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Solo Gaza relief ship Dignite Al Karama presses on for the dignity of Palestine

Not only have nation states refused to sanction humanitarian relief missions to illegally besieged Gaza, events this week prove they are unanimous in prohibiting even citizens doing it themselves. Yet, one brave vessel has eluded sabotage, lawsuit, bureaucracy, and Greece's Coast Guard paramilitaries. French Freedom Flotilla II participant DIGNITE AL KARAMA presses on alone to break the siege of Gaza. Without media escort, television cameras or witnesses, the crew of eleven, joined by print reporter Quentin Girard, will have only their cellphones to apprise the world audience of their progress against the bellicose reception which Israel has promised awaits any transgressors of its 63 year occupation and subjugation of Palestine, including its open-air prison called Gaza.   UPDATES: Dignite incercepted by Greek Coast Guard while refueling in Ormos Kouremenos, Crete. Taken under escort to Xinthya, where it's promised they will be able to leave in the morning. Translation of French article below. 25380

Gaza we are coming

Plans are once again underway for another attempt to run the blockade of Gaza. Two ships are set to sail from Lebanon today or tomorrow, despite intimidation from Israel --which worked to prevent the aid ship INFANTS OF GAZA scheduled to leave from Iran. As a result, the Israeli navy is maneuvering to intercept, as it did for the recent Libyan AMALTHEA, and the Irish RACHEL CORRIE before that. Israel is even preparing "Flotilla 13," the Shayetet commandos who killed nine activists on the Mavi Marmara in May. If it does leave, the Lebanese convoy will consist of a ship named MARYAM, carrying only women and nuns, and the JULIA (the Naji Al Ali) carrying journalist and Reporters Without Borders. It's hard to imagine what reception the journalists are intent to document, Israel can hardly surpass itself with brutality, so will it be news? 18196

As navy stalks Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Israeli measures already effective

First among the Israeli navy's expressed strategies to confront the international relief convoy approaching Gaza was to "pick off the participants before they could join the convoy." Today only five of intended nine ships have made it to the rendezvous. Sailing from Ireland, the MV Rachel Corrie has been impeded by propeller trouble, while both Challenger I and II suffered irregularities with their steering hydraulics. Suspicions of sabotage are not assuaged by fact that the healthier Turkish ships were not as easily accessible to agents. Less expected was the move, with the cooperation of Greek Cyprus, to prevent key passengers of the convoy to join the ships. Most predictable: media silence. 17589

It’s a picture worth a thousand ships

At first the story read like diplomatic sensitivities ruffled by no more than your typical office power feng shui: the Turkish ambassador to Israel was not seated at a height commensurate with his host, the flag of his nation was not displayed, the Israeli deputy minister would not shake his hand. Rather it was Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon himself who called the reporters' attentions to the intentional affronts, lest it was not obvious enough from the photograph. To what do the Turks owe Israel's displeasure? Turkey's PM has been criticizing Israel's crimes in Gaza, to no greater degree than has been confirmed by the UN Goldstone Report. Here's to hoping that Turkish pride will answer appropriately. 13632

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