The attack on the Gaza relief flotilla jeopardizes Israel itself

Israel – What Next

July 28 2010

The IDF has not become more competent in recent years. By almost all accounts—including the Israeli government’s own commission of inquiry—it performed abysmally in the 2006 Lebanon war. … Finally, there is the danger that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, which could have terrible consequences for the United States. The last thing America needs is another war with an Islamic country, especially one that could easily interfere in its ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is why the Pentagon opposes striking Iran, whether with Israeli or U.S. forces. But Netanyahu might do it anyway if he thinks it would be good for Israel, even if it were bad for the United States. –

By John J. Mearsheimer  in the American Conservative

Israel’s botched raid against the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla on May 31 is the latest sign that Israel is on a disastrous course that it seems incapable of reversing. The attack also highlights the extent to which Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States. This situation is likely to get worse over time, which will cause major problems for Americans who have a deep attachment to the Jewish state.

The bungled assault on the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the flotilla, shows once again that Israel is addicted to using military force yet unable to do so effectively. One would think that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would improve over time from all the practice. Instead, it has become the gang that cannot shoot straight.

The IDF last scored a clear-cut victory in the Six Day War in 1967; the record since then is a litany of unsuccessful campaigns. The War of Attrition (1969-70) was at best a draw, and Israel fell victim to one of the great surprise attacks in military history in the October War of 1973. In 1982, the IDF invaded Lebanon and ended up in a protracted and bloody fight with Hezbollah. Eighteen years later, Israel conceded defeat and pulled out of the Lebanese quagmire. Israel tried to quell the First Intifada by force in the late 1980s, with Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin telling his troops to break the bones of the Palestinian demonstrators. But that strategy failed and Israel was forced to join the Oslo Peace Process instead, which was another failed endeavor.

The IDF has not become more competent in recent years. By almost all accounts—including the Israeli government’s own commission of inquiry—it performed abysmally in the 2006 Lebanon war. The IDF then launched a new campaign against the people of Gaza in December 2008, in part to “restore Israel’s deterrence” but also to weaken or topple Hamas. Although the mighty IDF was free to pummel Gaza at will, Hamas survived and Israel was widely condemned for the destruction and killing it wrought on Gaza’s civilian population. Indeed, the Goldstone Report, written under UN auspices, accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Earlier this year, the Mossad murdered a Hamas leader in Dubai, but the assassins were seen on multiple security cameras and were found to have used forged passports from Australia and a handful of European countries. The result was an embarrassing diplomatic row, with Australia, Ireland, and Britain each expelling an Israeli diplomat.

Given this history, it is not surprising that the IDF mishandled the operation against the Gaza flotilla, despite having weeks to plan it. The assault forces that landed on the Mavi Marmara were unprepared for serious resistance and responded by shooting nine activists, some at point-blank range. None of the activists had their own guns. The bloody operation was condemned around the world—except in the United States, of course. Even within Israel, the IDF was roundly criticized for this latest failure.

These ill-conceived operations have harmful consequences for Israel. Failures leave adversaries intact and make Israeli leaders worry that their deterrent reputation is being undermined. To rectify that, the IDF is turned loose again, but the result is usually another misadventure, which gives Israel new incentives to do it again, and so on. This spiral logic, coupled with Israel’s intoxication with military force, helps explain why the Israeli press routinely carries articles predicting where Israel’s next war will be.

Israel’s recent debacles have also damaged its international reputation. Respondents to a 2010 worldwide opinion poll done for the BBC said that Israel, Iran, and Pakistan had the most negative influence in the world; even North Korea ranked better. More worrying for Israel is that its once close strategic relationship with Turkey has been badly damaged by the 2008-09 Gaza war and especially by the assault on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship filled with Turkish nationals. But surely the most troubling development for Israel is the growing chorus of voices in the United States who say that Israel’s behavior is threatening American interests around the world, to include endangering its soldiers. If that sentiment grows, it could seriously harm Israel’s relationship with the United States.

Life as an Apartheid State

The flotilla tragedy highlights another way in which Israel is in deep trouble. Israel’s response makes it obvious that its leaders are not interested in allowing the Palestinians to have a viable state in Gaza and the West Bank, but instead are bent on creating a “Greater Israel” in which the Palestinians are confined to a handful of impoverished enclaves.

Israel insists that its blockade is solely intended to keep weapons out of Gaza. Hardly anyone would criticize Israel if this were true, but it is not. The real aim of the blockade is to punish the people of Gaza for supporting Hamas and resisting Israel’s efforts to maintain Gaza as a giant open-air prison. Of course, there was much evidence that this was the case before the debacle on the Mavi Marmara. When the blockade began in 2006, Dov Weisglass, a close aide to Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, said, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” And the Gaza onslaught 18 months ago was designed to punish the Gazans, not enforce a weapons embargo. The ships in the flotilla were transporting humanitarian aid, not weapons for Hamas, and Israel’s willingness to use deadly force to prevent a humanitarian aid convoy from reaching Gaza makes it abundantly clear that Israel wants to humiliate and subdue the Palestinians, not live side-by-side with them in separate states.

Collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza is unlikely to end anytime soon. Israel’s leaders have shown little interest in lifting the blockade or negotiating sincerely. The sad truth is that Israel has been brutalizing the Palestinians for so long that it is almost impossible to break the habit. It is hardly surprising that Jimmy Carter said last year, “the citizens of Palestine are treated more like animals than human beings.” They are, and they will be for the foreseeable future.

Consequently, there is not going to be a two-state solution. Instead, Gaza and the West Bank will become part of a Greater Israel, which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa. Israelis and their American supporters invariably bristle at this comparison, but that is their future if they create a Greater Israel while denying full political rights to an Arab population that will soon outnumber the Jewish population in the entirety of the land. In fact, two former Israeli prime ministers—Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak—have made this very point. Olmert went so far as to argue, “as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.”

He’s right, because Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state. Like racist South Africa, it will eventually evolve into a democratic bi-national state whose politics will be dominated by the more numerous Palestinians. But that process will take many years, and during that time, Israel will continue to oppress the Palestinians. Its actions will be seen and condemned by growing numbers of people and more and more governments around the world. Israel is unwittingly destroying its own future as a Jewish state, and doing so with tacit U.S. support.

America’s Albatross

The combination of Israel’s strategic incompetence and its gradual transformation into an apartheid state creates significant problems for the United States. There is growing recognition in both countries that their interests are diverging; indeed this perspective is even garnering attention inside the American Jewish community. Jewish Week, for example, recently published an article entitled “The Gaza Blockade: What Do You Do When U.S. and Israeli Interests Aren’t in Synch?” Leaders in both countries are now saying that Israeli policy toward the Palestinians is undermining U.S. security. Vice President Biden and Gen. David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, both made this point recently, and the head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, told the Knesset in June, “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.”

It is easy to see why. Because the United States gives Israel so much support and U.S. politicians routinely laud the “special relationship” in the most lavish terms, people around the globe naturally associate the United States with Israel’s actions. Unfortunately, this makes huge numbers of people in the Arab and Islamic world furious with the United States for supporting Israel’s cruel treatment of the Palestinians. That anger in turn helps fuel terrorism against America. Remember that the 9/11 Commission Report, which describes Khalid Sheik Muhammad as the “principal architect of the 9/11 attacks,” concludes that his “animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” Osama bin Laden’s hostility toward the United States was fuelled in part by this same concern.

Popular anger toward the United States also threatens the rulers of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, key U.S. allies who are frequently seen as America’s lackeys. The collapse of any of these regimes would be a big blow to the U.S. position in the region; however, Washington’s unyielding support for Israel makes these governments weaker, not stronger. More importantly, the rupture in Israel’s relationship with Turkey will surely damage America’s otherwise close relationship with Turkey, a NATO member and a key U.S. ally in Europe and the Middle East.

Finally, there is the danger that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, which could have terrible consequences for the United States. The last thing America needs is another war with an Islamic country, especially one that could easily interfere in its ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is why the Pentagon opposes striking Iran, whether with Israeli or U.S. forces. But Netanyahu might do it anyway if he thinks it would be good for Israel, even if it were bad for the United States.

Dark Days Ahead for the Lobby

Israel’s troubled trajectory is also causing major headaches for its American supporters. First, there is the matter of choosing between Israel and the United States. This is sometimes referred to as the issue of dual loyalty, but that term is a misnomer. Americans are allowed to have dual citizenship—and in effect, dual loyalty—and this is no problem as long as the interests of the other country are in synch with America’s interests. For decades, Israel’s supporters have striven to shape public discourse in the United States so that most Americans believe the two countries’ interests are identical. That situation is changing, however. Not only is there now open talk about clashing interests, but knowledgeable people are openly asking whether Israel’s actions are detrimental to U.S. security.

The lobby has been scrambling to discredit this new discourse, either by reasserting the standard argument that Israel’s interests are synonymous with America’s or by claiming that Israel—to quote a recent statement by Mortimer Zuckerman, a key figure in the lobby—“has been an ally that has paid dividends exceeding its costs.” A more sophisticated approach, which is reflected in an AIPAC-sponsored letter that 337 congresspersons sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March, acknowledges that there will be differences between the two countries, but argues that “such differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence.” In other words, keep the differences behind closed doors and away from the American public. It is too late, however, to quell the public debate about whether Israel’s actions are damaging U.S. interests. In fact, it is likely to grow louder and more contentious with time.

This changing discourse creates a daunting problem for Israel’s supporters, because they will have to side either with Israel or the United States when the two countries’ interests clash. Thus far, most of the key individuals and institutions in the lobby have sided with Israel when there was a dispute. For example, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have had two big public fights over settlements. Both times the lobby sided with Netanyahu and helped him thwart Obama. It seems clear that individuals like Abraham Foxman, who heads the Anti-Defamation League, and organizations like AIPAC are primarily concerned about Israel’s interests, not America’s.

This situation is very dangerous for the lobby. The real problem is not dual loyalty but choosing between the two loyalties and ultimately putting the interests of Israel ahead of those of America. The lobby’s unstinting commitment to defending Israel, which sometimes means shortchanging U.S. interests, is likely to become more apparent to more Americans in the future, and that could lead to a wicked backlash against Israel’s supporters as well as Israel.

The lobby faces yet another challenge: defending an apartheid state in the liberal West is not going to be easy. Once it is widely recognized that the two-state solution is dead and Israel has become like white-ruled South Africa—and that day is not far off—support for Israel inside the American Jewish community is likely to diminish significantly. The main reason is that apartheid is a despicable political system that is fundamentally at odds with basic American values as well as core Jewish values. For sure there will be some Jews who will defend Israel no matter what kind of political system it has. But their numbers will shrink over time, in large part because survey data shows that younger American Jews feel less attachment to Israel than their elders, which makes them less inclined to defend Israel blindly.

The bottom line is that Israel will not be able to maintain itself as an apartheid state over the long term because it will not be able to depend on the American Jewish community to defend such a reprehensible political order.

Assisted Suicide

Israel is facing a bleak future, yet there is no reason to think that it will change course anytime soon. The political center of gravity in Israel has shifted sharply to the right and there is no sizable pro-peace political party or movement. Moreover, it remains firmly committed to the belief that what cannot be solved by force can be solved with greater force, and many Israelis view the Palestinians with contempt if not hatred. Neither the Palestinians nor any of Israel’s immediate neighbors are powerful enough to deter it, and the lobby will remain influential enough over the next decade to protect Israel from meaningful U.S. pressure.

Remarkably, the lobby is helping Israel commit national suicide while also doing serious damage to American security interests. Voices challenging this tragic situation have grown slightly more numerous in recent years, but the majority of political commentators and virtually all U.S. politicians seem blissfully ignorant of where this is headed, or unwilling to risk their careers by speaking out.
__________________________________________

John J. Mearsheimer is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and coauthor of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Source

Israel harms itself all the time this is nothing new. Seems they want everyone to hate them. They certainly go out of their way to make people hate what they do. They do some extremely horrid things.

Stealing body parts from people.

Torturing people including children.

Throwing thousands of Palestinians in prisons including children and Israelis who refuse to go to war or protest against Israels actions.

Radiating Jewish children.

Experimenting with radiation on their own people.

Using weapons of mass destruction on Palestinians or their neighbours that will also kill their own people and those in neighbouring countries.

Starving innocent people to achive a foolish political agenda.

Assiting the US in horrid wars as a funnel tunnel for money and weapons.

Israel is a rouge state and an Apartheid state. They helped South Africa create their Apartheid state as well.

Assassinations. Starting wars. Attacking the USS Liberty ETC.

Using terroist ideologies to take Palestine away from the Palestinian people.

Israel is not just a threat to the US it is a threat to the world. They love war. They just adore war.

Their history speaks for itself. Unfortunately most people don’t know all the horrid things they have done. What a shame.

Those who speak out against what they do and attempt to bring the truth to the fore front are demonized and terrorized.

Those who attempt to defend the Palestinians many times are killed by the Israelis as in the case of Rachel Corrie.

Children and others who protest peacefully are many times shot, injured or killed.

Wage war not to defend itself, but to simply attempt to prove they are more powerful.

Hamas did not break the ceasefire in 2008 Israel did.

Gaza (1): A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Jews around the world who fail to see the light and  blindly support Israel, obviously do not see the danger Israel posses, no only to the world at large, but to all Jews world wide. To be so blind is rather sad. One has to wonder how anyone could be so brainwashed.

There is enough evidence and history to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, Israel is dangerous.

These are just a few stories about Israel. These are a mere tip of a gigantic iceberg. There are more in my Archives.

Foreign control of large swathes of the Sinai Peninsula obtained through fraud and Israeli involvement

Israel And Apartheid: By People Who Knew Apartheid

Fake Al Qaeda, Fake Passports, Fake planes, Fake Hijackers

Haaretz Threatened for Exposing Israeli Assassination Cover-Up

IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank

Arrest of Israeli officer leading organ trafficking ring

Israeli troops attack protesters injuring and killing Again!

The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Rachel Corrie’s parents Get Nasty Letter from professor at Haifa University

Dubai police chief to seek Netanyahu arrest

Israel “blackmails Gaza’s patients to turn them into collaborators”

Amir, ten years old, abducted by Israeli soldiers from his bed

“This Time We Went Too Far” Truth and Consequences in the Gaza Invasion

E-book on Jewish National Fund’s role in colonization of Palestine

Israel on Trial – The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Children of Gaza are Suffering, Scarred, Trapped

Full Israeli  El Al flight took off on 9/11 from JFK to Tel Aviv

Mossad using Spanish passport Arrested in Algeria

British MPs call for review of arms export to Israel

Australia: Fraser calls for expulsion of Israeli diplomats

Israel to Allow Shoes into Gaza Strip After Three Year Ban

UK warns of Israel travel amid passport scandal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Israel floods Gaza villages, displacing a hundred families

US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israel’s Hungry

Turkey, Lebanon lash out at Israeli Violation of airspace

Gaza sees more newborns of malformation

Israeli war crimes: Soldiers admit to deliberate killing of Gaza civilians

Slavery and Human Trafficking Crimes

Jewish town, Mitzpeh Kamon, won’t let Arab build home on his own land

Israeli settlers attack mosque in West Bank

Jewish lobby wages war on Christmas trees and all symbols of Christianity

Israeli Occupation Authorities Deny Gaza Christians Permission to Travel to Bethlehem at Christmas

“We will have to kill them all”: Israeli Effie Eitam

West Bank Rabbi: Jews can kill Gentiles who threaten Israel including Children and even Babies

The Eviction Of Palestinian Families Continue, When they want a home the Israeli’s just steal it

UN Calls for Israel to Open Crossing for Goods

A Palestinian student has been handcuffed, blindfolded and forcibly expelled to the Gaza

Recent

Nobel Peace Prizes ‘are being awarded illegally’

US House Vote on Afghan War Funding a Disgrace

Fourteen Examples of Systemic Racism in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should be Terminated

US occupation not for “liberation of Iraqis

Mental illness rising among US troops

Republicans in the US House of Representatives want Israel to attack Iran

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

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Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel

JAKARTA,
July 12, 2010

Lawyers from 60 countries, including Indonesia, will gather in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 15-16, to prepare a legal suit against Israel for its attack on the Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla on May 31, Antara news agency reported.

“There are a number of lawyers from 60 countries who will take legal steps to sue the attackers of Mavi Marmara,” Mahendradatta, patron chief of the Indonesian Muslims’ Lawyer Team (TPM) said here, Monday.
Mahendradatta said he would represent six Indonesians who became victims of the Israeli soldiers’ attack, where two Indonesians namely Surya Fachrizal and Oktavianto were injured.
The lawyers, among others from Turkey, Britain and other European countries, will sue Israel in international legal forum as well as bilateral forums.
TPM, he said would consistently fight the Israeli arrogance.
Meanwhile, Jose Rizal Jurnalis, presidium chairman of MER-C (Medical Emergency Rescue – Committee) Indonesia hoped that the legal suit against Israel could be brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Source

Netanyahu to appear before inquiry

July 13 2010

MATTHEW KALMAN in Jerusalem

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will testify next month before the government-appointed inquiry into the raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine civilians dead, it was confirmed today.

Committee spokesman Ofer Lefler said Mr Netanyahu’s appearance on August 9th will be followed the next day by testimony from defence minister Ehud Barak.

Chief of Staff Lieutenant- General Gabi Ashkenazi will testify on August 11th.

All three appearances will be open to the public, Mr Lefler said.

Peace campaigners in Israel claimed victory yesterday in a legal tussle with the Israeli government to increase the powers of the commission

A compromise decision of the Israeli supreme court opened the door for the Turkel Commission, which includes David Trimble as one of two international observers, to subpoena soldiers and military commanders – a move the Israeli government had fought to prevent.

Meanwhile, the military’s own operational inquiry into the pre-dawn commando raid on the Mavi Marmara on May 31st levelled scathing criticism at the higher echelons of the Israeli navy, citing a series of intelligence and planning failures that led to the deaths of the vessel’s passengers and international embarrassment for Israel.

As a direct result, Israel has been forced to ease its blockade on the Gaza Strip after a four-year siege failed in its declared aims of bringing down the Hamas government and securing the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

The “Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010” was created under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court justice Yaakov Turkel in June, but no sooner had hearings begun than Turkel demanded his powers be increased. At the same time, the Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) movement petitioned the Supreme Court demanding that the commission either be reconstituted as a full state commission of inquiry or scrapped.

On July 4th, the Israeli government bowed to Judge Turkel’s demands and reconstituted his inquiry into a government inquiry commission, which under Israeli law has powers to subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify under oath. But it excluded military personnel.

Veteran Israeli peace campaigner Uri Avnery told The Irish Times the government’s decision was illegal, since the newly empowered commission had the right under law to summon any witness, including soldiers. He said yesterday’s Supreme Court hearing was “a double victory” for Gush Shalom.

“It was the first time in the history of Israel that the court agreed to intervene in a matter concerning boards of inquiry. There have been many petitions before and they all have been refused,” said Mr Avnery.

“Second, the court actually said that if Turkel wants to interrogate soldiers he can do so. If the government does not accede to this demand, then we all go to the court again and the court will do what it deems fit. There’s a strong hint that then they will compel the government to agree,” he said.

The government had argued that the parallel military inquiry that reported yesterday made it redundant for Judge Turkel’s commission to also question soldiers, but they agreed to the compromise suggested by the court.

The findings of the military inquiry headed by reserve Brig Gen Giora Eiland appeared to raise more questions than they answered.

“The team concluded that not all possible intelligence-gathering methods were fully implemented and that the co-ordination between navy intelligence and the Israel defence intelligence was insufficient,” the committee said in a statement.

“The anticipated level of violence used against the forces was underestimated . . . The operation relied excessively on a single course of action, albeit a probable one, while no alternative courses of action were prepared for the event of more dangerous scenarios.”  Source

More information on the Gaza Flotilla

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Gaza Freedom Flotilla Eyewitness Accounts

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

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Hospitals in Haiti to be shut down due to lack of funds

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Gaza Freedom Flotilla Eyewitness Accounts

Was the Obama Administration involved in the Planning of the Israeli Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla?
The Broader Military Agenda

June 6 2010

By Michel Chossudovsky

The Israeli Navy Commando had prior knowledge of who was on the Turkish ship including where passengers were residing in terms of cabin layout. According to Swedish author Henning Mankell, who was on board the Marmara , “the Israeli forces attacked sleeping civilians.”

These were targeted assassinations. Specific individuals were targeted. Journalists were targeted with a view to confiscating their audio and video recording equipment and tapes.

“We were witnesses to premeditated murders,” said historian Mattias Gardell who was on the Mavi Marmara.

“…Asked about why activists on the Turkish ship had attacked the Israeli soldiers, Gardell stressed “it is not as if Israel is a police officer whom no human being has the legitimate right to defend him or herself against”:

“If you are attacked by commando troops you of course must have the right to defend yourself … Many people on this ship thought they were going to kill everyone. They were very frightened … It’s strange if people think one should not defend oneself. Should you just sit there and say: ‘Kill me’?” he said.” (See Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Detailed Compiled Eyewitness Accounts Confirm Cold-Blooded Murder and Executions by Israeli Military, Global Research, June 1, 2010)

“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” (quoted by Press TV)

The Israeli Commando had an explicit order to kill.

What was the role of the United States?

The raids on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, bear the mark of  previous Israeli operations directed against unarmed civilians. It is a well established modus operandi of Israeli military-intelligence operations, which is tacitly supported by the US administration.

The killing of civilians is intended to trigger a response by Palestinian resistance forces, which in turn justifies Israeli retaliation (on “humanitarian” grounds) as well as a process of military escalation.  The logic of this process was contained in Ariel Sharon`s “Operation Justified Vengeance” (also referred to as the “Dagan Plan”) initiated at the outset the Sharon government in 2001. This Operation was intent upon destroying the Palestinian Authority and transforming Gaza into an urban prison. (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Operation Justified Vengeance”: Israeli Strike on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza is Part of a Broader Military Agenda, Global Research, June 1, 2010).

The Israeli attack on the Flotilla bears the fingerprints of a military intelligence operation coordinated by the IDF and Mossad, which is now headed by Meir Dagan. It is worth recalling that as a young Coronel, Dagan worked closely with then defense minister Ariel Sharon in the raids on the Palestinian settlements of Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut in 1982.

There are indications that the US was consulted at the highest levels regarding the nature of this military operation. Moreover, in the wake of the attacks, both the US and the UK have unequivocally reaffirmed their support to Israel.

There are longstanding and ongoing military and intelligence relations between the US and Israel including close working ties between various agencies of government: Pentagon, National Intelligence Council, State Department, Homeland Security and their respective Israeli counterparts.

These various agencies of government are involved in routine liaison and consultations, usually directly as well as through the US Embassy in Israel, involving frequent shuttles of officials between Washington and Tel Aviv as well as exchange of personnel. Moreover, the US as well as Canada have public security cooperation agreements with Israel pertaining to the policing of international borders, including maritime borders. (See Israel-USA Homeland Security Cooperation, See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Canada-Israel “Public Security” Agreement, Global Research, 2 April 2008)

The Role of Rahm Emmanuel

Several high level US-Israel meetings were held in the months prior to the May 31st attacks.

Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s White House chief of Staff was in Tel Aviv a week prior to the attacks. Confirmed by press reports, he had meetings behind closed doors with Prime Minister Netanyahu (May 26) as well as a private visit with President Shimon Peres on May 27.

May 26 meeting between Rahm Emmanuel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Official statements do not indicate whether other officials including cabinet ministers or IDF and Mossad officials were present at the Rahm Emmanuel-Netanyahu meeting. The Israeli press confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel had a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, whose Ministry was responsible for overseeing the Commando attack on the Flotilla. (Rahm Emanuel visits Israel to celebrate son’s bar mitzvah – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News, 23 May 2010). The White House also confirmed that Rahm Emmanuel was to meet other high-ranking Israeli officials, without providing further details. (Rahm Emanuel in Israel for Son’s Bar Mitzvah, May Meet With Officials)

“Our Man in the White House”

While born in the US, Rahm Emmanuel also holds Israeli citizenship and has served in the Israeli military during the First Gulf War (1991).

Rahm is also known for his connections to the pro-Israeli lobby in the US.  The Israeli newspaper Maariv calls him “Our Man in the White House” (quoted in Irish Times, March 13, 2010). Rahm Emmanuel gave his support to Obama in the November 2008 presidential elections following Obama`s address to the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC.

At the time of Rahm Emmanuel’s confirmation as White House chief of staff, there were reports in the Middle East media of Rahm Emanuel’s connections to Israeli intelligence.

The exact nature of Rahm Emmanuel’s ties to the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus, however, is not the main issue. What we are dealing with is a broad process of bilateral coordination and decision-making between the two governments in the areas of foreign policy, intelligence and military planning, which has been ongoing for more than 50 years. In this regard, Israel, although exercising a certain degree of autonomy in military and strategic decisions, will not act unilaterally, without receiving the “green light” from Washington. Rahm Emmanuel`s meetings with the prime minister and Israeli officials are part of this ongoing process.

Rahm Emmanuel’s meetings in Tel Aviv on May 26 were a routine follow-up to visits to Washington by Prime Minister Netanyahu in March and by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak in late April. In these various bilateral US-Israel encounters at the White House, the state Department and the Pentagon, Rahm Emmanuel invariably plays a key role.

While the pro-Israeli lobby in the US influences party politics in America, Washington also influences the direction of Israeli politics. There have been reports to the effect that Rahm Emmanuel  would “lead a team of high octane Democratic party pro-Israel political operatives to run the campaign for the Defense Minister Ehud Barak” against Netanyahu in the next Israeli election. (Ira Glunts, Could Rahm Emanuel Help Barak Unseat Netanyahu? Palestine Chronicle, June 2, 2010)

The April 27 meeting between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Defense Minister Barak pertained to “a range of important defense issues” directly or indirectly related to the status of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation:

“As President Obama has affirmed, the United States commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable, and our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations. The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.

For years, the United States and Israel have worked together to prepare our armed forces to meet these and other challenges, a recent major example being the Juniper Cobra joint exercise held last October. Our work together on missile-defense technology is ongoing, and the United States will continue to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge.” (Press Conference with Secretary Gates and Israeli Defense Minister Barak, April 2010 – Council on Foreign Relations April 27, 2010)

These consultations pertained to ongoing military preparations regarding Iran. Both Israel and the US have recently announced that a pre-emptive attack against Iran has been contemplated.

Washington views Israel as being “‘integrated into America’s military architecture,’ especially in the missile defense sphere.” (quoted in  Emanuel to rabbis: US ‘screwed up’ Jerusalem Post, statement of Dennis Ross, who is in charge of the US administration’s Iran policy in the White House, May 16, 2010).

Targeting Iran

The attack on the Freedom Flotilla, might appear as a separate and distinct humanitiarian issue, unrelated to US-Israeli war plans. But from the standpoint of both Tel Aviv and Washington, it is part of the broader military agenda. It is intended to create conditions favoring an atmosphere of confrontation and escalation in the Middle East war theater;

“All the signs are that Israel has been stepping up its provocations to engineer a casus belli for a war against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Tel Aviv sees as unfinished business its inconclusive wars: the first in Lebanon in 2006, and the second in Gaza in 2008-09.” (Jean Shaoul   Washington Comes to the Aid of Israel over Gaza Convoy Massacre, Global Research, June 4, 2010)

Following Israel’s illegal assault in international waters, Netanyahu stated emphatically “Israel will continue to exercise its right to self defence. We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza,” suggesting that the Gaza blockade was part of the pre-emptive war agenda directed against Iran, Syria and Lebanon. (Israeli forces board Gaza aid ship the Rachel Corrie – Telegraph, June 5, 2010, emphasis added) .

Moreover, the raid on the Flotilla coincided with NATO-Israel war games directed against Iran. According to the Sunday Times, “three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.” (Israel Deploys Three Nuclear Cruise Missile-Armed Subs Along Iranian Coastline).

While Israeli naval deployments were underway in the Persian Gulf, Israel was also involved in war games in the Mediterranean. The war game codenamed “MINOAS 2010” was carried out at a Greek air base in Souda Bay, on the island of Crete. Earlier in February, The Israeli air force “practiced simulated strikes at Iran’s nuclear facilities using airspace of two Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, which are close territorially with the Islamic republic and cooperate with Israel on this issue.” Ria Novosti,War Games: Israel gets ready to Strike at Iran’s Nuclear Sites,, March 29, 2010)

Also, in the wake of the final resolution of the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation directed against Israel’s nuclear weapons program, the White House has reaffirmed its endorsement of Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities. Washington’s statement issued one day before the raid on the flotilla points to unbending US support to “Israel’s strategic and deterrence capabilities”, which also include the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran:

“a senior political source in Jerusalem said Sunday that Israel received guarantees from U.S. President Barack Obama that the U.S. would maintain and improve Israel’s strategic and deterrence capabilities.

According to the source, “Obama gave [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu unequivocal guarantees that include a substantial upgrade in Israel-U.S. relations.”

Obama promised that no decision taken during the recent 189-nation conference to review and strengthen the 40-year-old Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty “would be allowed to harm Israel’s vital interests,” the sources said.  Obama promised to bolster Israel’s strategic capabilities, Jerusalem officials say – Haaretz Daily Newspaper)

Robert Gates and Israel’s Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Press Conference, April  27, 2010


The Turkey-Israel Relationship in Jeopardy?

The actions of Israel against the Freedom Flotilla have important ramifications. Israel’s criminal actions in international waters has contributed to weakening the US-NATO-Israel military alliance.

The bilateral Israel-Turkey alliance in military, intelligence, joint military production is potentially in jeopardy. Ankara has already announced that three planned military exercises with Israel have been cancelled. “The government announced it was considering reducing its relations with Israel to a minimum.”

It should be understood that Israel and Turkey are partners and major actors in the US-NATO planned aerial attacks on Iran, which have been in the pipeline since mid-2005. The rift between Turkey and Israel has a direct bearing on NATO as a military alliance. Turkey is one of the more powerful NATO member states with regard to its conventional forces. The rift with Israel breaks a consensus within the Atlantic Alliance. It also undermines ongoing US-NATO-Israel pre-emptive war plans directed against Iran, which until recently were endorsed by the Turkish military.

From the outset in 1992, the Israeli-Turkish military alliance was directed against Syria, as well as Iran and Iraq. (For details see See Michel Chossudovsky, “Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, Global Research, 2006)

In 1997, Israel and Turkey launched “A Strategic Dialogue” involving a bi-annual process of high level military consultations by the respective deputy chiefs of staff. (Milliyet, Istanbul, in Turkish 14 July 2006).

During the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which in practice is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

Starting in 2005, Israel has become a de facto member of NATO. The triple alliance was coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which included “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” (“Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon).

The Issue of Territorial Waters

Israel’s blockade of Gaza is in large part motivated by the broader issue of control of  Gaza’s territorial waters, which contain significant reserves of natural gas. What is at stake is the confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral de facto declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas. If the blockade were to be broken, Israel’s de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves would be jeopardy. (See Michel Chossudovsky,War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields, Global Research, January 8, 2009. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

Source

Eyewitness Accounts
Israelis threw 4 injured into the sea ‘hoping they would drown, so the bullet holes couldn’t be discovered….this is standard Zionist practice…’ And they shot the man waving the white flag.

From Elizabeth Allen
June 6, 2010

Pro-Palestinian protesters simulate the funeral of an activist in a demonstration against Israel’s attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla in Barcelona.

Activist Idris Simsek, who was on board one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla during the Israeli attack, claims that four wounded activists were thrown into the sea.

The Israeli troops also put immense psychological pressure on the activists of the Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman quoted Simsek as saying in an article published on Saturday.

Simsek said they expected some harassment from the Israeli forces but did not expect an armed attack.

He went on to say that he witnessed that the person who waived the white flag to surrender was shot by the Israeli troops.

Erol Demir, another activist who was on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, said there is film footage of the chaos and the carnage on the ship and stated that the footage will show the real face of the Israeli military to the entire world.

“They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot,” he added.

Hakan Albayrak, a journalist from the Turkish daily Yeni Safak who was also on the ship, said, “It was an outright massacre what Israel did out there. They attacked us in international waters We had no weapons. I think we lost more people.”

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the six ships and injuring about 50 other people.

The fate of three other Freedom Flotilla activists is still unknown.

Israel also arrested nearly 700 activists from 42 countries on board the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory. Source

Flotilla attack – Sarah Colborne gives eyewitness account

June 3 2010

http://www.counterfire.org

Sarah Colborne was on the boat attacked by Israeli commandos.
Full account from today’s press conference organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Captured and detained by Israel, an American tells his story

After two days in an Israeli jail, 64-year-old Paul Larudee speaks out

Sixty-four-year-old Paul Larudee, an American citizen and longtime pro-Palestinian activist, was on board one of the ships carrying humanitarian relief to Gaza that was raided by the Israeli navy on Monday. He dove into the Mediterranean Sea, only to be captured and held in an Israeli prison for two days.

This was not Larudee’s first brush with Israeli authorities, but it was easily his most dramatic. He spoke with Salon about the raid and his captivity this afternoon from Greece, where he arrived after being released by Israel.

At around 4 a.m. on Monday, Larudee’s ship was boarded by as many as 500 Israeli soldiers. After the ship’s captain called an alert, Larudee immediately walked out onto the deck and found that Israeli soldiers had broken the windows of the wheelhouse (the area where the captain controls the ship) in an attempt to take command of the vessel. As Larudee and several others tried to defend the wheelhouse, Israeli soldiers tased him twice so that he would back away from the area. He said he offered no resistance and just let his body go limp.

“I have never struck anyone in more than 20 years,” he said. “I was beaten. There is black and blue all over my body. They inflicted pain on me on a frequent basis because I did not recognize their authority.”

Everyone on all of the ships were completely unarmed, he said. However, on the Turkish ship — where the civilian fatalities occurred — some passengers clashed with the soldiers and tried to beat them up as they descended on the ship. (Larudee was on a different vessel.) “But that is akin to what the passengers on the hijacked 9/11 did to hijackers who had taken the aircraft,” he said. “In other words, they resisted someone who was invading their ship.”

After some time, Larudee decided to jump off the ship and to try to swim away from the Israeli forces.

“I knew it would be a way to slow down what they were doing,” he said. “It caused the ship to stop for an hour or possibly longer and it kept another ship occupied for several hours actually.”

He hoped this would create a diversion that would allow another ship to make its way to Gaza with the humanitarian aid. “It was worth doing that, but I paid a price for it.”

When the Israeli forces picked him up, Larudee said, he was severely beaten and tied to a mast at the stern of their ship. His legs and hands were bound as he was subjected to the hot sun in wet soaking clothes for four hours. He said his body almost went into shock from the extreme hot and cold conditions.

The soldiers refused to release him unless he told them his name. He repeatedly refused, but said he would cooperate only if they released him from the mast. They finally agreed and took him below deck. “For the remainder of the trip to the port, we got along fine,” he said.

When on land, Larudee was taken to the processing area, but refused to cooperate with authorities, who wanted him to say that he entered the country illegally. “This happened at 18 miles at sea, which is well beyond their own territorial waters, or anyone’s territorial waters,” he said. “We were in international waters. We weren’t violating anyone’s sovereignty or breaking any rules that we knew of, even by their standards.”

More beating ensued. Larudee, who again let his body go limp, said he was carried by nylon restraints, which were placed on his arms and legs. They cut into his skin, causing more contusions and deep pain. He was carried into an ambulance and taken to a hospital, but wasn’t treated. He said he believes he was taken there because the Israeli soldiers didn’t want the media to see his black eye, pronated joints, bruised jaw and body contusions.

Then, he was transported to the hospital ward of a prison, and eventually into an isolated cell. He was forbidden to speak with other prisoners, denied an attorney, a phone call, and access to television, radio, paper, pencils — anything else that would connect him to the outside world. A diabetic, Larudee was eventually granted a request to be moved to a cell with windows and some air circulation.

He spent a total of two days in the prison, and on the second day, was granted a 10-minute meeting with a representative from the U.S. embassy. Before the meeting, he was given a long-sleeve shirt to wear, but refused to put it on.

On the third day, the captain of Larudee’s boat, a Greek national who was sharing the same prison cell, met with the representative from his embassy. The Greek embassy official helped arrange for Laurudee to leave Israel for Greece. After arriving at the airport for his flight, Larudee was told that Israeli authorities wouldn’t permit him to go directly to Athens. Instead, they insisted that he fly first to Istanbul, then sign a release. Larudee refused to cooperate and was once again subjected to a beating by Israeli soldiers.

“But this time they did it in front of 30 to 40 other prisoners, who had seen similar things,” he said. “They went nuts.”

An all-out brawl began and some prisoners were badly beaten, Larudee said.

Those who had arranged for Larudee’s transport to Greece eventually intervened and negotiated with airport officials. Larudee was finally allowed to leave Israel. He’s now in Greece, where he says he’s staying with friends who are taking care of him. He is scheduled to fly home to the states on June 11.

“A lot of Americans are looking at Israel through rose-colored glasses,” he said. “Israel is not a demon, but it is not being held accountable for its actions, and when you do that, it allows bad things, very bad things, to happen.” Source

The Flotilla was in International waters. Israel had absolutely no legal right to stop or board the ship. As noted in the link below.

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

Sweden ports to block Israel ships, goods in response to Gaza flotilla takeover

Earlier, Swedish dockworkers will launch a week long blockade of Israeli ships and goods arriving in the Nordic nation to protest Monday’s attack on a Gaza-destined aid flotilla.

Swedish Port Workers Union spokesman Peter Annerback says workers will refuse to handle Israeli goods and ships during the June 15-24 blockade. The union has some 1,500 members and supports Ship to Gaza, which took part in the flotilla.
It says the reason for the blockade is “the unprecedented criminal attack on the peaceful ship convoy.”

It was unclear Saturday how much the blockade would affect trade between the two countries since the union still needs to identify cargos with Israeli origin.
“The sole of the shoe is dirty and holding it up that to a person or a place is an insult,” John Minto, protest leader of the Global Peace and Justice organization, told reporters.

Source

Israeli commando ‘to get valor medal’

June 6 2010
An Israeli commando who shot dead several activists in a recent attack on a Gaza-bound international aid convoy may receive a medal of valor, a report says.

The Times Online reported on Saturday that the nominated Israeli soldier single-handedly killed six campaigners on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara — one of the six ships of the Freedom Flotilla.

The convoy was carrying hundreds of activists and thousands of tons of supplies for the people of Gaza, who have been under siege for three years.

The flotilla came under attack on Monday by Israeli commandos, leaving at least nine activists dead and more than 40 others injured.

In an interview with Israeli media, the soldier — identified for security reasons only as Staff Sergeant S — said the shooting had started within minutes after he and his comrades were set upon by a “mob of mercenaries.”

Israeli forces claim that pro-Palestinian activists on board the ships started the violence, while all activists say that Israelis began shooting from their boats surrounding the ship and a helicopter hovering above.

Granting the award to the commando is expected to worsen the already shaky relations between Turkey and Israel as Ankara has called on Tel Aviv to make an apology over the deadly assault.

Source

Then Israel Hijacked the Rachel Corrie, yet another act of Piracy on the High Seas

Gaza-bound ship Rachel Corrie enters Israeli port

Army says peaceful takeover takes place after Free Gaza ship reportedly ignored IDF pleas to change course.

Shortly after 5 A.M. Israel time on Saturday morning, Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza movement that sent the 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie said the vessel was 35 miles from Gaza’s shores.  Source
If a ship is over 12 Nautical miles off shore it is illegal to for Israel to  stop, board or seize the ship, let alone kidnap the passengers, take them to jail and deport them. Explanation at link below.

As will the first Flotilla Israel has broken the International “Law of the Sea”.

Israel attacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters

How Israel planned the Flotilla attack
Jewish anti-siege activists prep for July voyage

Bethlehem – Ma’an – In a harbor in the Mediterranean a small vessel is waiting for a special mission.

She will be sailing to Gaza during the second half of July. In order to avoid sabotage, the exact date and name of the port of departure will be announced only shortly before her launch.

“Our purpose is to call an end to the siege of Gaza, to this illegal collective punishment of the whole civilian population. Our boat is small, so our donations can only be symbolic: we are taking school bags, filled with donations from German school children, musical instruments and art materials“, says Kate Leiterer, one of the organizers.

“For the medical services we are taking essential medicines and small medical equipment, and for the fishermen we are taking nets and tackle. We are liaising with the medical, educational and mental health services in Gaza,” Leiterer said.

”In attacking the Freedom Flotilla, Israel has once again demonstrated to the world a heinous brutality. But I know that there are very many Israelis who compassionately and bravely campaign for a just peace. With broadcasting journalists from mainstream television programmes accompanying our boat, Israel will have a great chance to show the world that there is another way, a way of courage rather than fear, a way of hope rather than hate’,’ says Edith Lutz, an organizer and passenger on what is being called the “Jewish boat.”

”Jüdische Stimme,” or Jewish Voice for Peace, along with European Jews for a Just Peace in the Near East, and Jews for Justice For Palestinians (UK) are “sending a call to the leaders of the world: Help Israel find her way back to reason, to a sense of humanity and a life without fear.”

In a statement, the group said that “Jewish Voice expects the political leaders of Israel and the world to guarantee a safe passage for the small vessel to Gaza, thus helping to form a bridge towards peace.”  Source

Shocking Testimonials From The Mavi Marmara Survivors. And One Israeli Fembot

June 11, 2010

LAUREN BOOTH/GILAD.CO.UK—One of the most striking trends following the flotilla attack has been how quickly Israeli hasbara is being exposed by internet journalists. The doctored IOF audio clips, where amateurs with mock Arab accents hiss ‘Go back to Aushwitz’ to Israeli naval officers. Well they didn’t take long to pull apart did they? Then there are the (so-pathetic-they’re-almost-funny claims the flotilla was linked to Al Quaeda. I laughed out loud to read in an Israeli paper that humanitarian activist (and former US marine) Ken O’Keefe was going to Gaza to; ‘train a commando unit in Hamas.’ I know Ken fairly well. Quite frankly I’m not sure who should be more insulted by this stupidity him or Hamas? Either way flinging the words ‘Hamas’ ‘Jihadists’ and ‘Israel’s security’ around is no longer having the same shock and awe effect on journalists or the public at large.

The internet now shapes the world’s story, not the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, like a soccer star caught cheating on his wife. Instead of saying ‘ I messed up big time, forgive me’ Israeli government sources and other shysters are screaming; ‘it’s not fair to watch us all the time, that’s mean!’ and ‘this is our business, leave us alone!’ Bad luck for them that as it stands, more of the IDF’s minging dirty washing, is being aired in public than ever before; via facebook and twitter. The Zionists sobs of ‘no faiirrrr!’ are sounding ever more bizarre. But more about the Isra-bots later on.

Israeli Intelligence (some mistake surely?) have been busy since the massacre. Erasing the memory sticks and hard disks of what my premiliminary research estimates to be some 800 video cameras, around 1200 mobiles and 600 lap tops. All items, looted from the passengers of the Freedom Flotilla, whilst they kneeled, handcuffed and in stress positions, on the hot deck of the Mavi Marmara for up to 12 hours after the attack. Before the bots cry ‘why so much money on board, why so many cameraaas!’ Let me explain, the good individuals on board had been raising money for months in the local communities around the world to take useful gifts tot eh people, schools and children of the besieged Gaza Strip. Besides which -the cameras were the only ‘weapons’ those on board had with which to arm themselves in the event of an attack at sea.

Now, evidence is emerging, that having been forced (by Turkish hard line diplomacy) to release all of the kidnapped passengers sooner than it would have liked; Israel is (as usual) taking revenge on the Palestinian relatives of activists onboard. Those who seek to non violently oppose Zionist policies of Apartheid violence are having loved ones interrogated by the Shabak as you read this for merely sailing with the Freedom Flotilla. I am not at liberty to say much more for fear of even further reprisals on innocent people. But as you should by now be aware, the Israeli machine specialises in collective punishment. This week a spokesman in the US said live on air that ‘Children in Gaza were under siege because their parents voted Hamas.’ Too much to say on that, so I’ll leave it hanging for you to take in

Last night in London, as in so many cities this week, Freedom flotilla passengers addressed a packed open meeting. At the Conway Hall in Central London half a dozen British survivors, looked in turns spaced out and hardened by their experience, eleven days ago (is that all it is? How the world turns!).

Jamal El Shayyal, is the Al Jazeera reporter who kept broadcasting as gun shots rang out behind him on the upper decks of the Mavi Marmara. I honestly thought I had heard, read and seen the worst about the Israeli attack on the fleet’s passengers. I hadn’t. Believe me, nor have you. Those three minutes clips, miraculously broadcast live or smuggled out beneath tongues, reveal the merest inkling of the horrors these brave people witnessed. And suffered.

El Shayyal, told an utterly silent audience he ‘had been invited by IHH to film every inch of the ship.’ So he did. From the bowels of the hull to the uppermost decks he filmed.

‘I checked and filmed’ he said ‘there was not 1 weapon onboard. Not one gun. no lethal artillery. The most lethal thing on the ship was fruit and vegetables.’

When the Israeli commandos attack began Jamal was wearing his pyjamas under a life jacket as were so many of the allegedly ‘prepared terrorists on board.’ Helicopters caused a near hurricane on the decks, all satellite phones were jammed (deliberately to stop SOS calls to the rest of the world). And, so the IDF hoped, any factual reports of what was about to occur.

At this point, just after four thirty am, Jamal saw a Turkish passenger shot in the top of his head. He spoke slowly and clearly to make sure he was understood by us all in the hall.

‘No Soldier was on the ship at this time’.

Quickly another passenger removed a white t-shirt from a bag and used it as a white flat of surrender. When gun shots rang out, greater numbers fell. It was clear calls for mercy were to be ignored. That a shoot to kill policy was in place.

An Israeli member of the Knesset and Lubna (an activist who also speaks Hebrew) took turns making announcements over the tannoy in English and then Hebrew. Announcements made atleast 8 times;

‘We have critically injured people here, please can you come and get them. We are NOT armed. We SURRENDER!’

Soon the tannoy connection was cut off.

Sarah Colborne of the PSC and another passenger negotiated with soldiers for the evacuation of some atleast of the mounting injured. Many of the bleeding would not go with the Israeli’s. Fearing they would be less safe getting ‘treatment’ from the troops, than below decks being operated on without anaesthetic.

‘The Israelis were asked for a stretcher’ continued Jamal ‘for a man with severe internal bleeding to be moved. Use a sleeping bag we were told.’ The man was moved in agony on a blanket no doubt increasing his injuries. And his immense pain. Did he survive? We’ll never know.

As the shooting gave way to the enforced imprisonment of the passengers, or, let’s give it its right name – kidnapping, Jamal was pushed to the floor, cuffed and beaten. His posessions taken from him. It was morning on a bright, sunny, summer’s day by now. Hundreds of shocked men were taken on deck, hands bound behind their backs. Three, then four hours passed. Pleas were made to use the toilet. No water was given, they were kicked, spat at and punched by soldiers who passed by every few minutes. Eventually Jamal pursuaded one soldier to let him go to the toilet, ‘with my hands still bound behind my back.’ One man in his eighties trying to get back to his family in Gaza, was jeered by soldiers, in his discomfort. After many hours, he suffered the indignity of urinating on himself, in front of both friends and fiends.

At some point Jamal was taken back downstairs. The area had been thoroughly ransacked.

‘There was no respect for human rights or dignity. Holy books of all faiths had been thrown about, possessions strewn everywhere”.

He remembers one quietly spoken Muslim brother asking soldiers gently several times for his cuffs to be loosened, just slightly. The third time he asked one of them tightened them so much that ‘he gave a scream of agony that made us all feel sick to our stomachs.’

In the afternoon the ship was forced into Ashdod port. Pushed ashore by armed guards Jamal was greeted with the words; ‘Welcome to Israel. Are you enjoying your time here?’

The Al Jazeera journalist wanted us all to understand something very clearly. That the civilian passengers were not ‘detained’ nor ‘arrested.’ They were plainly and in every legal definition of the word ‘Kidnapped, abducted.’

In Beersheva prison, he was placed in a cell, with a leader from the Turkish human rights group, IHH. They had no food for 24 hours, just a few sips of water. They had no idea if the world knew where they were – or what had happened. In other parts of the prison, consular reps from Greece, France, Spain and Macedonia could be heard shouting at the Israeli captors demanding the release of their compatriots. Yelling that rights were not being respected, yelling for food, water, access to legal representation. From the British consul.

Nothing.

Finally when every other consul had visited the abducted civilians, a British rep turned up. Jamal described the obsequious nature of the visit in termas that make one cringe. Bowing and scraping to the Israelis, the British diplomat didn’t even push for the right to see the victims in a private area. A legal imperative for all detainees during such visits. He didn’t demand water, or food, or a release time for those he was supposedly representing. Under the gaze of Israeli soldiers he asked just two questions ; ‘what is your name and what is your home number in the UK.’ Then our citizens were left. Wondering about their fate and that of their comrades; hungry, afraid, shocked, alone.

When the Israeli’s knew the game was up, that the world had indeed seen clips of their murderous attack, the Turkish abductees were given the chance to leave quickly, in an hour.

Did they go? No. They refused point blank to leave ‘before every other nationality has left before us.’ We salute them.

Jamal, Osama, Alexandra, Sarah, Kevin, and four hundred other internationals were released ONLY because of Turkish support for them. Not because the international community stepped in. Not because of action by the UN or (God forbid), the UK government. Because of the Turkey government.

In all his time as a prisoner, some forty hours plus, Jamal, like all the other Brits, had no legal visit, no phone call home and no proper British representation.

Finally at Ben Gurion airport being deported from a place he never wanted to enter in the first place. Jamal was given a piece of paper with a photo of himself on it and Hebrew writing.

His interrogator smirked at him and led him towards the plane ‘Congratulations’ the man said. ‘This is your new passport.’

‘I want my old passport!’ Said Jamal.

‘Sue me!’ Came the reply.

There was more much more from the survivors, which was videotaped and I will post as soon as it comes online. But let’s get back to the Zio-bots now. For alongside Press TV cameras and PSC workers filming the testimonies, there was the compulsory, sulky faced Zionist, shooting footage of the event for some organization opposed to justice, and free speech. Curiously, as the survivors described their horrors in depth, this woman’s camera was aimed NOT at the stage. But at my Press TV colleagues.

I went outside for a cigarette and there she was again. Instantly recognisable as a tight lipped Proto Zionist. She asked if I was with Press TV and would I speak to her for “Israeli TV?” Clearly she was not from any broadcaster – as no valid news channel accepts shaky, amateur hand held footage of the sort she was producing. Curious about her real intentions, I said ‘with pleasure.’

‘So do you think Press TV has done enough to give the Israeli side of events concerning the flotilla?’

Did I pause? It felt like a must have, just to have the time to process that after an hour of harrowing testimony about a massacre, this woman, had heard and felt – nothing.

‘The BBC has given Mark Regev enough space for your cause don’t you think..” I replied

‘Yes but don’t you think Press TV ought to….’ and then it happened. The white rage. I heard children crying in Gaza, saw fishermen being shot along the coast, phosphorous plummeting onto schools and UNWRA food stores. I saw the massacre on the Freedom Fleet, the torture, the needless, avoidable death..

‘Go fuck yourself’ I heard myself saying. And to make sure I couldn’t be misquoted I added.

‘Just fuck off.’ Source

Added July 13 2019

Gaza Flotilla: Lawyers from 60 Countries to Sue Israel