By Susan Schwartz, MMNS
The rogue state of Israel, the unruly step child of the United States, has pushed the envelope of brutality and violence to beyond the limits tolerable to even the most extreme Israeli apologist. In the early dawn hours of May 31st, the Israeli Navy boarded an unarmed humanitarian ship carrying aid to the beleaguered citizens of Gaza. The ship, The Mavi Marmara, under Turkish registry, was carrying humanitarian aid of no dual use potential. The passengers were international and included a Catholic prelate, Hilarion Capucci, Catholic Archbishop of Jerusalem, who resides in Syria, and a young American art student who has lost the sight of one eye through the Israeli attack.The ship was in international waters and carried no arms, major or hand held. Archbishop was exiled from Palestine by Israel some three decades ago.
The Turkish ship and two others were funded by the IHH, an internationally recognized NGO and charitable organization.
The world applauded as the Free Gaza movement (FGM) successfully broke the Israeli imposed blockade around Gaza in late August 2008. Four more successful voyages followed. The final three attempts were interdicted by the Israeli Navy, and the organizers realized that more comprehensive action was needed. Thus an international flotilla carrying citizens – all pledged to peaceful non violent actions – was the only effective solution.
Though reports vary, the most accurate estimate is that 15 peace activists were killed and many more injured. No Israeli troops were killed. The wounded were taken to hospitals in Israel and the passengers not requiring extensive medical treatment were imprisoned in lieu of deportation.
Outrage has sounded from all corners of the globe with the exception of the United States. Not surprisingly, President Barack Obama has indicated that he will wait until all the facts are in before issuing a statement.
Another ship, The Rachel Corrie, has left Ireland for Gaza. Turkey has condemned Israeli action while mincing no words and has warned the Israelis against an attack on this ship.
A demonstration was held in front of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles the afternoon of the piracy and was attended by nearly two thousand people. The turnout was considered phenomenal given the few hours notice. Another demonstration will be held at the same location on Wednesday the 2nd and Friday the 4th.
Greta Berlin, one of the original ISM (International Solidarity Movement) activists has issued the following statement. Ms Berlin is in charge of press releases for the Free Gaza Movement.
â€œThe Israeli military has been busy spinning the story of their attack on a civilian convoy……but they canâ€™t spin much longerâ€ she said referring to the feet of video and eye witness accounts of Israeli actions.
For further updates, please access www.freegaza.org.