Video Shows Israeli Commando Executing Turkish-American Aid Student
The Israeli military attempted to confiscate and erase the photographic
and video evidence of its brutal asault on the Mavi Marmara ...The most
damaging is a film of an Israeli soldier kicking an American citizen while
the latter is on the ground,and then executing him.
SEE THE VIDEO:
Appeal to Parliamentarians Worldwide for MK Haneen Zoubi
MK Haneen Zoubi (BALAD) faces death threats as the Israeli Knesset House
Committee votes to revoke her Parliamentary privileges for participating
in the Gaza-bound humanitarian aid Flotilla and protesting against the
blockade. Take Action!
Averting Another Gaza
by BERNARD KOUCHNER, FRANCO FRATTINI, and MIGUEL ANGEL MORATINOS
The foreign ministers, respectively, of France, Italy and Spain
The whole world was shocked by the tragic consequences of the Israeli
military operation conducted in international waters against the “Peace
Flotilla” convoy of ships. The human cost is unacceptable. Nothing can
justify the use of such violence, and our countries immediately condemned
Following these dramatic events, the time must come for analysis and
reflection on the root reasons of the tragedy. The cause of the boarding
of the Mavi Marmara can be summarized in a single word, one that is very
familiar to us: Gaza.
U.S. Congress Defends Israeli Attack
by Stephen Zunes
...To rationalize what virtually the entire international legal community
recognizes as an act of war, congressional Democrats have engaged in a
series of falsifications and radical reinterpretations of international
law. ...[M]any Democrats who have engaged in these right-wing attacks on
human rights and international law consider themselves "progressive."
...Peace and human rights activists should raise an outcry in response to
the dangerously intemperate and inaccurate statements from congressional
Democrats and then deny support for the re-election of any member of
Congress who continues to support this latest Israeli atrocity.
Turkish Doctor Describes Treating Israeli Commandos During Raid
New York Times Blog
In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Hasan Huseyin Uysal, a
Turkish doctor, said that he treated Israeli commandos who were captured
and briefly detained during the initial stages of a raid on a ship
challenging Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza last week.
Dr. Uysal’s account seems to be supported by two photographs that show him
treating one of the three bloodied commandos whom passengers said they
subdued and disarmed at the start of the predawn raid on the main ship in
the flotilla on May 31.
READ MORE AT:
The crimes I saw on the Mavi Marmara
By Free Gaza board member Lubna Masarwa, Electronic Intifada
During the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, deep in international
waters, I was inside the body of the ship. We were unarmed civilians
ranging in age from a one-year-old child to an 88-year-old priest. We were
going to Gaza to break the siege that Israel has imposed on a
million-and-a-half people for the last four years. We were carrying a
cargo of humanitarian and construction aid as well as letters from Turkish
children to the children of Gaza. We were full of hope.
READ MORE AT: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11327.shtml
Our other key speakers include: George Galloway, Ghada Karmi, Norman Finkelstein, Abdul Rahim Mourad, Dr Ali Fayad, Ziad Hafez, Reem Nimer, Vangelis Pissias, Dr Daud Abdullah, Ma'an Bashour, Yvonne Ridley, Ramzy Baroud, Gabi Baramki, and Dr Azzam Tamimi who will all provide lectures on Past, Present and the Future of Palestine.
Spaces are limited!
Visit https://www.vivapalestinaarabia.org/en/sign-up or contact Alice Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your reservations. Group bookings are available.
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Sign up to the Viva Palestina Mailing List http://www.vivapalestina.org/alert.htm
Viva Palestina, helping to make the positive steps in breaking the siege of Gaza!
In an undisclosed harbor in the Mediterranean, a small vessel is waiting
for a special mission. She will be sailing to Gaza. In order to avoid
sabotage, the exact date and name of the port of departure will be
announced only shortly before her launch.
"Our purpose is to call an end to the siege of Gaza, to this illegal
collective punishment of the whole civilian population. Our boat is small,
so our donations can only be symbolic: we are taking school bags, filled
with donations from German school children, musical instruments and art
materials. For the medical services we are taking essential medicines and
small medical equipment, and for the fishermen we are taking nets and
tackle. We are liaising with the medical, educational and mental health
services in Gaza..
''In attacking the Freedom Flotilla, Israel has once again demonstrated to
the world a heinous brutality. But I know that there are very many
Israelis who compassionately and bravely campaign for a just peace. As
broadcasting journalists from mainstream television programs are
accompanying our boat, Israel will have a great chance to show the world
that there is another way, a way of courage not fear, a way of hope not
hate'', says Edith Lutz, one of the organizers and passenger on the
The ''Jüdische Stimme'' (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Near East),
along with her friends of EJJP (European Jews for a Just Peace in the Near
East) and Jews for Justice For Palestinians (UK) are sending a call to the
leaders of the world to help Israel find her way back to reason, a sense
of humanity and a life without fear. ''Jewish Voices'' expects the
political leaders of Israel and the world to guarantee a safe passage for
the small vessel to Gaza, thus helping to form a bridge towards peace.
For More Information Please Contact:
(Germany) Edith Lutz, EJJP, +49 152 0451 9740
(Germany) Kate Leiterer, EJJP, +49 1629 6604 72472
(Great Britain) Glyn Secker, Jews for Justice For Palestinians, +44 (0)79
The military released a statement indicating that a recording it made public on June 4th had been edited to remove the context around the offending statements, which also included an unidentified man saying, "We're helping the Arabs go against the US. Don't forget 9/11."
"So to clarify: the audio was edited down to cut out periods of silence over the radio as well as incomprehensible comments so as to make it easier for people to listen to the exchange," the military spokesperson's office said. "We have now uploaded the entire segment of 5 minutes and 58 seconds in which the exchange took place and the comments were made."
This statement comes after American journalist Max Blumenthal reported that several aspects of the "Auschwitz" video were suspect. The military claimed that the radio exchange was with the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, whereas in the recording the voice of flotilla organizer Huwaida Arraf is heard. Arraf was not on the Mavi Marmara, and was on a smaller passenger boat in the flotilla, the Challenger One. She confirmed to the New York-based media organization Institute For Middle East Understanding (IMEU) that her voice appeared in the apparently doctored clip.
This is the "edited" (or doctored) audio clip:
This is what Israel claims is the unedited radio transmission:
However, the release of the new "unedited audio" raises further questions. In the "unedited tape," the Israeli officer is heard radioing the Defne Y, another of the Turkish-owned ships, not the Mavi Marmara.
In the new audio released on Saturday, a man's voice comes over the radio at 1:56 saying "Yeah go ahead, navy." Oddly, the same voice reappears at 2:24 saying the same thing. The intonation of his voice is the same in both places.
The Israeli military also did not explain the discrepancy between the video released on June 4th, and the one it released on May 31st, which depicts the same Israeli soldier apparently contacting the Mavi Marmara over the radio, in which the "Auschwitz" and 9/11 comments do not appear.
This is the original May 31st video:
Update: Israeli journalist and Palestine Note contributor Mya Guarnieri, writing for the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, reports that Huwaida Arraf was listening to the flotilla's radio transmission as the ship approached Gaza, and said she did not hear any of the alleged remarks released by the Israeli military:
"I was by the radio the whole time there was any communication. Mine was the only boat in which I answered and not the captain and they all answered in a very professional manner." Arraf told Ma'an that while she might have spoken of having permission from the Gaza Port Authority on a previous attempt to break the blockade, she is certain that she did not say it on Monday morning. "When they radioed us, we were still 100 miles away," she explained.
Update 2: Max Blumenthal reminds readers that Haaretz, Yedtioth, and other Israeli media, in addition to US media like the Washington Post, published the "Auschwitz" tape as an unquestioned fact. Will they retract?
What happened to us is happening in Gaza
by Iara Lee
Saturday, June 5, 2010
In the predawn hours of May 31, I was aboard the Turkish ship Mavi
Marmara, part of a convoy of humanitarian vessels aiming to deliver aid to
besieged civilians in Gaza, when we were attacked in international waters
by a unit of Israeli commandos.
Our ship had been inspected by customs agents in Turkey, a NATO member,
who confirmed that there were no guns or any such weapons aboard. Indeed,
the Israeli government has produced no such arms. What was aboard the ship
were hundreds of civilian passengers, representatives of dozens of
countries, who had planned to deliver the flotilla's much-needed
humanitarian materials for the Gazan people. These Palestinians have
suffered under an illegal siege - first imposed by Israel in 2005 and
strictly enforced since early 2009 - which Amnesty International has
called "a flagrant violation of international law."
The passengers on our ship - including elected officials, diplomats, media
professionals and human rights workers - joined the flotilla as an act of
peaceful protest. Israel's powerful navy could have easily approached our
boat and boarded it in broad daylight or pursued nonviolent options for
disabling our vessel. Instead, the Israeli military launched a nighttime
assault with heavily armed commandos. Under attack, some passengers
skirmished with the boarding soldiers using broomsticks and other items at
hand. The commandos and navy soldiers shot and killed at least nine
civilians and seriously injured dozens more. Others are still missing. The
final death toll has yet to be determined.
I feared for the lives of my fellow passengers as I heard shots being
fired on deck, and I later saw the bodies of several people killed being
carried inside. I had expected soldiers to shoot in the air or aim at
people's legs, but instead I saw the bodies of people who appeared to have
been shot multiple times in the head or chest.
When it was over, the Israeli soldiers commandeered our ships, illegally
kidnapped us from international waters, towed us to the port of Ashdod,
and arrested all of us on board.
The Israeli government has confiscated all of our video equipment, hard
drives with video footage, cell phones and notebooks. They detained the
journalists aboard my ship, preventing them for days from speaking about
what happened. Acting on Israel's behalf at the U.N. Security Council, the
United States has attempted to block a full, impartial, international
investigation of the incident.
Nevertheless, even at this early stage the world has expressed outrage
around a basic fact: There is no justification for launching a deadly
commando attack in the dark of night on a humanitarian-aid convoy.
The Israeli government denies that its punitive blockade of Gaza is the
source of hardship for civilians there. While its spokespeople actively
work to create confusion in the media, the truth is clear for all who
would care to see it. The overwhelming conclusion of highly respected
human rights authorities is that the Israeli government, because it does
not accept the legitimacy of the elected Hamas government, is pursuing a
policy of what Human Rights Watch calls "collective punishment against the
civilian population," illegal under international law.
With regard to the flotilla I was on, the Israeli government says it would
have permitted our humanitarian aid to enter Gaza by land had we submitted
it through "proper channels." But Israel's "proper channels" - restrictive
checkpoints that have repeatedly turned away World Health Organization
medical supplies and rejected or delayed the delivery of U.N. food aid -
are the very source of the humanitarian crisis.
Israeli spokespeople insist that the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was a
provocation. It was, in the sense that civil rights protesters in the
American south who sat at segregated lunch counters represented a
provocation to segregationists, or in the sense that all nonviolent
protests against the illegitimate acts of a government are by definition
provocations. Under an illegal siege, the delivery of aid to civilians is
a prohibited act; the intent of our humanitarian convoy was to violate
this unjust prohibition.
At least nine of my fellow passengers were killed by the Israeli military
for attempting to defy the ban on delivering aid. Far more Palestinian
civilians have died as a result of the siege itself. What happened to our
flotilla is happening to the people of Gaza on a daily basis. It will not
stop until international law is applied to all countries, Israel included.
Iara Lee is a filmmaker and a co-founder of the San Francisco's Caipirinha
© 2010 Hearst Communications Inc.
VOTE “YES” ON CNN POLL!!!
A survey on the CNN website asks:
Should Israel face censure over an attack on a Gaza aid convoy?
To vote click HERE
PRESS BRIEFING - WitnessGaza.com
DID ISRAEL DELIBERATELY MURDER CIVILIANS ABOARD FREEDOM FLOTILLA?
Israeli Ambassador to the United States admits that ships were "too large to stop with nonviolent means."
On May 31st, 2010, elite Israeli military commandos stormed six humanitarian aid ships taking part in the 'Freedom Flotilla' to Gaza, killing between 9-20 civilian passengers and injuring dozens more. As the facts of the attack come out it is clear that these killings cannot in any way be justified.
PRIOR TO THE ISRAELI ATTACK - The Freedom Flotilla
The Freedom Flotilla was an effort by a coalition of human rights and humanitarian organizations to nonviolently break through Israel's illegal blockade, and deliver much needed humanitarian and developmental aid to the Palestinians of Gaza. Almost 700 passengers from 40 different countries joined the flotilla, including: human rights workers, humanitarian aid workers, Members of Parliament, doctors, nurses, teachers, community leaders, and international journalists.
The lead coalition partners included:
* Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the largest coalition partner, contributing 2 Turkish-flagged cargo ships, the Turkish-flagged passenger ship "Mavi Marmara," and 380 Turkish nationals to the effort. This was IHH's first attempt to break the Gaza blockade.
* The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, contributing the Greek-flagged passenger ship "Sfendoni." This was the European Campaign's second mission to Gaza.
* The Free Gaza Movement, contributing the U.S.-flagged passenger ship "Challenger I." This was Free Gaza's ninth mission to Gaza.
* A Ship to Gaza, Sweden, and A Ship to Gaza, Greece, contributing the Greek-flagged cargo ship "Eleftheri Mesogeios." This was the first voyage of A Ship to Gaza, Sweden, and the fourth of a Ship to Gaza, Greece.
All ships were thoroughly searched by local port authorities in Greece and Turkey prior to their departure. Additionally, the coalition hired an independent security firm to search the ships and certify that no weapons were on board. All passengers went through nonviolence training and were likewise searched for weapons prior to boarding. The Turkish government, a member-state of the NATO alliance, vetted all the Turkish passengers to insure there was no one with ties to extremist groups. These precautionary steps were deliberately taken to prevent Israeli propaganda officials from ever being able to claim that the Freedom Flotilla posed any 'security risk' to Israel.
There was a live satellite feed broadcasting the voyage from the Mavi Marmara, as well as GPS transponders showing the exact location of the flotilla at all times to anyone viewing the coalition website. The intention of the Freedom Flotilla was never to 'provoke a confrontation,' but simply to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza, and in so doing to draw attention to the brutal Israeli policies that are forcing the Palestinian people into a state of impoverished dependency.
PRIOR TO THE ISRAELI ATTACK - The Israeli Government
On 27 May, Bloomberg News reported that Israel was threatening to use its military forces and “use all available means to stop the ships” ('Israel Threatens Naval Action to Stop Aid Ships Bound for Gaza').
On 28 May the Associated Press reported that the Israeli government was prepared to stop the flotilla "at any cost," including being "prepared to use force." ('Israeli gunships head to sea to block flotilla'). It was further reported that masked naval commandos were being "trained" to stop the flotilla.
On 1 June the Guardian reported that Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy Defense Minister, suggested that the Israeli military had sabotaged several of the Freedom Flotilla ships. The flotilla was in fact delayed by two days due to unexpected mechanical problems, and 3 of the original 9 ships intending to join the flotilla were forced to drop off. ('Gaza aid flotilla: Israeli sabotage suspected,' Guardian, 1 June 2010)
THE MASSACRE ABOARD THE MARI MARMARA
On 31 May, under cover of darkness, Israeli military forces surrounded the Freedom Flotilla in international waters. Armed and masked commandos stormed all 6 ships from sea and from air, killing between 9 and 20 civilians. After more than 2 days, Israel still refuses to release the names and identities of the dead, nor even confirm the number of passengers killed by their forces.
An Israeli military spokesperson, Avital Leibovich, confirmed the attack took place in international waters, stating: "This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves."
Did the passengers aboard the Mari Marmara possess a similar right to defend themselves?
Israel released highly-edited videos of the confrontation, claiming that civilian passengers aboard the Mari Marmara attempted to "lynch" the well-armed military commandos when they first stormed the ship. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the commandos, stating: "You carried out the mission and prevented the flotilla from reaching Gaza. We need to always remember that we aren't North America or Western Europe, we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak and there aren't second chances for those who don't defend themselves." ('Barak: In the Middle East, there is no mercy for the weak,' Haaretz, 2 June 2010.)
Again, one wonders whether this sentiment extends to the civilians killed by those commandos as well.
In contrast to the Israeli account of events, which is self-evidently absurd, Jamal Elshayyal, an Al-Jazeera correspondent aboard the Mari Marmara was able to issue a brief report before Israeli forces cut all communications with the ships. Elshayyal's report contradict the Israeli version of events, stating that Israel fired live ammunition on the civilians after they had raised a white flag. View the live report yourself at:
Eyewitness testimony from the handful of passengers who have been released directly contradicts Israel's version as well. According to Nilufer Cetin, who sailed on the Mari Marmara with her one-year-old baby, "The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn't stop these warnings turned into an attack," she said."There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters."('Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists,' Guardian, 1 June 2010)
Cetin's account is just one of several contradicting the Israeli narrative. Haneen Zoubi, a Member of the Israeli Knesset, and just one of several parliamentarians aboard the flotilla, stated that Israeli warships surrounded the Mavi Marmara, firing on the ship before the commandos stormed aboard.
At a press conference in Nazareth, shortly after her release, MK Zoubi also stated that: "“Israel had days to plan this military operation. They wanted many deaths to terrorize us and to send a message that no future aid convoys should try to break the siege of Gaza.” ('Israeli Knesset member rejects navy account of attack,' Irish Sun, 2 June 2010)
Yonatan Shapira, former pilot in the IDF for the very squadron that conducted the assault on the Mavi Marmara stated: "No Israeli pilot would drop commandos on a ship in the middle of the sea, in the middle of the night, during such an operation without the soldiers carrying live ammunition. Paint ball canisters may have been attached to the automatic weapons that they had, but there is no doubt that the soldiers had and were prepared to use live ammunition"
In an interview on the Diane Rehm Show on 2 June, a nationally-broadcast radio program in the United States, Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, stated that in planning their assault the Marmara, the Israeli government had concluded that the ship was "too large to stop with nonviolent means."
There is clear evidence present that the State of Israeli may have deliberately and with forethought intended to provoke a conflict in order to assassinate civilians sailing aboard the Freedom Flotilla, and therefore violently discourage any further attempts to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinians of besieged Gaza.
The Free Gaza Movement calls upon the international community to enforce international standards and laws, fully investigate these crimes, and hold Israeli officials accountable for the willful murder of international human rights and humanitarian aid workers aboard the Freedom Flotilla.
For More Information, please contact:
Greta Berlin or Mary Hughes, +357 99 187 275 / + 357 96 383 809
Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH):
Ahmet Emin Dag, +90 530 341 1934
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza:
Mazen Kahel, +33 1 4681 1292
Yonatan Shapira, former IDF pilot
+1 443 465 7610
Links about Palestine-Israel conflict
- An Israeli in Palestine
- Historiaa ja faktaa Suomeksi
- Jews against the occupation
- Medical Aid for Palestinians
- Rebuilding alliance
- US Campaign to end the Israeli occupation
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