"Israel is on a collision course with international standards of decency, solidarity, and respect for human rights"
- Jonathan Cook says what needs to be said, briefly and well, at
May 31, 2010
Raid on the Gaza Flotilla
Israel's Attack on Us All
By JONATHAN COOK
It is quite astounding that Israel has been able to create over the past 12
hours a news blackout, just as it did with its attack on Gaza 18 months ago,
into which our main media organisations have willingly allowed Israeli
spokespeople to step in unchallenged.
How many civilians were killed in Israel¹s dawn attack on the Gaza-bound
flotilla of aid? We still don¹t know. How many wounded? Your guess is as
good as mine. Were the aid activists armed with guns? Yes, says Israel. Were
they in cahoots with al-Qaeda and Hamas? Certainly, says Israel. Did the
soldiers act reasonably? Of course, they faced a lynch, says Israel.
If we needed any evidence of the degree to which Western TV journalists are
simply stenographers to power, the BBC, CNN and others are amply proving it.
Mark Regev, Israel¹s propagandist-in-chief, has the airwaves largely to
The passengers on the ships, meanwhile, have been kidnapped by Israel and
are unable to provide an alternative version of events. We can guess they
will remain in enforced silence until Israel is sure it has set the news
So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let¹s reiterate a few simple
> * Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breakingToday Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians
> international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The
> counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an
> imminent ³lynch² by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it
> * The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite
> unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the
> civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of
> resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must be
> held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the lives
> of all the civilians onboard, including a baby and a Holocaust survivor.
> * Israel has no right to control Gaza¹s sea as its own territorial waters and
> to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it is still
> in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And
> if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law Israel is responsible
> for the welfare of the Strip¹s inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put
> Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the past four years, Israel should
> long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity.
under occupation but at the international community itself.
Will our leaders finally be moved to act?
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His
latest books are ³Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the
Plan to Remake the Middle East²
Press) and ³Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1848130317/counterpunchmaga> ² (Zed
Books). His website is www.jkcook.net <http://www.jkcook.net/> .
Today's Globe and Mail publishes letter from Naftali Lavie (submitted before
the Gaza flotilla massacre) at
> When the Israeli government spokesman denounces the Gaza solidarity flotilla-
> as a ³political prank,² he unwittingly exposes the weakness of Israel¹s
> position. A mere political prank could be conveniently ignored. However, Gaza
> is under a blockade by land, sea, and air, enforced by Israel and Egypt.
> Solidarity activists from several countries are sailing to challenge the
> blockade and hoping to deliver humanitarian goods to the
> internationally-isolated people of Gaza. If Israel's navy intercepts the
> relief ships, that will rightly be seen to be an act of political repression.
> More than ever, Israel is on a ³collision course² with international standards
> of decency, solidarity, and respect for human rights.
> Naftali Lavie, Toronto
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