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Israel attacks aid fleet, civilians dead

Israel has had the Gaza strip under blockade, preventing the provision of food, medicines, or cement except as Israel allows. An international aid flotilla was sent from Turkey to defy the blockade; last night it was stormed in international water, by Israeli troops, resulting in at least ten deaths. Assaulting foreign ships in international water is arguably an act of war; Turkey is a NATO member and Israel isn't. The flotilla was privately organized, but Turkey is talking about sending more aid fleets officially, this time under naval escort.

From the first article:
"We have to remember: These people are entering Israel illegally," said Maya Kadosh, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. Here a government official claims Gaza as part of Israel -- a part full of people born there yet lacking Israeli citizenship or voice in Israeli politics. And this a few years after Israel "pulled out" of Gaza, forcing its own citizens to abandon settlements there.

Israeli officials have launched a public relations blitz ahead of the flotilla's arrival, detailing the tons of supplies of food, medicine and other staples it allows into Gaza, and inviting reporters to view the transfer operations at the border. The official Government Press Office went so far as to release a sarcastically worded statement for the press encouraging journalists to visit one of Gaza's few luxury restaurants. Wow, that's Marie Antoinette in a nutshell. They can't be starving, look, someone can buy foie gras!

Among the passengers are Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, a Holocaust survivor in her 80s, a retired U.S. army colonel and lawmakers from a dozen European countries. That should be diplomatically interesting.

The second article has an Israeli calling the aid flotilla "an armada of hate". You know, bringing food and medical equipment and building supplies. Real hateful.

Saner Israelis write We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege, which is itself becoming Israel's Vietnam.

On Sunday, when the army spokesman began speaking of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in terms of an attack on Israel, MK Nahman Shai, the IDF chief spokesman during the 1991 Gulf war, spoke publicly of his worst nightmare, an operation in which Israeli troops, raiding the flotilla, might open fire on peace activists, aid workers and Nobel laureates. Prescient.

The whole blockade seems rather counterproductive: it's hurting the Palestinian people, making goods unavailable or more expensive, but strengthening Hamas, which naturally has control of the smuggling operations, both giving them more power and making them seem like the good guys vs. the Israeli oppressors.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 31st, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
FAQ on the Gaza blockade

For much of the three years since Hamas took control of Gaza, its 1.5m people have relied on less than a quarter of the volume of imported supplies they received in December 2005.

Unrwa's list of household items that have been refused entry at various times includes light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee, chocolate, nuts, shampoo and conditioner.

the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation says 61% of Gazans are "food insecure".

According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, 80% of Gazan households rely on some kind of food aid.

Unrwa provides food aid for 750,000 people, half the population.

Its food distribution has been suspended several times since June 2007 as a result of border closures or fuel shortages.

But with the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics estimating unemployment at 38.6% in early 2010, some Gazans cannot afford the basics, even if they are physically available.

According to the World Health Organization, one third of children under five and women of childbearing age are anaemic.

According to information complied by Oxfam, no petrol or diesel for vehicles has been allowed in from Israel since November 2008, except for fuel for UN cars and five other shipments in three years.

The amount of cooking gas allowed in has generally fluctuated between about a third and a half of requirements, Oxfam figures show.

Plus lack of water, decay of infrastructure, utter destruction of the economy, shortage of medical care...
Jun. 1st, 2010 12:11 am (UTC)
Honestly, just like the republicans tried to hold power here by referring to the 'terrist threat'... it seems like a sound political strategy. And they've got the perfect enemy, right at their gates! The opponents are too weak to do any real damage, but just persistent enough to provide constant fodder for speeches. It's not in the isreali leadership's best interest to have hammas disband.
Jun. 1st, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
Well, it's probably a sound domestic strategy for now. Raise the fear, circle the wagons, "they want to drive us into the sea", etc. Not hurt by genuine anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic sentiment among some Arabs, especially Hamas. So yeah, Hamas is kind of a useful idiot for the Israeli security state.

OTOH, as my links may have noted, Turkey is/was Israel's strongest ally in the Middle East -- military, economic, democratic. Pissing them off seems sub-optimal. And if Europe gets pissed off enough, we might see sanctions a la apartheid South Africa...

Nice analogy for the blockade:
Jun. 1st, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
I'd like to leave a more intelligent comment, but after reading this yesterday, all I have to say is fuck this shit. I've never been pro-Israel, but the continuing occupation should be an affront to any thinking human being.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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