There is something absolutely rotten and hideous about the Government of Israel (GOI) and its supporters. On May 30 Israeli forces boarded an unarmed ship with an unarmed crew, carrying no munitions or weapons, 65 miles in the sea at 2 a.m. The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was in the international water carrying only food, medicines and materials to build pre-fabricated homes for the blockaded people of Gaza when it was raided by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which can be best termed as the pirates of the Mediterranean Sea. The Israeli action was an act of piracy by any account. Lest we forget under article 3 of the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation of 1988, it is an international crime for any person to seize or exercise control over a ship by force, and also a crime to injure or kill any person in the process. Israel has violated the Article. In other words, the Israeli killers are no different, actually worse, than the Somali pirates. They cannot attack a ship and then claim self-defense if the people on board resist the unlawful use of violence. As rightly noted by Patrick Buchanan, the nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and the author of six books including the recent bestseller, The Death of the West, what the Israeli commandos got is what any armed hijacker should expect who tries to steal a car from a driver who keeps a tire iron under the front seat.
And yet, the criminal government of Netanyahu and its many Jewish and Christian Zionist supporters are claiming that the Israeli murderous actions were all justified and in self-defense. In an editorial the Jerusalem Post reiterated that it was the ‘premeditated refusal’ of those aboard the ship to cave into IDF demand that triggered the violence. On June 3, an Israeli supporter from Michigan wrote in the USA Today that the Israelis brought ‘paintball guns.’ Any American kid playing in the woods or neighborhood parks would tell you that paintball guns don’t kill people, while the Israeli action in the ship killed nine unarmed passengers and injured scores of others. The weapons used by the IDF were no paintball guns.
For years, Israel and her cheerleaders have been saying that the Gaza blockade was solely to prevent the arming of the Hamas, which has been ruling Gaza for the last three years. Forgotten in this preposterous claim is the fact that there has been a partial blockade of Gaza since at least 2005 before Hamas came to power. With Hamas in power, GOI’s stranglehold over the Palestinians living inside the Gaza Strip of the Occupied Palestinian Territories has simply tightened. As repeatedly condemned by all human rights groups, including the UNRWA and the Red Cross, Israel’s blockade of Gaza is simply criminal and unparallel in today’s world putting its savage practices at par with those of the hated SPDC regime of Myanmar in its inhuman treatment of the Rohingya Muslims. Under the name of denying Hamas legitimacy, Israel has imposed a blockade that is one of the worst the world has ever seen in the post-World War II era. Even the Palestinian fishermen are denied their freedom to catch fish in the open sea.
The unemployment rate in Gaza, forced by the GOI as part of the collective punishment, is near 50 percent. According to Eyad al-Saraj, the founder of the International Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, “The World Bank has stated that 90% of water in Gaza is not suitable for human consumption, 80% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, and 70% depend on charity for food supplies. Chronic malnutrition affects 15% of Gaza’s children.”
A major goal of the Israeli blockade of Gaza is to break the morale of the Palestinian people and force them to give up their legitimate struggle to live as a free nation much like any other nation on earth. What it has achieved instead is to reveal the immoral and criminal side of the Apartheid state. What the Israelis are doing is an act of war against unarmed civilians, which in itself is a violation of international laws.
Tired of western complacency approving Israel’s criminal actions, for months the human rights activists around the world have been trying to break the Israeli blockade. The Freedom Flotilla was the last such attempt to draw attention to Israel’s inhuman blockade that had barred essential humanitarian aids, life-saving drugs and foods, to reach Gaza to relieve the sufferings of its people. By killing nine unarmed activists in the dead of the night, Israel has again proven that she is a pariah state whose means and methods remain savage and criminal to the core.
Israel’s murderous activity has soured her relationship with Turkey. Last Thursday tens of thousands of mourners hailed activists killed by the Israelis as martyrs. People chanted slogans of “Damn Israel.” President Abdullah Gul said that “Turkey will never forget this attack.” Prime Minister Mr. Erdogan said, “The bloody massacre of Israel, brought against the ships bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza is a massacre deserving of any kind of curse and condemnation. This is openly an attack against international law, against the heart of humanity, against world peace, I say against the heart of humanity, for, on those ships were people from all nations, all religions. People alone and they only were bringing humanitarian aid to those under blockade, embargo, to the people in Gaza. The ships, before they left openly declared to the entire world their cargo, their intention, their mission. As witness to this openly humanitarian aid from the world and our country 60 journalists have entered the ships as well. In international waters, in open sea, this armed attack against 600 people and 6 ships which were carrying aid to oppressed people, poor people, to starved people, to people whose homes were destroyed - this was openly an attack against the basic philosophy of the United Nations.”
The UN has called for an international probe of the killings. The US, controlled by the pro-Israeli Jewish Lobby, has not joined these calls. With each passing day, the Obama administration seems without a moral compass. It is more willing to accept Israel’s explanations that her criminal actions were provoked by the Freedom Flotilla than accept the fact that Israel’s actions were a clear violation of international law.
There is no doubt that every good deed from the Prophetic declaration of monotheism in a world of idolatry to the call of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s for civil rights and plurality, let alone the freedom marches, was a provocation to those in power. It requires a moral compass to distinguish between a noble provocation that is aimed at uplifting human values and a flawed one that is criminal, immoral and hypocritical.
If the sane voices of people like Pat Buchanan and Uri Avnery are deemed too revolutionary for the Obama administration to listen to, how about those from the Ha’aretz? In a recent editorial, the Israeli newspaper stated, “When a regular well-armed, well-trained army goes to war against a ‘Freedom Flotilla’ of civilian vessels laden with civilians, food and medication, the outcome is foretold – and it doesn’t matter whether the confrontation achieved its goals and prevented the flotilla from reaching Gaza… There is no way to convince Israel’s citizens and its friends around the world that Israel regrets the confrontation and its results, and is learning from its errors...”
American silence to condemn Israel’s criminal actions against a NATO ally Turkey is hypocritical and inexcusable. As the hyper power of our time, the USA has a moral obligation to get out of her self-imposed slavish attitude to the criminals of Zion. She cannot afford to appear either condoning or be silent on such gross Israeli violations of international laws. Israel, a serial abuser and violator of human rights and international laws, cannot be allowed to behave like a Mafia Don that has no accountability for its horrendous crimes. When her crimes are worse than those of the Somali pirates, she must at least be treated the same way those pirates are treated. We ought to ask, as journalist Yvonne Ridley has done: if a group of Somali pirates had forced their way onto half a dozen humanitarian aid ships from the USA, killing a dozen or so people and injuring scores more what would have been our reaction?