Palestine


Who Planted The Jerusalem Bomb?

In these days of obsession with Breaking News, it is worth returning to a story sometimes to see what happened to it. The bomb in Jerusalem 8 days ago which killed a British lady at a bus stop is a good example. The Israeli government has announced – on no discernible evidence, that the bomb was the work of Palestinian extremists. The western media has accepted that narrative with no questioning that I can find. But was it?

News media have really given us nothing new since the day. The main development is that it has become plain that the bomb was not placed in a bin, but left in a bag at a busy bus stop. Not only is this not a known Palestinian modus operandi –

“It was nothing like the big suicide bombings of the past decade,” said one security official on the scene. “A small bomb, weighing less than two kilograms was left behind in a bag. There are no hallmarks here of the terror networks we faced then.”

But I should have thought it was a high risk operation for a Palestinian who was not a sucicde bomber to pull off. Anyone who has lived in London this last few years knows exactly how young Muslims with bags on the underground must feel. I expect that is worse on Jerusalem buses. And if this were a Palestinian terrorist, presumably they chose a bus stop frequented by Jewish people not by Palestinian people, in other words where a Palestinian would look conspicuous, and certainly might have difficulty in casually abandoning a bag at a bus stop?

Of course this might have been a Palestinian individual or group branching out with a different form of attack. But there is no reason to believe that it has to be that. It might have a motive unrelated to the Palestinian conflict at all, by some lone nutter. Or if it is related to Israel/Palestine, it does not follow that it was the Palestinians. There are plenty of extremist Jewish groups who must be very alarmed at the change of events in the Middle East, at the loss of their closest regional ally Mubarak, at the end of the nonsensical “only democracy in the Middle East” propaganda, at the sudden discovery by Western media that Arabs are human too. The mind of any terrorist is by definition twisted. It cannot be said to be impossible that this was an action perpetrated by extreme zionists anxious to reclaim world sympathy. There were Jewish victims in the King David Hotel too. The violent nutters are not all on one side.

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Jerusalem Bombing

I pray that the bus stop bomb in Jerusalem today does not herald a return to this kind of terrorism in Israel. Terrorism is always a form of racism because it involves an indiscriminate attack upon a people. Killing and wounding innocent civilians is nothing to be proud of, whoever does it.

It is also the case that of recent years there has been a continuing and measurable shift, in European public opinion in particular, in favour of the Palestinians. There is not a simple cause and effect relationship, but the effective moratorium on this kind of terrorist attack has definitely helped people see beyond atrocity propaganda to a more profound understanding of the situation. International public opinion does ultimately matter. It was not terrorism or violent action or internal political or economic resistance that brought down apartheid. It was not even economic sanctions. It was moral collapse, the difficulty of living with the stigma with which white South Africans came to be viewed in the entire world. And it was the ANC’s de facto abandonment of armed struggle, long before officially renouncing it in 1990, that facilitated that. In short, Gandhi was right.

Of course we still do not know who planted the Jerusalem bomb, and it is disgraceful that Obama has already referred to “Israel’s right of self-defence”, when we have no idea if this was internal or external. Who is America going to exercise its right of self defence against in relation to events in Tucson and Spokane? Until we know something more definite – and unless someone credibly claims responsibility we won’t, as the Israeli authorities deserve no trust at all – the answer to the question cui bono does not point to the Palestinians. Nor does the modus operandi; not a suicide bomb but a bin bomb. I cannot recall Palestinians using that form of attack at any time in the recent past. Which is not to say it was not fanatic and stupid Palestinians, but Obama has no right to presume that. People prepared to plant bombs without injuring themselves are a very much wider field.

Of course, this bomb has received ten times the air time on Western broadcasters as the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza yesterday, In fact between the terrible murder of Israeli settlers three weeks ago and this bomb, the Israeli security services have killed nine Palestinian civilians just in the general course of things. But nobody bothers to report that at all. I have commended before The Prickly Pears of Palestine to you as a book which brought home to me the regular and routine nature of Israeli killings of young Palestinians.

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The Enemies of Freedom

The West is extremely selective about which enemies of freedom it opposes and which it supports, to the extent that it is a necessary conclusion that liberty is not a real factor in western foreign polcy. As part of the western world, it is the hypocrisy of my own wider community that most troubles me.

But equally, the enemies of freedom may themselves be pro or anti-western, or vacillate for personal advantage. Karimov and Gadaffi are among the latter and arguably Putin. Ahmadinejad is the mirror of Obama in the hypocrisy of his calls for freedom. Assad is proving as adept as his father in killing those striving to be free. But I want to focus in particular on Hamas who are using open violence against the young educated population of Gaza and against journalists, and whose reign of terror in Gaza is shamefully ignored by much of the British left.

Those who have known Palestinians and followed their cause for as many decades as I, understand that it took colossal forces to warp Palestine’s impressive civil society until it could produce an ugly excrescence like Hamas. Those forces were produced by the vast pressure of the Israeli crushing of the population of Gaza in a long, slow but relentless and very deliberate genocide. But understanding how it happened does not make Hamas any more acceptable. If the young people of Palestine are ever to know freedom, they have to throw off not only the vicious Israeli deathlock, but also the violent, narrow, religious nutters of Hamas and the perjured, fat, corrupt sell-outs of Fatah.

The only good news is that a significant proportion of young Palestinians do seem to know that.

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Israel Requests US$20 Billion Extra in Military Aid From The US Taxpayer

Israel is requesting an extra US $20 billion in military aid from the USA, in addition to the US $30 billion ten year programme given to Israel in 2007 by George Bush.

While Israel did not face an immediate threat to its security, Barak told the WSJ, “The issue of qualitative military aid for Israel becomes more essential for us, and I believe also more essential for you [the U.S.].

“It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so,” he said, adding: “A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region.”

Doubtless those US taxpayers who are unemployed, have their homes reposessed, or cannot afford medical treatment will be delighted by this. But I hope that Barak’s basic thesis is correct, and that democracy will bring an end to Arab tolerance of Israel’s slow genocide against the Palestinians.

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One Story, Two Takes

William Hague deserves some credit for upgrading the status of the Palestinian mission to the UK. It is something that implacably zionist New Labour would never contemplate. But, unlike many other EU countries, the head of mission will still not be recognised as an ambassador, and there are interestingly divergent takes on this in
The Guardian
and Ha’aretz.

Still, progress of a kind. As much as it is a message to Palestine or Israel, it is a message to Obama after the US’ irrational sole veto of a security council resolution on Palestine that was a simple statement of fact.

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Israeli Hubris

Israel’s unbelievably smug and callous “report” on the murderous attack on the Gaza aid convoy, showed again the State of Israel’s fundamentally racist view of which human beings are expendable. It also showed how little Israel is concerned about completing the alienation of the regional power, Turkey.

The Al Jazeera revelations of how desperately the Palestinian negotiators were trying to secure peace at almost any price, again showed the incredible hubris of the Israelis in turning it all down flat. If gaining all that they officially desire was not acceptable to the Israelis, then the true Israeli goal is indeed the genocide of the Palestinians.

But all that arrogance was predicated on the sense of security of having the American puppet Mubarak securing their back. Suddenly this morning the Israelis don’t look quite so clever, do they?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all those US taxpayer paid Abrams tanks deployed on the streets of Cairo, end up defending the Palestinians.

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Gazan Youth Breaks Out

I expect you need to be on Facebook to go to this link:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Gaza-Youth-Breaks-Out-GYBO/118914244840679

The Guardian published their manifesto yesterday. It may be superfluous but I nonetheless think it should be repeated as widely as possible:

GAZA YOUTH’S MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE: “We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream…” – read more below!

Contact us: [email protected]

Pls consider supporting us by taking one or more of the following actions:

1) Promoting our manifesto by sharing it on your profile on Facebook

2) Sending an email to your friends asking them to like our page FB

3) Translating the manifesto to your language and sending it to us (we have it in Arabic, Hebrew, French, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Greek, Chinese, Russian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish)

4) Sending the manifesto to journalists in your country

5) Making organizations in your countries that are concerned with the Palestinian issue and/or youth rights know about our existence

6) Posting links about violation of youth’s rights in Gaza on our wall

7) Suggesting us ideas for reaching out to a greater number of people

???|__

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Gaza Blockade Update

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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Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari

The stronger one is the one who can absorb the violence and the anger from the other and change it to love and understanding…This is the real jihad.” – Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari

Sheikh Bukhari died last week, and is much mourned by religious Uzbeks, and especially the exiled opposition leadership, to whom he was close. Bukhari was a direct descendent of Imam Muhammad Ismail al-Bukhari of Bukhara, the ninth-century author of the Hadith al-Bukhari. Sheikh Bukhari led a colony of Palestinians of Uzbek descent, mostly now in Gaza, who have maintained their Uzbek identity for generations.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177302

He died shortly before a scheduled meeting with Turkish PM Erdogan to discuss reaction to the Gaza Flotilla attack. He devoted much of his life to seeking, through working with like-minded Jewish religious leaders, to use religion as a force for peace and agreement, rather than hatred and division.

This often placed him in a difficult position. For example, he lead a delegation to Sderot, to show sympathy for the population there but at the same time to explain to them the sufferings of his own relatives in Gaza. This attempt to promote understanding drew criticism from all sides.

The danger also exists that a non-violent tradition will be exploited by oppressors. Others, particularly Sheikh Kabbani and the Sufi Muslim Council, sought to hijack the Sufi Naqbandi tradtion and put it at the service of the linked Karimov and Israeli regimes and US neo-con organisations, and received a great deal of money for doing so.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/03/sufi_muslim_cou.html

Unlike them, Sheikh Bukhari never endorsed Karimov or the “War on Terror”. He never abandoned the rights of ordinary oppressed people. He lived a simple lifestyle, and was a living rebuke to those who seek to malign and misrepresent his religion.

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American and Israeli Religious Nutters: Loving Each Other to Hell

You really do need to watch all of this video from the Christian Broadcasting Network:

A couple of years ago, while giving a lecture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I was astonished when a lecturer told me that half of his students would agree with the proposition that a war in the Middle East would lead to Armageddon, and that would be a good thing. In Ann Arbor, bot the Deep South.

The extent to which US support for Israel is driven by these christian violent religious extremists should not be underestimated. They are a major force in US politics.

The extraordinary thig is that violent religious extremists in both the US and Israel look forward to fighting sude by side against the forces of evil in the Last Battle in the Middle East, yet extremist jews and extremist christians each also believe that at the climax, when the world ends, their cherished allies will go to Hell with their enemies.

It is of course the American christians who are the most destructive violent religious extremists in the world.

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A Tale of Two Inquiries: the David Trimble Factor

There is a peculiar symmetry about the Bloody Sunday inquiry into the killing by soldiers of unarmed demonstrators concluding just as the Israeli inquiry into the shooting of unarmed peace activists is set up. But there is another fascinating common factor – David Trimble.

Trimble opposed the Bloody Sunday inquiry from the start. This from the BBC in 1998:

But the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, dismissed Mr Blair’s hope that an inquiry could be part of the healing process in Northern Ireland.

“Opening old wounds like this is likely to do more harm than good,” Mr Trimble said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/51740.stm

This week Trimble has been reinforcing that opposition to the diminsihing numbers who will listen – his reason? He thinks it is wrong that any soldier should be treid for murdering unarmed people:

David Trimble, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who led Protestants into Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord, told The Guardian newspaper he had long opposed the idea of a new Bloody Sunday inquiry because it would be certain to provide fresh ammunition for those seeking to convict or sue the soldiers involved.

Trimble was quoted as saying he advised then-

British prime minister Tony Blair not to throw out Widgery’s verdict, because “if you moved one millimeter from that conclusion, you were into the area of manslaughter, if not murder.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100611/ap_on_re_eu/eu_nireland_bloody_sunday

Why the Israelis would view Trimble as a good international frontman for their whitewash is blindingly obvious. Even more so when you consider that on the very day of the flotilla murders, David Trimble was in Paris chairing the glitzy launch of a new “Interrnational Friends of Israel” group.

It is therefore no surprise at all that it was that indefatigable – and extremely well remunerated – Friend of Israel, Tony Blair, who gave Netanyahu Trimble’s name as a safe pair of hands for the cover-up.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/14/eu-gaza-raid-inquiry

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So This is Self Defence?

Warning: This video is very upsetting

I realise some of you may have already seen this. But I feel an obligation to post it. The Israeli tactic of blocking all communication from the ship and detaining the passengers for days allowed Israeli doctored pictures to be the only ones broadcast by the mainstream news media. Despite the crudity of the tactic, the MSM have happily gone along with the idea that once alternative footage finally became available, it was no longer “news”.

We of the new media therefore have an obligation to do what little we each can to expose the lies, propaganda and twisted agenda of the mainstream media.

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Mavi Marmara: Footage Hidden From the Israelis

Israeli Attack on the Mavi Marmara, May 31st 2010 // 15 min. from Cultures of Resistance on Vimeo.

Lara Lee managed to hide this footage from the Israelis when they confiscated all the evidence from passengers. This video shows plainly a bloodstained ship before any commandos boarded, and that the passengers were not teroorists preparing for a fight.

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The USA is Another Planet

This extraordinary passage is from the State Department’s Daily Brieifng yesterday:

QUESTION: Mr. Crowley, it is the Israeli’s actions that need to be investigated. So how can Israel, too ?” best investigation ?” why is the United States opposed to UN investigation?

MR. CROWLEY: As we’ve said, we are completely supportive of an impartial investigation that helps us understand what happens ?” what happened on these ships, and more importantly, working collectively, how we can meet our common objectives of increasing the international support for the people of Gaza, and at the same time, supporting Israel with its legitimate security concerns.

We believe that Israel is in the best position to lead this investigation. But as the Secretary said yesterday, this has to be credible. The international community will be watching this very closely as it unfolds. We want to see this done in a way that meets international standards. We’ll be talking to Israel about how best to accomplish this. We’ll be talking to other countries that may want to play a role in this. And as we ?” as the Secretary said, we are open to ways of making this as credible as possible, including international participation. And that is our view.

QUESTION: Why ?” I think his question, though, was essentially why? And can you explain why Israel is in the best position to lead the investigation (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: Israel is a vibrant democracy. It has effective, competent institutions of government, and Israel is fully capable of investigating a matter that involved its forces. And so can Israel conduct a fair, transparent, credible investigation? The answer is yes.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/06/142591.htm

At the UN Human Rights Council, the USA was joined by only Italy and the Netherlands in voting against a motion condemning the murderous Israeli attack in international waters. (The UK abstained on the pathetic grounds that we should await the outcome of the independent investigation, in the full knowledge that there will be no independent investigation).

Berlsconi’s support for the US and Israel is no surprise, but the Netherlands deserves remark. It has gone on a remarkable journey in the last decade, from a liberal society to one as poisoned with fascism as their Flemish neighbours.

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The 4.45pm Link

Today I link to something that I did not enjoy reading, just to illustrate a point. It is a truly poor article by one Niles Gardiner in the Telegraph.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100041748/the-world-demonises-israel-once-again/

I point out merely in passing that the first few hundred overwhelmingly negative comments were deleted by the Telegraph. But the real reason I link is the significance of the strapline:

He appears frequently on American and British television and radio, including Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.

I bet he does. He has no international diplomatic experience, no knowledge of international law and very little experience of the hotspots of the world. But he is fully armed with the set of opinions those news outlets want their readers to hear.

Absolutely anybody can write this rubbish. Just string these elements together:

Poor little Israel. Threatened from all sides. Nazi Germany. Islamic terrorism. Hamas. Anti-semitism. Brutal Jihadists. Self defence. The right to return. Only democracy in the Middle East. Self defence. Iranian President threat to wipe off map. 8,000 Hamas rockets. Alliance of liberals, commies and islamists. 9/11. Chopping off hands. Subjugation of women. Taliban. Clash of civilisations. Existential threat. Self defence.

I could churn this stuff out easily and be on Fox, Sky and BBC as often as I like. I could pick up a fat salary like Nick Cohen for a weekly column of this stuff, and pocket the Rupert Murdoch TV fees as an extra. I could sit in a think tank. I would certainly be a great deal more qualified, and a great deal more convincing, than Niles pisspoor Gardiner. I write a lot better too.

But then I am handicapped by morality.

Which reminds me. Having followed the media coverage of the Israeli action very carefully, have you noticed what seems a complete absence on TV of bona fide experts in maritime law?

Normally live news brings in “experts” at the drop of a hat to fill in the 24/7 broadcasting, but despite the fact that professors of international law specialising in the law of the sea are not exactly hard to find, no TV station has asked one about the legality of the Israeli action.

That is because the martime law community is unanimous that the Israeli action is illegal.

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Nick Cohen Rambles Into Incoherence

Of all the defences of Israel killing unarmed Turkish protestors – the majority of them shot in the back, four in the back of the head execution style – Nick Cohen’s ramble must be the least coherent by a very highly paid hack.

As far as I can make any sense at all of his nine pint muddle, it relies chiefly on his usual contention that anti-semitism and anti-zionism are the same thing, plus the idea that anybody who opposes Israeli brutality, supports Islamic extremism.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/06/israel-gaza-blockade

He manages to get in a side swipe at those of us wise enough to oppose the war in Iraq.

Why is he paid for this nonsense?

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Rachel Corrie Illegally Boarded

The Rachel Corrie has now been illegally boarded by the Israeli military in international waters.

As usual the BBC’s immediate reaction is simply to retail Israeli propaganda. The Rachel Corrie has been boarded “with the full compliance of the crew”, BBC News tells us. That is almost certainly not true, unless you count without violent resistance as “full compliance”.

If that were true, you might wonder why Israel had jammed – again contrary to maritime law – all the Rachel Corrie’s communications with the outside world, and why they are still jammed. The BBC did not mention that.

The organisers have just posted this:

“For the second time in less then a week, Israeli naval commandos stormed an unarmed aid ship, brutally taking its passengers hostage and towing the ship toward Ashdod port in Southern Israel.”

http://www.freegaza.org/

But the BBC is much more concerned to help ensure that the Israeli version has unquestioned domination of the initial news.

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