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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Irish and Canadian flotilla seizure, arrest, detention

November 8, 2011

An update on the newest flotilla. I had posted earlier about the attempt when a Democracy Now correspondent was being held captive.

 Here is the scoop:

No violence of the Mavi Marmara type (thought someone almost got shot for telling the truth) , but still several interesting items to note:

  • A guard told them: you are not an Israeli, you are in Israel, and we make the laws (asserting jurisdiction over international waters essentially). Maybe they were referring specifically to the special US Israeli relationship? See the next one.

  • Another interesting fact is the US response to its citizens being held. The Irish delegation came every day and these prisoners had the right to associate in the courtyard, read and write. The US did not respond for several days and discouraged the prisoners from demanding the same rights as other prisoners because they were told this is a foreign country and the US is powerless here and it would be too much to ask as they are trying to work on their release. (???) Perhaps we should hand over our role as mediator in the conflict to the Irish and Canadian. The seem to have both the will and capability to secure rights for people and get things done.

  • The detainees were pressured to sign a false confession much like in, say, Iran. They were in a supposed democracy, though. Go figure. They were told to sign that they had illegally entered Ashdod even though they were seized in international waters and pulled into Ashdod by Israel. Israel was not their destination. Gaza, which Israel likes to remind everyone they have disengaged from when it suits their purposes, was.

  • Jihan Hafiz, an American citizen, was assigned the characterization activist rather than journalist simply because they didn't like her reporting. (How convenient for them!) She has DN credentials as well as US government issued credentials that allowed her into the House, Senate, State Department, etc. But what Israel says, goes, right?

  • The official Israeli position is that it is a clear case of provocation and they have a right to defend their borders. The destination was Gaza. That is not Israel's border.

  • Israel called the embargo the flotilla was supposedly violating an international embargo, not the Israeli embargo. Interesting. So, Israel is looking to the international community to uphold and take responsibility for this embargo and the lend it credibility and concurrently overlook illegal settlement building, apartheid, disproportionate use of force and human rights violations. (Well, it already overlooks it in practice, but Israel is always complaining when reports are issued about concern over these issues as though they are exempt.)

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