The ships involved in this international volunteer and donations effort to the people of Gaza has now been effectively blocked from leaving the Athens harbor – most probably as a result of pressure from Israel and the US on the near-bankrupt state of Greece. Below are extracts from a comment by Starhawk, which she published a week or so ago, when the flotilla was still going to leave:
Another Gaza flotilla is forming up in the Mediterranean, and the Israeli authorities are trying every possible avenue to stop it—from pressuring the companies that insure boats to lawsuits to threats of violence against its passengers.
Why is the flotilla needed? Hasn’t Egypt opened the Rafah border?
One of the frustrations around the issue of Palestine is how often what governments say diverges from what they do. Israel says it has relaxed controls on goods and foodstuffs and necessities of life entering Gaza—what actually happens is that a few more brands of cookies get in but materials necessary to rebuild the four hundred homes and eighty public buildings destroyed in Israel’s military assault of 2008-9 are still kept out. Egypt says the border is open—but trying to get in or out is still an ordeal and decisions are quite arbitrary and unpredictable as to whether a student succeeds in leaving to pursue her education or whether a sick child is able to leave to get medical care. Read Ramzy Baroud’s account on Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/baroud06172011.html
What is the flotilla bringing that so scares the Israeli authorities? Medical supplies, cement for rebuilding, an ambulance and a mobile hospital—the cargo is checked and rechecked and certified and the passengers are committed to nonviolence. No, it’s not really the cargo that’s a threat, it’s something else the flotilla brings—light. By openly challenging the blockade, the flotilla makes visible the prison walls that surround Gaza and shine the light of truth on the complicity of the United States and international community in allowing the Israeli authorities to continually violate international law by imposing a collective punishment on an entire people.
More and more Jews inside and outside of Israel are disavowing Israel’s policies. Gideon Levy, a columnist for the major Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, writes of “the terrible international damage Israel inflicts upon itself as a result of its violent behavior. How simple (and just ) it would be to allow these well-intentioned people to reach their goal; in contrast, how idiotic, violent and unnecessary it would be to release the commandos once again, to go after them.”
Rabbis from Tikkun’s Michael Lerner to Rabbis for Human Rights, organizations that include Jewish Voice for Peace, J-Street, Jews for Justice for Palestine and many more, have all spoken out for the human rights of Palestinians as well as Israelis. Many of the passengers and organizers of the flotilla are Jews.
Filed under: Current Events, Economics & Finance, Modern History, Politics | Tagged: Counterpunch, Egypt, Gaza, Gaza flotilla, Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, Israel, J-Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestine, Michael Learner, Palestine, Rafah border, Ramzy Baroud, Starhawk, Tikkun |