Friday, 1 July 2011

Action Alert: US Boat to Gaza intercepted by Greek coastguard - activists taken into custody

From US Boat to Gaza website and twitter

Call the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC: 202-939-1300
At 4:45 pm Athens time (9:45 am east coast time, 6:45 am west coast time) today The Audacity of Hope left it's dock in Athens.
We are waiting to see what the Greek authorities will do.

We just heard from the boat….they are now heading back to dock.

A second Greek Coast Guard boat with more heavily armed forces arrived. There were more discussions between the Greeks and the captain of our boat, and in the end the decision was made to return to shore. We are not certain which dock they will be going to. Please keep the pressure on the Greek government!

Emergency #Flotilla2 protest starting at Greek consulate NY chanting "American citizens taken into custody by Greek gov" 43 mins ago
We were forced to go back to a Greek port surrounded with bars and barbwire. #flotilla2 1 hr ago
Our boat is held by the Greek police. #flotilla2 1 hr ago
.@CanadaBoatGaza is being blocked by Greek authorities #flotilla2 2 hrs ago
RT .@hedyepstein W/ great joy we left Parama pier. Under bright blue sky we traveled 33min in calm waters when CoastGuard arrived #flotilla2 2 hrs ago

Senior Hamas leader beaten in prison after refusing to submit to a strip search

GAZA, (PIC)-- Special units from the Israeli Prison Service severely beat senior Palestinian prisoner Nael al-Barghouthi after he failed to succumb to a strip search in Ramon prison, the Gaza Prisoners’ Affairs Ministry reported.

Barghouthi agreed two days ago that he would succumb to a strip search on condition that it would take place in the bathroom. After a search, the guards handcuffed him and told him to remove his shirt, but he could not do so because he was restricted by the cuffs. The special unit then proceeded to assault him with sticks and their boots. After he screamed, Hilal Jaradat came in to help him from a nearby cell.

After the attack, Barghouthi was prohibited visitation rights for four months and banned from recreation for two months and forced to pay NIS 500 in fines among other punitive measures.

Barghouthi is the longest serving prisoner detained in Israeli occupation prisons. He has been in detention since 1978.

Thanks to the Palestine Information Center

Flotilla battles sabotage, bureaucracy and lies - Israel outsources siege of Gaza to US and Greece

(pic: Recent flotilla press conference in Greece)

From Haaretz

GREECE - With two ships sabotaged - the Irish ship is in no condition to sail and the Swedish-Greek-Norwegian Giuliano is still being repaired - the impulse is to depart from port and wait for the rest at sea, along with the French ship that sailed Saturday. This is also the wish of all those on the Tahrir, the Canadian ship with its 50 passengers.

The backpacks allowed on deck are half-packed, in a state of near readiness. The lists of telephone numbers are ready, in case there's a need to rush for a quick departure.

Psychologically people are getting ready to receive the call at three in the afternoon or two in the morning, and they know who they have to call in turn.

The strict instructions are not to be more than a 20-minute walk from the hotel. And certainly not to dream about taking a tour bus to ancient Greek sites, to climb a mountain or to risk inhaling tear gas during a demonstrations in Athens. But these instructions have been in place for days, so the fact that they appear in print is not enough to hint at a time of departure.

At the Athens press conference the flotilla organizers held on Monday, some journalists insisted on being told where the ships are. But the sabotage proved how logical it was to refuse to answer the question.

In both case of sabotage what was targeted were the rods connecting the propeller shaft to the engine. Two more points for those who present the flotilla as a declaration of war.

For the Giuliano, a routine inspection while it was in port revealed the sabotage, but the sabotage of the Irish ship Saoirse (freedom ) was discovered while it was being tested at sea, not far from the Turkish port where it was anchored. The crew found that something was wrong. The crew's assessment is that the sabotage was not meant to prevent their departure but to worsen at sea. That way, the lives of the passengers and the crew would be endangered.

Due to the seriousness of the damage, the Irish group is finding it difficult to pay for the repairs.

"Israel is trying to outsource the siege on Gaza to Greece and the U.S.," said Dror Feiler at the press conference. In other words, it turns other countries into collaborators in the imposition of the siege by blocking the flotilla - with warnings, threats, bureaucratic delays and adopting a "provocation" narrative. It seems like the participants in the flotilla are undergoing a process of "Gaza-tization." They are willingly experiencing, for a few days, some of the characteristics of life under siege in the Gaza Strip. They are tied up against their will within a limited radius of several kilometers. Their plans are repeatedly foiled by superior forces. Their clearance to depart has been canceled, and they are waiting for it to be renewed. more

Organisers have threatened to sail from Greece without permission but are aware that the Greek coastguard would probably stop them.

Flotilla now delayed until July 5 due to Greek government obstruction and Israeli sabotage

From JTA
The flotilla, comprised of nine boats -- including one from the United States -- was to set have set sail this week from Greece, with the aim of bringing attention to Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.

Activists told media Friday that obstructions by the the Greek government and what the activists allege to be sabotage of two ships, from Ireland and Sweden, mean that the flotilla won't set sail until July 5 at the earliest.

The ships were to have marked the May 31 2010 raid of a similar flotilla by Israeli commandoes. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the subsequent melee, including a Turkish American. more

Settlers burn crops belonging to Burin villagers as West Bank arson attacks continue

From ISM

On Thursday 30 June at 11:00 AM, the villagers of Burin reported that a fire was started by a group of settlers in one of the village´s crop field in the hills.

According to a villager who witnessed the events, Walid M. N. noted that before the fire began to burn, approximately 50 settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, including some children, were seen atop the hill which is just situated in the southwest portion of the village.

ISM was told that many villagers went up to the blaze to try to stop it, but the Nablus Fire Department had to be called afterwards to put the fire out.

When ISM went to see where the attack had taken place, a jeep of Israeli soldiers could be seen watching the area.

Burin is located in the southwest of Nablus. It has a population of approximately 4000 inhabitants. The villagers have been suffering from regular settler attacks for many years.

Thanks to the International Solidarity Movement

Formation of Palestinian reconciliation government on hold until after September UN statehood vote

Hamas said its reconciliation accord with Fatah was blocked by disagreement over a proposed national unity government for the Palestinian Authority. A senior Hamas official said the disagreements concern the nomination of a prime minister as well as legislature approval.

On June 29, Fatah and Hamas were reported to have agreed to delay the formation of the unity government until after the expected United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood in September. The official Saudi Press Agency said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas relayed the proposal to Hamas through Turkey, which has sought to resolve obstacles. more