… what the F… is going on!?
The much vaunted Flotilla 2 failed to get beyond Greek waters. The Mavi Marmara, star of Flotilla 1 was withdrawn under pressure from the Turkish government and the original 1500 became only a few hundred which rapidly dwindled to nothing.
Israel actually succeeded in bringing Greece and Turkey together in preventing a confrontation at sea!
And now the ongoing aerial assault on Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, know as ‘Flytilla’ or ‘Airtilla’ has also foundered as France, the Netherlands and others prevent ‘activists’ intent on causing trouble, from flying to Israel.
Meanwhile at Ben Gurion, those who have managed to land find themselves at a remote terminal, well away from the main tourist area, and are either put on the next flight or arrested.
Israel has every right to deny entry to anyone it pleases, for whatever reason it chooses as a sovereign nation. These ‘activists’ are intent on challenging Israel’s sovereignty, not helping Palestinians.
You can find it in their rhetoric; they are flying to ‘Lyd’ airport in ‘Palestine’. Get it? Israel is Palestine. They are not coming to protest blockades, sieges or occupation, they are coming to delegitimise Israel itself.
Those taking part in both fiascos are a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. They wouldn’t even allow their so-called fig-leaf humanitarian aid to be shipped to Israel and then taken by the Israelis into Gaza.
They came intent on breaking one blockade and then ended up having to contend with two as the Greek port authorities blocked their departure or chased them as they tried to slip away.
There was even the irony of Gazans staging demonstrations against the Greek blockade.
Following the hashtags #flotilla2 and #flotilla or #freedomfllotilla required enormous will power not to put two fingers down one’s throat one minute and the same two fingers at their tweets the next.
All sorts of hilarious conspiracy theories floated like so much flotsam to the surface of the twitosphere: The Israelis bribed the Greeks who needed the money; the Israelis had sabotaged two boats even though the Turks, of all people, denied this; the Greeks had to do what the EU wanted because of their debt crisis; yada, yada.
They convinced themselves that the Greek people were with them and their government had been suborned by those dirty Zionists.
They are a bunch of whining hypocrites. They fly into the only country in the region that tolerates free speech, almost to the point of stupidity, to try to prove that Israel is an apartheid state. Then they act in a way, and with a declared intention, that guarantees they will be expelled or arrested or both so they can whine a bit more about how Israel is a ‘police state’ not a ‘true democracy’, and closes down free speech. You get the idea? They are excrement-stirrers.
This is an extension of the assault on Israel’s borders on the ‘Naksa’ demonstrations in the Golan. Let me repeat: they are coming from foreign countries to demonstrate, demonise and delegitimise the state. Why should they be tolerated? Which country would tolerate this?
Let me see them fly into Lhasa not Gaza and see what happens. Let them try to fly to Grozny. Let’s see how much luck they have in Damascus or Beirut or Alexandria.
The irony is that Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv is one of the few places where they know they are safe to fly to because they know, despite their declarations, that Israel is not a police state, that it will not treat them as harshly as other states. They pretend to be brave but they are really cowards.
There is a tremendous feeling in the pro-Israel community that this time Israel used diplomacy well and played the activists’ game better than they did. No-one has been hurt, let alone killed; no real confrontation and best of all, the flotillards have gone home (well apart from a small boat that evaded the Greeks) as sick as a Captain Flint.
Yes, the futile flytillaniks still arrive at Ben Gurion as dozens continue to be killed in Syria every day.
Here are some others’ views of this week’s events:
Stephen Pollard on CiF in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/08/gaza-flotilla-israel-diplomacy
even better from Israel’s perspective, the attempt at a second flotilla has prompted the arrival of a new ally: Greece. The Greek coastguard has been vigilant in intercepting three would-be flotilla boats and watching the remaining seven in Greek ports. Last week, IDF helicopters were part of a large military exercise with the Greek army, after which Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu thanked Greek PM George Papandreou for all his help.
Some activists have responded with pure antisemitism, arguing that the impoverished Greeks have caved in to Israel’s financial power.
The Greeks’ behaviour has not escaped Erdogan’s notice and has resulted in a form of bidding war between the two leaders to help Israel stop the flotilla. As a senior IDF officer told the Jewish Chronicle this week: “We will make peace with the Palestinians long before the Greeks and Turks resolve their differences.”
Emanuele Ottolenghi in the Commentator http://www.thecommentator.com/index.php/article/292/gaza_flotilla_flops
He speculates about why Flotilla 2 has failed where Flotilla 1 succeeded. He puts Turkey at the centre of the reasons for failure:
With Turkey unwilling to play along and a coming UN report endorsing Israel’s blockade as legal, the Greek government similarly had enough cover to go after the boats and their activists. If the blockade is legal for the UN, blocking the flotilla in Greece is just as legal.
And he also notes elements of anti-Semitic canards in the flotillards pathetic excuses:
Angry flotilla participants have variously blamed the Greek government for preventing their departure – with one activist bordering on the usual anti-Semitic imagery and saying that Greece caved in to Israel due to its economic circumstances.
The idea that helping Israel against the flotilla could bring financial respite to the Greek economy is ludicrous – Israel would have to single handedly control the IMF, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank– and possibly the Bundesbank too – in order to deliver the additional help that Greece may need to avoid default.
That this idea was voiced at all reveals the activists’ conspiratorial mind set.
Yes, folks. The blockade of Gaza is legal. The UN says so. And if the flotillards want to ignore the UN they can’t accuse Israel of doing the same without an enormous dollop of hypocrisy.
Which is exactly their position.
Remember the Flotilla that set sail for Gaza one year ago?
Remember the Mavi Marmara?
Remember the worldwide outrage when the IDF killed 9 IHH members on board?
Israel was accused of piracy on the high-seas and murder.
Well, the flotillaniks are at it again.
So what’s it all about? What are the real objectives of the “Peace Flotilla”?
StandWIthUs have put together extensive information.
First there are Ten Quick Facts
This is elaborated here.
The US State Department issued a statement you can see here.
So what’s my blog title about?
Well, one of the US ships has been named ‘The Audacity of Hope’ mocking President Obama’s book of that name. This venture was trailed as a massive new Flotilla and the Israelis would have problems stopping it this time by sheer weight of numbers.
Yet we find to day that the number of participants will be approximately 300. There were 600 on the Mavi Marmara alone.
So the whole purpose of the flotilla is not humanitarian aid; that lie can easily be countered by the fact that both Egypt and Israel have offered ports where cargo can be checked and aid sent through to Gaza. In any case, Gaza does not need this aid.
The purpose of the Flotilla is to embarrass Israel. It is a blatant provocation. The organisers are Hamas supporters. They know that if they can break the blockade then it is invalidated and weapons from Iran can pass freely to Hamas. If there is a confrontation, they hope to further their aim to delegitimise the State of Israel and isolate it internationally.
The flotillaniks say that they carry no weapons, yet a report today that is going the rounds of the Twittersphere is that extremists on the flotilla have chemicals aboard and want to kill IDF soldiers.
Here is what the Jerusalem Post reported:
While the organizers of the Gaza-bound flotilla said in Athens Monday that the passengers are taking to sea “without weapons,” government sources said Israel had information that some of the passengers had hid chemicals, such as sulfur, on theboats to be used against IDF soldiers.
This is what Reuters said:
An Israeli military source said Israel had information that some activists were planning to attack soldiers with acid and lethal chemical agents if they boarded the ships.
Dror Feiler, an Israeli participant in the flotilla, denied the allegation in an interview with Israeli Army Radio and said all of the passengers had signed a pledge of non-violence.
Senior officials in Jerusalem said Monday that Israel has received information that organizers of the Gaza flotilla may be bringing chemical substances on the ships to use against Israeli soldiers to prevent them from boarding the ships.
The senior officials also said that Israel had been notified that several extremists among the Gaza flotilla participants had recently claimed that they intend on “shedding the blood of IDF soldiers.”Moreover, despite earlier reports, it seems that activists from the Turkish organization IHH, which was involved in the deadly IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara in last year’s Gaza flotilla, will be joining several of the ships sailing for Gaza as part of the flotilla.
Israeli officials claim that two activists participating in the flotilla have connections to Hamas. They named the first one as Amin Abu Rashad, who they claim is one of the head Dutch organizers for the Gaza flotilla and had served in the past as the head of the Hamas’ Charitable Foundation in Holland. The foundation closed down following Dutch authorities’ probe into its involvement in funding terror activities.
The second activist is Mohammed Ahmed Hanon, which Israel claims is a Hamas activist who stands at the head of the ABSPP, which is involved in transferring funds to terrorists.
It remains to be seen whether these reports are well-founded. If they are, then any veneer of peace activism is blown out of the water.
You might also like to see this post from the Elder of Zion about the organisers of this new Love Boat.
There is also a fine article by Ruth Dudley Edwards in the Irish Independent:
Let us be clear. Whether they know it or not, that gaggle of posturing, ignorant Irish clowns who are setting sail towards Gaza on the MV Saoirse are driven by anti-Semitism. Otherwise they would be protesting against — for instance — the Islamist killings and bombings that are forcing tens of thousands of Christians to flee the Middle East, the ethnic cleansing in the Sudan, the ill-treatment of servants and women in Saudi Arabia, the hanging of gays from cranes in Iran, the massacres of protesters in Libya and Syria, the torture of Irish-trained doctors in Bahrain for tending to injured demonstrators and the vicious anti-Jewish propaganda that teaches Arab children to hate.
I also refer you to the Howard Jacobson post I wrote recently.
Meanwhile, we find that in the a UN draft report into last year’s Mavi Marmara incident found that the Israeli maritime blockade was not illegal and they were within their rights to stop the flotilla.
A draft of the report, due to be released within two weeks, was given to Israel and Turkey about six weeks ago. The committee determined that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is in keeping with international law, and therefore its actions to stop the flotilla were also legal.
This same report states that Israel’s actions were “disproportionate” – that word again. Yes, it’s really disproportionate to make sure you kill someone who is fanatically committed to killing you or to die. But maybe that merits another post at another time. No doubt we’ll soon be looking at second UN Report and another attempted hatchet job on Israel in the coming days.
For the legal aspects also, read this by the Elder which refers to a Zeit Online article.
There has been some interesting attempts on the Israeli side to use lawfare against the ‘Peace Flotilla’ (great name for those who believe language is just another weapon of war – it’s called propaganda, usually).
First marine insurance companies were warned off insuring the boats because if it could be shown they were breaching international law, then they would in effect be liable to be sued by victims of Hamas terrorism:
A human rights group has warned insurance companies that they could be aiding terrorism if they insure ships that break the blockade of Gaza.
Israeli organisation Shurut Hadin has written to almost all major insurance companies worldwide, including Lloyd’s of London, the biggest in the world.
It warns them that they could be liable for massive damages if the ships they insure break Israel’s blockade around Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of the group, explained: “We sent these letters to the largest insurance companies in the world, including Turkish companies, which represent over 99 per cent of the maritime insurance business worldwide. We warned them that, if they insure these ships, they could be sued by victims of Hamas attacks.”
Then a US citizen invoked a 220 year old law to try to try to seize the US boats intending to take part.
Dr. Alan Bauer, who along with his son Jonathan was seriously wounded in Palestinian Authority Arab suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem in 2002, filed the suit in a federal court in Manhattan. He is represented by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Israeli-based Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) and New York attorney Robert J. Tolchin.
Bauer’s suit seeks to confiscate 14 ships outfitted with funds “unlawfully raised in the United States by anti-Israel groups, including the Free Gaza Movement.” The lawsuit contends that furnishing and outfitting the ships, which are being used for hostilities against a U.S. ally, violates American law.
A Canadian citizen who is a resident of Sderot has taken out a lawsuit against the Flotilla organisers:
Sderot resident and Canadian citizen Cherna Rosenberg has filed a million dollar law suit against two Canadian organizations raising money to sponsor a ship – The Canadian Boat to Gaza – to join the international flotilla to Gaza.
The suit, presented by Toronto barrister and law professor Ed Morgan and New York attorney and former AIPAC executive director Neal Sher to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Monday, argues that the groups, Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid and Alternatives International, both based in Montreal, are part of a chain of conduct that “ultimately leads to the rocket attacks that have traumatized the plaintiff and caused her much suffering and loss.”
The Greeks have waded in with their own attempt to derail the flotilla sailing from Athens:
Ynet has learned that six ships that were meant to take part in the Gaza-bound flotilla are being detained by the port authority and the coast guard in Greece. Senior officials in Jerusalem have confirmed the report.
While the organizers of the maritime convoy claim that more than 1,500 activists are set to take part in the initiative, it now appears that not more than seven ships, carrying 200-500 passengers, will participate in the flotilla.
Of course, the Hamas-huggers are whingeing about all these efforts because they are getting a taste of their own medicine. Too bad!
So, the Peace Flotilla, replete, allegedly, with its chemical weapons and who knows what else, sets off for Gaza, not to build a nation, Palestine, but destroy another, Israel.
How sad. How tragic. How much longer will Palestinians allow themselves to be used as the pawns of Green-Red political posturing?
How much longer will they allow themselves to be sacrificed on the altar of anti-Zionist, Jew-hatred and far Left ideological fantasising.
Audacity of Hope? Or the Morality of the Cesspit?
Chas Newkey-Burden (OyVaGoy) has pointed me to his own blog post on this issue.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Turkey plans to send five ships and a submarine to join a naval operation to enforce an arms embargo off Libya.
You couldn’t make it up, as they say.
This is the same Turkey that condemned Israel for intercepting the so-called ‘humanitarian’ flotilla last year which resulted in the death of 9 IHH Islamist activists.
This UN blockade is OK because NATO is enforcing UN resolution 1973.
Israel’s blockade is deemed illegal by all those for whom it is convenient to believe this fantasy.
Israel has about as much chance of having a UN Resolution in its favour to protect it from murderous rocket fire as Ahmadinejad converting to Judaism
So Libya is to be prevented from receiving arms.
Israel is criticised and demonised for trying to prevent Hamas from receiving arms by, inter alia, stopping ships such as the Mavi Marmara and, more recently, the Victoria.
I now keenly await the IHH and other humanitarian organisations that are so keen on breaking the Gaza blockade to send a flotilla with humanitarian aid to Tripoli and refuse to comply with orders to stop and be searched. And should they attack and attempt to kill the Turkish or other coalition naval personnel who try to board their boats?
Won’t happen will it.
What is the aim of this strategy? To stop innocent civilians being killed?
Does it seem to be working? No. We have reports of dozens being killed in Misrata and Benghazi. Gadaffi’s men, dressed as civilians are indistinguishable from rebels and opponents of the regime.
How long can the No-fly Zone be maintained? Er… not sure.
Why have the usual suspects – the US, Britain and France – led the coalition?
What have the Arab League contributed? Money, support – now, apparently in doubt, – anything else? Er – not much.
So, no ground troops, no regime change, no arming the rebels. How will this work, then?
Why is the UN so exercised about Libya, but never considered intervention in other countries (Sudan, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, China, Russia, Lebanon, Yemen, yada yada…) where a regime was killing its own people? It’ s not as if the rebels were not armed. Shouldn’t the Arab League do something for a change? Ah, I forget, they believe the Sudanese President Omar al Bashir is a paragon of virtue.
Isn’t this confusing? The Arab League and Iran effectively support the rebels. Yet in their own countries they are suppressing them.
Now Amr Moussa, Head of the Arab League and Egyptian presidential hopeful, is concerned that the Coalition is killing civilians by taking out air defences and is going beyond what he thought the League had agreed to when supporting the UN Resolution. How did he think they were going to impose a No-fly Zone? Does he believe that such a policy is going to be victim-free?
Here we are again, engaged in military intervention that has nothing to do with national security and is a kind of moral intervention. Bosnia I can understand getting involved with. But Libya? Is it that the West is feeling just a tad guilty about letting the monster Gadaffi free rein for 40 years whilst he terrorised the West and then, when he convinced them that he was a reformed character, forswearing nuclear weapons and WMD, it was all kissy-kissy and releasing a murderer and, oh, signing oil deals and supplying arms.
Hmm. Seems the West is good at supporting and arming dictators and then trying to get rid of them or prevent them from being monsters.
And now I hear that there is to be a blockade of Libyan ports so that arms cannot get in.
The irony is beautiful.
Here is the West condemning the Israeli blockade of Gazan ports and stopping ships to search for arms and now, what are they doing? They are blockading a Mediterranean port or two themselves for the very same reason.
And when Israel tries to stop the firing of rockets from Gaza by taking out military targets using air power, it is condemned for killing civilians. And what is the Coalition doing?
Maybe President Chavez of Venezuela is sending a humanitarian flotilla to Tripoli as we speak.
The Stop the War Coalition who don’t like non-Muslims killing Muslims have come out against the UN Coalition as they want to avoid civilian bloodshed. So they are quite sanguine about allowing Muslims to kill Muslims; let Gadaffi do his worst, it seems.
Such a terrible moral dilemma for the West and the UN. 40 years of inaction, and when a few thousand Cyrenaicans take up arms and begin a civil war inspired by uprisings in other Arab countries, and then get battered by a professional army and air force, suddenly Gadaffi is evil personified.
What the hell has a civil war in Libya got to do with us? Do we know what the rebels believe in? Are these rebels western-style democrats who have emerged suddenly ex nihilo? Is that why the West sort-of supports them? We want to see democracy in Libya? Now, after 40 years? What’s going on?
Will any new Libyan regime be any better? Will the Tripolitanians forgive the Cyrenaicans and vice-versa? Who will reconcile them?
It’s a mess, and on balance either the Libyans should have been left to sort it out themselves or the Arab League should have armed the rebels. Why do we sell arms and sophisticated weapon systems to the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia so they can have impressive military parades but never actually sort out their own back yard?
And when WILL we see a democratic Arab state?
The West is so pleased about what they see as the Arab yearning for democracy that they haven’t actually realised that so far the number of democracies still equals zero. Unless you count Lebanon where Hizbollah now holds sway and Gaza where Hamas was voted in. Is this what our airmen and airwomen are fighting for?
Are our leaders so naive?
A few days ago I happened to be watching, once again, the documentary about Live Aid first shown 5 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the event.
Like millions of people on the actual day, I was enjoying the performances until we got to the part where they showed the film of the starving Ethiopian children and experienced again the horror of millions of people dying from famine, whilst we in the first world get increasingly obese.
And then it struck me; here was a genuine disaster where the whole world was mobilised by the efforts of one inspired man. So if Gaza is such a humanitarian disaster, and if people are really starving as so many in the anti-Israel organisations and commentators and journalists would have us believe, where are the images? Why are there no Live Aid type concerts? Where is the international outrage? Not the outrage of those with a political agenda, but the outrage which comes of genuine humanitarian concern?
As ever, I do not deny that many in Gaza do not have the greatest standard of living or quality of life, but is it not telling that the world actually understands real disasters, such as Haiti and the Pakistan floods. The world realises that the difficulties in Gaza, though real, are not in the same league as Haiti or Pakistan, let alone Ethiopia.
The only people fixated on trying to tell us that there is a humanitarian issue worthy of international attention are the flotillaniks and aid organisations whose agenda is to break the blockade, embarrass Israel and keep Gaza on the UN agenda. They are doing a fine job, often aided by UNWRA, but it does seem to me that the message that there is a humanitarian disaster worthy of the name is growing a little weak. And the idea that it is only Israel that is responsible for the conditions in Gaza is also beginning to pale.
Let’s not forget that Egypt also has a land embargo and one third of Gaza’s border is with Egypt.
Israel delivers thousands of tonnes of food and other aid and equipment every week through crossing points. Israel delivers electricity through its grid. Israel provides medical aid to thousands of Gazans a year. Shops in Gaza are well-stocked with food and white goods.
Yet Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, declare that their goal is to destroy Israel but complain that Israel is a little wary of the free passage of marine traffic into the Gaza strip. What nation in history whose enemy declared that its goal was to destroy it has provided the means for that enemy’s people to survive, although not thrive? And these are the same people who voted Hamas into power in the first place.
We hear how Gaza is a prison camp, that there is a humanitarian disaster, that Israel must end the ‘siege’. Bear in mind, also, that Hamas holds Gilad Shalit captive without access to the Red Cross. Bear in mind that rockets are fired daily into Southern Israel. Still Israel sends in the trucks.
How many countries have organised food aid for Gaza? How many worldwide broadcast concerts have the pro-Palestinian groups in Europe arranged to raise money?
So, as I said, I was thinking, maybe the world is not fooled. Maybe they actually understand it’s more about politics and less about suffering. Aid convoys and flotillas may have a small effect on the conditions in Gaza but their real purpose is political, not humanitarian.
No, the Gazan people are pretty well provided for by UNWRA, the EU, the United States and Israel. If they could get rid of Hamas, they might actually begin to thrive.
How many times did Ed Miliband declare something like: ‘I have to be honest’ or ‘I’ll be honest with you’?
Was he trying to impress us with his new whiter than white political culture?
Not one word a politician says, especially in a keynote speech as newly-elected Labour Party leader, is not carefully prepared and coded.
He is honest Ed, Britain’s new John Kennedy.
I remember Jack Kennedy; Ed Miliband is no Jack Kennedy.
Did you hear the Kennedy-like:
‘Let the message go out, a new generation has taken charge of Labour’
Compare to the infinitely more elgant and eloquent:
‘Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation’
Having told us about his Jewish refugee parents and his first generation immigrant credentials, he then went on to slag off Israel, as they say in these parts.
A passing reference to the fight against terrorism, and then the gratuitous and left-pleasing attack on Israel’s maritime blockade and its ‘attack’ on the Mavi Marmara.
No mention of Hamas.
No mention of Israel’s security.
No mention of the orchestrated international delegitimisation and demonisation of Israel.
No mention of the Palestinians refusal to recognise Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
No mention of Iran.
Indeed, no mention of any other conflict in the world where thousands, if not millions have died. Only Israel get’s the Miliband as-a-Jew treatment.
‘Look’, he says, ‘I’ve told you my family fled persecution in Nazi Europe to find a haven in Britain. I told you that I am grateful to Britain for accepting Jews’.
Now that gives him the right to tell you that Israel, the country abandoned by the very Britain he is lauding, the country that tried to prevent Jews from entering Palestine as they fled from the same Nazis that his parents fled from, must abandon its own defence to satisfy his and his party’s and, it appears, the other main parties’ distorted vision of the Middle East and, no doubt, keep a few Arab states ‘onside’.
Like Cameron and Clegg he just wants, or feels it is politically advisable to say he wants Israel to end the blockade and allow Hamas, et alia, to rain their missiles and send in their suicide bombers.
Britain’s political class has abandoned all reason and logic when it comes to Israel. In that, they are like much of the rest of the world. They can’t force the Palestinians to make peace so they have to pressurise and demonise the Israelis to make suicidal concessions in return for what? Sweet FA.
And to really underline Ed’s shift to the Left, he endorsed none other than Ken Livingstone as the next Mayor of London. I don’t think I have to spell out Ken Livingstone’s anti-Israel credentials or his love of sheikhs who endorse suicide bombings.
So if Israel is looking for true friends in the UK political classes, Ed has declared himself yet another of the self-righteous who, when it comes to Israel, abandon truth for politicking. Another of the purblind who will spout ad nauseam how they support Israel’s right to exist and then demonstrate that they have no idea what that means or entails.
Oh, for a real Jack Kennedy.
It’s at times like this that you realise that Tony Blair, warts and all, was head and shoulders above the lot we have now.
If those who organise humanitarian aid to Gaza via flotillas and other blockade-breaking adventures really are about the plight of the Palestinians, I have some news for them about Arabs and even other Palestinians persecuting their own.
True humanitarians would not ignore the behaviour of Lebanon, Jordan and Libya whilst highlighting the actions of Israel.
(H/T to Elder of Ziyon for all these stories)
The first story is about Libya.
Libya has implemented a program of taxing all of its Palestinian Arab residents.According to Al Jazeera (Arabic), Palestinian Arabs in Libya are now forced to pay an annual fee of up to $1550, and they have to endure a host of new humiliations as well.
PalArabs have been banned from working in various jobs, including education. Relatives cannot visit them. Those who own cars are being taxed for more money than their monthly salaries. Travel documents are expiring and not being renewed, yet the Arab League does not allow Palestinian Arabs from obtaining passports from the countries they have lived in all their lives.
Residents note bitterly that all this is happening while Libya made a big show of sending a ship of aid to Gaza.All of this is in contradiction with Libyan Law #10 of 1998 which was supposed to grant somewhat equal rights to Palestinian Arabs in that country.
This is from a country which egregiously sits on the UN Human Rights Council.
Next in the hall of infamy is Lebanon:
According to the Elder there are “well over 100,000 Gazans in Jordan with limited rights – and no easy way to get out”.
Yes, Gazans. Gazans in a Jordanian open-air prison, Mr Cameron.
The Elder then quotes an Arab researcher called Oroub El Abed who has been documenting the plight of Palestinians:
Gazans in Jordan are doubly displaced refugees. Forced to move to Gaza as a result of the 1948 war, they fled once more when Israel occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967. Guesstimates of the number of Gazans in Jordan range between 118,000 and 150,000. A small number have entered the Jordanian citizenship scheme via naturalisation or have had the financial resources to acquire citizenship.
On arrival in Jordan, the ex-residents of Gaza were granted temporary Jordanian passports valid for two years but were not granted citizenship rights. The so-called ‘passport’ serves two purposes: it indicates to the Jordanian authorities that the Gazans and their dependents are temporary residents in Jordan and provides them with an international travel document (‘laissez-passer’) potentially enabling access to countries other than Jordan.
The ‘passport’ – which is expensive – has value as an international travel document only if receiving states permit the entry of temporary passport holders. Few countries admit them, because they have no official proof of citizenship. Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and some Gulf States are among those who refuse to honour the document. Any delay in renewing the temporary passport or in applying for one puts an individual at risk of becoming undocumented.
Since 1986 it has been harder for Gazans to compete for places in Jordanian universities as they must secure places within the 5% quota reserved for Arab foreigners. Entry to professions is blocked as Gazans are not allowed to register with professional societies/unions or to establish their own offices, firms or clinics. Only those with security clearance can gain private sector employment. Those who work in the informal sector are vulnerable to being exploited. Many Gazans are keen to leave Jordan to seek employment elsewhere but are constrained from doing so. Some have attempted to leave clandestinely.
Rami was brought up in Jordan, studied law and worked for over two years for a law firm in the West Bank city of Hebron. Lacking a West Bank Israeli-issued ID, he was forced to return to Jordan every three months to renew his visitor’s visa. Due to the high cost of living he returned to Jordan in 1999 only to find himself stripped of his Jordanian temporary passport. Now without any form of identity, he notes that “being Gazan in Jordan is like being guilty.”
In Jordan, as in most other Middle-Eastern countries, women cannot pass on their citizenship to their children. Neither is citizenship granted to a child born on the territory of a state from a foreign father. Married women are forced to depend on their fathers or husbands to process documents related to their children. Because of this patriarchal conception of citizenship, children of Jordanian women married to Gazans are at risk of being left without a legal existence.
Heba, a Jordanian national, married Ahmad, a Gazan with an Egyptian travel document. A year after their marriage, Ahmad was arrested for being in Jordan without a residence permit. Deported from Jordan, he was refused re-entry to Egypt and ended up in Sudan. Heba had a child but has been unable to register the birth due to the absence of her husband. She cannot afford to go to Sudan to be with him.
(emphasis by the Elder)
But there is more on Lebanon:
Hot on the heels of the slight easing of restrictions on professions that Arabs of Palestinian descent in Lebanon can practice, the Lebanese Forces (which are mostly Christian) are trying to ensure that PalArabs cannot live in Lebanese-owned homes:
The Lebanese Forces urged the government on Saturday to find a solution to Palestinian occupants of homes owned by Lebanese in villages east of the southern port city of Sidon.
While hailing parliament’s decision to grant Palestinians working rights, an LF statement said “the Lebanese government is urged to find a quick solution to the issue which has become an unacceptable burden.”
It said homes in Miyeh Miyeh, Darb al-Sim and other areas are occupied by Palestinians.
The government should adopt an effective solution to find alternative housing to them, the LF said.
The bigotry in Lebanon against Palestinian Arabs is so entrenched that it is not newsworthy. This isn’t about the PalArabs owning land – this is saying that they cannot even live outside camps, even if they are (apparently) paying for it!
Depending upon whose estimate you read, there are some twenty or thirty thousand “refugees” in the Balata refugee camp outside of Nablus. Balata is simultaneously the most populous and smallest of the Palestinian refugee camps — its growing population is confined to one square kilometer, making it one of the most densely populated and miserable places on the planet.
Any regime with an ounce of compassion would have shut Balata down and integrated its people into the surrounding community. Balata is a place without hope, a quagmire of despair, where the day-to-day misery of its inhabitants is partially ameliorated by Western charities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), while inadvertently building a culture of dependence.
Balata’s creation could ostensibly be laid at Israel’s doorstep, but its perpetuation cannot. The current residents of Balata are only refugees by a crude reworking of the meaning of the term. They themselves have fled from nothing, and sought refuge from nothing. They are the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the people who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war.
If you want to use the term “apartheid” to characterize some aspect of Middle East politics, then Balata is a good place to apply it. It is the Palestinian Authority’s answer to Soweto.
The PA does not permit the children of Balata to go to local schools. It does not permit the people of Balata to build outside the one square kilometer. The people of Balata are prevented from voting in local elections, and the PA provides none of the funds for the necessary infrastructure of the camp — including sewers and roads.
Balata and the other refugee camps are showcases of contrived misery. They are Potemkin villages in reverse. Naïve peace activists and unsophisticated Western clergy are led through such camps to witness the refugee drama, with Israel conveniently and prominently cast in the role of villain.
Yet we always hear the media and Palestinian huggers everywhere banging on about Israeli apartheid.
And let’s not forget the Egyptians who, of course, are the forgotten jailers of the Gazans, after all, if you are complaining about freedom of movement of Gazans, then why don’t the Egyptians open the Rafah crossing for them?
Oroub El Abed writes that ‘Some 50,000 Palestinian refugees live in Egypt without UN assistance or protection and burdened by many restrictive laws and regulations. Little is known about their plight and their unique status’.
El Abed believes in the mythical Right of Return but she pulls no punches about how Palestinians are treated by fellow Arabs.
The continuing plight of the Palestinians is not all down to history or the Israelis; the Arabs and the Palestinians themselves bear huge responsibility for perpetuating refugee-hood as a weapon against Israeli in total disregard of the lives and livelihood of millions of Palestinians.
And when the UN agency set up specifically and uniquely to deal with Palestinian ‘refugees’ tries to improve their lives in Gaza, they have to face Hamas’ interpretation of Islam which condemns the very people that are there to help them. The Elder lists complaints in the Palestine Times, a Hamas-run newspaper:
- The creation of a UNRWA Women’s Committee meant to foster equal rights between men and women is really meant to end chastity and purity.
- UNRWA sometimes sponsors trips for students where they are in danger of meeting Jews and Zionists.
- UNRWA schools were rumored to have taught about the Holocaust which teaches students to sympathize with Jews
- Some schools have more females than males, causing them to have more female teachers than male teachers
- UNRWA salaries are too high
- UNRWA’s services have decreased as their budget gets stretched.
And it is into the arms of these people that the flotillas and convoys are running. They don’t even seem to have their story right. Are they going to bring humanitarian aid (which they can take to an Israeli port without confrontation) or are they just intent on confrontation and provocation?
Their real motivation is to destroy Israel first, help Gazans a poor second. Indeed, each flotilla and convoy is an exercise in hypocrisy and exploitation of the very people they claim to want to help.
When I saw that Panorama, one of the BBC’s longest running investigative programmes, was being fronted by Jane Corbin, I was not sure that Israel would get a fair hearing. The last time I saw Ms Corbin in action on this programme was to report on evictions and demolitions in Jerusalem which ultimately failed to deliver a lot of context.
This time Corbin managed to tell the Israeli side for a change and also interviewed key players on the IHH side. The IHH being a Turkish humanitarian organisation that behaved in anything but a humanitarian way and has links to Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda. There are calls for its being proscribed in the USA and Europe.
The programme did an excellent job of piecing together video into a timeline. This was interspersed with interviews of IDF soldiers who actually took part, received injuries and fired on their attackers.
Interviews with the IHH were predictably disingenuous, representing their actions as defensive and claiming the IDF fired first.
The accusation of firing first was, perhaps, the only disappointing feature in this documentary. Jane Corbin said there were conflicting accounts. In other words, she sat journalistically on the fence. She did say, however, the the IDF could not have fired a weapon and rappelled on to the deck at the same time. The IHH claimed that the IDF shot first so their attack with knives, iron bars, captured pistols and, according the the Israelis, another firearm not used in the IDF, was purely defensive.
This claim is demonstrably nonsense. Firstly, if you are standing on a deck waiting for soldiers to come down a rope and they are somehow managing to fire at you, and you are so defenceless, wouldn’t you get the hell out of the way? If you do not have firearms and someone is shooting at you, would you just wait to attack with iron bars and knives? It’s ludicrous.
The IDF admitted that once they had seen there was strong resistance they should have regrouped and considered more carefully their next move. Instead, they decided to land on the deck even though they had already seen that this would meet with violence. This was a blunder and the current enquiry in Israel will surely further reinforce that fact, already admitted by the military. Israeli intelligence as to the nature of the threat failed miserably. The Mavi Marmara was hijacked by about 40 IHH activists and their plans to attack the IDF, clearly shown from their own videos, were unknown to the majority of activists on the ship who were completely innocent of any intentions other than, perhaps, passive resistance; and this was what happened on all the other boats.
The conclusions any sensible person would draw are these: you may not agree with the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, but it was clearly demonstrated that the Israelis were using paintball guns before they landed on deck and that this was their ‘weapon’ of choice as a non-lethal crowd controller. Handguns were only used when the attack on them became lethal.
It is also clear there was considerable confusion and fear amongst the soldiers, some of whom were taken below and one reported that he believed he would be killed. One of the Turkish activists protected him and probably saved his life. In this respect, his actions are praiseworthy. Other activists seem to have tried to treat the injured Israelis.
There was still no explanation of how and when and where the 9 activists were killed. The fact that 50 were also injured demonstrated, to me, that the soldiers, in fear of their lives, with good reason (some had already been bludgeoned, thrown off deck rails, stabbed and even shot) did what any soldier would do, namely use enough force to stop the immediate threat and discourage further attack. One IDF soldier, when asked if he killed anyone, said he shot at his assailants’ legs and this was then reinforced with video of an injured activist with leg wounds.
I believe that the soldiers went for non-lethal shots, but as they feared being overwhelmed and being killed they used lethal force. Maj Gen (Ret) Giora Eiland, who carried out the IDF investigation, made the remark that, under the circumstances, casualties were low. He didn’t elaborate why, and such remarks don’t play well with international audiences. This was not a well-judged remark, but at least it was honest.
Jane Corbin herself concluded, having seen the remnants of the aid, that the whole flotilla was a political provocation, not a humanitarian one. The Mavi Marmara carried no aid whatsoever (a point not made in the film) and other items were of such little importance to Hamas that they either did not let them through as a form of protest, or they were out-of-date medicines. You can see details of the aid carried by the other boats and what the Israelis did with it on a previous post of mine here.
No doubt apologists from the Free Gaza Movement will simply say that the whole incident would not have happened had it not been for the blockade, the Israelis are liars etc. But I ask you, if the Beeb can’t find anything with which to beat Israel up then maybe the IDF did indeed enter a trap and protected itself from lethal force with lethal force.
Tom Gross, as brilliant as ever, reported this week on how he believes Hamas are:
deliberately leaving some Gazans in plastic tents, in order to fool gullible Western journalists and politicians who are brought to Gaza to witness a staged “humanitarian crisis.
This has been a suspicion of mine for some time. Commenting on a JC blog post I wrote:
There is a big question over the ongoing issue with rebuilding. Hamas and its supporters worldwide and, it seems Patten and Ashton, like to point out Gazans living in the rubble of their homes. Yet shopping malls, swimming pools and restaurants are being built. It couldn’t be, could it, that those lovely Hamas peeople DELIBERATELY leave the rubble to bring pressure on Israel? Wouldn’t that be obscene? After all, if you can get a 4 x 4 through a tunnel you can get concrete and steel. Noone ever asks that question. Just like the ‘refugee camps’ after 62 years are maintained as an ongoing weapon against Israel, house rubble in Gaza may well be being used for the same purpose.
We appear to have come to the same conclusion.
The Tom Gross article shows us the new Gaza Shopping mall with the comment:
If there “are no building materials allowed into Gaza” how did they build this shopping center, or the new Olympic-size swimming pool pictured below?
Good question and the same one as mine.
Yet in a Guardian article (I don’t give links to the Guardian on principle any more, so you’ll have to believe me or find it yourself) Chris Patten, former Tory MP, former Governor of Hong Kong and now Chancellor of Oxford University and President of Medical Aid for Palestinians, doesn’t seem to have noticed the mall, the food stores filled to the brim, the Israeli white goods filling Gazan shops, instead:
Israel’s policy of blockading Gaza has been a “terrible failure – immoral, illegal and ineffective”, he said, which had “deliberately triggered an economic and social crisis which has many humanitarian consequences”
On earlier visits, he said, he had observed “a community that was poor, but at least economic activity was taking place”. Since the blockade, “economic and commercial life has been squeezed out of Gaza in what looks and feels and is like a medieval siege”.
The old medieval siege canard again. Israel provides most of the electricity needs of Gaza and did so throughout Cast Lead. Israel provides Gaza’s fuel needs. Israel lets in hundreds of trucks through its crossing points daily. Can someone tell me of any medieval siege where the besieger provided for the daily sustenance of the besieged?
A week ago the Jerusalem Post reported :
The Defense Ministry’s coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT) has given initial approval to international organizations for 31 construction projects in the Gaza Strip, constituting a 300 percent increase in the number of projects approved by Israel in the past month.
The 31 projects were submitted to COGAT since the cabinet decided in June to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
COGAT had already approved nine projects before the government’s decision, including the renovation of a sewage treatment plant in northern Gaza, the construction of 151 housing units in Khan Yunis in the south, and the repair of a flour mill that was damaged during Operation Cast Lead a year and a half ago.
Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:
The embargo has been criticized for its effects on food, clean water, medicine, and other economic needs of the Cuban population. The Cuban population is in dire need of most of these items.
Criticism has come from both Fidel Castro and Raul Castro, citizens and groups from within Cuba, and international organizations and leaders including Barack Obama.
Some academic critics, outside Cuba, have also linked the embargo to shortages of medical supplies and soap which have resulted in a series of medical crises and heightened levels of infectious diseases. It has also been linked to epidemics of specific diseases, including neurological disorders caused by poor nutrition and blindness.
Travel restrictions embedded in the embargo have also been shown to limit the amount of medical information that flows into Cuba from the United States. Malnutrition and disease resulting from increased food and medicine prices have affected men and the elderly, in particular, due to Cuba’s rationing system which gives preferential treatment to women and children.
Yes, this is the United States’ embargo on Cuba. Yet no-one is sending flotillas to Havana, the Guardian is not banging on about Cuba almost every day, the UN has lost interest and the EU is shtum.
At least Patten is anti Boycott (and I don’t mean Sir Geoffrey for cricket aficionados):
“I don’t think a boycott would help,” he said. “It could have the reverse consequences to those intended.”
On the same page as pictures of the new Gaza mall Gross tells us:
Two days ago the EU pledged tens of millions of EU taxpayers’ euros to add to the hundreds of millions already donated to Gaza this year, much of which has been misused to procure arms.
Meanwhile Barry Shaw has begin a Facebook cause entitled: Palestinian funding. Obscene. Insane. Immoral. and tells us:
We are having an effect. A crack has appeared in the stonewall of Palestinian lies. Our evidence is starting to get through. The photos, videos, statistics are beginning to be seen by those who have been in a state of denial.
Slowly, the actual living conditions in Gaza is being seen by a wider public. They are hearing about the new Gaza Shopping Mall (we have the actual promotion material), the fine dining at Roots Club and Greens, they can see the luxurious mansions and new apartment blocks, fully stocked stores, swimming in the Olympic pool, horse riding at the Gaza academy, and much much more.
The lies that Gaza is hell is being exposed. We need you to help us tear down this wall of lies and deceit.
The lies, paid for with your tax dollars, is keeping the Islamic terror regime of Hamas in power. Your money is helping them gain influence in the rest of the Palestinian territories.
If you care for peace, if you care for those in genuine distress, leanr the facts, spread the message, and demand that your tax money is diverted to those in desparate need.
And on his website:
An investigative report by Israel National News published on Thursday revealed that whenever the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza requests an influx of US dollars to pay its staff, the Hamas Islamic terror regime end up making a killing.
It is curious that UNRWA requests the transfer of US dollars, as it did this week when it called for $12.5 million for staff salaries. The bulk of that money is provided by US taxpayers.
The fact is that all financial transactions in Gaza take place in Israeli shekels, the official currency of the territory.
In order for the UNRWA staff to be paid in shekels, the dollars are deposited in the Gaza Postal Bank, which is controlled by Hamas. The bank changes the dollars to shekels, charging a hefty fee to do so. The dollars are then reportedly sold again on the Egyptian black market where they command a much higher price.
Hamas makes huge amounts of money both on the initial exchange, and by reselling the dollars.
A senior economic researcher cited in the story said further evidence of this is the fact that Hamas always complains of a lack of money. But every time UNRWA receives money, Hamas is suddenly able to pay its own salaries.
Under US law, it is illegal to put taxpayers’ dollars towards any organization or movement that may result in that money reaching the hands of terrorists. These laws have been consistently ignored when it comes to the ‘Palestinians’.
Hence, US taxpayers are financing the Hamas terror organisation that controls the Gaza Strip.
Confusing, isn’t it. Is there a humanitarian crisis or not?
Tom Gross again (MAYBE THE TURKISH FLOTILLAS ARE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION?):
In Turkey, life expectancy is 72.23 and infant mortality is 24.84 per 1,000 births.
In Gaza, life expectancy is 73.68 and infant mortality is 17.71 per 1,000 births.
Turkey has a literacy rate of 88.7% while in Gaza it is 91.9%. (It is much lower in Egypt and other Arab countries where Israel did not establish colleges and universities in the 1970s and 1980s.)
Gaza’s GDP is almost as high as Turkey’s and much, much higher than most of Africa that gets 1,000th of the aid per capita that Gaza gets from the West.
(Source for above info: CIA World Factbook)
So the question is, even if there are problems in Gaza who is now responsible? Surely Hamas assisted by the EU the UN and the United States can build housing required? Israel approves and assists with projects where there is no chance of Hamas using materials for military purposes. So what’s holding them back. If they can build a mall and a restaurant, why not an apartment block?
The EU, as represented by Baroness Ashton, seems unwilling to make the connection between Hamas and the plight of Gazans living in tents.
I do not say that there are no problems in Gaza, but the main cause of humanitarian suffering is Hamas with its repressive Islamist policies, its persecution of Fatah, its attitude to women and its commitment to destroy Israel and murder Jews.
And why is there such a disproportionate obsession with Gaza when there are so many more critical causes. Cuba for instance. Sudan anyone? Congo?
The TULIP (Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine) website issued the full text of the Israeli Trade Union, Histadrut’s, statement on the Gaza blockade:
Histadrut is committed to the existence of two sovereign, independent and democratic states existing in peace and mutual respect.
The partial blockade of Gaza was put in place by Israel in response to attacks by Hamas and others on people in Israel.
Histadrut recognises the impacts that this has had on the people of Gaza, and reaffirms its commitment to humanitarian assistance to improve the situation in Gaza.
The current situation is unsustainable, from the economic, political and humanitarian perspective.
Histadrut therefore supports the lifting of the restrictions in the shortest possible time frame, in conditions of real movement to achieving the two-state solution.
This can only be achieved on the basis of guarantees for Israel’s security including the inspection of cargoes, and the good will and commitment of all the parties, including the international community, to alleviate the suffering of all those affected and to bring economic progress to Gaza in parallel with genuine moves for fully-fledged democracy and peace.
I second that wholeheartedly.
The suffering of the people of Gaza must end as soon as possible but not at the expense of the lives of thousands of Israelis.
Whatever can be done, should be done.
Israel has responded to pressure and eased restrictions. Tony Blair is busy trying to find a solution to help Gaza which does not imperil Israel.
Today, however, the International Red Cross condemned the blockade as illegal and accuses Israel of collective punishment as reported by the BBC:
The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility.
What! Bear no responsibility? Who the heck voted for Hamas then? That’s like saying the Germans weren’t responsible for the Nazis and the allies should not have bombed them.