Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Aid ship blocked from Gaza

Expand Messages
  • World View
    Libya calls for UN intervention to protect its ship from Israeli piracy Libyan aid ship blocked from Gazaþ Wed 12/03/08
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 3, 2008
      Libya calls for UN intervention to protect its ship from Israeli

      Libyan aid ship blocked from Gazaþ
      Wed 12/03/08

      TRIPOLI, (PIC)-- Libya on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to
      hold an emergency session to protect its ship 'Marwa', which carries
      food and medical assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip, from Israeli

      The Libyan foreign ministry in a message to the current UNSC
      president said that the ship and its crew are subjected to piracy at
      the hands of Israeli navy forces in international waters.

      It said the act posed as an infringement on freedom of navigation in
      international waters and a threat to the safety of the ship and its

      The ministry's message said that the ship was on a humanitarian and
      not a military mission, noting that the Israeli navy gunboats were
      forcibly leading the ship away from the Gaza port.

      The act is sheer piracy, the message said, and asked the UNSC to
      immediately intervene to allow safe sailing for the ship.

      The ship's captain had said that Israeli gunboats were constantly
      harassing his vessel, and underlined that his shipment would be only
      unloaded in Gaza.

      Libya announced on Monday that its ship was heading to the Egyptian
      Arish harbor after the Israeli air force and navy blocked its way to

      The ship had left the Zuwara port west of the Libyan capital Tripoli
      five days earlier with 3,000 tons of foodstuff and medicine to Gaza.


      Libyan aid ship to Gaza accosted by Israeli warships; docks in Egypt
      01 / 12 / 2008

      Gaza – Ma'an – The Libyan aid ship destined for Gaza and turned away
      by Israeli warships landed in the Egyptian port of Al-Arish Monday

      The boat, carrying 3,000 tons of aid, entered Gazan coastal waters at
      6:20am and was immediately ordered to turn around. The ship altered
      its course to Al-Arish, from where it is hoped supplies can be
      transferred into Gaza through the Rafah border in the south.

      In a gathering at the Gaza port meant to receive the diverted ship
      Head of the Popular Committee Against the Siege Jamal Al-Khudari said
      he spoke to the Libyan Minister of Health by phone in order to review
      the situation.

      He called on the international community to pressure Israel to allow
      the ship access to the Gaza port. Three ships have brought aid and
      international activists into Gaza since August. The boats, affiliated
      with the Free Gaza movement, were cleared by Cyprus customs, and
      notified Israeli naval authorities that they were humanitarian
      vessels delivering aid.

      It is not clear how close to Gaza the Libyan ship was when it was
      turned around by the Israeli navy, or what justification was given to
      the ship when it was ordered to turn away. According to the Free Gaza
      movement ,the Israeli navy's actions on the Mediterranean Sea - to
      what extent and at what boundaries Gazan waters were policed – are an
      indicator of Israeli official policy on the continued occupation of
      the Gaza Strip despite the unilateral withdrawal in 2005.

      The aid in the turned-away ship is a gift from the Libyan government
      to the besieged Gazan population.

      Minister of social affairs in the de facto government Ahmad Al-Kurd
      called on the Arab world to send aid through Rafah crossing rather
      than by sea. "We remind the billion Muslims around the world that
      they have brothers starving to death in the Gaza Strip," he added.

      Minister of Health in the de facto government Bassem Na'im had harsh
      words for the Arab and Islamic world, condemning their silence while
      Gaza "dies a slow death."

      Senior leader in the An-Nasser brigades, the armed wing of the
      Popular Resistance Committees, Abu Abir said he considered the
      turning away of aid a violation of the truce.

      Earlier Monday Al-Khudari indicated that the wheels of international
      diplomacy were at work to try and have the ship dock in Gaza. It is
      not clear whether Egypt will allow the aid through Rafah crossing,
      although several Arab countries pledged to send aid to Gaza over land
      through Rafah at the last Arab Foreign Ministers Meeting in Cairo.


      Libyan aid ship blocked from Gaza

      Three activist boats have reached
      the Gaza Strip since August [EPA]

      Israeli boats have obstructed the path of a Libyan cargo ship en
      route to the Gaza Strip.

      The ship was said to be carrying about 3,000 tonnes of goods for
      residents of the Strip in defiance of an Israeli sea and land
      blockade of the territory.

      Monday's scheduled docking was the first attempt by a foreign
      government to break the blockade.

      "Navy ships approached the Libyan boat and ordered it on the radio to
      turn back, and so it did," Yigal Palmor, an Israeli foreign ministry
      spokesman, said.

      "Anyone wishing to transfer humanitarian aid into Gaza is welcome to
      do it in coordination with Israel and through the regular crossings.
      They can also contact Egypt."

      The crew of the ship said that they would study other options to
      deliver the supplies onboard to Gaza.

      "We denounce what has happened. It comes to reinforce the Israeli
      siege imposed on Gaza," Jamal Khoudary, a member of the Palestinian
      legislature and organiser against the Israeli blockade, said.

      "Israel even targets the loaf of bread and the children milk which
      was coming aboard this ship."

      "This is a message to the whole world to watch how Israel deals with
      the Palestinian people."

      Food and medicine

      The Al-Marwa departed from the Libyan port of Zuara on Tuesday
      evening carrying food, medicines, blankets and powdered milk,
      Khoudary said.

      "The ship is safe and will help us since it is carrying food and
      medicine. There is no reason to stop it," Khoudari told the Jerusalem

      Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister and Ehud Barak, the defence
      minister, met on Sunday night to discuss the ship and decided not to
      consent to its docking in Gaza, officials said.

      "A ship like that is capable of carrying weapons no less than what
      was on the Karine, a weapons boat that was seized," an Israeli
      security official told Maariv newspaper in reference to a vessel
      intercepted by the navy in 2002 and found to be transporting 50
      tonnes of weaponry to Gaza.

      "From our perspective, it is a hostile ship that left from an enemy
      country and we will treat it accordingly."


      The unidentified official also said it had been a mistake to let in
      the boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists.

      "We should have stopped those ships," he said.

      Libyan officials have not commented on the latest incident.
      Three boats manned by pro-Palestinian activists have arrived in the
      Gaza Strip from Cyprus since August in violation of the blockade,
      without drawing Israel into action. The boats contained some aid

      Israeli officials said that they did not want to give the US-based
      Free Gaza advocacy group any publicity by stopping them.

      But another Israeli official said of the Libyan boat: "We will treat
      this boat different than the earlier ones that were allowed into Gaza.
      "Libya is a hostile state to Israel and what guarantees do we have
      that the boat is not carrying weapons and explosives for Hamas?"

      Israel imposed the blockade of goods into the Gaza Strip, part of
      occupied Palestinian territories, last year to put pressure on Gaza's
      Hamas rulers.


      UN 'has run out of Gaza food aid'

      The UN has no more food to distribute in the Gaza Strip, the head of
      relief efforts in the area has warned.

      John Ging said handouts for 750,000 Gazans would have to be suspended
      until Saturday at the earliest, and called Gaza's economic
      situation "a disaster".

      Israel earlier denied entry to a convoy carrying humanitarian

      It has prevented the transfer of all goods into Gaza for nearly a
      week, blaming continuing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.
      The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) distributes
      emergency aid to about half of Gaza's 1.5m population.

      "We have run out [of food aid] this evening," said Mr Ging, Unrwa's
      senior official in Gaza.

      "Unless the crossing points open... we won't be able to get that food
      into Gaza," he told Reuters news agency.

      Access denied

      Also on Thursday, Israel refused permission for a group of senior
      European diplomats to visit the coastal enclave.

      Gaza shut to fuel and journalists

      It has also prevented journalists, including those from the BBC, from
      entering the territory.

      Limited supplies of fuel were sent over on Tuesday after Gaza's only
      power plant ran out of diesel.

      Militants say the mortar and rocket fire is their response to what
      they say is Israeli aggression against Gaza.

      Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev insisted any improvement
      would be dependent on the Hamas movement which runs the Gaza Strip.

      "There's been a combat situation and it's very difficult to have
      unhindered functioning of the border crossings in a situation where
      shooting is going on," he said.

      On Wednesday, Israeli troops killed four Palestinian militants from
      the Hamas movement, which has controlled Gaza since it wrested power
      from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in June 2007.

      Witnesses said fighting broke out on the Gaza border after Israeli
      armoured vehicles crossed into the territory near Khan Younis.

      The army said its soldiers were trying to stop militants plant a bomb
      near the security fence surrounding the strip.

      Aleem Maqbool reports from a closed crossing into the Gaza Strip.

      The Gaza power plant provides most of the electricity used in Gaza
      City; Israel supplies most of the rest of the territory's energy
      needs, but the system is liable to become overloaded and blackouts
      are common.

      Israel occupied Gaza in 1967, but pulled military forces and Jewish
      settlers out in the summer of 2005.

      Access to the territory, which is home to about 1.5m Palestinians,
      remains under the control of Israel's military, as does its airspace
      and territorial waters.

      Egypt controls the southern entrance to Gaza at Rafah, and goes along
      with the policy of isolating the Hamas movement, which Israel and its
      allies brand a terrorist group.

      The current round of clashes and rocket fire began on 5 November when
      Israeli troops entered Gaza to destroy what Israel said was a tunnel
      dug by militants to abduct its troops.

      One militant died in the gunfight, and a subsequent Israeli air
      strike on Hamas positions in southern Gaza killed at least five

      Hamas responded with a barrage of rockets fired into Israel. There
      has been intermittent rocket fire since, causing no Israeli

      A truce between the two sides declared on 19 June had largely held.
      Both sides have accused the other of violating the truce, but
      maintain that they remain committed to it.


      Moving Beyond Political Activism
      Deprivation and Desperation in Gaza
      Tue 12/02/08

      As conditions in the Gaza strip approach a catastrophic level of
      deprivation, the world media, and in particular the U.S. media,
      remain largely silent. The United Nations, whose truckloads of food
      and medical supplies continue to be denied entry into Gaza by Israel,
      appears to be one of the few international voices of dissent
      concerning the collective punishment of 1.5 million human beings.

      This, despite the fact that more than 50% of the population in Gaza
      is comprised of children under the age of 15.

      Israel claims to be defending itself against the crude, often
      homemade rockets which militant factions in Gaza fire randomly into
      southern Israel. Though it may be considered politically incorrect,
      this writer refuses to precede his remarks with the requisite, "It's
      wrong for militant Palestinians to be firing rockets into Israel."

      The ethics of Palestinian resistance to the Zionist colonization of
      Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinian people is a
      subject for another article. The issue at hand is one of collective
      punishment. Regardless of the actions of certain factions in Gaza,
      the fact remains that Israel (with the approval of the U.S.and the
      world community) is depriving an entire civilian population of food,
      medicine and clean drinking water in response to the violent actions
      of a few among that population. By any civilized standard this
      behavior is wrong and should be condemned vociferously. To paraphrase
      the words of an alien from another planet in a not-so-great Hollywood
      movie of some years ago, every sentient being knows the difference
      between right and wrong.

      Apparently not. Israel's Foreign Minister and likely future Prime
      Minister, Tzipi Livni, recently dismissed the notion that Israel's
      actions in Gaza amount to collective punishment and claimed those
      actions were a justifiable response to the rocket attacks on Israel.
      She stated, "The international community must be more decisive in
      making itself heard and in using its influence in the face of these

      To suggest that the international community should condemn "these
      attacks" by militant Palestinian factions, yet ignore the
      humanitarian disaster being imposed on Gaza by the government of
      Israel demonstrates a nearly incomprehensible level of hypocrisy. But
      more importantly, the fact that Jews are the ones perpetrating these
      unconscionable actions in Gaza is a tragedy of historic proportions.

      The Geneva Conventions, particularly those articles addressing the
      collective punishment of civilian populations, were largely crafted
      in response to the treatment of Jews by the Nazis during World War
      II. Has the sense of exclusivity and entitlement created by the
      Zionist experiment in Israel become so great that people there no
      longer see themselves in the mirror of their own history? The irony
      of Jews, among the most egregiously persecuted and maligned people in
      history, denying food to hundreds of thousands of children in order,
      allegedly, to insure their own security, is breathtaking. Who could
      ever have imagined such a thing?

      As people of Gaza suffer, here in the U.S., the vast majority of so-
      called progressives continue to revel in the recent election of the
      first Black man to the Presidency. While Obama has garnered a great
      deal of political and financial support by pledging his unconditional
      support for the Zionist regime in Israel, he remains completely
      silent on the plight of the children of Gaza. Our first Black
      President not only refuses to speak out against the collective
      punishment of an oppressed people, he actively supports and
      encourages the regime responsible for this behavior. This too is a
      tragedy of historic proportions. Have we come this far in the
      struggle against racism in our country only to see Barack Obama put a
      minority face on U.S. support for violations of international law and
      essential human dignity by Israel? Again, one has to say, who could
      ever have imagined such a thing?

      Each morning I peruse the alternative media online and hope to see at
      least some minor degree of outrage at the situation in Gaza. A small
      but courageous handful of progressive web sites dare to criticize
      Israel and speak out against the abuse of the Palestinian people. But
      for the most part, the glorious and powerful "NetRoots" movement is
      too busy congratulating itself on the so-called victory it has
      achieved in the recent elections, too busy celebrating the illusion
      of change which Barack Obama represents, to admit the absence of any
      indication of substantive change in U.S. foreign policy in Palestine
      or the Middle East under his coming administration.

      Does it ever occur to those who so blindly and passionately
      rallied `round their candidate for the Presidency that they might now
      use their voices to encourage him to oppose the human rights abuses
      being orchestrated in Gaza? The sad reality is, not even a chorus of
      such voices is likely to alter the course Obama appears to have
      taken. He has surrounded himself with a familiar cast of armchair
      militarists, corporatists and hard core pro-Zionist zealots who will
      continue to give their unconditional support to Israel regardless of
      what barbaric tactics the government there uses to advance the
      colonization of Palestine. He is choosing to turn his back on the
      men, women and children in Gaza and the West Bank who suffer chronic
      malnutrition, desperate poverty, dispossession and daily humiliation
      at the hands of the Israeli military.

      We should stand up in opposition to instances of human rights abuses
      whenever and wherever they occur. The situation in Gaza is only one
      on an unfortunately long list, locally, nationally and
      internationally. And U.S. government (that means you and me) support
      for and complicity in many such instances is no secret. If each of us
      were to do just one thing per week to address these issues, the
      result might surprise us all. Take a minute out from the long and
      endless chatter of day to day living and speak to a friend about the
      idea of social equality. Write one letter to the editor of your local
      paper in support of human rights. Spend just one percent of your
      online hours learning the truth about our complicity as U.S. citizens
      in the exploitation and degradation of other people and their
      cultures. Turn off your television. Go stand on a corner with a sign
      to protest war. Wear a button promoting peace and justice. One small
      thing at a time.

      To those who became politically active, possibly for the first time,
      and expended their valuable enthusiasm and energy in order to see
      Barack Obama elected: thank you for being a part of history. Now why
      not try on the mantel of social activism? Write our President-elect a
      letter and suggest that he at least acknowledge the suffering of the
      people in Gaza. It is doubtful it will change him or his policies,
      but it may change you. And that truly is "change we can believe in."

      Every sentient being knows the difference between right and wrong.
      The question is, why do so few of us act on that knowledge?
      Joe Mowrey is an anti-war and Palestinian rights activist. He lives
      in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his spouse, Janice, and their three
      canine enablers. You can write to him at jmowrey@....


      The collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population is illegal.
      But international law was tossed aside long ago

      The slow death of Gaza
      Andrea Becker
      Monday November 24 2008

      It has been two weeks since Israel imposed a complete closure of
      Gaza, after months when its crossings have been open only for the
      most minimal of humanitarian supplies. Now it is even worse: two
      weeks without United Nations food trucks for the 80% of the
      population entirely dependent on food aid, and no medical supplies or
      drugs for Gaza's ailing hospitals. No fuel (paid for by the EU) for
      Gaza's electricity plant, and no fuel for the generators during the
      long blackouts. Last Monday morning, 33 trucks of food for UN
      distribution were finally let in – a few days of few supplies for
      very few, but as the UN asks, then what?

      Israel's official explanation for blocking even minimal humanitarian
      aid, according to IDF spokesperson Major Peter Lerner, was "continued
      rocket fire and security threats at the crossings". Israel's
      blockade, in force since Hamas seized control of Gaza in mid-2007,
      can be described as an intensification of policies designed to
      isolate the population of Gaza, cripple its economy, and incentivise
      the population against Hamas by harsh – and illegal – measures of
      collective punishment. However, these actions are not all new: the
      blockade is but the terminal end of Israel's closure policy, in place
      since 1991, which in turn builds on Israel's policies as occupier
      since 1967.

      In practice, Israel's blockade means the denial of a broad range of
      items – food, industrial, educational, medical – deemed "non-
      essential" for a population largely unable to be self-sufficient at
      the end of decades of occupation. It means that industrial, cooking
      and diesel fuel, normally scarce, are virtually absent now. There are
      no queues at petrol stations; they are simply shut. The lack of fuel
      in turn means that sewage and treatment stations cannot function
      properly, resulting in decreased potable water and tens of millions
      of litres of untreated or partly treated sewage being dumped into the
      sea every day. Electricity cuts – previously around eight hours a
      day, now up to 16 hours a day in many areas – affect all homes and
      hospitals. Those lucky enough to have generators struggle to find the
      fuel to make them work, or spare parts to repair them when they break
      from overuse. Even candles are running out.

      There can be no dispute that measures of collective punishment
      against the civilian population of Gaza are illegal under
      international humanitarian law. Fuel and food cannot be withheld or
      wielded as reward or punishment. But international law was tossed
      aside long ago. The blockade has been presented as punishment for the
      democratic election of Hamas, punishment for its subsequent takeover
      of Gaza, and punishment for militant attacks on Israeli civilians.
      The civilians of Gaza, from the maths teacher in a United Nations
      refugee camp to the premature baby in an incubator, properly punished
      for actions over which they have no control, will rise up and get rid
      of Hamas. Or so it goes.

      And so what of these civilian agents of political change?

      For all its complexities and tragedies, the over-arching effect of
      Israel's blockade has been to reduce the entire population to
      survival mode. Individuals are reduced to the daily detail of
      survival, and its exhaustions.

      Consider Gaza's hospital staff. In hospitals, the blockade is as
      seemingly benign as doctors not having paper upon which to write
      diagnostic results or prescriptions, and as sinister as those
      seconds – between power cut and generator start – when a child on
      life support doesn't have the oxygen of a mechanical ventilator. A
      nurse on a neo-natal ward rushes between patients, battling the
      random schedule of power cuts. A hospital worker tries to keep a few
      kidney dialysis machines from breaking down, by farming spare parts
      from those that already have. The surgeon operates without a bulb in
      the surgery lamp, across from the anaesthetist who can no longer
      prevent patient pain. The hospital administrator updates lists of
      essential drugs and medical supplies that have run out, which
      vaccines from medical fridges are now unusable because they can't be
      kept cold, and which procedures must be cancelled altogether. The
      ambulance driver decides whether to respond to an emergency call,
      based on dwindling petrol in the tank.

      By reducing the population to survival mode, the blockade robs people
      of the time and essence to do anything but negotiate the minutiae of
      what is and isn't possible in their personal and professional lives.
      Whether any flour will be available to make bread, where it might be
      found, how much it now costs. Rich or poor, taxi drivers, human
      rights defenders, and teachers alike spend hours speculating about
      where a canister of cooking gas might be found. Exhaustion is
      gripping hold of all in Gaza. Survival leaves little if no room for
      political engagement – and beyond exhaustion, anger and frustration
      are all that is left.


      Gaza held hostage should outrage us all
      By Linda S. Heard
      Online Journal
      Nov 26, 2008

      There are 1.5 million men, women and children currently imprisoned
      without food, water, fuel or essential medicines. There is little to
      cook and nothing to cook on except open-air wood fires.

      Students do their best to learn by candlelight. Adults struggle to
      find transport to take them to work, those lucky enough to have a
      job; 60 per cent are unemployed. The lives of the sick hang on a
      lottery. Soon they will face the worst of the winter in the dark.
      Worst of all, there is no escape.

      As if all this suffering isn't enough, their neighbourhoods are
      regularly bombed; their leaders assassinated. They stood by
      helplessly as their life-sustaining olive groves were willfully
      destroyed and their homes demolished.

      Most of the people of Gaza have been captives throughout their lives.
      Today, they have nothing; no real champions, no future, no hope; not
      even bread. And what is the so-called international community doing
      about their man-made plight? The answer is nothing. Indeed, many
      neighbouring countries are colluding, albeit reluctantly.

      Living hell

      How long are we going to witness this terrible example of man's
      inhumanity to man without feeling ashamed at our own silence or anger
      at the inaction of our own leaders? Why are normally compassionate
      people who enjoy the benefits of First World living unflinching when
      it comes to the pain endured by Palestinians?

      It seems to me there is a sense that these stateless people fighting
      for a home and to retain their identity are somehow at fault. Perhaps
      in that way we can ease our own consciences.

      When natural disasters, such as a tsunami, an earthquake, a hurricane
      or famine occur, we open our hearts and our wallets. We rail at
      countries where bad governance is responsible for poverty, hunger and
      civil war, such as Zimbabwe and the Congo.

      We rightfully feel a sense of outrage over the continued existence of
      Guantanamo. Yet, how many of us do more than shrug our shoulders at
      the way Israel treats 1.5 million people encaged in a living hell?

      Geneva Conventions

      For the last three weeks, Israel has imposed a complete blockade on
      the Gaza Strip in response to homemade rockets that were lobbed at
      southern Israel. It doesn't care that "collective punishment" is
      illegal both under international law and the Geneva Conventions.

      For instance, Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions IV (1949)
      reads: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she
      has not personally committed. Collective penalties, pillage and
      reprisals against protected persons and their property are

      Last January, Israel's Supreme Court upheld an earlier blockade of
      Gaza even while confirming Israel's obligation under international
      law not to deliberately harm civilians.

      Well, Israel is deliberately harming civilians. Those premature
      newborns hanging by a thread to life because Gaza's largest hospital,
      Shifa, is operating on a faulty generator and patients suffering
      kidney failure who cannot receive dialysis are being punished for
      crimes they didn't commit.

      On Sunday, King Abdullah of Jordan made this appeal to EU
      ambassadors: "The international community should do its utmost to end
      suffering of Palestinians in Gaza." A fine sentiment, indeed, but
      that's as far as it goes.

      Earlier, Israel rejected an appeal by the secretary-general of the
      UN, Ban Ki-Moon, who underscored the "importance of having Israel
      urgently permit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the
      civilian population of Gaza, and regrets that his calls have not yet
      been heeded."

      The exiled leader of Hamas, Khalid Mesha'al, has criticised the
      leaders of Arab and Muslim countries for their silence and says he
      would like "every Arab country to send a boat to Gaza."

      Whatever one feels about the merits of Hamas as a political party or
      a fighting force, Mesha'al has a point. King Abdullah's appeal to the
      international community is welcomed but it should have been directed
      specifically at the Arab world, which has not only a moral but a
      brotherly duty to show the way.

      Egypt should open Rafah, despite its fears that an uncontrollable
      human flood will ensue, simply because it's the right thing to do.


      Sad to say, but Israel has proved time and time again that
      international condemnation bounces off it like water off a duck's
      back. The Israelis cared a hoot when former US president Jimmy Carter
      called the blockade "a crime and atrocity" back in April or when the
      Nobel peace laureate referred to it as "an abomination" in May.

      No more pleading. There needs to be action. Israel should be treated
      in the same way South Africa under apartheid was -- with boycotts and
      isolation. Its government should be tried at The Hague even in
      absentia and its officials should be liable to arrest wherever they

      Israel with the backing of Washington believes it is inviolable; it
      can do whatever it likes and step on whomever it wishes without
      repercussions. If words won't cut it, then the only way for the
      Palestinians to be heard is for the world to give Israel a small but
      bitter taste of its own nasty medicine.

      Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs.
      She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at



      To subscribe to this group, send an email to:


      Need some good karma? Appreciate the service?
      Please consider donating to WVNS today.
      Email ummyakoub@... for instructions.

      To leave this list, send an email to:
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.