[News] Israel-linked cargo ship sailing into Tunisian storm

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 7 11:34:17 EDT 2018


  Israel-linked cargo ship sailing into Tunisian storm

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 6 
August 2018


Trade union leaders in Tunisia are calling on their members not to 
unload an Israel-linked cargo ship if it lands at the port of Radès in 
coming days.

According to tracking data 
<https://www.vesselfinder.com/fr/?imo=8912455>, /Cornelius A/ left the 
Spanish port of Algeciras on Sunday night headed towards Radès, where it 
is predicted to arrive on 9 August.

But over the weekend, there were indications that the journey had been 
canceled, prompting Palestine solidarity activists to celebrate a victory.

Last week, activists and Tunisia’s UGTT trade union federation demanded 
that Tunisian authorities prevent the /Cornelius A/ from entering the 
country’s waters because the ship, owned by the Turkish company Arkas, 
appeared to be operated on behalf of the Israeli shipping line Zim.

The vessel has apparently been plying the Mediterranean as part of a 
network <http://tacbi.org/node/41> that offers cargo shipping between 
Haifa, a port in present-day Israel, and Tunisia’s Radès, via Spanish ports.

Activists see Zim’s use of a Turkish-flagged vessel as an attempt at 
covert normalization between Israel and Tunisia, which have no formal 

Last week, the Tunisian port authority OMMP and the Turkish embassy in 
Tunis denied 
any Israeli connection to the /Cornelius A/, but this failed to convince 

    “National stance”

On Friday, three major Palestinian trade union federations wrote 
to UGTT secretary-general Nourredine Taboubi urging the Tunisian labor 
organization to mobilize all efforts to stop the /Cornelius A/ being 
unloaded in Radès and to prevent normalization of ties with Israel more 

The next day, Taboubi reaffirmed 
that the UGTT would block any “Zionist entity that attempts to enter 
Tunisian territory.”

On Sunday, TACBI, the Tunisian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural 
Boycott of Israel, declared a victory <http://tacbi.org/node/43> when 
/Cornelius A/ appeared to stop at sea, and references to the ship’s 
planned arrival in Tunisia disappeared from the internet.

The Tunisian port authority OMMP removed the announcement for a 
scheduled stop by /Cornelius A/ from its official website 

The Israeli shipping company Zim has also deleted from its website 
the references 
to the /Cornelius A/ operating a service to Radès on its behalf.

Yet as the ship appears once again to be sailing towards Tunisia, trade 
union leaders are escalating their calls on the government to stop it.

On Monday, the UGTT demanded 
that the government and port authorities reveal all the facts about the 
ship and called for a parliamentary inquiry into Zim’s covert dealings 
in Tunisia.

The labor federation urged its member unions and port workers to 
mobilize in order to “prevent this ship from sullying Tunisian territory.”

The UGTT also called on Turkey to investigate the ship’s connections 
with Israel that had been previously denied by its ambassador, and not 
to invoke Turkey’s warm relations with Tunisia as a cover to fend off 
criticism and concern.

UGTT said that its “rejection of the entry of this ship to our ports is 
a national stance taken only by those who are most vigilant for 
Palestine, our central cause.”

It demanded that the Turkish line Arkas that owns the /Cornelius A/ 
abide by Tunisian law and refrain from any activity that “harms 
Tunisia’s sovereignty and interests or negates its principled position 
that Tunisia has no economic or diplomatic ties with the Zionist entity.”

The UGTT also wants the government to compile a list of foreign-owned 
vessels that are used by Israeli companies in order to ban them from 
entering Tunisian ports or surreptitiously delivering Israeli cargo to 
the country.

    Second flotilla boat commandeered

In 2014, US activists and labor organizers spurred by Israel’s military 
attack on Gaza successfully prevented 
Zim ships from unloading at the port of Oakland.

Now, Tunisian activists say that it is especially unacceptable for an 
Israeli-linked ship to land in Tunisia while Israel maintains a maritime 
blockade on the occupied Gaza Strip.

On 29 July, Israeli military forces stormed and commandeered 
the /Al Awda/, one of two boats carrying activists, journalists and 
medical supplies in an attempt to break the siege of Gaza.

    SOS – John Turnbull (Canada), Captain of ‘Freedom’ has been captured
    in international waters and taken to Israel against his will. Please
    take action now including sharing his SOS Video:
    https://t.co/gIPfc3YO5M #ShipToGaza
    https://t.co/8NjB425Y1n pic.twitter.com/AX0gGmc4ht

    — Freedom Flotilla (@GazaFFlotilla) August 6, 2018

On Saturday, flotilla organizers said 
they had lost contact with /Freedom/, the second boat attempting to 
reach Gaza.

“We have reason to presume that the Israeli occupation forces have now 
begun to attack it and that it has been surrounded in international 
waters,” the Freedom Flotilla Coalition said. “The latest reported 
position was approximately 40 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.”

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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