Breaching Gaza’s Siege Update – by Stephen Lendman
Israel keeps exerting pressure to block humanitarian efforts to deliver vital to life and other essential aid to besieged Gazans.
Endorsing Israeli lawlessness, the State Department issued a June 22 “Travel Warning – Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,” saying in part:
“The Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to US interests in those locations,” adding “avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip.”
Access the full statement through the following link:
On June 23, Secretary of State Clinton added:
“We do not believe that the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza. And we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.”
Defend against whom she didn’t explain or that Gazan waters belong to Palestine, not Israel. Moreover, delivering humanitarian aid is essential until Gaza’s blockade is ended, a crime against humanity Washington funds and supports.
This week, “Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human” sails to Gaza. Neither Israel nor Clinton will stop it, but they’re trying by blocking its departure or planned interdiction surprises if it comes.
The US Boat to Gaza (The Audacity of Hope) is one of 10 participating ships, now blocked by Greek officials, saying the vessel is unseaworthy, a spurious claim with no validity.
A June 26 US Boat to Gaza press release asked “Greek government officials to clarify whether (their leased boat) is being blocked….because of an anonymous request of a private citizen….or whether (Greece) made a political decision….in response to US and Israeli” pressure.
Specifically they want to know if bailout help is contingent on succumbing to blackmail, besides Greece already surrendering its sovereignty to foreign bankers.
A previous article explained, accessed through the following link:
On June 27, a US Boat to Gaza press release responded to reports that an Israeli “Lawfare” group (Shurat HaDin) complaint is delaying the boat’s departure.
Israel, Washington, AIPAC, and the Shurat HaDin Law Center (SH) are directly involved. In fact, SH’s web site claims it’s “bankrupting terrorism one lawsuit at a time,” adding on June 19:
“I am happy to report that we have achieved some important victories in the struggle to block the anti-Israel Flotilla from ‘smuggling contraband’ to the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.”
Specifically, it referred to a French insurance company succumbing to intimidation not to cover a French boat from Marseilles, and the Turkish ship pressured by Ankara to cancel its participation.
On June 15, SH announced a Manhattan federal court lawsuit to “confiscate 14 ships outfitted with funds unlawfully raised in the United States by anti-Israeli groups, including the Free Gaza Movement.”
SH, the Obama administration, AIPAC and other Israeli Lobby members clearly support state terrorism in violation of international, US and Israeli law. Nonetheless, America’s “Audacity of Hope” is confident it will sail, saying:
SH is notorious for filing “frivolous legal complaints against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. We reiterate that the boat we are leasing….was surveyed by a professional surveyor and successfully completed its sea trials.”
At noon Athens time June 27, a press conference will announce its readiness to sail, but expect continued pressure to stop it – criminal co-conspirators determined to lawlessly suffocate besieged Gazans.
On June 27, a Haaretz editorial headlined, “Let the flotilla go,” saying:
Israel equates “flotilla” with terrorism or “a declaration of war,” no matter that cargo includes food, medicines, educational materials and other humanitarian aid raised by private donations.
Nonetheless, Israel “seems to be as frightened of the flotilla as one would think it would be of an attack by an armed naval fleet.” As a result, it’s “preparing to fight an enemy” comprised of unarmed, nonviolent men and women who care enough to risk their safety to deliver vital aid and symbolically oppose Israeli lawlessness.
Thirteen months after the Mavi Marmara massacre, “Israel is showing that it has learned just one lesson: the military lesson….The country is not willing to give up a display of power, thereby no doubt contributing to inflating the flotilla’s importance” and Israel as a rogue terror state. “From Israel, we can at least demand that it let the flotilla get through….without once again endangering the country’s position in the world.”
On June 27, Israel National News said former US Ecuador ambassador Samuel Hart (a 27-year Foreign Service veteran) will participate in the Flotilla mission.
In a 1992 Foreign Affairs Oral History Project for the Association for Diplomatic Studies interview, Hart said:
“I’ve always felt that Israel has been a little bit of a burr in the saddle in our foreign policy. Here is a small country with no particular interest to us in any real strategic terms, yet it sort of jerks us around because it has not only a very vocal Jewish population, but also supporters of Israel from non-Jewish groups.”
He also once wrote an essay calling Israel “an exhausting place to live (because) the tension, anxiety and intensity wear you out.”
Now aged 77, he told a Jacksonville, FL newspaper he joined the Flotilla because he “missed” participating in the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement to end segregation. “I see great similarities between this and the civil rights movement,” he said. “I am pleased to be part of it.”
He also asked, “What did the residents of Gaza do to deserve such punishment? The honest answer is they” elected Hamas in 2006 democratically and now suffer lawlessly.
On June 26, New York Times writer Ethan Bronner headlined, “Avoid Gaza Flotilla, Israel Warns Foreign Journalists,” saying:
“Israel threatened Sunday to bar for up to a decade any foreign journalist who boards a flotilla seeking to challenge an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.”
Moreover, Israel’s Government Press Office director Oren Helman said their equipment will be impounded and they’ll be subjected to “additional sanctions.” He sent a warning letter to registered foreign correspondents, stopping short of saying they’ll be arrested and jailed.
Perhaps all Flotilla participants will be mistreated, imprisoned, their personal possessions confiscated, then summarily deported the way Flotilla I activists were treated after being attacked, beaten and otherwise abused, besides nine on board massacred in cold blood.
On June 26, Israel’s Foreign Press Association responded, saying:
Journalists “covering a legitimate news event should be allowed to do their jobs without threat and intimidation. (Helman’s letter) sends a chilling message to the international media and raises serious questions about Israel’s commitment to freedom of the press.”
Bronner said an unnamed New York Times journalist would participate, joining other international correspondents.
Further updates will follow, highlighting courageous activism against lawless Israeli brutality, complicit with its Washington paymaster/partner.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.