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Daily Gaza fishing flotilla blockaded by Israeli Navy, no fishing to supplement carefully measured aid starvation diet

The fishermen of Gaza are harassed daily by IDF gunships which shoot them outright when there are no Western witnesses present. The late Vittorio Arrigoni was one of the International Solidarity Movement who regularly accompanied fishing boats, forcing the Israelis to set aside their machine guns for water cannon when he was around. Of late activists have their own boat, the Oliva, to escort the fishing fleets. And today the Oliva was accompanied by another skiff commissioned by the Guardian. Their Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood tweeted the following adventure just now: On boat heading out from Gaza port. Fishermen regularly fired on by Israeli military. Going to check. Getting close to 3 mile limit for fishing. Israeli gunboat speeding towards us. There are 7 boats in our group. 4 fishing boats, 2 press boats, 1 human rights group boat. Israeli gunboat circling around. Siren sounding. Machine gun mounted at rear. IDF coming very close. Sirens. Banking hard causing a lot of backwash for our small motor boat. 6 or 7 troops on bridge, all armed. We have cut our engines. We are 2 or 2 and a half miles from shore so within fishing zone. IDF preventing us going further. Phone signal going in and out. A 2nd IDF boat heading towards us. Fishing boats are throwing lines. But very few fish this close to shore. Guardian boat is flying under Barcelona FC flag.... Now 2 gunboats stopping us going further. This is our GPS location: N31.5727176 and E034.37703. Can someone work out exactly how far we are from Gaza City? Fishermen saying there are no fish. They want to go out another 50 metres. But that could provoke reaction. No boat willing to go first. One fishing boat heading further out. But the guys are asking us (Guardian) to go in front for protection. One IDF boat just circling our boats about 50m away. Other boat a bit further away. A lot of resources devoted to a few tiny fishing boats. Sea is calm today - except our little bit. Backwash creating lot of waves. They keep sounding siren. But we have all cut engines. I'm told that the point of the IDF continually circling us is to create continuous waves and noise. Makes fishing harder. One fishing boat just been swamped by backwash. They are giving up and going back to port. One IDF boat appears to be heading away. The other coming closer. Water canon military boat in distance. Maybe heading towards us. Hope not. Both gunboats have moved off as water canon boat approaches. Water canon boat maybe 200m away. Heading straight towards us. May have to put comms away for a bit. Boats being water canoned. Very dangerous. The NGO boat almost went under. Was mini hi-speed boat chase as we cut and run and the IDF chase. IDF still firing on Oliva the human rights boat. They are trying to drown it says my translator. We are keeping distance. Feel cowardly. Amazing that the Oliva is still afloat. We are within 3 mile limit so why is IDF doing this? I will call them later to ask. Other fishing boats yelling at us what are

Dignite Al Karama nears Gaza waters, reconnoitered by unidentified swiftboat UPDATE: Ship boarded, towed to Israel

3AM UPDATE: Israeli Navy has jammed communication, boarded Dignité, taken 16 into custody, and is towing vessel to Ashdod, Israel, actually occupied Palestine. Israel's enforcement of illegal blockade of Gaza confirms Gaza occupation. Sole remaining vessel of the "Say Human" Freedom Flotilla II, Dignite Al Karama, is expected to enter Gazan waters after daybreak Tuesday, July 19. The French leisure craft left yesterday without unanimous approval of flotilla steering committee, but carries passengers from multiple international delegations, intent to let nothing delay breaking the siege of Gaza. See latest pictures. The Dignite was boarded on international waters, at coordinates: 33º25 E, 31º25 N. The Flotilla II steering committee apparently wanted to close the books on the 2011 aid convoy, in line perhaps with the US Audacity of Hope's own five hour tour that left activists deserted on the Greek isles. Bravo to the Dignity for deciding that the freedom of Gaza doesn't need postponing until the next stillborn mission. Aboard the DIGNITY: Stéphan Corriveau, Coordinator of Canadian boat to Gaza; Dror Feiler, spokesperson of Ship to Gaza-Sweden, President of the European Jews for a Just Peace, artist, musician, composer; Jérôme Gleizes, France, Europe Ecologie Les Verts; Jacqueline Le Corre, France, Médecin-Collectif 14 de soutien au peuple palestinien, member of Parti communiste francais; Jean Claude Lefort, former MEP, French Communist Party –PCF, president France-Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS); Claude Léostic, spokesperson of Un bateau français pour Gaza; Yamin Makri, France, Collectif 69 de soutien au peuple palestinien; Omeyya Naoufel Seddik, Tunisian, Fédération des Tunisiens pour une citoyenneté des deux rives (FTCR), and Ligue tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme (LTDH), Phd in Political Science; Thomas Sommer-Houdeville, spokesperson of Un bateau français pour Gaza, Researcher, Political Sciecnce, Middle East Studies, at the Institut francais du proche Orient; Vangelis Pissias, spokesperson of Ship to Gaza-Greece, Professor at Technical University of Athens; Amira Hass, Israeli journalist - Haaretz; Ayyache Derradji, Journalist from Al Jazeera; Stéphane Guida, Cameraman from Al Jazeera; with Zacharia Stylianakis, Captain; Hilaire Folacci, Mariner; Yannick Voisin, Mariner; Jo Leguen, Navigator

Next Gaza Freedom Flotilla will be an anti-globalist, anti-Apartheid Armada

Israel successfully defended its inhumane illegal siege of Gaza against the 2011 Freedom Flotilla, currently regrouping in Greece. Let's recap: the French Dignite Al Karama awaits permission to leave Crete, the Swedish/Greek MV Juliano overcame sabotage which crippled the Irish MV Saoirse and unconfirmed others. The Canadian Tahrir was boarded by Greek commandos and towed back to Athens. The US Audacity of Hope repelled a shouting match with the Greek Coast Guard then surrendered into custody. Ready to form the next flotilla are the Spanish Guernica, French Louise Michel, and the Stefano Chiarini, Freedom for All and Methimus II. In the wings of course await the Mavi Marmara and the Rachel Corrie. Will this grow to an Armada? Israeli intransigence and its Hasbarapocalypse guarantee it. Check these allied organizations to see how you can join the next voyage: Belgium to Gaza Canada: boat to Gaza Europe: Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza France: Un bateau français pour Gaza Germany: Initiative zum Bruch der Gazablockade Greece: Ship to Gaza Italy: Freedom Flotilla Norway: Ship to Gaza Palestine: Free Gaza Movement Palestine: International Campaign to End the OccupationScotland: Free Gaza Spain: Rumbo a Gaza Switzerland: Un bateau pour Gaza Turkey: IHH Humanitarian Aid Flotilla US to Gaza

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. Flotilla for Gaza: The "Dignity" intercepted by Greek coast guard. For two hours, late Wednesday afternoon, the "Dignity" is moored at Ormos Kouremenos, a small port in the far east of Crete. It needs to replenish fuel one last time before sailing to Gaza. Suddenly, as it has already replentished 1,000 liters and is awaiting a second delivery, a gunboat of the Greek coast guard emerges. The passengers immediately understand. In this small bay where there are only fishing boats made of wood, they know it is there for them. The gunboat approaches, also an unmarked car. The Coast Guard ask politely for our papers. Thus began a two-hour discussion and document control board where everything is carefully checked. Activists trample board. "It's too bad", everyone is thinking. This was the last step before the big crossing. A dozen men in uniform, very polite, surround the Dignity. The phone calls multiply, presumably to refer to a distant authority. The Coast Guard require passports, they carefully register the names. They don't find much wrong with the boat. The captain didn't have a logbook and the marina's entry fee, 30 euros, hadn't yet been tendered. Except that in this small fishing harbor, there was no place to declare one's arrival. We must wait. Passengers prepare to eat, the menu that night, chicken pasta, coppa and lentils. "We're Very Sorry" Eventually the Coast Guard announced that we must follow them to another port to sign authorizations and that the "Dignity" will be able to leave the next morning. It's 10PM. In the meantime they keep the boat's papers to make photocopies. They ensure that there is no problem. One of them apologized repeatedly: "Sorry." Omeyya Seddik, one of the passengers replied, "You're doing your jobs, that's normal." The "Dignity" is off again into the night toward the port of Xinthya, escorted by the Coast Guard boat which heads off without delay. Too fast. Many times it seems to disappear into the night as if really she doesn't want to be followed. The passengers do not know how to react. What to do? Keep a slim hope? Or immediately broadcast our circumstances and risk making

French craft DIGNITY breaks for Gaza, leads Flotilla II until rest allowed to go

UPDATED-- In a flurry of conflicting tweets, French Flotilla II member DIGNITE AL KARAMA made for the open sea, beyond the reach of Greek authorities currently detaining the AUDACITY OF HOPE, TAHRIR, LOUISE MICHEL, GUERNICA, JULIANO and others. Reporter Quentin Girard has been communicating the DIGNITY's progress, its eight activists electing last night to complete their run all the way to Gaza. The French vessel escaped Greece on a technicality, as a pleasure craft, the Dignity is not confined by the regulations being used to block the larger Flotilla participants. Aboard the Dignity with Girard, are Olivier Besancenot, Julien Rivoire, Omeyyaa Sedic, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Annick Coupé, Nabil Ennasr. (Both Coupé and Besancenot are registered on Twitter, but neither has communicated yet.) Girard's most recent tweets, translated: July 5, 3:02 All is well thank you :) but we were in an area where reception was bad. July 5, 3:15 Despite what we can read, the Dignity is still in international waters. It will be there in one hour. July 5, 7:41 The passengers of the Dignity have finally come to the decision (only now really) to go to Gaza. July 5, 8:19 TF1 should attempt to rejoin Dignity and embark. July 5, 8:43 We're moving again after a "media" pause on the high seas. 15 hours of sea left before I might go silent. Kisses! July 5, 12:19 Into the night the DIGNITY continues its advance. In the distance, small lights. July 5, 13:38 Not really enough beds for everyone, so I sleep under the stars on the upper deck. beautiful sky. In their original French: 05.07 3:02 tout va bien merci :) mais on était dans un endroit où ça captait mal. 05.07 3:15 Malgré ce qu'on peut lire le Dignité n'est pas encore dans les eaux internationales. Il y sera dans une heure. 05.07 7:41 Les passagers du Dignité viennent de prendre enfin (seulement maintenant vraiment) la décision d'aller jusqu'à Gaza 05.07 8:19 TF1 devrait tenter de rejoindre le Dignité et embarquer dessus 05.07 8:43 On bouge à nouveau après une pause "média" en haute mer. C'est parti pour 15h de mer, où je risque d'être silencieux. Des bises. 05.07 12:19 Dans la nuit le dignité avance toujours. Au loin, des petites lumières. 05.07 13:38 Pas vraiment de couchettes pour tout le monde, donc je dors à la belle étoile, sur le pont supérieur. Beau ciel Below is the Girard's July 5 article in the LIBERTE.FR (auto-translated, sorry, until I can review it) En route to Gaza, "Dignity" is appealing to the media The French ship of the "freedom flotilla" sailing in international waters off the coast of Greece. The crew decided to go to Gaza. By QUENTIN GIRARD special envoy on the "Dignity" 16 hours in Greece, somewhere in international waters, on Tuesday afternoon. After much discussion, the Dignity passengers finally made their decision. They will go to Gaza. A bit surreal moment where the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, they set up banners and make an official statement. When they left the industrial port of Salamina, Monday morning, they did not really know how far they try to go. There, as they finally arrived in international

Solidarity rally for Gaza Aid Flotilla II called off in Christian-Zionist Springs

Humanitarian rights activists aboard the Canadian Flotilla II aid ship bravely try to block the pilot's view as Greek forces commandeer the TAHRIR before it reached international waters. While Greece is denounced for its complicity with Israel, the international press offered no live coverage, so few Americans knew it was happening. Meanwhile predominantly Christian-Zionist Colorado Springs urged Team USrael to #sinktheflotilla! Sorry local Judeo-Christo-holes, no dialog.   While the maritime aid convoy looks sunk, to the degree it received attention, the Flotilla II did raise awareness about the besieged Gazans. But more, the blocking of the aid ships, by USA, Greece, Turkey, litigious NGOs and unknown intelligence operatives, suggests that Israel is not a rogue state after all. The Flotilla II revealed the illusion of democracy, the farce of sovereignty, and the inhumanity of our global governors. By international humanitarian aid being denied Gaza by state power we see: this is what a police state looks like, globalized. Arrest of those who blocked the wheel house. A sweet photo of the Canadian activists looking forlorn, for a brief moment. However unceremoniously, by this weekend's blocking of the Freedom Flotilla II, the cause of freedom for Palestine and for Greece is well advanced. And best news, precious activists didn't have to die by the hand of Israeli commandos, and live to repeat their promise, Gaza We Are Coming!

Irish MV Saoirse becomes 2nd victim of sabotage, cannot sail with Gaza Flotilla

So how do nonviolent, unarmed humanitarian activists protect themselves from weapons-wielding attackers? Not very well.   But they don't have to. Afterward, they don't even point a finger. And it's working. Via too many flat screens to stop, the world audience sees that Israel will stop at nothing to starve off its remaining Palestinians, neither violence, lawsuits, attempted murder, or slander, is too much to keep humanitarians from hindering Israel's designs on Judea and Samaria. Now I admit I favor just a little finger pointing, particularly when it's too early to say, concrete evidence-wise, because that brings out something even less attractive. Accuse Israel immediately and guess what, they'll indignantly try to put the blame on others. That's ugly. And they accuse you of antisemitism, even if you love Jews, but don't favor the Zionist, mass-murdering variety. Getting aid to the beleaguered Gazans may prove more difficult than a beeline Mediterranean cruise, but this mountain of a greater Palestinian cause is coming to Mohammed. Delegitimizing Apartheid Israel is becoming as easy as taking candy from a baby-candy-taker. While the internet hasbarapocalypse foams at the mouth applauding what may or may not have been IDF divers who rigged the MV Saoirse to sink in mid voyage, or what may or may not have been Mossad undercover agents who relieved flotilla participants of their cellphones, the eagerness of Stand-With-Israel fans to stand with such tactics is compounding with self-antisemitism. It's becoming more and more clear, with obstacles like the corporate media stacked against critics of Israel, that a nonviolent strategy is tantamount to success against a lawless foe. Remember our TSA considers nail-clippers to be a weapon. your average ocean-going cabin cruiser arms itself with at least a speargun or two if there becomes a need to fend off would-be petty pirates. God forbid the Gaza Flotilla be caught with tools like that. So how do flotilla activists keep a 24-hour watch against underwater demolition teams? How do elderly activists protect themselves from paid-hoodlums holding them up? The next flotilla will need an entourage of protectors I suppose, if this what happens to this flotilla doesn't break the blockade of Gaza for good.

First look! US Boat to Gaza, Flotilla II blockade runner The Audacity of Hope

Democracy Now Producer Aaron Maté took a quick photo of the American boat scheduled shortly to sail with the upcoming aid flotilla to Gaza. How will President Obama respond to an effort named after his presidential campaign bestseller Audacity Of Hope? I'd suggest, by renaming his book, which he has to do anyway, the Audacity of Empty Promises. Obama has urged Palestinians to remain nonviolent, yet condemns the nonviolent convoy sailing to break Israel's illegal siege and relieve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Press intimidation, frivolous lawfare, and sabotage, it’s hasbarapocalypse

You're looking at an underwater photo of the starboard propeller of the passenger ship "Juliano" berthed in Piraeus, Greece, waiting to sail with the "Stay Human" Freedom Flotilla II departing soon to break the siege of Gaza. Reports of sabotage babelfished, even as some flotilla participants quickly issued a retraction. As diver video documented, someone assailed the propeller shaft casing, luckily repairable, but Greek authorities could seize on the incident to delay the activists with an investigation, or insist on further inspections, using anticipation of sabotage to delay or forbid the voyage. Whodunnit? Sooner than point the finger at whoever took the intelligence contract, better to focus on the flotilla's irrepressible forward momentum. Notice how the Hasbara themes want to presage the relief effort's dwindling relevance? Sabotage would grant Israel too easy success. You can't kill activism but in the shadows. Fortunately the flotilla vessels are arrayed at various Mediterranean ports, and the identities are being kept secret, much as the internet chorus would like to track them by satellite. So far the flotilla organizer strategies have been impeccable. Media reports of nonviolence classes counter Israeli anticipation of violence. The American boat's decision to bring only a cargo of letters appears to have been a savvy maneuver around the US DOJ's predictable enforcement of its anti-terrorism statutes. Yes, Hamas was democratically elected, but on the books it's a terrorist entity and supporting it materially will result in charges. It seems inconceivable, but surprise seems to be a recurring judicial theme. The US delegation comprises the antiwar movements most luminary, I have to credit them now for not being too reckless. Where would the rest of us be, if they are behind bars? Next I expect we will see the wit behind naming their boat after President Obama's bestseller Audacity of Hope. What's that going to do for his Google-metrics? Obama won't be able to mention it again, without drawing reference to the Gaza relief mission he didn't support. The flotilla2 organizers don't hope to provoke Israel, nor shame the IDF to "Stay Human," they want to sail the the people of Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel asserts its right to besiege Gaza, to starve, harass and demoralize the Palestinians in hope that eventually they'll just want to leave. And that's why the flotilla must not pass.

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? Meanwhile another flotilla is in the works for September, which may include Spanish footballers. Canadian activists have announced efforts to contribute a Canadian ship, and US activists are raising funds for an American ship, to be named "The Audacity of Hope," after President Obama's autobiographical self-promotion. Personally I think the pay-it-forward Nobel Prize to Obama paid squat. Obama couldn't even muster outrage over Israel's murder of the Freedom Flotilla activists, nor would he sanction an international investigation. Why credit him with any part of the rescue of the Palestinians of Gaza? The naming of "Maryam" or Mariam, after the Virgin Mary is already being resisted by the Israeli press, which is referring to the ship by its previous identity JUNIA. No doubt the all-woman ship will present a challenge to the brutality-prone IDF. The confusion over the identity of Julia/Junia may be part of the subterfuge meant to evade Israel sabotage which succeeded in hampering the Freedom Flotilla's CHALLENGER I and II. GAZA WE ARE COMING is the title of a documentary made about the earlier attempts to break the siege of Gaza by sea. The project is more complicated than you might think, having to avoid the MOSSAD at every turn. Each successive wave has involved bigger ships, so far, taken as prizes by Israel. Will a sovereign government finally step forward to provide official escort to a convoy? The United Nations has ruled the siege of Gaza to be illegal. Israel itself pretends that Gaza is autonomous, thus the naval blockade cannot be a pretext to protect Israeli waters. Debates in the media about who's in the right are merely charades.

Libyan humanitarian aid ship to Gaza undaunted by Israeli Navy death threat

While Israel releases redacted portions of its internal investigation of the Mavi Marmara Massacre, another aid ship steams toward the Gaza Blockade. The cargo ship Amalthea carries humanitarian aid from Libya and is due to cross into Gazan waters on Wednesday, barring interception by the Israeli navy in international waters. Israel was able to exert international pressure on various fronts to try to prevent the departure of the humanitarian cargo ship. It's flagged in Moldova, and had to port in Greece before making its run to relieve the Siege of Gaza.

Was Gaza flotilla infiltrated by agent-provocateurs? Plausible, but whose?

It's convenient to surmise that unexpected violence between activists and authorities must be the work of undercover provocateurs. With the fallout of the Mavi Marmara massacre reaching fever pitch, it's hard to believe Israel would have engineered it thus; and far easier to imagine IDF infiltrators trying to steer flotilla organizers clear of headline-grabbing provocations. I have a theory that terrorism-suspect and ultra-activist Ken O'Keefe is without doubt a provocateur. Working for whom? You and me. By ours I don't mean the us of A. I mean people of conscience. Ken O'Keefe is the former US marine who renounced his citizenship after fighting in the Gulf War. Among many actions he's participated in since then, O'Keefe led the bus caravan to Iraq during the lead up to that war, when it was hoped dotting Iraq with Westerners would be the human shield that deterred a US=British attack. O'Keefe was among those on the Mavi Marmara, in particular fending off the commandos. He recounts how he helped disarm the soldiers and stash their sidearms for later use as evidence. The clips weren't "emptied" into the Israelis at all, but stashed separately to prevent anyone from using or being accused of using the guns. If anything O'Keefe served as provocateur to the activists' courage, to step up a try to avert Israel's interception of the humanitarian aid. But on the theme of provocateurs, there are some schools of thought worth deliberating. (to be continued)

Condemnation of Israeli state piracy

COLO. SPRINGS- Join IMPROMPTU PROTEST OF US-ISRAEL MILITARIZED REPRESSION. Protest Israel's deadly raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Called by Coloradans For Peace, Colorado Springs, Acacia Park, NOON. Pro-Palestinian, Free-Gaza, and all anti-imperial voices welcome. This Memorial Day, remember the USS Liberty!

Hello London, Hello London. Warships hailing convoy in international waters

AT 23:00GMT, two Israeli ships are approaching IHH Mavi Marmara, drones heard overhead, satellite connection becoming interrupted. Passengers have donned life jackets, some prepare gas masks, maybe equipment Israel may prefer not reach Gaza. Descending on Freedom Flotilla: one large destroyer is visible, three total on radar. Challenger I reports being contacted as well. Blinking lights of something hovering above. Abbas Al Lawati writing from Marmara. UPDATE: Inflatables approaching ship as communications cease. Last tweets from ShiptoGaza-Greece aboard Eleftheri Mesogeios: Live ammo fired against the ships from helicopters and zodiacs - both pass ships boarded by israeli forces Eleftheri Mesogeios" is the only ship still not captured All ships are boarded except Eleftheri Mesogeios "Eleftheri Mesogeios" denies to clomply to orders from israeli navy and awaits instructions by the Greek government

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. The Israeli navy has dubbed its anti-flotilla mission "Operation Sky Winds" and released this action plan: The planned offensive includes four stages; 1. Warning stage; the navy will try to stop the ships from reaching a “line” dubbed as a red line, should the ships reach the designated line, they will be warned and informed that they “violate the law”. 2. Boarding and controlling the ships; should the ships fail to adhere to the demands of the navy, the navy will attack and control the eight ships carrying nearly 800 activists. The ships will then be taken to Ashdod Port and the activists will be detained in a huge tent installed for this purpose. 3. Deportation by air; Israeli soldiers and policemen would order the detained activists to sign statements accepting to be deported to their countries, and will be deported by air via the Ben Gurion Airport. 4. Arrest before deportation; those who refuse to sign deportation statements, will be arrested, sent to medical examination, then transferred to the Nahshon Brigade which belongs to the Israeli Prison Administration before being sent to Be’er Sheva Prison and likely other prisons. They will be prosecuted and deported at a later stage.

Unusual mechanical failures delay, but fail to scuttle, Gaza Freedom Flotilla

First the MV Rachel Corrie suffered a breakdown shortly after leaving port. Then the Challenger I lost its steering mechanism and another Greek ship has to return to port. Though derided by Israeli critics as "tin buckets," the ships had been certified sea-worthy before the convoy set sail. Suspicions about system failures can wait until proper investigations. Cyprus denied the Challenger permission to harbor for repairs, so its passengers were transshipped to the Mavi Marmara, and the convoy delayed its rendezvous. The revised timing will deny the Israeli navy a chance to attack during the night. The relief ships will not be approaching the contested waters off Gaza until after daybreak. As it did during earlier relief convoy efforts, Cyprus responded to pressure from Israel and refused to allow convoy ships to assemble at its ports. This time the Greek Authority of Cyprus enforced a ban against the Freedom Flotilla vessels from entering its waters. WitnessForGaza has a video of a Cypriot helicopter keeping the Challenger I at bay, even though it was becoming increasingly disabled and need to reach a safe harbor. What can you do to protect the convoy? Subject: Call For Action As The Flotilla Faces Serious Threats From Israel “People are very aware that the Israeli authorities and indeed others are playing all sorts of mind games, with threats alternating with so called offers, which would include surrendering the aid into Israeli hands, something which the participants of the flotilla find entirely unacceptable” Speaking from the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, Kevin Ovenden from Viva Palestina outlined some of the concerns and realities currently been faced by over 750 people on board the 9 ships sailing towards Gaza. The last of the ships departed from Turkey at midnight last night, and they are all currently in International waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Their journey is faced with incredible danger, given the threats that have been issued by the Israeli Government. They have stated that they will stop this Flotilla at all costs, even by force if necessary. Their safety is in grave danger, and the time has come for the international community to stand up for their safety and well being. Tomorrow, Saturday, the flotilla should be sailing into Gaza, however, given the threats issued, the likely hood of this happening is looking uncertain at this stage. We are calling on everyone to contact various political leaders to ask them to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of these brave people, and to stand up and add their voice in support of this humanitarian flotilla.

Does Israel’s STAND WITH US stand against humanitarian aid to Gaza?

Hey! Let's seize this opportunity to get around the usual US media blackout on sympathy-for- Palestine activism. American members of Stand With Us, the Israeli outreach group on American college campuses, do YOU stand against the relief convoy defying Israel's naval blockade to bring humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinians of Gaza? StandWithUs is forming an IDF-booster fleet to protest the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as it seeks passage between the Israeli navy ships. Stand With Us accuses the convoy organizers of trying to make Israel look bad. By holding Gaza under siege, who exactly is pretending not to look bad? If Israel's navy indeed raids the convoy ships and arrests all on board, Israel's image will be degraded further. Now add yahoos in the water, egging on their soldiers, or more probably, protesting that they're not beating the activists severely enough. Won't that mirror the settler behavior in the West Bank, where they torment the Palestinians under the protection of the IDF? And when prevented by the soldiers, the settlers take their anger out on the Palestinians again. It appears Israel's Stand With Us club intends to make all their members look bad. Why would anyone block humanitarian relief? If indeed the peace activists are trying to give Israel a black eye, let them pass. What can you do? Contact a local chapter of Stand With Us and as them if they are lobbying for solidarity with such an activity as their counter-flotilla. Here's an excerpt from the Jerusalem Post in which StandWithUs leaders deny there's a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Enjoy: “What the other anti-Israel flotilla is doing is ignoring human rights abuses and focusing on a fake situation,” Michael Dickson, StandWithUs Israel Director, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday. Dickson believes the European flotilla cares more about hurting Israel than helping the Palestinians in Gaza. Lior Meyer, a StandWithUs Project Manager planning the counter flotilla, hopes their demonstration will show that Gaza is under Hamas siege, rather than Israeli occupation. “I hope they’re not expecting anything. When someone’s surprised by the truth it’s only a good thing,” Meyer said, claiming that few people know the nature of Hamas’s control. Dickson said that the European activists’ aid could have reached Gaza in one day instead of one week if they weren’t interested in making a publicity statement. “I think that the key thing is that this is not some fare minded mission coming in that cares for peace. Their flotilla is driven by hate rather than peace. They don’t really care about the victims who live under Hamas in Gaza and the south of Israel,”

The Gazan People’s Front or People’s Front of Gaza less funny than Nazirene

A Gaza Flotilla PR mishap, as minor as a participant speaking out of place, was seized upon by one reporter to suggest rivalry between co-sponsors of the relief convoy due to convene Saturday at Gaza's door. When an interviewee said "Free Palestine Movement" instead of "Free Gaza," the reporter recalled scenes from Monty Python's Life of Brian and the mortal rivalry between the "People's Judean Front" and the "People's Front of Judea," often understood to lampoon the PLO and it splinter groups. Haha. But why didn't the reporter mention Python's other irreverent terrorist gang also fighting the Roman occupation: the uber-Zionist Nazirene? Because Otto and the Nazirene, that's right, not Nazarene, were cut from the video when control was wrestled from Monty Python for the rights. Why the offense? Because they wore swastika-like Stars-of-David and they goose-stepped? Because they followed a small-mustached leader named Otto who dreamed of a racially pure state for Jews only? I'm surprised that more Monty Python fans aren't livid at the suggestion the classic has been censored for all posterity. But only those who saw Life of Brian in the theater, or can pick up an out-of-print paperback of the screenplay, would know what lines successive viewers don't hear to memorize. Lines like these between Eric Idle and Graham Chapman: OTTO: It’s time, you know ... Time that we Jews racially purified ourselves ... We need more living room. We must move into the traditionally Jewish areas of Samaria. BRIAN: What about the Samaritans? OTTO: Well, we can put them in little camps. And after Samaria we must move into Jordan and create a great Jewish state that will last a thousand years. Imagine a Zionist depicted using Hitler's expression "living space!" Lebensraum meant a homeland where the German people could live unmolested, with room for their population to grow. Associating Zionists with Nazis has always meant courting trouble. Does it sound incredible that defenders of Israel would take a knife to Monty Python's work? Know any other blockbuster movies of the late 70s which mysteriously shed memorable scenes when they reemerged on video? Criterion recently released a DVD with extras that purport to include the deleted scenes, you can see them on Youtube, but they are actually outtakes with bits missing still, in particular the lines above. I wrote about this at length in an earlier post, when I came upon the missing dialog just by chance. In that post I also transcribed the full text of the censored scenes. Back to the joke made at the Free Gaza Movement's expense. Hopefully the organizers can laugh it off. Really Jerusalem-based reporter Jackie Rowland was making hay of an email shown to her by a participant being compelled to switch the word "Palestine" for "Gaza" because they were not authorized to speak officially for the "Free Gaza Movement." With any improvised collection of activists, only those tasked should speak for the whole. Especially someone who may have been admonished beforehand not to present themselves as a spokesman. I cannot presume to know what were the

Gaza Freedom Flotilla sea rendezvous

Two vessels from the Gaza-bound humanitarian aid convoy met up this morning between the Aegean Islands of Amorgos and Astypalaia. The Swedish/Greek cargo Ship To Gaza FREE MEDITERRANEAN (formerly the Sofia) is now cruising along side the SFENDONI, a passenger ship for the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza. More pictures at Xstefanou's the Press Project and at Equal Society. (Below are updated photos of the growing fleet.) FREE MEDITERRANEAN (Formerly SOFIA) SFENDONI APION CHALLENGER I MAVI MARMARA ISRAELI NAVY

Israeli yacht club sends Anti-Freedom Flotilla to protest Gaza relief convoy

PICTURES! -Some very expensive yachts sailed from Herziliya Yacht Club in a feint of indignation that an international social justice effort was showing favoritism toward Palestinians. No Gaza yacht club could be reached for a response. Commodore Guy Bechor, an outspoken Zionist, led the ostentatious flotilla in protest of the humanitarian aid convoy attempting to break the siege of Gaza, which he belittled as "rusty tin cans." The banners for their private regatta? TURKEY=IRAN? and FREE GILAD, an interesting conceit. 1.5 million Gazans are being blockaded to coerce the release of one Israeli POW. That's a ratio similar to the disproportionate casualties of the 2008 Gaza "War." While soldier Gilad Shalit is considered a hostage of Hamas, he was an IDF soldier captured by the resistance. Israel holds 8,000 Palestinians in detention, not counting all the residents of Gaza. The Gaza Massacre, like the ongoing siege itself, is recognized as an illegal act of collective punishment. A fact apparently lost on the Yerziliya skippers. Likewise the disconnect they display in presuming to insult the Turkish leader by associating him with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Though the yacht flotilla raised fears of creating an embarrassing confrontation with the humanitarian fleet, in reality it was a single day affair. The Israeli counter protesters were informed that the entire coast of Gaza has been cordoned by the Israeli navy. The pretext it will use to try to arrest the Freedom Flotilla blockade runners. Bechor's website G-planet celebrates all the press they received, I don't see the harm in giving them more. These pictures speak a thousand words, almost as many days as Gaza has been under illegal siege. See more pictures at Bechor's Facebook album. The irony of the singular concern for Gilad Shalit might have caused Bechor to think twice about the message. All photos of yachts featuring the banners about Shalit have been curiously scrubbed, but they remain on some Turkish news sites. Bechor list dozens of Turkish media outlets which covered his anti-relief regatta, demonstrating a strategy of aiming to undercut Turkish public support for what it predominantly its humanitarian effort. While several of the outlets might be Hasbara properties echoing Israel PR, most of the articles about the Israeli counter-protest make as much fun of it as we. For the record, here is the port at Gaza, absent of yachts. The relief convoy will even have to improvise docks for unloading their supplies.

Robert Fisk and the language of power, danger words: Competing Narratives

Celebrated reporter -and verb- Robert Fisk had harsh words, "danger words" he called them, for host Al-Jazeera where he gave an address about the language of power which has infected newsman and reader alike. Beware your unambiguous acceptance of empty terms into which state propagandists let you infer nuance: power players, activism, non-state actors, key players, geostrategic players, narratives, external players, meaningful solutions, --meaning what? I'll not divulge why these stung Al-J, but I'd like to detail the full list, and commit not to condone their false usage at NMT, without ridicule, "quotes" or disclaimer. Fisk listed several expressions which he attributes to government craftsmen. Unfortunately journalists have been parroting these terms without questioning their dubious meaning. Fisk began with a favorite, the endless, disingenuous, "peace process." What is that - victor-defined purgatory? Why would "peace" be a "process" Fisk asks. How appropriate that some of the West's strongest critics are linguists. Fisk lauded the current seagoing rescue of Gaza, the convoy determined to break the Israeli blockade. He compared it to the Berlin Airlift, when governments saw fit to help besieged peoples, even former enemies. This time however, the people have to act where their governments do not. I read recently that the Gaza Freedom Flotilla might be preparing accommodations for Noam Chomsky to join the passage. Won't that be an escalation? I imagine if Robert Fisk would climb aboard too, it would spell doom for any chance the relief supplies would reach the Gazans. A ship convoy with Chomsky and Fisk on board would present an opportunity that an Israeli torpedo could not resist. Here is his list. If you can't peruse the lecture, at least ponder these words with as much skepticism as you can. The parenthesis denote my shorthand. peace process (detente under duress, while enduring repression) "Peace of the Brave" (accept your subjugation, coined for Algeria, then France lost) "Hearts and Minds" (Vietnam era psych-ops, then US lost) spike (to avoid saying: increase) surge (reinforcements, you send them in you're losing) key players (only puppets and their masters need apply) back on track (the objective has been on rails?) peace envoy (in mob-speak: the cleaner) road map (winner's bill of lading for the spoils) experts (vetted opinions) indirect talks (concurrent soliloquies, duets performed solo in proximity to common fiddler calling tune) competing narratives (parallel universes in one? naturally the perpetrator is going to tell a different tale, disputing that of victim's; ungoing result is no justice and no injustice) examples: occupied vs. disputed; wall vs. security barrier; colonization vs settlements, outposts or Jewish neighborhoods. foreign fighters (them, but always us) Af-Pak (ignores third party India and thus dispute to Kashmir) appeasers (sissies who don't have bully's back) Weapons of Mass Destruction (not Iraq, now not Iran) think tanks (ministry of propaganda privatized) challenges (avoids they are problems) intervention (asserted authority by military force) change agents (by undisclosed means?) Until asked otherwise, I'll append Fisk's talk here: Robert Fisk, The Independent newspaper's

Live webcam on Gaza Freedom Flotilla Turkish passenger ship Mavi Marmara

GAZA FREEDOM FLOTILLA- DAY TWO. You can follow events from a live webcam on the Turkish passenger ship MAVI MARMARA, with camera pointing over bow. The Swedish/Greek cargo ship SOFIA is still livestreaming her loading in Athens. We await details of Algerian cargo AL-JAZAIR, Turkish cargos GAZZE and DEFNE Y, German passenger yacht CHALLENGER I and the Irish MV RACHEL CORRIE. (Details on each relief convoy ship at this post.) We probably cannot expect the webcams to broadcast as the flotilla nears the Israeli Navy. This is explained in article on Media Line which interviewed FreeGazaOrg's Greta Berlin: In an attempt to curtail a public relations disaster of armed troops confronting the civilian ships, the Israel Navy is expected to jam the satellite transmission and otherwise use electronic warfare to quash all coverage and photos of the event. “They have turned off our satellite phones. They have blocked our transmissions. We have live stream videos and we will continue to broadcast as long as we can. As long as it is on live and the signal suddenly goes out, then I think the world clearly knows what is happening and what Israel is doing.” Aboard MAVI MARMARA SOFIA in port.

Relief convoy to bring media Armada

What this Freedom Flotilla has over previous relief efforts like the Viva Palestina caravans is a momentum building in the international press. It's the big ship effect that works for gunship diplomacy, brought to bear this time to enforce social justice, too big to ignore. (Update 5/24: Australia's Sidney Morning Herald has three articles: 1. the Turkish sendoff 2. Elvis Costello honoring the BDS cultural boycott, and 3. an in-depth story featuring the trademarked media logo BUSTING THE BLOCKADE!) Admittedly America's is a Zionist media. That's where I suppose the social media campaign must wag the Zionist dog, to mix pun with metaphor. It's going to help no doubt that the Israeli press is already awash with anticipation. Where the last Viva Palestina humanitarian convoy crossed continents before the BBC begrudged it coverage, the 2010 Freedom Flotilla, including ShiptoGaza and the Free Gaza Movement have already hit BBC radar. The IHH efforts are being joined by a cargo ship which just left Algiers. Here are the latest photos from Turkey, a Convoy to Gaza blog being updated by UK activist Lorbital, and Tox's notes about DAY ONE of relief convoy, day 1075 of Gaza Siege. With Israel vowing to stop them, and the Freedom Flotilla determined to push through, the showdown will have Western media outlets unable to maintain their news blackout. This will be no USS Liberty pummeled by sneak attack with no witnesses permitted to break the story. The Gaza relief convoy numbers nine ships, with more adventurers joining the escort no doubt, a measure of supporters' anticipation of an inevitable catharsis for the siege. The inertia looks good to me. Press releases are flying announcing who's joining the convoy (now a USS Liberty survivor), and European diplomats are issuing statements that they expect Israel to give the convoy safe passage. Wait until the ships are making the final crossing from Cyprus for heavyweight supporters such as George Galloway or Hugo Chavez to weigh in. The Israeli press is already running circles. A fleet of Israeli sailboats from the Herziliya Marina is preparing to greet the relief convoy with banners that say HAMAS SUCKS to counter whatever humanitarian message they worry the "peace activists" might score. There's some speculation that Israel would fare better PR by letting the aid through. A fortuitous coincidence places White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in Israel when the blockade-runners are due to arrive. By Israel, I actually mean the Occupied Territories. Emanuel was trying to book the Western Wall for his son's barmitzvah. Plans were changed due either to threats from the ultra-right because of US criticisms of continuing settlement building, or because US officials are prohibited from conducting personal business outside of Israel's Green Line. The cargo ship which sailed from Algeria today is the al-Jazair. More info on this ship as we find it. ShiptoGaza Sweden has uploaded more pictures of the loading of the charming Sofia in Athens. Turkey's third convoy vessel has been identified as the massive cargo ship Defne Y (IMO: 7725518), loading in Istanbul

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