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Breaching Gaza's Siege Update

Carlos Latuff/ MWC NEWSSuffocating besieged Gazans, Israel is committing slow-motion genocide. Global activists are determined to stop it and hold Israeli officials accountable for decades of crimes of war and against humanity - unspeakable atrocities financed by criminal co-conspirators in Washington.

In May 2010, Israeli commandos illegally interdicted six Freedom Flotilla ships in international waters, massacring nine activists aboard the Mavi Marmara mother ship.

Nonetheless, global activists are determined to break Gaza's siege, the first step to ending it altogether and freeing nearly 1.7 million people, isolated in the world's largest open-air prison.

They're coming, Freedom Flotilla II, heading to Gaza with vitally needed humanitarian aid. Planning more high seas barbarism and piracy, Israel will again interdict. In preparation, mobilized reserve combatants held drills, focusing on riot-control measures, including brute force and "surprises" if needed.

On June 19, Israeli Admiral Eliezer Marom said:

"The Navy has prevented and will continue to prevent the arrival of the 'hate flotilla' whose only goals are to clash with (Israeli) soldiers, create a media provocation, and delegitimize the State of Israel."

Besides interdiction, imprisonment awaits participants, Israeli authorities saying blockade violators will be arrested and jailed, treated harshly, then deported. All of it, of course, is lawless, including seizure of humanitarian supplies and personal belongings like Flotilla I was pillaged, the way pirates have done it for centuries.

Israel is a rogue terror state. Activists know the risks. They're coming anyway and will keep coming, no matter what Israel plans.

A June 23 "Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human" press release headlined, "Sailing to Gaza," saying:

Within days, 10 participating ships will sail. Two carry cargo. Hundreds of activists from 20 countries are aboard the others, including politicians, writers, religious figures, journalists, TV crews from major broadcasters, doctors, lawyers, holocaust survivors, artists, and various other distinguished and ordinary committed activists for justice.

On June 18, Turkey's IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation pulled out, yielding to government pressure at a time Israeli and Ankara officials are holding secret rapprochement talks.

Despite Israeli threats, lies, pressure, blackmail, and governments not supporting their own citizens, preparations are nearly complete to sail.

A June 24 Free Gaza.org press release headlined, "Israel proves that Flotillas work," saying:

Israel's recent authorization of token aid amounts, including construction materials for 1,200 homes and 19 truckloads of medicines, shows pressure works even though not enough. Key is stiffening it until Gazans and all Palestinians are free. It's coming because global millions support it. For now, "Freedom Flotilla 2: Stay Human" sails for Gaza next week. "(O)ur destination is freedom."

Organized by 14 national groups and international coalitions, a US Boat to Gaza is included, named "The Audacity of Hope." Participants call this "an important moment in history." They're defying Israeli US ambassador Michael Oren describing organizers as "radical anti-Israel organizations known also for anti-American activities," and Netanyahu saying the mission is a "provocation." Earlier, he told European ambassadors in Jerusalem, "This flotilla must be stopped." Responding to it, he mounted a PR stunt to pretend Gaza's siege is eased.

Like other global activists, Americans are determined to help, despite Washington's efforts to deter them. On June 14, passengers wrote Obama, saying:

"We are writing to inform you that 50 unarmed Americans will soon be sailing....to Gaza....challeng(ing) Israel's (illegal) blockade (in) friendship (and solidarity) in support of the Palestinian people and their human rights."

Telling Gazans they're not alone, "it will call attention to the morally and legally indefensible collective punishment of a population of civilians....As US citizens, we expect our country and its leaders to help ensure the Flotilla's safe passage (and) demand that the Gaza blockade be lifted. This should begin by notifying the Israeli government in clear and certain terms that it may not physically interfere with" any participating vessel. We "expect no less from our President and your administration."

On June 24, Audacity of Hope participants "expressed profound disappointment" by the State Department's June 22 response, issuing a scandalous "travel advisory," advising Americans against coming by sea or other means. Saying previous attempts were "stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of US citizens," it didn't warn Israel that interdiction won't be tolerated, especially if on board activists are harmed.

Participating in the mission, University of Southern California Professor Hagit Borer said:

"Apparently, the State Department subscribes to the view that Israel's anticipated violence against unarmed protesters is an immutable act of nature. This is a remarkable attitude, coming from a government that provides the Israeli government with billions of dollars in military aid and routinely uses its veto to protect (its) government from censure of its occupation policies by the UN Security Council."

In fact, Washington officials are legally bound to protect US citizens. Nonetheless, they plan nothing to do it, effectively green-lighting Israeli commandos to lawlessly interdict, brutalize, and kill again if if they choose, perhaps with funding, weapons and munitions America supplies for that purpose.

A Final Comment

On June 24, Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor said:

"Israel is determined to stop the flotilla. Israel has the right to self-defense. The flotilla has nothing constructive. There is nothing humanitarian in the shipments," calling the mission a "provocation."

In fact, it's bringing vital humanitarian aid Israel lawlessly restricts or blocks entirely for nearly 1.7 million besieged people, ruthlessly persecuted for not being Jewish and electing the wrong government. Abhorrent by any standard, under international law it's illegal but continues because global leaders are complicit for doing nothing to stop it.

In America's Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson endorsed citizen action against destructive government policies. Flotilla participants are acting in the best tradition of his message, challenging Israeli repression for justice.

Breaching Gaza's Siege Update

Israel keeps exerting pressure to block humanitarian efforts to deliver vital to life and other essential aid to besieged Gazans.

Endorsing Israeli lawlessness, the State Department issued a June 22 "Travel Warning - Israel, the West Bank and Gaza," saying in part:

"The Department of State warns US citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to US interests in those locations," adding "avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip."

Access the full statement through the following link:

http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5511.html

On June 23, Secretary of State Clinton added:

"We do not believe that the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza. And we think that it's not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves."

Defend against whom she didn't explain or that Gazan waters belong to Palestine, not Israel. Moreover, delivering humanitarian aid is essential until Gaza's blockade is ended, a crime against humanity Washington funds and supports.

This week, "Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human" sails to Gaza. Neither Israel nor Clinton will stop it, but they're trying by blocking its departure or planned interdiction surprises if it comes.

The US Boat to Gaza (The Audacity of Hope) is one of 10 participating ships, now blocked by Greek officials, saying the vessel is unseaworthy, a spurious claim with no validity.

A June 26 US Boat to Gaza press release asked "Greek government officials to clarify whether (their leased boat) is being blocked....because of an anonymous request of a private citizen....or whether (Greece) made a political decision....in response to US and Israeli" pressure.

Specifically they want to know if bailout help is contingent on succumbing to blackmail, besides Greece already surrendering its sovereignty to foreign bankers.

On June 27, a US Boat to Gaza press release responded to reports that an Israeli "Lawfare" group (Shurat HaDin) complaint is delaying the boat's departure.

Israel, Washington, AIPAC, and the Shurat HaDin Law Center (SH) are directly involved. In fact, SH's web site claims it's "bankrupting terrorism one lawsuit at a time," adding on June 19:

"I am happy to report that we have achieved some important victories in the struggle to block the anti-Israel Flotilla from 'smuggling contraband' to the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip."

Specifically, it referred to a French insurance company succumbing to intimidation not to cover a French boat from Marseilles, and the Turkish ship pressured by Ankara to cancel its participation.

On June 15, SH announced a Manhattan federal court lawsuit to "confiscate 14 ships outfitted with funds unlawfully raised in the United States by anti-Israeli groups, including the Free Gaza Movement."

SH, the Obama administration, AIPAC and other Israeli Lobby members clearly support state terrorism in violation of international, US and Israeli law. Nonetheless, America's "Audacity of Hope" is confident it will sail, saying:

SH is notorious for filing "frivolous legal complaints against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. We reiterate that the boat we are leasing....was surveyed by a professional surveyor and successfully completed its sea trials."

At noon Athens time June 27, a press conference will announce its readiness to sail, but expect continued pressure to stop it - criminal co-conspirators determined to lawlessly suffocate besieged Gazans.

On June 27, a Haaretz editorial headlined, "Let the flotilla go," saying:

Israel equates "flotilla" with terrorism or "a declaration of war," no matter that cargo includes food, medicines, educational materials and other humanitarian aid raised by private donations.

Nonetheless, Israel "seems to be as frightened of the flotilla as one would think it would be of an attack by an armed naval fleet." As a result, it's "preparing to fight an enemy" comprised of unarmed, nonviolent men and women who care enough to risk their safety to deliver vital aid and symbolically oppose Israeli lawlessness.

Thirteen months after the Mavi Marmara massacre, "Israel is showing that it has learned just one lesson: the military lesson....The country is not willing to give up a display of power, thereby no doubt contributing to inflating the flotilla's importance" and Israel as a rogue terror state. "From Israel, we can at least demand that it let the flotilla get through....without once again endangering the country's position in the world."

On June 27, Israel National News said former US Ecuador ambassador Samuel Hart (a 27-year Foreign Service veteran) will participate in the Flotilla mission.

In a 1992 Foreign Affairs Oral History Project for the Association for Diplomatic Studies interview, Hart said:

"I've always felt that Israel has been a little bit of a burr in the saddle in our foreign policy. Here is a small country with no particular interest to us in any real strategic terms, yet it sort of jerks us around because it has not only a very vocal Jewish population, but also supporters of Israel from non-Jewish groups."

He also once wrote an essay calling Israel "an exhausting place to live (because) the tension, anxiety and intensity wear you out."

Now aged 77, he told a Jacksonville, FL newspaper he joined the Flotilla because he "missed" participating in the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movement to end segregation. "I see great similarities between this and the civil rights movement," he said. "I am pleased to be part of it."

He also asked, "What did the residents of Gaza do to deserve such punishment? The honest answer is they" elected Hamas in 2006 democratically and now suffer lawlessly.

On June 26, New York Times writer Ethan Bronner headlined, "Avoid Gaza Flotilla, Israel Warns Foreign Journalists," saying:

"Israel threatened Sunday to bar for up to a decade any foreign journalist who boards a flotilla seeking to challenge an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza."

Moreover, Israel's Government Press Office director Oren Helman said their equipment will be impounded and they'll be subjected to "additional sanctions." He sent a warning letter to registered foreign correspondents, stopping short of saying they'll be arrested and jailed.

Perhaps all Flotilla participants will be mistreated, imprisoned, their personal possessions confiscated, then summarily deported the way Flotilla I activists were treated after being attacked, beaten and otherwise abused, besides nine on board massacred in cold blood.

On June 26, Israel's Foreign Press Association responded, saying:

Journalists "covering a legitimate news event should be allowed to do their jobs without threat and intimidation. (Helman's letter) sends a chilling message to the international media and raises serious questions about Israel's commitment to freedom of the press."

Bronner said an unnamed New York Times journalist would participate, joining other international correspondents.

Further updates will follow, highlighting courageous activism against lawless Israeli brutality, complicit with its Washington paymaster/partner.


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