular its reform. He was a visiting professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and teaches/speaks at universities in Ireland, Canada, UK and USA. Halliday is a graduate of TCD, has an honorary PhD, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded the UK Gandhi Peace Prize.

Derek Graham [Ballina, County Mayo]

Derek has been a qualified electrician for 20 years. He was a member of the reserve defence forces in Ireland for 21 years and was the first member of the reserves to make the Army sailing team. He has been sailing all of his life and is a crew member on the MV Rachel Corrie. He has participated in many previous Free Gaza boat trips to Gaza and has been on four of the five voyages that landed in Gaza. He is married to Jenny, who is also on the MV Rachel Corrie.

Jenny Graham [County Mayo]

A member of the Free Gaza Movement, Jenny has participated in previous boat trips to Gaza and is a member of the crew of the MV Rachel Corrie. She is married to Derek Graham.

Fiona Thompson [ Dundalk] Film maker

ENDS

Contacts:

Family Members and MV Rachel Corrie passengers

Eftaima Al Najar (wife of Al Mahdi Al Harati): 087 9703605
Jim Lane (father of Fintan Lane): 087 2872374 / 021 4962993
Elanor Lamb (mother of Fiachra O Luain): 089 4185445
Denis Halliday (on board teh MV Rachel Corrie): 085 215 9477
Mairead Maguire (on board the MV Rachel Corrie): 0044 7736147713

IPSC Contacts

IPSC Office: 01 6770253
Freda Hughes (IPSC): 086 1260359
Kevin Squires (IPSC): 087 7413580
John Dorman (IPSC): 087 2208560
Mark McDonnell (IPSC): 086 841 6297

Rachel Corrie

Following Israel’s criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.

In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:

RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.

The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.

In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.

We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.

We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.

Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.

Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie – by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)

In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis:

“Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale.” (Haaretz.com headlines RSS

What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet.

The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure?

What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids?

What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27?

Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment?

Did the Obama administration give the Green Light?

It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel’s criminal embargo.

In this endeavor we shall prevail. Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV.

It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised “to respond even more harshly”:

“Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.” (www.ynetnews.com)

The Rachel Corrie MV is in part supported by the Perdana Global Peace Organization under the helm of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky is a member of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

Rachel Corrie to Gaza

who will protect the Rachel Corrie?

As I write the Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, delayed due to mechanical problems, is steaming towards Gaza. As I understand it they will pick up one or two of the ships that the IDF sabotaged en route. The passengers–a list of them is available here, and they include a number of extremely powerful Malaysian politicians–decided to continue on to Gaza. Amazing. Other reports suggest that the organizers may delay the ships’ arrival into Gaza until the beginning of next week. Or the ships’ attempt to arrive. Matan Vilnai, the Nazi who called for a Shoah to befall Gaza (hashoah is Hebrew for the Holocaust; shoah is just destruction), said on public radio that “We will not let any ships reach Gaza and supply what has become a terrorist base threatening the heart of Israel.” Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has promised to escort the next maritime convoys with Turkish warships. Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has demanded that the Israelis let the Rachel Corrie in. This set-piece battle is not over yet. And the role we on the outside will play–most importantly, in publicly mobilizing, secondarily, in disseminating information, and thirdly, creating a climate of opinion in which Israeli politicians and generals decide that it’s better to let the ship in that not let it in–is not over yet either. Israel has lost this battle, and we’ve won it. But we won the first half on their terms. Let’s win the second half on ours. An anonymous Israeli marine lieutenant told Israel’s army radio that his unit was prepared to block the Rachel Corrie. “We as a unit are studying, and we will carry out professional investigations to reach conclusions,” the lieutenant said, referring to yesterday’s massacre. “And we will also be ready for the Rachel Corrie ,”

from jewbonic

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