GAZA FLOTILLA II June 29, 2011Posted by wmmbb in Middle East.
Israel is going to great lengths to stop the Gaza flotilla from sailing. They seem to be pushing the bounds on legality on land this time.
Al Jazeera reports:
Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted senior Israeli officials as saying that “radical elements” among the flotilla activists had stated an intention to “spill the blood of Israeli soldiers”.
According to Tel Aviv daily Yedioth Aharonoth, military sources said participants of the flotilla were planning to pour chemicals, such as sulfur, on Israeli soldiers.
But according to activist Feiler, the goal of the flotilla is to “come in peace” to Gaza.
“We are shocked by the Israeli actions, and their propaganda that we have weapons and acid and are going to attack Israeli soldiers, when we are all dedicated to peace,” Feiler said. “We will not throw objects or attack them in any way.”
The flotilla comes a year after another aid shipment was intercepted by Israeli commandos. At least nine activists were killed when commandos stormed Mavi Marmara, the Turkish-owned lead aid ship.
Besides the Juliano – named after Juliano Mer-Khamis, the Arab-Israeli actor, director and political activist who was shot dead in the West Bank town of Jenin in April – boats from Greece, France, Italy and Spain are also among those joining Freedom Flotilla II. Two cargo vessels will carry medicines, a fully equipped ambulance car, and cement.
A number of journalists are among those taking part in the bid to break Israel’s five-year naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is home to 1.5 million Palestinians.
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, and several international leaders have urged the flotilla not to set sail, and the US has warned its nationals not to join the attempt to break the embargo.
The border has remained largely shut since June 2006, when Israel imposed a tight blockade on the coastal territory after Palestinian fighters snatched Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is still being held.
The UN has called the blockade illegal and repeatedly demanded it be lifted. A ban on civilian goods and foodstuffs was eased last year but many restrictions remain in place.
Frankly, it is to be expected that the Israel Government would attempt to cast nonviolent protesters as violent, but what is the Ban Ki Moon and the Americans doing?
Democracy Now covered the story, including Alice Walker’s statement at a press conference:
It Takes People on the Outside: Prestigious Author Alice Walker to Confront Israeli Naval Blockade of Gaza on U.S. Aid Ship.
I note her reference to global warming as another example of a global issue.