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The boats Free Gaza and Liberty have set sail in an attempt to break the siege of Gaza.

category galway | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday August 05, 2008 19:03author by TD - Free Palestine Campaign Report this post to the editors

Gaza Under Siege: "an atrocity, a crime, an abomination" (Jimmy Carter in an April 17 speech at the American University in Cairo

Stephen Lendman in a Znet article succinctly puts the moral imperatives behind the Free Gaza Movement's brave sailings to the Israeli besieged Gaza Strip: "After Hamas' January 25, 2006 electoral victory, Israel targeted Gaza oppressively. All outside aid was cut off. Sanctions and an economic embargo were imposed, and the democratically elected government was falsely called a terrorist organization and isolated. Stepped up repression followed along with repeated IDF incursions, attacks, killings, targeted assassinations, arrests, destruction of property and more in a pattern all too familiar to Palestinians for over six decades. Gazans are imprisoned in their own land and have been traumatized for months. In June 2007, things got worse after Israel placed the Territory under siege - described by some as medieval because of its extreme harshness".

- another compelling reason is that the Gaza-based Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS) recently reported that the number of victims who have died preventable deaths as a result of unattainable medical care under the siege is 212 - the latest two victims including an 11-month-old infant and a 44-year-old father of eight. Both died after being denied permits to exit Gaza for treatment.

In their Mission Statement, the Free Gaza Movement state their case: "We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine's right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise.

Who are we?
We are these human rights observers, aid workers, and journalists. We have years of experience volunteering in Gaza and the West Bank at the invitation of Palestinians. But now, because of the increasing stranglehold of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, many of us find it almost impossible to enter Gaza, and an increasing number have been refused entry to Israel and the West Bank as well. Despite the great need for our work, the Israeli Government will not allow us in to do it.

We are of all ages and backgrounds. Back home, we are teachers, medics, musicians, secretaries, parents, grandparents, lawyers, students, activists, actors, playwrights, politicians, singer-songwriters, web designers, international training consultants, and even a former Hollywood film industry worker and an aviator. We are South African, Australian, American, English, Israeli, Palestinian, and more".

What are we going to do?
We've tried to enter Palestine by land. We've tried to arrive by air. Now we're getting serious. We're taking a ship.

Join them on their trip of conscience by adding your name to Receive email reports as they go, get their updates and announcements and watch streaming video now that they are on the sea.

Co founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Jeff Halper, in a statement powerfully sets out the reasons behind his participation (see related Link)

Related Link:

Scottish humanitarian Khalil al-Niss and his wife Linda Willis at the Rafah crossing barred from delivering medical supplies to Gaza
Scottish humanitarian Khalil al-Niss and his wife Linda Willis at the Rafah crossing barred from delivering medical supplies to Gaza

Agony without pity or respite in Gaza
Agony without pity or respite in Gaza

author by Davepublication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 09:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This ship would be stopped by the Israeli Navy and forced to turn back at the very least.
If it ignored warnings it would probably have a shot fired across its bows.
There would either be a commando raid to storm the ship or it would be simply sunk.

This will achieve nothing. Zilch. Zero. 0.000

It reminds me of the Children's Crusade of the Middle Ages - a pathetic procession of naive children believed they could liberate the Holy Land from the Turks only for most of the pilgrims to die during the journey or end up in Turkish slave pens.

author by Reporter12publication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for that TD,

But Ive got a query , according to the Free Gaza website they set sail over 24 hours ago.

" Free Gaza and Liberty have set sail! "

"(05.08.2008) "We wish to announce that the boats Free Gaza and Liberty have set sail beginning their journey to Gaza. Wish us well! More details will follow..."

According to their own "Boat Updates" page nothing has been reported since. No News , No Word, Nada.

The vessels are 50 or 60 ft long and presumably capable of doing 15knots, its about 250 - 300 mile journey....ergo they should be well there already.

Question : What the hell is going on ?

Not a bleedin dickybird . Where the hell are they ?

author by Elipublication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From the Arabs. It was before the Turks.

author by David L - IPSCpublication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Those of us aware of the siege of Gaza might think this voyage is pointless. However, many people aren't, and the voyage provides important publicity about what Israel is doing there, and about the suffering of Gazans.

Also Israel is increasingly portraying Gaza as unoccupied, using the rationale that the prsion guards don't control the prison, only the perimeter. By showing that Israel controls access in and out of Gaza, it raises the fact that Gaza is very much occupied territory

author by Reporter12publication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 14:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to this BBC report the journey could take as ling as 20 hours, but still they should be there by now unless they are trying to sell a dummy to the facists by claiming to have left early but actually left later. (seems a bit unlikely , given the level of technology at Israel's diposal in order to track them).

Or we must wonder have they come a cropper in an encounter with the regional superpower and its tendencies to arrest , beat , torture or kill people it disagrees with. (seems unlikely also considering the high level profile of the mission and some of the people on board).
But if they have set sail and have been under way already for over 30 hours then it seems likely that their ability to communicate has been hampered in some way.

Does anyone have any news ?

author by Mike Novackpublication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 15:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's POSSIBLE that the Israelis will have their navy stop the ships. But why so sure that this will be their choice of action? If you looked at Israeli media you'd see that they are considering letting the ships through. Why might they do that?

First an aside -- those organizing this have made the assumption that the Israelis will stop them, a fundamental error of "war" to base your plans solely on an estimation of the opponetn's intentions rather than taking intoaccount all the opponent's capabilities.

The Israelis are being accused of "besieging" Gaza by keeping the border into and out of Israel closed. Now if Israel surrounded Gaza, that would indeed be a "siege", but it doesn't. Every body has been assuming "it's a siege, they WILL stop these boats" without considering what the Israelis might gain by PROVING no siege. Remember, nobody has TRIED* before.

Understand now? Sure it's impractical to try to supply Gaza over the beaches and inadequate facilites of small fishing harbors but economic cost doesn't grant rights. If Israel lets these ships through, lets people leave by these ships, etc. then we all have to shut up about "Israel not allowing supplies in" and "Israel not letting people out for medical treatment" etc. --- or at least we would then have to be honest about our motivations. Because then the reality is that Israel would have no more responsibility for the survival of the Gazans than you Irish.

That might be the motivation for Israel letting the ships through. making it "put up or shut up". Either demonstrate your willingness to supply tje Gazans whatever it costs you or shut up about our not doing so. Do you think they are wrong thinking that the world is willing to talk, but not willing to commit the necessary respources?

* The earlier "attempt" was NOT an attempt to get to Gaza from elsewhere but to get there FROM ISRAEL. That's not a "siege" but an "embargo". One thing to disallow OTHER boats to go to Gaza -- certainly has the right to disallow one's own boats from doing so.

author by Reporter12publication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 17:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors


The people taking part in this are not trying to prove that the Israeli regime will stop them getting to Gaza . Their primary objective is to break the siege on Gaza. They intend to do this by sailing to Gaza and then fishing in Gazan Waters and then testing the route back and forth with their vessels to prove that their is a passage to Gaza that can be used for whatever purpose required. That is the primary objective , they have presumed nothing and are prepared for all contingencies with non-violent responses.
If they are successful in their primary objective then indeed they will have proved that the siege of Gaza now only exists on three sides of the four.This will enable nuch needed emergency supplies to be delivered. So what if it has to be offloaded to substandard facilities at Gaza.
Contrary to your assertion they have made no "error of War" as they have assumed nothing and it is in fact an act of peace.


I can also inform you all that I have just spoken with a representative from the Free Gaza Movement in California by telephone and that person has confirmed to me that due to "stormy conditions at sea and general logistical problems" the ships have not yet set sail. They are scheduled to Sail, according to the representative with which I spoke, "between thursday and Saturday".

Okay so that seems to be that for the moment, lets all meet back here in a day or two for the actual event. Nothing left to do but wish the Best of luck to the brave people travelling. Freedom for Gaza !

Over and out.

Contact action group:
friendsofgaza (@)

Phone +1 510 232 2500 (USA)

author by TD - Free Palestine Campaignpublication date Wed Aug 06, 2008 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"those organizing this have made the assumption that the Israelis will stop them," afraid not, the trip organizers or as "Dave" would have it; the "Children's Crusade of the Middle Ages" envisage one of four things happening:

The boat(s) may be stopped as it crosses or approaches the barrier marking the international waters boundary, in which case the crew is prepared to stay on board for at least two weeks in protest of the illegal halt of passage. The second possibility envisioned is that the ship will be allowed to pass into the area, and will be stopped in the territorial waters. In this eventuality the crew expects to be arrested, and the ship dragged to shore. A third possibility is that the ship will be sunk by the navy. The final option is that the ship actually makes it through to the Gaza port near Gaza City in the north of the Strip. According to Holocaust survivor and crew member Hedy Epstein, in the event
that they can get through to Gaza they will "open the port, fish with the fishermen, help in the clinics, and work in the schools." What this doughty woman hopes to do on this journey is to "remind the world that we will not stand by and watch 1.5 million people suffer death by starvation and disease."
(Hedy's parents, Ella and Hugo Wachenheimer, before the perished in the Shoah were able to send their daughter to England on a kindertransport on May 18, 1939, only months before the start of World War II on September 1, 1939

For what it's worth, the waters off the Gaza Strip are patrolled by Israeli naval vessels, and Israel enforces a "Fishing Limit" that is 6 nautical miles (11.1 km) from the Gaza shore. These restrictions on access and borders are enforced despite the 2005 Israeli "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip The crew intends to travel into the Gaza strip, past the international waters boundary, the 1996 Oslo accords boundary (20 nautical miles from the Gaza coast), the 2002 Bertini agreement boundary (12 nautical miles and 22.2 km from the Gaza coast) and the current "Fishing Limit" imposed by the Israeli navy since October 2006. Legally, the group says there should be no problem passing each of these lines since Israel disengaged from the Gaza strip in 2005 and should no longer its control airspace and territorial waters. The initiative hopes to draw attention to the continued de facto occupation

Meanwhile, the Democracy Now website is reporting that: "Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz has entered the race to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert just days after reports emerged he once instructed Israeli troops to kill seventy Palestinians a day during the Second Intifada. In May 2001, Mofaz reportedly gave a briefing to senior West Bank army commanders and said he wanted ten slain Palestinians a day in each of the seven territorial brigade areas" and that "the Bush administration has revoked student visas for three Gaza residents who had won Fulbright scholarships to study in the United States. The awards were first withdrawn and then reinstated after the US intervened in Israel’s decision to bar the students from leaving. But the US now says it agrees with Israel’s initial decision and that the students will remain in Gaza."

Further, Haaretz is reporting that Mofaz in a live interview on Israel Radio opined that "The Iranians are the root of all evil," adding that Tehran's nuclear program would pose "a threat to Israel's existence"

Hedy Epstein
Hedy Epstein


Related Link:
author by TD - Free Palestine Campaignpublication date Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Reporter12," as of a few moments ago, the Boat Updates of the Free Gaza Movement website is still reporting that: "We wish to announce that the boats Free Gaza and Liberty have set sail beginning their journey to Gaza (05.08.2008)," seems like the "Updater" needs to pull his or her finger out?.

Meanwhile, on Counterpunch, Jeff Halper explains his reasons for participating: "The siege violates the most fundamental principle of international law: the inadmissibility of harming civilian populations. Our voyage also exposes Israel’s attempt to absolve itself of responsibility for what is happening in Gaza. Israel’s claim that there is no Occupation, or that the Occupation ended with “disengagement,” is patently false. Occupation is defined in international law as having effective control over a territory. If Israel intercepts our boats, it is clear that it is the Occupying Power exercising effective control over Gaza".

Jeff Halper
Jeff Halper

Related Link:
author by Reporter12publication date Thu Aug 07, 2008 14:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I here what your saying TD, and I certainly hope they get their communications in order for the actual event. My understanding of what they intend to do is to send back real time up to the minute updates which should make for some gripping reading. But we can only wait.

This article was posted on the IMEMC website a couple of hours ago. An invite to Tzipi Livni to join them , no less. What next ?

" Dear Foreign Minister Livni:

On behalf of the Free Gaza Movement, we would like to formally invite you to join us on our upcoming voyage from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip. We feel that your presence on this important mission would help alleviate concerns that have been expressed in the Israeli media about our objectives. More importantly, we believe that it would be extremely helpful for you to see firsthand the horrific effects of Israeli policies on the people of the Gaza Strip, as well as to witness firsthand the effectiveness of non-violent action in bringing about positive change. "

author by Davepublication date Thu Aug 07, 2008 17:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The British sank the General Belgrano.
The French sank the Rainbow Warrior.
The israeli deliberately attacked US surveillance vessel during the 1967 and they often fired upon Irish peacekeepers in Lebanon.
They wouldn't hesitate to make an example of interfering peaceniks too.

author by Daniel Ben Alexander - private ciitizenpublication date Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What have the Arabs of the states and of Palestine being doing since 1947 if not 1920 and before, if not harming civilian populations? The whole Arab warfare technique as been to shoot up buses and villages, and bomb restaurants, hospitals and schools - only perhaps you do not remember Ma'alot and the Scorpion's Pass bus or the out patient Arab lady stopped on the Gaza border with an appointment at Beer Sheba Hospital and slabs of explosives in her skirt linings!
The only reason Gaza can still is carry on the way it does is because Israel lets in daily trucks of food and fuel. If Israel had really turned off ALL fuel power and food the whole mess would have been over within six months if not two with the young men climbing the border fence into Egypt and staying there or runningout the other end. The whole problem isa good example of how interfering do gooding that excuses the aggressors the consequences of their misdeeds just exacerbates the situation.
Till the 70's not a single Arab state nor private donor gave a brass farthing to UNWRA yet the US funded half of it and the UK a 1/4 of it for fear of Arab trouble over oil and in the UN Cold War votes. The Arab parties have however been in no way thankful for being kept alive in camps - understandably who wants to live in a slum on charity? The situation justifies those who rescued the Jewish DP's of 1945 by creating Israel.
If the refugees had been forced to disperse instead of freeloading on Western welfare the whole situation by now would have been undeniably less fraught as can be seeen from the better lives of those who went to Jordan and Kuwait even if they had to start again after the ineffable Arafart dropped them into a second exile siding with Saddam Hussein in 1990.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Fri Aug 08, 2008 13:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The people taking part in this are not trying to prove that the Israeli regime will stop them getting to Gaza . Their primary objective is to break the siege on Gaza. "

But since AFAIK this has NOT been attempted at any time in the past, WHAT SIEGE? I agree that MAYBE there has been a siege, but nobody chose to test that. Not allowing things in and out via Israel is an "embargo" not a "siege". We KNOW their is an "embargo" by BOTH Israel (two sides) and Egypt (on side). We don't KNOW that there has ever been a "siege".

NOTE: This is all about the "politics" of the situation. It might not be "friendly" to Palestinian interests to have to admit that the border on the Israeli side is legitimate, to admit that Israel has a right to exist on its own territory.


"If they are successful in their primary objective then indeed they will have proved that the siege of Gaza now only exists on three sides of the four.This will enable nuch needed emergency supplies to be delivered. So what if it has to be offloaded to substandard facilities at Gaza."

You would be satisfied with that? Acceptance of the situation that the Gazans be able to get only what could be transported in that way? You would shut up about Israel not allowing crossing of people and/or supplies via Isarel? You are willing to state that publicly? Understand what I am saying here? It would still be all right to protest/lobby ASKING that Israel allow supplies through "for humanitarian reasons because otherwise the Gazans perish because what can be transported "on the 4th side" inadequate. But not make DEMANDS, call for pressure tactics.

".......proved that the siege of Gaza now only exists on three sides of the four......"
Again the wording. They will have proved that NO siege of Gaza exists. They will not have determined that one ever existed but NOW has ended. The way to have shown THAT would have been to have organized this sort of thing as soon as Israel ended the occupation. If stopped back then but allowed now would justify the statement. Remember that the earlier "attempt" was not a test of whether there was a "siege" but whether there was an "embargo" (the earlier atteppt was to sail to Gaza FROM ISRAEL).

author by TD - Free Palestine Campaignpublication date Fri Aug 08, 2008 13:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As regards the "harming (of) civilian populations," a few salient facts: 123 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,050 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000. 1,057 Israelis and at least 4,862 Palestinians have been killed since September 29, 2000. 8,341 Israelis and 32,744 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000 (see Related Link)

"The only reason Gaza can still is carry on the way it does is because Israel lets in daily trucks of food and fuel" : "Under the Fourth Geneva law, Israel is obligated to protect all Palestinians - especially the sick, wounded, children under 15, pregnant women, the elderly, infirm and disabled. It must also allow free passage of food, medicines and other essentials, let medical teams provide help, and refrain from imposing collective punishment and de facto martial law. The (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights goes further, which Israel is a signatory of. It recognizes the right of every person to freedom of movement, work, an adequate standard of living, education, proper health care, and a normal family life. Israel prevents repairs and maintenance; spare parts imports are prohibited; electricity and fuel are severely restricted; hospitals and public institutions can't function properly; power cuts last 8 - 12 hours daily; 40 - 50 or more million liters of partially and untreated sewage are daily dumped in the sea."

In the same ZNet article Stephen Lendman points out: "Shops are short of everything because Israel allows in only nine basic materials. Their availability is spotty, and some essentials are banned like: certain medicines; restricted food items like fruit, milk and other dairy products, wheat flour, rice, sugar, salt, cooking oil, and frozen foods; cleaning materials; agricultural samplings; herbicides and pesticides; footwear; clothing; fabrics, threads, and buttons; construction materials: cement, tin, iron, plastic pipes, asbestos, wood, nails, screws, wires, paint, etc spare parts and supplies for manufacturing goods; electrical appliances; office equipment and supplies; livestock and fodder; books; computers; telephones and mobiles; spare parts for communication devices; tobacco and cigarettes; beverages; spare parts and supplies for manufacturing goods; electrical appliances; office equipment and supplies; livestock and fodder; books; computers; telephones and mobiles; spare parts for communication devices; tobacco and cigarettes; beverages; all types of motor vehicles, including spare parts (batteries, tires, engine oil, etc.); elevators and their spare parts; water pumps and their spare parts; and the import or export of raw materials for industry, construction and agriculture - virtually everything a modern society needs to function and survive."

Related Link:
author by Ronpublication date Fri Aug 08, 2008 17:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No, Israel is not obligated to do so.
Israel pulled put of Gaza, and is not obligated to supply them anything. The Gazans have a border with Egypt - they could get all they wanted from there, not only explosives and guns.
On the other hand, the Gazans shoot at Israeli towns aiming civilians on purpose, which is a huge violation of Geneva law.

author by TD - Free Palestine Campaignpublication date Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Free Gaza Movement announced yesterday that their boats, destined to break the Israelis' siege of Gaza, will arrive in Chania, Crete, on Saturday, August 9, at 9 p.m. and that a press conference will be held to welcome their arrival. "Internationals are gathering across the world – in Beijing and Cyprus – with the common dream of peace and justice for everyone."

Human rights activists Lauren Booth, journalist, (sister in law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair), Huwaida Arraf (a Palestinian-American residing in Ramallah, Palestine), and Jeff Halper (an Israeli Jew who was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for opposing demolitions of Palestinian homes) will be available at the press conference for interviews.

The Free Gaza Movement is endorsed by an impressive array of international groups and personalities including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Former Prime Minister of Lebanon Dr. Salim Al-Hoss.

FGM activist Greta Berlin said: We are a week late, but we are more determined than ever to go to Gaza. By now, almost half of the people are on board or traveling to the boats, and those of us left in Cyprus are finishing up our training, working on banners and trying to control our impatience. When we called the people of Gaza to tell them we would arrive a week late, their reply was, "Don't worry. We know you are coming. And we are waiting," a testament to their confidence that 40 Internationals, two small boats, and tremendous media attention can somehow defeat the Israeli Navy".

"Some of the survivors of the USS Liberty have written to us and asked us to be on one of their programs tomorrow night. They wrote this request of us: What is the possibility of you and the crew of the SS Liberty throwing 34 long stemmed roses into the sea as a memorial to the 34 Americans who were killed aboard the USS LIberty? We will pay for the roses or whatever else you have in mind. I guarantee you our newspaper American Free Press will give a HUGE spread in the paper for it. The survivors of the LIberty and their familes would be eternally grateful to you and your ship mates for this gesture as no one has ever done anything like this before. Another wrote: I am one of the survivors of the USS Liberty. A very tired man who woke up somewhat when I heard of the SS Liberty. I was the petty officer in charge of the body recovery and identification, and I remember it almost like it was yesterday. May God Be With You

So, when we leave Cyprus next week, we hope to have a ceremony for all of those Americans killed by the Israelis on board the ship in 1967.

Related Link: http://www.freegaza.or
author by Elipublication date Sat Aug 09, 2008 16:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The USS Liberty was an intelligence ship. She wasn't suppose to be there at all. Israel asked US about ships in the region and the Americans said they didn't have any ships there. The Israelis assumed it was an Egyptian intelligence ship and shot it. It was a mistake, Israel appologized, the Americans accepted it, Israel payed compensation to the families, and is 41 since it happened, I could give you dosen of incidents like that all over the world you didn't hear of or you did and didn't care cause it wasn't Israelis involved.

author by Vincentpublication date Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors


You claim you can give us a dozen incidents around the world where US Naval Craft are attacked out of the blue. 35 defenseless men are killed and the ship practically torpedoed to the bottom of the sea ? Do these dozen such incidents involve America then waving it's hand and accepting an obvious counterfactual excuse and forgiving the unprovoked and quite merciless attack out of hand ?

Please dont delay, lets have have your dozens examples of this..... in fact, let's have one .

author by Elipublication date Sun Aug 10, 2008 14:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I never claimed it was incidents where US Naval Craft were attacked.
But incidents where naval craft shoot each other by mistake - well, it happens all the time. You wouldn't belive it - it even happens in the same army - this is what is called "friendly fire".
And these weren't defenseless men - it was a ship that belonged to the American Navy - it was a military ship. They shot at the Israelis. If it were a fishing ship or merchant ship, well - then it was defenseless.

You are invited to read about it.

author by Vincentpublication date Sun Aug 10, 2008 15:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You should try readin a bit about it yourself Eli,

The Liberty was not a battle ship or a combat ship of any descripton. It was a Surveillance ship so it had rifles on board and it had a couple of machine guns. It was attacked by waves of Mirage and Mystere Jets armed with rockets napalm and machune guns. When they were finished the Liberty was torperdoed by three Isreali warships, then they strafed thelifeboats with Heavy fire to stop escape. The Liberty had no rockets , no torpedoes no cannons . It got no support or defense from the US military druing the hours long attack which killed 35 and injured 170.
That is what is called being defenseless.

If it were anyone else bar Israel they'd be a nuclear wasteland now.

First you say you can give us a dozen examples of attacks like this but now you are simply saying that firendly fire incidents happen all the time. I suggest to you that you havent got a clue what you are talking about and are another spouter of rubbish in defense of the indefensible but not for anyone mind. No..only for Israel. Why ?

author by Mr Manpublication date Sun Aug 10, 2008 23:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

-1991 - American A-10 during Operation Desert Storm attacks British armoured personnel carriers killing nine British soldiers

-1992 - USS Saratoga during a no-notice exercise that included a simulated RIM-7 launch; confusion ensued, and a Missile was launched into the bridge of the Turkish destroyer Muavenet killing 5.

-2002 - American F-16 pilot dropped a 500 lb (228 kg) bomb on Canadian soldiers performing a live-fire exercise, killing four and injuring another 8 in the Tarnak Farm incident.

-2006- During Operation Medusa, two U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt IIs strafed their own NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, killing Canadian Private Mark Anthony Graham, and seriously wounding five others when soldiers were trying to seize a Taliban stronghold along the Arghandab River.

-2007- Two Danish soldiers from The Royal Life Guards were killed by British Javelin anti-tank missiles during combat operations in the Helmand province, Afghanistan

Friendly fire incidents do happen all the time. All just as, if not more defenceless than the USS Liberty. And as Eli pointed out, an investigation was made, and reparations handed out.

"If it were anyone else bar Israel they'd be a nuclear wasteland now."
Simply untrue. Do you really think nuclear war is started by friendly fire incidents, or even the destruction of one ship?

author by Vincentpublication date Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sure there is friendly fire incidents where people get killed and well done you for being able to cut and paste from Wkipedia, Mr. Man.
If Iraqis had flown repeatedly over an unarmed US craft then after having passed enough times to surely identify it with the big flags and ensingnias, jammed their singnal and set about an hours long attack by an array of weapons killing 35 Americans wounding 170 then culminating in destroying the lifeboats to stop them escaping, Iraq would surely have been severely bombed in retaliation. Lets not forget that Iraq was a long time "friend" to the US.

The previous poster said that he had a dozen such examples of such an unbelievable occurence but in fact produced none, neither have you. When did such a thing ever happen ?

Then when you have cited any such example, show me how the Americans brushed the slaughter under the carpet and said : "ah sure dont worry about it, it happens all the time".

It didnt happen, only this time and only because it was The special friend who always gets singled out for the special treatment. Even at the expnse of US citizens.

author by Elipublication date Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are you a fool? Mr Man here gave examples from the 90's onward - there are many more examples from the past, and please note that the USS Liberty incident IS defined in Wikipedia as "friendly fire". And, yes, there is a far difference between an enemy attack on a vessel, and an accident attack, due to a mistake. Maybe that's why Israel informed the US government straight after the incident. Maybe that's why Israel compensated the victims. I don't think the Iraqis would do that.

By the way, US was not a very good friend of Israel back then, and was totaly neutral in that war. Yes, it was during a war, you keep forgetting that.

What really amazes me, is that the Americans can forgive, the Israelis can forgive, but you people - it seems you can't.

author by Vincentpublication date Mon Aug 11, 2008 15:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We are not discussing generally friendly fire incidents as posted by Wikipedia, we are discussing what you claimed are the dozen or so similar incidents to the Liberty that people dont get excited about.
I am telling you categorically , there is no dozen or so incidents like this. There is one, where a "friend" shot at a USS ship and killed many Americans. That "friend" was Iraq but unlike in the case of Israel's prolonged multi-faceted, daylight, close quarter attack on the unarmed Liberty in International waters, the Iraqi attack was carried out by a single pilot from a distance of 20 miles or so and I beleive at night time against a warship sailing in a "forbidden zone". Indeed on the occasion Iraq was allowed to continue to carry on it's work against Iran on behalf of the US.
According to you the US wasnt even a strategic ally of Israel at the time of their attack - just Neutral.

Now look at Iraq / US relations and compare to Israeli / US relations. See any similarities ?

Oh yes the Americans forgave ISrael, you are correct in that. They have a special relationaship where Israel gets special treatment. This is not a secret.

Incidentally, what did Israel ever forgive ?

author by Reporter12publication date Mon Aug 11, 2008 20:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excuse me to Interrupt ,

What has any of that got to do with the Free Gaza mission to break the siege? The Israeli are many things but stupid aint one of them. They are not going to attack the boats with weapons.

At Last, according to the free Gaza Website they have arrived at Chania in Crete and many of the crew are now assembled for the journey. Here is a series of interviews with the crew on the boat.

I can only presume this means they will be under way very soon. Heres a lovely picture of the boat on the "Boat Updates"page. Hmmm, looks something out of a Humphrey Bogart Movie.

author by Mr Manpublication date Tue Aug 12, 2008 14:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Incidentally, what did Israel ever forgive ?"

Ummm... Germany?

"we are discussing what you claimed are the dozen or so similar incidents to the Liberty that people dont get excited about."

I don't really see how it is different. The attack was made in error, an investigation was made, an apology was given and compensation awarded. Sounds like standard friendly fire incident to me. I think you are trying too hard to see "special treatment". Sure they do get kids gloves, but to think they have a diplomatic carte blanche is stretching it.

Reporter12 has a good point.

author by Reporter12publication date Wed Aug 13, 2008 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The latest report now explains that the boats will not now sail for maybe another week due to adverse weather conditions.

"The strong winds and the bad climate prevent the Liberty and Free Gaza vessels from sailing to Cyprus at time," said Jamal al-Khodary, an independent parliamentarian who heads a lobby against the siege.

author by Reporter12publication date Sat Aug 16, 2008 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Boats Free Gaza and Liberty had still not departed as of yesterday on their voyage to break the 2 year long siege than Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip. However, shocking developments are already taking place. Lauren Booth has reported that a campaign of intimidation has started against the peace activists who are waiting in Cyprus for the journey to commence.
In acts of what she has called "Psychological Terrorism" persons unkown have been calling, texting and messaging the people who intend to travel with death threats.
In an even more sinister twist calls have been placed to the activist private homes and threats made.

" Now, it is my turn. Yesterday afternoon, on the 14th of August 2008, an anonymnous young man called my home in France as my daughters played hide and seek in the garden. This stranger spoke to my husband, warning him that 'your wife is in great danger. These ships will be blown up.' My husband asked how it was this person had obtained our private home number. No response was forthcoming, but the illicit threats carried on. "

It was always going to take a lot of courage to carry through with this project in which a group of unarmed lay people are pitting themselves against the sadistic menace that is the Israeli politcal Mob and its heavily armed killing Aparatus the so called " israeli defence Forces" but nobody could have imagined that their private lives and families wold be receiving death threats before the boats even set sail. The fact that the intimidators seem to have no problem sourciong private phone numbers could well be an indication that these are not just crackpot racists but could indeed be working on orders and with resources from higher echelons.

author by Reporter12publication date Sun Aug 17, 2008 20:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Israeli government has fired the first salvo across the bows of the two peace ships soon to set sail for Gaza. The peace activists involved hope to break the two year siege that has been enforced against the people there in response to their democratic election of Hamas to govern the tiny region.
They Israelis say they will use force to stop the boats if necessary.
This is the closest thing to an official Israeli statement on their intentions yet issued.

The free Gaza website now seems to be up to date with the situation being described in a number of current reports. Intimidation and threats are obviously going to be the way in which the Israeli government will be handling the non-violent demonstration of solidarity at this point in time..

author by Reporter12publication date Tue Aug 19, 2008 21:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From the parent of a child killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack on a restaurant in Jerusalem comes an opinion piece in Israeli media. This piece gives an idea of the massive chasm of difference between I the sraeli and Palestinian point of view.,7340,L-3584812,00.html

" Organizers of this puerile project say their cargo includes 200 hearing aids intended for Gaza children who have been injured by explosions and sonic booms. Again, they seem unaware of the facts: Israel routinely admits Gazans into its hospitals to receive cutting-edge medical care free of charge and transfers many tons of humanitarian aid daily into the Strip.

author by Reporter12publication date Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And so it would appear that the boats finally actually HAVE SET SAIL for Gaza.

" Forty-six international human rights workers are now sailing to Gaza through international waters with one overriding goal: to break the Israeli siege that Israel has imposed on the civilian population of Gaza. Any action designed to harm civilians constitutes collective punishment (in the Palestinians’ case, for voting the “wrong” way) and is both illegal under international law and profoundly immoral. Our mission is to expose the illegality of Israel’s actions, and to break through the siege in order to express our solidarity with the suffering people of Gaza (and of the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole) and to create a free and regular channel between Gaza and the outside world. "

It will be interesting to see do they get any coverage at all on our wonderful media service here in this little democratic isle. Will the Matt Coopers of this world spare a thought for the selfless venture that has the potential to change the fortune of the besieged Gazans ?

We shall see, Good look to the brave forty - six !

author by n/apublication date Fri Aug 22, 2008 15:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

northside people ran two great pieces on palestine this week

Palestinian exile pleads for West Bank return -

Balbriggan woman’s work in danger zone -

author by Reporter12publication date Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This morning Statement from the Gaza Boats is that they have come under attack from sources unidentified who have scrambled their electronic safety systems in what the activists are calling "electronic piracy ". They are in rough seas and this attack on their systems is exacerbarting the dangers facing the 46 activists now.
Its worth remembering that when the USS Liberty was attacked by the Israelis in 1967 resulting in the death of 34 and injury of 171 the attack was accompanied by a jammimg of the ship systems. The USS liberty was also flying large flags and sailing in International Waters.

"The electronic systems which guarantee our safety aboard the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty have been jammed and scrambled. Both ships are flying Greek flags, and are in international waters. We are the victims of electronic piracy. "

author by Reporter12publication date Sat Aug 23, 2008 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The boats are now approaching the Gazan waters. A demonstration has gathered to greet them. Small boats that went to meet up with them have had to turn back with reports of them having been fired upon.They will make landfall in 5hrs or so if they are not molested by Israeli attacks..

" I received a phone call from Gaza: it's obvious there's a demonstration there, with extreme excitement. It gave one goosebumps, feeling freedom beginning to flow. "

author by Reporter12publication date Sat Aug 23, 2008 15:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

" An Israeli official says the two boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists will be allowed to reach the Gaza Strip.

The 46 activists are seeking to enter Gaza in defiance of an Israeli-led blockade on the territory.

Israel had warned the activists not to undertake the naval journey. But on Saturday afternoon, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aviv Shiron said Israel would allow the vessels to reach Gaza. He gave no explanation for the change in heart. "

It is now expected that the Boats will make landfall in two hours.

author by Reporter12publication date Sat Aug 23, 2008 21:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Two Boats Liberty and Free Gaza have arrived in Gaza safely to a reception of thousands of jubilant locals. This small act of solidarity has opened a brave new world for the Palestinian people who now have an international port at their disposal from which to launch anew their campaign for the most basic of human rights; Freedom.

I'd like to also congratulate RTE on continuing it's shameful policy of ignoring the Human Rights issues that continue to putrify Europes democratic credentials in its collaboration with rogue, fascist states such as Israel.

Without mention of the historic breakthrough at Gaza port, what RTE just showed to it's licence payers was definitely NOT the Nine O clock News.

author by Reproter12publication date Mon Aug 25, 2008 17:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to their own web site the Free Gaza Boats are fishing with the Palestinian fishermen today 8 miles off the coast. A minor victory in itself as the siege has been imposed at the 6 mile limit until now.
Just goes to show the power of having international observers on the scene, if they were not there the Palestinian boats would be splinters by now with the fishermen dodging bullets in the water.

The Israelis have made it clear that they will not allow any more boats to enter Gaza in such a manner confirming ( for some of the crazier folks around here ) that the siege does indeed exist on all 4 sides of Gaza. They confirm that they intend to continue the collective punishment of the People there indefinitely despite the fact that the siege has caused about 250 deaths among hospital patients alone . Shamelessly , Israel still claims, to anyone stupid enough to listen, it is causing no harm in its actions against the people in Gaza.

" The official added that Gaza was not experiencing a humanitarian crisis and was receiving sufficient food and supplies from Israel via the land crossings. "

" The official stressed that despite the opening of the Gaza port for international boats on Saturday, Israel did not plan to lift its sea blockade of Gaza and would not allow additional ships into the Strip .."

author by Repoter12publication date Wed Aug 27, 2008 00:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

" According to Halper, Israeli forces at the crossing initially told him that if he came with the boat, he should return the same way. However, he said, they allowed him to cross into Israel shortly afterward."

The Israeli gets singled out !

When Irony actually does appear it's with a crowd.

author by Reporter12publication date Wed Aug 27, 2008 14:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Israel has already stated that it will not allow this Free Gaza mission to be treated as a precedent that will pave the way for an open and free port of Gaza.They have said that it is a one off media event by naive leftists , who if left to their own devices will enable terrorists in Gaza by hampering Israel's security apparatus.

The Free Gaza activists have a different viewpoint. They say that they have already broken the siege and freed the port of Gaza.
This is their statement : " When the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty approached the waters of Gaza, the Israeli government had to decide whether it wanted to publicly acknowledge that Israel remains an occupying power in Gaza, in which case Israel would be responsible under international law for its actions, including war crimes. In the face of intense, public scrutiny, Israel instead chose to acknowledge the inherent right of Palestinians to freely engage with the world. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs publicly announced that humanitarian and human rights missions to Gaza will no longer be stopped or threatened by Israel. With the end of the Israeli siege of Gaza, Palestinians are free to exercise their rights without fear of being stopped or killed by the Israeli military."

As far as I have been able to establish this is not true. Israel has not said much at all in relation to this mission but it definitely did say that it would let these particular boats through as it accepted the Humanitarian nature of their intent. It did not say that all humanitarian mission would be let through. It said that humanitarian mission have always been allowed through and that the correct procedure is to travel by land through an Israeli checkpoint.

This process has perhaps now truly entered the most important and potentially deadly phase. The boats are leaving soon and taking with them several Palestinian students who have been denied exit visas by Israel who will travel to Cyprus on the boats.: "One Palestinian professor will finally be able to go back to teaching in Europe and one young, Palestinian woman will finally be reunited with her husband. Several of the Free Gaza international human rights workers will remain in Gaza to do human rights monitoring."

It is almost impossible to believe that the Israeli regime will allow this to happen for if they do then Hamas will be seen to have triumphed over the PA and Israel and achieved complete freedom for the Palestinian residents of Gaza. This would have unforseeable consequences in the West Bank where the people are labouring under an occupation that grows ever more violent and oppressive by the day with increased kidnapping and more frequent attacks from israeli colonists. Not only is a Free Gaza unnacceptacble to the Israelis it is also anathema to US plans for the Middle East.

Free Gaza Organisation is playing out its endgame as though it is a fait accompli in their minds but surely they know that nothing could be further from the truth.

They state : "With the collapse of the Israeli blockade, the Free Gaza Movement will quickly return to Gaza with another delegation, and invites the United Nations, Arab League and international community to organize similar human rights and humanitarian efforts. The Free Gaza Movement will continue to work to ensure the free passage between Gaza and the outside world will remain safe and open."

They now have to run the gauntlet of the open sea , the Israeli navy and the US imperial grand design just to make it back to Crete and there to rally support for a repeat performance. They have a mountain to climb and the stakes are inclaculably high.

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