- On July 7, Israel National News writer Elad Benari headlined,
"Failed Flotilla: Only 2 Ships Leave for Gaza," saying:
- Only "two ships have so far been able to leave (Greece)
on their way to Gaza." On July 5, the French boat MVDignite/Al Karma
broke out and sailed. On July 7, Press TV, Gaza TV and other news sources
said Greek commandos on Crete blocked it from proceeding.
- Organizer Claude Leostic told AFP that their vessel "was
taken to Sitia in Crete by the Greek Coast Guard after being stopped in
a nearby port (for) refueling. The authorities (gave) various administrative
reasons" for doing so, none of which are justified.
- On July 6, Ynet News.com writer Aviel Magnezi headlined,
"Juliano ship (with Greek, Norwegian and Swedish activists on board)
heads for Gaza," saying:
- On board activist Dror Feiler said, "(a)ll roads
lead to Gaza. It will be a small but high-quality flotilla. At this point,
I can only say that after a lengthy battle, we finally succeeded in departing."
- The Voice of Israel said it was allowed to sail on condition
it doesn't head for Gaza. Activists on board explained that Greece's Coast
Guard is monitoring their movements remotely. Israel is pulling out all
stops to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza and defeat Flotilla
efforts to arrive.
- On July 7, Magnezi said Juliano, "Norwegian, Swedish
Gaza-bound flotilla activists to announce their return home" after
Greek forces blocked them at sea.
- Eight other vessels can't sail. Two were sabotaged and
disabled. Greek authorities block the others from departing.
- On July 6, a US Boat to Gaza/Audacity of Hope update
said its mission "is winding down," despite heroic efforts to
succeed. However, Greece's "willingness to (enforce) Israel's naval
blockade of Gaza made it impossible for this journey to happen."
- Nonetheless, heroic efforts tried, even at personal risk.
"Last night our group's activities in Athens ended. (Everyone) went
to Syntagma Square....We unfurled, to drum beats, 22 flags sewn together
representing the countries participating in the Flotilla."
- "It was quite a sight. Now our folks are beginning
the journey home - some will arrive today, some tomorrow and others in
the days ahead."
- Most important is staying the course, ending Gaza's siege
and Israel's illegal occupation. "That, after all is said and done,
is what this effort (is all) about, and that (this) work must continue."
- On July 6, International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC)
writer Kevin Murphy headlined, "Israel Human Rights Org's Express
Support For Flotilla," saying:
- Gush Shalom, Rabbis for Human Rights, the Israeli Committee
Against House Demolitions, Women for Peace, and other Israeli human rights
groups "signed a letter supporting the Freedom Flotilla 2 and calling
on the Greek and Israeli governments to allow it safe passage to Gaza."
- The letter criticized slanderous media campaigns as "lies
(perhaps) designed by the government as a pretext and justification in
advance (of) further acts of violence against activists taking part in
a legitimate political act of protest."
- Greece was also condemned for acting as Israel's enforcer.
Israel won a pyrrhic victory but lost the war. On July 7, Haaretz writer
Amira Hass agreed headlining, "In dealing with flotilla, Israel is
anything but smart," saying:
- Using Greece as an enforcer besides "aggressive
and vocal diplomacy and ridiculous lies thwarted the flotilla, but they
have not taken Gaza off the international agenda....Blocking the flotilla
did not discourage the organizers....Rather it provided ample proof of
how white Israeli is. As a result, blocking the flotilla only increased
(activists') motivation to keep placing the Palestinians' demand for freedom
at the forefront of the international agenda."
- On July 7, IMEMC reported that Spanish activists occupied
their country's embassy in Greece, demanding their government pressure
their officials to let Flotilla vessels proceed. Spanish European Parliament
member Willy Meyer called Israel's siege "totally illegal" and
blocking Flotilla aid against international law.
- IMEMC said most Flotilla participants say they're determined
to stay with their vessels until Greece lets them sail. Jerusalem Post
writer Yaakov Katz said most headed home. Only a few dozen remain.
- Free Gaza Movement co-founder Greta Berlin said some
plan to stay in Greece until exit permits let them sail, but are heartened
that either way they raised awareness.
- Israel National News contributor Emmanuel Navon called
the Flotilla agenda "sinister," claiming one of its organizers,
Muhammad Sawalha, believes Islamic nations are obliged to weaponize Palestine
to "perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty."
- Pro-Israeli zeolot Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse was even
more outlandish in an Inside Israel interview, saying:
- Its purpose "is to discredit the Israeli attempt
to protect itself and to give Hamas a free hand amassing weapons to use
against Israeli civilians. It should be called a kill the Jews flotilla.
If it is called by its proper name, then it will be recognized for what
- In fact, notorious bigots like her, Alan Dershowitz,
and other fringe extremists give Harvard a bad name for employing them.
- Awaiting a Mass Fly-In
- On July 6, hundreds of Israeli police and anti-terror
squad members manned Ben-Gurion Airport, awaiting the arrival of hundreds
of pro-Palestinian activists. Some already got in. Most will arrive on
July 8 or shortly thereafter. Foreign airlines were told to reveal their
passenger names 48 hours prior to departure.
- Suspect incoming flights will be diverted to a separate
terminal. Passengers will be detained and questioned. A police briefing
said "when you enter the airport, it will be as if you are entering
the set of 'Big Brother,' " a reality TV show. All eyes will be on
them, including from a military command post if needed.
- An Israeli public radio reporter said:
- "It's an unusual sight to see so many police from
so many different units at Ben Gurion Airport. They are spread out in positions
from the runway to the baggage retrieval area, and in the arrivals area
at Terminal 3, there are dozens of uniformed police."
- Some are clearly visible in uniform. Others are covert
undercover. Special forces are also involved. Others are on standby, awaiting
the "flytilla," organized by the "Welcome to Palestine"
campaign, representing 40 Palestinian and international organizations.
A press release said:
- Their "aim is to show that, if our governments do
not seem to be interested in the fate of (besieged Gazans), there are men
and women from all countries, who are ready to bring them moral support,
using a week of their holidays to go and meet them."
- Participant Sami Awad, Holy Land Trust director, said
"Welcome to Palestine" is based on nonviolent resistance no matter
what Israel does to confront them, adding:
- "There are several measures they will take in the
event of harassment....such as solidarity sit-ins, not adhering to orders
and refusing to travel (if deported), without any use of violence....All
participants (have) peaceful intentions. (They'll) inform Israeli authorities
(they) wish to go to the West Bank immediately after (arriving)."
- West Bank activist Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh said:
- "We are receiving European, South American and sometimes
Japanese activists all the time, sometimes (from Jordan) via the Allenby
Bridge and sometimes from the airport - to work on a variety of projects
for the community."
- The "Welcome to Palestine" initiative is one
of many others like it.
- On July 7, Haaretz writer Zohar Blumenkrantz headlined,
"Israel instructs foreign airlines to prevent departure of 300 pro-Palestinian
- Israeli highhandedness never quits, ordering Washington,
European leaders, Greece, and now foreign airlines on what they may or
may not do. Acting more authoritarian than civilized, 300 blacklisted names
were distributed with instructions to block them, saying they won't be
let in Israel if they arrive.
- A senior Ben-Gurion Airport official told Haaretz, "This
event will end with either no problems or as a catastrophe. There will
not be a middle-ground."
- A senior European airline official told Haaretz Israel's
request was unprecedented, saying:
- "In the past, we have gotten one or two names that
authorities had banned (from) entry. This move is problematic because if
we receive an updated list later on, we will have to fly back the plane
at the expense of other passengers who had purchased regular tickets."
- A Final Comment
- On June 9, 2010, McClatchy Newspapers writer Sheera Frenkel
headlined, "Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn't about security,"
- McClatchy obtained the document calling the siege "economic
warfare" against Hamas and nearly 1.7 million Gazans. In response
to a Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement lawsuit, Israel claimed
- "A country has the right to decide that it chooses
not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the
other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using 'economic
- Israel issued this statement after its High Court of
Justice ruled for Gisha. Its director Sari Bashi said the documents prove
Israel's blockade isn't for security. It's illegal collective punishment.
- Israel also mentioned a political goal, targeting Hamas,
Palestine's legitimate government.
- Israel is a lawless rogue state, reigning terror against
millions of Palestinian civilians, denying them freedom on their own land
in their own country.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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