Breaching Gaza’s Siege – by Stephen Lendman
Suffocating besieged Gazans, Israel is committing slow-motion genocide. Global activists are determined to stop it and hold Israeli officials accountable for decades of crimes of war and against humanity – unspeakable atrocities financed by criminal co-conspirators in Washington.
In May 2010, Israeli commandos illegally interdicted six Freedom Flotilla ships in international waters, massacring nine activists aboard the Mavi Marmara mother ship.
Nonetheless, global activists are determined to break Gaza’s siege, the first step to ending it altogether and freeing nearly 1.7 million people, isolated in the world’s largest open-air prison.
They’re coming, Freedom Flotilla II, heading to Gaza with vitally needed humanitarian aid. Planning more high seas barbarism and piracy, Israel will again interdict. In preparation, mobilized reserve combatants held drills, focusing on riot-control measures, including brute force and “surprises” if needed.
On June 19, Israeli Admiral Eliezer Marom said:
“The Navy has prevented and will continue to prevent the arrival of the ‘hate flotilla’ whose only goals are to clash with (Israeli) soldiers, create a media provocation, and delegitimize the State of Israel.”
Besides interdiction, imprisonment awaits participants, Israeli authorities saying blockade violators will be arrested and jailed, treated harshly, then deported. All of it, of course, is lawless, including seizure of humanitarian supplies and personal belongings like Flotilla I was pillaged, the way pirates have done it for centuries.
Israel is a rogue terror state. Activists know the risks. They’re coming anyway and will keep coming, no matter what Israel plans.
A June 23 “Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human” press release headlined, “Sailing to Gaza,” saying:
Within days, 10 participating ships will sail. Two carry cargo. Hundreds of activists from 20 countries are aboard the others, including politicians, writers, religious figures, journalists, TV crews from major broadcasters, doctors, lawyers, holocaust survivors, artists, and various other distinguished and ordinary committed activists for justice.
On June 18, Turkey’s IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation pulled out, yielding to government pressure at a time Israeli and Ankara officials are holding secret rapprochement talks.
Despite Israeli threats, lies, pressure, blackmail, and governments not supporting their own citizens, preparations are nearly complete to sail.
A June 24 Free Gaza.org press release headlined, “Israel proves that Flotillas work,” saying:
Israel’s recent authorization of token aid amounts, including construction materials for 1,200 homes and 19 truckloads of medicines, shows pressure works even though not enough. Key is stiffening it until Gazans and all Palestinians are free. It’s coming because global millions support it. For now, “Freedom Flotilla 2: Stay Human” sails for Gaza next week. “(O)ur destination is freedom.”
Organized by 14 national groups and international coalitions, a US Boat to Gaza is included, named “The Audacity of Hope.” Participants call this “an important moment in history.” They’re defying Israeli US ambassador Michael Oren describing organizers as “radical anti-Israel organizations known also for anti-American activities,” and Netanyahu saying the mission is a “provocation.” Earlier, he told European ambassadors in Jerusalem, “This flotilla must be stopped.” Responding to it, he mounted a PR stunt to pretend Gaza’s siege is eased.
Like other global activists, Americans are determined to help, despite Washington’s efforts to deter them. On June 14, passengers wrote Obama, saying:
“We are writing to inform you that 50 unarmed Americans will soon be sailing….to Gaza….challeng(ing) Israel’s (illegal) blockade (in) friendship (and solidarity) in support of the Palestinian people and their human rights.”
Telling Gazans they’re not alone, “it will call attention to the morally and legally indefensible collective punishment of a population of civilians….As US citizens, we expect our country and its leaders to help ensure the Flotilla’s safe passage (and) demand that the Gaza blockade be lifted. This should begin by notifying the Israeli government in clear and certain terms that it may not physically interfere with” any participating vessel. We “expect no less from our President and your administration.”
On June 24, Audacity of Hope participants “expressed profound disappointment” by the State Department’s June 22 response, issuing a scandalous “travel advisory,” advising Americans against coming by sea or other means. Saying previous attempts were “stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of US citizens,” it didn’t warn Israel that interdiction won’t be tolerated, especially if on board activists are harmed.
Participating in the mission, University of Southern California Professor Hagit Borer said:
“Apparently, the State Department subscribes to the view that Israel’s anticipated violence against unarmed protesters is an immutable act of nature. This is a remarkable attitude, coming from a government that provides the Israeli government with billions of dollars in military aid and routinely uses its veto to protect (its) government from censure of its occupation policies by the UN Security Council.”
In fact, Washington officials are legally bound to protect US citizens. Nonetheless, they plan nothing to do it, effectively green-lighting Israeli commandos to lawlessly interdict, brutalize, and kill again if if they choose, perhaps with funding, weapons and munitions America supplies for that purpose.
A Final Comment
On June 24, Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor said:
“Israel is determined to stop the flotilla. Israel has the right to self-defense. The flotilla has nothing constructive. There is nothing humanitarian in the shipments,” calling the mission a “provocation.”
In fact, it’s bringing vital humanitarian aid Israel lawlessly restricts or blocks entirely for nearly 1.7 million besieged people, ruthlessly persecuted for not being Jewish and electing the wrong government. Abhorrent by any standard, under international law it’s illegal but continues because global leaders are complicit for doing nothing to stop it.
In America’s Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson endorsed citizen action against destructive government policies. Flotilla participants are acting in the best tradition of his message, challenging Israeli repression for justice.
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.