Saturday, November 05, 2011

Israeli Pirates attack Irish ship.





Irish crewed and maintained ship, the MV Saoirse, taking aid to Gaza as part of the international Peaceful aid flotillas to the besieged city, has been attacked and boarded illegally in international waters by an Israeli naval vessel trying to enforce the Tel-Aviv Zionist regime’s illegal blockade on the coast of Gaza. Angry protests took place in Dublin’s O’Connell  Street  Friday evening and will be continued on Saturday at the Israeli Embassy in the diplomatic quarter of the city.

Ireland Palestine Solidarity, Irish Anti-War Movement, PANA (Peace and Neutrality Alliance), Socialist Party(whose European Parliament member for Dublin is on board the vessel) all condemned the Israeli attack and kidnapping and illegal detention of Irish and citizens of other countries at Ashdod Port, contrary to international law. There was also issued a strong demand on the Irish Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier of Ireland, Éamonn Gilmore, to immediately expel the Israeli ambassador from Dublin and close its embassy here.

The Canadian boat Tahrir (Liberation) and the Irish boat Saoirse (Freedom), carrying 27 foreign activists, left the port of Fethiye in southwest Turkey on Wednesday. Journalists from the Al Jazeera TV channel and representatives of Canadian and Israeli media are among the passengers on the ships.The ships organisers said that, contrary to Israeli threats, they would continue their mission of solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are part of the peaceful struggle against theZionist Israeli policy of collective punishment and blockades which have continued for over five years.
                                MV Saoirse(left) and Tahrir(right) at the point of boarding by 
                                Zionist pirates, approx 40 miles from the coast of Gaza

 Israel Threatens:
Zionist Israel, in turn, announced on Wednesday that it would “meet” these ships and aid can be delivered to the Gaza Strip through land border crossings controlled by the Israeli authorities (A Zionist lie, since the aid on board the Irish ship “Rachel Corrie” is still rotting in Ashdod port where the vessel was taken following last year’s piratical attack by Zionist forces). Israel attacked a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla in international waters off the Gaza coast in May 2010, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara ship. 

A UN panel report later blamed Israel, Turkey, and organisers of a Gaza-bound flotilla for the deadly raid. It found, without any  foundation in law it must be said, that the blockade of Gaza was “legal” but, it called the raid on the flotilla "excessive and unreasonable" and the killing of eight Turkish activists and a Turkish-American "unacceptable". No comfort there for the relatives of the martyred dead aboard these heroic ships involved in humanitarian aid to the besieged people of Gaza completely in accord with the Geneva conventions on international conflicts and the basic human rights of every people to life and liberty, self-determination, peace and justice. Shameful hypocrisy and cowardice from this UN panel.

The Canadian ship MV Tahrir and MV Saoirse  set sail as part of the Freedom Waves humanitarian mission. The vessels carried 27 passengers from seven countries who had hoped to reach Gaza on Friday. Dr Fintan Lane, of the Irish Ship to Gaza group, said the only obstacle in their way was Israel's military - which has imposed a policy of piratical action against vessels and personnel  taking part in the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. The MV Saoirse was also forced to pull out of a flotilla in June after it was sabotaged by Israeli special forces  while docked in Turkey.(see article, July 06 below)) "The Palestinians living in Gaza want solidarity - not charity," Dr Lane said. "Our primary goal is to help free Palestinians from their inhumane isolation in what is in effect an open-air prison".  Former rugby player Trevor Hogan and several politicians are on the MV Saoirse, which reached international waters about 40 miles from Palestine on Friday.

 The Israeli Embassy in Dublin threatened that the vessels would be intercepted before reaching Gaza and accused those on board of being "hypocrites on a provocative publicity stunt". Israel maintains it imposed the naval blockade to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas militants and that aid and consumer goods are reaching the area through Israel and Egypt. The Israeli embassy complained that the Gaza Flotilla organisers were unconcerned about human rights in Palestinian territories, Syria, Iran and other countries and were therefore “hypocritical”.

We remind the Israeli ambassador that his country, Israel, is the biggest hypocrite of all. While claiming to be the “only democracy in the Middle East”, Zionist Israel operates the only “Apartheid” system in the world today. A vicious, anti-human discrimination against the Palestinan and Arab people in Israel and the occupied lands on the Westbank of Jordan similar in many respect to the despised regime in South Africa with which Israel had close relations including giving the regime there materials for creating nuclear weapons contrary to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty set up by Irish initiative at the UN In the 1970’s.

Israel discriminates against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in favour of half a million Israeli settlers. Its restrictions on freedom of movement, manifested in countless humiliating checkpoints, resemble the “pass laws” of apartheid. Its destruction of Palestinian homes resembles the destruction of homes belonging to black Africans under apartheid’s Group Areas Act. The confiscation of Palestinian farms under the pretext of building a security wall brings back similar memories of South Africa’s “bantusans” which created ghetto lands for African people, and so on. Indeed, Israel has gone beyond apartheid South Africa in constructing separate (and unequal) roads for Palestinians and settlers.

Apartheid’s security police practiced torture on a large scale. So do the Israeli security forces. There were many political prisoners on Robben Island but there are thousands more Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails despite recent releases. Apartheid South Africa seized the land of black Africans for whites. Israel has seized the land of Palestinians for half a million settlers and for the purposes of constructing a security wall within Palestinian territory – both of which are contrary to international law.

Human Rights in Israel:

We remind the Israeli ambassador of the human rights violation of 13 year-old Muhammad Badwan in April, 2004, who was grabbed by police officers and tied by an arm to the grille covering the windscreen of their security vehicle  and illegally used as a human shield to try to stop demonstrators throwing stones at them. Muhammad said:  “I was scared when they got me at first. I thought they would put me in prison. I was scared a stone would hit me”.  The 13-year-old’s father, Saeed Baswan, a 34-year-old labourer, said at the time:  ”When I saw him on the hood of the jeep, my whole mind went crazy, It’s a picture you can’t even imagine. He was shivering from fear.”  The incident happened in Muhammad’s home village of Biddo, north-west of Jerusalem, which had become a flashpoint for violence between Israeli forces and demonstrators protesting against the building of the Israeli security fence and Wall on Palestinian territory.

The attached picture was published by an Israeli human rights group trying to expose the behavior of some Israeli security personnel.  Rabbi Arik Ascherman, director of Rabbis For Human Rights, heard about the boy and tried to intervene with the police, demanding he be released.The Rabbi claimed he was head-butted by one of the officers and arrested. He said he intended to press charges against the police.‘The boy was sitting on the hood of a vehicle, unsuccessfully trying to hold back his tears, shivering with fright, and with one arm tied to the screen protecting the windshield,’ he said. “We tried to calm him down and reassure him. I asked if he was hurt. He said he had been beaten and was in pain. ‘It is very depressing that we have come to this position where this is what we do.”

The Israeli ambassador in Dublin might have a word with Rabbi Ascherman about human rights in Israel when he returns to Jerusalem.


Áth Cliath/Dublin,
04 Samhain/November 2011

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