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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Israeli attack on Gaza peace flotilla

The nettle bouquet has to go outside Oakham today. Special award to the Israeli Government for attacking the Gaza Peace Flotilla, then lying through their teeth about what happened. Have the Israeli's been taking lessons from Alf Dewis et al?

Having kept up with news of this peace flotilla by email, the press appear to have ignored the situation until the Israeli's killed several peace activists. I received the following email from the ONLY DEMOCRACY on Sunday, the day before the Israeli's sent Special Forces brutally aboard a Turkish ship of the peace flotilla. This atrocity committeed by the IDF deserved condemnation, however the press appears full of apologists prepared to excuse this Israeli act of piracy in International waters. The real situation in Gaza is clearly illustrated by this writter. This is worth sharing with you - a powerfully written piece by an Israeli:

** An Open Letter by Jeff Halper to the Israeli Jewish Public: Support
the Gaza Flotilla -

By Jeff Halper

If we were not Israeli Jews, if the nine ships bringing 800 peace-makers
from 40 countries would be sailing with humanitarian aid to an imprisoned
population of a million and a half to, say, Haiti, the flotilla now on
its way to Gaza would be hailed as a monumental event. The government of
Israel would donate another 50 tons of food and materials and a brigade
of army volunteers from the “rescue corps.” But we are Israelis, and
the fact that such an operation is being launched against a siege we
imposed on a civilian population three years ago – actually, the
blockade goes back to the late 1980s – should cause us all to reflect
upon how we and our country have arrived at this sorry state – how the
“light unto the nations” has become one of the most oppressive states
on earth, subject to international protests like this one.

The flotilla is sailing with a number of messages. First and foremost, to
the government of Israel: "Lift the siege on Gaza!" The siege is
absolutely illegal in international law, and for those of us who believe
that the rule of law and human rights is the only recipe for a better
world, it is incumbent upon us to join the flotilla's call to lift the
siege. Civilians cannot be the object of military and political attacks,
as is the case in Gaza (which the Goldstone Report roundly criticized),
nor can they be collectively punished for the policies of their political
leaders. The very idea that people can be brought to their knees and
forced to accept being permanently controlled and dominated, which is the
thrust of Israeli policy, is both unconscionable and counter-productive.
As the situation in Gaza shows, it has only stiffened resistance to the

And then there is the urgency of the flotilla's second message,
"Addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza!" In a policy
frightening reminiscent of other dark regimes in which Jews suffered from
controlled malnutrition, our government has imposed a regime of
counting calories on the Gaza population“ imposing a minimal
dietary regime on a million and a half people who receive as little as
850 calories a day, less than half the recommended daily intake. (Dov
Weisglass, Sharon's Chief of Staff, made a joke out of this. It's
like a meeting with a dietitian, he said. We need to make the
Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death. Instant coffee,
fresh meat, rice, beans, spices, honey, chocolate, jam, bananas,
coriander and pasta, among many others, are considered by Israel
luxury foods for Palestinians. All this might be funny if it
weren't for the fact that, according to the World Health Organization,
more than 10% of Gazan children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Two-thirds of the Gazan population face hunger on a daily basis.

Gaza is today an unreconstructed war-zone. Israel long ago destroyed the
sewage system, so that people have drowned in periodic floods of sewage
that have engulfed whole communities. Raw sewage flowing into the
Mediterranean has polluted the only waters in which Palestinians are
allowed to fish“ the Israeli navy fires on fishermen who attempt to
reach cleaner waters more than three miles out. Having destroyed Gaza's
only power station, much of the area suffers from blackouts, and Israel
prevents adequate amounts of fuel from entering, with severe effects on
hospitals. Gazans also have nowhere to live. More than 2,400 homes were
destroyed in the invasion of last year and Israel, by prohibiting the
import of raw materials, has prevented their being rebuilt. Thus the
flotilla is bringing to Gaza 10,000 tons of humanitarian materials:
temporary shelters, playgrounds for children, cement, steel and other
construction materials, medical equipment and medicines and school
supplies“ a drop in the bucket of which is actually needed. The list
alone is an indictment of our policies.

We Israeli Jews live in a managed information environment in which
reality is carefully framed for us. Our government's explanation for
everything it does is "security," and we accept that almost without
question. But we have to understand a basic fact of life: four million
Palestinians live under a cruel Occupation that we have nurtured for the
past 43 years and which has deprived them of their fundamental rights
(such as electing their own political leaders), robbed them of their land
and homes (Israeli governments have demolished some 24,000 Palestinian
homes in the Occupied Territories since 1967), reduced them to
impoverishment and has led, in the case of Gaza, to their literal

Why do I have to repeat facts that seem so self-evident, that everyone
knows? Because, though every informed person abroad knows these things,
we Israeli Jews don't and we don't care. Most Israelis know far
less about what our government is doing in our name, in Gaza and
elsewhere in the Occupied Territories, than the activists on the Free
Gaza ships. We seldom if ever use the term "occupation" in our
everyday speech (in fact, our government denied the very existence of an
occupation), and we minimize the impact that our settlements, our
separate roads, the Wall, hundreds of checkpoints and other facets of the
Occupation have upon the political process, which we no longer believe
in. Living in a prosperous "bubble," we do not see Palestinian
suffering, only ourselves as "victims." (And so our Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman characterizes the Gaza flotillas as "violent
propaganda" against Israel, as if we have nothing to do with conditions
of life in Gaza or the very fact of occupation.) But this is not
reality. For the Palestinians there is no minimizing their suffering or
their yearning for freedom. Why, with our history, is it so difficult for
us to understand resistance to oppression?

And so the third message of the flotilla is directed towards us: "Take
responsibility for your government's policies!" When I entered Gaza
on the first Free Gaza boats in August, 2008, I issued an appeal to the
Israeli public to stand in solidarity with us. I argued that ordinary
people have often played key roles in history, particularly in situations
like this where world governments, who should end the siege, shirk their
responsibilities. We must resist the self-serving and disempowering
statements of our political leaders who would have us believe that there
is no solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, that there is "no
partner for peace," that we are doomed to perpetual war and, therefore,
we must become permanent oppressors. The Palestinians are not our
enemies; our own political leaders are. The very fact that I, an Israeli
Jew, was welcomed by the people of Gaza makes that very point, and it is
the message they asked me to convey to you. But they also insist on their
rights: self-determination.

We of the Israeli peace camp refuse to be enemies with our Palestinian
neighbors. We recognize that as the infinitely stronger party in the
conflict, we Israelis must accept responsibility for our failed and
oppressive policies.

In the meantime, the flotilla to Gaza has already succeeded. If the
Israeli government allows the ships into Gaza, the power of the will have
prevailed once more. If it chooses to stop the flotilla, it will only
highlight the existence of the illegal and inhumane siege and bolster
international efforts to end it. In both cases Israel loses the battle
for legitimacy in the international community. This is the beauty of
non-violent direct action. It is only a matter of time before it will be
forced to relinquish control over the Palestinians and their lands.

Let us, Israeli Jews who aspire to become an integral part of this region
rather than a foreign implant at war with its inhabitants, begin to take
our fate in our own hands. We must side with the people of Gaza and the
activists on the boats against the unjust and immoral policies of our own
government. This is what the good people of the flotilla are trying to
tell us, what people all over the world are trying to tell us: unless we
take responsibility for our actions and end this terrible conflict with
the Palestinians, we will not remain here. And unless we find a way to a
just peace rather than stand on the side of occupation, oppression and
injustice, we may delay that day by force, but our society will not
survive. For our sakes as well as the people of Gaza, let us, the Israeli
Jewish public, board the boats to end the siege of Gaza.

Watch live streaming video from insaniyardim at

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* More Recent Articles

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Further news also available on the following URL links:

Israeli intervention

http://english. aljazeera. net/
live news coverage of flotilla

http://blogs. aljazeera. net/imperium
excellent analysys of flotilla event from best journalyst and international releations professor of al-jazeera.

http://www.presstv. com/detail. aspx?id=128555

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