Monday 31 May 2010

Israel attacks humanitarian aid flotilla off Gaza killing 16 civilians

VIDEO UPDATE: This is the longer 9:35 version of the video which shows shot civilians and reports of two dead before the Israeli commandos even land on the ship. Any violence in international waters by the passengers is clearly self-defence. Organisers are trying to keep everyone calm but despite the hoisting of the white flag you can still hear shots. There is some English commentary as three reporters share the microphone.

Israel has done the unthinkable and attacked the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, one of the peace ships bringing humanitarian aid to the stricken people of Gaza, killing at least 16 people with dozens injured. These are idealists, civilians, some mothers' sons and daughters who were killed in international waters, 80 miles off the Gazan coast.

The ships hold 600 civilian activists including Parliamentarians, women, children and the elderly.

Following much harassment of the Freedom Flotilla aid craft by Israel since they left northern (Turkish) Cyprus, Israeli armed commandos stormed the boat from helicopters in the early hours of this morning. They had guns, the activists had sticks. Firing continued after the white flag had been raised.

I wonder if they thought the BP oil spill Top Kill failure and the environmental catastrophe was the chance to bury bad news and carry out their own killing from above.

Is Sweden the only country with any spine? it has withdrawn its ambassador in protest. And there is public fury in Turkey with demonstrations being held. A protest is planned for today at Downing Street in London, no doubt complete with brutish policing and prison sentences handed down to people who object to state murder if the last one at the Israel Embassy is anything to go by. But what's Britain's media doing? Giving these murderers a free ticket in the media. In biased and imbalanced reporting, the BBC allowed the Israel government several minutes to present their propaganda while including NO pro-Palestinian voice.

The general level of reporting is abominable. Even while explaining the background, The Telegraph says:
Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza after the strip was taken over by the militant group Hamas in 2007. It has allowed some food and medical supplies through, but has prevented large-scale rebuilding following the bombardment and invasion of 2008-9.

The fact the Telegraph and others find so unpalatable is that Hamas, like them or loathe them, were voted in by the Gazans in a free democratic election.

Even Twitter is blocking searches of the hashtag #flotilla. How superior is our side when it comes to human rights and freedom of speech.

No civiilsed country can maintain diplomatic relations with this pariah terrorist state, let alone continue arming and throwing money at it. Israel has yet again breached international law. On a hubristic high from getting away with assassinations in foreign countries and slaughtering Gazans in the sliver of land left to them, Israel has gone nuts with the West's connivance. The Turkish ship was from a NATO country, two of the ships flew American flags. Britain and the EU must condemn Israel's illegal action.

UPDATE: At the end of its online report, the BBC asks:
Do you know someone aboard these ships? What is your reaction to this story? Send us your comments, pictures and videos. Send your pictures and videos to or text them to 61124 (UK) or 0044 7725 100 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

OK, peeps, you know what to do.

UPDATE 2: Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague has deplored the loss of life and called for the end to the Gaza blockade by Israel.

Did Twitter censor the #flotilla hashtag as it was trending?

UPDATE 3: Contrary to the BBC News 24 report, there is at least one British person on the convoy, former journalist and George Galloway's assistant, Kevin Ovenden. See his reports for Viva Palestina here. (This oversight may be due to the UK left's practice of preaching to the converted and not sending out press releases. Have you forgotten already, Kevin? Hope you are safe. But do please learn to use the bloody media!) There may be 27 British nationals on the ships.

UPDATE 4: Adam Gabbatt is writing the Guardian's Live Blog on the deadly Freedom Flotilla attack by Israel. He writes:

@MadamMiaow has pointed me to a blogpost from Kevin Ovenden, a Briton from the Viva Palestina charity who was on the Mavi Marmara in the flotilla (see 11.08am).
Ovenden appears to have been writing as Israel boats approached the flotilla.
We are 90 miles away from land - 22 miles further than the Israeli decided 68 mile exclusion zone - but are being approached by an Israeli vessel. [...]
This is a very serious situation, and we are calling on everyone to play their part in helping ensure their safety, and that the aid reaches Gaza without difficulty.

Full article here.

Pulse keeps tracks of BBC bias

UPDATE 5: The UN Security Council condemns the raid on the Freedom Flotilla but refuses to name Israel in a grotesquely absurd bit of politicking. Meanwhile, Cameron's weasel words: he describes the attack as "unacceptable" and calls for a "constructive" response to "legitimate criticism" of its actions. Ooh, tough! Everyone except Turkey is placating Israel while 700 international civilians remain kidnapped and held in isolation while the Foreign office dithers. Eyewitness accounts are beginning to surface as activists are deported, describing how armed IDF rappelled onto the ship shooting as they dropped. Confirmed by three German current and former MPs. Reports of one Briton injured but Viva Palestina officer and journalist Kevin Ovenden OK.

"Gaza #flotilla drives Israel into a sea of stupidity." Haaretz


VenerableSage said...

Meanwhile, Christian Zionists in the US have come up with a new line: criticism of the State of Israel constitutes a blasphemous attack on God Himself.

A world of WRONG ...

Czarny Kot said...

Woke up to this before work this morning when the death toll was 2.

That was bad enough, but the latest news makes it even more serious.

If this incident is not enough to provoke negative consequences for Israel then they can bascially do what they want.

Things like this make me wish I lived in London so that I could join in a protest rather than shaking my fist at the TV.

RIP all those who died and condolences to family and friends.

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if they thought the BP oil spill Top Kill failure and the environmental catastrophe was the chance to bury bad news and carry out their own killing from above."

It's a major holiday here in the States today; not for the first time does Israel commit and atrocity when the US news is on vacation.

Vile. bloody. murder.

Madam Miaow said...

I must Tweet that, Rustbelt. It's also a bank holiday Monday here but that gives us more spare time to shine a spotlight on them. Apparently CNN just asked its audience "Who do you blame?" for the killings. Unbelievable.

Czarny Kot, looks like my figure is outdated. Most press are saying 19 while some are saying upwards of 20. About 2,000 gathered in Whitehall/Downing St, and the protesters are moving on to the Israel embassy.

Thnks, Venerable. A world of wrong but the whole world is now watching it.

Unknown said...

"I wonder if they thought the BP oil spill Top Kill failure and the environmental catastrophe was the chance to bury bad news and carry out their own killing from above."

Clunk. The sound of two very disparate tragedies being welded together. No, MM, I think you can leave that particular piece of detective work aside for the nonce.

Madam Miaow said...

Because they never do that kind of thing, do they?

Unknown said...

Well if they hardly WORKED did it?

Are you seriously suggesting they said let's kill all these people while the BP thing's going on and nobody will report it? Seriously, you think that was the thinking?

Or just tortuously trying to link disparate stories like...well like conspiracy theorists do.

Madam Miaow said...

If you were better informed, you would recognise the phrase, "to bury bad news" as a trope that originated with a New Labour wonk who used a calamity to do exactly that. That's what governments do.

But evidently you aren't.

Anonymous said...

The Israelis broke the ceasefire with Hamas on the day of the US elections in November, 2008. Utterly calculated. I have no idea if the curs who run the IDF had a thought about the BP spill, but I am pretty confident they thought, are constantly thinking, how to best present themselves (to a certain segment of the world- they could give a damn about the rest, Mark Regev is proof of that). They just murdered a score of activists; manipulating news is par for the course.

Unknown said...

Imagine. The two events aren't related. Try, really try. I mean...think of it...Israel lashing out even without a reason.

Nah...couldn't're right - they waited till oil spill to hide what asssholes they are.

Anything else is naive right?

Anonymous said...

"you're right - they waited till oil spill to hide what asssholes they are."

I said nothing of the sort. My comment (rather simply) stated that Israel (like all powers) seeks to manipulate how its story is told. That they have an eye to the US's perception is indisputable and doesn't require any conspiracy.

Madam Miaow said...

Jasmine, you seem to have developed a weird competitive compulsion to demonstrate what you think is intellectual superiority in this thread and now the one about China banning torture.

Do you have a blog by any chance?

IgglePiggle said...

David Cameron and his weasel words, don't our elected politicians have any principles left? When is a wrong not a wrong?

Madam Miaow said...

Trouble is, Labour wasn't much better when Israel bombarded Gaza.

I'm glad there's been a UN resolution condemning the flotilla murders but will it have teeth?

The FO is being obstructive and not helping the families of the British activists. For god's sake, this is kidnapping. Get them back home.

Anonymous said...

Jasmine is right... you seem particularly susceptible to conspiracy theory, not to mention prejudice and bias.

Madam Miaow said...

Unlike you hasbara merchants who think the IDF did a fine job.