[News] Israel seizes Gaza-bound boat in act of piracy

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 29 10:43:10 EDT 2015


  Israel seizes Gaza-bound boat in “act of piracy”

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> 
Activism and BDS Beat 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blog/activism-and-bds-beat>

*https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-seizes-gaza-bound-boat-act-piracy*
29 June 2015

Israeli forces boarded and commandeered the /Marianne/ on Monday, one of 
four boats that were bound for Gaza in the latest attempt to break the 
tight Israeli siege of the occupied territory.

At around 2 am Gaza time /Marianne/ was surrounded by three Israeli navy 
boats while in international waters more than 100 miles off the coast of 
Gaza, organizers Freedom Flotilla III said in a press release 
<https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org/israel-once-again-commits-an-act-of-state-piracy-in-the-mediterranean/>.

“After that we lost contact with the /Marianne/ and at 05:11 am (Gaza 
time) the IDF [Israeli army] announced that they had ‘visited and 
searched’ /Marianne/,” the press release states. “They had captured the 
boat and detained all on board ‘in international waters’ as they 
admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement 
was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, 
despite the Netanyahu government’s recent denial that one exists.”

Organizers called the seizure of the boat and its passengers an “act of 
piracy.”

Israel’s /Haaretz/ reports 
<http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.663423> that 
the boat is being towed to Usdud (Ashdod), a port in present-day Israel, 
where the passengers “will be interrogated before being escorted to Ben 
Gurion Airport and flown out of Israel.”

The 18 passengers 
<https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org/freedom-flotilla-iii-47-participants-on-four-boats-sailing-now/> 
aboard the /Marianne/ include Basel Ghattas, a Palestinian citizen of 
Israel and member of the Israeli parliament, former Tunisian president 
Moncef Marzuki, Spanish member of the European Parliament Ana Miranda 
and Professor Robert Lovelace, retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin 
First Nation in Canada.

Many Palestinians in had eagerly awaited the flotilla, hoping that it 
would call international attention to the siege which Israel imposed 
eight years ago.

Three other boats – /Rachel/, /Vittorio/ and /Juliano II/ – that also 
made up the flotilla have headed back to their ports of origin 
<https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org/freedom-flotilla-iii-marianne-approaches-gaza-sailing-boats-return-back/>.

In total, 47 passengers from 17 countries were aboard the boats, which 
carried medicines, solar panels and above all a strong message of 
solidarity for the 1.8 million Palestinians still besieged in Gaza one 
year after Israel began its 51-day destructive assault that killed more 
than 2,200 people.

An independent UN Human Rights Council inquiry 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/balance-un-gaza-report-cant-hide-massive-israeli-war-crimes> 
into the attack, published last week, found extensive evidence of war 
crimes approved by Israel’s leaders at the “highest level.”


    Violence incitement

Ghattas joined the flotilla despite violent threats and incitement from 
fellow lawmakers in Israel to lift his parliamentary immunity so that he 
could be prosecuted.

Yair Lapid, head of Israel’s purportedly centrist Yesh Atid party, for 
instance denounced the flotilla 
<http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4673286,00.html> as a 
“provocation against the state of Israel.”

“This is a flotilla of a group of terror supporters a heinous flotilla 
that needs to be stopped,” Lapid added. “We need to act against the 
flotilla the same way we do when dispersing a violent protest and these 
guys need to all be arrested.”

In a /Huffington Post/ column 
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-basel-ghattas/the-flotilla-question_b_7674866.html> 
on Sunday,he defended his right to take part in the flotilla.

Bigots in “a discriminatory Jewish state as a white Southern extremist 
in a Confederate state, seek to diminish the rights of Palestinian 
citizens of Israel and their representatives in the parliament,” Ghattas 
writes.

“More than anything, it is obvious that the situation of Palestinians in 
Gaza will inevitably lead to another round of bloody war, perhaps even 
more horrifying than the one we had less than one year ago,” Ghattas 
adds. “Still, my very outspoken colleagues in the Knesset would not even 
consider lifting the blockade as a means to avoid future war.”


    “No siege on Gaza”

In a statement Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 
justified the seizure of the /Marianne/ claiming that the “flotilla is 
nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting 
the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our 
region.”

Netanyahu insisted that “preventing entry by sea was done in accordance 
with international law and even received backing from a committee of the 
UN Secretary General.”

“Israel is the only democracy that defends itself in accordance with 
international law,” Netanyahu insisted, adding that “there is no siege 
on Gaza.”

The fact that 18 civilians aboard a yacht cannot sail to Gaza, and that 
there has been virtually no reconstruction in Gaza since Israel’s attack 
last year would tend to undermine Netanyahu’s contention.

According to /Haaretz/, after boarding the boat, Israeli army gunmen 
were “to hand out a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, 
welcoming [the captives] to Israel and wondering why they sailed to Gaza 
and not Syria.”

“Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad’s 
regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the 
murderous Iranian regime,” the letter would reportedly state.

Netanyahu’s statement did not specify which UN “committee” he was 
talking about, but this was a likely reference to the 2011 “Palmer 
report” commissioned by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon into Israel’s 
attack the previous year on the /Mavi Marmara/ 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/mavi-marmara>.

Turkey rejected the report into the assault that killed 10 of its 
citizens on the /Mavi Marmara/ in international waters and imposed 
sanctions on Israel 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-palmer-uribe-report-israels-flotilla-attack-worthless>.

The inquiry was heavily criticized for bias. The four-member committee 
that wrote the Palmer report was chaired by former New Zealand Prime 
Minister Geoffrey Palmer and vice-chaired by former president of 
Colombia Alvaro Uribe, a notorious human rights abuser close to Israel 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-palmer-uribe-report-israels-flotilla-attack-worthless>.

The inquiry commissioned by Ban was in addition to an official UN Human 
Rights Council fact-finding mission 
<http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/15session/A.HRC.15.21_en.PDF> 
which found that Israel’s attack on the 2010 flotilla was illegal.


    Determined

“It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the 
absolutely fruitless policy of ‘no tolerance,’ meaning it will continue 
to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 
million Palestinians in Gaza,” flotilla organizers said in their statement.

“Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are 
worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the 
entire eastern Mediterranean.”

They also urged governments”to ensure that all passengers and crew from 
the /Marianne/ are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation 
of international maritime law by the Israeli state.”

“We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of 
Israel,” the statement concludes. “People all over the world will 
continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the 
port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.”

This video, published on 20 June, shows /Marianne/ calling at the 
Italian port of Messina for a solidarity visit.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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