Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The aftermath of the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla - Links & Posts part four

Latest news
Over the weekend the ship MV Rachel Corrie was stopped in international waters and all the passengers and crew were taken prisoner by Israeli forces. This time the Israeli forces did not fire on people on the boats before going aboard or during. No one was killed or injured. However, as the ship of peaceful aid activists bringing aid to Gaza was in international waters, this was still an illegal seizure/kidnapping and constitutes a war crime.

War crimes/Piracy
The fact remains that the UN has declared Israel's blockade of Gaza illegal. The ships were intercepted in international waters and Israel has no legal jurisdiction over Gaza’s waters. Period. Israel is also in breach of her obligations under international law including the notion of "Collective Punishment" [Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention].

Furthermore…"under article 3 of the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation of 1988, it is an international crime for any person to seize or exercise control over a ship by force, and also a crime to injure or kill any person in the process. The treaty necessarily adopts a strict approach. One cannot attack a ship and then claim self-defense if the people on board resist the unlawful use of violence.

Gaza Flotilla activist Ken O'Keefe is a former US Marine, Gulf War vet, and now Irish and Palestinian citizen. He describes his treatment at Israeli hands here:

More eyewitness accounts continue to contradict the report put out by Israeli officials: commandos opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, then shot and tortured people at will.




Israel has confiscated some of the most important material for the investigation, namely the films, audio and photos taken by the passengers [and] journalists on board and the Mavi Marmara’s security cameras. Since yesterday, Israel has been editing these films and using them for its own PR campaign. In other words, Israel has already confiscated most of the evidence, held it from the world and tampered with it. No court in the world would [trust] it to be the one examining it.

Israel has rejected the UN proposed investigation into the Israeli raid on the flotilla.

Israel apologizes for video spoof of Gaza Flotilla
The IDF also retracted their earlier statement that their soldiers were attacked by Al Qaida mercenaries aboard the flotilla.

The Israeli government press office distributed the video link to foreign journalists at the weekend, but within hours emailed them an apology, saying it had been an error. Press office director Danny Seaman said the video did not reflect official state opinion, but in his personal capacity he thought it was "fantastic".

Government spokesman Mark Regev said the video reflected how Israelis felt about the incident. "I called my kids in to watch it because I thought it was funny," he said. "It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do with it."

The clip features a group led by the Jerusalem Post's deputy managing editor Caroline Glick, wearing keffiyehs and calling themselves the Flotilla Choir. The footage is interspersed with clips from the recent Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship, the Mavi Marmara.

The clip has been praised in Israel, where the mass-circulation daily Yediot Aharonot said the singers "defended Israel better than any of the experts".

But Didi Remez, an Israeli who runs the liberal-left news analysis blog Coteret, said the clip was "repulsive" and reflected how out of touch Israeli opinion was with the rest of the world. "It shows a complete lack of understanding of how the incident is being perceived abroad," he said. Award-winning Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport said the clip demonstrated prejudice against Muslims. "It's roughly done, not very sophisticated, anti-Muslim – and childish for the government to be behind such a clip," he said.

The Israeli Defence Force has also apologized for doctoring tapes of Israeli naval officials speaking to people on the Mavi Marmara.

New York - The Israeli military admitted on Saturday that it had released a misleadingly altered audio recording of a radio transmission with the "Freedom Flotilla" aid convoy in which activists are allegedly heard telling Israeli soldiers to "shut up, go back to Auschwitz."

The Pixies and other bands cancel shows in Israel to boycott the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Passengers on the Mavi Marmara aided and protected injured Israeli soldiers even while the attack and shooting of passengers took place.

Freedom Flotilla 2 planned. To be twice as big as the first one. Turkey, Egypt, Lebannon and other countries wish to participate.
Also, if Israel does not apologize to Turkey for the attack on the flotilla (at least 9 Turkish citizens were killed by the Israeli forces), then Turkey will cut military and trade cooperation with Israel.

Iran's naval forces may escort the next aid flotilla
"Iran's Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys that carry humanitarian assistance for the defenceless and oppressed people of Gaza with all their strength," pledged Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi, Khamenei's personal representative to the guards corps.
Also, regarding future aid flotillas:
Israel's no-compromise attitude to aid convoys could be tested again after two Lebanese organisations pledged to send boats to Gaza in the next few days. Reporters Without Borders is attempting to assemble 25 European activists and 50 journalists for a boat leaving Beirut. The Free Palestine Movement is planning a similar attempt.

George Galloway, the founder of Viva Palestina, announced in London that two simultaneous convoys "one by land via Egypt and the other by sea" would set out in September to break the Gaza blockade. The sea convoy of up to 60 ships will travel around the Mediterranean gathering ships, cargo and volunteers.

Rabbis visit Turks injured in the flotilla raid

IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency - the world's nuclear watchdog) turns its attention to Israel.
Yukiya Amano, the new director general of the IAEA, is already drawing up a report discussing ways to make Israel open up its facilities to international inspection and sign up to the international non-proliferation treaty, which would commit it to disarmament. That should be delivered in September.

How Israeli propaganda shaped U.S. media coverage of the flotilla attack

What goods does Israel bar from the Gaza Strip?

What exactly is the Blockade of Gaza?

The Israeli Flotilla Attack: Victimhood, aggression and tribalism

The Crisis in Gaza - An International Tipping Point

And, in Toronto, Canada, 20 Pride honorees have return their awards to protest the banning of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from this year's Gay Pride Parade. Actually, Toronto Pride banned the phrase "Israeli Apartheid". And, since QuAIA include that in their name, they are banned too.

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