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‘Freedom Flotilla 2’ – Update 5 – Dutch journalists jump ship.


A number of unrelated setbacks appear to be combining to delay the departure of the ‘Freedom Flotilla 2’. A pre-announced general strike in Greece – related to the domestic political situation there – has temporarily shut down ports and marinas.

Via Honest Reporting we hear that a number of Dutch journalists, despite being sympathetic to the cause, have abandoned ship due to disagreements with the flotilla organisers.

“Yesterday morning I had a final meeting with the participants. I told the activists that given everything that had happened, they shouldn’t trust the organisation leading this mission.”

Then there was the discovery that the propeller of the Greek/Swedish/Norwegian boat – the ‘Juliano Mer’ – had been damaged. The cost of repairs is estimated at some $17,000. Activists were, of course, quick to blame Israel for the sabotage, despite the complete lack of evidence, although a naval expert with whom I consulted said that it was unlikely that such damage could have been caused by anything other than deliberate action.

Various legal problems are also plaguing the flotilla. In an interview with the ‘Jerusalem Post’, ‘Free Gaza’ activist Ewa Jasiewicz (the woman who, together with BDS activist and flotilla veteran Yonatan Shapira, defaced the Warsaw Ghetto  last year with graffiti) complained that some of the boats had their insurance withdrawn. In addition, the Israeli civil rights organization ‘Shurat HaDin’ has been busy with an innovative attempt to prevent the maritime communications company ‘Inmarsat’ from providing services to the flotilla which, if successful, would make it all but impossible for the flotilla to sail.

However, should it indeed eventually leave port, we can then expect to see a series of pre-planned ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations take place in major cities across the world. The ‘US Boat to Gaza’ campaign’s supporters have already organized protests in at least ten venues.

“San Jose:
On the day following an attack (or boarding) of any ship in the flotilla we invite all people of conscience to gather outside the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library (San Jose Public Library) in San Jose at 150 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA 95112 at 5:00 pm. We also ask that Palestine solidarity groups, and peace and justice groups spread this message across their membership through listservs, phone calls, and other forms of social media. It is of the utmost importance that this event has a large attendance; international pressure–especially from the United States–is a critical factor in preventing Israel from acting with impunity towards humanitarian activists. We all need to be prepared to act on short notice.”

Reminds me of the type of ridiculously transparent regime-organised ‘loyalty marches’ one so often sees in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, an article on the ‘Le Monde’ website shows pictures of one of the two French boats – the comfortably outfitted ‘Louise Michel and in the comments an interesting question is raised.  Are those people who contributed money to the flotilla campaign in the belief that they would be providing humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza entitled to feel disgruntled about the fact that in effect, all they have achieved is to sponsor a rather expensive early summer holiday in the eastern Mediterranean for a select group of ‘progressives’?  

2 replies »

  1. The flotilla and the Third Intifada by Melanie Phillips – 29 June 2011

    [Extract]

    “Is a bunch of young Israeli lawyers working round the clock sustained only by Diet Coke, falafel and cigarettes about to pull off the legal equivalent of the Six-Day War?

    Israel famously won that war before it even started by destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground. Now it’s beginning to look as if the Gaza flotilla of fools and fanatics may be holed below the waterline before it even sets off on its cynical and potentially murderous stunt.

    It was supposed to have sailed by now. Today, however, it was reported that it now may not set sail before next week. The main reason is a series of unprecedented and ingenious manoeuvres by Israeli lawyers which have tied up the boats in legal actions mainly concerning insurance and registration issues.

    And I can reveal that a separate legal move today threatens fourteen of the flotillistas with arrest if they enter Israeli territorial waters.”

    http://melaniephillips.com/the-flotilla-and-the-third-intifada