Israel, Zionism and the Media

Tag: flotilla (Page 2 of 2)

To be honest, Ed Miliband hates Israel as much as every other UK party leader

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: Leader of the labour party Ed Miliband delivers his keynote speech to party members on September 28, 2010 in Manchester, England. On the fourth day of his leadership Ed Miliband called on members to move forward into a new era and that he is part of a new generation and is set to move away from Brown and Blair era. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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.

Panorama – Death in the Med – credit where credit is due

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.

Israel will co-operate with UN Flotilla Enquiry

At last!! The Israeli government has seen sense and decided to show that it has nothing to fear from a UN enquiry which appears to be unbiased – for a change.

Israel Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, released the following today:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Monday), 2.8.10, informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that Israel would participate in the panel that he is establishing in the wake of the 31.5.10 events regarding the flotilla.

The announcement to the UN Secy.-Gen. was delivered following consultations with the seven-member ministerial forum earlier this morning and in the wake of diplomatic contacts that have been held in recent weeks in order to ensure that this was indeed a panel with a balanced and fair written mandate.

The panel will receive reports on the Israeli investigation by the Independent Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31.5.10 chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said today, after speaking with the UN Secy.-Gen., that, “Israel has nothing to hide. The opposite is true. It is in the national interest of the State of Israel to ensure that the factual truth of the overall flotilla events comes to light throughout the world and this is exactly the principle that we are advancing.”

Having initially refused to co-operate, Israel set up its own internal enquiry which concentrated on exposing a group of Turkish activists with links to the IHH who led a flotilla intent on breaking the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza.

This ‘humanitarian’ organisation has been shown to have links with terrorist groups, even Al Qaeda. 8 of 9 activists killed had links with dubious IHH activities and most had left evidence that they were determined to reach Gaza or become martyrs. Such an attitude itself reveals a hatred for Israel that is so great that they were prepared to die, and kill, for it.

Despite much documentary evidence taken by the Israelis and by many people on board the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the flotilla, there has not yet been a clear and detailed account of how and under what circumstances the 9 men were killed. All we know from the Israeli account and video evidence is that the commandos who landed on the Mavi Marmara were met with lethal force and a mob of about 50 men attacked a much smaller number of commandos whose main ‘weapon’ was a paint gun.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a web page dedicated to the events of 21 May 2010 here.

The terms of the Israeli commission are detailed here.

The main objectives were as follows:

1) Consideration of the security circumstances for imposing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and the conformity of the naval blockade with the rules of international law;
2) Conformity of the actions taken by Israel to enforce the naval blockade on 31 May 2010 to the principles of international law;
3) Consideration of the actions taken by those who organized – and participated in – the flotilla, and their identities.
The Commission will also consider the question of whether the inquiry and investigation mechanisms vis-à-vis complaints and claims regarding violations of the laws of armed conflict, as followed by Israel in general and as implemented with regard to the event in question, conform with the State of Israel’s obligations under the rules of international law.
Following the international outcry against Israel and its virtual pariah status, it’s about time Israel engaged at an international level to show that, indeed, it has nothing to hide.
Whether the UN panel will give Israel its first fair hearing at the UN for some considerable time remains to be seen.
Perhaps the UN might also want to consider Turkey’s role in aiding and abetting an organisation, the IHH, which may well be proscribed in the United States and which members of the Italian parliament are seeking to have proscribed in Europe.

Yes, it’s about time that Israel fought more pugnaciously to restore its reputation in the UN and find a platform to expose the hypocrisy of its enemies and critics.

Israel has already admitted operational errors. That doesn’t excuse those who would commit murder because they oppose an ideology. The would-be murderers were those killed who were intent on killing Jews/Zionists/Israelis – it was all the same to them.

Let’s see what the UN comes up with this time.

Update: Anne Bayevsky clearly does not agree with me and her opinion is too valuable to be ignored, so, for balance, here is a link.

The hypocrisy of the Lebanese flotillaniks

Richard Millett makes an excellent point on his blog about the hypocrisy of the Lebanese sending flotillas ostensibly to aid the beleaguered Gazans whilst the Palestinians in Lebanon are in such a bad way that they are actually out on the streets protesting.

On Sunday outside the United Nations building in the Lebanese capital some 6,000 Palestinians demanded basic civil rights 62 years after they first arrived in Lebanon.

The 400,000 Palestinians that live in Lebanon are not allowed to own property and are excluded from 72 different forms of employment.

It is ironic that while there are more flotillas destined for Gaza to try to alleviate a non-existent humanitarian crisis, Palestinians living in Lebanon in dire conditions are virtually forgotten by the international community, including the flotilla activists.

As ever, Palestinians killing Palestinians or Muslims killing Muslims (“According to B’Tselem 660 Palestinians have been murdered by Palestinians in the last ten years. No doubt these atrocities are also pinned on Israel.” [same article]) is hardly worth a mention in the media and certainly not at the UN.

Why is this?

Answers on a postcard to, inter alia: The Guardian, Ban Ki Moon, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Red Cross.

Helen Thomas and Free Palestine Organisation have the same speech writer

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 2: (FILE PHOTO) Senior White House Correspondent Helen Thomas reads the newspaper while sitting in her chair in the White House press room August 2, 2006 in Washington, DC. Thomas, 89, announced her retirement as a columnist for Hearst News Service June 7, 2010 after controversial comments she made about Israel created an uproar. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

The world now knows that Helen Thomas, doyenne of the White House press corps was interviewed earlier this month (see full video below).

Thomas, of Lebanese extraction, said that the Jews should ‘get the hell out of Palestine’. When asked where they should go, she said they should go back to Germany, Poland, America and elsewhere. She was subsequently sacked from Hearst newspapers for her remarks.

Now, Helen Thomas is quite entitled to object to the Israeli presence in the West Bank and to settlements. What she appeared to be guilty of was saying that Jews should leave Palestine (and it is not clear what she meant by ‘Palestine’) and return to two countries which were largely responsible for the deaths of 6 million during the Holocaust.

This is insensitivity to put it mildly. If she were implying that Jews as settlers should leave Palestine/the West Bank, then why did she not say they should settle in Israel rather than ‘get the hell out’. There was a clear implication that she did not believe Jews have the right to settle even in Israel and that they are ALL settlers from Europe, America and elsewhere.

Helen Thomas’s remarks were echoed by a fellow Lebanese, as reported in the Jerusalem Post in an article about the Lebanese all woman flotilla which now, apparently, is not going to sail after all (see here).

In an interview with Hizbullah’s al-Manar television station,

Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian businessman of Palestinian descent who heads the “Free Palestine Organization” and is funding this boat, as well as another that is to carry journalists and parliamentarians, said …. that he was more and more optimistic that one day these same boats would take “Europe’s refuse [the Jews] that came to my homeland back to their homelands.

“Gilad Schalit should go back to Paris and those murderers go back to Poland, and after that we will chase them until the ends of the earth to bring them to justice for their acts of slaughter from Deir Yassin until today.

So the Jewish people are ‘Europe’s refuse’ and should somehow go back, presumably even those who have lived in Israel/Palestine uninterrupted for hundreds of years.

But Mr Kashlak, like Helen Thomas, conveniently failed to mention that in 1948 and subsequently as many as 900,000 Jews from Arab states were expelled or forced to leave due to persecution, and stripped of their property, businesses and money simply for being Jews. Approximately half of all Israelis are of Mizrahi Arab descent.

Many of them, naturally, fled to Israel. So does Mr Kashlak expect these Jews and their descendants to return to Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Syria? Does he think these countries would accept hundreds of thousand of Jews? If not, where would he like them to go? But he is going to chase them to the ends of the Earth anyway, which seems a bit silly. Why expel them and then chase them, why not just murder them in their homes in Israel.

He wants Gilad Shalit to go back to Paris. I’m sure Gilad Shalit would be happy to go anywhere at the moment, but he can’t as he is being held as a prisoner of war by Hamas without access to the Red Cross in direct transgression of the international laws that Hamas and Hizbullah are so keen to accuse Israel of breaking.

So for those who would deny the Jews their rights to self-determination in their ancestral homeland the choice is clear: exile or extermination. And if you chose the former, we’ll come after you anyway. This should not be surprising when Hizbullah, like Hamas, is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and all Jews.

You can find the Hizbullah ‘charter’ here. But here’s a taste of it:

Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated.
We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies, for the reason that such negotiation is nothing but the recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of Palestine. Therefore we oppose and reject the Camp David Agreements, the proposals of King Fahd, the Fez and Reagan plan, Brezhnev’s and the French-Egyptian proposals, and all other programs that include the recognition (even the implied recognition) of the Zionist entity.

Sounds a tad uncompromising to me. Oh well, maybe Hamas can do better:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. “

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

“After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree,  would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Well, that, if anything is even worse. They want to murder all Jews. But that’s genocide! So let’s send humanitarian boats to help them achieve their objectives by breaking the maritime blockade and letting in arms and missiles.

The flotilla, Operation Cast Lead, Bloody Sunday and double standards

DERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 15: Some of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings are remembered on a mural in the Catholic Bogside area of Derry on March 15, 2010 in Northern Ireland. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry chaired by Lord Saville was established in 1998 to look at the shooting dead of 14 civil rights marchers by the British Army in Derry, Northern Ireland on January 30, 1972. Lord Saville and his fellow judges have spoken to 921 witnesses during the longest legal proceedings in British and Irish history. Their report is due to be sent to the Government by the end of March 2010. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

January 30th 1972 is ingrained in my memory. It was my birthday. I was still a schoolboy. There was a big fuss, but after a while, back in England, the memory faded.

In case you are unaware, 13 people, all Catholics, were shot dead in Bogside, (London)Derry by British paratroopers. The incident was soon named Bloody Sunday.

For 38 years the families of unarmed protesters have sought justice.

The army claims that some were armed, that there were bombers amongst them. The families, and history, seems to suggest that the army ran amok, shooting indiscriminately.

So why a comparison with Operation Cast Lead when the Israeli army and air force attacked Gaza in December 2008 to January 2009 killing over 1000 people and destroying hundreds of homes , buildings and infrastructure? The Israelis said it was necessary to stop rocket attacks from Hamas which had rained down on Southern Israel for seven years and to cripple Hamas’s military capabilities. Opponents called it a massacre, genocide and the usual hyperbolic language reserved only for Israel on the international scene.

The UN were lightning fast to react, the world was quick to condemn.  Within weeks the Goldstone Report found Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israel did not co-operate but have made there own investigations and have rebutted almost every accusation in the Report and explained reasons for mistakes made in very difficult conditions. It should be noted that the UN, the UN Security Council the UN Human Rights Council, the EU, NGO’s and every tin-pot dictator in the Middle-East and beyond was also quick to condemn, in most cases BEFORE any formal investigation.

Recently, the Israelis intercepted a flotilla of Humanitarian Aid bound to break its maritime blockade of Gaza. On boarding the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, with 600 people on board, mainly Turkish, the Israelis were attacked and then shot dead 9 ‘activists’ and wounded several others after rapelling from a helicopter carrying paintball guns. The opposing narrative says the members of the terrorist-linked IHH, who had taken over the ship, were defending themselves. Again, the world was quick to condemn, to cry ‘illegal blockade’, ‘piracy’, ‘murder’ before the facts were really known.

Now look at the case of the British Army shooting dead 13 of its own citizens at a time when (London)Derry was the centre of IRA activity which sought, by violence, to force the British government to secede Ulster (Northern Ireland) to the Irish Republic.

Just Google ‘Bloody Sunday UN’, ‘Bloody Sunday UNHRC’, ‘Bloody Sunday Security Council’. Nothing. At no time in 38 years have the UN or most of the NGO’s accused Britain of disproportionate force, murder, a crime against humanity, or war crimes. The British were left, quite rightly, to investigate themselves. And they have failed miserably in that time under successive governments, to deliver the truth, or any truly reliable definitive report until Saville, which is about to be unleashed.

In all that time successive British governments have either kicked the incident into the long grass or have exercised incredible secrecy about the ongoing investigation. The first report by Lord Widgery was considered a ‘whitewash’ of the army by none other than Tony Blair who commissioned Lord Saville in 1998. It still took 12 years in the making with 5000 pages of testimony and analysis.

Yet within weeks or days of Israel taking sovereign action against an EXTERNAL aggressor the whole world not only condemns without the facts but then demands international enquiries and sanctions. The full panoply of UN organisations and NGO’s inside and outside Israel immediately jump on Israel demanding independent enquiries with international panels.

Israel appears to be the only Western democracy deemed unable to investigate itself. There have been three Iraq war enquiries in the UK with no international members. Senate Committees in the US with no international members.

Let me repeat: 38 years after the event and 10 years after its commission, after millions of pounds spent, the events of a few hours in 1972 are about to be brought to light. 38 years. The events of weeks in Gaza take a few hundred pages and a few weeks for Goldstone to produce.

Israel has agreed to Lord Trimble, (ironically a prominent former First Minister of Northern Ireland), A Nobel Peace Prize winner and a barrister, to be one of the international observers. The other is Ken Watkin, former Judge Advocate of the Canadian Forces.

Surely, in the light of such international hostility, it is prudent for Israel to allow some form of international observation and confirmation that the procedures have been transparent. Israel will try to demonstrate that its actions were legal and necessary.

This could be a positive outcome for Israel. If Trimble and Watkin find the Israeli procedures to be transparent and Israel’s actions to be justified, albeit with a flawed tactical plan, then the true story about the flotilla and how it was hijacked by extremists will no longer just be a claim to be denied by Israel bashers.

Col. Kemp, Israel and double standards

Col Richard Kemp

The Jerusalem Post reports that Col. (ret) Richard Kemp, who is a former head of UK forces in Afghanistan (and who first came to the notice of the Israeli public when he stood up for Operation Cast Lead at the UN in the wake of the Goldstone enquiry),  is in Israel.

Kemp has this to say about the world’s reaction to the interception of the terrorist sponsored ‘Freedom Flotilla’:

“I believe Israel should do it rapidly and comprehensively and should be completely up front if it has made mistakes – mistakes should be admitted by Israel, but I don’t think it should be subjected to an independent inquiry any more than other Western countries are.

Look at what appears to have been a very serious military error made by the German army in Northern Afghanistan last year when something like 50-150 civilians were killed in an air strike..”

Quite right, and that is just one of many, many incidents in Afghanistan and around the world, far more serious than the flotilla incident, which are completely ignored by the UN.

While Kemp was critical of Israel’s handling of the flotilla raid, in particular its intelligence-gathering prior to the operation, he said the blame for the death toll lay with the “activists” who attacked the soldiers.

This is clear for any reasonable person to see from the evidence of the videos. All that the supporters of the flotilla can say is that they had a right to defend themselves. Do you remember the last time anyone was killed in a paintball contest? The paintball gun was the Israeli’s primary ‘weapon’ . When the world is bleating about disproportionality of Israel’s  activities at every possible occasion, is it not disproportionate to prepare a lethal attack with knives and metal clubs and then take pistols and shoot at someone with a paintball gun? That is bloody murder in my book.

Kemp rightly points out that this raid was bungled. We still do not know why nine people died or whether there deaths were caused by their zealotry to become shahids (martyrs) as is witnessed in this video:

It could be bravado, of course but other pronouncements and the weapons found on board point to a Gaza or die attitude. When someone is prepared to die in order to kill you what would you do with a pistol in your hand. With hundreds of people on board against a handful of commandos, whatever you think of the legality of their actions, they did not come with deadly intent, unlike their assailants.
Here’s some of what was found on the ‘peace convoy’:

As Kemp says, there must be an investigation, but no-one will accept the conclusions if they absolve the Israeli Navy, of course, only kangaroo-court UN enquiries whose members have decided guilt in advance (Goldstone) are allowed.

Flotilla: what are the Con-Dems thinking?

Downing Street reports on Prime Minister Cameron’s cosy chat with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu:

“The PM also stressed the importance of urgently lifting the blockade of Gaza, and allowing full access for humanitarian aid.”

William Hague:

I call on the Government of Israel to open the crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza, and address the serious concerns about the deterioration in the humanitarian and economic situation and about the effect on a generation of young Palestinians.”

Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister)

“… unjustified and untenable blockade of Gaza… what is going on in Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe”

Yet all three also say Israel has a right to defend itself against attack. They do not see the contradiction.

Clearly none of them is prepared to even mention Hamas and its genocidal intent. None of them is prepared to do the slightest research into the organisers or con-dem the Turkish government for allowing the provocation. In other words, Israel must allow ‘unfettered access’ so that its enemies can supply its other enemies with rockets and weaponry to further persecute their war of terror against Israel.

So you now know what you voted for, guys, more craven surrender-monkeys who are quite happy to see NATO or the US flatten a few villages in Afghanistan or for the Sri Lankan government to cover up massacres or the North Koreans to sink ships or for the Turks to bomb Kurds or the Americans to detain people illegally and torture them, to target Al Qaeida leaders… you get the idea. But Israel must surrender to Hamas.

If Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister – why does that sound so strange still) actually believes there is a humanitarian disaster in Gaza then why does he not attack the prime cause of that disaster, namely Hamas. No-one is starving in Gaza (see my post here)

And why do none of them ask Egypt to open ITS borders? Are they so new in office that they are not aware that Egypt lets in absolutely ZIP!

Update: The Egyptians have decided to open the Rafah crossing.  But what exactly is coming through?

Update: David Miliband is no better just to be politically balanced on this. Politicians say what they think they should say, that’s why they are politicians.

BBC bias complaints: contrasting reactions

When pro-Israeli groups in the UK  believe the BBC to be biased they write in, make phone calls, blog, write letters to newspapers.

When the anti-Israel elements think the BBC is biased they resort to violence.

BBC studios in Manchester have been attacked by a mob of 800 protesters.

More than 800 people marched through the city centre and down Oxford Road, where the crowd surged at the BBC’s entrance, smashing its front doors.

One man climbed to the top of the building to plant a Palestinian flag and there were at least three arrests.

Protesters said they were also angry about the BBC’s coverage of Israel.

Protesters from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, who organised the demonstration, chanted slogans including: “BBC tell the truth.”

Protesters smashed glass doors and there were at least three arrests

Talat Ali, 40, organizer from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “This is a peaceful demonstration against the attack that has taken place on the Gaza flotilla.

Yeah, about as peaceful as the terrorists who ambushed Israeli commandos.

“We are not happy with the way commanders boarded vessels and butchered people.

“We are not happy with the biased news given by the BBC.”

Is it not ironic that when the BBC finally becomes more even-handed in its coverage this upsets those with a mindset that is impervious to truth and evidence.

This is intimidation of a free press. The protesters should know that this is not Iran – not yet, anyway.

A tale of two flotillas: Dunkirk and Gaza

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the retreat of British forces from the beaches of Dunkirk. A heroic flotilla of small ships left English ports to rescue as many troops as they could whilst under fire and bombardment by Nazi forces.

On this day 70 years later a smaller flotilla of just eight or is it nine boats is heading for Gaza with the expressed aim of breaking the blockade and bringing much needed relief to one and a half million starving Gazans. Unlike the bravehearts of Dunkirk, this flotilla will succeed whatever the outcome.

But it’s a big lie, a huge con trick whose underlying intent is not to help Gaza but to demonise Israel and provoke it to take action which will will further damage its reputation. To that extent, it’s little different than a missile fired at Sderot.

Yesterday IDF Colonel Moshe Levi declared “No Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip”

We do not know of a shortage in any field, and we enable the entrance of various different goods, and also the export of agricultural products from the Gaza Strip. Anything that would help Hamas to increase its military power is obviously not permitted to enter,” said Col. Levi. In addition to that he demonstrated the data collected by the Gaza DCO that shows that 6,000 Palestinians exited the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment in Israel and Jordan..

Some blockade but it gets better: take a look at the IDF blog for 25th May 2010. I’m sorry, but it’s worth quoting in almost its entirety, it’s just too good to miss:

Food Products and Clothing:

  1. Most types of food are allowed into the Strip, and are transferred by the private sector or by international organizations.
  2. During 2009, 30,920 trucks containing 800,000 tons of supplies were transferred into Gaza. This included fruits and vegetables, meat products, poultry and fish, dairy products, sugar, rice and legumes, flour and yeast, oil, and more. Furthermore, 10,871 heads of cattle were transferred for the Muslim holidays of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.
  3. In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March), 94,500 tons of supplies were transferred in 3,676 trucks to the Strip: 48,000 tons of food products; 40,000 tons of wheat; 2,760 tons of rice; 1,987 tons of clothes and footwear; 553 tons of milk powder and baby food.
  4. In 2009, 572 trucks containing approximately 5,000 tons of medical supplies entered the Strip.
  5. In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March) 1,068 tons of medicine and medical equipment were transferred in 152 trucks.
  6. In 2009 two elevators were transferred to hospitals in Gaza, as was a CT imaging system (to the Red Cross hospital), and equipment for a mammography machine (which checks for breast cancer).
  7. During the first quarter of 2010 four trucks with special supplies for a project of the “Al Quds” hospital were transferred to the Gaza Strip, and an additional 13 trucks are scheduled to cross.
  8. Due to fears of a swine flu outbreak, three Israeli hospitals were assigned to treat cases in the Gaza Strip and 44,500 immunizations were transferred to the Strip.

Equipment for Essential Civilian Infrastructure:

  1. In 2009 Israel transferred 41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of the electricity grid, and the state continues to provide approximately 60% of Gaza’s electricity.
  2. In 2009 over 105 million liters of fuel were transferred to Gaza’s power plant and over 3.2 million liters of gas were transferred for UNWRA operations.
  3. In 2009 127 trucks containing more than 3,000 tons of hypochlorite entered the Gaza Strip for water purification purposes. Moreover, 48 trucks of equipment for improving the sanitation infrastructure led to a substantial reduction in the Beit Lahya facility’s waste levels.
  4. As part of the preparations made for winter, 3,607 tons of glass was transferred to the Gaza Strip. According to UN reports, windows in all education and health institutions were repaired.
  5. In the first quarter of 2010 Israel transferred:
    • 250 trucks with equipment for the UNWRA summer camp, including: arts and crafts equipment, swimming pools, inflatable toys, ice cream machines, musical instruments, clothing, sports equipment, etc.
    • Seven trucks with equipment for upgrading the sewage pumping station, which was carried out by UNWRA.
    • 74 empty containers for UNWRA for use in classrooms and bathrooms
  6. Certain types of materials, such as cement and iron, are more restricted. These products are openly used by Hamas for developing its arsenal, building bunkers and launching sites, and making rockets and mortars.
  7. Despite the risk, the transfer of these items is also permitted under supervision, once it has been cleared that these materials are for civilian purposes only. Already in the first quarter of 2010, 23 tons of iron and 25 tons of cement were transferred to the Gaza Strip.

Movement of Residents in and out of the Gaza Strip

  1. Despite the inherent dangers involved, Israel permits Gazans and visitors to travel between Gaza and Israel, from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, and abroad for medical treatment, religious pilgrimages, and business trips. Whenever possible Israel allows for diplomatic activities as well as trade and commerce with the Gaza Strip.
  2. Here are a number of examples from 2009:
  • Delegations from abroad: 21,200 activists from international organizations from over 400 diplomatic delegations were permitted entry into Gaza, and 2,200 Palestinians employed by international organizations were given exit permits from the Gaza Strip.
  • Education, Vacations and Pilgrimages to Holy sites: 147 permits were given to Palestinian students for academic studies around the world. During the Christmas holiday approximately 400 permits were given to visit Bethlehem from Gaza as well 100 permits to travel abroad.
  • Business: 257 permits were given to businessmen from Gaza to facilitate business operations.
  • Sports: Special permission was given to Gazan footballers to train in Judea and Samaria and compete in international matches abroad.

Trade and Commerce

Israel has taken measures to support  trade and commerce, the banking system, and the existing financial market in the Gaza Strip:

  • In 2009 1.1 billion NIS was transferred to the Gaza Strip for the ongoing activity of international organizations and to pay the salaries of Palestinian Authority workers.
  • 40 million damaged bank notes were traded for new bills, and at the request of the Palestinian Monetary Fund, 282.5 million shekels were transferred from Gazan to Israeli Banks.
  • In February 2010 an agreement was reached with the Palestinian Authority’s National Insurance Department to ensure that pensions reached those formerly employed in Israel. The funds were deposited in banks in Judea and Samaria, while the Palestinian Authority was given the responsibility of distributing the funds to the pensioners in Gaza.
  • So, you see, there is no blockade of real essentials. And add to this little lot the stuff still coming through the Rafah tunnels. If you want to see real poverty and starvation take a look at Sudan or Zimbabwe.

    And if you want more proof then take a look at the Roots club website and the video therein.  Someone is doing well in Gaza.

    As I’ve said before, there is still hardship and suffering, I do not deny or belittle it, but it’s no worse than many other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, and it would be a whole lot better if Hamas were not in charge. But they were democratically elected, of course, just like a certain Austrian who was responsible for Dunkirk.

    But according to the Viva Palestina website:

    [Israel] has turned Gaza into a prisoner [sic] camp and has been carrying out a genocide. This camp and genocidal acts very much resemble Hitler’s actions in history.

    So there you go. You can have a slap up meal in a top-class restaurant in Gaza City just like the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto.

    Surely they can hardly believe their own blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric.  Israel is committing genocide just like the genocide the Palestinians deny ever happened. Sure takes some warped thinking and an egregious view of history to come to that conclusion. More like quadruple-think than double-think.

    Hamas have killed more Gazans than Israel ever did and the only genocide in the region under contemplation is the one that Hamas and Hizbollah want to commit against the Jews of Israel and beyond, and the first step in this plan is to destroy Israel by all and any means military, propaganda and legal.

    The flotilla knows it is in a win-win situation: if Israel blocks it they have their propaganda coup and if they get through they have a victory against Israel.  No doubt this flotilla will be followed by several more. It’s lucky for the Palestinians that Israel isn’t North Korea or they might have their boats torpedoed; all Israel will do is impound them or let them through.

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