2 Jun 2010
An international convoy of ships, dubbed the 'Freedom Flotilla', carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza was intercepted and stormed in international waters by the Israeli Defence Force. It is confirmed that nine of the 600 activists, parliamentarians and media representatives aboard the flotilla were killed by Israeli soldiers.
Israel claims it opened fire on the activists in self-defence. However, this Al Jazeera report, which shows live footage of the attack, contends that those aboard the ships were carrying white flags.
Moreover, many of the activists that were on the flotilla have been released by Israel since Monday. Their reports conflict with Israel's claim of self defense. They say that the Israeli's opened fire before boarding the ships.
Global Reaction from Al Jazeera
The world has reacted with outrage to the Israeli attack. Street protests were initiated across the Arab world and in parts of Europe, while governments throughout the world have been virtually unanimous in their condemnation of Israel's aggression towards civilians.
Find Al Jazeera's report on global reaction to the attack on the aid convoy here.
Democracy Now Interviews Key Experts
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now speaks with: 1) Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and a boardmember of the Free Gaza movement. 2) Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse." 3) Richard Falk, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories. 4) Amira Hass, columnist with Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper and the only Israeli journalist to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank.
Watch the full Democracy Now interview and/or read its transcript here.
Alternet's Joshua Holland writes about Israel's massive PR machinery that has gone into overdrive to counter negative publicity associated with the event. He argues, "Israel’s hard-line government gambled that the usual tactics would prove effective on this occasion. The Guardian reported that a sophisticated public relations operation was underway in Israel to influence the international media’s coverage of the carnage. Spinners and spokesmen from the Israeli military and government departments politely answered questions from the international media and offered their own narrative of the day's events, reported the Guardian, as a barrage of emails and text message alerts firing into inboxes provided the official version of events. Here in the U.S., AIPAC, the Israeli right-wing’s premiere Washington lobbying group, shot off dozens of releases to reporters accusing the terrorist-linked flotilla organizers of being in league with Al Qaeda."
Read the rest of Holland's article published by Alternet here.
TRNN Report from Inside Israel
Lia Tarachansky from The Real News Network (TRNN) reports from Ashdod, Israel, where peace activists gathered to protest the Israeli Defence Force's fatal attack on the 6-ship aid flotilla to Gaza. When the peace activists arrived on the Ashdod beach, they were attacked by locals accusing them of treason.
For the full TRNN report, please click here.
Ray McGovern on America's Complicity
Ray McGovern is a former CIA officer and regular commentator on Middle East politics. His article, "Obama's Timidity and Deaths at Sea," outlines Israeli influence in Washington. He notes that Israel's attack was illegal and sketches two possible scenarios in terms of international law. "Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists in international waters. The applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was in Turkish territory. So in this case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the attack by Israeli commandos falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime."
For the second scenario and to read the rest of McGovern's article, please click here.
World Socialist Watch: Israel Defends Murderous Assault on Gaza Aid Flotilla
Having succeeded in stripping a UN Security Council resolution of any criticism of Israel, Washington is insisting that it is up to the Israeli state to conduct its own supposed “inquiry” into Monday’s raid, perhaps with a US observer to assist in the whitewash. The Washington Post reported that “Israeli ambassador Michael Oren and National Security Adviser Uzi Arad spent four hours in meetings at the White House on Tuesday, focused on how to contain the diplomatic fallout from the raid, which has endangered America’s push for sanctions against Iran and peace efforts in the Middle East”.
For more from the World Socialist Watch about the implications of Israel's attack, please click here.
Christian Science Monitor: Israeli Raid on Gaza Freedom Flotilla Killed US Citizen Furkan Dogan
An American-Turkish dual citizen killed during the Israeli commando raid on the humanitarian aid flotilla was among activists buried in Turkey on Thursday. Furkan Dogan was struck by five bullets (four to his head) shortly before dawn on Monday while atop the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara ship, according to friends who were on board at the time of the Israeli raid and attended the funeral for eight of the nine Turks who died.
For more information from the Christian Science Monitor about the human rights activists that were killed in the attack, please click here.