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Irish Rachel Corrie Deportees Vow To Return, Call For International Inquiry And Boycott Campaign

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Tuesday June 08, 2010 04:48author by Kev - IPSC Report this post to the editors

featured image
The deportees back on Irish soil

Today family, friends and supporters welcomed home the five Irish MV Rachel Corrie passengers who were this morning deported from Israel. The five – Denis Halliday, Mairead Maguire, Fiona Thompson, Derek Graham and Jenny Graham – were greeted in Dublin airport by cheers and hugs from the assembled crowd who were there to salute their bravery, as well as a large media presence.

Following their safe arrival back on Irish soil, Mr. Halliday, Ms. Maguire and Mr. Graham addressed a press conference hosted by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in the Central Hotel. Full audio from the press conference is available here:

Ms. Maguire spoke of her motivations for taking part in the Freedom Flotilla which sought to bring much needed humanitarian aid and supplies into Gaza by breaking the illegal Israeli blockade. Ms Maguire said: “Israel is carrying out a slow genocide against the Palestinian people. It engages in collective punishment and practices apartheid policies worse than those of South Africa. For these reasons, we set out to break the three-year-old illegal siege of Gaza, to try and help ease this unspeakable suffering in a small but symbolic way by bringing humanitarian aid. Unfortunately we never made it to Gaza as we were boarded illegally in international waters and taken at the point of a gun to Israel. However, we say to the people of Gaza, we will be back. We will treble our efforts, we will not rest until the siege is lifted, the occupation of Palestine is ended and Palestinians have the right to self-determination. We will not be silent, and we will not be stopped.”

Mr. Graham, who was First Mate on the Rachel Corrie, recounted the boarding of the ship by the Israeli navy and the events leading up to it, and thanked the IPSC and the Irish media for the support and coverage they had given the Rachel Corrie mission, which he said he felt was crucial in ensuring their safety.

Mr. Halliday urged the Irish government, along with the EU, the US and especially the United Nations to take action against Israel. He also called for an independent international inquiry into the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara which left at least 9 people dead last Monday, something which Israel has rejected.

The other two passengers, Ms. Thompson and Mrs. Graham were praised by the speakers. It also emerged that Ms. Thompson, a documentary-maker, had managed to securely smuggle out five video tapes documenting their voyage from leaving Malta up until the Israeli boats approached the Rachel Corrie. However, the Israelis stolen her camera, which is her livelihood.

Freda Hughes, chairing the meeting on behalf of the IPSC, called for an intensification of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. She said: “Some of the parties involved in the flotilla are looking towards building another one. However, flotillas alone will not end Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. To that end the IPSC calls on the people of Ireland to carry out an economic boycott against Israel, for Irish multinational CRH and French multinational Veolia to divest from Israel where they are involved in building the apartheid wall and Jerusalem Light Rail respectively, and for the Irish government to pursue sanctions on the rogue state of Israel until such time as it complies fully with its obligations under international law and ends its apartheid regime”

All the speakers expressed their condolences to the families and friends of those who were murdered by Israeli commandos last Monday on board the Mavi Marmara aid ship.

Final deportee Al Mahdi Al Harati to return tomorrow

Al Mahdi Al Harati, will be the final Irish flotilla member to return to Ireland. He will be arriving in Dublin Airport tomorrow at 1.45pm, and there will be a welcoming for him. The IPSC encourages our supporters to go and welcome him home.

Related Link:

L-R: Frea Hughes (IPSC), Derek Graham, Mairead Maguire & Denis Halliday
L-R: Frea Hughes (IPSC), Derek Graham, Mairead Maguire & Denis Halliday

Jenny Graham (foreground) and Fiona Thompson
Jenny Graham (foreground) and Fiona Thompson

Audio of Press Conference

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Jun 07, 2010 23:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Failte go leir abhaile.Serious credit. Well delivered. I think maybe at some stage the 'Apartheid' analogy might be deepened by also referring to the Reservation system inflicted on the native American peoples.Time Uncle Sam had the picture brought up closer.The Hell or Connaught, push 'em to the badlands, parallels with our own history are also resonant and relevant..The miscomprehensions are not unique to Zion,though it represents a particularly current and critical manifestation.

author by Ronan OD - IPSCpublication date Mon Jun 07, 2010 23:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thursday 10th June @ 7.30PM in Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2

All with an interest in solidarity with Palestinians welcome. There is a lot to do. If you want to get involved, just turn up.


author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the activists on the flottila have lifted many spirits even though they did not manage to deliver the aid to Gaza.It is heart warming to see so many people with humanity and compassion as their ideal. The courage of these people can only be understood if you could see the hatred and arrogance of the zionists.
you can get an idea of what they are like by watching the video's on this web site
THANK YOU for what you have done I hope your bravery will encourage many others to follow in your footsteps.

author by Dunkpublication date Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kenneth Nichols O'Keefe, Irish, Palesinian, world citizen and Mavi Marmara freedom flotilla massacre survivor with face bloodied said:

"They have also stolen my Palestinian passport. I am a Palestinian citizen, I have been given a palestinian passport by the Palestinian government. I take that very seriously. I demanded to be deported to Gaza, thats where I was headed, thats where I wanted to go. Although I am an Irish citizen aswell, I did have my Irish on (me). I have been beaten around the head and Im not thinking totally clearly."

Interviewer - How do you feel about the Israeli
Ken O’Keefe - , Murderers, the whole world needs to unite,

In this video interview - Ken O'Keefe: Passengers grabbed Israeli weapons to stop the killing

A US war veteran said yesterday he confronted Israeli commandos when they raided a Gaza-bound aid ship which he had boarded as a peace activist, Anatolia news agency reported. Kenneth Nichols O'Keefe, his face bruised and still stained with blood, flew to Istanbul from Tel Aviv, on his way to Ireland, the report said. "We overpowered three Israeli commandos. They looked at us... They thought we would kill them, but we let them go," O'Keefe said, adding he took the weapon of one of the soldiers and emptied it, according to Anatolia. The ex-marine said he saw five people being killed on board the Mavi Marmara.

Recent Democracy Now feature talks about Ken O’Keefe

Israel Rejects Call for International Probe into Attack on Gaza Flotilla

KEN O’KEEFE: The Israelis attacked me in Ben Gurion Airport yesterday and attacked me again last night in the detention center in Tel Aviv at the airport. , Of course, this is nothing compared to what others have gotten. Palestinians get this every day. This is all I have. This is it. My blood, these bloody clothes, that’s all I have.

Related post with full statement:

Ken O’Keefe: ‘We, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are the modern example of Gandhi’s essence’

Ken O’Keefe, former US Marine, (renounced US citizenship in 2002 in protest against US war policy, is Irish passport holder, WAS Palestinian passport holder untill Israeli navy threw passport in sea) Gulf War veteran, and now survivor of the Mavi Marmara massacre, has issued a remarkable and searing statement from Istanbul:

“While in Israeli custody I, along with everyone else, was subjected to endless abuse and flagrant acts of disrespect. Women and elderly were physically and mentally assaulted. Access to food and water and toilets was denied. Dogs were used against us, we ourselves were treated like dogs. We were exposed to direct sun in stress positions while hand cuffed to the point of losing circulation of blood in our hands. We were lied to incessantly, in fact I am awed at the routineness and comfort in their ability to lie, it is remarkable really. We were abused in just about every way imaginable and I myself was beaten and choked to the point of blacking out… and I was beaten again while in my cell.

In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards… and yet I also see my brothers. Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them. Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.“

Ken O’Keefe, related links

In 2002 Ken O’Keefe initiated the TJP Human Shield Action, in lead up to Iraq war

World Citizen - Truth Justice Peace

Truth Justice Peace
I have come to understand that the reality of peace is in its simplest explanation the end result of a three step process. The first step on the path to peace is a collectively developed understanding of the truth, the single most compelling truth being that we are as human beings all members of one human family, we are all connected. Only upon embracing such truths will we affect justice, and justice is synonymous with peace. True peace is impossible without justice, we who consider ourselves vested in peace would therefore be wise to abandon the notion of peace without justice. Those who know the reality of occupation, denial of human rights and mass murder will understand us much better when make this shift in understanding.

Enclosed image is from Experiments with Truth -
enclosed vid - Gandhi to Vinoba -

In the 1950's in India, after the assisination of Gandhi, his natural successor, a spiritual anarchist called Vinoba Bhave talked about the absolute need of the building up of a PEACE ARMY (Shanti Sena - ), to counter the acts of rogue states and armies. Perhaps the massacre of the freedom flotilla will finally see his dream becoming a reality, as we hear of 60+ flotillas coming from UK in September after Ramadan, a Jewish flotilla from Germany, Egyptian, Iranian, Turkish, Australian.....

Go raiby míle míle mhaith agaibh, go léir

Thank you Rachel Corrie. Thank you all who battled in the freedom flotilla, your actions have not been in vain.

Viva Gaza, Viva Palestine, Viva Pachamama

Ken O’Keefe, bloodied in Israeli custody: ‘We, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are the modern example of Gandhi’s essence’
Ken O’Keefe, bloodied in Israeli custody: ‘We, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are the modern example of Gandhi’s essence’

Ken O’Keefe: Irish, Palesinian, World citizen
Ken O’Keefe: Irish, Palesinian, World citizen

Vinoba Bhave, Gandhis successor, proposed the building of a PEACE ARMY, perhaps we are seeing it grow now. To break siege of Gaza
Vinoba Bhave, Gandhis successor, proposed the building of a PEACE ARMY, perhaps we are seeing it grow now. To break siege of Gaza

Caption: Video Id: QeUhwELoKWo Type: Youtube Video
Ken O’Keefe: ‘We, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are the modern example of Gandhi’s essence’

Caption: Video Id: GlKf7_osq0c Type: Youtube Video
Vinoba Bhave, Gandhis successor, proposed the building of a PEACE ARMY, perhaps we are seeing it grow now

author by Jamiepublication date Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was really poor of Denis Halliday to state when on board the ship that the first activists were violent and that is way they got attacked and shot, it was dodgy how the Rachel Corry activists so readily accepted to be deported home and so happy to be back -such a different attitude to the first lot of activists. By the way, where is Caoibhe Butterly? Some looky woman, to be able to go into Israel so often despite being deported once. The Rachel Corry is what Israelis needed to look good, and they got it served on a golden tray.

author by Rachel Corrie 2, 3, 4.............. THE SIEGE WILL BE BROKENpublication date Tue Jun 08, 2010 20:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Nobel peace prize-winner Mairead Maguire from Rachel Corrie: Gaza situation a 'SLOW GENOCIDE'

“Gaza has been cut off from the world for over three years. The people of Gaza don’t have enough basic things for their needs,” she said.

“It’s Israeli policies that are causing this – there is a slow genocide of the Palestinian people.”

There were emotional scenes at Dublin airport as the deportees were reunited with family and friends.

Embracing her husband Jack, Ms Maguire said efforts to end the blockade must now be stepped up.

“We would go back, of course – the international community, we all have a role to play to tell this story,” she said.

“US President Barack Obama has the power to say to the Israeli government, ’enough is enough, your policy is not acceptable and you must choose peace’.”

Denis Halliday joined Ms Maguire in calling for tough political action from the European Union and the US.

He said: “I believe we were at least 10 miles outside their area. Ten miles is a long way and there’s no justification for hijacking and kidnapping citizens like this.

“It’s just unacceptable and Israel has got to be put in its place by the United States, by Mr Obama and with the support of our government too.”

Meanwhile, activists said another aid flotilla could be making its way to Gaza within weeks.

Rory Byrne, of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, said the umbrella group – representing around 34 human rights organisations – had received a massive response from volunteers and donors in the wake of last week’s attack.

“We’re in the planning stages of the Freedom Flotilla Two – we think it will be ready in about six to eight weeks,” he said.

“The people of Gaza need this aid. If we meet any violence we will deal with it as we have done the whole time, with non-violent resistence.”

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Jun 08, 2010 21:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And she looked better before the IDF served her with their dozer blade.Get with the facts on the ground.She's coming back to break blades and blockades,and she has only started.She has a growing army and navy,and she is nuke-proof.The harder they strike the greater she grows.
I wouldn't cross her.She could be dodgy.Shalom.Oiche mhaith!

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Jun 08, 2010 22:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..of you' Jamie, to spell the name wrong.Its Rachel Corrie.She wasn't served on a golden tray.She was run down by a steel blade on an IDF bulldozer because she stood in the way of a family of Palestinians being evicted.Really dodgy of you to be so clumsily trying to sow your dissention.

author by Art - Quantamanitypublication date Wed Jun 09, 2010 00:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Glad to see the people involved with the MV Rachel Corrie have returned safely from the latest attempt to bring aid to those under siege. At least they were seen to be trying and the people the aid was destined for, now know and will be satisfied that at least they did try. The call for inquiries is the usual crap that attempts to pervert the course of justice and will do nothing to bring an end to the siege, or the mental set of the Israel ministers responsible.
. The people that were murdered in International waters trying to bring aid to those under siege should be applauded for their human nature. A 21st Century siege just goes to show the mental set of the Israel Govt, most of the Cabinet that dreamed this up must have been on Psychotic Medication or maybe they are reincarnated from the Biblical era, a siege of Jericho sort of mental set. The people that were murdered and those that were on the ships of hope should not be labelled activists, just ordinary Earthlings trying to do some good and alert the world to dangers that humanity must now must come to terms with. The phrase Activist and Subversive has been used interchangeably in industrial disputes by the media and the word Activists is an attempt to somewhat diminish and trivialise what this is all about. One thing we can say is that some governments that have influence should be ashamed of themselves for even allowing the previous debauchery perpetrated by Israel against the children of Gaza, to be pushed under the carpet.
The unseen hand that is out there in nature may have intervened by fully exposing the monster that is now loose in the world, in any case it will be finely balanced and we all need to look out, as a total system failure could be looming, if those we elect do not understand the problems and be seen to be doing something about them.
The mainstream media are heavily censored and when they say activists are being deported from Israel, do they think nobody understands that these were nature people, some murdered, others abducted in international waters and the last place they would want to go is Israel. Deportation is usually associated with criminals not hostages. The same media slaves have described Iran as a rogue state, more lies for some future unpleasantness that is being planned. What we need to remember is that Iran did not murder international citizens on the high seas.
Before any future aid ships attempt to breach the illegal siege they should seek US Navy protection as well as other nations assistance, similar to Britain’s wartime convoys. If this cannot be realised then there should be a campaign to bring our boys and girls, who are losing their lives daily, home from the military campaigns abroad, as there would then be nothing left worth defending including International Law.
Heartfelt sympathy to the relatives of those that have lost their lives, they will not be forgotten and thanks to all the decent people including those involved with the MV Rachel Corrie that tried their best in their own way to show the world there is hope and decency still left in human nature that won’t be going away

author by Kev - IPSCpublication date Wed Jun 09, 2010 00:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

[8th June, 4pm] Today Al Mahdi Al Harati was the final Irish Gaza Freedom Flotilla deportee to arrive home. Mr Al Harati was welcomed by a large contingent of family and friends at Dublin airport earlier this afternoon.

Freda Hughes of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcomed his safe return and saluted his bravery: "Al Mahdi, like all of the Freedom Flotilla participants, is deserving of our praise for his courage in attempting to break the illegal siege of Gaza and deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged people there. We are all relieved that he is safely back in Ireland. We hope that his family, who we know were extremely worried about his health, can rest easy now and celebrate his return."

Also today, Gardai forcibly removed around 40 protesters who where peacefully symbolically blockading the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge at a protest called by the Irish Anti-War Movement. One elderly man was pushed to the ground and sustained bruises while others where dragged away by the scruffs of their necks.

Related Link:
author by Ideapublication date Thu Jun 10, 2010 17:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is it possible to sue the Israeli government in the small claims court - like if I have made a donation to the flotilla, which I did, and now want my money back from Israel since they are holding all the goods?

Maybe it could make a difference if a number of people who donated could sue Israel in the small claims court. It only costs €15 to file a claim. Let's put pressure on the government to hold Israel accountable for the theft at least - if they won't hold them accountable for the murders.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Jun 10, 2010 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How can I put this?
We are talking about a well resourced and highly intelligent bunch of people who, among other contributions to the human compendium, have a bit of a name for having a fairly refined sense of humour.Now, if you are Irish,which I am going to be presumptipous and conclude as likely, you will have to crack a better joke than that.But then I believe there are only two kinds of people(my dark,racist secret).The Irish, and those like the Jews, who wish they were Irish and of the one true tribe,.Why else would they nick our ID to facilitate their Dubai contract hit?
So why not take the short cut and sue them for Identity Theft.Get on to Interpol.Hey, it might get them off my back.

author by David L - IPSC (pers cap)publication date Mon Jun 14, 2010 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi 'idea', the idea of going to the small claims court mightn't be the worst idea. I suspect it may be dead-end, but as you say, it doesn't cost much and might work. As Patricia McKeown said, our aid was stolen. People all over the country gave their fivers and tenners to help buy aid - Israel has stolen from them. Why don't you try it out, and see what comes of it?

'Truth-seeker' is however making silly claims. I assume that he wasn't at the IPSC meeting with Derek Graham on Saturday, where he talked of his experiences . The crew of the Rachel Corrie exhibited incredible bravery when, after hearing of the massacre, they kept their course for Gaza. It is easy to decide from the comfort of one's keyboard that the 17 people of the Rachel Corrie should have offered fiercer resistance to the 50-odd fully armed soldiers who attacked them. It is also ridiculous. It is the Israelis (and 'truthseeker) who tried to draw a distinction between the Rachel Corrie and the Mavi Marmara, not the people abroad the RC.

As for your other comment about IPSC jumping on the flotilla bandwagon - that we did, but a lot earlier. We jumped on the bandwagon in organising publicity for it, in raising funds for it, in supporting the Free Gaza people - many of whom are, as you'd expect, IPSC members - however we could before they left. I'm proud of our role in the entire episode. And, incidentally, we have done our damnedest to ensure that the names of the 9 murdered activists from the Mavi Marmara would be remembered.

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