Gaza Blockade Update

by craig on July 5, 2010 10:44 am in Palestine

Many thanks to the anonymous commenter who posted this in response to my plea for information on the current state of the Gaza Blockade. They didn’t post a link, so it is reproduced here in full.

As I suspected, there has been no real change in the Israeli strangulation of Gaza.

By Vittorio Arrigoni, Gaza City, Gaza

July 4, 2010

Ketchup, mayonnaise, thread and needles are the items that were included last week by Israel on the list of those few goods now allowed into Gaza. Farming tools, spare parts for cars, toys and make-up were added to the list on Tuesday, items we watched being carried into the Strip loaded onto 130 trucks.

Taking into account the decision of the Israeli government to “loosen” the siege of Gaza by allowing the entry of more goods, B’Tselem, the Israeli organisation for human rights commented: “This is a first, tiny step towards the right direction, the direction which’ll bring Israeli policy in line with its obligations.”

A veritable microscopic step, considering that before the start of the siege, more than ten thousand trucks a month would drive through the Karni pass alone, and even then, these deliveries were miles away from the 500 truckfuls of goods a day (15,000 trucks a month), the minimum decreed by the United Nations to cover the basic needs of one and a half million people.

According to some Palestinian political analysts, this step might even be counterproductive, because it proposes to attempt to legitimise the siege. This is a siege that is a form of collective punishment against a civilian population. As such, it violates Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is considered illegal by all major human rights organisations, whether governmental or otherwise, as Amnesty International and the International Red Cross have recently decreed.

Cement, iron and any other building material continues to be banned from the Strip, so much so that according to the UN, one year after the Cast Lead bombings, 75% of the damaged buildings still gape open among the rubble.

According to Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UNRWA (UN Agency for Palestinian refugees), Israel’s new policy is an attempt to throw smoke into the eyes of the international community and hide its blatant violation of international law: “The Israeli strategy is that of getting the world to talk about a random bag of cement being let in on one side, and a sponsored project on another. What we really need is complete and free access through all the passes.”

All eyes are now turned towards the mirage of the opened Israeli passes. Yet, forgetting to take note of the Egyptian border is a mistake. Rafah continues to remain semi-open, or better still… semi-closed. The Egyptian border authorities refuse to let any type of goods through, including tons of food supplies and medicine collected during the last weeks by the union of Cairo chemists. The bullies of the infamous Egyptian Mubarak, renowned for their rough treatment of Palestinian civilians, including women, children and sick people, have sent back hundreds of travellers with regular passports and visas over the past few weeks.

For internationals in Egypt who plan to come and report on what they see, or support the population of Gaza in any way, entering “the Rafah Pass” remains forbidding. John, a freelance journalist who accompanied us from the International Solidarity Movement to report on the daily harrassment that the farmers face from Israeli snipers at the border, eventually came in through the tunnels when he had grown tired of waiting for a pass that never came at Al Arish.

Italian state television is trying to put through the message that the siege has been loosened as an act of generosity on the part of the Israeli government, but the reality is indeed very different. The siege itself needs to be totally lifted, because the people here certainly don’t need potato chips or toothpicks. They need cement, iron, medicine, medical supplies and all the essentials coming in the way they would normally come in… through import and export. Only that means will help boost the economy and make Gaza self-sufficient, besides opening the borders to make it possible for anyone to come into or leave this prison.

All that we have before our eyes these days is the artificial image of a tragic situation, made up to seem like an improvement after the cosmetic surgery of Israeli and Egyptian propaganda. Amid these far-reaching echoes of propaganda, Tony Blair’s congratulations to Israel for the alleged “loosening” of its blockade comes across as a strident contradition. Behind the smile of Blair, one the of puppet masters of the Quartet (USA, EU, Russia and UN) who for years has produced nothing but useless press releases, is all the rot of the stone caryatids jointly holding up the current Iraqi genocide, as well as the political laxity of European governments in the face of the Palestinian tragedy.

I’m keen to remind Tony Blair that if two extra bags of flour enter the besieged Strip, it certainly isn’t thanks to his work within the castrated quartet, or any other institution in charge of resolving the Israeli occupation of Palestine. It’s actually thanks to the sacrifices over many years of thousands of ordinary civilians throughout the world committed to the rights of Palestinians. It’s an effort that has culminated in the murder of nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara, much the same way as before them, Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie gave their lives for the good of Gaza.

On the eve of the second Gulf war, the New York Times coined the phrase “second world power”, to define the global pacifist movement that filled thousands of squares around the world. These civilians were protesting against a war “that never before in history had been met with as much blatant hostility.” Well, that second world power has now joined us on the field and is siding with the Palestinians: it is now Israel that’s under siege.

Stay human.

Vittorio Arrigoni from Gaza city

(translated by Daniela Filippin)

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30 Comments

  1. John Lilburne

    5 Jul, 2010 - 11:27 am

    Craig, here’s a the only link I can find for that article:

    http://karmalised.com/?p=14390

  2. Richard Robinson

    5 Jul, 2010 - 12:19 pm

    I saw a calculation somewhere that “stuff” reaching Gaza was about 17% of what it was before the blockade, and the ‘easing’ takes up it to about 23%. I have no source for this, nor do I know whether that “stuff” was calculated by sheer quantity or takes account of categories.

  3. Daniela Filippin

    5 Jul, 2010 - 12:34 pm

    Dear Craig,

    Many thanks for posting Vittorio’s article on your blog. Predictably, the message we’re getting from the mainstream media the world over on the alleged loosening of the siege is anything but reliable and is as usual very biased in Israel’s favour. I’m Vittorio Arrigoni’s translator into English (from Italian), and he’s one of the human rights activists working with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza, which is how he can offer reliable first-hand information. This is his blog (in Italian): http://guerrillaradio.iobloggo.com/

    … and this is his book in English on his experience in Gaza during Cast Lead: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gaza-Stay-Human-Vittorio-Arrigoni/dp/1847740197/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278329377&sr=1-1

    Kind regards

    Daniela Filippin

  4. Thanks, Craig, for giving the full text of a key article; and thank you, Daniela, for the valuable background to your excellent translation and the link to Vittorio Arrigoni’s website.

    Getting better media coverage of these issues is hard. Any of us with contacts who may not usually access this website should copy the full text and comments to them. I’m about to do so.

  5. Allowing more Israeli foodstuffs into Gaza is only one side of the equation of the blockade. Israel allows nothing in that could be used for manufacturing of any product for export and even more importantly nothing is allowed out for export. Thus the economy is totally strangled and is dying if not already dead. This is the real object of the Israel blockage… the death of the Gazan economy. No economy, no jobs, no way to earn a living and support a family, live usefull and productive lives. Israel will export into Gaza food stuffs and goods it manufactures (supporting the Israeli economy) thus displacing any local producer of course and thereby putting them out of business, the real reason behind the destruction of the agricultural and manufacturing base of Gaza during their last assualt on this occupied land – the destruction of the Gazan economy.

  6. @Daniela, as you are no doubt aware, Vittorio is being targeted by StoptheISm via their criminal website, which incites the killing of international activists;

    Here’s an article about it;

    http://palestinethinktank.com/2009/01/14/those-who-want-to-bump-off-the-witnesses-of-the-slaughter/

    I note with dismay that this vile Site is still up & running, so my question is why has Vittorio, as one of the named targets, not been able to get either his details removed, or even better the Site shut down altogether, through Internet privacy regulations or any other legal means ?

  7. Will Jordan

    5 Jul, 2010 - 3:29 pm

  8. I agree with everything except: Stop using the term “collective punishment”.It is more than that, it is “collective destruction”: Most things done to the Palestinian people are irreversible, e.g. birth defects, malnutrition of children, inadequate schooling, destruction of the environment …. . “Collective punishment” is really a euphemism.

  9. Daniela Filippin

    5 Jul, 2010 - 4:44 pm

    Thanks, Iain Orr. We all do our best, and it really would be a shame if the English-speaking world were deprived of Vittorio’s testimonies, seeing as he only writes in Italian (he’s also a freelance journalist back at home, and is regularly featured on TV and radio… though nowhere near often enough!).

    Mac, the single fanatical Zionist responsibile for creating that website and for sending half a dozen ISM activists death threats has been at it since Cast Lead, now. We managed to successfully close down two versions of his website so far. But whenever they get taken down, the lunatic proceeds to create a new one after just a few months. It’s endlessly frustrating, as you can imagine. I guess that death threats and the like from Nazistoid Zionists are a sign that the ISM are really doing their job well, so in a way it’s a… er positive signal. Stepping on toes is precisely what they seek to do (which isn’t to say that anyone is happy to see him eternally resuscitate that vile site of his). So, back to the drawing board, I guess!

  10. Quite right Anni. It’s more like collective extinction.

    Meanwhile Mr Tirkel ever so slowly continues with his plans for his ‘enquiry’. I am so sick of that word btw. Nothing ever comes of them.

    If he and his stooges can’t subpoena and take sworn testimony from those of the military involved, who are they going to subpoena and take testimony from? What a farce.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/government-expands-authority-of-gaza-flotilla-probe-commission-1.299955

  11. I should have spelt his name correctly. It is Turkel.

  12. According to their PR blurb from two weeks ago (http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Communication/Spokesman/2010/06/spokemediniyut206010.htm) the Israeli government claims to be moving to a more permissive system – where certain items are banned from Palestine – rather than the previous system, where only certain items were permitted.

    Given that the above comes from a state with such an awesome track record for honesty and commitment to peace, I’m not exactly holding my breath – but it does mean one thing: they are feeling the pressure and backing down as a result. So thumbs up to Craig for keeping the Blockade in the spotlight.

    @Mac

    That is one of the more disturbing things I’ve seen since the “American Coalition of Life Activists” ?” the “pro-life” group who posted “Wanted – Dead” posters featuring the names and photos of doctors they suspected of performing abortions. Ultimately, a few doctors were murdered and the case landed in court ?” where it was decided that the direct incitement to violence is not protected by the First Amendment – making the group subject to criminal charges. (Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. Am. Coal. of Life Activists, 290 F.3d 1058, 1087-88, 9th Cir. 2002)

    So, since “stoptheism” is based in the US, this is one for Stateside readers then ?” alert the authorities to this home-grown terrorism. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if these nutters weren’t on their watch list already.

  13. Suppose the UN General Assembly (where there is no veto) declared Gaza to be a UN protectorate.

    Suppose the UN collaborated with Hamas as the de facto government of Gaza to open Gaza port, making it a condition that there were no more attacks on Israel emanating from Gaza.

    Suppose Gaza was supplied by sea, making the Israeli border irrelevant.

    Suppose the ships arriving in Gaza were protected by a ‘neutral’ navy (say India) under UN control.

    Suppose there was a rigorous inspection by UN officials of goods arriving in Gaza to ensure that no weapons were present.

    Suppose Israel was invited to send observers to these inspections.

    How could Israel object? After all, they have ‘withdrawn’ from Gaza. And if they did, what could they do about it?

    Is this a dream, or could it possibly work? What do you think?

  14. Craig,

    You may have already come across this article below.

    The general lack of media coverage of the Gaza problem never ceases to amaze me.

    Teflon Tony was on Al Jazeera tonight…

    What joy..

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/32579575/The-Legal-Framework

    The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla by Israeli Navy

    Commandos on May 31, 2010.

    The Legal Framework of International Law.

    Crimes against the Peace and Crimes against Humanity

    During the pre-dawn hours of May 31, 2010, the Israeli Navy attacked the six civilian vessels of

    the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The attack took place in international waters against ships flying

    under national flags of countries with which Israel is not at war, namely Turkey, Greece and

    the United States. The ships were carrying civilians from more than sixteen countries.

    Salient points:

    1. Since no state of war existed at the time, the attack on these vessels constitutesan act of war against those governments under whose flags the vessels were sailing.

    2. The attack falls within the purview of the ius ad bellum, those laws which govern the resort to armed conflict. Israel’s action does not fall into the category of theius in bello or the laws which govern the actual conduct of war.

    3. Because this attack was carried out in international waters, the status of the relationship between

    Hamas, or any other Palestinian body, and the state of Israel is of no relevance whatsoever.

    Likewise, neither the blockade of Gaza nor Israel’s claims and legal interpretations regarding it has any bearing on its acts of aggression in international waters.

    4.This is not an act of piracy. Piracy is an act of aggression carried out in international waters by individuals and not by states.

    The following internationally binding treaties, charters, and agreements are relevant to the attack by Israel:

    1. Article 6 of the Charter Provisions of the Nuremburg Trials

    (a) Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of a war of

    aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or

    participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

    (3) Crimes against Humanity: namely murder… deportation, and any other inhumane acts

    committed against any civilian population, before or during the war…in execution of or in

    connection with any crime… whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where

    perpetrated.

    2. 1907 Hague Regulation Convention (XI) Relative to Certain Restrictions with Regard to the

    Exercise of the Right of Capture in Naval War

    Chapter II ?” The Exemption from Capture of Certain Vessels

    Article 4. Vessels charged with religious, scientific, or philanthropic missions are likewise

    exempt from capture.

    Salient points:

    1. The standard for judging the Israeli acts is objective and not subjective. It is irrelevant what

    Israeli ministers, generals, admirals, or soldiers thought or intended. The test is in what they did.

    2.What they did was engage in acts of war using weapons of war in international waters against

    vessels that are protected not only in peacetime but also in times of war.

    3. Israel has therefore committed both crimes against the peace and crimes against humanity.

    4. These are crimes that have international jurisdiction. Israeli political and military personnel can be named in trials held in any and all countries of the world. If the Israelis do not attend the trials, they can be tried in absentia, and those decisions in which the Israelis are found guilty can be executed anywhere in the world.

    5. Because unarmed civilians were murdered by a preplanned military attack,capital crimes have

    been committed. While it would appear that the international community no longer finds

    capital punishment civilized, the punishments for these capital crimes can be multiple life

    sentences.

    6. These crimes give rise to damage claims for huge sums of money and Israeli accounts can be

    blocked using decisions finding them guilty.

    7. The unarmed vessels were on a philanthropic mission, carrying civilians and humanitarian

    supplies. Even if Israel were in a state of war with any of these countries, it would be prohibited

    from capturing the vessels according to the terms of the Hague Convention of 1907.

    Conclusion:

    It follows, therefore, that Israel was first of all not allowed to attack these vessels militarily, and then not

    allowed to board these vessels by force, capture these vessels, attack the passengers, imprison them on

    the vessels, forcibly remove them from the vessels, and steal their private property in the form of

    cameras, computers, clothes, etc.

    Each and every act carried out by the Israeli military forces in international waters on May 31,

    2010, is unqualifiedly and absolutely a violation of international law.

    Lynda Brayer is a human rights lawyer who specialized in the laws of war and international law in

    representing Palestinians. She lives in Haifa. She can be reached at lyndabrayer@yahoo.com

  15. @Daniela & Mat, I was quite shocked when I came across this vile Site about a year ago, and could not a) believe it was openly advocating the murder of individuals, b) that it was on Public view on the Net as opposed to hidden or restricted access. & C) that the Psycho behind it was advertising himself by embedding clips in which he is being interviewed by Bill O’Reilly. The fact that a national News Channel, (yes even Fox News) can give platforms to such an individual is very worrying, and a damning indictment of US broadcasting standards.

    I’ve just check the present latest incarnation of the Site, and didn’t come across reference to Vittorio this time, but this really turned my stomach;

    “Although they do not reside in the SF Bay Area, these two slimeballs are frequently at Bay Area propaganda events against Israel and on the board of ISM affilaite, Rebuilding Alliance. You may well ask, “How can we criticize parents who lost their daughter, Rachel?” Here’s why:”

    (Yes he means Cindy and Craig Corrie, the parents of murdered activist Rachel Corrie);

    “Rachel Corrie was not a peace activist. She, by her own admission, was an avowed anarchist. She died trying to interfere with an IDF bulldozer that was covering a weapons smuggling tunnel”

    @ chrisentia, nice dream ! The UN can indeed do wonderful things, if only it had the courage to use its powers; it can even, if it wants, circumvent the Security Council’s (P5s) vetoes, by invoking a Uniting for Peace (UfP) declaration; see here for a little bit about it;

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1278044686.html

  16. Absolutely disgusting and as for the empty words from the Israeli shill Blair, I have no words. I weep for the people in Gaza.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/10513004.stm

    Monday, 5 July 2010 19:39 UK

    Yossi Gal said some items were ”forbidden under all circumstances”

    Israel has confirmed details of what goods it will allow to enter the Gaza Strip with the easing of its blockade.

    Consumer goods are being allowed but a “blacklist” of items including weapons and materials that could have a military use will be barred or limited.

    Hamas, which controls Gaza, dismissed the concessions as of no use and said the blockade should be fully lifted.

    Israel says its blockade of the Palestinian territory is needed to prevent the supply of weapons to Hamas.

    Israel came under international pressure to ease its four-year blockade of Gaza after nine Turkish activists were killed in a 31 May Israeli raid on a flotilla that was trying to carry aid to the Palestinian territory.

    ‘Worthless’

    Under the new measures, materials such as steel, cement, certain fertilisers and chemicals will be allowed in for Palestinian Authority-approved projects that are under the supervision and for the use of the UN or other international agencies.

    ISRAEL’S GAZA BLOCKADE

    Continue reading the main story

    Banned items:

    Weapons and ammunition

    Goods with civilian/military use

    Chemicals and fertilisers

    Restricted items:

    Cement, steel and lumber more than 2cm thick

    Source: Israeli ministry of foreign affairs

    Turks threaten break with Israel

    Protest concert to support Shalit

    Guide: Gaza under blockade

    Aid agencies say building materials are badly needed in Gaza as the blockade has prevented much reconstruction taking place since Israel’s devastating 22-day military offensive, which ended in January 2009.

    The blacklist includes so-called “dual-use” items that could be used to manufacture weapons and explosives, such as ball bearings and fireworks.

    Meanwhile, exports are not permitted, making it hard for the enclave’s devastated economy to pick up, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison in Gaza.

    The sea blockade will remain and, most importantly for many Gazans, the restrictions on the movement of people remain. It is extremely difficult for Palestinians to get Israeli permission to leave Gaza.

    Under its old rules, Israel allowed only a few dozen types of products, including basic food and medicine, into Gaza. Now everything will be permitted freely into the territory, except for items on the blacklist.

    International Middle East envoy Tony Blair said: “These changes are significant and, once implemented, should have a dramatic influence on the daily lives of the people of Gaza and on the private sector.”

    But a Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, told the Associated Press news agency that the new policy was “worthless”, adding: “The problem is not to approve new merchandise but to lift the blockade.”

    Our correspondent says the timing of the announcement is key, coming as it does on the eve of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US to meet President Barack Obama.

    Israel tightened the blockade on Gaza in 2007 when the militant group Hamas seized control.

    The aim of the blockade was to weaken Hamas, end rocket attacks from Gaza and get back captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

    The restrictions have been widely described as collective punishment of the population of Gaza, resulting in a humanitarian crisis.

    Turkish threat

    Turkey has for the first time threatened to break diplomatic ties with Israel over its raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

    Turkey’s foreign minister said a break could only be averted if Israel either apologised or accepted the outcome of an international inquiry into the raid.

    The Israeli government said it had nothing to apologise for.

    Ankara curtailed diplomatic relations with Israel after the naval raid.

    Turkey – which until recently was Israel’s most important Muslim ally – withdrew its ambassador and demanded that the Israelis issue an apology, agree to a United Nations inquiry and compensate the victims’ families.

  17. Chris Dooley

    5 Jul, 2010 - 9:36 pm

    I thought that the blockade was now lifted apart from the ‘banned list’. Which does seem an improvement from having everything banned apart from the ‘approved list’. I still don’t see how building materials could be construed as duel use weapons though.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/05/israel-eases-blockade-gaza-list

  18. Not completely off topic:

    ‘Tony Blair is to be awarded a $100,000 (£66,600) Liberty medal by the National Constitutional Center, based in Washington, for his role in “bringing liberty to people around the world.”

    Bill Clinton is to present the annual award on 13 September at a ceremony in Philadelphia.’

    One can only hope that there will be a massive demonstration against this ‘in yer face’ hubris!

    The article then goes on to say that Blair intends to donate the prize money to his two foundations (yeah, right!)

    Interesting, but not surprising, that he has no intention of using the prize money to do some real good – such as buying water purifiers for the people of Gaza, for instance. Or are they also on the Banned list?

    Link for article: http://www.sott.net/

    Click on ‘Axis of Evil’ on left side of page.

  19. Craig, I have a question — well, actually following dots, maybe you can shed some light here? Lawrence Wilkerson was just interviewed on Antiwar Radio, and he mentioned something I had never heard of, John Bolton’s Proliferation Security Initiative, which wikipedia says is a kind of treaty with 90 signatory states allowing third-party ships at sea to be interdicted on the high seas on the basis of carrying nuclear materials. Had to do with North Korea, though I don’t see how other states can decide for North Korea whether to permit boarding. Okay, that’s dot one. Dot two is, I see the Holy See is a signatory. The Vatican has ships? I didn’t know that, really? So I googled that, and the story that came up, dot three, was a recent one where Israel is demanding that the Vatican advise some nuns not to go on an all-female Gaza aid ship, the Mariam, leaving from Lebanon. Israel DEMANDING the Vatican? This works? Holy shit.

    This is the article: http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/newsdesk.nsf/Lebanon/7D93EF08E4F74C3AC2257748003587E9?OpenDocument

    and searching news for “nuns Gaza ship” the most recent article I see, from July 1, seems to say the ship has been effectively blocked from sailing:

    http://mwcnews.net/focus/editorial/3514-lebanon-flotilla.html

    Can you tell us anything about all this?

  20. Vittorio Arrigoni’s “Guerilla Radio” site can be viewed in English via the Google translator.

    It’s a totally absorbing read (although the translation comes nowhere near Daniela’s finesse).

  21. Some scales might be lifted from their eyes. The more that see the conditions there the better.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/eu-foreign-ministers-accept-israeli-invitation-to-visit-gaza-1.300215

  22. Daniela Filippin

    6 Jul, 2010 - 8:53 am

    Mac & Mat, yes – it’s beyond astonishing that rabid loonies like Lee Kaplan are allowed media coverage through what you’d think are respectable channels and that such fiercely aggressive invitations to murder human beings in cold blood are actually proving quite difficult to eradicate. Kaplan’s first version of the site was actually hosted by a Canadian server, and the second version an American one; a simple “whois” search was sufficient to reveal the details. I didn’t mean to sound blase about the contents of StoptheISM. Its blood-curdlingly violent, surreal, sometimes involuntarily comic fanaticism and bare-faced lying actually still has the power to shock me. The quoted part relating to Rachel Corrie’s parents is a perfect example of the violence and bare-faced lying.

    The “loosening” of the blockade is really just a carefully calculated token gesture to distract from the fact the we shouldn’t even be talking about which goods ought to be let in and why. As if Israel even had a RIGHT to impose a siege at all! It doesn’t, even of story. This isn’t so very different in the way of smokescreen tactics to Israel’s and Obama’s alleged “rift” in late April (as if!) and those “proximity talks” we were treated to soon after. Or the issue of Shalit even comparing to the sheer number of illegally detained CIVILIANS in Israeli jails, all eleven thousand of them. Let us not be fooled. Following an act of violence and illegality so extreme that even the normally neutral masses will take note, Israel will always make some sneaky token gesture to pretend its treatment of the Palestinians will be more humane. But it never is, or never enough and for long enough.

    “Human remains”? Is that how google translator interprets Vittorio’s motto, “Stay human”? Hilarious!

  23. I applaud the work of all of the people mentioned here, especially of courageous people on the ground like Mr Arrigoni, whom I salute. They risk their lives every day for justice.

    On another track, I read somewhere that the USA has sponsored secret talks b/w the Turkish and Israeli Governments in an attempt to remedy the disagreement b/w the two governments, and key military allies of the USA, in the region. This is exactly what one would expect, of course.

    There is no real will on the part of the USA or its satellites to attain a just resolution of the Palestine-Israel issue.

    There is not, and never really has been, any countervailing superpower pressure in relation to this specific dynamic.

    I’m afraid that until the Arab countries attain real economic and military independence from both the West and their own, divided, self-interested, marionette, absolutist rulers, little will tilt in the Palestinians’ favour. This are the missing link in terms of realpolitik leverage. You might imagine, might you not (if you were, say, a Martian) that those countries which owned the world’s premier energy resource would have an enormous say in what went on in the world. But to a large extent, they are neo-colonies, ruled by native elites. Any leader or ruling cadre who has attempted to step outside of that mechanism has been either removed (King Faisal, circa 1975) or forced into submission (Gaddafi, Nasser, Sadat et al).

    Actually, though it is fiction and though it still does not develop deep empathy with its Arab characters, George Clooney’s ‘Syriana’ portrayed, in essence, what happens when ‘natives’ get uppity. They are more likely, of course, to hire Islamist or other local movements to do their dirty work for them (eg. the SIS’s alleged attempted assassination of Gaddafi) than to use drones, etc.; Langley or Pentagon-operated drones tend to be the preferred weapon for wedding parties in the Afghan-Pakistan frontier regions.

    It is really because of Iran’s partial independence from US hegemony that they have been targeted. Of course, both the USA (as in Iraq) and Israel (eg. Iran-Contra) deal with the theocracy in Iran when it suits their mutual geopolitical purposes to do so. The theocracy was promoted as a countervailing force against ‘liberals and leftists’ in Iran following the 1953 coup d’etat planned, funded and instigated by the USA and UK. The result was Khomeini. Does this not remind one of the situation in Afghanistan/ Pakistan? I do not have to remind anyone of the original provenance of Hamas. Nonetheless, when even these constructed movements attempt to achieve a little independence, they too are crushed and for the same reasons that both King Faisal, an absolute monarch and pal of the UK/ USA and the secular liberal/Left was crushed. It’s really very simple. It’s called colonialism and it is going on today before our very eyes. At root, these – Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine – are colonial wars.

    In the meantime, it is indeed imperative that the human struggle continue.

    I salute and applaud the movement. Thank you, all, for providing us with one of the most engaging links and discourses I’ve encountered in this excellent blog.

  24. I asked the other day if there were any decent jounalists to get answers to some questions.

    One of the questions was what happened to the cargoes. The answer is here – it is being buried.

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/newssite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=141850&language=es

    How absolutely disgusting.

    James Reynolds, fresh from his Harvard fellowship year, has just referred to the attack and murder as a ‘raid’. In his report from Washington, he has just described Obama as ‘the most powerful man in the world’.

    Such lies and craven toadying are all in a day’s work for these BBC types, viz Doucet’s recent ‘interview’ with McChrystal. See Medialens message board and the editors’ alert.

  25. Babelfish translation of Somebody’s post of July 6, 2010 6:27 PM:

    The Israeli authorities of occupation have buried a part of the humanitarian aid of the Flotilla of the Freedom in the Desert of the Neguev. It is what the site “Palestinian 48″ is developing that picks up testimonies on the land. According to such testimonies, the Israeli bulldozers have thrown the content of the ships in the garbage dump of Dudaim, in the Desert of the Neguev, especially plates, nutritional conserves and properties of the activists who were on board the flotilla. They have also seen a truck escorted by the Police that transported nutritional conserves to arrive at the place. The vehicle threw all their load there. The garbage dump of Dudaim is considered like the major of the Zionist organization. The remainders are used for the electrical energy, but the inhabitants next to Dudaim complain continuously about the presence of the garbage dump.

  26. Aside from rockets what do the Palestinians allow into Israel?

  27. ‘Murray I’ at 1:31am, that is a facile comment. Apart from farm produce, they used to go to work there, often as cheap labour. In fact, they used to live there.

  28. Daniela Filippin

    9 Jul, 2010 - 7:39 am

    Murray I, indeed, as Suhayl rightly states, Palestinians offer the Israels a good slice of their economic power and prestige abroad, by providing cheap labour for products sold abroad under the label of “Made in Israel”. This at the cost of their own personal and economic growth, which is strangled and smothered by the siege (which is looser in the West Bank than in Gaza, but still present). I’m not even going anywhere near the land issue. But look, here’s a lovely little vid to illustrate my and Suhayl’s point:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOP_4tw0ar0

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