Monday, 31 May 2010

Up to 10 dead as Netanyahu backs Gaza convoy massacre

Al-Jazeera now says 10 killed in Israel's war crime against humanitarian activists. BBC is now reporting 9 dead and that Netanyahu 'regrets' the loss of life, but as Al-Jazeera clearer, he gave his full backing to the military and the massacre it's perpetrated. Earlier figures for deaths were 16 to 19.

From Al-Jazeera
Israeli commandos have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships off the coast of the Gaza Strip, killing up to 10 people on board.

Dozens of others were injured when troops raided the convoy of six ships, dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, early on Monday.

Israel said activists on board attacked its commandos as they boarded the ships, while the flotilla's organisers said the Israeli forces opened fire first, as soon as they stormed the convoy.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, gave his "full backing" to the military forces after the raid.

The raid by Israel troops "was to prevent the infiltration of thousands of rockets, missiles and other arms that could hit our cities, communities or people," he said.

"I give my complete backing to the army, the soldiers and commanders who acted to defend the state and to protect their lives." 

West fails to condemn Israeli massacre of Gaza convoy activists

The EU and UK Foreign Secretary Hague have failed to condemn the massacre, calling instead for further 'investigation'. No mention of the fact that this was a military assault in international waters by one of the mightiest military machines on the planet. A state armed to the teeth with a license to kill by the US (and shamefully the EU and UK too) that has killed at least 19 civilians delivering aid to a people blockaded and bombed by a government and state with a colonial imperative.

And by the scenes at the quayside at Ashdod of Palestinian women who live inside Israel (Arab Israelis) being racially abuse by a nascent lynch mob, this colonial mindset is increasingly nourished by a growing and deep anti-Arab racism among Israeli Jews. But among increasing numbers of Jewish people in the west, the crimes of Israel are unbearable. Which is why many of the leaders of the Gaza convoy are American Jews.

This was indeed Israel's Soweto, as a speaker said today at the London protest at Downing Street before the march to the embassy. The naked barbarity played out over the past few hours puts on display to the world the logic of the Zionist project in Palestine - you can't steal a people's land without dehumanizing and killing them. Israel must be made to pay the price so that all the tens of thousands that have died in the cause of Palestinian liberation haven't done so in vain.

Update Al-Jazeera TV is now reporting nine dead.

Protest against Israeli ambassador at Hay book festival

From Socialist Worker (UK), with report on London protest.
Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor is due to address the Hay Festival on Tuesday 1 June at 8pm. His theme is the state of Anglo-Israeli relations.

Protesters will gather outside from 7pm to show their outrage at Israel's barbaric attack on the Gaza Flotilla, which killed at least 15 peace activists.

London march arrives at Israel's embassy

Shutdown this nest of war criminals

Israel opened fire on all Gaza flotilla boats

From various news reports:16 dead, 6 Turks, 10 Internationals, 50/80 wounded,3 wounded from European campaign boat.Opening fire on all boats.

Police lose control of gaza flotilla protest demo

Cops look like fish out of water. To hell with Israeli terrorism. SANCTIONS NOW

From various news reports:16 dead, 6 Turks, 10 Internationals, 50/80 wounded,3 wounded from European campaign boat.Opening fire on all boats

Marching to Israeli embassy London

British Muslim Initiative asks where's the outrage from western leaders?

Speaker from British Muslim Initiative asks what our government is doing about the 27 Britons that were part of the flotilla

LowKey lays it down on the Israeli war criminal

Jews for justice for Palestine speaks out against flotilla massacre

Salma Yaqoub - take off the kid gloves with Israel

Tariq Ali calls for sanctions against Israeli terror state

John Rees - this flotilla massacre is Israel's Soweto

Jeremy Corbyn calls for expulsion of Israeli ambassador over flotilla massacre

We are definitely marching to Israeli embassy - still no news on dead and injured - what the hell are the western embassies doing to find out what's happened to their citizens? No declaration of war against Israel yet. Imagine if Iran had done this in the Gulf.

Kate Hudson from CND speaks out against Gaza flotilla massacre

At the London Whitehall Gaza flotilla protest

Rally going on now. We might be marching to Israeli embassy. YES!

Live coverage - Gaza aid flotilla massacre

22:12 GMT freegazaorg Countries calling Israel for explanation about attacking us Greece, Sweden, France, Austria, Spain, TurkeyCondemnation from China and Russia

http://mobile.twitter.com/freegazaorg#freegazaorg Call the State Department 202 647 4000 and ask them what they are going to do about this attack and the American flagged boat


19:51 GMT UK Foreign Secretary Hague has failed to condemn the massacre, calling instead for further 'investigation'. No mention of the fact that this was a military assault in international waters by one of the mightiest military machines on the planet. A state armed to the teeth with a license to kill by the US (and shamefully the EU and UK too) that has killed at least 19 civilians delivering aid to a people blockaded and bombed by a government and state with a colonial imperative. And by the scenes at the quayside at Ashdod of Palestinian women who live inside Israel (Arab Israelis) being racially abuse by a nascent lynch mob, this colonial mindset is increasingly nourished by a growing and deep anti-Arab racism among Israeli Jews. But among increasing numbers of Jewish people in the west, the crimes of Israel are unbearable. Which is why many of the leaders of the Gaza convoy are American Jews. This was Israel's Soweto. The naked barbarity played out over the past few hours puts on display to the world the logic of the Zionist project in Palestine - you can't steal a people's land without dehumanizing and killing them. Israel must be made to pay the price so that all the tens of thousands that have died in the cause of Palestinian liberation haven't done so in vain.

15:11 GMT - 5000 on spontaneous march against Israel's terrorism

13.08 GMT
RT @freegazaorg Call the Israeli Foreign office and INSIST that they tell us who has been killed and wounded and where our prisoners are.

Several hundred on Whitehall outside Downing Street. Taken the road - all traffic stopped.

12.28 GMT
RT @georgegalloway Israel has just announced that it will prosecute the convoy members who "attacked" its soldiers #gaza #FreedomFlotilla

11.32 GMT MUST WATCH VIDEOS #Gaza #flotilla massacre. http://bit.ly/cPntuS @PalestineVideo DEMONSTRATE TODAY Downing St London 2pm. To al the visitors to this blog from McLean Virginia USA over the past few weeks (an 'upscale' community of top government officials and assorted very rich people and spies), we hope you are happy with your work.



11.18 GMT
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says it's a "war crime".

From Twitter - freegazaorg SM Media Office: Physicians for Human Rights sending doctors to Rambam to help and intervene if necessary #Flotilla

11.11 GMT Understatement of the day so far goes to our Con-Dem friends at the Guardian: Flotilla interception will set Israel back in Arab and Turkish eyes

10.52 GMT Sweden, Turkey and Spain recall ambassadors. Still no statement from UK government let alone action. Customs officials from Turkish port of Anatolia say all passengers screened. Definitely no weapons, not that anyone believes Israel's lies. www.todayszaman.com

10.09 GMT All the boats are now in Israeli port of Ashdod. Crew and psssengers surrounded by riot police.

9.38 GMT Arab League calls emergency meeting on Gaza aid ship massacre. Let's hope they do more than just talk this time.


9.32 GMT From Swedish English language site - World in shock after deadly Gaza ship raid

9.29 GMT The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have condemned the massacre:
The Hamas government held an emergency meeting chaired by premier Ismail Haneya, following the Israeli Television Channel 10 report that 16 activists on the ships were killed and 30 wounded, including the Israeli-Arab Islamic activist Sheikh Raed Sallah.

Ismail Haneya, the premier of Hamas government told reporters in Gaza that the Israeli attack on the ships is a "brutal attack," calling on the international community, mainly the United Nations to move as quickly as possible to protect the ships and the activists and to end the blockade."

Meanwhile, the Hamas-government committee to challenge the Israeli siege said in a statement sent to reporters that it considers the activists, who were killed "as the martyrs of the Freedom Flotilla, adding that "the world should put an end to the biggest country of pirates (Israel)."

"The attack on the ships is an international crime and a political scandal carried out according to an Israeli military order. I call on the Palestinian Authority to immediately suspend its negotiations with Israel," Haneya told reporters. more


9.19 GMT Ayalon, Israel's foreign minister, calls peaceful humanitarians, including one holocaust survivor, 'terrorists'. No one is going to believe a word from this terrorist state, except the rulers of western countries perhaps.

Al-Jazzera report - Israeli massacres go international. Gaza Solidarity will be reporting live from the emergency protest at Downing Street today, where, among other things, we will be demanding the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

This was a major international mission including a large number of western activists but no major UK media outlet bothered to cover the progress of the flotilla (except the Guardian to some extent) or to 'embed' a reporter.

Palestinians in Israel call general strike protesting flotilla massacre


Video above from Sky News - repeats a lot of Israeli lies but makes it clear this massacre, that has led to up at least 19 dead and 60 injured, is a PR disaster for Israel and its already frosty relationship with erstwhile ally Turkey is now dead.

Palestinians living insider the borders of the settler state have called a general strike. Sadly Sheikh Raed Salah is thought to have been killed in the massacre - perhaps deliberately targeted.
Acting Higher Arab Monitoring Committee head calls incident 'massacre'. Deputy of Islamic Movement official Sheikh Raed Salah, rumored to have been injured in takeover, says 'this was an assassination attempt'

VIsraeli Arabs are protesting against the takeover of the Gaza flotilla, which claimed to lives of at least 10 activists. The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee on Monday called for a general strip on Tuesday. The committee's acting chairman, Ramez Jaraisi, called for an international proe into what he called "the State of Israel's crimes".

The committee convened for an emergency meeting Monday morning, following the bloody incident at the heart of sea. Representatives from various political parties attended the meeting, including Knesset members Mohammad Barakeh, Afou Agbaria, Ibrahim Sarsur and Masud Ganaim. - from ynetnews

Breaking News: Up to 20 dead in Israel Gaza flotilla massacre, say reports

At least 20 unarmed humanitarians killed, according to reports from Gaza TV News. The link goes to the Facebook page of the Irish based protesters that bravely travelled into the eye of the storm. They are calling for Israeli ambassador to be expelled from Ireland.

Report at Aljazzera.com says all the ships were attacked simultaneoulsy by marine commandos. Many had their faces covered and some wore gas masks:
Israeli marine commandos had opened fire as they stormed one of the ships the (Mavi Marmara). Israeli television justified the commandos’ massacre claiming that the soldiers were attacked with knives and axes, but did not elaborate. The Israeli censor blocks all reports on the activists murdered on the flotilla.

According to a reporter on one of the ships, the Israeli occupation army raided all vessels from the sea and air at the same time and informed all of the passengers that they were under arrest.

The Israeli vessels, the report said, attacked the flotilla in international waters with aerial reinforcement, using gas. A Qatari television channel broadcast live the dramatic images from the ships, with Hamas spokespeople giving interviews and vowing to punish Israel for "the new crime".

The images showed Commando soldiers with their faces covered. A fighter in uniform, wearing a gas mask, tried to block the camera with his hand, while more and more troops raided the ship after sliding down from a helicopter using a rope.

One of the passengers on the ship called out to the Navy vessels, "Don't attack us. We are unarmed civilians. There are injured people onboard."

The calls were first made in English, and were later joined by Knesset Member Hanin Zuabi (Balad), who called out to the ships in Hebrew.

Turkey summoned the Israeli ambassador to the Turkish foreign ministry Monday. "The ambassador (Gabby Levy) was summoned to the foreign ministry. We will convey our reaction in the strongest terms," the diplomat, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

IHH Gaza flotilla video shows Israel killing peaceful unarmed civilians



In istanbul the Israeli embassy has been stormed by protesters. Footage from IHH shows Israeli soldiers firing the moment their feet hit the deck. According to reports they shot civilians in their sleep. Could be as many as 16 dead.

Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH, providing the logistical backbone of the flotilla, have a video showing the Israelis firing as soon as they got on the boats - contrart to the lies coming out of Israel this morning. Live video stream is here.

More news here from Free Gaza Movement:
(Cyprus, June 1, 2010, 6:30 am) Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep. According to the live video from the ship, two have been killed, and 31 injured. Al Jazeera has just confirmed the numbers.

Streaming video shows the Israeli soldiers shooting at civilians, and our last SPOT beacon said, “HELP, we are being contacted by the Israelis.”

We know nothing about the other five boats. Israel says they are taking over the boats.

The coalition of Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the Perdana Global Peace Organisation , Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza appeal to the international community to demand that Israel stop their brutal attack on civilians delivering vitally needed aid to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza and permit the ships to continue on their way.

The attack has happened in international waters, 75 miles off the coast of Israel, in direct violation of international law.


From Viva Palestina:
Israeli forces have attacked the international aid convoy Freedom Flotilla en route to the besieged Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 50 injured.

The attack came on Monday morning, 31st May, after one of the six ships in the convoy was hit by Israeli navy forces before being stormed by commandos descending from helicopters.

The interception reportedly took place in international waters, more than 150km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza.

Emergency protest after 10 murdered by Israel on Gaza Flotilla - 2pm Downing Street

Awoken to the news that at least 10 people have been murdered by the Israel today when their forces stormed the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. More at the BBC
Emergency protest today at Downing Street. Western governments have allowed this to happen by sitting on their hands as the Israelis issued their threats over the past days and weeks. Join the protests today around the world..

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Israeli Navy forces Gaza flotilla to halt at its illegal exclusion zone

Challenger 2 was contacted by the Israeli Navy about an hour ago. An appeal has just been issued as the full might of the Israeli military attempts to stop the aid mission. Israel is now brazenly enacting piracy on the high seas - where are the protests from western governments?

Twitter feed at http://mobile.twitter.com/freegazaorg

about 1 minute ago
Call to the world from the people on the boats. This flotilla is bringing supplies the people of Gaza and are being met by military force

Appeal to UK foreign secretary Hague over Israel's threat to flotilla

UK citizens - or should that be subjects - send emergency protest emails to the Foreign Office now. Details below:
Subject: Israeli threats to humanitarian "Freedom Flotilla".
To: haguew@parliament.uk
Cc: private.office@fco.gov.uk, AINAGCorrespondence@fco.gov.uk
Date: Sunday, 30 May, 2010, 10:06

Dear Mr. Hague


I draw your attention to the situation of the 750 volunteers presently assembling on the “Freedom Flotilla”, bound for Gaza with humanitarian supplies. Whatever differences of opinion we may have regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict, the safety of the volunteers some of whom are British citizens, is paramount. In this regard I am concerned about threats being made by the Israeli military.

Apparently an “Operation Sky wind” is being planned by the Israelis which will include the seizing of the “Freedom Flotilla” and the arrest of the people on it. As Israel has carried out similar acts of piracy in the past, this can’t be regarded as an empty threat.

I trust you will remind Israel of the legitimate restraints on all states, with regard to the freedom of shipping in international waters, and the waters of other countries.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom Flotilla is on it's way to break Gaza siege

Sixth ship joins as Freedom Flotilla nears Gaza

From the Free Gaza Movement Twitter feed
Free Gaza Movement
30 MINUTES AGO
Challenger 1 joined the flotilla. Boat is OK. Some passengers loaded onto other boats. We now have six boats to challenge the siege

Live from the Gaza flotilla - Kevin Ovenden reports for Viva Palestina

KEVIN OVENDEN REPORTING LIVE FROM THE GAZA FLOTILLA!!!
 
At 17.30 this evening the European Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza arrived at the staging point south of Cyprus, joining the Greek cargo ship and the three Turkish vessels in international waters. We are now waiting the arrival of five European parliamentarians from Cyprus, who have had to travel from the Greek south to the Turkish north in order to board a vessel to join us. It is an embarrassing episode for the Greek Cypriot government of President Christofias. Cyprus had previously been accommodating of efforts to break the siege on Gaza, but not this time.

The level of support for the international flotilla is growing by the day. There are now expressions of either support for allowing the ships in or calling for Israel to be restrained in its actions from Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Russia and from the EU foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton. At the same time, Israel has remained bellicose and truculent in its responses.

The atmosphere on board the lead passenger vessel, the Mavri Marmara, is calm and determined - thanks in large part to the drive and discipline of the Turkish delegation led by the indomitable IHH.

The Viva Palestina delegation, drawing on our experience of the three land convoys, is contributing to maintaining the resolve, which is hardening, despite the loss of two European vessels which have had to break off from joining the flotilla due to mechanical problems.

It is clear to us that Israel has already lost in this confrontation, which is entirely of its own making. First, the flotilla is generating unprecedented publicity, and it is overwhelmingly critical of Israel's stance. I was interviewed on Fox News, for example, and even the interviewer seemed to run through the moderately hostile questions as a matter of course rather than with any conviction. Second, it has openly declared that it is prepared to use physical force against a peaceful, humanitarian mission. Despite efforts by hostile media to claim that this is merely a propaganda or political mission, the message that this flotilla is bringing vital humanitarian aid is getting through. The political dimension is a result purely of the illegal and immoral siege imposed on the people of Gaza. It is Israel and governments which support the embargo which have made concrete, glass, educational supplies and medicines and incendiary political issue.

As with every confrontation Israel has engaged in over the last few years it is drawing down its already reduced political stock. So, the threats to seize the ships and intern 600 people in the Israeli port of Ashdod are having the effect neither of intimidating people onboard nor of generating awe elsewhere. Perhaps among some people they may create fear. But creating fear is never the way to being loved. In fact, the bellicosity coming from Israel is more likely to lead some of those who continue to support it to fall out of love with it.

We await the shuttle boat from Cyprus and setting course for Gaza tomorrow.

Kevin Ovenden
Viva Palestina, on board the Mavri Marmara
 
 
 
END
---------------------
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK
Tel: +447889726777
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/
Sign up to the Viva Palestina Mailing List http://www.vivapalestina.org/alert.htm
Viva Palestina, helping to make the positive steps in breaking the siege of Gaza!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Cypriot government moves against Gaza flotilla - protest now!

Freedom Flotilla has now been reduced to five from eight due to mechanical difficulties. Cypriot government is also refusing to allow prominent supporters to join the convoy. Although the flotilla is in international waters smaller vessels are required to ferry people to the ships. Organisers are now seeking help from the Turkish Cypriot government in the north of the island. Cyprus says it does not want to harm it's vital interests with Israel. More at the Guardian.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Appeal to protect Gaza aid flotilla from Israel's threats - protest letter template to send to elected representatives now


Freedom Flotilla latest news
www.witnessgaza.com


--
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza


Template letter to MP:

To whom it may concern:

I, (insert your name) am writing this letter to you to express my concern for the safety of the 750 passengers from 50 various countries on board the 9 ships who are sailing towards Gaza today.

Israel have issued several threats indicating that they will stop this flotilla by force, and arrest everyone onboard. This is an extremely worrying development, and these threats to civilians has to be taken very seriously.

I am appealing to you to do all in your power to ensure the safety of these brave individuals, and for the 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid onboard.

The situation in Gaza is the greatest humanitarian disaster in our time, and it is not only my duty, but the duty of every person worldwide to play their part in making sure the illegal siege on Gaza is lifted.

1.5 million people have been suffering daily due to the effects of this Israeli imposed siege, and the time has come for the world to stand up and say, “Enough Is Enough”.

Will you add your voice to this appeal, or will you sit idly by and allow Israel to not only attack and imprison this flotilla, but to continue the slow genocide of the Palestinian’s in Gaza?

Awaiting your response,

(insert your name )

Protest letter to your elected representative to protect Gaza aid flotilla


http://gazafreedommarch.org/cms/en/flotilla.aspx
www.witnessgaza.com


--
Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza


Template letter to MP:

To whom it may concern:

I, (insert your name) am writing this letter to you to express my concern for the safety of the 750 passengers from 50 various countries on board the 9 ships who are sailing towards Gaza today.

Israel have issued several threats indicating that they will stop this flotilla by force, and arrest everyone onboard. This is an extremely worrying development, and these threats to civilians has to be taken very seriously.

I am appealing to you to do all in your power to ensure the safety of these brave individuals, and for the 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid onboard.

The situation in Gaza is the greatest humanitarian disaster in our time, and it is not only my duty, but the duty of every person worldwide to play their part in making sure the illegal siege on Gaza is lifted.

1.5 million people have been suffering daily due to the effects of this Israeli imposed siege, and the time has come for the world to stand up and say, “Enough Is Enough”.

Will you add your voice to this appeal, or will you sit idly by and allow Israel to not only attack and imprison this flotilla, but to continue the slow genocide of the Palestinian’s in Gaza?

Awaiting your response,

(insert your name )

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hamas - Israel prepares for more acts of piracy to stop Freedom Flotilla


GAZA CITY — Hamas on Thursday said Israel's threat to intercept a flotilla of activist aid boats bound for the Islamist group's Gaza enclave amounted to "Zionist piracy."

"The occupation's threat to prevent the Freedom Flotilla from arriving in the besieged Gaza Strip is Zionist piracy and a violation of international law," senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan said in a statement.

"This boasting indicates the terrorist Zionist mentality," he added, referring to Israel's vows to intercept the ships, deport the activists and transport the aid supplies to Gaza through its own land crossings. more

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Israel's army calls peaceful and non-violent Gaza aid flotilla 'a provocation'


Israel readies to confront the Gaza Freedom Flotilla... and the eyes of the world are on them. The IDF says there is a 'stable humanitarian situation' in Gaza and that the flotilla is a 'provocation'. The flotilla is carrying 5,000 tonnes of reconstruction material. All on board the ships are pledged to non-violence - if only the Israelis were. The organisers and volunteers of this and previous anti-siege missions are doing a great service to the cause of Palestinian liberation and by bringing to the conscience of western governments in particular, and more widely, the people of the world, the suffering daily wrought by the blockade.
A flotilla of eight boats carrying thousands of tonnes of construction materials, medical equipment and other aid is preparing to sail to Gaza in the next few days, setting the scene for a confrontation with Israel which has vowed to prevent the ships breaking the blockade on the Palestinian territory.

Three cargo ships and five passenger vessels plan to meet up in international waters between Cyprus and Gaza Strip before heading towards Gaza City. The Israeli military is expected to stop the flotilla and divert it to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

One of the organisers of the flotilla, which includes three vessels from Turkey, is IHH, a humanitarian aid group supported by Ankara. Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel have deteriorated since the Israelis launched a three-week war on Gaza in 2008-09. An attempt to block the flotilla is likely to increase tensions between the two countries. The Turkish prime minister, Racep Tayyip Erdogan, has called on Israel to avoid this by allowing the boats through.

"This could make relations between Israel and Turkey more complicated," said Yigal Palmor, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.more

Friday, 21 May 2010

Freedom Flotilla asembles in Cyprus ready to break Gaza siege


What will Israel do when the flotilla of at least nine ships sets off from Cyprus next Thursday to break the siege? At a meeting with Ambassadors from several European nations they vowed to stop the flotilla reaching Gaza. Will they they impound all the aid ships and the activists and dignitaries onboard? Whatever they do, another PR disaster looms for Israel.
The IDF is gearing up to stop a flotilla of aid ships that is directed at breaking the blockade on the Gaza Strip next week.

Two ships, one named for international activist Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza in 2003, sailed from Ireland to Cyprus where they will join another seven boats scheduled to set sail for Gaza next Thursday.

The ships will carry hundreds of international peace activists as well as some 10,000 tons of construction material, medical equipment and school supplies. While the Free Gaza movement claims that the flotilla is needed to provide Palestinians in Gaza with basic supplies, the IDF pointed out on Tuesday that it had, in the past week, allowed over 14,000 tons of supplies into the Gaza Strip.

On Monday night, Foreign Ministry officials met with ambassadors from Turkey, Greece, Ireland and Sweden and informed them that theships would be stopped on their way to the Gaza Strip. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has instructed the Navy to prepare for the operation, which due to the large number of vessels will require the participation of a large naval force. more

Israel halts mail, bombs northern Gaza while Hamas and Fatah reconciliation moves closer


Without any explanation Israel has stopped the flow of mail between Gaza and the West Bank. Only the US-owned courier service DHL now has a permit to operate.

Israel launched air strikes today apparently in response to a rocket launched by Ansar al Sunna yesterday. No injuries have been reported.

In a sign of thawing relations between Fatah and Hamas, prisoners held by both sides were released on Thursday. Israel also released a Hamas MP:
Meanwhile, Israel released on Thursday a Hamas lawmaker based in Jerusalem after he spent 43 months in detention, his lawyer said.

Mohammed Abu Tair was arrested in 2006 in response to a Hamas- led raid in which an Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured and taken hostage in Gaza. more
The move follows the Nakba rally (May 15) in Gaza last Saturday at which both sides participated.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Chomsky banned from West Bank by 'democratic' Israel - aid convoy threatened


The perverse Israeli PR machine scored another own goal in its quest to make the state it serves the most popular one in the world with the banning of Chomsky from the West Bank. Of course they have now given Chomsky and the Palestinian cause the publicity and support they seek to deny - what foolish arrogance.

It would appear that the 'Jewish state' is now waging war against Jewish people that speak out against Zionism. Goldstone has been feeling their wrath for some time - he has penned a defence of himself here - "my loyalty is to justice", he explains.

A week ago 'democratic' Israel shot dead a peaceful protester, Ahmed Salim, at the Gaza buffer zone unilaterally created by Israel to deprive Palestinians of even more land.

Meanwhile Israel is doing its best to prevent the aid flotilla from reaching Gaza. It has now deported Izzet Shahin, from the Turkish NGO Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), who was in Palestine (West Bank) setting up logistics for the aid mission.

Today resistance forces were in clashes with the IDF. No casualties have been reported as yet.

The US, which seems to have given up on trying to project its supposed impartiality has announced that it will be funding the Israeli missile defence system. Good luck with that - this move is more ideological than military as the system doesn't have a hope in hell of stopping Katuyshas or Grads. A better way of defending Israel's civilians would be to stop occupying Palestinian land, incarcerating its people and killing its children. Will they never learn?

Thankfully the ships of the flotilla are making progress with the MV Rachel Corrie embarking from Ireland yesterday:


Solidarity activists aboard a 1,200-ton cargo ship loaded with reconstruction aid for Gaza have vowed to defy the Israeli blockade.

The MV Rachel Corrie, which set sail from Ireland's Dundalk Docks on Saturday night, will be joined by three ships from Turkey and five from Greece when it arrives in Cyprus next week.

The nine-vessel Freedom Flotilla is set to cast anchor at Gaza City's docks on May 27 with its 10,000-ton cargo of reconstruction material, medical equipment and school supplies. more

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of wanton destruction of homes


(Jerusalem) - Israel should investigate the unlawful destruction of civilian property during the 2009 Gaza hostilities and lift the blockade that hinders residents from rebuilding their homes, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 116-page report, "‘I Lost Everything': Israel's Unlawful Destruction of Property in the Gaza Conflict" documents 12 separate cases during Operation Cast Lead in which Israeli forces extensively destroyed civilian property, including homes, factories, farms, and greenhouses, in areas under their control, without any lawful military purpose. Human Rights Watch's investigations, which relied upon physical evidence, satellite imagery, and multiple witness accounts at each site, found no indication of nearby fighting when the destruction occurred.

Israel has claimed that its forces destroyed civilian property only when Palestinian armed groups were fighting from it, or were using it to store weapons, hide tunnels, or advance other military purposes. Israel also claims that many Gazan homes were destroyed by Hamas booby-traps. The evidence in the incidents that Human Rights Watch investigated does not support such claims.

"Almost 16 months after the war, Israel has not held accountable troops who unlawfully destroyed swaths of civilian property in areas under their control," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Israel's blockade continues to keep Gazans from rebuilding their homes, meaning that Israel is still punishing Gaza's civilians long after the fighting is over." more

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Gil Scott-Heron pulls out of Israel concert in move to support of boycott campaign



More than 50 organizations and artists from eight countries have written to legendary political singer and poet Gil Scott-Heron to thank him for his decision to drop Israel from his current tour. The letter, facilitated by Adalah-NY, highlighted the parallels between the South African apartheid that Scott-Heron crusaded against decades ago and the Israeli system that currently subjugates Palestinians.

Press release was issued by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel on 5 May 2010 - read more at Electronic Intifada

Turkish prime minister backs flotilla to break Gaza siege


In a blow to Israel the Turkish prime minister Erdogan has come out in support of the flotilla being organised to break the siege of Gaza.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told organizers of a sail to Gaza Tuesday that he would support them in their efforts to "break the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip".

The independent Palestinian news agency PNN reported that during the Istanbul meeting with members of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) Erdogan said the breaking of the siege was "at the top of Turkey's list of priorities".

He said he would also support efforts to rebuild "what the Israeli war machine destroyed 15 months ago".

Israel's recent acceptance into the ranks of the OECD also came up. "We must force Israel to lift the siege on Gaza and respect human rights as a condition for its acceptance into any international organization," Erdogan said. more
Facebook Viva Palestina flotilla group

Monday, 10 May 2010

Turkish citizen arrested on West Bank two weeks ago because of Palestinian aid work


Izzet Shahin has been arrested for involvement with the Viva Palestina flotilla, which is sending a convoy of ships to break the siege of Gaza. IHH is organising a lot of the logistics for the flotilla.
The Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet arrested a Turkish national suspected of being a member of an outlawed Islamic group, a released gag order revealed on Monday.

Izzet Shahin, a volunteer for the Turkish NGO Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), was arrested in the West Bank by Israeli security forces two weeks ago and had been transferred to a Shin Bet investigation.

IHH, who had been organizing a Gaza aid boat planned to depart at the end of the month, was outlawed in Israel a few years ago. more

Demand end to the Israeli demolition campaign against Palestinian homes


While we all consider the laughable circus that is the proximity talks do something more useful such as signing this important petition calling on the Obama administration in the US to demand an end to the demolition of Palestinian homes. Since 1967 Israel has demolished over 24,000 Palestinian homes. This is a primary obstacle to a just and lasting peace.

Please join me by signing this petition: http://enddemolitionsnow.org/petition.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

UN 'weighing all options' but denies plans to break Gaza siege


Outstanding humanitarian John Gint has apparently called for the UN to break the Gaza siege by delivering aid across sea, as the Free Gaza movement has done and the Viva Palestina flotilla plans to soon. The UN has been quick to distance the organisation from Gint's reported remarks to a Norwegian newspaper.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations said Tuesday it has no plans to break the Israeli sea blockade of the Gaza Strip but would weigh all legal options to deliver badly needed supplies to the besieged Palestinian population.

Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman, made the remarks to AFP in reaction to reported comments by John Ging, a top Gaza-based UN official, suggesting that the international community should look for ways to send aid ships to break the siege.

"The United Nations has no plans to use sea routes in Gaza, but will consider all legal options available to bring in assistance and commercial supplies," he noted.

Haq said the UN was working with the Israeli government to use land crossings.

"Some recent progress has been achieved in facilitating a number of priority UN projects and expanding the list of commercial goods allowed into Gaza," he added. "However, much more must be done to meet Gaza's urgent needs, and the UN will continue to press for this objective."

Ging, head of Gaza operations for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), reportedly told a Norwegian newspaper that the world should send ships to Gaza and suggested that Israeli authorities would not stop the vessels because the sea is open. more

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Call for Elvis Costello to withdraw from Israeli concert date


Dear Elvis Costello,

We were shocked to see from your website that you are planning on performing in Israel this June. The Palestinian people have lived under military occupation for decades. The siege by the Israeli army and the economic blockade have devastated their daily lives so that ‘normal' life is impossible.

You will remember how artists who played at Sun City during South Africa's apartheid era were used by the apartheid regime to justify its policies. But the principled refusal from many artists to perform whilst apartheid existed in South Africa helped bring an end to that injustice. Now, decades later, a similar system of apartheid exists in Palestine.

Israel operates an entrenched system of racial Apartheid against its own non-Jewish inhabitants and has been illegally occupying Palestinian land in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights since 1967. It has sought to further annex these lands and has systematically transferred its own civilian population into these occupied territories in contravention of international law. Israel continues to build the illegal Apartheid wall, annexing vast swathes of Palestinian land in the West Bank and creating Palestinian ghettos, despite the ruling of the International Court of Justice that it is illegal.

Israel is subjecting 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza to a brutal and inhumane blockade - preventing those needing essential medical help from leaving, and blocking food, medicines and construction materials to rebuild Gaza's shattered infrastructure following Israel's war on Gaza last year. And recently, Israel introduced a new military order, which enables Israel to carry out mass deportations of Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank, categorising them as ‘infiltrators'.

Desmond Tutu, following his visit to the West Bank, said he was ‘very deeply distressed' and that ‘it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa'. He saw ‘the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about'. Ex-US president Jimmy Carter has added his voice to those calling for an end to Israel's apartheid policies.

We are urging you to support the call from Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel until it abides by international law and respects Palestinian rights. Please cancel your performance in Tel Aviv. This would send a clear signal that you stand with those struggling against racism and apartheid. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,
Betty Hunter

General Secretary
Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Settlers burn village mosque as Israel-Palestinian 'proximity talks' loom


Talk about proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians via a third-party may begin as early as next week - US envoy George Mitchell is now in the region. But what guarantees has the US given to the Palestinian side on the question of the continued building of settlements? It is extremely unlikely that Israel has given any meaningful guarantees. When is Abbas going to stop crawling on his knees at the beck and call of the US?

A better indication of Israeli intentions on the so-called peace process is unfortunately to be seen in the West Bank village of Luban Al Sharqiya where a mosque was attacked and burned, probably by settlers who have attacked the village on a number of occasions.

In addition, the bad faith of the Israelis is on display through the foreign ministry who say that the recent - overdue - call by the PA to boycott all Israeli goods produced on the occupied West Bank, threatens the talks. Israel is increasingly concerned by the international impact of the boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the settler state.


Police are investigating a fire which seriously damaged a mosque in the West Bank village of Luban Al Sharqiya and which local residents say was an act of arson carried out by Jewish settlers.

Witnesses told Al Jazeera they found the mosque burned at dawn on Tuesday, when they arrived for morning prayers.

They reportedly heard a group of cars approach the mosque around 3am local time.

"The mosque has been completely burned," Majed Daraghmeh, a mosque official, told the Reuters news agency.

"I didn't see the settlers but I am certain that they did it because of their previous attacks on the village." more