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Monday, 31 May 2010 15:02
Early this morning, in international waters some 100 miles from Gaza's coastline, Israeli commandoes forcibly boarded a peaceful convoy of aid ships that was headed to Gaza city.
Exact numbers are not yet known, but so far at least 16, possibly 20 volunteers aboard the main ship, the Mavi Marmara, are confirmed to have been murdered by Israeli forces, who were using live fire against the people on board. Dozens more have been wounded and all passengers have been abducted to an unknown location in Israel.
The 800 volunteers trying to deliver 10,000 tonnes of vital aid to Gaza are from 40 countries and include parliamentarians, journalists, women, children and the elderly. Forty members of the flotilla are British.
The flotilla's cargo of essential supplies denied to Palestinians under the illegal blockade includes 2,100 tonnes of cement, 600 tonnes of iron bars and 150 tonnes of iron, all needed for reconstruction of houses and infrastructure that were destroyed by the brutal Israeli massacre of Dec 08-Jan 09, which left more than 1,417 Palestinians dead and 5,000 wounded, many of whom were maimed for life.
Also on board are 18 large and 80 small electricity generators, 50 large and 40 small prefab houses, 16 complete children’s playground kits, sports equipment including footballs and basketballs, $1m worth of medical equipment including a complete dental kit, construction and hardware supplies. The ships are carrying stationery supplies including crayons, pens and 20 tonnes of paper for schools,as well as textiles and food, including chocolate for Gaza’s children, currently banned by Israel.
The youngest passenger on the Mavi Marmara is a one-year-old baby; the eldest is a Palestinian leader in his 80s, who vividly remembers the 1948 Nakba ('catastrophe'), when Israel massacred thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians and drove hundreds of thousands into exile. Sixty-two years later, despite a plethora of UN resolutions condemning Israel and demanding the right of return for these Palestinian refugees, they and their descendants still live in refugee camps.
The volunteers and peace activists of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla are unarmed. Their power lies not in weapons but in their determination to act where governments have refused. Standing in solidarity with their Palestinian brothers and sisters against Israel’s brutal, illegal occupation of Palestine and against the collective punishment of 1.7 million people (more than half of whom are children) living under siege, they have raised money in their communities to bring life-saving supplies to the besieged people of Gaza.
The volunteers on the flotilla represent the vast mass of humanity. They are upholding international law, which Israel, the US and Britain flout with impunity in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan (to name but three). And they are part of a growing international movement to show Israel that the world will not stand by and allow the siege to succeed and the Palestinians to be starved into submission.
It is significant that the Freedom Flotilla is supported by the Director of Operations for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), John Ging, who says that Gaza deserves the same urgent international assistance that Haiti did.
Before the flotilla sailed, he said, "We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organisations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible." Although his optimism proved misplaced, such open encouragement by an influential figure within the UN itself makes it clear just how isolated Israel has become.
George Galloway, reacting to news of the assault this morning, described it as "one of the most dastardly attacks on humanitarian aid workers in recent times" going on to state that "amidst the wreckage of the Freedom Flotilla is what remains of Israel's reputation as a member of the international community".
Caoimhe Butterly, an activist with the Free Gaza movement on board the Rachel Corrie, stated in a video call for action: "It's essential that it's understood that this flotilla is legitimate, that we are attempting to uphold international law, that we have the conscience of the world on our side and that what we are doing is ... the sort of actions that our governments should be and are not.
"In the direct silence and complicity of our governments, the people lead and the leaders follow ...
"Through supporting this flotilla, you are supporting the daily resistance, endurance and steadfastness of the Palestinian people and their refusal to be broken. We've got to up the ante. We've got to understand that the urgency of the situation in Gaza demands our action, demands mobilisations, and we have to be willing to take some of the risks and sacrifices that our Palestinian brothers, sisters and comrades are forced to endure on a daily basis.
"It is an honour to be part of this struggle. It is an honour to join a people who continue to resist in conditions that would break most people. So please mobilise ... and show your solidarity with the Palestinian people in struggle. It's time to act."
Extracted from a report by the CPGB
I have received a correspondence from an acquaintance who watched the BBC coverage of the attack on the flotilla who said:
"The BBC coverage is appalling. I could not believe my eyes:
- It provided to the most rabid Israeli officials ample time to deliver their lies.
- It did not interview any of the organizers of the flotilla.
- It did not mention that the convoy includes 35 European parliamenterians, a Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivors.
- It did not mention that it received the backing of eminent world figures.
- It did not mention that the attacked ships were in international waters.
- It did not mention that the blockade of Gaza is illegal.
I wonder whether there is an organization in the UK dedicated to combat the propaganda system of the BBC."
All very good salient points!!
What people need to understand is that what we are seeing here (or, for many people, entirely dependent on mainstream media - NOT seeing) is part of a rapidly progressing, global process driven by psychopaths with wealth and power, taking control of media communications by ownership and editorial manipulation, taking control of governments by corrupting the electoral processes and manipulating media coverage of elections, manipulating government legislation to accelerate concentration of wealth, militarise the world, restrict rights to protest and expand the powers of government to silence activists, unionists or anyone engaging in dissent, stiffling legal processes that protect peoples' rights, incapacitating and side-lining international organisations intended to preserve international peace, justice and human rights. These are all ominous developments that have accelerated dramatically in the past 10 years.
The brutal thuggery displayed by Israel's military and the Israeli government's open disregard for international law, human life and the rights of free people everywhere provides a glimpse of the kind of world we are creating by our passive indifference, myopic preoccupation with everyday life and childish concern with the annoyance of junk mail containing information we don't want to know about; the belief that politics is not our concern or that we are powerless to change things.
I recently received an angry rebuff from an Executive Officer of a charity organisation who told me "I could not act in any useful way to influence events in another jurisdiction on another side of the world. There would be no net benefit to anyone and in the time this would absorb I would be neglecting the many people..." I replied as follows "you sell yourself short!!!! Assuming you found reason to believe in the validity of my correspondence then a simple "Reply All" to my email along the lines of "Dear ..., I am inclined to agree with Mr Jasson, that you need to defend your position in the public record on a matter such as this". might have had immense impact. One that I feel is an opportunity you have squandered because you have been too myopically concerned with only what is immediately under your nose - albeit that is also very important ."
It is futile to focus all of your energy and attention on what you are building for yourself and your family without regard for the big picture and the context of what you are building. You may simply wake to find that what you have built is a sand castle in the path of an incoming tide. It's foolishly irresponsible to relenquish all power by conceding without any effort that there is nothing you can do when often, all that is necessary is to engage with the matter at hand, apply your own intelligence and use the channel provided to express support for action taken by someone else.
THAT IS CERTAINLY THE CASE WITH THE GAZA FREEDOM FLOTILLA. 800 BRAVE PEOPLE HAVE RISKED THEIR LIVES AND SOME HAVE DIED IN A BRAVE ATTEMPT TO ACT AGAINST THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINALITY THAT SHOULD BE THE CONCERN OF US ALL.
I hope that you will reflect on what I have said and at the very least, forward this communication on to others.
You could also consider signing the petition to endorse the Creation of a Special Tribunal to try Israeli War Criminals. This is a Petition to President and Member States of United Nations General Assembly. at http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?EAFORD09.
If I receive just ONE positive reply I will follow-up with a collection of all the means that I can find for people to conveniently and directedly express opposition to the actions of the state of Israel.
Will it be from you?
Allen L. Jasson