Akiva Eldar: Did someone say Goldstone?, Cook: Israel's Attack on Us All,
- 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
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!)
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
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 let's reiterate a few simple
* 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
* 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
* 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
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
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."
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 ).