Monday, 31 May 2010

Protest Against Israeli Killings of Peace Activists

From the BBC:
More than 10 people have been killed after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army says.

Armed forces boarded the vessels overnight, clashing with some of the 600 protesters on board.

The exact location of the interception is unclear. Israel had warned the ships not to enter its territorial waters.

The ships are carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to try to break a long-standing Israeli-led blockade.

Israel says its forces were attacked by activists when they got on board.

"The people on the boats were very, very violent toward the soldiers," Israeli military spokeswoman Lt Col Avital Leibovich was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Organisers of the flotilla said at least 30 people were wounded in the incident.

An Israeli government minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, was reported as expressing regret for "all the fatalities".

Turkey, one of whose charities is a main organiser of the flotilla, said it "strongly condemn[ed] these inhumane practices of Israel", AFP said.

Turkish TV pictures taken on board the Turkish ship leading the flotilla appeared to show Israeli soldiers fighting to control passengers.

The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. It is not clear whether the fighting is continuing.
Full report here. You can follow this Twitter feed and website for news as it happens.

There's is a protest outside Downing Street TODAY at 2pm.

8:45 update: The Israelis' chief spokesman has just been on BBC News defending the action in his usual pugnacious manner. He is arguing the commandos were attacked first and claims the footage of the raid shows this - completely ignoring that these commandos were heavily armed and boarding a ship they knew contained nothing more than peace activists.

This is where he tried to muddy the waters. Despite knowing the humanitarian nature of the flotilla he tried claiming the Israeli government was "unclear" about whether the ships were carrying weaponry. If they had nothing to hide then why didn't they put in at an Israeli port?

These look like the main lines of argument apologists will be pursuing over the next few days.

Footage here and here.


Phil said...

MarshaJane has sent the following to the Israeli embassy:

Todays actions - email sent - please do likewise
Email below sent to

The actions of your armed forces in committing murder in international waters are an outrage.

The flotilla was attempting to deliver 500 wheel chairs, 100 pre-fabricated homes, crayons & Toys for kids - from watching the video of the Israeli assault from Turkish television: it is clear that soldiers started shooting as they hit the deck.

The peace activists on board did not have firearms and did not shoot first.

The attack from your armed forces is yet another act of Israeli barbarism.


Czarny Kot said...

Shocking stuff.

RIP all those killed and condolences to their friends and family.

Thing like this make me wish I lived somewhere like London where I could actually join in a protest rather than fuming impotently at the TV and internet.

Phil said...

Same here.

SamG said...

Marsha Jane has shown that you don't need to live in London to do something. You can send letters of protest to your Mp's, to the BBC etc etc.

There is no excuse.

Czarny Kot said...

@SamG: You're right, of course. But there are times when sending an email does just not feel enough.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Israel seems determined to harm its credibility and image even further and all this with a White House less than keen to back them as fully as others have. Very dangerous behaviour by Israel.

Phil said...

Dangerous and stupid. According to one report I read earlier the Turkish government are saying they will provide naval escorts for future aid convoys. Had Israel stayed its hand and the aid had got through, there might have been a few red faces in its government. But because they acted as per their doctrine of disproportionate force they're facing international condemnation and a dangerous future flashpoint.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Indeed, they constantly manage to drive the world against them and they are losing backers very quickly.

skidmarx said...

I did think the least other mediterranean governments could do is send twice as many aid ships and back them up with naval protection.
Instead we see the UN producing the most anodyne resolution possible.
The spokeswoman for the Free Gaza Movement interviewed by the BBC answered the point of why they couldn't just call in at Ashdod: much of what they were carrying, from window-frames to water purification systems the Israelis won't let through.
I think it might be Jeremy Bowen who pointed out that Israel could shut down the tunnels if it really wanted to, it suits the Isaraeli state to be seen to be squeezing Hamas.
One disappointment with the BBC coverage is that they keep asking why Hamas is still firing rockets into Israel, when in fact they've been doing their best to stop rocket fire (and as a Syrian spokeswoman pointed out, the rockets have only ever killed three Israelis). Though not as disappointing as the CBS coverage, which only gave the Israeli side, which would suggest that the domestic pressure on the US government is unlikely to force it into any real action over this.

James Bloodworth said...

While I disagree profoundly with those such as Yvonne Ridley, George Galloway and the types who often stuff these "peace missions", I find the excuses being made for Israel utterly repellent. There's absolutely no justification for these murders - it is an act of piracy pure and simple.

As to the excusers: visit Harry's Place if you wish to bring up your dinner.

neilcaff said...

Socialist Party MEP attacks American Ambassador over support for Israel