Jun 3, 2010

What Is To Be Done by Frank Scott


June 3, 2010

What Is To Be Done

by Frank Scott

   Israel's most recent outrage  has meant harsh criticism  from almost everywhere but the USA. Our captive nation status continues as those who usually echo our commands  express embarrassment at the conduct of the world's most self righteous regime. But Americans who demand that Israel come to its senses need to come to their own. Nothing about Israel will change until  everything about America's uncritical support for Israel changes.

   The blanket of distortion that covers any Israeli crime with tales of  savage terrorists bent on annihilation were fully employed once again in this case. When will this idiocy end? Will we hear that the concrete on those ships was to be used by Hamas to construct gas chambers and crematoria to carry out its plot to exterminate the Jewish people? Continuing the attempt of all humanity that isn't Jewish to murder the minority of humanity that is? Under the control of Ahmadinejad of Iran? And given the incredible garbage that fills their heads and passes for news of the world, how many unfortunate Americans might believe such nonsense?

   Had Iran attacked a ship in international waters and killed nine people, the unholy trinity of Obama-Biden-Clinton would be screeching "terrorism" to the high heavens and unleashing military violence on that nation. Shamefully, they  express blatant support or cowardly avoidance of criticism when Israel  responds to protest against its racist rule by killing innocents and claiming self defense. Pressure must be exercised on that renegade nation but expecting it to come from our government under its present status amounts to praying that extraterrestrials will save our planet.

   We need to challenge and transform the American government and not continue useless calls for morally just behavior from an Israeli state founded on immorality and injustice. And for all its claims of uniqueness , why should it be any different from the rest of what is called "western civilization"? A major part of that civilization's rise has been the near total destruction of indigenous people while claiming divine right and racial superiority in colonizing every corner of the world. That world is now under threat to the survival of all its people, as clearly outlined by representatives of the global majority at the Cochabamba conference . We need to heed their call for action from the human community before it is destroyed by the forces of division and racial superiority whose time may be ending but who may bring the "end time" for everyone else if they are not brought under control by a united global people.

   As Israel's isolation grows its near lunatic leadership is likely to become even more unpredictably dangerous. But Americans who wish for change need to direct their demands at the American government . We must end foolish support for alleged liberals and conservatives who battle viciously over how best to help corporate capital at the expense of the people but always come together in passionate unity to support a foreign country and squander billions of  dollars and thousand of lives  in foreign wars that endanger the entire population here at home . All of them need to be thrown out of office, impeached for dereliction of duty or tried for treason.  In acting against our interests and for a foreign country they generate more hatred for America with each subservient act of obedience to a lobby that buys them off and makes total mockery of our supposed democracy in the process.

   How much more can we push people to the edge by acting as enabling therapist to a crazed state whose American political supporters reduce us to nothing  remotely resembling a democratic nation? The next attempted terror bomber may not be as incompetent as the last, and there may be more after that if we do not end our  suppression of foreigners who strive for their own freedom, while we take more freedom away from the American people and threaten them with future suffering beyond anything imagined now. Had that Times Square bomber learned his craft in the USA, where Timothy McVey learned how to kill 168 at Oklahoma City, hundreds might have died in New York.

   The lunatic fringe in Israel has become the mainstream and armed with nuclear weapons and a cultural narrative of eternally imminent destruction, it is a threat to everyone and  not just those in the area. Control needs to be exercised but it will not happen if Americans  demonstrate in front of Israeli embassies or missions. We need demonstrations to be lodged at the offices of the alleged representatives of the American people, with boycotts, divestitures and sanctions against those who use our taxes, our military and our reputation among nations to  support everything Israel does at the moral, financial and existential expense of this nation. Those who still think appealing to one of the two wings of the capitalist ruling party will make a difference need to be  replaced by those  who truly want  radical change in this lifetime and not  in some dreamland of a fairy tale future.

   There is a global struggle between people who stand for equality of all and those who demand the superiority of  only some. The western capitalist domination of the world is ending but its   decline becomes more dangerous a process as "mother earth" suffers the strains of accumulating private  profits at the enormous cost of  humanity's loss. Palestine's striving for justice is a major part  of that struggle but it will not end successfully  until those in this country who support a foreign state at the expense of America are rooted out and replaced. Only democracy will help bring peace and security to the planet, including Palestine and all its people who wish to live as equals. There is no hope for the cult of superiority and the sooner we realize it is headquartered in our government, the sooner we avoid our own demise.

Copyright (c) 2010 by Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

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frank scott

Frank Scott writes  political commentary which appears in  the Coastal Post and The Independent Monitor and  at the blog Legalienate


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Interesting legal development,0,5927119.story

Supreme Court rejects ex-Somali official's immunity claim

The justices rule that the U.S. immunity law does not prevent Somalis who say they or their relatives were tortured from suing former Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Samantar, who now lives in Virginia.

By David G. Savage, Tribune Washington Bureau

11:52 PM CDT, June 1, 2010

Reporting from Washington

Torture victims won a victory Tuesday when the Supreme Court ruled that federal law does not automatically protect ex-officials of foreign governments from lawsuits over the abuse.

In a 9-0 ruling, the high court rejected a claim of immunity from former Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Samantar. Although the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 shields other countries from being sued in American courts, it does not protect former officials of those states, the justices said.

Citing the words of Congress, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, "There is nothing to suggest we should read 'foreign state' … to include an official acting on behalf of the foreign state."

The ruling removes a major obstacle facing several former Somali citizens who say they and their families were subjected to killings and torture at the hands of Somali officials. They sued Samantar because he was living comfortably in retirement in northern Virginia. From 1980 until 1990, he served as vice president, defense minister and prime minister under the brutal regime of President Mohamed Siad Barre.

The lead plaintiff, Barre Yousuf, was at the Supreme Court in March when his case was heard. Afterward, he described the killings and abuse carried out by Somali troops. "I was tortured with an electric shock and waterboarded," he said.

He and other Somalis sued Samantar under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, but a judge blocked the suit on the grounds that the claim conflicted with the law granting immunity to foreign states.

Their attorney praised Tuesday's ruling.

"We are very thrilled with the court's decision today," said Pamela Merchant, executive director of the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability, which represents the Somali plaintiffs. "Faced with a choice between accountability and immunity, the Supreme Court squarely came down in favor of accountability. It means that our clients and their families, who are victims of torture, rape and murder, will now be able to hold Mr. Mohamed Samantar, the man who is responsible for these horrific actions, accountable."

Samantar denies being responsible for torture and says his government was fighting a civil war against dissident groups.

It is not clear, however, whether the ruling in Yousuf vs. Samantar will open the courthouse door for other plaintiffs who sue former officials alleging torture and abuse carried out by other foreign regimes, particularly leaders of U.S. allies.

The State Department has insisted that such cases are "ordinarily appropriate for diplomatic, rather than legal, resolution," as the Obama administration told the justices in March. The U.S. has been unwilling to permit prosecution of ex-officials of friendly states. Somalia, by contrast, has had no functioning government for nearly 20 years.

Stevens concluded his opinion by emphasizing that the court was deciding only a narrow question. Even in Samantar's case, the former prime minister "may have other valid defenses to the grave charges against him," he said.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

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Tikun Olam : Israeli Palestinian MK Assaulted in Knesset


Tikun Olam: Make the World a Better Place
June 3, 2010 4:25 PM

For those not aware, the Israeli Knesset has a reputation as a place for bare-knuckle political brawling.  But deliberations today, I think descended even farther below the normal level of screaming mayhem and general tomfoolery.

Israeli Palestinian MK Chanin Zoabi joined the Gaza flotilla and testified that IDF commandos fired on her boat before landing on


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STUNNING: MSNBC invites Edward Peck to present non-IDF version of events


Olbermann invites Edward Peck to present non-IDF version of events

Idrees | June 3, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Categories: Activism, Gaza, Israel, Media, Palestine, US Foreign Policy, War crimes | URL:

Jon Stewart's pussillanimity was disappointing. He tried to put flotilla activists on par with the Israeli goons as equally culpable. On the other hand Keith Olbermann proved himself a mensch giving the octagenarian former ambassador Edward Peck (a Jew, incidentally) to present the non-IDF version of the story. (via Mondoweiss)

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Forensic Report: Commandos Shot Four Times in Head at Close Range-!!!!


American, 19, Among Gaza Flotilla Dead

Furkan Dogan Was Shot Five Times, Including Four Times in Head

June 3, 2010

A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest ...


Richard Silverstein's comment from his BLOG:
June 3, 2010


You know what those four bullets were–the kill shot. It's a well-known practice of Israeli commandos and covert ops personnel. You shoot the victim and then close in for the shot to the head that finishes them off. Yes, I wasn't there and can't confirm with absolute certainty that this is indeed what happened. And lest anyone protest about my characterization I have accounts by IDF personnel about this practice and testimony about specific incidents in which it happened. An autopsy should confirm and disprove what I've written.

Barack Obama, do you let U.S. citizens be murdered in cold blood by the IDF? What will you do about this? If this were any other country I'd know what to expect: protest, redoubled efforts to end the Gaza siege, engagement with Israel, possibly withdrawing the U.S. ambassador.  That's what Britain would likely do, as it's already had the moxie to demand an end to the siege, something our government hasn't had the courage to do. This incident should bring our policy a lot closer to Turkey's as we clearly now have shared interests. But will it?

But given the timidity of this government, I don't know what they'll do aside from murmuring a bit about it. Face it, our policy is shameful. Dogan's dead body serves as physical witness to this. Will it spur Obama on to do the right thing–or anything? Your guess is as good as mine. ---Richard Silverstein


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Mondoweiss: Israel is becoming a liability for the United States



Voices for Evergreen divestment

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 10:19 AM PDT

TESC Divest from Chance Kroll on Vimeo.

To learn more about the successful divestment vote at Evergreen College check out -

Israel is becoming a liability for the United States

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 10:15 AM PDT

Carlo Strenger notes in Haaretz:

During the media frenzy of the last days a crucial headline has received close to no attention: Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset's Foreign Relations Committee that Israel is gradually turning from a strategic asset into a liability for the United States of America.

As it's a bit difficult to brush aside Dagan as a softheaded idealist, our policy makers will find another way not to listen. They will say, "this would never have happened under George W. Bush; this is only because the Obama administration is not friendly towards Israel. We simply need to wait for Obama to end this term; he won't get reelected."

Nothing could be further from the truth. I have heard warnings that Israel is becoming a strategic liability for the U.S. from Americans, including high ranking members of the George W. Bush administration, for years. The only difference is that during the Bush years, nobody in the administration would say this on record or for attribution.

As if to echo and underline Dagan's message, Anthony Cordesman, one of the most respected non-partisan national security experts in Washington writes:

[T]he depth of America's moral commitment [to Israel] does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability when it should remain an asset. It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbors. It does not mean that the United States has the slightest interest in supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank, or that the United States should take a hard-line position on Jerusalem that would effectively make it a Jewish rather than a mixed city. It does not mean that the United States should be passive when Israel makes a series of major strategic blunders–such as persisting in the strategic bombing of Lebanon during the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, escalating its attack on Gaza long after it had achieved its key objectives, embarrassing the U.S. president by announcing the expansion of Israeli building programs in east Jerusalem at a critical moment in U.S. efforts to put Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track, or sending commandos to seize a Turkish ship in a horribly mismanaged effort to halt the "peace flotilla" going to Gaza.

It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it test the limits of U.S. patience and exploits the support of American Jews. This does not mean taking a single action that undercuts Israeli security, but it does mean realizing that Israel should show enough discretion to reflect the fact that it is a tertiary U.S. strategic interest in a complex and demanding world.

And then comes word from the Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood, whose impartial observations as a first-time visitor to the Jewish state cut to the core when she says:

[T]he concept of Israel as a humane and democratic state is in serious trouble. Once a country starts refusing entry to the likes of Noam Chomsky, shutting down the rights of its citizens to use words like "Nakba," and labelling as "anti-Israel" anyone who tries to tell them what they need to know, a police-state clampdown looms. Will it be a betrayal of age-old humane Jewish traditions and the rule of just law, or a turn towards reconciliation and a truly open society?

Time is running out. Opinion in Israel may be hardening, but in the United States things are moving in the opposite direction. Campus activity is increasing; many young Jewish Americans don't want Israel speaking for them. America, snarled in two chaotic wars and facing increasing international anger over Palestine, may well be starting to see Israel not as an asset but as a liability.

Israelis never tire of declaring with great solemnity that they survive in a dangerous neighborhood — invariably the observation is used as a justification for some form of brutality. Yet behind the faux boldness of this embattled nation is the comforting awareness that little Israel enjoys the protection of its big American friend. But any friendship can eventually be strained beyond repair.

As Israel becomes more and more isolated, that isolation may reinforce the delusions of those convinced that the rest of the world is dangerous yet for others it will make the rest of the world increasingly appealing. Thus will arise the demographic threat that no racist scheme can resolve: the threat that life in a Jewish state is simply no longer appealing to enough Jews.

This is cross-posted at Woodward's site, War in Context.

'MV Rachel Corrie' said to turn around so as to be fitted with video equipment

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 09:40 AM PDT

Note these tweets at Gazaundersiege:

Breaking: MV Rachel Corrie has turned around, will be fitted with video / sat transmission. Back on water within a week. #flotilla

And later:

@dee_fotomafia they are still heading to #Gaza, but with live coverage now

'Facebook' page issues assassination threat to Palestinian Knesset member who was on flotilla

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 09:07 AM PDT

Here is a call on facebook-- at a Hebrew page, which says that its author is located near Jerusalem-- to kill a woman, who has been identified to me as Haneen Zuabi, a member of Knesset of the Balad, Palestinian party, who was on the flotilla. The graphic from the facebook page is below. JPost says Zuabi has been given a bodyguard.


It's '68– and who will be the Cronkite of the Jewish community?

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 07:24 AM PDT

"That's it. If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost Middle America"-- President Lyndon B. Johnson, February, 1968

After reading the tragic and heartbreaking news concerning the Israeli attack on the activists attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, two events from the Vietnam War era come to mind, the Kent State shootings and Walter Cronkite's editorial following the Tet Offensive. Wikis:

The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre, occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. ..There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students, and the event further affected the public opinion, at an already socially contentious time, over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.

Notice that Americans are now talking about the underlying issue, the blockade of Gaza. Again, Wiki/Cronkite:

In mid-February 1968, Cronkite journeyed to Vietnam to report on the aftermath of the Tet Offensive. Upon return, on February 27, 1968, Cronkite closed "Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why?" with an editorial report: To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.

Many people throughout the world have been able to objectively ignore the explanations, rationalizations, and spin by the Israeli government on this latest violation of international law and human rights against peace activists and the people of Gaza. Hopefully, however, the "serious" leaders of the Jewish American community, like Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, Rep. Howard Berman (Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee), or Rep. Gary Ackerman (Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia), realize the ever-increasing dangers of blindly backing the Israeli government and, finally, have the courage to stop condoning State terrorism. Just one of these individuals needs to stand up to the twin bullies, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, by removing his one-sided political support for Israel and encourage a more vigorous and fair response from the President of the United States.

They must immediately state, like Mr. Cronkite, that "the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could." If they don't, then it will be up to the world community to remember the shock and horror of today's events, support the ideas of the UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and demand that our politicians do the same:

News Release 31 May 2010 Gaza aid convoy killings: Those responsible must be held criminally accountable - UN expert GENEVA--
The UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, urged Monday the international community to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of some 16 unarmed peace activist, when Israeli armed commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to Gaza. Israel is guilty of shocking behavior by using deadly weapons against unarmed civilians on ships that were situated in the high seas where freedom of navigation exists, according to the law of the seas, Mr. Falk said. It is essential that those Israelis responsible for this lawless and murderous behavior, including political leaders who issued the orders, be held criminally accountable for their wrongful acts....

'Huffpo' reflects staggering shift in liberal American discourse

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 07:23 AM PDT

Take a look at the Huffington Post headlines right now. One activist was American, shot four times in the head... Blockade has failed... Obama administration believes blockade is "untenable," per NYT.

I believe (yes, I want to believe; but that never stops me) the special relationship is over.The Israelis will put in a new government to try and stop the damage to its principal source of support, the lobby. But the Democratic Party base is now lost.

Evergreen students vote for divestment, Henning Mankell mulls related action

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 07:22 AM PDT

My news list, Today in Palestine, for today. Note the Emily Henochowicz coverage in the Baltimore Sun, Henning Mankell thinking of withdrawing his books in Hebrew from Israel, and the Evergreen State College news.

Land Theft/Destruction and Ethnic Cleansing
Clashes over large West Bank fire
Settlers, Palestinians accuse each other of torching fields near Nablus, dozens of acres consumed.,7340,L-3898194,00.html

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Ecuador withdraws its Ambassador from Israel
Ecuador, June 3, (Pal Telegraph) Head of Ecuador's state, Rafael Correa, declared last night that he withdraw his country's ambassador from "Israel" for consultations, following the fleet of freedom massacre committed by the Israeli entity against peaceful people carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

S. Africa recalls envoy over flotilla raid
Diplomatic damage over flotilla takeover reaches Africa – Pretoria recalls its ambassador to Tel Aviv; Senegal faces growing demand to suspend relations with Israel, boycott its products.,7340,L-3898727,00.html

DIVESTMENT: Just minutes ago, the students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the alma mater of Rachel Corrie, announced that the whole student body voted overwhelmingly in favor of divestment from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation and in favor of making their campus Caterpillar-free.

Crime writer Mankell mulls halting Hebrew version of books (AFP)
AFP - Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell is considering prohibiting the translation of his popular books into Hebrew after the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, he said in an interview published Thursday.*

Norwegians want boycott of Israel

Around half the Norwegian people wanted to boycott the Israeli products or have already started to boycott them, results of an opinion poll made in Norway over the past couple of days showed.

Straight for the art | The art of wounded pro-Palestinian activist Emily Henochowicz
The pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement activist group reports and the Baltimore Sun confirms that 21-year-old Jewish-American art student Emily Henochowicz was badly wounded Monday during a Jerusalem protest against Israel's deadly raid on a relief flotilla headed for Gaza over the weekend. Hit directly in the face by a tear-gas canister fired by an Israeli border policeman, Henochowicz lost her left eye and required substantial surgery to repair damage to the bones of her face and skull.

Siege Related Deaths/Violence and Aggression
Death of baby brings the death toll in the siege on Gaza to 374
A Palestinian infant died on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip because his family was not allowed to admit him for treatment in hospitals in the territories occupied in 1948.

Soldiers Break Into Arab Hospital In East Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers and Border Policemen broke into the al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem in an attempt to arrest a wounded Palestinian but were forced out in a clash with local youths.

IOF opens fire at houses in Al-Qrara
Gaza, June 3, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli occupation forces shelled today the houses of the citizens in Al-Qrara to the northern east of Khan Younis, in central Gaza Strip, WAFA news agency reported.  The Israeli occupation forces stationed in watchtowers near Kesofem, an Israeli military site east of Al-Qrara, opened fire toward Palestinian farmers and citizens, no injuries were reported, the sources added.  IOF opens fire at the citizens in the close area of the border with the Palestinian occupied land of 48, besides, Israeli tanks and bulldozers raid the agriculture land there area in order to keep the Palestinians aside from the borders.

Israeli settler shoots 2 Palestinian students
Hebron, June 3, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli settler shot today two Palestinian youths at the entrance of Al-Aroub refugee camp, in the city of the West Bank of Hebron.  The Israeli settler opened fire at two Palestinian university students while they were at the entrance of their college. He shot one in his back and the other in his leg, WAFA news agency reported.

Clashes reported in East Jerusalem
Jerusalem – Ma'an – Violent clashes broke out in occupied East Jerusalem between young people in the Silwan neighborhood and a large force of police and special units in addition to settlers.  Our correspondent quoted anti-settlement leader Haj Fakhri Abu Diab as saying the clashes concentrated in the area of Bir Ayoub and around the Silwan protest tent area.

Nonviolent Activist Arrested Near Bethlehem
Israeli Police arrested a 17-year-old Palestinian nonviolent activist in al-Ma'sara village Wednesday evening.

Israel jails young woman for 2008 attack
Nablus – Ma'an – Israel's Salem military court on Wednesday sentenced a woman from Nablus to four years on charges she poured boiling water at an Israeli soldier's face at the Huwara checkpoint south of Nablus two years earlier.  Palestinian sources told Ma'an that the court sentenced 21-year-old Sanabel Breik, affiliated to Fatah, to four years and a fine of 5,000 shekels for the attack on 22 September 2008.

The Siege
Israel must lift Gaza blockade immediately: UN chief (AFP)
AFP - UN chief Ban Ki-moon demanded Wednesday that Israel lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip immediately in the wake of its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.*

Israel faces growing world pressure to lift Gaza blockade
British PM: Siege has only strengthened Hamas; Netanyahu: World pressure won't stop Israeli blockade.

Health Situation in Gaza: Doctors of the World Calls for the Immediate Lifting of the Blockade
Doctors of the World is shocked by the violence that characterised the boarding of the flotilla in the sea off Gaza on 31st May and deplores the resulting loss of human life.  This event highlights the critical situation created by the blockade that for 3 years has plunged one and a half million Palestinians into an ongoing medical and economic crisis.

Hundreds of Gazans use newly opened Egyptian crossing (AFP)
AFP - Hundreds of Palestinians travelled into and out of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after Egypt opened its Rafah crossing for travel and humanitarian aid.*

Inside Story - The price of Israel's siege of Gaza
Inside Story asks what the ramifications of the Israeli military attack on the Gaza aid flotilla will be.

Israeli blockade of Gaza at heart of crisis (AP)
AP - Israel's blockade of Gaza is at the center of the crisis following the bloody raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla carrying aid supplies and pro-Palestinian activists. Here are some aspects of the blockade.*

Arab League Calls For Lifting The Siege On Gaza
Arab League secretary-general, Amro Mousa, stated that the Arab League will demand the United Nations to ensure Israel lifts the siege on Gaza immediately, and added that the Arab League will head to the Security Council.

Berri Calls on Arab FMs to Unite against Gaza Siege
02/06/2010 Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri expressed hope on Wednesday that Arabs wouldn't rescue the Israeli enemy this time, calling for a united Arab stance to break the siege imposed on Gaza and support the Palestinian reconciliation.  Speaking to reporters at the Baabda Presidential Palace following a meeting with President Michel Sleiman, Berri urged Arab foreign ministers to take a united stance against the Israeli siege of Gaza and support Turkey over the attack on the Freedom Flotilla. "Arab Foreign Ministers should take a united stance to break the siege of Gaza and support the noble Tuksih stance," he said. "They also should take a united stance to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian talks and strongly support the Palestinian-Palestinian reconciliation." Arab foreign ministers will hold crisis talks in Cairo on Wednesday to come up with a response to the Israeli raid.

Gaza's risky fish business
Israel's blockade of Gaza extends well beyond its land borders. At sea, Gaza's fishermen are only allowed to go within 5.5km of the coast, hence many sneak into Egyptian waters to fish instead. But by doing so, they're putting their lives at risk. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Rafah in southern Gaza.

Is Israel's blockade legal?
Douglas Guilfoyle, a maritime legal expert at the University College of London, discusses whether Israel's raid on the Gaza aid flotilla - and it's blockade of Gaza - are legal under international law.

Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – May 2 – May 29

Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – May 2 – May 29

Humanitiarian Issues/Human Rights
Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory 27 May - 02 june 2010

UN: More Gaza students expected to join summer games despite torching
GAZA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- A UN official on Wednesday said that hundreds of thousands of students in Gaza are expected to join the agency's summer games program despite the torching of its main summer camp.  "We expect some 250,000 children to participate again this year, " Christer Nordhal, deputy director of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operations, said in an interview with Xinhua.

Flotilla Fallout and Related News
Under Scrutiny, IDF Retracts Claims About Flotilla's Al Qaeda Links
When placed under journalistic scrutiny, the IDF is being forced to admit that its claims about the flotilla's links to international terror are based on innuendo, not facts. On June 2, the IDF blasted out a press release to reporters and bloggers with the shocking headline: "Attackers of the IDF soldiers found to be Al Qaeda mercenaries." The only supporting evidence offered in the release was a claim that the passengers "were equipped with bullet proof vests, night vision goggles, and weapons."

New Gaza-bound aid ship may agree to dock and unload in Ashdod
Humanitarian aid vessel, the Rachel Corrie, delayed due to technical problems; Passengers include a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former UN deputy secretary-general.

Turkey will "never forgive" Israel

Turkish president says deaths will leave "deep scar" as thousands mourn in Istanbul.

Erdogan: Israel will lose friend in region
Turkey-Israel ties sink lower as PM, president add voices to criticism of IDF raid. More flotillas planned. IHH given hero's welcome in Istanbul.,7340,L-3898698,00.html

Charges against activists abandoned after Turkey delivers ultimatum
Israel bowed to heavy diplomatic pressure to deport hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists yesterday, after what Turkey said was an ultimatum that threatened Jerusalem with severe political consequences if it kept its citizens in custody.

Flotilla: Did Israel deliberately murder civilians aboard Freedom Flotilla?
Israeli Ambassador to the United States admits that ships were "too large to stop with nonviolent means."  On May 31st, 2010, elite Israeli military commandos stormed six humanitarian aid ships taking part in the 'Freedom Flotilla' to Gaza, killing between 9-20 civilian passengers and injuring dozens more. As the facts of the attack come out it is clear that these killings cannot in any way be justified.

Fatah leader calls for worldwide flotilla protests
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Fatah Revolutionary Council member Dimitri Diliani called Tuesday for massive peaceful demonstrations at Israeli embassies around the world in response to Israel's deadly raid on an international aid flotilla that resulted in the deaths of 10 international activists and the injury of dozens of others.

Carter condemns Israeli raid on Gaza-bound ships (AP)
AP - Former President Jimmy Carter has condemned a deadly Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid ships on its way to Gaza.*

Flotilla: Names of victims starting to appear
One of the many inhumane aspects of Israel's murderous raid on the aid flotilla Monday has been its tardiness in releasing the names of the killed and wounded and its holding of nearly all the kidnapped flotilla participants incommunicado in massive, specially organized temporary prisons. This has left family members of most participants in anguish, not knowing if their loved ones were among those killed and injured.

Gaza flotilla: How Israel's ministry of foreign affairs fakes photos of seized weapons

Hamas refuses boat aid while activists detained
Gaza - Ma'an - Gaza officials refused to receive some 20 Israeli trucks loaded with aid confiscated from the Freedom Flotilla on Wednesday, saying the goods would not be accepted piecemeal, or while the activists who brought it were detained.

Sayyed Safieddin Calls for Release of All Flotilla Detainees
02/06/2010 The head of Hezbollah Executive Council Sayyed Hashem Safieddin called on Wednesday for the release of all detainees who were still in the hands of the Zionist enemy following the crime committed against the activists of the Freedom Flotilla Monday dawn.  Speaking during a cultural meeting, Sayyed Safieddin said that all Lebanese and all detainees should be freed as soon as possible, holding the Israeli enemy responsible of the safety of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese detainees.

UN Human Rights Council: Probe flotilla raid
Goldstone II? Council calls to set up independent investigation into IDF's takeover of Gaza aid convoy. Resolution adopted with 32 countries in favor, three against, eight abstentions.,7340,L-3898157,00.html

Full text: William Hague's statement to the Commons on the Gaza flotilla raid

Gaza ship raid 'completely unacceptable': PM (AFP)
AFP - Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday that an Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ships was "completely unacceptable".*

Australian PM calls Israel's Netanyahu on Gaza aid flotilla
SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Wednesday he had called Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to urge him to open an independent inquiry into the deadly raid on an aid convoy bound for Gaza.  At least nine people were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the ships early Monday. An Australian man was shot during the incident, while an Australian photographer was reportedly hit with a stun gun.

Flotilla fallout 'will restrain' Israel from launching war on Lebanon
BEIRUT: Fallout from Israel's attack on the Freedom Fleet should keep chances slim for any conflict between Lebanon and Israel in the short term, while the assault and the resulting outcry are also providing a boost for Hizbullah at home and in the region, a number of analysts told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

Freedom Flotilla Activists To Receive Palestinian Citizenship
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that all those who were on the boats and those who contributed to the organizing of the Flotilla will be granted Palestinian honorary citizenship, in appreciation of their efforts.

Corrie family 'heart-sick and outraged' by flotilla raid
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The parents of an American activist killed in Gaza say they are devastated over Israel's deadly raid on an international aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip.  "We are heart-sick and outraged about the brutal attack launched by the Israeli Military on the Free Gaza Movement's flotilla of boats," Cindy and Craig Corrie said in a statement.

Both sides of Flotilla story

Al Jazeera had its own camera crews travelling on the Gaza aid convoy. But all of the video they took has been confiscated by Israeli authorities. There is no word on when or even if the pictures might be released. But Israel has been releasing video that supports its version of events and contrasts with the reports of many witnesses. Dan Nolan looks at both sides of the story.

The Activists
American Murdered by Israel on Flotilla
For several days, Israel has been able to contain some of the fallout from the flotilla massacre by withholding information about the dead and injured. The object of this exercise has clearly been to slow the flow of information in the hope that by the time the most damning facts become known, the international media's attention will have turned elsewhere.  But the dead now have names and faces and one turns out to be a nineteen-year-old American: Furkan Dogan.

Thousands pray in Istanbul for dead flotilla activists (AFP)
AFP - Tens of thousands gathered here Thursday for prayers for activists killed in Israel's deadly raid on aid ships bound for Gaza, condemning the Jewish state and shouting support for Hamas.*

Gaza activists welcomed in Turkey
Hundreds of activists from the Gaza-bound flotilla receive an enthusiastic welcome in Turkey after being expelled by Israel.

Details emerge of bloodshed aboard Gaza-bound ship (AP)
AP - At 4:30 a.m. from her perch on the bridge of a passenger ship in the Mediterranean Sea, Hanin Zoabi saw the first lights of fast-approaching Israeli gunships and helicopters. Norman Paech awoke to the sound of explosions.*

The Rachel Corrie ship and crew sail to Gaza (PLEASE SHARE)

Deported activists: Israelis 'shooting without warning'
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel on Wednesday was deporting more than 600 foreign activists whose accounts of a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla contradicted Israeli reports that its soldiers acted in self-defense.

Interview with Al Jazeera's Jamal ElShayyal: One of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara
Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal has been released by Israeli authorities following Monday's deadly raid on the Mavi Marmara aid ship that was destined for Gaza. Our producer, who reported from the ship as Israel launched the raid, was on the top deck when the ship was attacked. Here, he tells his account of what happened.

Gaza ship activist says watched man bleed to death
* Activists 'removed cartridges from snatched weapons'
* Witness says Israelis began firing before boarding ship
* Says commandos waited 1 hour before giving medical help

Grey power for Gaza
The key figures of the Free Gaza movement are all women of pensionable age, who came out of the 1960s protest generation.  They are the generation who protested in the 1960s and have girded themselves again to campaign for Palestinian rights. The Free Gaza movement, which chartered the Challenger yacht as part of the flotilla that was attacked by Israel on Monday, is led by a group of women of pensionable age.

Scuffles during Israeli Knesset flotilla debate
Heated exchanges took place in the Israeli parliament as Hanin Zuabi, an Arab member who was aboard the flotilla, tried to speak in a debate on the flotilla raid

Arab MK Receives Death Threats for Participation in Freedom Flotilla
Arab Member of Knesset Hanin Zo'by was given a security detail after she received several death threats for her participation in the Freedom Flotilla, the convoy of aid ships that was raided Monday by Israeli forces before it could reach Gaza.

From an email:  San Francisco Bay Area activist was severely beaten by IOF pirates and is on his way to Greece.

Turkish charity chief tells of carnage, chaos on ship

The head of a Turkish charity that organised the aid flotilla attacked by Israeli forces said activists had rushed some of the soldiers and snatched their weapons, but had thrown them overboard without using them.  Bulent Yildirim, chairman of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), denied Israeli accounts of events on board the Mavi Maramara after Israeli commandos stormed the ship on Monday in an operation that resulted in at least nine people being killed.

Sheikh Raed Salah released with flotilla delegation on bail
Bethlehem – Ma'an – The Israeli Central Court in Ashkelon released head of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah and a delegation of Palestinian citizens of Israel under strict conditions of house arrest and large fines.

Gazan flotilla passenger finds wife deported to Turkey
Gaza – Ma'an – A Gaza man and his Turkish wife aboard the Freedom Flotilla were separated on Wednesday, when the man was deported to Gaza and his wife to her native Turkey.  The man, Ahmad Ad-Dahshan, announced in a news conference that the two had joined the flotilla after leaving Gaza for an Umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, where his wife had fallen ill. The two were delayed and when they attempted to re-enter Gaza they found the Rafah crossing shut.

Statement from imprisoned Greek activists

Huwaida Arraf: "We didn't fight back"
US Campaign Advisory Board member Huwaida Arraf, a passenger on one of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla ships, spoke to Laura Flanders of GRITtv about the Israeli attack on her ship. The interview also includes commentary from Norman Finkelstein and Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Live from The Only Democracy?: part 1 of exclusive interview with Huwaida Arraf of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Gaza flotilla raid pushes unknown Knesset member into spotlight
Hanin Zoabi, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara when it was seized Monday by Israeli commandos, has stepped up as a leading domestic critic of her government's Gaza flotilla raid. Meanwhile, senior statesman Ehud Barak faces calls for his resignation.

Swedish author says flotilla highlights Gaza ills (Reuters)
Reuters - A well-known Swedish author who was among the activists aboard a flotilla of ships seized en route to the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces said he had no regrets about drawing world attention to Gaza's plight.*

Israel's Explanation for Deadly Gaza Aid Attack "Full of Holes as a Window Screen" - Former US Ambassador Edward Peck
Former US Ambassador Edward Peck was on the Gaza aid flotilla that came under attack by Israeli forces. At least nine people were killed and dozens wounded. Peck says Israel's explanation for the attack is "twisting the truth" and is "as full of holes as a window screen." [includes rush transcript]

Aussie photographer Kate Geraghty Tasered during flotilla raid
AUSTRALIAN photographer Kate Geraghty was Tasered on the arm by Israeli soldiers when they stormed a flotilla of boats heading to Gaza.

Canadian detained on Gaza aid flotilla says he was beaten
A Canadian activist detained during a deadly raid on an aid flotilla said his Israeli captors beat and imprisoned him after launching an attack on the ship he was travelling on, CBC reported Wednesday. Rifat Audeh was identified as one of three Canadians detained during the raid that took place in international waters Monday. Israeli troops boarded a flotilla of ships carrying aid supplies to the Gaza Strip, killing at least nine people on board.

Local man's son to fight deportation after raid on flotilla

A man with Massachusetts ties is fighting his deportation from Israel after being detained during that country's deadly raid on an aid flotilla headed toward the Gaza Strip, the man's father said today.  Joseph Bangert of Brewster said his son, Fiachra O Luain, a flotilla participant who was on board a ship bearing a Turkish flag, was arrested and was being held with 600 other participants in an Israeli desert prison.

Israel's American Helpers/Israeli Reaction

Obama: Let Israel probe Gaza flotilla raid with U.S. observer
Political sources: Netanyahu in no rush to accept U.S. proposal, in part because Defense Minister Ehud Barak is opposed to it.

U.S.: UN council rushing to blame Israel for Gaza flotilla deaths
UN Human Rights Council to probe Gaza flotilla raid, passes resolution condemning Israel as violating international law urges end to Gaza blockade.

Gaza flotilla raid: Joe Biden asks 'So what's the big deal here?'
Joe Biden publicly defends Israel's actions over Gaza flotilla raid, says Israel 'has a right to know' if arms were smuggled.

Biden: Israel right to stop Gaza flotilla from breaking blockade
VP Biden tells Charlie Rose that the Israel Navy might not have needed to drop commandos onto the Gaza-bound ship, but insists that Israel is entitled to defend its security.

Pelosi Declines To Denounce Gaza Blockade
"Israel is our friend... I think with Israel we have a very close friendship and to have a Democratic Jewish state in that region is something that has been a goal of our foreign policy. It is something that is based on our national security interest; it is about us as much -- even more -- than it is about them. We all -- many of us here -- are striving for a two-state solution... But it has to be a solution where there is security for both sides. And hopefully President Obama will be able to use his good offices to achieve such a goal that has been bipartisan in support in Congress. But again, I believe that the specialness of our relationship with Israel has as much to do with our own national security as it does with theirs."

Conservative pundits blame Obama for Israeli raid on flotilla
"This is another step in a chain of unfortunate events beginning with President Obama's insistence that there be a freeze, as a precondition for peace talks, a freeze on settlements in Jerusalem," McCain told Fox's Sean Hannity. "Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement."

Netanyahu ignores calls for investigation of raid
Israel's prime minister praises the commandos involved and accuses the pro-Palestinian flotilla activists of being 'supporters of terrorism.'  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a vigorous, unapologetic defense Wednesday of his government's deadly raid of a protest flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, ignoring international calls for an independent probe into the incident.,0,3125107.story

Pro-Israel Dems defend raid
New York Democratic Reps. Anthony Weiner, Jerrold Nadler, Gary Ackerman, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) have all vigorously supported Israel's boarding an aid ship bound for the blockaded Gaza — an act that resulted in ten deaths and a U.N. condemnation.

Israel's Arab Helpers
Egypt blocks travel of health minister via Rafah terminal
The Egyptian authorities refused to allow the travel of Dr. Basem Naim, the Palestinian health minister, via the Rafah border terminal.

Other News
Irish official: Expel Israel embassy officer over Dubai passport fraud
Irish officials: Israel forged Irish passports used by suspects in assassination of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

IDF panel rules West Bank settlers not protected by Basic Law
Panel chairman: Army's decisions should be tested against international law on occupied territories, and not Israeli law.

Roberts: 'AIPAC purchases US elections'
The deadly Israeli assault on a Flotilla aid ship has caused an outcry in the international community. In the United States the Obama Administration has been quiet about their official stance on what transpired. Paul Craig Roberts says that there will be nothing that is going to be done by the United States to change the relationship with Israel.

San Francisco Bay Area Emergency Protest of Israeli Massacre of Gaza Aid Convoy
Saturday, June 5th 11am, Mass Mobilization @ San Francisco, Civic Center

Not quite a protest but... Yogis send Gaza 'positive vibes' from Lebanon coast (AFP)
AFP - A group of yogis gathered on the Beirut coast at dawn Thursday to send "positive vibes" to Gaza in the wake of a deadly Israeli raid on a relief flotilla bound for the Palestinian territory.*

Jordanian Protesters call for expelling Israeli ambassador from Amman

London goes angry for Gaza, daily demos

Murderous Attack on Gaza/ Philadelphia Solidarity 6-1-2010


Israel's Gaza PR offensive
While boats battle to get through the siege of Gaza, Gazans can eat out in fancy restaurants and have no need of aid.  That's what Israel has been telling journalists, at least. Sherine Tadros picks apart the media campaign.

Israel's Defenders Mobilize, Threaten, Jim Lobe
Faced with what the Wall Street Journal calls "one of Israel's worst international relations disasters in years," the right-wing leadership of the so-called "Israel Lobby" has been pulling out all the stops to defend the Jewish state against global outrage over its deadly seizure of a Gaza-bound vessel in international waters carrying humanitarian supplies early Monday morning.

More Spin from Israel,  Philip Giraldi
The Israeli commando assault on a flotilla bringing aid to Gaza which killed at least nine civilians should be a wake-up call for those who want to believe that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's government is capable of making rational decisions.  The flotilla, consisting of nationals from as many as twenty countries, was unarmed and carrying relief supplies that had been carefully inspected by the Turkish authorities.  It was in international waters when it was attacked.  More than 600 passengers and crew, apart from those who were killed, were subsequently arrested by Israel for refusing to identify themselves.  If all that is correct, then Tel Aviv is guilty of piracy, kidnapping, and murder while the armed attack on a Turkish flagged vessel might be construed as inviting a military response from NATO.  One of the vessels bore an American flag and there were at least eight US citizens on board, including a former ambassador and a USS Liberty survivor, suggesting that a strong reaction from Washington would not be inappropriate.

Israel's spin won't work this time, Harsha Walia
As international outrage spreads at the Israeli elite commando attack on an unarmed humanitarian convey in the middle of the night on international waters, Israel is desperately trying to rebrand the incident as one of self-defence. It is nothing new for Israel, and other aggressing powers, to smear their victims as perpetrators. Afterall, unjustifiable murder is too jarring to stomach.

Dershowitz to the Rescue?, JAMES ABOUREZK
Armed Israeli commandos, the elite of the elites, rappelled to the deck of a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian relief supplies to the 1.5 million prisoners in the Gaza concentration camp.  Although the Israelis did not see the attack as an attack, but an action only to defend themselves, as only Israelis have a right to do. It is a right that Palestinians do not have, nor do the other activists who were attempting to deliver the supplies to the Gazans It appears, from the scanty non-Israeli news available, that the Turkish ship was some 40 miles or more off the coast of Gaza, and that the activists aboard were not armed, except with kitchen knives and some clubs lying around the ship that they could round up when they were surprised by the Israeli commandos.

The day the world became Gaza, Ali Abunimah
Since Israel's invasion and massacre of over 1,400 people in Gaza 18 months ago, dubbed Operation Cast Lead, global civil society movements have stepped up their campaigns for justice and solidarity with Palestinians.  Governments, by contrast, carried on with business as usual, maintaining a complicit silence.  Israel's lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza may change that, spurring governments to follow the lead of their people and take unprecedented action to check Israel's growing lawlessness.

It's time for real disengagement, Aluf Benn
The attempt to control Gaza from outside, via its residents' diet and shopping lists, casts a heavy moral stain on Israel and increases its international isolation.

Nothing to investigate: Everyone knows what was wrong about the flotilla attack
Israel today is captive to a false sense of victimhood, which goes together with a sense of false omnipotence.

Amb. Marc Ginsberg: Flotsam & Jetsam
There is an ominous shadow looming over Israel's recent international missteps. The global rush to judgment against Israel's interdiction of the Turkish ferry "Mavi Marmara" represents an important barometer of Israel's decaying public diplomacy.

A view from the Left/Israel loses its composure in face of non-violent Palestinian struggle, Udi Aloni

I am writing these words with great pain and suppressed rage. I know that few are the Jews in Israel whose heart is open to the pain of their Palestinian brothers and sisters, and yet, I refuse to give up on this brotherhood.  I myself was almost on board one of the ships that made their way to Gaza, primarily in order to help and tell the world about her suffering, but also in order to say that among us, the Jewish citizens of Israel, there are some whose sense of justice, grace and brotherhood has not become blunt even under the patriotic psychosis that has taken over the best part of us.,7340,L-3898288,00.html

The Gaza Raid: No Help to U.S. Diplomacy in Mideast ( - The Obama Administration has avoided criticizing Israel's handling of the aid convoy showdown, but the escalating diplomatic spat won't help U.S. efforts on Iran and other issues.*

Bless her heart, Andrea Mitchell seems upset by Gaza blockade, Philip Weiss
To her credit, Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC this afternoon, reporting from Tel Aviv, spoke about what is motivating the world, the inhumane blockade of Gaza and the terrible conditions it has produced for Palestinians. She seemed upset by this three-year policy of collective punishment.

Did Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman provoke and incite their murderers in Philadelphia, MI?, Philip Weiss

Tracking the American liberal discourse's failure on the flotilla raid, it is important to note that Brian Lehrer, the cerebral conscience of the New York public radio station, WNYC, today did an interview with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of England on his new book about Jews and Israel. So a conservative Zionist was given a platform to defend Israel's attack on the boat.

MJ Rosenberg: Lying About the Gaza Flotilla Attack
It's been one lie after another in the US media about the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound relief flotilla. No matter that the Israeli media views the whole incident as a debacle for Israel, in this country the Israel-can-do-no-wrong crowd is on overdrive defending the operation. As usual, facts don't matter to them.

Israel massacres peace activists
By now you will have heard about Israel's assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in the course of which, according to current estimates, at least 10 and as many as 20 peace activists were killed, and dozens injured. The flotilla was carrying hundreds of activists, including a Nobel Peace Laureate, along with thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to distribute to the besieged population of Gaza.

Israel's Latest Violation, Stephen Zunes
Every time Israel's right-wing government engages in yet another outrageous violation of international legal norms, it is easy to think, "No way are they going to get away with it this time!" And yet, thanks to the White House, Congress and leading American pundits, somehow, they do.  Israel's attack on an unarmed flotilla of humanitarian aid vessels in the eastern Mediterranean — resulting in more than a dozen fatalities, the wounding of scores of passengers and crew, and the kidnapping of 750 others — has so far not proven any different.

If Gaza's relief is a step closer they won't have died in vain | Seumas Milne

It takes some nerve, and a special kind of detachment from reality, to claim that your soldiers were "lynched" by "terrorists" when they have just shot dead at least nine unarmed human rights activists and wounded dozens of others while suffering no fatal injuries themselves. But that is the line Israel's propaganda machine spun while it held nearly 700 international pro-Palestinian campaigners incommunicado in the wake of Monday's assault on six boats bringing humanitarian aid to the besieged people of Gaza.

Flotilla: Will US change its policy towards Israel?
As worldwide condemnation has been flooding in since Monday when Israeli Defense Forces boarded a ship in the Mediterranean, setting off a melee that left nine activists dead and dozens wounded. Turkey, an unofficial backer of the flotilla, has led the criticism, accusing Israel of committing a "massacre," and the U.N. Security Council demanded an impartial investigation. What will happen to Israel's close relationship with the United States? Will there be policy change?

In Turkey, rage at Israeli raid puts an ally to the test

THE WEAKENING friendship between Turkey and Israel was further shaken by Monday's Israeli attack on a flotilla of activists bringing relief supplies to Gaza. More than half of the activists were Turkish. Turks had been following the flotilla's progress intently, and were stunned when the story took a more violent turn than anyone had expected.

The urgency of this moment
Israel has sent the world a loud message: we will do whatever we want wherever want. So what if we kill civilians in international waters? In response, the world gets the typical excuses and rationales it has come to expect from the United States, Egypt, and all the other states that should be levying demands on Israel to free Palestinians from siege, occupation and apartheid. Radhika Sainath comments for The Electronic Intifada.

A massacre is not a massacre
I don't write poems but, in any case, poems are not poems. Long ago, I was made to understand that Palestine was not Palestine; I was also informed that Palestinians were not Palestinians; They also explained to me that ethnic cleansing was not ethnic cleansing. And when naive old me saw freedom fighters they patiently showed me that they were not freedom fighters, and that resistance was not resistance.

'Mad dog' diplomacy: A cornered Israel is baring its teeth, Jonathan Cook
Moshe Dayan, Israel's most celebrated general, famously outlined the strategy he believed would keep Israel's enemies at bay: "Israel must be a like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."  Until now, most observers had assumed Dayan was referring to Israeli military or possibly nuclear strategy, an expression in his typically blunt fashion of the country's familiar doctrine of deterrence.

Protest in New York, and celebration, Pamela Olson
On May 31, the day after Israel's bloody and unconscionable raid against civilian aid volunteers in international waters, around 1,000 people gathered in Times Square to protest. The next day, June 1, the same number showed up to protest again, meeting at 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue and marching to Times Square.  The organizers had arranged for 200 feet of the street to be blocked off for the demonstration, and by the time the march began, it was overflowing. There were very few news cameras around, though, most of them from the independent and left-leaning press. A counter-protest was held a few blocks away by people who supported Israel's blockade of Gaza and its attack against the flotilla. A friend and I went to check it out. He suggested I hide the kuffiyeh that was hanging around my neck, but I was in no mood to cater to anyone's delicate sensibilities after what had happened. It was a symbol of solidarity and resistance to illegal brutality, and I wore it proudly.

No Borders, Alice Rothchild
I write with a mixture of outrage and heartbreak as the news unfolds about the Israeli commandos boarding the flotilla of ships bound for Gaza, carrying wheelchairs, home building supplies, medications, playgrounds, and thousands of tons of desperately needed materials. Some 800 internationals from 50 countries sought to call attention to the Israeli blockade of Gaza through non-violent action and to provide material support to a population suffering from collective punishment begun in the 1980s and now under almost total closure. The activists hoped to make it impossible for us to ignore the siege, to highlight the humanitarian catastrophe, and to take personal action as individuals. They wanted us to see that 10% of Gazan children suffer from chronic malnutrition and two-thirds of Gazans face daily hunger.

Israel Flotilla Raid – Breakdown of Who's Right and Wrong
Cyek Uygur of the Young Turks analyzes the blame question over the Israel's flotilla massacre. Though he misses the mounting evidence that Israeli commandos were firing before they landed, a possibility that would have taken place before the melee on the IDF tape, Uygur makes some good observations about the laughability of the American proposal that Israel investigate itself, and demonstrates the criminality of the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Wednesday: 2 Iraqis Killed, 5 Wounded

At least two Iraqis were killed and five others were wounded in light violence. Also, a new development in the hunt for a new prime minister has taken a turn that could end the impasse.

FEATURE-Iraqi refugees haunted by horrors they left behind

DAMASCUS, June 3 (Reuters) - Nahla and her pharmacist husband Malik were prospering in the Shi'ite city of Kerbala, despite the sectarian and criminal violence unleashed by the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. They even bought a new house.

Iraqi Christians: Better off than other Iraqi refugees?
Arab Christians in the US and elsewhere help facilitate the resettlement of Iraqi Christians fleeing violence in Iraq. Is the Western media overplaying the challenges facing Christians in Iraq?

U.S. and Other World News

Report: Flotilla delays Iran sanctions vote
Sources say US to push back UN vote by three weeks because of IDF raid on Gaza-bound flotilla.,7340,L-3898304,00.html

Bush admits waterboarding, says he'd do it again
Speaking to a crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday, former president George W. Bush told onlookers that his administration did in fact waterboard alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and suggested that his action saved American lives.

UN Expert: 'Targeted Killings' By U.S., Israel, Russia May Be War Crimes
GENEVA — Governments must come clean on their methods for killing suspected terrorists and insurgents – especially when using unmanned drones – because they may be committing war crimes, a U.N. human rights expert said Wednesday.  Philip Alston, the independent U.N. investigator on extrajudicial killings, called on countries to lay out the rules and safeguards they use when carrying out so-called targeted killings, publish figures on civilian casualties and prove they have attempted to capture or incapacitate suspects without killing them.

Will US revoke the right of American citizenship to foreigners born here?
A bill in the House of Representatives would change the 14th amendment to the US Constitution that grants anyone who is born on US soil the right of American citizenship. Efforts to revoke birthright citizenship could make it the new flashpoint in the debate over immigration.

Former minister admits misinforming MPs over treatment of Baha Mousa

Adam Ingram, armed forces minister at time of detainee's killing, blames officials and a 'failure to recollect' for inaccurate information given to parliament.  The minister responsible for the conduct of the armed forces at the time of the death of Baha Mousa, a Basra hotel receptionist in the custody of British soldiers, has admitted he misinformed MPs about the treatment of Iraqi detainees.

Egyptian group to back ElBaradei
Muslim Brotherhood vows to help ex-nuclear watchdog chief push constitutional overhaul.

Al-Qaida threatens kidnapping of Saudi princes over arrest of senior female figure
RIYADH, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qaida's wing in the Arabian Peninsula threatened to kidnap Saudi princes and senior officials in retaliation of the arrest of a top female figure in the network, pan-Arab al-Arabiya news channel reported.  Heila al-Gusaier, seen as the top female figure in the group, is the widow of Mohamed al-Wukail, an al-Qaida militant who was killed in clashes with Saudi forces on Dec. 29, 2004, the Dubai- based network noted. She is believed to be responsible for recruiting women into the terrorist group and fund-raising.

Saudi bride contracts ask for age
New wedding contracts will require Saudi brides to give their ages in an attempt to prevent children being married.


'Mad dog' diplomacy: A cornered Israel is baring its teeth

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 06:59 AM PDT

Moshe Dayan, Israel's most celebrated general, famously outlined the strategy he believed would keep Israel's enemies at bay: "Israel must be a like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."

Until now, most observers had assumed Dayan was referring to Israeli military or possibly nuclear strategy, an expression in his typically blunt fashion of the country's familiar doctrine of deterrence.

But the Israeli commando attack on Monday on the Gaza-bound flotilla, in which nine activists have so far been confirmed killed and dozens were wounded as they tried to break Israel's blockade of the enclave, proves beyond doubt that this is now a diplomatic strategy too. Israel is feeling cornered on every front it considers important – and like Dayan's "mad dog", it is likely to strike out in unpredictable ways.

Domestically, Israeli human rights activists have regrouped after the Zionist left's dissolution in the wake of the outbreak of the second intfada. Now they are presenting clear-eyed – and extremely ugly – assessments of the occupation that are grabbing headlines around the world.

That move has been supported by the leadership of Israel's large Palestinian minority, which has additionally started questioning the legitimacy of a Jewish state in ways that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

Regionally, Hizbullah has progressively eroded Israel's deterrence doctrine. It forced the Israeli army to exit south Lebanon in 2000 after a two-decade occupation; it stood firm in the face of both aerial bombardment and a ground invasion during the 2006 war; and now it is reported to have accumulated an even larger arsenal of rockets than it had four years ago.

Iran, too, has refused to be intimidated and is leaving Israel with an uncomfortable choice between conceding to Tehran the room to develop a nuclear bomb, thereby ending Israel's regional nuclear monopoly, and launching an attack that could unleash a global conflagration.

And internationally, nearly 18 months on from its attack on Gaza, Israel's standing is at an all-time low. Boycott campaigns are gaining traction, reluctant support for Israel from European governments has set them in opposition to home-grown sentiment, and even traditional allies such as Turkey cannot hide their anger.

In the US, Israel's most resolute ally, young American Jews are starting to question their unthinking loyalty to the Jewish state. Blogs and new kinds of Jewish groups are bypassing their elders and the American media to widen the scope of debate about Israel.

Israel has responded by characterising these "threats" all as falling within its ever-expanding definition of "support for terrorism".

It was therefore hardly suprising that the first reaction from the Israeli government to the fact that its commandoes had opened fire on civilians in the flotilla of aid ships was to accuse the solidarity activists of being armed.

Similarly, Danny Ayalon, the deputy foreign minister, accused the organisers of having "connections to international terrorism", including al-Qaeda. Turkey, which assisted the flotilla, is widely being accused in Israel of supporting Hamas and trying to topple Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

Palestinians are familiar with such tactics. Gaza's entire population of 1.5 million is now regularly presented in the Israeli media in collective terms, as supporters of terror – for having voted in Hamas – and therefore legitimate targets for Israeli "retaliation". Even the largely docile Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has rapidly been tarred with the same brush for its belated campaign to boycott the settlements and their products.

The leaders of Israel's Palestinian citizens too are being cast in the role of abettors of terror. The minority is still reeling from the latest assault: the arrest and torture of two community leaders charged with spying for Hizbullah. In its wake, new laws are being drafted to require that Palestinian citizens prove their "loyalty" or have their citizenship revoked.

When false rumours briefly circulated on Monday that Sheikh Raed Salah, a leader of Israel's Islamic Movement who was in the flotilla, had been gravely wounded, Israeli officials offered a depressingly predictable, and unfounded, response: commandoes had shot him after they came under fire from his cabin.

Israel's Jewish human rights community is also under attack to a degree never before seen. Their leaders are now presented as traitors, and new legislation is designed to make their work much harder.

The few brave souls in the Israeli media who try to hold the system to account have been given a warning shot with the exile of Haaretz's investigative journalist Uri Blau, who is threatened with trial on spying charges if he returns.

Finally, Israel's treatment of those onboard the flotilla has demonstrated that the net against human rights activism is being cast much wider, to encompass the international community.

Foreigners, even high-profile figures such as Noam Chomsky, are now routinely refused entry to Israel and the occupied territories. Many foreign human rights workers face severe restrictions on their movement and efforts to deport them or ban their organisations. The Israeli government is agreed that Europe should be banned from "interfering" in the region by supporting local human rights organisations.

The epitome of this process was Israel's reception of the UN report last year into the attack on Gaza by Richard Goldstone, a respected judge and international law expert who suggested Israel had committed many war crimes during its three-week operation. Goldstone has faced savage personal attacks ever since.

But more significantly, Israel's supporters have characterised the Goldstone report and the related legal campaigns against Israel as examples of "lawfare", implying that those who uphold international law are waging a new kind of war of attrition on behalf of terror groups like Hamas and Hizbullah.

These trends are likely only to deepen in the coming months and years, making Israel an ever greater paraiah in the eyes of much of the world. The mad dog is baring his teeth, and it is high time the international community decided how to deal with him.

OMG: 'New York Times' finally debates… Zionism

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 06:45 AM PDT

I love the New York Times. It has a dialogue about the "Zionist project" between John McWhorter of the Manhattan Institute and Glenn Loury of Brown, formerly of the Reagan administration, and I have not listened to the whole thing, but Loury is on fire. He does what any honest thinking intellectual does, he questions the Israeli mantra of We-need-security and examines the conditions of the Palestinians, and how they got to Gaza in the first place.

Loury (not verbatim): I reject the Israeli counterfactual, of missiles coming in from Tijuana to California and what would we do? Because I wouldn't have put 1 million people there who were forced out of their homes!

McWhorter: You're saying it's "maybe not the best of ideas for Israel to be founded on that piece of land."

No, Loury says. That's an "idle" argument. Verbatim:

"Given that it has been founded and that has created certain consequences, comes with that responsibilities of the people who are principals, to reckon with those consequences in a way that's consistent with humane standards of decency and morality, and they're not doing that....and the notion that 'we're the victim here because there are rockets coming in from Gaza,' that's absurd.

"It's not morally acceptable for the project to continue if the price of that is the oppression of millions of people by the actions that... we've been criticizing."

Wow, it's happening. The genie is out of the bottle. American intellectuals who are not directly implicated in Zionism are being invited to examine it. Zionism is up for grabs. When will American Jews join this conversation? When will Palestinians who for some unfathomable reason believe in the right of return and were granted a state by the U.N. 63 years ago, a promise that was never fulfilled as their land has been gobbled and gobbled, be invited to explain this belief on the Times site?

'Don't tangle with us' is the message, 2/3 of Israelis say

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 06:32 AM PDT

Yes I know this is an Arutz Sheva rightwing settler site doing the poll, but this is the big revelation to Americans of the flotilla incident, we don't share values. And look how deeply rightwing Israeli society has become. Only 6 percent say Israel should respond to the raid by mending fences, apologizing. 67 percent say, the message should be, Dont tangle with us! And the other 27 percent say it was the right thing to do. They support the blockade. 

This underscores Norman Finkelstein's statement to Russian television that Israel is a "lunatic state" that possesses 200 nuclear warheads. Is it possible that Finkelstein is a more reliable narrator than Martin Indyk who is all over the airwaves to say that Israel is a rational actor? When will Brian Lehrer get Finkelstein on his WNYC program, Lehrer who is both fearful of the issue in a liberal-Zionist way but who has a huge superego, i.e., he's really responsible and knows in that big brain of his that we don't really share values. Finkelstein lives in Brooklyn, it's just a subway ride.

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