Posts Tagged ‘palestine’

Now we set sails towards the Gaza Strip!

June 25, 2012

For nearly a month more than 100 residents of the town of Umeå in northern Sweden have been working on the 90 year old schooner Estelle in top condition before the long journey towards the Gaza Strip. This Tuesday we weigh anchor and head for our first milestone: the island Gotland in the Baltic sea and the Almedalen week there.

The commitment for Ship To Gaza in the town of Umeå and the region of Västerbotten can only be described as overwhelming. People of all ages have helped us prepare the boat. We have grinded off corrosion, painted and renovated. Even seemingly impossible problems have been solved. When the worn out mizzen boom was to be replaced we were contacted by a man offering to take down a pine tree which was then planed, stained and painted with tar before finally being mounted by yet more volunteers.

In parallel with the practical work there has been children’s theater performed on the ship, lectures held at the university, a fundraising party hosted at Scharinska, along with other cultural events in Umeå in support of Ship To Gaza. Umeå has also been visited by Hanan Abu Nasser, from the Gaza Strip, who told about the situation there and the importance of initiatives like Ship To Gaza.

The departure is scheduled for twelve o’clock noon on Tuesday. We will be able to specify the departure time further during Monday. Be there well ahead of time for a tour of the ship.
Please contact us as soon as possible if there is interest in journalists joining Estelle onboard for a shorter part, or all the way of the journey to Nynäshamn or Visby.

Blockade supporters, Ship to Gaza and “Ship to Syria”

April 24, 2012

I’m thrilled that the friends of the occupation, the friends of the separation wall and the friends of the blockade (take notice that I do not call them friends of Israel)—i.e. those who directly or indirectly support Israel’s systematic violations of international law—have all found a new “fresh” voice. It is going to be fascinating to watch Paula Neuding attempt to follow the same script as the friends of the occupation, friends of the separation wall and the friends of the blockade are following. Suddenly, everyone who defends/supports/understands Israel’s criminal policies is writing about “Ship to Syria”. It’s almost enough to make you laugh. If one were to think in terms of conspiracies, one would believe that someone had given the green light for a so-called “Ship to Syria” campaign.
Jackie Jackubowski in Expressen, Paula Neuding in SvD, Lisa Abramowicz on Newsmill,Benjamin Greber on Newsmill and Lars Anders Johansson in Barometern all write in what appears to be a well-orchestrated campaign quite reminiscent of past pro-Eastern Bloc campaigns. Ship to Gaza can only take note that these writers (propagandists of support for Israel’s criminal policies would be more accurately put) are acknowledging that Ship to Gaza has set a standard of sorts for international solidarity actions that enjoy extensive popular support. Of course, the articles make claims about us that we will respond to at another time and place. But, mostly, these articles are doing Ship to Gaza a favor. In fact, they rightly ask why our methods are not being implemented in other crisis situations in which our politicians have failed us.
Ship to Gaza strongly encourages these writers to put their words into action, just like we have done in the case of Gaza. If they are serious about wanting to support those who are standing up to Assad, they ought to organize demonstrations and solidarity actions. I promise that if they show up in city squares we will put money into their collection boxes.
Solidarity with the distressed people of Gaza does not stand in contrast with solidarity with other people in need; on the contrary, they fit hand in glove. The day these writers express their support for “Ship to Syria” as well as for Ship to Gaza we will take their words about human rights seriously. The day they show us that they truly support the people of Syria (and other oppressed people) we will know that their words amount to more than just rhetoric in a well- (or perhaps poorly-?) orchestrated campaign.

Wikileaks on Israel and the Arab World (links and comments)

November 30, 2010

Wikileaks Israel
US embassy cables: Israel grateful for US support
Text of leaked diplomatic cable between US and Israel

US embassy cables: US pressed to maintain Israel’s ‘qualitative military edge’

Text of leaked diplomatic cable between US and Israel

US embassy cables: Mossad says US and Israel agree on Iran
1. (S) Summary: Mossad Chief Meir Dagan told CODEL Corzine March 13 that Israeli and U.S. thinking on Iran largely tracks, adding that he believes the EU dialogue with Iran will ultimately fail. Dagan said that Israel has evidence that some foreign fighters have returned home from Iraq, perhaps indicating that the tide may be starting to turn in the U.S. battle against the insurgency there. He worried however, that these militants’ countries of origin — in particular Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Sudan — are ill-equipped to control the returning jihadis, who might then pose a threat to stability in the region and, ultimately, to Israel. End Summary.

US embassy cables: Mossad chief wants to ‘detach’ Syria from Iran
1. (S) SUMMARY: Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (AFHSC), met Mossad Director Meir Dagan on July 12 for a general discussion of regional security threats. On the Iranian nuclear program, Dagan proved surprisingly optimistic about the effects of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and their impact on Iranian elites. On most other fronts, however, Dagan expressed deep skepticism regarding any near-term solutions. Dagan believes that the Syrians were emboldened by the Second Lebanon War, and argued for a concerted international effort to enforce UNSC resolutions in Lebanon as a means of removing Syria from Iranian influence. In Dagan’s personal opinion, present attempts to prop up the government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will fail, and “an entirely new approach” with the Palestinians is required. Dagan and Townsend surveyed political developments in North Africa, Turkey, and the Gulf, and shared concerns about Pakistan’s ability to withstand the challenge of Islamic radicals. END SUMMARY.

Wikileaks and Mossad chief
I mean, reading the analysis that the Mossad chief presented to a US official, one is struck (not really) by how unintelligent the Mossad chief is in his analysis of the Middle East. I guarantee you that lousy chiefs of lousy Arab intelligence services can do a better job. Another sign that Israel’s years are numbered. Read his analysis: an anthology of cliches that he dervies from reading columns by Thomas Friedman.

WikiLeaks: Arab world according to Mossad chief
WikiLeaks documents contain reports of 2007 meetings in which Meir Dagan presented US with five-step program to perform coup in Iran; said ‘nothing can be achieved’ with Palestinians.,7340,L-3991210,00.html

Mossad chief on Aljazeera and Qatar: from Wikileaks
“Dagan characterized Qatar as “a real problem,” and accused Sheikh Hamid of “annoying everyone.” In his view, Qatar is trying to play all sides — Syria, Iran, Hamas — in an effort to achieve security and some degree of independence. “I think you should remove your bases from there…seriously,” said Dagan. “They have confidence only because of the U.S. presence.” Dagan predicted, with some humor, that al-Jazeera would be the next cause of war in the Middle East as some Arab leaders (specifically Saudi Arabia) are willing to take drastic steps to shut down the channel, and hold Sheikh Hamid personally responsible for its provocations.”

U.S. tapped secure lines in Israel’s Washington embassy, ex-envoy says
Former Israeli envoy Rabinovich reveals that the tapping began at some point after 1996, and took a number of years for embassy officials to discover.

WikiLeaks cable: Russian leadership viewed Lieberman as ‘one of its own’
Message from U.S. embassy to State Department shows FM was treated as an ‘old friend’ during a 2009 visit to Moscow.

Wikileaks Palestine
WikiLeaks exposé: Egypt, PA refuse to take over Gaza in case of Hamas defeat.
In diplomatic cable documenting 2009 meeting, Defense Minister Barak says Egypt, PA refuse to take over Gaza in case of Hamas defeat.

WikiLeaks exposé: Israel offered to coordinate Cast Lead with Egypt and Fatah
In diplomatic cable documenting 2009 meeting, Defense Minister Barak says Egypt, PA refuse to take over Gaza in case of Hamas defeat.

Wikileaks: Israel assessed Abbas as weak, unpopular
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Senior Israeli defense and political figures described President Mahmoud Abbas as weak, unpopular and unlikely to survive politically past 2011, leaked US diplomatic cables showed on Monday. In meetings with US representatives, Israeli officials ranging from then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, to senior defense official Amos Gilad expressed doubt about Abbas’s political longevity.

Leaked cable: US spied on Hamas, PA
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The US government in 2008 directed its personnel across the Middle East to gather meticulous intelligence on Hamas and Palestinian Authority officials, a leaked diplomatic cable reveals. The cable, provided to The Guardian of Britain by the whistleblower group WikiLeaks, lays out a “national human intelligence collection directive” asking US personnel to obtain “Details of travel plans such as routes and vehicles used by Palestinian Authority leaders and HAMAS members.”

US embassy cables: Washington requests personal data on Hamas

US briefed Palestinians on WikiLeaks cache
Washington’s message, delivered by phone to the Office of the President a few days in advance of the scheduled release, was quick and to the point: Don’t overreact. “They aren’t making a big deal out of it, and they hope we won’t either,” a senior Palestinian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, told Ma’an. “But when they’re telling us ‘Don’t overreact,’ that basically translates as ‘There’s something you’re not going to like.'”

Israeli official is pleased with the small Israeli tools in the PA collaborationist appratus
“Buchris acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority was doing a “good job” in the West Bank, noting respect for Palestinian Security Forces (PASF) as they take more control of security — giving them the chance to succeed was important, Buchris said.”

Mossad chief on the PA collaborators
“Departing from official GOI policy, Dagan expressed his personal opinion that after more than a decade of trying to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, “nothing will be achieved.” Only Israeli military operations against Hamas in the West Bank prevent them from expanding control beyond Gaza, lamented Dagan, without which Fatah would fall within one month and Abbas would join his “mysteriously wealthy” son in Qatar. Offering what he believed to be a conservative estimate, Dagan said that USD 6 billion had been invested in the Palestinian Authority since 1994. “What did it accomplish, other than adding a few more people to the Fortune 500?” asked Dagan. Although he expressed his personal faith in Salam Fayyad, Dagan said that the Palestinian Prime Minister had no power base. Fatah as a party would have to completely reorganize itself in order to regain credibility, argued Dagan, but instead they have turned once again to the “old guard.” The Mossad Chief suggested that a completely new approach was required, but did not provide Townsend any additional details.”

Wikileaks Egypt
US embassy cables: Egypt spy chief promises pressure on Hamas
3. (S) Soliman applauded the Administration’s efforts, commenting that Annapolis had given hope and begun a process. The timing is right for progress based on four factors. First, the PA leadership is moderate and willing to negotiate. Second, Hamas is isolated and politically cut off in Gaza. Third, the Israelis are ready for peace; Soliman assessed that the GOI coalition is broad and strong, and larger than Rabin’s coalition of the mid-nineties. Fourth, Arab states are ready to see an end to “the struggle.”

Mubarak serves the US to serve Israel (to serve Jamal Mubarak): from wikileaks

“But Egypt will continue to provide the USG with its knowledge and expertise on the critical regional issues, such as Lebanon and Iraq.”

Omar Sulayman states that his Israeli masters are pleased with him after all
“Senator Voinovich asked Soliman why the Israelis continue to report problems with Egypt’s anti-smuggling efforts. Soliman said that the Israelis do not complain to him directly, and that GOI-GOE cooperation and exchange of information continues. He was at a loss as to why Israeli politicians continue to criticize Egypt publicly.”

Wikileaks Jordan
Jordanian King gives advice on how to get rid of Hizbullah
“In Lebanon, the GOJ fears Iran’s Hizballah proxy has been given too much rope and could be poised to increase its political influence during upcoming parliamentary elections. The King sees the Lebanon-Israel War of 2006 as having benefited Iran and Hizballah, by allowing a Sunni Arab street enamored of “resistance” to see past its suspicions of the Shia. And then-Foreign Minister Salah Al-Bashir in late 2008 described the spring 2009 vote as “when we will know who won last May,” referring to the outcome of the Doha Accords that put an end to Lebanese infighting. Much like with the Palestinian issue, Jordanian leaders have argued that the only way to pull the rug out from under Hizballah – and by extension their Iranian patrons – would be for Israel to hand over the disputed Sheba’a Farms to Lebanon. With Hizballah lacking the “resistance to occupation” rationale for continued confrontation with Israel, it would lose its raison d’etre and probably domestic support.”

US embassy cables: Jordan wary of US engagement with Iran

Wikileaks Lebanon
Mossad Chief is a fan of Fu’ad Sanyurah
“Dagan urged caution with respect to Lebanon, noting that the results of efforts there to bolster the Siniora government would impact Syria and Iraq. The U.S. and Israel, he said, are on the edge of achieving something in Lebanon, and so cannot afford to drop their guard. What is necessary is finding the right way to support PM Siniora. “He is a courageous man,” Dagan said. Syria, Iran and Hizballah are working hard against him. Dagan noted that much of what is animating the leadership of Lebanon to take on Syria is personal: “Hariri, Jumblat and others had their parents executed by the Syrians.” This anti-Syrian sentiment has forged an alliance based on personal and national interests. Siniora has worked well with the situation, but Dagan suggested that the odds are against him. Under Secretary Burns replied that the U.S. is trying to give PM Siniora as much support as possible, and that we would continue to consult closely with Israel on Lebanon. He noted that he would return to Israel in October.”

Fu’ad Sanyurah wants the US to push Syria
“Siniora encouraged the U.S. to push Syria to respect the sovereignty of other states (namely Lebanon) as a way to bring Syria back into the Arab fold.”

Israeli official analyzes the March 14 parliamentary victory (from wikileaks)
“Shapiro asked if the election results might be the result in part of a backlash in the Christian community against Hizballah; the Policy Research analysts countered that the results were indicative of several factors, including the influx of Saudi money and an unstable opposition camp.”

Zionists are pleased with the Lebanese Army
“A/S Shapiro said the LAF has thus far demonstrated a solid record of accounting for U.S. systems transferred to Lebanon.”

Israel does not believe that Lebanese Army would attack Israel
“Amos Gilad said the GOI does not believe the LAF will attack Israel.”

Wikileaks Syria
“Asad pointedly asked in response to Representative McIntyre’s question about why Syria had not done more to monitor and staunch the flow of transiting fighters across the Syria-Iraq border. Asad continued: “Can you stop the immigration of Mexicans into the U.S.? No.”

UN as a tool for Israel Mossad chief argues: “Dagan argued that the opposite is true: by enforcing UN resolutions on Lebanon and increasing efforts to disarm Hizballah, the international community can remove the glue that binds Iran and Syria. Enforcing the resolutions would put additional pressure on Assad, who fears being tried for the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri above all else. The advantage of such an approach, continued Dagan, is that the legal ground is already in place for action by the UNSC. This credible threat could sufficiently frighten Syria away from Iran and towards more natural allies in the Arab League.”

Wikileaks Saudi Arabia
It is official: Saudi King does not hate Israel (from Wikileaks)
“On Saudi Arabia, Gilad said that King Abdullah does not hate Israel, but his chief priority is the survival of the regime.”

WikiLeaks exposé: Saudis told U.S. ‘Cut off the head of the snake’ on Iran
Diplomatic cables to U.S. officials quote leaders of mainly Sunni Arab states urging Iranian nuclear program be stopped ‘by whatever means necessary’.

Saudi Arabia urges US attack on Iran to stop nuclear programme
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to leaked US diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran. The revelations, in secret memos from US embassies across the Middle East, expose behind-the-scenes pressures in the scramble to contain the Islamic Republic, which the US, Arab states and Israel suspect is close to acquiring nuclear weapons. Bombing Iranian nuclear facilities has hitherto been viewed as a desperate last resort that could ignite a far wider war.

US embassy cables: Israel seeks to block US planes for Saudi

Here, the US government issues orders to Saudi officials
“Saudi Arabia should exercise leadership with neighbors in the region and publicly by expressing concerns about Iran’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and destabilizing activities in the region. — We would appreciate public expressions of support for the P5 1 dual track process including encouragement for Iran to accept the incentives package. — Saudi Arabia should exercise its influence with China, in particular, to persuade China to reduce its growing energy/economic cooperation and weapons purchases. Such efforts by China run contrary to the spirit of the UNSCRs and the P5 1 dual track strategy. A high level Saudi delegation could communicate to China Saudi concerns about the threat posed by Iran’s actions.”

This is how US officials bring human rights in Saudi Arabia; they praise the Kingdom’s record–I kid you NOT
“DIALOGUE AND REFORM AS DUTY: In response to Brennan,s praise for the King,s interfaith dialogue initiative, his commitment to advancing rights as reflected by his recent appointment of the first female (deputy education) minister, the King said “Thanks for the sentiment but I did nothing special, only what I thought was my duty. I believe we do our duty as determined by God.””

Sons of…Zayid and sons of…`Abdul-`Aziz
“Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah has developed good personal relations with Foreign Minister Livni, but the Emiratis are “not ready to do publicly what they say in private.” (Note: It was clear from Hadas’ remarks that Israel’s channel to Saudi Arabia does not run through the Foreign Ministry.)”

Saudi King: US Should Plant Chips in Gitmo Detainees
The King, proposed implanting detainees with an electronic chip containing information about them and allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth. This was done with horses and falcons, the King said.

Wikileaks UAE
UAE leaders on Hamas
“UAE leaders have told us that they consider Hamas a terrorist organization and that they would not fund Hamas unless they denounce violence (refs D and E).”

Muhammad bin Zayid
He wants nothing less than an invasion of Iran: “MbZ asked Lt. Gen. Dunn whether it would be possible for &anyone8 to “take out” all locations of concern in Iran via air power; Lt. Gen. Dunn voiced doubt that this would be possible given the dispersed locations. “Then it will take ground forces!” MbZ exclaimed. Ambassador noted that the UAE’s Director of Military Intelligence, BG”>BG Essa al Mazrouei, would pay counterpart visits this week to CENTCOM, J-2, DIA, and CIA for discussions on Iran and Iraq-related matters. MbZ said he looked forward to sharing “contingency planning” scenarios in future conversations.”

by the way, this man is the biggest servant of Israel in the Middle East
“In talks with US officials, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later. “I believe this guy is going to take us to war … It’s a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive.”

Wikileaks Yemen
Wikileaks: Yemeni President Agreed To Cover up US Attack in Yemen
“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Mr. Saleh said, according to the cable sent by the American ambassador, prompting Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament” that Yemeni forces had carried out the strikes.

Wikileaks Libya
Summary: Recent first-hand experiences with Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi and his staff, primarily in preparation for his UNGA trip, provided rare insights into Qadhafi’s inner circle and personal proclivities. Qadhafi appears to rely heavily XXXXXXXXXXXXX reportedly cannot travel with his senior Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska. He also appears to have an intense dislike or fear
of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing. His recent travel may also suggest a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard

21 international organizations call for immediate end to Gaza siege

November 30, 2010

PARIS, (PIC)– 21 international human rights organizations have called for fresh international moves to lift the siege on Gaza immediately and without any conditions attached.

The organizations in a report to be published on Tuesday said that Israel’s measures to “ease” the siege on Gaza under international pressures did not change anything in the lives of the civilian population of the Strip.

The non-government organizations, including Amnesty International, and the Norwegian Refugee Council, said that no enough construction materials were allowed into Gaza.

They said that only “minor” progress was made in the freedom of movement for civilians while noting no tangible development on Gaza exports.

Israeli War Criminals

November 18, 2010

The following information was received anonymously; presumably from a member of the Israeli Military. It was presented as follows:

Underlining the following people is an act of retribution and affront. They are the direct perpetrators, agents for the state of Israel that in Dec.- Jan. 2008- 2009 attacked scores of people in the besieged Gaza. The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack therefore not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same. They bear a distinctive personal responsibility. They range from low-level field commanders to the highest echelons of the Israeli army. All took an active and direct role in the offensive.

In underlining them we are purposefully directing attention to individuals rather than the static structures through which they operate. We are aligning people with actions. It is to these persons and others, Like them, to which we must object and bring our plaints to bear upon.

This information was pirated. We encourage people to seek out other such similar information, it is readily available in the public sphere and inside public officials’ locked cabinets. This is a form of resistance that can be effectively sustained for a long while.

This project for one, has only just begun, do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical.

Disseminate widely.

Israel tries to prevent Ship to Gaza from seeking justice in Israel

November 6, 2010

Ship to Gaza-Sweden Press release 6 November, 2010

Israel tries to prevent Ship to Gaza from seeking justice in Israel

The Israeli Embassy in Stockholm issued a press release on Friday, 5 November, stating that Israel will prevent Ship to Gaza spokesperson Dror Feiler and member of Parliament Mehmet Kaplan from going to Tel Aviv to file a legal complaint against the Israeli government and
the Defense Ministry. The stated reason for preventing Feiler and Kaplan’s entry is that “any person who tries to enter Israel illegally will be denied entry into Israel for a period of ten years.”
    That is a curious statement, considering that none of the passengers aboard Ship to Gaza/Freedom Flotilla had attempted to enter Israel. Nor did they have any such intention. Quite the contrary: They were headed for Gaza when they were boarded, arrested and taken to Israel against their will. Nine people were killed and about 30 were seriously wounded during the attack. Vessels, cargo and personal property were all confiscated and, in most cases, have still not been returned.
  The complaint that Feiler and Kaplan intend to file with the Tel Aviv police department and the district attorney—on behalf of all Swedish passengers—is based on the incidents connected with the boarding. The charges are: armed robbery and/or larceny, kidnapping, unlawful deprivation of freedom and aggravated assault.
  Ship to Gaza-Sweden expects that Israel is a constitutional state which will allow people— who believe, on good grounds, they have been the victims of crimes committed by state authorities—to file a complaint with the police and prosecutors so that alleged crimes can be investigated. The Swedish passengers are represented by the reputable Israeli attorney, Gaby Lasky. Feiler and Kaplan will travel to Israel as planned on Sunday, in the hopes that justice will be allowed to be served.

Israel vill hindra Ship to Gaza från att söka rättvisa i Israel

November 6, 2010

Ship to Gaza-Sverige Pressmeddelande 2010-11-05

Enligt ett pressmeddelande från Israels ambassad i Stockholm på fredagen (5/11) tänker Israel hindra Ship to Gazas talesperson Dror Feiler och riksdagsledamoten Mehmet Kaplan från att på plats i Tel Aviv polisanmäla Israels regering och försvarsmakt. Som skäl hänvisas till den paragraf i israelisk lag som stipulerar att ”varje person som försöker att illegalt ta sig in i landet nekas inresa i Israel under en period av tio år”.
Det är ett egendomligt argument med tanke på att ingen av passagerarna på Ship to Gaza/Frihetsflottan försökte ta sig in i Israel. Inte heller hade de i avsikt att göra så. Tvärtom. De var på väg till Gaza när de långt ute på internationellt vatten bordades, tillfångatogs och mot sin vilja fördes till israeliskt territorium. Vid överfallet dödades nio människor och skadades ett trettiotal svårt. Fartyg, last och personliga tillhörigheter beslagtogs och har i de flesta fall inte återlämnats.
Det är just händelserna i samband med bordningen som ligger till grund för de polisanmälningar Feiler och Kaplan – på samtliga elva svenska passagerares vägnar – tänker inlämna till polisen i Tel Aviv och den allmänne åklagaren. Åberopade brottsrubriceringar är väpnat rån alternativt stöld, kidnappning, olaga frihetsberövande och misshandel.
Ship to Gaza-Sverige utgår från att Israel som rättsstat tillåter att personer, som på goda grunder upplever sig ha utsatts för brott begångna av landets myndigheter, bereds tillfälle att till polis och åklagare inlämna anmälan som gör att misstänkta brott kan utredas. De svenska passagerarnas talan förs av den välrenommerade israeliska advokaten Gaby Lasky. Feiler och Kaplan reser som planerat till Israel på söndag i förhoppningen att rätten ska få ha sin gång.

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Expands in Geneva

October 11, 2010

11 October 2010
Freedom Flotilla Coalition Expands in Geneva

Legal, Political, and Grassroots Action to End Israeli Impunity

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition met in the home of the Geneva Conventions to welcome the Swiss Boat Initiative into the Coalition, as well as to discuss the various levels of our ongoing efforts to break Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza. The Geneva Conventions, a body of law agreed upon by the world community to protect human life and dignity, continues to be violated on a daily basis by Israel with near total impunity.
As members of civil society we are working to end this impunity that our governments have been shamefully silent about. Many of our countries abstained on the vote of the UN Human Rights Council investigation that found Israel guilty of “incredible violence”, and “grave breaches” of international law to support prosecutions against Israel for “willful killing” and torture. The United States vetoed this report that found one of their citizens was “executed” by Israeli forces. We refuse to accept this. We represent the voice of growing worldwide condemnation of Israel’s continued crimes and are working on legal, political and grassroots levels to hold Israel accountable.

In three days, on 14 October, we will be at The Hague to submit our complaint to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In less than two weeks, lawyers from over 20 countries will meet to discuss lawsuits against Israel and ongoing efforts to indict Israeli war criminals. And yes, we are also planning to sail again.

If Israel is not stopped, they will daily continue to kidnap, arrest, demolish, maim and kill Palestinians, and they will use similar violence against those that protest these policies. With all arrogance Israeli leaders have announced they will use snipers and attack dogs against future flotillas of unarmed civilians. Despite these threats, we are not deterred and our numbers are growing. Today, seven new countries have joined our coalition from Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Malaysia, Ireland,Norway, and the United States, each of which is working on sending their own boat to Gaza. Our flotilla will sail again and this time we will not only have more people, more vessels, and more countries participating, but in the spring of 2011 we will be sailing from three continents – Europe, Asia, and Africa. We continue to call upon our countries to use all available legal and political means to ensure that Israel stops acting above the law so that we do not have to put our lives on the line to do so.

PRESS STATEMENT 27 September 2010 – Freedom Flotilla Coalition Grows in Athens

September 27, 2010

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Grows in Athens – Legal, Political and Grassroots Action to End Israeli Impunity

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has just concluded its meeting in Athens, where we assessed developments related to our ongoing efforts to end Israel’s criminal blockade on Gaza and other illegal policies perpetrated against the Palestinian people. We have said that we would not allow Israel’s violence against Freedom Flotilla I stop our global citizen efforts to stand up to Israel’s ongoing intransigence and indeed it has not. Over the last three months, we have been joined by national coalitions in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Canada, Norway, Belgium, Austria, Australia, and the United States, and other countries, each of which is working on sending a boat to Gaza. As we speak, a Jewish boat is on its way to Gaza in a statement to the world that Israel does not act in the name of world Jewry, nor does Israel’s blockade of Gaza have anything to do with protecting Jews. The people of Gaza anxiously await their arrival.
We have started a movement that Israel, with all its weapons, cannot stop. We have been forced to do this because our governments have not been willing to hold Israel accountable for systematic violations of Palestinian human rights. We expect our governments to support our nonviolent actions to uphold international law, and to take action when their unarmed citizens are violently attacked, beaten, arrested and killed. We lost nine of our colleagues to Israel’s senseless violence and this is only a fraction of the violence that Palestinians have been subjected to over the last 60 years.
Today the independent Fact Finding Mission, commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council releases the conclusions of its investigation into the Freedom Flotilla raid. The UN flotilla report concludes that Israeli troops used “incredible violence” against us, committing “grave breaches” of international law. The report also says there is “clear evidence to support prosecutions” against Israel for “willful killing” and torture committed when its soldiers stormed our flotilla last May. Greece, as a signatory to the Rome Statute has the right to bring this matter before the International Criminal Court. Our respective countries have the ability to invoke universal jurisdictions to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
Israel has consistently tried to label any individual or group that acts to defend Palestinian rights as “terrorist.” They launched a slanderous attack on our Turkish partners. The UN Flotilla report rejected the notion that intervention by civil society to address the cause of a humanitarian crisis is meddlesome. It called for space for both humanitarian intervention to alleviate the crisis in Gaza, and political action to address the causes creating the crisis. The Second Freedom Flotilla now being organized, like the one so brutally attacked by Israel, will aim to do both. In the meantime we call upon our countries to use all available legal and political means to ensure that Israel stops acting above the law so that we do not have to put our lives on the line to do so.

Netanyahu: I am innocent

June 23, 2010