Palestinian Youth To Challenge Siege By Sailing

The Intifada Youth Coalition stated that it launched on Monday [December 2, 2013] what it called the Convoy of Steadfastness and Justice, to challenge the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza, by sailing towards international waters.

In its statement, the coalition stated that the Palestinians will not allow Israel’s illegitimate and unjust siege to continue, and will break it.

It said it would be sailing beyond the six nautical miles, unilaterally set by Israel, in order to raise international attention and awareness regarding the ongoing suffering which Palestinian fishermen face due to escalating Israeli attacks. 

The coalition said that twenty Palestinian boats, also carrying journalists and international peace activists, would be sailing out of Gaza. 

The Israeli Navy deployed additional ships close to the Gaza coast in an attempt to stop the Palestinian boats. 

As a teenager, Furkan Doğan would tell his parents that he wanted to bring toys, books, and food to the children of Gaza.

Described by his father as a young man with a huge heart, Furkan was deeply troubled by the humanitarian situation faced by Palestinians living in Gaza due to the Israeli blockade, a situation the United Nations Relief Works Agency has described as “a crisis that transcends the humanitarian sphere.”

Three years ago, in the early hours of May 31, 2010, the Israeli navy intercepted a flotilla of ships in international waters that were attempting to deliver humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip. Israeli commandos stormed the ships and killed nine people including 18-year-old U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan.

The U.N. Human Rights Council chillingly documented Israel’s “extra-legal, arbitrary, and summary execution” of Furkan; according to forensic analysis, the shot to Furkan’s face was at point blank range and was compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on his back on the ground.  But instead of investigating Furkan’s killing and holding Israel accountable, documents obtained by CCR through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that the Obama administration tried to undermine international efforts to investigate the incident and deferred to Israel’s investigation—which exonerated all of the Israeli soldiers involved and failed to provide any details regarding Furkan’s killing. 

Why hasn’t the U.S. government launched a credible investigation into this incident? Read this new blog by CCR’s Laura Raymond: http://bit.ly/11bYjgV

Via Center for Constitutional Rights

Spanish Pro-Palestinian activists flash the “V” sign with their fingers finger as they hold a Palestinian flag at the Spanish embassy in Athens during a protest about international flotilla to blockaded Gaza, on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. French activists said that “Dignite-Al Karama” a French pro Palestinian boat with eight activists and two crew members reached international waters early Tuesday after left port near Athens early Monday. [AP]

Alice Walker disinvited from University of Michigan over ‘Israel comments’

World-renowned American author Alice Walker has been disinvited from giving a speech at the University of Michigan because a donor objects to her views on Israel, the agent negotiating the contract was told.

Walker, the Pultizer Prize winning author of The Color Purpleposted on her blog an excerpt of a letter from the agent informing her that the invitation to keynote the 50th anniversary celebration of the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan had been withdrawn.

In recent years, Walker has become increasingly outspoken in her support of Palestinian rights, sometimes likening Israel’s abuses to the Jim Crow racist system she grew up with in Montgomery, Alabama.

Walker has written about her visit to Gaza, and participated in the June 2011 solidarity flotilla that attempted to reach the territory besieged by Israel, which led to her beingdemonized by the Israeli army.

Former Bush Speechwriter: Shooting People On Gaza Flotilla "OK" Because Participants Are Like Nazis

This week the second international Freedom Flotilla will embark to Gaza from several ports in Europe. The flotilla represents an act of non-violent civil disobedience aimed at ending Israel’s four-year-long illegal blockade of the tiny strip of land populated by 1.6 million Palestinians.

At least ten ships carrying dignitaries, doctors, professors, artists, journalists, and activists as well as construction supplies and humanitarian aid are expected to sail. The New York Times and CNN are among several outlets sending journalists to cover the event.

Critics of the flotilla contend that it is an unnecessary provocation — more of a political statement than a relief mission — because Israel has lately been allowing more goods into Gaza and Egypt has, since the revolution, intermittently opened its side of the border.

Even if that is true — even if the need is somewhat less urgent — the blockading of Gaza should be protested as illegal, as are all forms of collective punishment.

Israel has the right to keep weapons that might be used against Israelis out of Gaza (assuming that, as is the case, Gaza remains under Israeli occupation). But it has no right to keep out consumer goods like certain foodstuffs or the construction material needed to rebuild homes and schools after the devastation Israel inflicted on Gaza during the 2008-09 onslaught. That one-sided war took 1400 Palestinians lives (including several hundred children).

Nonetheless, under pressure from the Israeli government and its lobby, the Obama administration is taking a strong stand against the flotilla, even suggesting that Americans on board cannot expect the U.S. to intervene on their behalf if Israel attacks (in 2009, the IDF killed 9 passengers on a Turkish relief ship).

The far right is already lining up in support of whatever action Israel takes against the unarmed civilian relief activists.

Take a look at these tweets from Joshua Treviño, who was formerly a speechwriter in the Bush administration. He condemns Palestinians as morally depraved and deserving of any evil that befalls them.

However, Treviño, a veteran and a former aide to Bush’s HHS secretary, goes much farther than that. He openly calls for the Israelis to kill any of his fellow Americans who get in their way. “Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me." 

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