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Monday, May 31, 2010

International solidarity and the Freedom Flotilla massacre

International solidarity and the Freedom Flotilla massacre
Editorial, The Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2010


Israeli naval ships flanking the Mavi Marmara.

Israeli soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara.

A passenger aboard the Mavi Marmara carries a bloody stretcher.

Early this morning under the cover of darkness Israeli soldiers stormed the lead ship of the six-vessel Freedom Flotilla aid convoy in international waters and killed and injured dozens of civilians aboard. All the ships were violently seized by Israeli forces, but hours after the attack fate of the passengers aboard the other ships remained unknown.

The Mavi Marmara was carrying around 600 activists when Israeli warships flanked it from all sides as soldiers descended from helicopters onto the ship's deck. Reports from people on board the ship backed up by live video feeds broadcast on Turkish TV show that Israeli forces used live ammunition against the civilian passengers, some of whom resisted the attack with sticks and other items.

The Freedom Flotilla was organized by a coalition of groups that sought to break the Israeli-led siege on the Gaza Strip that began in 2007. Together, the flotilla carried 700 civilian activists from around 50 countries and over 10,000 tons of aid including food, medicines, medical equipment, reconstruction materials and equipment, as well as various other necessities arbitrarily banned by Israel.

As of 6:00pm Jerusalem time most media were still reporting that up to 20 people had been killed, and many more injured. However, Israel was still withholding the exact numbers and names of the dead and injured. Passengers aboard the ships who had been posting Twitter updates on the Flotilla's progress had not been heard from since before the attack and efforts to contact passengers by satellite phone were unsuccessful. The Arabic- and English-language networks of Al-Jazeera lost contact with their half dozen staff traveling with the flotilla.

News of the massacre on board the Freedom Flotilla began to emerge around dawn in the eastern Mediterranean first on the live feed from the ship, social media, Turkish television, and Al-Jazeera. Israeli media were placed under strict military censorship, and reported primarily from foreign sources. However, by the morning the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli soldiers who boarded the flotilla in international waters were fired upon by passengers. Quoting anonymous military sources, the Jerusalem Post claimed that the flotilla passengers had set-up a "well planned lynch." ("IDF: Soldiers were met by well-planned lynch in boat raid")

The Israeli daily Haaretz also reported that the Israeli soldiers were "attacked" when trying to board the flotilla. ("At least 10 activists killed in Israel Navy clashes onboard Gaza aid flotilla")

This narrative of passengers "attacking" the Israeli soldiers was quickly adopted by the Associated Press and carried across mainstream media sources in the United States, including the Washington Post. ("Israeli army: More than 10 killed on Gaza flotilla")

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stated in a Monday morning press conference that the Israeli military was acting in "self-defense." He claimed that "At least two guns were found" and that the "incident" was still ongoing. Ayalon also claimed that the Flotilla organizers were "well-known" and were supported by and had connections to "international terrorist organizations."

It is unclear how anyone could credibly adopt an Israeli narrative of "self-defense" when Israel had carried out an unprovoked armed assault on civilian ships in international waters. Surely any right of self-defense would belong to the passengers on the ship. Nevertheless, the Freedom Flotilla organizers had clearly and loudly proclaimed their ships to be unarmed civilian vessels on a humanitarian mission.

The Israeli media strategy appeared to be to maintain censorship of the facts such as the number of dead and injured, the names of the victims and on which ships the injuries occurred, while aggressively putting out its version of events which is based on a dual strategy of implausibly claiming "self-defense" while demonizing the Freedom Flotilla passengers and intimating that they deserved what they got.

As news spread around the world, foreign governments began to react. Greece and Turkey, which had many citizens aboard the Flotilla, immediately recalled their ambassadors from Tel Aviv. Spain strongly condemned the attack. France's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner expressed "profound shock." The European Union's foreign minister Catherine Ashton called for an "enquiry."

What should be clear is this: no one can claim to be surprised by what the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights correctly termed a "hideous crime." Israel had been openly threatening a violent attack on the Flotilla for days, but complacency, complicity and inaction, specifically from Western and Arab governments once more sent the message that Israel could act with total impunity.

There is no doubt that Israel's massacre of 1,400 people, mostly civilians, in Gaza in December 2008/January 2009 was a wake up call for international civil society to begin to adopt boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel similar to those applied to apartheid-era South Africa.

Yet governments largely have remained complacent and complicit in Israel's ongoing violence and oppression against Palestinians and increasingly international humanitarian workers and solidarity activists, not only in Gaza, but throughout historic Palestine. We can only imagine that had former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni indeed been arrested for war crimes in Gaza when a judge in London issued a warrant for her arrest, had the international community begun to implement the recommendations of the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, had there been a much firmer response to Israel's assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai, it would not have dared to act with such brazenness.

As protest and solidarity actions begin in Palestine and across the world, this is the message they must carry: enough impunity, enough complicity, enough Israeli massacres and apartheid. Justice now.

Rights org condemns "hideous" attack on Freedom Flotilla

Press release, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 31 May 2010
Screenshots from security cameras show Israeli soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara ship where they carried out an attack that left a number of activists dead. (Turkish TV)

The following press release was issued by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on 31 May 2010:

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the crime perpetrated by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) earlier this morning, 31 May 2010, when Israeli naval forces attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters as it was sailing towards the Gaza Strip. IOF used excessive and lethal force in its attack on the ships, which left dozens of international civilian solidarity activists who were on board dead or injured.

Today's crime is hideous, and it is a shame for the international community to remain silent while IOF commits systematic war crimes against civilians.

PCHR believes that Israel would not continue to commit crimes and attacks against civilians, including the crime committed today against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and those international solidarity activists aboard, if the international community did not remain silent, thereby failing to fulfill its obligations and duties to enforce international law and provide protection for civilians.

Today's attack is characteristic of a long series of war crimes and grave violations carried out by IOF against civilians, including the latest Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, in addition to the imposition of collective punishment measures against civilians through the ongoing siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

Unfortunately and regrettably, the world has remained motionless and there has been no intervention to stop such crimes or prosecute the perpetrators.

Rather, attempts have been ongoing to foil the report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict (i.e. the Goldstone Report), which provided for the first time practical mechanisms to prosecute Israeli war crimes; such attempts seek to undermine justice and preclude the prosecution of Israeli war criminals, thereby offering them impunity.

Members of the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, are required to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians and immediately intervene to stop crimes perpetrated against civilians.

The ongoing silence of the international community is effectively an open invitation for IOF to continue to challenge international law, to act as a state above the law, and to continue to commit crimes against civilians.

It is time now to put an end to offering impunity to those who commit crimes of the nature outlined above. The impunity with which these criminals operate results from a policy held by the influential member states of the United Nations of favoring political interests and considerations at the expense of international law and civilians, and it comes with the heavy price of sacrificing human rights, international law, and the rule of law.

Today's crime reconfirms the duplicity of Israel's claims regarding the end of its military control of the Gaza Strip, and further proves that the Gaza Strip will remain an occupied territory so long as the Israeli military control of the air, sea and land is ongoing.

E-mail sent to UK Foreign Office warning of impending terrorist attack ignored

I sent this e-mail to the Foreign Office at 21.54 hrs BST last night, attention their Counter Terrorism Unit. Their response was zero and now around 30 British citizens have been kidnapped by Jewish terrorists aboard the humanitarian convoy to Gaza.


"At this moment in time the Israeli Navy is threatening an humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza although the convoy is currently 100 miles off the Gazan coast. This is clearly an act of piracy and there are at least 35 British citizens aboard the boats whose lives are currently being threatened. Please have the British Navy intervene immediately."

Israel Attacks Aid Convoy, Con’t

Source

By Al Lisaan

Hamas PM Haniyeh has called for an end to indirect talks because of the Israeli attack on international activists in international waters

I won’t up this morning with the intention of writing a little about the new National Security Strategy, but unfortunately saw that Israel has attacks the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ that is bringing aid and activists to Gaza in an effort to decrease the suffering caused by the illegal Israeli blockade.  Chase’s original post is here, Al Jazeera here, New York Times here, Haaretz here and BBC here.  Reports have varied, but all report between 10-16 activists were killed and up to 50 people were injured.  Importantly, the ships were stormed in international waters, making the attack by Israel more questionable.
After this attack on unarmed (Israeli forces are trying to justify the killings

by saying that the activists had knives and one tried to grab a soldier’s gun; “The people on the boats were very, very violent toward the soldiers” said an Israeli military spokeswoman) international activists, one has to wonder what the American reaction will be.  Reactions from elsewhere are predictable.  Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli embassy and the Turkish government has summoned the Israeli ambassador, saying that “”[The interception on the convoy] is unacceptable … Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behavior.”

Palestinian President Abbas has called the clash a massacre and Ismail Haniyeh – the Hamas leader in Gaza – is calling on Fatah to break its indirect talks with Israel.  Richard Silverstein is calling on Obama to cancel his meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu (scheduled for Tuesday), though Bibi might beat him to it and has contemplating postponing his trip to Washington. Israeli, meanwhile, has sealed the borders to Gaza, put all military units on standby and has thought about restricting access to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.



This crisis is probably going to kill the weak and fragile indirect talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.  One will hardly be surprised to hear throughout the day that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are angry and protesting.  It is not unlikely that there is enough violence to postpone talks, if not end them.  Though, perhaps more worrisome is the possibility of a third intifada breaking out over the attacks.

There are reports that Sheikh Raed Saleh – the leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and a major Muslim presence in Israel – has been seriously injured during the IDF attack; Ma’an reports that the Sheikh has been killed.  If the Sheikh turns out to have been murdered, his followers – a good majority of Israeli-Arabs – could turn against the state.  From Haaretz:
But the central story here is Israel’s Arabs. If Salah is indeed among the casualties, the result could be a wave of riots led by Islamic Movement activists. Targeted provocations by Islamists and left-wing activists will now take on strategic significance. Under certain circumstances, and if both sides fail to take steps to clam the situation, this could even end in a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising.
Though there are many reactions from governments from around the world, I have been unable to find an official American response.  From Jazeera:
The European Union has called for an inquiry into the attack. Individual European governments are also starting to issue statements: Sweden’s foreign minister, Carl Bildt, said his government summoned the Israeli ambassador “to get information.”
Kuwait’s parliament is due to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the raid. Waleed al-Tabtabai, a member of parliament, was one of 16 Kuwaiti nationals on board the ships.
The Syrian government has called for an Arab League meeting to discuss the attack.
I will be keeping my eye out for an American reaction today.  As Silverstein points out, the last American-Israeli crisis was caused when the Israeli government announced plans for Jewish housing in occupied East Jerusalem when VP Joe Biden was in Israel.  Now, the day before Bibi is set to meet with the American President, Israel attacks international activists in international waters in order to uphold an illegal blockade – Bibi was probably wise to cancel his meeting with Obama.  The important question is what kind of reaction we will get from Obama.  Look for updates.
Photo from Washington Post

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Israel Attacks Aid Convoy

Israel Attacks Aid Convoy

By Chase

Recently I wrote about Israel as a rogue state in the Near East.   Events off the coast of Gaza have brought Israel back into the spotlight (if they ever left it).  News reports have been erratic and some are questionable; nonetheless here are the facts as they have been reported.
Just before midnight on Sunday the Israeli navy attacked the peaceful flotilla killing a number (NYT says 10, Al Jazeera says 16) innocent, unarmed civilians in international waters.  Again; between ten and sixteen unarmed, innocent civilians who were in international waters have been killed by Israeli commandos.The flotilla was a convoy of six cargo and passengers boats led by the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement and a Turkish organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi. The convoy was carrying 10,000 tons of cement, education materials, and medical materials.



The facts reported by the NYT and Al Jazeera are questioned by Ha’aretz who claims that the Israeli commandos were “fired upon” and once boarding the vessel were “attacked with live fire”. Ha’aretz does, however, concede that the ships were carrying “humanitarian aid” and recognizes that some 700 pro-Palestinian activists were on the boats, including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and an elderly Holocaust survivor.
This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence.  Israel has let ships through five times, but has blocked them from entering Gaza waters since the three-week military offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers in January 2009. These blockades have been implemented in hopes that they will help prevent Hamas from building up their arsenals; again. However, as the Ha’aretz article notes “United Nations officials and international aid groups say the blockade has been counterproductive, failing to weaken the Islamic militant group while devastating the local economy.” See reports here and here.
Furthermore, according to General Eitan Dangot, the Israeli military’s chief liason with the Palestinian-controlled territories, “We will not allow ships to come to Gaza while Hamas is in control there”. (my emphasis) Notice that this is a textbook illustration of international terrorism.  I am wary of using the term but given the circumstances, I think it justified. Suppose Iran were to attack an aid convoy in the Persian Gulf saying that they would not allow ships to go to Iraq while the US is in control. At the very least, they would be condemned as “enhancing terror”, “destabilizing the peace”, and would probably be attacked by the US or Israel.  This elementary moral principle-applying the same standards to ourselves as we apply to others-is not utopian but a necessary condition for peace and stability.
These actions have already seen mass protests in Turkey where dozens of people rushed the Israeli embassy.  This is bound to complicate the relationship between Israel and the US.  Israel has failed to sign the NPT, attacked civilians in international waters, and continued settlement activity on Palestinian land.  One wonders, how much longer will Obama tolerate this rogue state?
This entry was posted on 31/05/2010 at 10:18 and is filed under Blockade, Hamas, IDF, Morality, Peace Process, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Israel kills at least 16 and injures 30 peace and justice activists on Flotilla to Gaza

In Gaza

If your corporate media is not showing news on the Freedom Flotilla and Israel’s piracy, turn on Al Jazeera or scour the net.



The Flotilla of civilians carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza has been attacked by Israeli forces roughly 65 km Gaza’s coast… that’s international waters.

Al Jazeera, with reporter on board, says:

Up to 16 people were killed and more than 30 people injured when troops stormed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, the Israeli Army Radio said.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

Footage from the flotilla’s lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

The Israeli Army Radio said soldiers opened fire “after confronting those on board carrying sharp objects”.
Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the ships.

They also said the ships were now being towed to the Israeli town of Haifa, instead of Ashdod to avoid waiting journalists.

Earlier, the Israeli navy had contacted the captain of the Mavi Marmara, asking him to identify himself and say where the ship was headed.

Israeli intervention

Shortly after, two Israeli naval vessels had flanked the flotilla on either side, but at a distance.
Organisers of the flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid then diverted their ships and slowed down to avoid a confrontation during the night.

They also issued all passengers life jackets and asked them to remain below deck.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.
“All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation,” he said.

Protests

Condemnation has been quick to pour in after the Israeli action.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted “Damn Israel” as police blocked them.

Turkey is also reported to have summoned the Israeli ambassador to lodge a protest.

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, has dubbed the Israeli action as “barbaric”.
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, including a Nobel laureate and several European legislators, are with the flotilla, aiming to reach Gaza in defiance of an Israeli embargo.

But Israel has said it will not allow the flotilla to reach the Gaza Strip and vowed to stop the six ships from reaching the coastal Palestinian territory.

The flotilla had set sail from a port in Cyprus on Sunday and aimed to reach Gaza by Monday morning.
Israel said the boats were embarking on “an act of provocation” against the Israeli military, rather than providing aid, and that it had issued warrants to prohibit their entrance to Gaza.

From the Flotilla last night:

(Cyprus, May 31, 2010) At 11:00 pm Cyprus time and in international waters off the coast of Israel, the boats were contacted by the Israeli navy. “Who are you and where are you going?” Our reply was that we were part of a flotilla and we were going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies.
On the radar, the boats could see three Israeli war ships shadowing us, and 15 minutes later, a silent aircraft hovered over the flotilla. One of our Hebrew speakers had found Israel’s strategy and posted it to us. It stated, “You will be boarded by highly trained, very efficient and very SILENT commandos. They will use silent inflatable boats to get to our boats and both try to board our boats directly from the inflatables and by dropping divers into the water to climb onto the boats,” so people were preparing for them to come up and over the sides of the ships.

www.witnessgaza.com.

Lubna Marsawa, Free Gaza’s organizer on the Turkish passenger boat said in outrage, “Very few times in history has a flotilla delivering humanitarian goods been welcomed by military war ships.”
This is a call to the world from the people on the boats. “We are a civilian people doing what our governments have refused to do, challenge Israel’s right to collectively punish 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza by blockading their right to their own sea. This flotilla is bringing construction and educational supplies the people of Gaza and are being met by Israeli warships.”

*********************************

I came to Gaza by boat in November 2008, and while I expected we could be stopped, abducted and deported by Israeli pirates in naval boats, I never thought they would actually kill us, despite recent history [the countless Palestinians killed, the international activists and reporters killed].

And even last night, despite the Israeli war on Gaza last year which killed nearly 1500 Palestinians, nearly all civilians, and in which Israel’s war crimes were too shocking and numerous to comprehend, I still ‘only’ expected Israeli naval pirates to abduct the justice activists.  Not kill.


Contact: Huwaida Arraf on board the Challenger 0088 216 5207 2093
Ewa Jasciewic on board the Challenger 0088 163 184 7926
Fatima Mohammed on board the IHH ship 8821636619168
Greta Berlin 00 357 99 18 72 75
Mary Hughes 00 357 96 38 38 09

Find the Israeli embassy nearest you and let them know how you feel.http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Israel
In 2009, Israel pirated a Free Gaza boat, abducting all passengers aboard.
ISRAEL ATTACKS JUSTICE BOAT; KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS; CONFISCATES MEDICINE, TOYS AND OLIVE TREES

WHAT YOU CAN DO!

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972 2646 6666      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or +972 2646 6340 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972 2646 6340      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972 2530 3111      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
fax: +972 2530 3367

CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
tel: +972 5 0620 3264 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972 5 0620 3264      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or +972 2670 5354 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972 2670 5354      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!
Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972 3524 5286      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
fax: +972 3527 0370
tel_aviv.tel@icrc.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +41 22 730 3443      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +1 212 599 6021      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
fax: +1 212 599 6009
This entry was posted on Monday, May 31st, 2010 at 05:58 and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Time is working against the State of Israel

Rehmat's World

May 31, 2010 ·

The title of my post is from an article written by Ari Shavit and published in Israeli daily Ha’aretz on May 27, 2010. In his Zionist ‘self-denial’ Ari Shavit called four Israeli military humiliations as “the unilateral withdrawals”. He listed his “lamentable events” as Southern Lebanon in 2000, Gaza Strip in 2005, Olmert’s 34-day Lebanon War of 2006 and Olmert’s 23-day war on Gaza in December-January 2009. According to Ari Shavit these events have “strengthened Hizbullah to an unprecidented extent” and have “lead to a dangerous erosion of Israel’s legitimacy”.

The other threats to the survival of the Zionist entity listed by Ari Shavit are – the militarization of Jew settlers; Palestinians’ lack of interest in the two-state solution and the demographic situation created by Israeli Occupation.

After listing those realities which are threatening the very existence of the Zionist entity – Ari Shavit discusses the ‘self-denial’ nature of the radical Jewish establishment, which believes that by “putting breaks on Barack Obama’s” Middle East initiatives will give Israel plenty of time to pull out of its current mess. For example, “if we don’t give in, Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas, the pesident of the ‘State of West Bank’) will give up” or “Israel was established as a fact on the ground, and will succeed as a fact on the ground”. Ari Shavit concluded that the “illusion that military might and economic prosperity are enough to assure our future” is misplaced and dangerous.

Somehow, Ari Shavit’s narration of the Israeli situation reminds me of Israel’s second national anthem (first being the Hativkah or ‘The Hope’) since the so-called Six-Day War of 1967, ‘Jerusalem of Gold’, which its writer, Noami Shemer (d. 2004), had plagiarized from a Basque lullaby, Pello Joxepe (listen it in video below), written almost 50 years before the European Jews established their colony in Palestine in 1948.
I will try to response to some of the ‘myths’ mentioned by Ari Shavit by quoting ONLY the western sources.

1. How Israel was established?: “When you read the history of Israel from an objective source, you discover that it is an outlaw state, created by the poweres that be by stealing the land from its original inhabitants, and systematically exterminating them ever since,” – John Kaminski, an American writer who was first to challenge the official 9/11 story and blamed Israel and its American poodles being behind it. He was thrown out by RBN radio host, John Standimiller, who shouted: “We don’t want to be on ADL’s hit list”.
2. What happened in Southern Lebanon in 2000? In fact, Shias ran the IDF out of Southern Lebanon in 2000. “The Israelis fight like sissies from fighter jets, dropping bunker-buster bombs on defenseless women and children. That’s real manly! They roll across the border in heavily-armored tanks, confident that they’ll be impervious to Hezbollah’s weaker arsenal. Only lately, those tanks have had the surprising habit of turning into human crematoria for the Israeli soldiers inside them. So why don’t they get out of their tanks and fighter jets and go toe-to-toe with Hezbollah like real men? The fourth most powerful military in the world has been given a shiny black eye that no amount of make-up will ever be able to hide. The aura of invincibility they so haughtily projected is now tarnished beyond repair. Bragging rights go to Hezbollah, as Israel eats its long-overdue humble pie. Why do I feel so strongly about this, you might ask? Because Israel has made me, an American taxpayer, complicit in their war crimes, and I, for one, am glad to see them finally getting their comeuppance,” – Joanna Francis, a US Catholic writer and women right activist in Hizbullah 2: Israel 0.
3. Did Israel win in 34-day war in 2006 against Hizbullah? “The funniest bit is the way desperate suckers are trying to spin total defeat of the IDF into some kind of victory. What’s impressed me is that no Israelis are saying that. All the Israeli commentators I’ve read have faced up to the fact that they got hosed. It’s the Americans, totally out of touch with reality and desperate to stay that way, who are finding lame excuses for the IDF, like “Hezbollah didn’t really WIN, since they didn’t wipe out Israel,” – Gary Bretcher in Gophers by TKO: Lessons from Lebanon, The Exile, August 25, 2006.
4. What Israel achieved out of Olmert’s war on Gaza? “Hamas clearly still has plenty of fighting spirit, shown by the defiant words of Meshaal and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyya. If it cannot score a military victory, as Hizbullah did in Lebanon in 2006, it aims at scoring a political one, by sitting with all parties involved, to re-open the Rafah Crossing, which was closed when Hamas took over Gaza in 2007,” – Sami Moubayed in Israeli leadership out of touch on Gaza, January 12, 2009.
Dr. Elias Akhleh, a Palestinian-American Christian writer in his May 30 article, The biggest threat to peace in Middle East, wrote:
A build up of heightened tension in the Middle East is escalating in the last few weeks. American and Israeli postures towards Lebanon, Syria, and Iran have become more threatening…… Indeed Iran is, as it has been for last few years, the target of most of the threats and accusation of supporting terrorism. Escalating incitement against Iran the American Defense Department sent Last month (April) to Congress a report on Iran’s military claiming Iran could develop intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the US by 2015.

Ignoring the fact that N. Korea, India, Pakistan, and Israel are proven to have nuclear weapons while Iran does not, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose in her speech, to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference at the UN, to focus on Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions putting the whole world at risk as she put it. According to Clinton Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons, rather than Israel’s more than 200 nuclear bombs, is destabilizing the Middle East. She called on world’s nations to rally around US efforts to hold Iran, not other nuclear countries, to account.

A Middle Eastern geopolitical alliance between Turkey, Iran, and Syria and Lebanon seems to take shape. This alliance seems to provide a counterbalance for Israel’s military superiority in the region, and a deterrent to any further Israeli terrorist attack against Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria. Israelis are afraid that they may not be able to win a war as convincingly and with impunity as they used to do, especially after their failures in 2006 Lebanese war and 2008 Gaza onslaught. Israel’s whining about Iran’s and Syria’s weapons is meant to portray the Israelis as the poor victims, and to justify any Israeli aggression against its neighbors. It is meant also to draw in the US for its rescue, as usual. Israel wants a joint American/Israel attack against Iran/Syria/Hezbollah axis before their alliance become any stronger. American involvement is the wild card, as it always has been, that will maintain Israel’s superiority in the region.

Obama cited the possibility of nuclear Iran supplying nuclear material to some terrorist groups to be used against the US and its allies. The documented facts proved that the US is the only nuclear country that had secretly supplied nuclear material to terrorist Israel to build its nuclear bombs.

During its short 62 years history Israel had fought 8 wars against its Arab neighbors. It had developed nuclear weapons and did not sign the NPT. It had used chemical and nuclear (DU) weapons against civilians. It violated many UN resolutions. It committed war crimes and many massacres against civilians. It had refused all Arab peaceful gestures and keeps threatening to attack its neighbors. It occupation and destruction of religious sites, especially Islamic, might provoke religious war in the region. Israel is the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East.

Gaza Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity

Via The Vineyard of the Saker

Of course the peace flotilla will not bring peace, and it won't even manage to reach the Gaza shore. The action plan has included dragging the ships to Ashdod port, but it has again dragged us to the shores of stupidity and wrongdoing

By Gideon Levy for Ha'aretz via Informationclearinghouse

The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the "peace flotilla" dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics.

Only in Israel do people still accept these tainted goods. Reminiscent of a pre-battle ritual from ancient times, the chorus cheered without asking questions. White uniformed soldiers got ready in our name. Spokesmen delivered their deceptive explanations in our name. The grotesque scene is at our expense. And virtually none of us have disturbed the performance.

The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty - the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.

It's not the siege that is illegal, but rather the flotilla. It wasn't enough to distribute menus from Gaza restaurants through the Prime Minister's Office, (including the highly recommended beef Stroganoff and cream of spinach soup ) and flaunt the quantities of fuel that the Israeli army spokesman says Israel is shipping in. The propaganda operation has tried to sell us and the world the idea that the occupation of Gaza is over, but in any case, Israel has legal authority to bar humanitarian aid. All one pack of lies.

Only one voice spoiled the illusory celebration a little: an Amnesty International report on the situation in Gaza. Four out of five Gaza residents need humanitarian assistance. Hundreds are waiting to the point of embarrassment to be allowed out for medical treatment, and 28 already have died. This is despite all the Israeli army spokesman's briefings on the absence of a siege and the presence of assistance, but who cares?

And the preparations for the operation are also reminiscent of a particularly amusing farce: the feverish debate among the septet of ministers; the deployment of the Masada unit, the prison service's commando unit that specializes in penetrating prison cells; naval commando fighters with backup from the special police anti-terror unit and the army's Oketz canine unit; a special detention facility set up at the Ashdod port; and the electronic shield that was supposed to block broadcast of the ship's capture and the detention of those on board.

And all of this in the face of what? A few hundred international activists, mostly people of conscience whose reputation Israeli propaganda has sought to besmirch. They are really mostly people who care, which is their right and obligation, even if the siege doesn't concern us at all. Yes, this flotilla is indeed a political provocation, and what is protest action if not political provocation?

And facing them on the seas has been the Israeli ship of fools, floating but not knowing where or why. Why detain people? That's how it is. Why a siege? That's how it is. It's like the Noam Chomsky affair all over again, but big time this time. Of course the peace flotilla will not bring peace, and it won't even manage to reach the Gaza shore. The action plan has included dragging the ships to Ashdod port, but it has again dragged us to the shores of stupidity and wrongdoing. Again we will be portrayed not only as the ones that have blocked assistance, but also as fools who do everything to even further undermine our own standing. If that was one of the goals of the peace flotilla's organizers, they won big yesterday.

Five years ago, the noted Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who is a Jerusalem Prize laureate, after concluding his visit to Israel, said the Israeli occupation was approaching its grotesque phase. Over the weekend Vargas Llosa, who considers himself a friend of Israel, was present to see that that phase has since reached new heights of absurdity.
Posted by VINEYARDSAKER: at 2:28 PM

Flotilla Determined to Break Gaza Siege; Israel Determined to Block Fleet

Almanar

30/05/2010 A convoy of ships containing pro-Palestinian activists and aid determined to break the siege of the Gaza Strip on Sunday steamed south from Cyprus towards Israeli naval vessels determined to stop them.

The five ships, carrying more than 700 passengers, are on the last leg of a high-profile mission to deliver tons of aid to Gaza, which has been subjected to a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007. According to one of the passengers, Audrey Bomse, the fleet is expected to reach Gaza territorial waters at 4:00pm (1300 GMT) Sunday.

In Gaza City, dozens of Palestinian fishing boats were preparing to set sail to meet the flotilla, which is carrying hundreds of civilians including European MPs.

Bomse told AFP that the two vessels which had been due to join the "Freedom Flotilla" had not been able to set sail after sustaining damage over the weekend, in a move which the convoy's organizers claimed was "sabotage."
"Now we are thinking of sending a second wave of boats including these two and the Rachel Corrie, which is still en route" from Ireland, she said, adding that the second convoy would probably set off around Tuesday.
"We're going to see how the others get on -- either they will reach Gaza or Israel will stop them and there will be a confrontation," Bomse said.

The flotilla of cargo and passenger ships, which is carrying 10,000 tons of aid for Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, had been due to reach Gaza on Saturday. But its departure was delayed because of technical problems affecting two of the vessels.

Israel has slammed as "illegal" the convoy's attempt to break its blockade on Gaza, and has naval forces at the ready to intercept the ships and detain the activists on board.

Speaking to Yedoth Aharonoth, Greta Berlin, of the Free Gaza Movement, said that all satellite phones on board had stopped working around 2 am, adding that it was an external block placed on the lines.
The Israeli occupation army had earlier announced it planned to disrupt the boats' communications as part of Israel's efforts to prevent the activists on board from speaking to the press. Berlin said they had other means of communication on board, but refused to elaborate.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

A more belligerent Obama would not make the Tehran regime collapse ...

Via friday-Lunch-Club

Zakaria/ here

".... The critics are angry, for example, that Obama did not make the Green Revolution triumph in Iran. But the Iranian regime is both repressive and resourceful, using guns and money to keep itself in power. It also has some significant support among the poor, the old, and those in rural areas. This is not a regime like North Korea's that survives solely on its brutality. Nor is it isolated like Pyongyang. Brazil and Turkey are hardly alone in their overtures to Iran. The 118 countries that make up the nonaligned bloc routinely pass resolutions supporting Tehran in the battle over its nuclear program. A more belligerent speech by Obama would not have made the Tehran regime collapse.
His conservative opponents believe that Obama needs to get tougher, to push around these other countries and show them that America means business. There's just one problem: that policy has been tried extensively and failed miserably. The administration of George W. Bush consciously defined its foreign policy as tough and aggressive. "It is better to be feared than loved," Dick Cheney used to say, quoting Machiavelli. Donald Rumsfeld chose a less upmarket source, often citing Al Capone's line: "You will get further with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word."
Have we forgotten the results of this experiment in foreign policy as machismo? America's oldest allies in Europe turned against the United States. Governments publicly criticized Washington on policy after policy and refused to support its efforts. By 2007, large majorities of people in country after country, even historically pro-American places like Britain, had turned against America.
Turkey, as it happens, proved a case study of how not to handle an ally. The Bush administration treated the country with the usual mixture of high-handedness and arrogance, threatening it with dire consequences if it would not allow U.S. troops to attack Iraq from Turkey. Seemingly unaware that Turkey had become a flourishing democracy, and that 95 percent of the Turkish public opposed a war with Iraq, the Bush administration was totally blindsided when the Turkish Parliament voted no, upending U.S. war plans.
There is a broader trend that Obama's critics have completely missed. Countries like Turkey and Brazil (and China and India) have been growing in economic power over the last two decades. In 1995 the emerging-market countries made up about a third of the global economy. This year they will make up half—and rising. They weathered the economic crisis far better than the Western world. They are politically stable, rich, and increasingly confident, determined to play a larger role on the world stage. Under these circumstances, the idea that Obama just needs to throw America's weight around more is foolish and dangerous. Brazil and Turkey will not become more cooperative if Washington threatens them more. America's task is to find ways to partner with and convince the emerging powers of the world that they have an interest in a more stable and decent world. And Al Capone is not much of a model for how to make that happen."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:30 PM 0 comments

USS Liberty: American Servicemen Expendable; Don’t Embarrass “Israel”

Source

In two hours, 34 American sailors died. Another 172 were injured. (USS Liberty)

By Tammy Obeidallah

Within the United States, there has been a growing awareness of Palestinian suffering. This has been manifested in the many demonstrations held during Israel’s assault on Gaza from December 2008-January 2009. The boycott of Israeli goods is gaining speed, as well as the campaign to recognize the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid.

Yet there is one tragic and shameful event in particular which serves to discourage Palestinian rights activists. If so-called “patriotic” Americans viciously suppress the concerns of veterans and their families by covering up the murder of their own sailors, what hope is there to recognize the voices of oft-maligned Arabs half a world away?

June 8 will mark the 43rd anniversary of the heaviest attack on an American ship that inflicted the highest number of casualties since World War II. The USS Liberty was an intelligence vessel, patrolling international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The day was clear and sunny; the ship flying the American flag, as was standard. Suddenly and simultaneously, out of that clear azure sky and sea came a two-pronged attack by Israeli air and naval forces. Napalm, gunfire and missiles rained hell on Liberty’s crew for two hours while Israeli torpedo boats closed in.

In that two hours, 34 American sailors died. Another 172 were injured.

The Liberty crew managed to send an SOS, heard by nearby U.S. Sixth Fleet aircraft carriers. Fighter planes launched immediately, however turned back on orders from President Johnson. Naval personnel listening to radio relays heard Johnson say “I don’t care if the ship sinks, I’m not going to embarrass an ally.”

Israel claimed it was a case of “mistaken identity,” in other words, “friendly fire.” Israel’s ludicrous explanation was that pilots thought the USS Liberty was El Quseir, an Egyptian vessel having 1/4 of Liberty’s displacement and half the beam. El Quseir was 180 feet shorter and very differently configured. The Liberty had her name clearly written in English, while the Egyptian ship would have displayed Arabic script.

There are several motives for Israel’s deliberate attack: to prevent the USS Liberty from transmitting intelligence pertaining to massacres by Israeli troops which were taking place in the Golan Heights and that the 1967 War did indeed result from a pre-emptive strike by Israel. The attack could have been used to draw the U.S. into the 1967 War as well. Most of the Liberty’s survivors believe that Israel’s goal was to sink the ship and kill everyone aboard. Had there been no survivors, the attack could have been pinned on an Arab country.

Ward Boston, Jr., himself a U.S. Navy veteran, was the chief legal counsel to the Navy Court of Inquiry investigating the USS Liberty attack. In an editorial published by The San Diego Union Tribune, Boston stated then President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara ordered the Navy Court of Inquiry to conclude the attack was accidental. Furthermore, the late Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, the Court of Inquiry’s president, was given only one week to gather evidence for the investigation, although a proper inquiry would have taken six months.

“We boarded the crippled ship at sea and interviewed survivors. The evidence was clear. We both believed with certainty that this attack was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew,” Boston wrote. “I saw the bullet-riddled American flag that had been raised by the crew after their first flag had been shot down completely.”

For the official record, Admiral Kidd was ordered to rewrite part of the Court’s findings, including striking Lt. Lloyd Painter’s testimony in which he stated three life rafts filled with seriously wounded sailors were gunned down at close range by Israeli torpedo boats.

Survivors of the USS Liberty attack, their families and the families of those killed have demanded a fair congressional inquiry, to no avail. To this day, survivors have never been allowed to testify publicly. Nor have intelligence officers who received real-time Hebrew translations of Israeli commanders ordering pilots to sink “the American ship.”

The cover-up did not stop at the official report: it extended to commemorations honoring USS Liberty survivors and crew members’ memorials alike. The USS Liberty’s Commander, William L. McGonagle was awarded the Medal of Honor in a quiet ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, not in the customary White House setting.

In 1987, the town of Grafton, Wisconsin proposed naming a new $1 million library–to be built with private donations and an $83,000 federal contribution– The USS Liberty Memorial Library. Days later, Jewish community leaders decried the proposal as “anti-Semitic.” An angry letter from a local rabbi, Gideon Goldenholz, stated the name was “insulting to Jews.” Not surprisingly, the $83,000 federal money was put on hold. Even the priest at Grafton’s Catholic Church came out in opposition to the name, stating “The USS Liberty has become a symbol of hate.” The Milwaukee Jewish Council attempted to block the name and there were several picketers at the groundbreaking ceremony. The USS Liberty Memorial Library was finally dedicated in 1989 after two years of battling well-organized opposition.

Shortly after the library’s completion, Congressman Andy Jacobs (D-IN) inserted an essay entitled “The USS Liberty, 1967-89,” written by former Congressman Pete McCloskey (R-CA) into the Congressional Record. McCloskey pointed out that the dedication of the memorial with the names of the 34 dead was the first public recognition of their service in the 22 years since the attack.

The greatest sacrilege, however, is that these 34 crew members’ tombstones are engraved “…died in the Eastern Mediterranean,” rather than “killed in action.”

There is little hope of real policy change in a country where citizens would denigrate their own veterans, both living and dead, in order to protect a state where perpetrating war crimes is commonplace.
(Visit: www.usslibertyveterans.org)
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

EU's calls for immediate end to Gaza embargo

EU's calls for immediate end to Gaza embargo

AFP/ here

"EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Friday called for an immediate end to Israel's Gaza blockade, as an aid flotilla prepared to set sail for the enclave despite the embargo.
"The continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counterproductive,..... We would like to reiterate the EU's call for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza."
The multi-national aid flotilla organised by the Free Gaza Movement, which Israel has vowed to halt, is due to sail for Gaza on Saturday in defiance of the embargo...."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:23 PM 0 comments

"...Not all American Jewish groups & lawmakers are on the same page ..."

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

The Cable/ here

"... Most are uncomfortable with President Obama's policy of placing pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and want to make sure that the administration's efforts to bring the two parties to the negotiating table doesn't come at the expense of the U.S.-Israel alliance.
Other Jewish lawmakers openly support pressuring Netanyahu, and take a stance that diverges from the Israeli government's approach to key issues. One of them is Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, who is circulating a letter supporting the proximity talks around the Senate this week,obtained by The Cable.
The letter, addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, hasn't been sent and is still open for signatures. But a couple of its lines are already raising eyebrows in Senate offices on both sides of the aisle.
"We strongly believe that a permanent peace agreement ... can only be achieved with the United States bringing the parties together and driving them to a settlement," the letter states (emphasis added). Later on, it argues, "While the Israeli Government has announced a moratorium on settlement activity, for too long the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined confidence."......
Netanyahu is certain to be irked by the letter's language......
Whether or not the U.S. should "drive" the two parties to make peace is another point of contention. The Palestinians see the proximity talks as a great way to keep the Obama administration actively involved, while the Israeli government and its supporters feel that although the U.S. has an important role to play, the Obama administration shouldn't be pushing Netanyahu to do things he doesn't want, or isn't able, to do.
"It's unclear what more Senator Feinstein wants to push Israel to do," said one GOP Senate aide. "At what point do we really want to force democracies to do things their people don't support?" (he is funny that GOP aide... He is really funny!)
Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:13 PM

Psychopaths United For Israel

Psychopaths United For Israel

http://revoltoftheplebs.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/psychopaths-united-for-israel/

I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield
Listening to gospel music on the colored radio station
And the preacher said, “You know you always have the Lord by your side”
Now I was so pleased to be informed of this
that I ran twenty red lights in his honor
Thank you Jesus, thank you lord

                               The Rolling Stones—Far Away Eyes

It cannot be denied that many ‘so-called’ Christians drop the name of Christ like a rich kid drops his daddy’s name to get a good table at an expensive restaurant.  When they say, “Christ paid for it all,” what they really mean to say is “Jesus’ll pick up the tab.”

These very same people will cringe if they hear the words “Jesus Christ’ or ‘godammit’ used in the context of a stubbed toe.  What they don’t realize is that they have been led to believe a false interpretation of the Old Testament’s third commandment.  According to both Greek and Hebrew translations, ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain’ refers to those who falsely profess to be doing God’s work or using God’s name for self-indulgent purposes.  We witness this every Sunday when the televangelist preachers take to the airwaves to bilk their congregations out of their life savings.  We also see this from well compensated celebrity Pastors who weekly pander pro-Israeli war propaganda on their gullible flocks.
Nobody does that better than John Hagee, Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.  Last Sunday, Hagee addressed the second annual ‘Christian’s United For Israel’ event that drew fellow psychopaths from all 50 states and 50 nations around the globe.  Hagee spewed the same lies and hateful rhetoric that he’s been propagating for decades.

“Israel is an outpost of freedom and democracy in one of the most undemocratic regions in the world,” Hagee said after the event. “Now is the time for Israel’s supporters, regardless of faith or political ideology, to unite in standing with Israel as she confronts such serious threats from Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran.”

Hagee pulled out the same old tired line about the threat of a ‘nuclear holocaust’ from Iran and how President Ahmedinejad vowed to “wipe Israel off the map.” Both are debunked lies that are as ridiculous as Hagee himself.  Iran is nowhere near having the capability to construct a nuclear weapon and President Ahmedinejad’s exact words were“The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” 

Hagee also conveyed his frustration with the Obama administration:

“Washington has manufactured a crisis with Israel over building homes for Jewish people in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, something no other American administration has ever done,” Hagee said in a video message before the event. “Now there is talk the administration will impose a peace settlement on the parties whether or not the Israelis believe their security is guaranteed. In my 30 years as a Zionist there has never been a more critical hour for Israel than right now.”

People of Hagee’s ilk love politicians like Obama to kick around.  Their need to feel persecuted is an essential ingredient to lend credence to their ‘end times’ scenario. Obama is just the latest in a long string of perceived Presidential anti-Christs that they’ve been hawking for many a decade. 

In reality, Obama has been towing the line for Israel from day one.  As I made clear in a previous piece, the Obama administration and Israel are in collusion to deceive the people into believing that there is a riff between the two nations.  This is being done so the state of Israel can claim complete inculpability when the U.S. strikes Iran.   Besides, Obama is the Chair of the United Nations Security Counsel and it would be perceived as an act of defiance against the UN itself if he were to come out in support of the settlements.  This conflict of interest is the very reason why our Constitution forbids President’s from holding more than one office at a time.

If Obama were the anti-Semitic, Palestinian sympathizer that Hagee would have you believe he is, don’t you think he would intervene in—or at least condemn—the Israeli government’s blockade of a peace mission currently making its way to Gaza?

Nine ships, collectively known as the Freedom Flotilla, are currently en route to the Gaza shore to deliver over 10,000 tons of much needed humanitarian aid to the impoverished Palestinian people. Three of the ships are from Turkey, two from the UK and one each from Ireland, Greece, Kuwait and Algeria.  Among the international coalition of peace activists on board are European parliamentarians, former US diplomats and Nobel peace laureates.  It is the largest effort of its kind since the Israelis seized the coastal territory in 2007.

Israel has threatened that it will use force to prevent the flotilla from reaching its destination.  The Israeli Defense Forces and Israeli Navy have been dispatched to the region with instructions to terminate the peace mission by any means necessary.  The reason the Israeli’s are giving for resorting to such drastic measures is because they seek to prevent arms and materials from reaching the hands of the duly elected Hamas government.

In response, the peace activists have warned Israel that they will ignore their threats and continue on to their destination regardless of the consequences.  According to an article appearing in Al Jazeera Friday,

Huwaida Arraf, from the Free Gaza Movement said “Israel should not be under any illusion whatsoever that their threats or intimidation will stop us or even that their violence against us will stop us.” Hanin Zuabi, a member of the Israeli parliament who is on board the flotilla, told Al Jazeera that the activists intend to reach Gaza regardless of plans to stop them. He said “If the Israelis try to stop us, this will be a huge diplomatic and political crises for them.”

Aid to this battered region is long overdue.  Gaza is a giant prison, sealed off from the world like the island of Manhattan in John Carpenter’s Escape from New York.  The difference is that the people who inhabit this place are not criminals; they are victims of a foreign occupation of terrorists who seek to starve them out of existence.  That is why Israel seeks to deny them aid of any kind.  The Palestinian people are expected to suffer under the thumb of a brutal warden as they watch their children die from a lack of adequate sanitation, basic medical services and food.

Israel knows there are no weapons onboard any of those ships and are well aware that if they harm even one person connected to this peace mission, they will be facing a public relations disaster of epic proportions.

But this won’t stop them.  Israel may be concerned, but they don’t fear the repercussions of an investigation by the United Nations for yet another human rights violation, nor do they care what the rest of the world thinks of them. They know that the United States will always be there to protect them from any threats and continue to provide resources that enable them to rain terror upon the people of that region.

Any decent human being should be appalled by Israel’s callous disregard for human life. Denying people decent living conditions and food is the cruelest form of genocide known to man.  Medical experts agree that death by starvation and dehydration is perhaps the most painful, tortuous, and agonizing way to die.
How our nation can turn a blind eye to this modern day holocaust is unconscionable.  Obama is not concerned with the plight of the Palestinian people.  If he were, he would condemn Israel for their actions and immediately cease any future funding for their murderous campaign.  But this will not happen.  Too many of our politicians are under the control of the Israeli government.

Each year, many of our American tax dollars are sent to Israel in the form of aid and are recycled right back into the coffers of political campaigns.  Each day, Israeli agents in the United States monitor and keep files on the indiscretions of US Senators and Congressman and use that information to control them.  Cutting off funds to Israel and expelling their agents would go a long way in stemming that corruptive influence, but it would certainly not be enough.

Politicians would still be compelled to act on behalf of Israel by of a powerful and influential segment of their constituency.  Unlike politicians, these people have not been bought, nor are they compromised.  Devotion to Israel is part of their religious conviction.  To these people, the fate of Israel is linked to their own salvation. They number in the tens of millions and are perhaps more responsible than anyone else for relinquishing all US foreign policy decisions over to this alien power.  They are the BIG problem, and the blood of our dead soldiers and over a million dead Semitic people are on their hands.

Each Sunday—as Gaza starves—congregations of freshly showered and scented cultists sit on cushioned seats in air-conditioned churches across America, contemplating whether to have lunch at Hometown Buffet or Red Lobster.  They like their church because the pastor wears a Hawaiian shirt and cracks clean jokes with a George Carlin wit.  They like the church band because they’re edgy, like the music they used to listen to before they were converted.   They close their eyes and raise a hand to the sky (Jesus antenna) phishing for reception from the man upstairs as the Dave Matthews look-alike sings songs of praise and worship. 

The church is the size of an arena with a large stage and giant screen in the background.  On the screen is an image of troops huddled in prayer, which fades into an image of a soldier holding a smiling Arab child, which fades into an image of F-16’s blazing across the sky, which fades into an image of troops on tanks handing out bottled water to a thirsty crowd, which fades into an image of a soldier reading the Bible, which fades into…

We all know these people.  They are among our friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers.  They call themselves Judeo-Christians, Millenialists, Dominionists and Evangelicals.  They say they worship Christ, but what they really worship…is Israel.

They consider themselves patriotic American’s, but only as long as America stands with Israel.  It is for this reason—above all others—that we are engaged in conflicts throughout the Middle East.

Christian support for war is a recent phenomenon and goes contrary to what Christian’s were taught prior to the beginning of the last century.  The introduction of the Scofield Reference Bible was the turning point that replaced traditional, Orthodox Christianity with Christian Zionism. 

In the late 19th century, the World Zionist movement had set their sights on acquiring land that American Christians referred to as ‘The Holy Land,’ but knew that they would face opposition from obtaining it.  Christians of the time considered Jews to be the persecutors of Christ and his disciples, and would never allow a Jewish occupation of Palestine.

To overcome this obstacle, the World Zionists enlisted the help of The Oxford University Press and an old Civil War Veteran and Pastor by the name of Cyrus I. Scofield.

The plan was to change the Christian attitude towards Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist subculture within Christianity.  Scofield’s role was to re-write the King James Version of the Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes in the margins, between verses and chapters, and on the bottoms of the pages.  He was also used as a front to help promote it to the Christian community, where he was held in high regard.  The revised bible was called the Scofield Reference Bible and was given widespread advertisement and promotion.  It soon became the best-selling “bible” in America and has remained so for 90 years.

The Scofield Reference Bible sparked the birth of the modern day Christian Zionist movement.  It redirected the focus of worship away from Jesus Christ and concentrated it directly upon pro-Zionist politics.  Without the support of the American Christian community, Israel would have never come into existence.
Christian Zionists are taught that Jews are the chosen people of God and that mankind is obligated to provide unwavering support to the state of Israel. They believe that if America fails to support Israel in every way, then God will turn his back on them and suffer his wrath.

Christian Zionists will explain away Biblical passages that point to hereditary connections between the true Semitic people and the children of Abraham.  Palestinians and Arabs are to be hated, ethnically cleansed and persecuted if it serves the best interests of the Israeli government.

Bible passages in the Old Testament (2 Kings 6:21 –23, 2 Chronicles 28:9-11, Nehemiah 5:7-11, Jeremiah 34:11-17, Amos 2:6-7) that condemn the kinds of human rights violations committed by the Israeli government are either ignored or justified by Christian Zionists.  Even liberal Jews, who call Israel their home, are more likely to call out their government on humanitarian issues than the Christian Zionist.
The relationship between Israel and the Christian Zionists is a sick and twisted one to be sure.  Each requires the other to die. It’s really nothing more than a murder-suicide pact.

Israel relies on Christian Zionists to sacrifice their money, resources, freedoms and children.  They need these things to wage war on their neighbors and expand their empire.

The Christian Zionists rely on Israel to sacrifice 2/3 of their Jewish population in an apocalyptic war in the Middle East.  They need these things to hasten the return of Jesus Christ so he can usher them up into Heaven.

No sane person would ever allow themselves to be involved in a relationship like this.  But these people are not sane—they are psychopaths.

Every war that has been waged in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has come as a result of this unholy alliance.  It has wreaked devastation upon our economy and has cost countless lives.  But this is more than an economic or humanitarian crisis.  This is a moral crisis that calls into question whether we, as a species, even have the will to keep on living.

70 million Christian Zionists make up the most coveted voting block in America.  All of them pray for the return of their savior so that he may deliver them from this horrible, dangerous place and rapture them up into the safety of his loving embrace.  What chance do we have of saving this world, when the largest segment of our society just can’t wait to leave the world behind?