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Akiva Eldar: Did someone say Goldstone?, Cook: Israel's Attack on Us All,

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  • Ed Pearl
    As per Cook s opening paragraphs, Israel is exercising a vast cover-up of information about the raid, in Israel, the US and the world. For a partial
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2010
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      As per Cook's opening paragraphs, Israel is exercising a vast cover-up
      of information about the raid, in Israel, the US and the world. For a
      partial unveiling, listen to today's Democracy Now superb coverage,
      this morning. The first half plays audio during the attack and much of
      the rest, so far, consisists of a wide variety of informed, critical
      thinkers.

      I want to add that I was preparing to send you slightly differing slates
      for next Tuesday's election. Due to this new, expanding crisis, along
      with that of the rig blowout, I'll be sending you only the updated ballot
      suggestions by the LA Progressive Democrats, as that's the result of
      many people and much discussion. Next Sunday, at the latest, but
      earlier, if things die down, elsewhere. (Hah!)
      Ed

      http://www.counterpunch.com/cook05312010.html>http://www.counterpunch.com/cook05312010.html

      Raid on the Gaza Flotilla

      Israel's Attack on Us All

      By Jonathan Cook
      CounterPunch - May 31, 2010

      Nazareth.- 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 Israel's dawn attack on the Gaza-bound
      flotilla of aid? We still don't 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, Israel's propagandist-in-chief, has the airwaves largely to
      himself.

      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
      agenda.

      So before we get swamped by Israeli hasbara let's reiterate a few simple
      facts:

      * Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking
      international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The
      counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an
      imminent "lynch" by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it
      deserves.

      * 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 Gaza's 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 Strip's 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.

      Today Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians
      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 "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the
      Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine:
      Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is
      www.jkcook.net.

      ***

      http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/border-control-did-someone-say-goldstone-1.293444

      Did someone say Goldstone?

      Will the blood spilled on the flotilla's decks flush away the Goldstone
      report, or carry it to The Hague?

      By Akiva Eldar
      Haaretz.com: Tue, June 01, 2010 Sivan 19, 5770

      The political leadership in Jerusalem took into account that conflict with
      the peace activists in the flotilla to Gaza would not contribute to the
      health of relations with Turkey. Since in any case relations with the
      government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had plummeted below Deputy
      Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon's sofa level, any protest anticipated from
      Ankara made no special impression on the decision-makers. The government
      ministries and Israel Defense Forces assumed that with good public relations
      it would be possible to deal with the confrontation's effect on Israel's
      relations with friendlier countries.

      The large amount of blood spilled on the decks has made a diplomatic
      disaster of the flotilla, which is liable to put the Goldstone report in the
      shade. Or maybe the other way around - it could once again direct the
      spotlights on the grave report about Operation Cast Lead.

      In an interview to Haaretz ("Richard Goldstone has no regrets about report
      on Gaza war," May 6 ) Judge Goldstone noted that his report is slated to
      come up for discussion soon in the United Nations General Assembly and in
      the European Parliament. The use of live fire against people who tried to
      break the prolonged blockade Israel has imposed in the Gaza Strip will
      attract the diplomatic fire on the blockade chapter in the report. This says
      the continuing and consistent blockade is tantamount to collective
      punishment and the denial of employment, housing, water and free movement
      from the inhabitants of Gaza can be considered a crime against humanity.

      In that same interview, Goldstone again urged the government of Prime
      Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to launch an independent investigation in order
      to wipe the blemish of Operation Cast Lead off what little remains of
      Israel's good name in the world, and to remove the issue from the agenda.

      Before then, in January this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent
      her assistant for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Michael Posner, to try
      to persuade the top governmental and military echelons to investigate at
      least five serious incidents that occurred during Operation Cast Lead. The
      government, however, hoped the murky wave inundating the attack on Gaza
      would recede and the world (including the Palestinians ) would drown in new
      concerns. In order to justify the blockade, it barricaded itself in behind
      the cruel treatment by Hamas of Gilad Shalit and his family.

      The American administration and the European Union countries are once again
      pressing the authorities in Israel to change the rules of passage for goods
      on the Gaza border. However, Jerusalem has preferred to hide behind
      "security considerations" and contented itself with tightfisted gestures.

      The bloodshed at sea will make it difficult for United States President
      Barack Obama to prevent the Goldstone report from ending up at the
      International Court of Justice in The Hague. This coming Friday will be the
      first anniversary of the Cairo speech in which the president spoke about a
      "humanitarian crisis in Gaza" and added that it is not contributing to
      Israel's security.

      In that same speech, Obama said: "No single nation should pick and choose
      which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that's why I strongly reaffirmed
      America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear
      weapons." He also said he hoped all the countries of the Middle East would
      comply with the conditions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

      For the attention of the senior source in the prime minister's retinue who
      complained this week about the United States' support for the call at the
      nuclear conference to Israel to join the treaty and diagnosed "a pervasive
      change by the American administration on the nuclear issue, at the
      international issue and also with regard to Israel."

      Sour creamed

      How miserable the gimmick at the Prime Minister's Office referring foreign
      correspondents to the menu on the Foreign Ministry website of a luxury
      restaurant in Gaza looks now. That was the creme de la sour cream in
      Israel's hasbara (public relations or propaganda ) recipe. Among other
      things it is possible to find on the website a wealth of data aimed at
      proving that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is not all that bad. It
      seems they have a not very flattering opinion of journalists and they
      believe, apparently, that the media will swallow this whole and become
      convinced there is no blockade of Gaza, and the whole flotilla is nothing
      but a publicity campaign by Israel-haters.

      According to paragraph 8 of the document, in the first quarter of this year
      3,676 truckloads of food crossed from Israel into Gaza. Is that a lot or a
      little? According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of
      Humanitarian Affairs report of three years ago, before Israel imposed the
      blockade on Gaza, 36,491 truckloads crossed into Gaza during that quarter.
      That is to say - 10 times as much. To be precise, it must be noted that
      before the age of the blockade, 17 percent of the trucks going into Gaza
      carried foodstuffs, as compared to 85 percent today. This figure explains
      the extent of the shortage in Gaza of materials for local industry,
      construction and agriculture.

      Paragraph 15 relates that in 2009 more than 105 million liters of fuel was
      transferred to the power station in Gaza. Indeed, an impressive figure.
      Until you read the OCHA report. There it says this amount of fuel
      constitutes only about two-thirds of the amount needed for the full
      operation of the power station. Therefore inhabitants of Gaza are enjoying
      the use of electricity for 12 to 14 hours a day. According to the report,
      since the start of this year 27 people were killed in Gaza and 37 injured by
      exploding generators, inhaling carbon dioxide and fires.

      Interruptions in the functioning of the pumps are causing water shortages
      and pollution. The sewage treatment plant needs 14 days of continuous
      electricity supply and as a result 60 million to 80 million liters of raw
      sewage are being only partially treated and sent flowing into the
      Mediterranean Sea (some of this harvest is reaching the Ashkelon shore ).
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