In my earlier posts about the killings aboard the Mavi Marmara, I used terms like “kill shot” and “execution-style” to describe these events. I based my judgment on the narratives told by eyewitnesses and the Turkish autopsy reports. Some readers were taken aback and accused me of overstatement, exaggeration and worse. But this video vividly confirms my strong suspicions.
It shows IDF commandos executing a passenger on the Mavi Marmara with one and possibly two point blank shots from above into the victim who lies on the boat deck. In truth, one cannot distinguish the face of the victim since it is blocked by a boat railing. But from the muzzle flashes and weapon recoils and the downward direction in which the shooter looks at his victim, it is clear this is an execution just as I described earlier.
The video caption claims this is the murder of 19 year-old Turkish-American high school student Furkan Dogan. While it is possible there is earlier footage not shown in this video that displayed the victim’s face and enabled one to identify him, I won’t vouch for Dogan as being the specific victim. But what is incontrovertible is that this is A Mavi Marmara passenger being murdered.
This changes everything. Here for the first time is evidence that the IDF was not just engaged in a defensive operation, but that it had determined to murder passengers. Gone are the hasbara rationales which defended Israel and blamed the victims for their own deaths.
I am ashamed of Israel. I am ashamed of my president’s response to Israel.
We must get all those governments like our own who were trying to finesse this crisis, trying to put the genie back in the bottle, to stop and take stock. Sending fixers like Dan Shapiro to Israel to hondle about the the least damaging way to repair this mess simply won’t work. Shapiro is trying to figure out Israel can give up the least and gain the most. He and his boss, the president, want to figure out how Israel can ease the humanitarian crisis with a nip and a tuck–allow in more foods for example–while getting the UN to dismiss its international investigation.
The Telegraph published a similar report claiming the new Tory-led government had a deal with Israel on similar terms. The report missed a few things though. Nowhere did it say what Turkey thought about any of this. And that country, after all, is the injured party since 9 (more likely 15) of its citizens were murdered by the IDF. Do the U.S., Britain and Israel think they can work their way out of this mess without Turkey’s acquiescence?
Does Israel truly believe that its sham proposals for a two part domestic investigation will pass muster? It proposes a military panel under the leadership of an ex-general who will examine the failure without placing blame on any specific individuals. Then Netanyahu proposes a panel composed of Israeli judges to be joined by up to two foreign “observers.” This commission will not be permitted to question the actual commando killers. Which in effect renders the proceedings toothless before they even begin.
If I were Prime Minister Erdogan I’d do pretty much what he’s done so far. Put out my demands for a deal and then let everyone else scheme and manipulate in order to avoid my terms. Once they’ve exhausted themselves and come up empty, perhaps they’ll realize there is only one way to resolve the matter. Israel must apologize, pay reparations to victim’s families and all the passengers, and end the siege.
There is a simmering rage within Turkey about the way its citizens were brutalized. A Turkish-American journalist told me a poll said 60% believe their government has not done enough to express its outrage. So Israelis may express their shock at Erdogan’s obstreperousness. But they should know that behind Erdogan are 80 million very angry Turks. Is Israel prepared to face them down? And I don’t mean this only in a diplomatic sense. I mean this in a very real, tangible sense. Until now, Turks cared little for Palestine in the way that more devout Muslim nations do. Their form of Islam is fairly tolerant and laid back. That’s why they could forge an alliance with Israel for so many years. But now I can imagine Turkish shahids waging jihad on Israel. This would be an unprecedented development both for Israel and Turkey.
Today, Barack Obama showed that he’s still spinning his wheels. He had Fatah’s rump West Bank president, Mahmoud Abbas to the White House for a photo-op and offered $400 million for Gaza. He offered this money to a man who has absolutely no sway in Gaza. A man who hates the government that rules Gaza and who is hated in return. Hell, Obama hates Hamas too. So what kind of charade were the two of them playing earlier today? How will this money ever get to its destination if no one will talk to the only party who can spend it?
It borders on sheer idiocy. And I say this knowing that Obama is neither an idiot not badly-intentioned. All one can say about the president’s policy is that with George Bush you knew you were getting someone who didn’t give a whit for the Palestinians and who wouldn’t lift a finger for them. With Obama, you get the illusion of a leader who cares, but who doesn’t. Or at least doesn’t care enough to do anything substantive. There are times when ineffectual leaders with good intentions can do even more damage than those like Bush who never had any good intentions to begin with.
The question is how long will Obama continue this masquerade. How long before he faces the music and comes to the realization there is only one way to do the right thing. The longer he delays the more chance there is for a deterioration in the status quo. And I’m not talking about incremental deterioration. I’m talking about catastrophic deterioration, about a situation in which Israel attacks its neighbors or is attacked in return.
Is Israel prepared for the next Gaza flotilla to be escorted by Turkish warships to its destination? Is it prepared for Turkey not just as an enemy but possibly a military enemy as well?
Today, brings distressing news of a Rasmussen survey finding that 49% of Americans blame the victims for their death on the Mavi Marmara. But when I read such a poll I always examine the questions, since subtleties of wording can lead to tipping the respondents in a certain direction. Indeed, the question asked in this poll which brought that result betrayed a “tell” as they say in poker:
Who is primarily to blame for the deadly outcome of the raid on the aid-carrying ships – Israel or the pro-Palestinian activists on the ships?
While I agree that in actuality those on the ship were “pro-Palestinian activists,” this wording helped lead to an unreliable poll result. Those three words, when suggested to the average American conjure up an unflattering image just as the phrase “pro-Israeli activist” would in a similar context (though the revulsion would be less pronounced). It would’ve been much better had the pollsters come up with a less leading, less judgmental, less emotional phrase to describe those on the Mavi Marmara. Why not just “passengers?” Or “humanitarians” or “peace activists?” Or “anti-blockade activists?”
While I dispute the wording of the question, there is no doubt that Americans have bought the hasbara campaign about this tragedy. They do not know what really happened. That’s why it’s important that video like this be seen as widely as possible. For a time, hasbara may prevail. But in the longer term the real facts and enormity of this tragedy will sink in.
In the interests of such education, I’m planning a conference here in Seattle at St. Mark’s Cathedral on Friday, June 25th on the Gaza crisis. Evergreen College Prof. Steve Niva will speak about the failure of U.S. policy in this crisis. I will speak about the current political currents inside Israel and the assault on democracy and human rights that has accompanied external attacks like the one on the Gaza flotilla. Dave Schermerhorn will speak about his experience as a Mavi Marmara survivor. We will also present a Palestinian speaker who will address the humanitarian crisis inside Gaza. So far, the conference is co-sponsored by SABEEL of the Puget Sound and the Mideast Focus Ministry. New co-sponsors will be added including Jewish and Muslim organizations.
In order to bring one speaker to Seattle, we need to raise funds for her airfare and accommodations. If you’re so moved, please click the Paypal button in my sidebar or the Donate link also in the sidebar. Your donation will defray these costs. Anything exceeding them will go to Gaza humanitarian relief.
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