flotilla reading

*the normal Gaza sea scene.  The fancier cafes that do exist cater to the minute percentage of Palestinians in Gaza who could afford the seats. It is a very minute percentage, with the rest of the Strip converging on the sand, with provisions from home or with nothing, to simply escape the heat and power cuts.  [photo: Emad Badwan]

interesting articles on the ground from Greece where boats are being prevented under sudden new Greek leglislation passed banning any boats with Greek or foreign flags to sail from Greece for Gaza, after 2 boats were sabotaged rendering them dangerously unseaworthy.

The Battle Over the Gaza Flotilla

Israeli Official Condemns Gaza Flotilla, Refuses to Deny Israeli Role in Sabotage of Boats

Al Jazeera’s Gaza Flotilla coverage

This is the Freedom Ride of our era [VIDEO]

Sabotaging Freedom Flotilla II

–by Richard Falk:

It stretches the imagination to suppose that a sophisticated cutting of the propeller shafts of both ships is a coincidence with no involvement by Israel’s Mossad, long infamous for its overseas criminal acts in support of contested Israeli national interests. Recalling the lethal encounter in international waters with Freedom Flotilla I that took place on May 31, 2010 and the frantic diplomatic campaign by Tel Aviv to prevent this second challenge to the Gaza blockade by peace activists and humanitarian aid workers, such conduct by a state against this latest civil society initiative, if further validated by incriminating evidence, should be formally condemned as a form of ‘state terrorism’ or even as an act of war by a state against global civil society.

The Israeli Government has so far done little to deny its culpability. Its highest officials speak of the allegations in self-righteous language that is typically diversionary, asserting an irrelevant right of self-defense, which supposedly comes mysteriously into play whenever civil society acts nonviolently to break the siege of Gaza that has persisted for more than four years.


Long before the flotilla actually set sail, with typical propagandistic fervor and diplomatic finesse, supported every inch of the way by its many powerful friends in Washington, Israel zealously engaged in a concerted campaign to discredit the shipment of humanitarian aid to the besieged people of Gaza. By verbal acrobatics reminding us that Orwell’s warnings about the debasement of political language (1984) remains as relevant as ever, Israel has been trying to portray dedicated peace activists and the cultural icons among their ranks as ‘terrorists’ and arms dealers. As might be expected, much of the media, especially in the United States, has taken at face value such scandalous accusations, or at the very least has put them forward as accounting for the bitter complaint by Israel that the flotilla is being used as a humanitarian front behind which arms are being smuggled into Israel.

On a second level of Orwellian distortion, a somewhat more subtle case against the flotilla has been put forward. The daily existence of the entrapped, impoverished, and mentally and physically debilitated Gazans have been depicted by Israeli propagandists as if they were enjoying a glitzy pleasure kingdom that benefits its 1.6 million inhabitants.


A first level of response to such distortions is to point to the authoritative and highly data-based report released last month by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on the economic conditions in Gaza with special attention to labor. Among its highlights is the disclosure that the unemployment rate in Gaza has climbed to 45.2 per cent, which appears to be the highest in the world. This alarming figure was coupled with a 7.9 per cent decline in the purchasing power of average monthly wages for the those Palestinians during the last half of 2010 lucky enough to have a job. There has been an alarming overall decline of 34.5 per cent in the purchasing power of workers for the period since 2006. It is further estimated that 300,000 Gazans now subsist on less than $1 per day.

And this is not all. Ninety five per cent of the water supply in Gaza is unsafe for human consumption, the electricity is insufficient for the needs of the population, causing frequent blackouts. Worse still, the health system is near collapse, with no supply of many vital medicines, and most other medicines in Gaza are not reliable because they are being held beyond their expiration dates. There are numerous recent reports of curtailed services in Gaza hospitals, cancelled surgeries and closures because of the absence of essential medical supplies. And perhaps, worst of all, no exports of any kind from Gaza are allowed, which means that Gazans have become almost totally dependent on UN handouts and the machinations of black marketers just to stay alive.


  1. No further comment is necessary, surely, than to say to Israel and its supporters: THIS MUST STOP!

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