against Israeli attack on "Freedom Flotilla"
I saw the video featured by The
Atlantic blogger Andrew
Sullivan. The video depicts an attack on one of the six ships in
the "Freedom Flotilla," a convoy that was attempting to break the seige
of Gaza ("The world's largest open-air prison") by bringing in
badly-needed supplies. I attended a talk a few months back where it was
claimed that, yes indeed, Israel claims
that civilian goods are permitted to be imported into Gaza, but the
actual goods allowed in are randomly and arbitrarily chosen, so that a
particular product being shipped in can wait for literally months before being able to reach
Update: The Guardian reports on the "total
economic blockade" of Gaza.
Israel has imposed a full economic
blockade on Gaza, which it calls a "hostile entity", since the
Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas
seized control in June 2007. Nearly all exports and imports are banned
and only a tightly limited supply of food and medical aid is allowed in.
The Israeli Consulate is in the building in back of the protesters, but
everyone faced the street. They all cheered whenever a car drove by
honking in soldarity. From Sullivan's comments on the video:
A simple point. The violence by the
activists is pretty abhorrent.
These are not followers of Gandhi or MLK Jr. But the violence is not
fatal to anyone and it is in response to a dawn commando raid by armed
soldiers. They are engaging in self-defense. More to the point: they
are civilians confronting one of the best militaries in the world. They
killed no soldiers; their weapons were improvised; the death toll in
the fight is now deemed to be up to 19 - all civilians.
My take after viewing the video was that the Israelis appeared to have
come in expecting the raid to be just like a police raid. All of the
"perps," knowing they were criminals, would simply raise their arms in
surrender. The reason why that wasn't a reasonable prediction was that
the attack took place in International waters, where members of the
Freedom Flotilla simply had no reason to expect an attack and had
absolutely every right to defend themselves.
In what's essentially an admission of guilt,
Israel is trying very hard to keep the persons and reporters who were
on the Flotilla from speaking with any reporters on the outside.
Somehow, Al Jazeera was able to obtain some of the video footage from
the encounter and the story told in that video makes it clear that
Israelis fired the first shots, a white flag was raised after the first
casualty, but many civilians were killed after that. Also, "three German
citizens, all of whom are either current or former members of the
Bundestag, Germany’s Parliament" confirmed that Israel fired first.
Cetin [Marmara] is among a handful of
Turkish activists to be released; more than
300 remain in Israeli custody. She said she agreed to extradition from
Israel after she was warned that conditions in jail would be too harsh
for her child.
And in what's another very clear sign of Israeli guilt, Cetin testifies
"[The Israelis] asked me only a few
questions. But they took everything – cameras,
laptops, cellphones, personal belongings including our clothes," she
It's clearly a reasonable presumption that recordings would have been
made of the boarding. If everything Israel did was proper and correct,
why would there have been any harm in allowing the Flotilla's
recordings to get out?
Heh! These were the counter-protesters. What do their signs say? Dunno.
They used single lines to write everything, so the signs were readable
from arm's length, but utterly illegible from where we were.
A video still from an MP4 that I shot. Here's a forty-second
Flash video taken a few
minutes earlier. There will be another protest Saturday. The National Assembly
provides three action items:
1. Organize an emergency protest
against Israel's attack on the humanitarian flotilla. Find events
near you and post your event details by clicking here
2. Contact the U.S. Mission to the United Nations at 212-415-4062 right
away and demand that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice
vote to support a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's
action and initiating an investigation.
3. Learn more about the deadly impact of U.S. military aid to Israel
and take action to end it by clicking here