Israeli forces tail aid ship, amidst worldwide protests
Sat, 05 Jun 2010 6:00p.m.
By Rachel Morton
Israeli forces have begun following an aid ship bound for Gaza.
It follows the seizure of an aid flotilla just five days ago, when nine men were killed.
Protesters over the world have taken to the streets, including here in New Zealand.
The throwing of shoes is a traditional Muslim expression of disgust and it's become the international symbol for opposition to United States and Israeli policy.
Today the US Consulate in Auckland was the target before the American and Israeli flags were burnt.
See photos of the Auckland protests
Around 300 people protested against the killing of nine men by Israeli commandoes seizing an aid flotilla en-route to Gaza.
“No one's going to listen. We try to speak but no one listens. No one wants to listen,” said one protestor.
Protesters also gathered in Christchurch and Wellington, aware that another aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, is being followed by Israeli forces.
Those onboard the aid ship fear they too will have their vessel seized but say they won't resist an attack.
“Basically we are still sailing towards Gaza. Our radar has been jammed. We can see visibly on both sides of our ship, four, in total, what we believe to be Navy boats,” says Shamsul Akhmar, a crew member on board the Rachel Corrie.
Veteran protester John Minto says New Zealand needs to apply the same pressure it did towards South Africa.
“The most important pressure we can put on is to close the Israeli embassy in Wellington and to stop the programme that gives a visa free status to young Israelis coming into New Zealand,” he says.
Nicola Enchmarch, the New Zealander who was captured on the flotilla, is now in Istanbul. She can't leave because her passport was taken by the Israelis, along with most of her clothes and possessions.
3 News understands the New Zealand consulate is looking after Ms Enchmarch, she’s hoping to get a temporary passport in the next few days so she can go back to the UK.
All eyes are now on the Rachel Corrie. It's about 50 kilometres off the coast of Gaza, and while Israel has promised a safe arrival if it changes direction to an Israeli port, it's not known if the crew will agree to those terms.
Pro-Palestinian supporters worldwide can do nothing but hope for its safe arrival.
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8/06/2010 8:23:19 p.m.
“The 1993 Oslo Accords declared the final status of the West Bank to be subject to a forthcoming settlement between Israel and the Palestinian leadership.”
Actually Andy the Oslo accords called for the withdrawal of the Israeli military from parts of Gaza and the West Bank and affirmed a Palestinian right to self-governance in the region. The Israeli military to this date has not withdrawn its soldiers from those parts of the West Bank, and the Palestinian authority is only in control in theory, in practice the region is still run by the Israeli military. This may in part be due to the fact that not long after the agreement was signed the conservative Likud party came into power and undermined all the efforts of the previous Labour government.
"As for the ‘aid flotilla’. Of the 7 boats, there was violence only on one boat, were members of the IHH attacked the boarding party. The boats were organised by the IHH and the PGP both with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood."
As Dan has already established, the blockade was not legal, the ships did not have to abide it, and so had a right to defend themselves.
"Always? 1976 was probably the ONLY time when Israel attacked before it was attacked itself. And this only after Nasser expelled the United Nations Emergency Force from the Sinai, amassed 1,000 tanks and nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Israeli border and closed the Straits of Tiran to all Israeli ships."
Firstly the six day war was in 1967.
Secondly, not true: the Israelis attacked first during the Suez crisis of 1956, Israel has attacked Iraq without warning in 1981, Israel arguably made the first move in the war of independence in 1948, and not long ago Israel had planned an attack on Iran which had only stopped because their plans had been leaked.
In fact, I think the only time Israel did not attack first was in the Yom Kippur war of 1973...
8/06/2010 2:31:01 a.m.
All arguing aside, I sincerely hope that those staunchly supporting the criminal acts of Israel, will simply return to the truth of the matter, and stop their pro-Israeli/anti-Palestine stances. For goodness sake, acknowledge the truth of the matter and work respectifully to attain a just peace for all peoples of the region.
8/06/2010 1:56:50 a.m.
Andy, I find it ironic that your goal is apparently 'to have the facts published' but it seems (and it becomes more and more apparent the more you write) that you're actually not interested in THE facts but in convincing yourself (it seems successfully - yourself that is) of Israel's righteousness. How much destruction and chaos from Israel and it's disproportionate violence are we to tolerate before one-eyed Israelis like you start to call a spade a spade? If only you would be prepared to accept the current injustices before our very eyes, you wouldnt have to go drawing such longbows from history to try justify Israel's illegal occupation or disproportionate use of violence against Palestinians. Might save you a lot more time for work (although, given your rantings, I suspect that work is in some way for Israel!)
7/06/2010 11:36:52 p.m.
"If you think these rules should ONLY apply to Israel and 'Palestinians' are a special case than you are just a hypocrite and an ordinary Jew/Israel beater."
The rule of law applies to everyone. Just because I'm not currently criticizing every single other atrocity and violation of law on this planet (since it is not relevant to the discussion) does not mean that I condone it.
"I suggest this whole ‘aid flotilla’, blockade breaking exercise is just a cynical Israel bashing exercise using the ‘Palestinians’ and that Israel is held to a different standard just because it is Israel."
You're entitled to your opinion but there is a case to answer and even Israel accepts that despite it refusing an international inquiry in favour of its own.
Bit dubious though; if it has broken no laws then surely it has nothing to hide.
"No 5 star restaurants and dozens of luxury hotels like Gaza."
What on earth are you talking about?
"When will you have protest demonstrations against the Turkish treatment of the Armenians, burn Lebanese flags and throw shoes at the Saudi embassy?"
I don't necessarily support the protesters here and for the record I am not a protester. I'm just saying that Israel has a case to answer and you are just distracting from that issue by pointing the finger at other States.
Showing me how many other "bad people" there are out there does not suddenly make Israel's actions good.
7/06/2010 11:25:08 p.m.
"I can tell you, there are NO NGOs and UN bodies are fighting for the return of the Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians to Turkey (That is the ones that survived the massacres by the Turks), the Copts to Egypt, the Hindus to Bangla Desh and Pakistan and the Jews to Suadi Arabia, Marocco, Algiers etc."
Well instead of you telling me why don't you find a relevant authority that backs up your claim and refutes my source below.
As far as I can see they support all refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people not just the Palestinians.
7/06/2010 11:18:56 p.m.
"Wow...Israel is a foreign power.
Israel was never there.....what Jews"
The modern State of Israel is not the ancient Israelite land that existed before the Roman occupation.
Jews have inhabited that region since the occupation but it was Jews fleeing the holocaust that dismantled the Palestinian State.
I trust you are not going to dispute that fact.
"You use all the right PC BS terms, straight from the Socialist Aotearoa website and the Aotearoa "independent" Media Centre.
Why don't you just direct me to the website?"
Ad Hominem discourages healthy debate.
"You saying that ANY blockade that lacks the discriminating between combatants and 'innocent civilians' is collective punishment of innocent civilians and therefore illegal?"
Correct, if the State that establishes the blockade is the occupying power which Israel currently is.
Its all there in the Fourth Geneva Convention
"AND that this warrants the condemnation by the UN, the sending of a flotilla of so called ‘aid workers’ mixed with extremists AND the public vilification of that country?"
That's called a straw-man argument.
The position is if you are breaking international law then you have no lawful authority to attack a flotilla in international waters despite the San Remo Manual.
That is my argument.
"Now you decide it is a terrorist organisation and they do not speak for every single Palestinian."
My position has not changed so do not attribute an argument to me that I did not make in the first place.
"Suddenly Hamas DOES NOT represent the Palestinian people. No every single one no...but a resounding democratic majority!"
If you're trying to argue guilt by association of the minority and especially children then I simply refer you to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention again.
You cannot legally collectively punish for something that those people and their children did not do. Its that simple.
Israel has a right to defend itself but it also has a duty to protect innocent people
7/06/2010 10:58:17 p.m.
Dan....I have to work tomorrow.Answer this question (just for yourself if you like)Are you saying that ANY blockade that lacks the discriminating between combatants and 'innocent civilians' is collective punishment of innocent civilians and therefore illegal?AND that this warrants the condemnation by the UN, the sending of a flotilla of so called ‘aid workers’ mixed with extremists AND the public vilification of that country? Or are 'Palestinians' a special case and is Israel held to different standards than other countries?If you think these rules should ONLY apply to Israel and 'Palestinians' are a special case than you are just a hypocrite and an ordinary Jew/Israel beater.I suggest this whole ‘aid flotilla’, blockade breaking exercise is just a cynical Israel bashing exercise using the ‘Palestinians’ and that Israel is held to a different standard just because it is Israel.You see, when will those 'peaceful volunteers' be leaving for Yemen which is under a naval blockade by Saudi Arabia and where a strict blockade of food, medicine and international aid and arbitrary aerial bombing of civilian areas has already resulted in 250,000 internal refugees and who knows how many casualties? No 5 star restaurants and dozens of luxury hotels like Gaza. People are dying of hunger.Not a protester in sight, no newspapers, not one television crew, no UN, no condemnation from our heroes Minto and Matt.Silence.......deadly silence!And what about an 'aid flotilla' for the 400,000 Palestinians living in Lebanon in twelve refugee camps, which human rights organizations and Palestinians say have the worst living conditions of all the refugee camps in the Middle East?And what about the Turks?Have they not blockaded Armenia for SIXTEEN Years!Who cares about Turkey rules ONLY apply for Israel.When will you have protest demonstrations against the Turkish treatment of the Armenians, burn Lebanese flags and throw shoes at the Saudi embassy?
7/06/2010 9:44:50 p.m.
@Tyler‘Israel almost always attack first, but the world ignores it because they feel sorry for the Jewish people. For example research the "six day war". This makes the Israelis the aggressors, the aid flotilla did not violate Israeli borders or attack Israeli assets. Yes, Hamas did attack Israel first with rockets, but the aid flotilla did not and does not support Hamas, neither’Always? 1976 was probably the ONLY time when Israel attacked before it was attacked itself. And this only after Nasser expelled the United Nations Emergency Force from the Sinai, amassed 1,000 tanks and nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Israeli border and closed the Straits of Tiran to all Israeli ships.As for the ‘aid flotilla’. Of the 7 boats, there was violence only on one boat, were members of the IHH attacked the boarding party. The boats were organised by the IHH and the PGP both with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
7/06/2010 9:17:33 p.m.
@Tyler“As for Palestinian lands taken by force, the West Bank is actually supposed to either be a sovereign Palestinian state, or returned to Jordan. Legally under U.N. resolution 242 lands Israel has conquered must be returned to their pre-sixdaywar owners when the nation in question officially signs peace with Israel; summed up "land for peace". Jordan has recognized Israel's right to exist and signed peace, thus the West Bank should have been returned, but Israel decided to keep it.”Incorrect Tyler...“The 1993 Oslo Accords declared the final status of the West Bank to be subject to a forthcoming settlement between Israel and the Palestinian leadership.”
7/06/2010 7:51:14 p.m.
@DanHere you give another example of the 'having your cake and eat it too' argument you guys love to have......"Hamas is a terrorist organization, they do not speak for every single Palestinian. You cannot collectively punish them"When Israel decided Hamas was a terrorist organisation and would not deal with it, it was met by universal condemnation of the usual suspects."Hamas is elected with a resounding democratic majority and DOES therefore represented the 'Palestinian people'." It is probably still on the "Political blog Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand" site and other like-minded sides.Now you decide it is a terrorist organisation and they do not speak for every single Palestinian. Suddenly Hamas DOES NOT represent the Palestinian people. No every single one no...but a resounding democratic majority!As for the hateful anti-Semitic statements that call for the destruction of Israel and the Jews.The statements such as “Allah willing, the moment will come when their property will be destroyed and their sons annihilated, until not a single Jew or Zionist is left on the face of the Earth.” are common fare in the Middle East and South East Asia and by no means restricted to Hamas. There are numerous statements made by imams, politicians and scholars, easily found on the web.For example Abdul Nasser, the president of Egypt said in 1957, "We are going to drive the Jews (Not Israelis) into the sea and wipe them out as a nation."Read Al-Yahud: Eternal Islamic Enmity & the Jews, written by Elias Al-Maqdisi, an expert on Islamic teachings, and Sam Solomon, a former professor of shari'ah law and Christian convert, which researches the historical and doctrinal sources of Muslim enmity and the continuing jihad against the Jews and Israel.
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