Thursday, 8 July 2010

Turkey tells Israel it will take 'all measures' necessary to protect its civilians

pictured above, Mavi Marmara passenger Sarah Colborne of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign

AFP newswire is reporting the Turkish foreign minister making it clear to Israel that it will use 'all measures' to defend its citizens. Another flotilla is due to depart for Gaza on Sunday 12 September. Also, a senior IDF officer has just finished his investigation into the IDF's handling of the raid. There is no deploring of the killing of nine unarmed people, but instead much talk of better preparation and how they should have worked with foreign governments to prevent the flotilla leaving for Gaza in the first place - no doubt this is what they are working on now as preparations for the next aid flotilla to break the siege are made.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Israel that his country reserved the right to "take all measures to guarantee the rights of its civilians". He was referring to the IDF raid against an aid flotilla to Gaza that killed nine Turks in May.

Asked about diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel, Davutoglu said, "We expect Israel to apologize (...) or accept an international investigation. I think it ' is a fair and reasonable demand of Turkey ".

Hollywood A listers Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman pull out of Israel film festival

The boycott campaign is picking up steam in the aftermath of the flotilla massacre. Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman are both pulling out of a film festival in the country. See the Jerusalem Post clip below:
Hollywood actors such as Meg Ryan backed out of attending this year’s annual Jerusalem Film Festival, which is set to kick off this coming Thursday, following the international outcry over Israel’s attack on a Turkish-led flotilla that attempted to break the Gaza blockade on May 31, The Jerusalem Post learned Monday.

According to Cinematheque associate director Yigal Molad Hayo, while neither gave the political climate as a direct reason for canceling their participation in the festival, “it became quite clear that this was the reason,” he said...

...In addition to Ryan, who has starred in such movies as Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and, more recently, Kate and Leopold, Molad Hayo said that the Cinematheque had also reached “advanced negotiations” with Jewish actor Dustin Hoffman.

“We were very close to reaching an agreement with him, then the flotilla happened and correspondence was ended,” said Molad Hayo. more

Criminal charges against IDF personnel has Israelis wondering if Goldstone was right

Edward Sanders of the LA Times has an interesting article looking at the small number of indictments of IDF soldiers for crimes they committed in Gaza.

Even though the Israeli courts' moves are pathetic and cosmetic, Sanders shows how a growing number in Israel are beginning to leave their self-imposed reality distortion field - as more come to admit that perhaps Goldstone was 'on the right track after all' in his UN report on the war.

You would have thought 1,400 dead, overwhelmingly civilians, may have been enough to raise the blinkers from the eyes of at least some Israelis. Well perhaps the minority of Israelis who have had enough of their government racist oppression of Palestinians is growing.
Reporting from Jerusalem — A short but growing list of criminal indictments and disciplinary actions stemming from Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip 18 months ago is raising a prospect that many Israelis are likely to find unsettling: that the controversial Goldstone report might have been on the right track after all.

The conclusion last year by the United Nations-appointed panel that Israel committed war crimes, targeted civilians and used disproportionate force sent shockwaves through Israel. The facts and findings were dismissed by the government as deeply flawed, and panel chairman Richard Goldstone, a Jewish jurist from South Africa, was reviled in Israel as a traitor and even anti-Semitic...

... "The military is finding out that some of what Goldstone said is true, even though no one wants to admit it," said Gershon Baskin, a political consultant and former Labor Party advisor. "This should indicate that there needs to be deeper investigation."

The most serious criminal investigation still pending involves the Samouni family. During battles in January 2009, more than 100 members of the family were reportedly ordered by soldiers to gather in a house that was later attacked by Israeli bombs. As many as 30 people died, including women and children. more

UK Christians join boycott of Israeli settlement goods

The UK's Methodist Church is joining the boycott movement against goods produced on Israeli settlements. The move has enraged Israel's defenders who find it hard to believe that those with an interest in social justice now feel the need to stand up and be counted. The move was based on the findings of the Kairos Report.
The fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United Kingdom is under fire for supporting Palestinian Christians.

In late June, the Methodist Church of Great Britain became the first major UK denomination to boycott goods from Israeli settlements following last year's release of the Palestine Kairos document, which declared Israel's occupation "a sin against God."

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, representing 300 Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in Britain, said the Methodist conference ought to "hang its head in shame" after it "swallowed hook, line and sinker a report full of basic historical inaccuracies, deliberate misrepresentations and distortions" that "will cause the enemies of peace and reconciliation to cheer from the sidelines." ...

..."This decision has not been taken lightly, but after months of research," church spokeswoman Christine Elliott said in a statement. "The goal of the boycott is to put an end to the existing injustice. It reflects the challenge that settlements present to a lasting peace in the region." more

UAE urged to send boats to Gaza as Poland extradites Mossad agent in al-Mabhouh plot

From the Dubai National - Free Gaza Movement is encouraging people in the UAE to provide a ship to join the next flotilla, sailing in September. Meanwhile Poland is extraditing to Germany an Israeli citizen accused of forging a German passport as part of the assassination plot against Palestinian leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
DUBAI // Huwaida Arraf, a key member of the Free Gaza Movement, said the group is raising money and organising for another and hopefully bigger flotilla that would cross the Mediterranean to Gaza.

“When we’re ready to announce, people will know about it,” she said. “But for sure it is going to be an escalation. I would love to see a boat from the UAE next time. We really want to see the Gulf, and I really would like to see the Emirates, get more involved.”

An American lawyer of Palestinian descent, Ms Arraf, 34, has been part of seven attempts to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of the strip, one of the most densely populated places in the world and home to 1.5 million people. more