80 thoughts on “‘Professional Provocateur’ Peace Boats Break Gaza Blockade – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
task-attention.png
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
 

  1. wow. That must have been a happy moment. I realize it is a symbolic action, nevertheless it is nice to imagine Palestinians cheering, even if only for a while.

  2. Israel strategy re the boats:
    A senior political source in Jerusalem said. “Instead of letting the entire international press obsess about this for a week, the boats received almost no coverage, simply because there was no confrontation.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1014505.html

    I did see a 5 or 6 word headline on the CNN zipper, which surprised me that there was any mention. Of course that was at about 4 am, it’s probably not going to be showing for long.

  3. Given that we’re constantly told that Gaza is starving under the weight of the siege, why did the activists feel it necessary to bring 5000 balloons with them? Indeed, given the urgency of the mission, wasn’t packing the boats with activists a bit excessive? Shouldn’t crew have been kept to a minimum, leaving more room for desperately needed supplies? Once again, activists’ egos are deemed more important than effective action.

  4. Having those ships enter the harbor meant the world to Gazans — even those watching on Al Jazeera from 12,000 miles away.

    I hope this event signals a paradigm shift in resisting the occupation and siege.

    For those who are interested in criticizing the activists, at best those 2 small ships could only make a tiny dent in the need of the hundreds of thousands. It would take several steamers to begin to undo the damage wrought by Israel’s unconscionable siege. Are we seriously going to criticize activists for helping to shine a light on that?

    The morale boost those two ships provided can’t be quantified.

  5. Yvonne Ridley (pictured) is not a “peace activist” and she is not a “radical leftist pro-Palestinian”. Her association with this group leads me to believe that they are not simply “well meaning useful idiots” like I thought but purely evil people. Hamas supporters and supporters of Jihad. Ridley certainly is a supporter of terrorists (she calls them martyrs). Read her eulogy of Shamil Basayev (http://yvonneridley.org/yvonne-ridley/articles/the-passing-of-a-chechen.html). Basayev was (probably) responsible for the taking of hundreds of hostages in a theater by chechen terrorists. But Ridley has nothing but praise for him. Thanks Richard, for pointing out that she was one of the passengers on the ship.

  6. Oh dear..there goes amir on a rant.! twould be nice if you offered information and not mere slander or rumor…Ms Ridley, who had been held hostage for an extended period of time in a war zone several years ago, in the course of her professional work, a news journalist, was onboard with 40 other people…in that capacity as a JOURNALIST…she IS capable of reporting the news whilst keeping her objectivity…are you labelling her because she wears a hijab? or do you hold Lauren Booth, sister in law to Tony Blair to the same scrutiny? also on board. Is Lauren ‘pure evil’ as well? Hamas is a movement installed BY ISRAEL in the Gaza in the 80s to unbalance the largely Palestinian SECULARISTS..but with oppression and suffering many have turned to faith for courage and strength. Hamas is a political party. They were duly and democratically elected by the suffering gazans in 2006 for REGIME CHANGE, and have been collectively punished with starvation, blockade, military incursions since that fateful election. Do you believe that Americans deserve blockade and starvation for imposing war criminals on the world like Bush/cheney/rumsfeld? Collective punishment is a war crime. Just like Gitmo, torture and renditions…As for chechnya..it was the Russian army which caused the collapse of a theater wall onto the people inside–that caused the deaths of many that day…something that Moscow tried pretty well to cover up..but then you’re not interested in things taht conflict with your world view..West benign, Islamic East evil.

    And a note to Richard…who believes that the humanitarian mission would have been taken more seriously by average Israelis IF Israelis had been key planners and participants instead of Americans!..I doubt that since I’ve been familiar with the dismissive and hateful way that many Israelis have and continue to treat fellow Israelis who are engaged in non violent peaceful efforts with Palestinians…with abuse, imprisonment, beatings, etc. let’s get over the myth !–that ANY Jews who work with or on behalf of ending the Occupation and FOR Justice for Palestinians is respected or taken seriously. ON YNET yesterday, 1 commenter of many hateful ones went so far as to “recommend that they seize that 81 yr old former nun and strip her”!!!! what?
    lets not sugar coat the idea that the average israeli approves of anything besides military response. If they did there would be Knesset that reflected a less violent and hateful response to the oppression and violence imposed on their captives under occupation for 41 yrs./salamaat.

  7. One more comment…this from Jerry Haber, blogger of MagnesZionist…an American Israeli who wrote this on the Free Gaza movement :

    “So, welcome to Gaza, activists. I hope that others take up the idea. Yours was a small symbolic gesture, but such things are meaningful, especially for the Gazans.

    I note, unsurprised, that virtually none of the US media have picked up the story yet. And I don’t think it is because of the Joe Biden story, either. Mind you, the initiative came from the US, and US activists were behind getting the boats. So why are stories like this ignored in the US, despite the fact that there is clear human interest of breaking the Naval blockade of Israel?

    Ask Walt and Mearsheimer!
    todah rabah…Jerry…

  8. Miriam: just go to Ridley’s web site. She was NOT there as a journalist. She was there as a participant. “I really was too overwhelmed yesterday to put pen to paper after the magnificent welcome I and my fellow peace activists from SS Liberty and SS Free Gaza received as we entered the port of Gaza.” Get it. “I and my fellow peace activists”. I could care less if she wears a hijab. I know many fine moral people who wear a hijab. What bothers me is that she is full of hate and she’s an Islamist or Jihadist. Just read her website. Regarding Lauren Booth, I know nothing about her. Being Blair’s inlaw says nothing to me. Finally, to blame Russia for the death of hostages taken by terrorists during a botched rescue attempt shows how morally twisted you (and Ridley) are.
    This whole stunt was coordinated with a member of the Hamas led government Jamal al-Khodary who met participants as they arrived. The Hamas leader himself greeted them with a press conference. Today they were guests in Haniyeh’s. Each one recieved a medal, hug and kiss from the leader of Hamas. So these people, whether it was what they intended or not, are serving Hamas and Hamas only.

  9. Hmmm. Ridley’s emotional response upon arrival, after days of stress, worry & fear of attack along with a view of thousands of Gazans waiting/cheering on the shore to greet these first outsiders to pierce the blockade & bringing attention and food and medical supplies from global supporters HARDLY indicates extremism! Most humans would have been overcome with feeling, even war hardened experienced journalists!
    The roster of participants have referred to themselves as ‘peace-activists’–not exactly a “shameful” tag! in these dark & violent times.
    I found nothing on her eponymous website that suggests anything of “hate”. She, a relatively recent convert to Islam (2003) could hardly be understood as anything beyond a typical western Muslim woman. and You are “manufacturing” a perspective.

    As for your being incredulous that Russian govt hid their actions as being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Chechnyans in the theater, consider that the reporter who was responsible for breaking that story/photos of the russian tanks which fired shells at that external wall of the theater, that journalist ended up with a bullet in her head…reminiscent of numerous murders/assassinations of journalists in all the current war zones.
    Silencing the press is not peculiar only to Occupied Palestine by PA security goons paid for and trained by US and Israel..freedom of the press has been suffering in Iraq, and the US has been true thru-out all the Bush years. Dictatorships dont like contradiction nor criticism.
    That these courageous participants were greeted by the local senior politician(s) should not come as a surprise, with the absolute exception of Bush who would rather have athlete’s foot than shake the hand of any critic of his perpetual wars and contempt for anti war activists. Big deal! they had a huge warm welcome from the people…a reflection that NOT everyone agrees in starvation as a politial policy for regime change. Being greeted is hardly a sign that they agree or question that political leader. Such catastrophizing and distortion is hardly useful or convincing. Try reading something beyond your own hasbara.
    /shalom/Miriam

  10. @Alex Stein:

    Can you tell me what you’ve done to end the Occupation lately? When you can point me to anything substantive then I’ll take more seriously any carping you’d like to make about this valiant project.

    Only carpers like you second guess people who really put their lives on the line to do something. Have they made a tremenmdous impact? Yes. Would I have taken 5,000 balloons with me to Gaza? No. Would I have done things differently if I were running the show? Sure. But I wasn’t. Like you I wasn’t there. Like you, I could’ve been there if I’d really wanted to be. Since I wasn’t I’m not willing to be overly judgmental about peripheral issues. Too bad you can’t take the same approach.

  11. @Michael Weis:

    Another carper. Can you tell me what humanitarian aid you’ve brought to Gaza? If not, I’m afraid you have very little credibility here. They brought 200 hearing aids for children who do not have them. That is humanitarian aid. They sailed in 2 reconfigured fishing boats which had precious little room for cargo.

  12. @AD: I only wish Ehud Olmert & Ehud Barak were meeting with Haniya. If that happened then maybe the FGM activists wouldn’t need to be making their journey or meeting with Haniyeh.

    But if you’re asking whether I think that the FGM meeting w. ‘Hamas terrorists’ is something that their supporters should be ashamed of–then I reject the terms of yr argument.

  13. @amir:

    purely evil people. Hamas supporters and supporters of Jihad.

    Only a pro-Israel apologist like you would conflate a supporter of Hamas & a support of Jihad (by which I suppose you mean Al Qaeda). Supporters of Hamas are NOT purely evil. You have not produced any evidence that Ridley is purely evil. Writing a eulogy of Basayev does not prove that she is “purely evil.” THere is lots of evil in Chechnya & a lot of it on the Russian side. The crime of the Moscow theater attack was far more on the Russian authorities who poisoned & killed, if I recall, something like 150-200 people in attempting to subdue the kidnappers. So Basayev organized a kidnapping. That’s certainly not something of which I approve. But I find Russian antidotes in dealing w. such challenges to be far worse than the illness.

    I warn you that calling someone “purely evil” in this blog w/o proof is a violation of my comment rules. I don’t allow such harsh epithets w/o substantive proof.

    And cut out the stupid snark about thanking me. It’s beyond annoying.

  14. Tis true….that some are carping on what was or was not brought in the way of medical supplies or food…when in actuality, if said complainers truly were concerned they might complaining to the Israeli government directly whose lap the problem belongs, for their barbaric ‘policy’ of allowing perishable goods to sit and rot in the trucks that carry them claiming ‘security’ and caring not one whit about starving people. Surely the thing of ‘conscience’ is not entirely alien to such critics? Blame those who have control and make a conscious decision to starve and let die those they are required to provide for as Occupiers. Remember Warsaw Remember “Never again”?

  15. @Miriam:

    ON YNET yesterday, 1 commenter of many hateful ones went so far as to “recommend that they seize that 81 yr old former nun and strip her”!!!! what?
    lets not sugar coat the idea that the average israeli approves of anything besides military response

    You see those who write Talkbacks on Ynetnews & Haaretz as “average Israelis?” Then you don’t know avg. Israelis. The Talkbackers are the Kahanists & far-right Israeli nationalists. The racists, the haters. The worst of the worst. There is a whole world of progressive discourse you’re missing partly because you don’t read Hebrew & partly because you’re only reading a few selected Israeli sources. Don’t overgeneralize from the tone of Talkbacks.

    It is true that the progressive side of Israeli politics is not as strong as I would like. But that’s not a reason to give up on them. They need to be challenged & strengthened.

  16. @amir:

    What bothers me is that she is full of hate and she’s an Islamist or Jihadist

    If you want to level such a serious charge you’ll have to do better than tell people to read her website. YOU bring the evidence or you won’t be able to level calumnies like this here in future.

    to blame Russia for the death of hostages taken by terrorists during a botched rescue attempt shows how morally twisted you (and Ridley) are.

    You’re reminding me of the most obnoxious tendencies of yr political ranting. The Russians killed the hostages at the Moscow theater & in Beslan. Pure and simple. They are inhuman incompetent brutes. For you to call someone who merely notes the truth about Russian callousness “morally twisted” is simply unacceptable here. So I warn you as I have done before. You can criticize. But using hyperbolic nasty epithets as you have done is way beyond the pale.

    these people, whether it was what they intended or not, are serving Hamas and Hamas only.

    Actually, it is Israel’s bankrupt siege & isolation policy which is serving Hamas & Hamas only. Were it not for this, Palestinians prob. would’ve abandoned Hamas long ago–if they had an alternative more viable than the corrupt Fatah, that is.

  17. Richard – we are on to a new level of political debate when positions are assessed in terms of what the person making them does or doesn’t do vis-a-vis the situation. Perhaps you should make that clear on your blog: only offer critiques if you yourself are doing something effective.

    The whole notion of them putting their lives on the line is absurd (aside from the fact that they weren’t very experienced sailors). It was clear from the outset that Israel wasn’t going to attack the boat. The worst they could have expected was to have been detained in Ashdod.

    It’s also interesting to note that they chose not to sail from Egyptian waters (the Egyptian response might not have been quite so pleasant), particularly so when we consider the fact that goods can’t pass through Egypt either, something that’s easy to forget.

    You then admit that, as you weren’t there, you also aren’t willing to be judgemental about peripheral issues. But you were willing to critique the conflation of issues (with the US Liberty boat that was sunk in 1967). Given the humanitarian situation in Gaza, I’d have thought that the issue of the balloons/excessive number of crew is far less of a peripheral issue than who they chose to commemorate en route.

  18. @Alex Stein: I thought yr criticism of the FGM journey was rather petty & simply wondered what, if anything, you’d done yrself to further that goal.

    The whole notion of them putting their lives on the line is absurd (aside from the fact that they weren’t very experienced sailors). It was clear from the outset that Israel wasn’t going to attack the boat.

    No, in fact it is your comment which is absurd. The defense ministry threatened to use force if necessary to detain them. Israel has killed perceived enemies with much less warning than that. Given that you’ve served in the IDF I guess these things wouldn’t phase you but–if I put you in a small fishing boat on the high seas and told you a major power threatened to stop yr ship with force I’d say you’d feel a bit less sanguine than you let on above.

    In my criticism of the issue of bringing in the U.S.S. Liberty I said that my criticism was secondary to the importance of the actual mission itself. You said no such thing. You merely criticized as armchair liberals tend to do. And yr criticism is among the most cynical possible–you implicitly deny there is a Gaza humanitarian crisis, yet reserve the right to attack the FGM for not doing more to relieve the crisis.

    Exactly how much do you think two fishing boats can do to relieve a huge humanitarian crisis facing 1.5 million people? Should they have filled their small amount of cargo storage area with medicine and food that would’ve rotted/gone to waste had the Israelis seized their boats?

    The people of Gaza are delighted with the outcome of this journey. Only carpers like you are not. Oh, and one Gazan whom Ynetnews dredged up & whose criticism you’ve appropriated as yr own.

  19. It is clear the people involved in this mission are trying to salvage something out of this failed attempt to break a seige that never existed in the first place
    There were varying reports of humanitarian aid and food being carried and thousands of hearing aids for children, ( a clear publicity stunt) yet all that arrived were a bunch of people claiming to be peace activists, 200 hearing aids, and 5000 balloons. A lot of help that would have been had the Palestinians in Gaza really have been starving
    A glance at the lists of daily supplies going in through Israeli crossing points will show the reality of the fact that the only blockade is the one operated by Egypt who recently refused to allow in one vehicle from Scotland carrying medical and humanitaian supplies. Perhaps next time Yvonne Ridley, Lauren Booth, an American. a holocaust survivor, the ever present Jeff Halper, and Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, a Jerusalem-based spokeswoman for the so-called Free Gaza Movement which organised the event might choose to direct their efforts to where the problem really lies, by breaking the Egyptian seal on her border with her Palestinian neighbour, and try to stop Hamas bombing checkpoints and misappropriating international and Israeli aid. It might also be good if they could pressurise oil rich Muslim states to offer the hand of friendship and humanitarian aid to their allegedly beseiged Gazan neighbour. When has any Arab state done anything other than kick out the Palestinians?
    How disapponted the publicity seekers must have been to have been allowed to sail in to Gaza peacefully. Confrontation would have suited their agenda and was what they were looking for.
    If you were to ask the grassroots Gazan people what this stunt did for their cause i am sure the answer will be less than nothing.

  20. $500,000 to deliver 200 hearing aids and a load of balloons?

    They have money to burn, these ISM idiots….

  21. @Richard:

    Tons of humanitarian aid goes through Gaza crossings from Israel every day. Thousands of Gazans come into Israel for medical attention for free (though many are denied) every year.

  22. Richard – first of all I still don’t know why your tone continues to be so aggressive towards me, particularly the snide remark about me serving in the IDF.
    Secondly, you call my criticism ‘petty’ while at the same time agreeing that – had you been the skipper – you wouldn’t have brought balloons.
    If I had been in charge of the boat, rather than the arm-chair liberal that I am, I’d have emphasised the humanitarian aspect of the mission, without getting involved in the nature of the Hamas/Israeli dispute. I’d have emphasised that I simply wanted to set an example that the humanitarian supply should be maintained come what may. I certainly wouldn’t have seen myself as being used by one or the other side in the conflict (I notice the activists’ decision to be presented with medals by Ismail Haniyah has – as yet – passed without comment on his pages).
    I will repeat: it was obvious that Israel wasn’t going to attack the ship. Even the hasbara crowd have more sense thanthat. It hoped to dissuade them from the voyage with threats etc; when that failed, slightly cooler heads prevailed (although not cool enough: the Israeli rhetoric about avoiding a confrontation was inane – they should have just labelled the mission a harmless humanitarian mission and left it at that).
    It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the fact that they decided not to sail from Egypt (the other country which enforces the blockade).

  23. Alex,

    I’d be easier to make sense of your comments if you were straight talking.

    Do you support this action or not?

    Why do you write lines like “Given that we’re constantly told that Gaza is starving under the weight of the siege …”

    You apparently don’t believe it then? Why else the odd phrase?

    By the way it is Israel as the formal occupier of Gaza that is responsible for allowing humanitarian goods in.

  24. @Alex Stein: I apologize if I’ve been intemperate, but as it appears there is a mini-“hasbara crowd” stampede in this particular thread, I may have allowed myself to get carried away. But I do feel strongly that your attitude is disingenuous. Would I feel that you’re trying to find anything positive either in this project or in the effort to end the siege of Gaza, I would take a diff. approach to your contributions here.

    Again, regarding my own criticism–I want to be fully honest about my feelings about the project while at the same time not throwing the baby out w. the bath water. The project was worthy & accomplished a wonderful goal in bringing attention to Israel’s unlawful siege against Gaza. You, however, only want to criticize while finding nothing of value in what the FGM did. That’s the diff. bet. us.

    it was obvious that Israel wasn’t going to attack the ship

    And again, you are sitting in the comfort of your Israeli home & can make such a judgment. But there were 47 people sitting in 2 boats on the high seas who heard a defense ministry spokesperson, representing undoubtedly the views of real senior officers possessing real guns, threaten to stop them with force. The participants were fully reasonable to believe that such an eventuality could happen.

  25. @Michael Weis: Only 43% of the actual needs of Gazans is filled by those “tons of humanitarian aid.” Considering there is a siege of Gaza, Israel is responsible for that number being 100%. If it isn’t, then Israel is punishing the people of Gaza illegally & unjustly.

    As for “thousands” of Gazans coming to Israel for medical attention: you & I both know you don’t know what you’re talking about. SOME Gazans are approved for medical attention in Israel. And the Shin Bet uses this carrot to recruit its spies among the Palestinians as shown in articles published recently in the Guardian & elsewhere. THe number is not in the “thousands” by any means. MANY dying Palestinians are turned away for no discernible reason other than that they are Palestinians. What Israel needs to do is ensure that Gazan medical facilities can care for their own, which they cannot do due to the siege.

  26. Speaking of unaddressed ongoing HUMANITARIAN CRISES:
    We are instructed that” it is not our duty to complete the task but we are not to free to desist from it either”. (Pirkei Avot).
    The task is to feed the hungry and to treat others as we would wish to be treated.
    Lesson obviously not learned. As you have served the IDF, then you know that “purity of arms” is a thing of the past, and as Combatants for Peace explained rules of engagement are now classified in terms of ‘managing’ occupied peoples. Perhaps you do have ‘humanitarian’ inclinations now, but as LUC expressed above, you are not being straight/clear wiht readers. Here is something that can be done– write a letter..see below:

    IAW Amnesty International’s urgent action request below is a drafted letter I intend to send to Major General in Beer Sheva and also send to Barak, as well as the email, to also write to the Egyptian authorities (as requested by Amnesty).

    SAMPLE LETTER
    Mr. Ehud Barak
    Minister of Defence of Israel
    cc: Israeli Minister of Health, Yacov Ben Yizri; Embassies of Egypt and Israel in Austria

    Dear Minister,
    We have learned from Amnesty International that the following critically ill patients are being prevented from leaving the Gaza Strip for treatment abroad for urgently needed medical care:

    Nufuz Husni (44)
    Muhammad al-Hurani (25)
    Rami Al-Arouqi (29)
    Rami Al-Masri (25)
    Sameer Taleb (47)
    Bassam al-Oehidi
    Nadira Abu Oweimar
    Mustafa Sha’sha
    Rada Khdair
    Walid al-Sawarkhi
    Mahmud Odeh
    Radi abu Rida
    Ahmad Abu Shawish
    Fathi al-‘Af
    Ayman al-Ladawi
    As’ad al-Qarinawi
    Ahmad Abu Shawish
    Jihad al-Shatali
    Muhammad Owdalla
    Naser al-Akhras

    The Israeli authorities are refusing to allow hundreds of patients to leave Gaza to obtain specialized treatment unavailable in Gaza for undisclosed security reasons. More than 200 patients have died in recent months following delays in receiving permits to leave Gaza.

    Nufuz Husni, a cancer patient, was refused permission to leave Gaza via Erez in March. She travelled to the Rafah Crossing on 2 July in a further attempt to seek medical attention elsewhere. After waiting 36 hours at the crossing with her husband she had no choice but to return home.

    The practice of denying people access to urgent medical care not available in Gaza is in contravention of human rights. The Rafah Crossing has been sealed almost totally since June 2007, with the exception of 23 days, and patients need special permission to exit from the Erez Crossing. Israel, as the occupying power, has the responsibility to ensure that the population of Gaza has access to medical care the same as Israeli nationals.

    We urge the Israeli authorities to ensure the reopening of the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which is the only gate to the outside world for the population of Gaza. In addition, we urge that access to lifesaving care be granted immediately for the people listed above and that the Israeli policy of denying access to medical care unavailable in Gaza be changed.

    (from my European contact earlier today) please take action if you are moved by the suffering of human beings under Israeli occupation –despite the claim of ‘unilateral disengagement’..grinding their jackboot heel on the necks of occupied human beings must be opposed, resisted and ENDED. Please do your part.

  27. @Barbara: Have you ever outfitted boats for a sea journey? I thought not. Do you know anything about the costs of electronic equipment, shipyard repair services, etc.?? I thought not. ANd the number is $300,000, not 500,000. But why let facts get in yr way??

    Talk about “idiots”…

  28. richard – I clearly presented an alternative for how the mission could have been carried out; in that sense, I’m not sure how I could have been more positive. Any chance of an answer to the Egyptian question? Or to the fact that the group received medals from Ismail Haniya?

  29. @Joy Wolfe:

    failed attempt to break a seige that never existed in the first place

    Welcome to the hasbara crowd. Can you explain how the first ever successful breaking of the Israeli siege was a “failure??” And are you arguing that Israel is NOT blockading Gaza?

    There were varying reports of humanitarian aid and food being carried

    Where? Provide a source. Or are you talking about Little Green Footballs and Pammy Gellar, whose propaganda is entirely unreliable anyway?

    It’s a laugh that the Israeli Firsters claim to complain that Egypt blockades Gaza; and when Egypt allows Hamas to breach the border they shrei bloody murder against breaking the siege.

    Hamas…misappropriating international and Israeli aid

    Do you have any credible proof of such a thing? I thought not.

    If you were to ask the grassroots Gazan people what this stunt did for their cause i am sure the answer will be less than nothing.

    And I also love this crowd claiming to know what “grassroots Gazans” believe. In fact, “grassroots Gazans” were overjoyed w. the results & you would’ve been too had you been under siege.

  30. Basayev sent 50 armed terrorists with explosives to take 800 civilians hostage. What the Russians did afterwards is irrelevant to the fact that this is an act of terror by a man whom Ridley characterizes as having “led an admirable fight to bring independance to Chechya.” Not to mention his role in the ethnic cleansing of Abkhazia many years before. A person that admires such a man is in my opinion evil. That’s an opinion. You’re free to disagree.
    BTW, I never said she supports al-qaeda.
    Ridley in her own words: “Our greatest shame has been our silence while martyrdom operations in Palestine and other occupied lands have been condemned as acts of terror”
    Do I have to tell you what martyrdom operations in Palestine are?
    Ridley in her own words: “Our young people have to be taught that what is happening in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Iraq and Afghanistan is legitimate resistance”
    In her own words: “The international community should be imposing sanctions on this digusting little Zionist state … Now ask me again why I hate the Zionist State of Israel”.

    Lovely.
    (http://yvonneridley.org/yvonne-ridley/articles/the-passing-of-a-chechen-4.html)
    (http://yvonneridley.org/yvonne-ridley/articles/yvonne-ridleys-speech-at-the-2006-global-peace-unity-conference-london.-uk-4.html)
    (http://yvonneridley.org/yvonne-ridley/articles/a-lesson-for-the-zionists-4.html)

  31. Miriam, are you an American? Maybe you should do what is called in Hebrew “bedek bait”.
    American entrpeneurs have made the transporting and dumping of critically ill uninsured immigrants to die in their old countries a prospering business.
    One hospital alone in Pheonix “repatriots” 5 times the number of parients on your list each year.

  32. When people are as bigotted and disinterested in the truth as Richard Silverstein they are not worht wasting one’s breath on.
    Just go and stand at the crossings daily and watch the convoys go through don’t take my word for it

    there is plenty of written evidence and first hand quotes of Gazans saying they wish the Israelis were back in control

    If you seriously don’t conced that much of the international aid has been misappropriated for buying weapons, paying families of suicide bombers and swelling bank accounts of the late Yasser Arafat and msny other Palestinian leaders then you are living on another planet

    Yes I am seriously suggesting there is not a blockade, just an enforced monitoring to stop the digging of tunnels to smuggle weapons, crossing of terrorists and kidnap of Israelis.
    If you consider two miserable boats sailing into
    Gaza was @the first breaking of the siege, you need your head examining. And where were all the promised supplies and humanitarian aid the boats claimed they were bringing?
    It is widely reported the cost of this mission was $500,000 dollars most of it loaned with just about half raised to pay it back
    I’d rather have seen genuine peace activists spend that money on food medical aid, and imprved living conditions, but of course WNWRA and Hamas don’t allow living conditions to be improved. As the Palestinian leadership said when it sent back a team of UK builders who were building quality housing for people from the camp in Jenin,”@We don’t want you doing this as it will JEOPARDISE THEIR REFUGEE STATUS” Just how cynical is that?

    I take it you were there to see the overjoyed
    Gazans, and weren;t among those eye witnesses who reported how sickened they were when they realised this was just a balloon laded publicty stunt.
    Strange there is virtually no footage or media coverage of “thousands of overjoyed Gazans” Could it be that was because that is just a trumped up version of the truth.
    But then again the ISM, teh PSM and peopleike Richard Silverstein, Lauren Booth, Yvonne Ridley and jeff halper never let the truth get in the way of their agenda to misinform and invent a story.

  33. Alex, do you have any information that the FGM at one point considered sailing from Egypt, but decided against it, and for which reason? Would the Egyptians have let them sail? Without such information any discussion on our part would be utter speculation.

  34. @Joy Wolfe:

    When people are as bigotted and disinterested in the truth as Richard Silverstein they are not worht wasting one’s breath on.

    And yet you continue to do so. One wonders why you don’t take yr own advice.

    Just go and stand at the crossings daily and watch the convoys go through don’t take my word for it

    And you have? And no matter how many convoys go through international human rights groups who are based in the MIddle East say only 43% of Palestinian basic needs are being met by such convoys.

    there is plenty of written evidence and first hand quotes of Gazans saying they wish the Israelis were back in control

    Such as? THere was one story in Ynetnews quoting one Palestinian critical of the mission. What do you know that the rest of us don’t? Pray do enlighten us.

    there is not a blockade, just an enforced monitoring

    How much of that KoolAid have you been drinking? Even Israel concedes it is enforcing a blockade. But Israel’s own view isn’t good enough for you so you have to invent an even more twisted reality.

    If you consider two miserable boats sailing into Gaza was @the first breaking of the siege you need your head examining [sic]

    The Israeli navy enforces a blockade of Gaza’s shores. The boats got through the blockade. Hence they broke the blockade. You may not like the fact that they did. But to deny that they did shows that it is YOU who needs her head examined, not me.

    It is widely reported the cost of this mission was $500,000 dollars most of it loaned with just about half raised to pay it back

    “Widely reported” means precisely what? THe FGM site specifically says the trip cost $300,000 with $250,000 raised. Your propaganda is in error. If you have proof otherwise bring it.

    I’d rather have seen genuine peace activists spend that money on food medical aid

    I thought you said there WAS no blockade. Why should Gazans need any food or medical aid if there is only “enforced monitoring?”

    We don’t want you doing this as it will JEOPARDISE THEIR REFUGEE STATUS” Just how cynical is that?

    I don’t trust or credit anecdotes provided by ideologues like yrself. If you have actual credible media rpts. you’ll provide links. Otherwise, yr claims will be treated with the skepticism they deserve.

    I take it you were there to see the overjoyed
    Gazans, and weren;t among those eye witnesses who reported how sickened they were

    1,000 media reports are listed in GoogleNews about this story all of which note the celebrations by Gazans in the harbor. Thousands of well-wishers welcoming them & scores of fishing boats going out to greet them. Ynetnews produced a single Gazan critical of the journey. I’ll let my readers judge which of us is more credible.

    No media coverage? Besides the 1,000 articles there are scores of images & several of them are featured here. If I’d known you were so interested in witnessing the proceedings perhaps we could’ve arranged for you to be there.

    peopleike Richard Silverstein…never let the truth get in the way of their agenda to misinform and invent a story.

    You call the Gaza siege “enforced monitoring” and have the chutzpah to claim that I’m misinforming??! That’s rich.

  35. @amir:

    What the Russians did afterwards is irrelevant

    Those 50 terrorists armed to the teeth didn’t kill a single person as far as I recall. Yet those Russians, whose actions matter not a whit to you, ended up killing 230 of the 800 hostages in their “effort” to free them.

    A person that admires such a man is in my opinion evil. That’s an opinion.

    Gimme a break. You’re simply not credible. The Russians are evil. The Chechnyans may be evil too, but their enemies are worse by an order of magnitude.

    I find it ironic that Israelis who have very little if any problem w. acts of terrorism in Israeli history, fulminate when it comes to acts of terror by Muslims. Isn’t it the pot calling the kettle…?

    I’m glad you’ve brought forward those quotations from Ridley. I find her deeply objectionable and wouldn’t have featured her words or image in my blog had I known of her views.

  36. @Alex Stein:

    Oh, if that was being positive in yr mind I’d hate to read what your firm denunciation would’ve sounded like.

    As for Egypt, Amr Moussa, an Egyptian and president of the Arab League praised the FGM journey. What does it matter where they started from? Sounds like you’re trying to be provocative just for the sake of being provocative. And since the Egypt angle seems to be a common meme here where are you commenters dredging this idea up from? You sure didn’t all spontaneously come up w. this on yr own.

    The fishing boats were Greek. The nearest port to Israel from Greece is Cyprus. So what’s the big deal?

    As for Haniya, you appear not to have read my comment here yesterday. I only wish that it was Ehud Olmert & Ehud Barak meeting with Haniya instead of the FGM. If Israeli policy changed then the FGM wouldn’t have needed to undertake this dangerous action.

  37. @fiddler:

    I think their propaganda pt. is that Egypt would not have let them sail since it wouldn’t want to do anything helpful to Hamas. This is supposed to take the air out of the sails of the FGM somehow (at least in Alex’s mind). Another Egypt related meme that they sometimes throw out is suggesting that Egypt should take responsibility for Gaza.

  38. “The nearest port to Israel from Greece is Cyprus”

    This is news to most Cypriots who thought they lived in an independant republic.

  39. re: Ismail Haniyeh: a journalist once asked him what he’d do if his sons came to him and said they wanted to be suicide bombers.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/hass03172006.html
    “`I`ve never sent anyone on a suicide mission,` he told CBS News. `If one of my sons came to me and asked me that, I wouldn`t even consider giving him my blessing.`

    “CBS quoted Israeli officials as saying they have no evidence connecting Haniyeh to any terror attacks. ”

    Haniyeh was elected in a clean process the US blessed, only to pull the rug out from under the Palestinians for not voting for the right guys.

    I’m no fan of the group, but it’s not so monolithic as we are prone to think. Read some of the writings of Haniyeh aides Ahmed Youssef & Ghazi Hamad. Read this interview with assassinated Hamas co-founder Ismail abu Shanab: http://www.opendemocracy.net/people-debate_97/article_1469.jsp

    Would you accept a medal from Shimon Peres? Read Robert Fisk on the Grapes of Wrath/Qana massacre: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/51a/005.html

  40. @Richard: At the Moscow theater two were shot after they foolishly had entered the theater and confronted the Chechens. One of the hostages was shot when he, equally foolishly, attacked one of the hostage-takers.
    That aside, I fully agree that the Russians’ “rescue” mission, likewise in Beslan, was catastrophically, criminally botched, even made worse by keeping secret the nature of the gas they used – many victims probably could’ve been saved if the doctors had had this information.
    Inhuman, incompetent, brutish indeed, but I still have to say, I’ve no taste at all for sweeping statements like “the Russians are evil”. You’d rightly object, too, if the collective target of such an epithet were “the Jews” or “the Americans” or “the Israelis”.

  41. @Alex Stein: Usually in situations like this a display problem is caused by a browser issue. What browser are you using? Are you having any similar display problems w. other sites? If you’re using IE let me know as I only look at my site in Firefox.

  42. Richard,

    I would be interested in hearing what you think of what Orgo said. Do you think Haniyeh is a terrorist or connected to terror attacks?

    Thanks.

  43. The chechen terrorists murdered three unarmed men before the Russian assault and fiddler thinks they are victims of their own foolishness and RS apparently agrees (and in Beslan they murdered even more people) . That’s what I call twisted moral thinking. Do you think the passengers on flight 93 were also foolish. Afterall, they were all killed as well.
    A hostage situation is one where the hostage takers threaten to kill all the hostages if their demands are not met. As far as I’m concerned, the Russians rescued hundreds of people in these two situations (Moscow theater and Beslan). It is the height of arrogance for the two of you to judge the execution of the rescue mission since I assume neither of you have any experience or expertise in these kinds of assignments. But even if, with aftersight, they did botch it up the moral stand of people trying to rescue hostages is far higher than those taking the hostages.
    I’m a little old fashioned. I admire people who have courage and go into burning buildings to save people or storm buildings full of explosives to rescue hostages. On the other hand, I find people who sail the Mediterranean Sea in boats full of balloons in order to hug, kiss and receive medals from the head of an organization who’s main contribution to the world is to figure how to kill the maximum number of people on a crowded bus or restaurant to be quite contemptible.

  44. @Kane: Haniyeh is less connected to terror attacks than Yitzchak Shamir was. Let me make clear that I’m no friend of Hamas. I wish there were another authentic, popular grassroots Palestinian political movement instead of it. I don’t like their politics or their willingness to embrace armed violent resistance. That being said, they ARE an authentic, grassroots popular movement. Until some other group can beat them in a legitimate election, they should be recognized as a legitimate government.

  45. @amir:

    in Beslan they murdered even more people

    That’s NOT what I recall. I’d challenge you to prove that charge.

    You’re weakly attempting to change the terms of the debate. The Russian’s killed 60 times as many as the Moscow theater kidnappers did. I don’t think someone who resists being kidnapped is foolish. But you’re evading the main issue, which is Russian brutality & ineptitude.

    In the Moscow theater situation I believe almost all the hostages were killed. So much for “rescuing hundreds of people.” Oh & by the way, the next time you’re held hostage by anyone I’ll give you a choice if you’d prefer to be rescued by Russian forces or Israeli. If you’re so pleased w. the Russian record you shouldn’t have a problem w. choosing the Russians, right?

    It is the height of arrogance for the two of you to judge the execution of the rescue mission

    No, actually it’s the height of common sense. Fiddler & I have observed the Russian bear for decades & we, as opposed to you, know precisely what we’re dealing with. But as with yr myopia about Israeli actions & policies, you have similar vision problems regarding seeing Russian behavior for what it is.

    I notice you’ve refused to address Zionist terror attacks used duing the movement to create the State of Israel. Did you have a problem w. those? If not, you have no right to complain about Chechens resisting Russian domination. THe Russian record in Chechnya is abominable. Chechens had a right to resist. I don’t approve of kidnapping. But I don’t approve of mass executions, rape & sheer terror on the scale the Russians have used either.

    I admire people who have courage and go into burning buildings to save people

    Do you admire people who attempt to rescuse hostages & in the course of doing so actually themselves set the building on fire thereby killing 230 innocent hostages? That’s what happened in Beslan.

    As for being contemptible. I think some of us here when searching for people who are contemptible might be more likely to find them here in this comment thread.

  46. @amir: Actually it were two men and a woman who were killed. I don’t condone these killings, let alone the taking of hostages in the first place, I’m just saying that any reasonable person must have known that under the circumstances the likelihood of them being shot was extremely high, and conversely the likelihood of succeeding in whatever they were attempting to do, close to zero. In a more cynical mood than I’m in I’d consider them candidates for a Darwin Award.

    I’m not an expert on hostage situations. There are however many aspects that you don’t have to be an expert to consider:
    Lack of ambulances: The number of people in the theater was known, yet even at the time of the raid there were far too few ambulances and doctors at the scene. Victims had to be packed in commandeered buses, some who initially had survived choked to death on their vomit, etc. That’s imaginable in a remote village like Beslan, but Moscow, for Pete’s sake?
    The gas: The Russians knew what it was, yet gave no information to the doctors, which, in all likelihood, lead to further deaths. It has since been suggested the gas was a fentanyl derivate aerosole. These are synthetic, very powerful opiates. Most every doctor can tell you about the consequences of opiate overdose, and the common antidote, naloxone, must have been widely available in a city like Moscow. Yet it wasn’t administered because the docs were prevented from knowing the cause of the poisoning. (Naloxone without opiate poisoning is in itself toxic, so it can’t be given “just in case”.)
    The use of such a chemical agent, whatever it was, was in any case a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, of which Russia is a member.

    The summary execution of most of the subdued, unconcious Chechens was murder in my book.

    The disinformation campaign in the aftermath, including holding the injured victims incommunicado in the hospitals, even preventing family from seeing them, was wholly unjustifiable.

    Aleksander Litvinenko, who was spectacularly murdered last year, and others, have alleged there had been FSB agents among the Chechens (who escaped the raid or were spirited away by their buddies), suggesting the (or some) Russian authorities had been in from the start on the plan, even that one agent provocateur had suggested the theater as a target in the first place. I’m in no position to judge these allegations, I’d just mention them.

  47. Since Richard Silverstein calims to know so much about this I am surprised he can’t even quote the FreeGaza.org website honestly
    It clearly says they have spent $500,000 dollars and that they have only raised $250,000.
    What other facts is he distorting if he canlt even get that right?
    The number of lies being published about this mission are mind-blowing

    From the claim that the people aboard are all “human rights WORKERS” to an article on the Comment is Free Guardian website by Osama Qashoo Saturday August 23 2008 saying the vessels are carrying humanitarian and medical aid (200 children’s hearing aids and 5000 balloons!!!??) to many other claims of being the first to break a blockade, there is no end to the imagination of those trying to disguise their obvious disappointment that they were not challenged or stopped by the Israelis. What a waste of $500,000 dollars.
    The hearing aids were a clear propaganda stunt about which Lauren Booth spoke in one of her radio interviews, claiming it was for children whose hearing has been damaged by explosions. No doubt many of them suffered when bombmaking factories, and explosives being carried in cars etc or being made in front rooms exploded prematurely

  48. @Joy Wolfe:

    Read this from the Jerusalem Post:

    The Free Gaza group initially said it would make the trip in two Greek-flagged boats, after raising most of the $300,000 needed for the voyage.

    So much for my lies…unless that is, yr beloved right wing Jerusalem Post is lying as well.

    When I last visited the FGM site about a week ago, the amount was $300,000. They clearly spent more since then. Or is it so hard for you to believe that in a project like this their expenses could rise from $300,000 to $550,000? I still don’t find this an inordinate sum considering the billiions Israel spends on building the Separation Wall and other such tools of occupation.

    Children’s hearing aids are both humanitarian and medical aid. I’d venture to say if your child was deaf and medical care was denied you by an occupying power that you’d consider such aid both blessed and humanitarian. But far be it from me to ask you to place yrself in the shoes of someone you clearly loathe.

    As for being the first to break the blockage–who else broke it before them? Or are you claiming that by reaching Gaza they didn’t breach it? That would be a good trick but I’m sure you can manage it somehow. Thankfully, the rest of the world knows what really happened even if you deny it.

  49. Don’t make judgements about who I loathe because you are totally wrong and totally out of order.
    Do you really think that 200 hearing aids were what the Gazans were expecting? In any event when the set out the claim was 2000 hearing aids What happened to the other 1800?
    Actually Peace Now went to Gaza some months ago.
    My point was that they did not have to do anything to “break the ‘alleged’ blockade” as to their clear sdisappointment their hope that they would be stopped by the Israelis were dashed so there was nothing to break.
    fortunately there are many like me who saw this for waht it was a publicity stunt gone wrong because it did not draw the confrontation hoped for.
    I’m surprised it is over a weeek since you have updated your misinformation of the Free Gaza website

  50. “Do you really think that 200 hearing aids were what the Gazans were expecting?”

    ANYONE who has paid attention to the collective punishments, incursions, starvation, closures, intimidations, sonic booms, concussion grenades, low flying fighters and apache helicopters that terrify children, ad nauseum,
    the GAZANS were expecting NOTHING, except perhaps more DEATH and CASUALTIES…at the least. They were overjoyed to WELCOME humane people who came to say “you are not forgotten by the world”. And risked their lives to say so.

    “their hope that they would be stopped by the Israelis were dashed so there was nothing to break.”
    As with your other previous cynical and sarcastic comments, that the participants went knowing NOTHING except that they might die in the effort. tremendous courage to go despite the intimidation and bullying threats by the Israeli military and establishment. How many non violent or innocent have been abused, wounded or killed before you acknowledge the courage needed to go forward. They are heroic, humane and courageous IMO.

    “a publicity stunt gone wrong because it did not draw the confrontation hoped for.”
    More cynicism and negative grousing –cannot diminish the courage or humanity of these folks…Perhaps if you were capable of comprehending THAT, they perhaps there would be no rightwing calling for more slaughter or war, and would sit down like MENSCHEN and find solutions.

  51. @Joy Wolfe:

    Don’t make judgements about who I loathe

    Oh, you mean it’s Palestinians you love but Hamas you loathe? C’mon you have about as much sympathy for a Palestinian as a dog has for a flea. If I’m wrong I’d sure like to hear of anything you’ve written or done that says otherwise.

    In any event when the set out the claim was 2000 hearing aids What happened to the other 1800?

    I never read any such claim, but if you have proof why don’t you supply it?

    Actually Peace Now went to Gaza some months ago.

    No, there was a caravan of Israelis (not Peace Now) who went to the border to deliver humanitarian aid. They didn’t cross, hence didn’t break the siege. Again, if you have evidence to the contrary pls. let us read it.

    My point was that they did not have to do anything to “break the ‘alleged’ blockade” as to their clear sdisappointment their hope that they would be stopped by the Israelis were dashed so there was nothing to break.

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say here.

    I’m surprised it is over a weeek since you have updated your misinformation of the Free Gaza website

    I’ll tell you what: if you contact the Jerusalem Post & tell them to update their site then I’ll update mine. In the meantime, I’ve got to get word out about Jeff Halper being arrested & that’s a bit more important I’m afraid.

  52. there was a caravan of Israelis (not Peace Now) who went to the border to deliver humanitarian aid. They didn’t cross, hence didn’t break the siege. Again, if you have evidence to the contrary pls. let us read it.

    Correct!!…thanks Richard for reminding…
    I can add that it was many of the SAME people who coordinated that delivery of humanitarian aid which I supported. To send desperately needed water treatment filters…so that the occupied people could drink something besides boiled sewage water…courtesy of..their occupiers.
    No electricity to operate the treatment plant -so the sewage has been flowing back into streets and homes. ….stench amongst others gifts of occupation…on of those aerial bombing–if I remember correctly–was pivotal in causing the on-going sewage backflows …as well as direct dumping of untreated sewage directly into the ocean–due to non functioning treatment facility…thus prohibiting even a simple cooling dip in the ocean for relief from the intense desert heat and lack of bathing water..after all, swimming pools in occupiers’ settlements need filling.

  53. Unfortunately Hamas were caught out manipulating a “fuel crisis” when Associated Press and Reuters both published pictures which showed there was daylight in an alleged meeting held by candlelight and an incubator which they alleged could not work because of Israeli cutting off fuel was actually working
    there was ahitch in fuel supplies when Hamas bombed the power station and also the corossing points when the fuel was being delivered. Also an article which claimed there were “no swimming pools in Gaza” was also proved with pictures to be false
    Richard, don’t bother with your usual challenge to my having proof of this. Just look it up online

  54. @Joy Wolfe:

    You remind me of the Pope who persecuted Galileo for saying the earth revolved around the sun. “The sun revolves around the earth,” he must’ve said. “Just go ask God, He’ll tell you.” You’ll have to forgive me for not believing a friggin’ word you say. I’m not looking anything up on yr behalf. If you want anyone here to believe you you’ll have to do the work & find proof for what you’re spewin’. Otherwise, you have zero credibility.

    Besides everything you say amounts to individual anecdotes. Even those are likely untrue. But even if they were they wouldn’t dismiss the suffering of 1.5 million Gazans. And didn’t you say you don’t loathe Palestinians? Yet you deny their suffering. Suffering confirmed by multiple independent sources & Israeli journalists themselves. How cruel you are.

    I’ll challenge you: if Gazans aren’t suffering would you be willing to spend a week there just to prove me wrong? I thought not. If I had the money I’d even pay yr airfare.

  55. You have a most unfortunate habit of jumping to conclusions and attributing sentiments to people you don’t agree with that are not true. If you can show me anything that I have said that says I don’t think the Palestinians are suffering I will immediately retract it
    I am very well aware of their suffering and am equally aware that conditions in Gaza are among the worst you will find in the Middle East.
    You are entirely out of order to suggest I think otherwise, and your remark about being cruel is a joke.
    This thread is about whether the unhindered arrival of two ships carrying 46 publicity seekers, and 5000 balloons does anything to alleviate the undoubted suffering of the Palestinians. It also begs the question of why the billions of international aid destined to help the Palestinian people has been misappropriated and not used to improve their lliving conditions and resettle them without forcing them to retain their refugee status as the Palestinian leadership has done since 1948. It is also about why there is a UN resolution passed at the time Israel was administering Gaza that prevented the Israelis from building improved housing, a resolution that still exists today. It also challenges why, when Israel left Gaza, greenhouses that had been bought for the Gazans by an American benefactor to provide ongoing work and remuneration were the first thing to be destroyed
    I would be happy to send you evidence in photographs of what you claim to be anectdotal stories of the electricity situation and details of the daily convoys of supplies into Gaza from Israel. Unfortuantely I can’t provide any evidence of any help that comes into Gaza from Egypt or any of the Arab countries as there isn’t any.
    JUST TO ENSURE YOU CAN’T MISQUOTE ME AGAIN
    YES I DO BELIEVE THE PALESTINIANS ARE SUFFERING
    YES I DO CARE ABOUT THAT
    YES I DO THINK THE PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP AND HAMAS SHOULD BE DOING MORE TO ALLEVIATE THAT SUFFERING AND NOT BUILDING TUNNELS TO SMUGGLE ARMS INTO ISRAEL AND THE WEST BANK OR DIVERTING MONEY TO PRIVATE BANK ACCOUNTS
    YES I DO BELIEVE HAMAS SHOULD STOP ATTACKING CROSSING POINTS TO INTERRUPT THE FLOW OF SUPPLIES FROM ISRAEL
    YES I DO BELIEVE CROSSING POINTS SHOULD NOT BE USED BY SUICIDE BOMBERS
    YES ID OD BELIEVE THERE SHOULD BE FAR MORE GRASSROOTS COOPERATION BETWEEN ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS WHICH CAN SHOW THERE ARE REAL PROSPECTS FOR PEACE
    NO I DO NOT THINK FABRICATED PUBLICITY STUNTS DO ANYTHING TO HELP PALESTINIAN SUFFERING

    HOPE THAT COMES OVER LOUD AND CLEAR
    AND IF YOU WANT EVIDENCE OF HOW UNWRA IS AN INFLUENCE THAT PERPETRATES THE REFUGEE SITUATION THAN RELEIVING IT I CAN PROVIDE PLENTY OF EVIDENCE OF THAT TOO, NOT LEAST THEM ALLOWING TERRORIST ACTIVITY IN THE CAMPS UNDER THEIR NOSES.

    I await with interest your next distortion of you telling me what I think Hopefully others can make up their own minds, noit mine

    [ed., URL removed per comment rules]

  56. I used to have Alex’s problem when viewing the site with Netscape 7.02 – about 200 pixels’ worth of content was cut off on the left side of the screen. Here’s how I deal with the situation:

    (1) Enlarge the monitor screen resolution (in my case, from 800 X 600 to 1024 X 768) and then
    (2) enlarge the size of the browser window; finally,
    (3) enlarge (“zoom”) the text size if it’s too small for your tastes.

    Kudos go to an Apple discussion forum for pointing this solution out to me.

  57. @Andy:

    Ah, I see what could be the problem. Most WordPress themes are designed for 800×600 res. But because my posts are usually on the long side I’ve widened the text box fr. the standard so that it’s designed for 1024×768. That may be why some folks using smaller screen res are having problems. I apologize for that & hope Andy’s fix works for you.

  58. @Joy Wolfe:

    If you can show me anything that I have said that says I don’t think the Palestinians are suffering

    Gee, I don’t know…maybe it’s because you’ve denigrated Palestinian suffering every chance you’ve gotten & written about it as if it were a hoax perpetrated on world opinion. Until this comment you haven’t expressed a scintilla of concern or even belief that there such suffering going on. So we can only judge you by what you write & not read yr mind. And you’ve written nothing that would show any belief in the legitimacy of Palestinian claims that they are suffering. In fact, I think you’re schizoid about it. You acknowledge it, but then you belittle it. But you can’t have it both ways. They’re either suffering or they’re not.

    why the billions of international aid destined to help the Palestinian people has been misappropriated

    I’ll repeat: ANYTHING you write here by way of making claims will be totally discounted w/o providing proof of said claim. You made this claim before. I asked for proof. You provided none. You made the claim again & still provided none. I’m getting tired of this. So next time you make a claim & don’t provide evidence I’ll consider turning off yr right to continue commenting in this thread (though you may comment elsewhere here). Remember, EVIDENCE.

    improve their lliving conditions and resettle them

    Ah, I see. You’re one of those who favors “resettling” Palestinians anywhere but where they already live–like Saudi Arabia or maybe Uganda (remember Herzl’s proposal?). Well, that one won’t fly. Israel’s gonna have to accept the fact that these refugees are Palestinian & going to stay Palestinians, which means they’ll be staying right where they are & Israel will just have to deal with it. Palestinians don’t live their lives at the convenience of Israelis like you who prefer they would just “go away.”

    It is also about why there is a UN resolution passed at the time Israel was administering Gaza that prevented the Israelis from building improved housing

    Again, because you provide no link or evidence I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    why, when Israel left Gaza, greenhouses that had been bought for the Gazans by an American benefactor to provide ongoing work and remuneration

    Gaza is under siege & Israel lets nothing in or out (especially out) so even if the greenhouses WERE functioning, they couldn’t get their products to market. Therefore, no work & no remuneration. So if you want to blame the Palestinians for their own suffering as you clearly want to do, you’ll have to go back to square one & come up w. something more convincing.

    NOT BUILDING TUNNELS TO SMUGGLE ARMS INTO ISRAEL

    Writing in capital letters is FLAMING. Do not FLAME in this blog. Mind your manners please.

    As for the tunnels, they are used for smuggling, but not just weapons. They actually smuggle everything that the ordinary Gazan needs including food, medicine, etc. But you conveniently ignore that fact because it’s inconvenient to your hateful attitude toward the Palestinians.

    ID OD BELIEVE THERE SHOULD BE FAR MORE GRASSROOTS COOPERATION BETWEEN ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS WHICH CAN SHOW THERE ARE REAL PROSPECTS FOR PEACE

    Name me one such “grassroots cooperation” program that you support. You’ve just smeared FGM. So you ought to be able to come up w. a single credible program that you DO support. If not, your claim is meaningless.
    Do not link to propaganda sites. If you do such links will be removed. You may link to credible media or other sites. If you want to see a list of the type of partisan sites I don’t allow read my comment rules. This site does not promote the work of propaganda outfits by linking to them.

  59. This is what happened at Beslan on the first day before the Russian rescue attempt. From wikipedia (not always reliable and if you have reason to believe inacurate then I’m open to corrections)

    The attackers took approximately 1,100 to 1,200 hostages … The militants herded their captives into the school’s gym, …ordered everyone to speak in Russian and only when spoken to; when a father named Ruslan Betrozov stood to calm people and repeat the rules in the local language, Ossetic, a gunman approached and killed him with a single shot to the head. Another father named Vadim Bolloyev, who refused to kneel, was also shot and then bled to death. …After gathering the hostages in the gym, the attackers singled out among the male teachers, school employees and fathers the 15-20 strongest adults they apparently thought might represent a threat, and took them into a corridor next to the cafeteria .. where a deadly blast took place. An explosive belt on one of the female bombers detonated, killing another female bomber … and several of the selected hostages, as well as mortally wounding one male militant. According to the version presented by the surviving hostage-taker, the blast was actually triggered by Polkovnik, the group leader, …to kill those who openly disagreed about the child hostages and intimidate other possible dissenters. The hostages still alive (of the 15-20) were ordered to lie down and then shot with automatic rifle by another gunman; all but one of them were killed….

    You’re weakly attempting to change the terms of the debate.

    You’re the one doing that. I brought the topic up to demonstarte what kind of person (Basayev) Ridley admires. The brutality of the Russians is only relevant if you (like Ridley) thinks that it justifies the crimes of Basayev. I assume you don’t. I never said anything which can be considered support for the Russians in this conflict other than supporting there decision to make a rescue attempt, I may add after they negotiated a release of some of the hostages. If you only support hostage rescues when they succeed (like at Entebe) then you are allowing yourself a privilage that actual decision makers never have.

  60. Rescue operations, apparently, are rather difficult and dangerous. Remember the failed rescue attempt when Jimmy Carter was president. Remember Waco. I think a little humility is in order when criticizing these kind of missions.

  61. @amir:

    The brutality of the Russians is only relevant if you (like Ridley) thinks that it justifies the crimes of Basayev.

    Now it’s getting silly. Either you’re fine with brutal crimes as a means to an end or you’re not. You claim Richard thinks that Russian crimes justify Chechen crimes, and in the same breath you justify Russian brutality as long as it serves an end that you support. That way all atrocities in the world end up justifying each other mutually.
    Time to revisit Albert Camus, especially his “Letters to a German Friend” and “Why Spain”, an answer to Gabriel Marcel’s complaint that Camus’ anti-totalitarian play, L’état de siège, was set in Franco’s Spain instead of the USSR.
    (Does anyone know if Why Spain is published online anywhere?)

    As for conditioning support of hostage rescue missions on their success, I don’t do that. (Richard can speak for himself, but I don’t think he does either.) I appreciate the fact that such missions can fail, what’s important though is if they are conducted competently and in good faith. About Beslan I know too little, but in the cases of the Moscow theater and Waco you’ll excuse me if I have my doubts on both counts.

  62. “justify Russian brutality as long as it serves an end that you support”

    That’s right, rescuing hostages is an end I support.
    Don’t you?

    I don’t see the Russioan response as a crime even if it was conducted incompetently.
    If a guy has six years to build a bridge, selld all the good materials he was given to buy shoddy material and pocket the profits, hires high school drop outs at minimun wage and then is surprised when the bridge collapses with all the people on it, then yes that is criminal.
    But when a guy has 2 or 3 days to figure out how to rescue a thousand civilians in rooms full of explosive held by religious zealots on a martyrdom mission while knowing that many of the soldiers he sends on the mission will lose their lives, well, in these cases I tend to give a little slack.

  63. @amir: I’m sorry. If the Russians had any humility they wouldn’t be in some of the brutal, murderous situations in which they find themselves. They are the ones who need to exercise more caution, planning, competence, & humility.

  64. @amir: Why have you focussed solely on the behavior of the hostage takers to the exclusion of the “rescuers?” A total of 230 or so people were killed in that operation–far, far more by the “rescue” than by the kidnappers.

    I don’t in any way justify or condone those deaths btw. I merely say that the Russians were both an initial cause of the operation through their brutal occupation of Chechnya & that their “cure” regarding the rescue was worse in the toll it took than the illness itself (the kidnapping).

  65. @amir: What have the Russians ever done to deserve “slack?”

    As for planning & executing rescue missions, that’s what governments, police and the military are supposed to do. That’s their job. If they can’t execute such a mission with a bare minimum of competence then they should be sacked. If they’re not, well then their brutality is condoned by the government which hires them. In that case, such a government deserves the opprobrium of the world.

  66. Imagine that the US air force had shot down all the hijacked planes on 9-11. The lives of 3,000 innocent civilians in NYC would have been saved. Of course, nobody would know that those lives had been saved. It would look like some idiot ordered the killing of all the hostages while the kidnappers killed none of them. But today we are wiser. Had the Russians not carried out the rescue mission, isn’t it possible that the hostage takers would have killed ALL 1000 hostages and themselves. Isn’t that the scenario that the government must assume (especially since 9-11) when dealing with members of terrorists group adhering to an extremist version of Islam?

  67. To Richard
    Too right you can’t read my mind so I wish you would stop doing it.
    Clearly you don’t like it when I spell things out very clearly.
    As for organisations I support or belong to One Voice is at the forefront of bringing Israelis and Palestinians together, but of course that organisation would not commend itself to you as it is even handed and anything that has a good word to say about Israel must be an anathema to you
    Same goes for Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), and its founder Gershon Baskin. Perhaps you are familiar with Canon Andrew White and the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East.
    But then again that wouldn’t be anti Israel enough for you to associate with
    Why not link to Libby and Len Traubman who send around a regular newsletter highlighting many of the good Israeli/Palestinian initiatives that are going on in Israel, the Palestinian Authority area and around the world. I can let you have their details if you are interested
    Take a look at http://janip.net/ JANIP
    JANIP supports a negotiated two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, based on an end to occupation and the right of both peoples to self-determination within recognized, secure borders. As scholars and teachers who are committed to Israel, we seek to inject a voice of realism and moderation into the on-campus debate, which too often has been reduced to a choice between uncompromisingly pro-Israel vs. pro-Palestinian positions.
    Again this will be something you will fid hard to swqllow
    And finally why not walk into any Israeli hospital and see the Jewish and Palestinian doctors working side by side to save lives, sending teams around the world to carry out humanitarian medical procedures, or go on the wards to see Muslim and Jewish mothers having babies next to each other, and being treated together.
    You may also like to visit Neve Shalom
    But Idoubt with all the time you spend denigrating israel you have much time for anything positive.
    As I expected you cannot come up with a single quote where you can demonstrate I have no regard for Palestinian suffering
    And your credibility sinks to below zero if you do not know that millions of dollars have been used inappropriately depriving the people of much aid.
    The World Bank refused to sign off the EU accounts because they were not satisfied that aid to the Palestinians had been properly accounted for. Arafat had millions in his Swiss accounts and his widow was at his bedside only to receive her annual millions after his death.
    In Arafat’s compound there were papers showing thousands of dollars were being paid to fictitious employees
    If as you would like us to believe money was all used for legitimate purposes, why is there no evidence of the the benefits to the Palestinian people?
    It is all too easy for you to dismiss anything that does not suit your agenda
    There is plenty of photographic evidence of arms smuggling through the tunnels but not one thing showing food etc goes through it as you claim.
    In your usual way you have deliberately misread my comment regarding resettling and I am sure you knew I meant resettling them in decent housing and infrastructure within their own areas where thay currently are living. Actually I can never understand why their living conditions weren’t improved when they were totally under the control and protection of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. There was absolutely nothing preventing the building of decent homes then except the desire to sustain a “refugee problem”

    Just to make it crystal clear for the record I am 100 per cent against resettlement anywhere outside the Palestinian Authority area so please do not twist my words yet again
    Hope an article from the Guardian with direct quotes from the Palestinian Attorney General will serve to convince you about the corruption, but no doubt you’ll wriggle out of that
    Link to full article
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/feb/06/israel No way you can write this off as a propaganda site!!!!

    Palestinian Authority ‘may have lost billions’• Corruption inquiry sees 25 arrests and 10 warrants
    • Graft concerns helped Hamas to victory at pollsChris McGreal in Jerusalem The Guardian, Monday February 6 2006 Article historyThe Palestinian attorney general said he had uncovered the theft or misuse of $700m (£400m) of public funds, and suspects much more has gone missing, in an inquiry into widespread official corruption. Ahmed al-Meghami said billions of dollars may have been misappropriated in total and that his office has ordered 25 arrests to date and issued 10 international warrants relating to fraud within the Palestinian Authority (PA).
    The announcement comes less than a fortnight after Hamas’s sweeping victory in parliamentary elections that is mostly attributed to widespread unhappiness at graft among some Palestinian leaders.

    Mr Meghami said that in December that the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who is not tainted by corruption accusations, asked him to delay a public announcement about the investigation until after the election because he feared it would be seen as a ploy to win votes.”
    I realise it will painful for you to have to accept irrefutable evidence that your denial has caught up with you.
    I can assure you I can provided backing for everything I have said that you choose to dismiss because you don’t like the truth.
    So go challenge that comment of the Palestinian Attorney General published by the most pro Palestinian paper in the UK and one of their most negative reporters regarding Israel
    As soon as I can track it I will get you the UN resolution number you chose to say you had no idea what I was talking about.
    Your constant dismissive attitude about anything that doesn’t suit your biased agenda merely shows up your ignorance of the facts and hopefully open-minded people will come to realise that. Not that I suspect many open minded people bother with your site which I had the misfortune to fall upon by accident.

    I look forward to how you challenge some of the hard evidence I have provided, but I have no doubt you will.

  68. Interesting this is the first time the “Your comment is awaiting moderation” has come up
    No doubt moderation entails censorship of anything that gives hard evidence of firm proof to back up my arguments
    Watch this space

  69. Evidence of UN resolutions demanding Israel stops building decent housing in Gaza and returns the refugees to their camps and temporary shelters

    UN resolution
    A/RES/31/15(A-E)
    23 November 1976

    . Calls once more upon Israel:

    (a) To take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they were removed in the Gaza Strip and to provide adequate shelters for their accommodation;

    (b) To desist from further removal of refugees and destruction of their shelters;

    While the PLO has done its best to keep Palestinians in refugee camps, Israel has done its best to move Palestinians out of the camps and into new homes. Israel even started a heavily subsidized “build-your-own-home” program for Palestinian refugees. According to an early description of the program:

    Nine new residential schemes have been built so far, housing some ten thousand families that have chosen to vacate the camps. Each family was given a plot of land with full infrastructure…

    The new neighborhoods were built on state land within municipal areas near the camps, and each had an electricity network, water and a sanitation system … a road system, paved sidewalks and developed surroundings. Public buildings were constructed in each neighborhood such as modern schools, health clinics and shopping centers, and land was allocated for mosques.

    … As soon as his house is built, the refugee becomes the full property owner, and in due course his property is registered in the Land Register. (Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, 1967 – 1987; Israel, Ministry of Defense, 1987)

    Sheik Radwan, Gaza: New houses for Palestinian refugees built by Israel. (1977, Moshe Milner) Sheik Radwan, Gaza: Road construction in neighborhood built for Palestinian refugees by Israel (1977, Moshe Milner)

    The vacated homes in the refugee camps were taken down with the goal of eventually creating enough open space so that the camps themselves could be rebuilt as further new neighborhoods for the refugees.

    It’s not surprising that the PLO vehemently opposed this program – after all, former residents of a refugee camp, now living in a nice home in a new neighborhood, would have a stake in supporting peace and opposing violence, exactly the opposite of the PLO’s strategy.

    What is perhaps surprising is that the United Nations also opposed the program, and passed harsh resolutions demanding that Israel remove the Palestinians from their new homes and return them to the squalid camps. For example, UN General Assembly Resolution 31/15 of Nov. 23, 1976:

    Calls once more upon Israel:

    (a) To take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they were removed in the Gaza Strip and to provide adequate shelters for their accommodation;

    (b) To desist from further removal of refuges and destruction of their shelters.

    Similarly, UNGA Resolution 34/52 of November 23, 1979 declared that:

    measures to resettle Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip away from their homes and property from which they were displaced constitute a violation of their inalienable right to return;

    1. Calls once more upon Israel to desist from removal and resettlement of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip and from destruction of their shelters;

    Perhaps thanks to this support from the UN, the PLO began threatening to kill any refugee who would move out of the camps.

  70. @amir: You seem to enjoy creating hypothetical situations. The only problem is that you’re comparing apples with oranges. Al Qaeda doesn’t operate like the Chechen rebels (despite yr apparent claim that all “extremist Muslims” must be the same), who have a history of kidnapping operations which is, or should be known to the Russians. Unlike Al Qaeda, they don’t kill all their hostages. It’s the Russians who tend to do that–during their rescues.

    So Russia knew to a large extent what type of kidnapping situation they’d be dealing w. since they’ve experienced a number of high profile kidnapping situations involving Chechen militants. The fact that the former dealt with all of them in the same brutal fashion only indicates how obtuse they are & how little they learn from their experiences.

  71. @Joy Wolfe:

    Israel has done its best to move Palestinians out of the camps and into new homes.

    This is rich. You’re actually claiming Israel offered to build new homes for Gazans??? Surely, you must be joking. Palestinians & even Israeli Arabs literally can’t build any new construction in Israel or the Territories because Israel refuses to issue licenses. And you have the chutzpah to claim that Israel actually did, or wanted to build new homes for Gazans in Gaza??? Do pls. provide me a single shred of evidence of this.

    Nine new residential schemes have been built so far, housing some ten thousand families that have chosen to vacate the camps. Each family was given a plot of land with full infrastructure

    Joy, Joy, Joy…what do you take us for? Fools. Why didn’t you tell us you were using CAMERA as yr source? You expect anyone here to believe a single word from that sack of Israel-First ideology? Really, Joy. I can see why you refused to provide a link to them because you’d prob. read my comment rules which specifically note which partisan groups can’t be quoted here as credible sources. Guess who’s among them? CAMERA. What a surprise. And you feel they’re convincing evidence to buttress yr argument.

    A word of advice: don’t quote from CAMERA here again. There are actual credible resources even right wingers like yrself can use to provide evidence for yr perspective. If you’ve got to resort to CAMERA then you’re a) really desperate & b) don’t care about truth or accuracy.

  72. @Joy Wolfe: Oh please. Don’t flatter yrself. You’ve written nearly 10 comments in this thread yet you intimate there’s censorship here. Don’t be ridiculous.

    If you use an IP address never registered by my spam filter it moderates yr comment. So stop getting melodramatic & imagining yrself the victim of a conspiracy.

  73. @Joy Wolfe:

    One Voice is at the forefront of bringing Israelis and Palestinians together, but of course that organisation would not commend itself to you as it is even handed and anything that has a good word to say about Israel must be an anathema to you

    What was it you just said about not presuming to know what you believe? Yet you stupidly presume I don’t support One Voice (which I do). As for saying a good word about Israel–I say good words when they’re warranted. Besides, you haven’t read enough of my posts to know whether I do say a good word or not (I do).

    BTW, Jeremiah, Isaiah & Amos were castigated by their brethren for the same reason: they weren’t sufficiently pro-Israel; too much criticism. Their peers wanted to hear good news fr. them & all they heard instead was carping. Spinoza too said things his fellow Jews didn’t want to hear. So they flayed him in the same way you try to flay me. But I’d rather be on their side than yours any day. I know which side history will vindicate & it won’t be yours.

    And listen my friend, you’ve caught yrself out in commending the Traubmans to our attention. They are friends of mine. Their views of the conflict are, if anything, more strenuous than mine. You can’t possibly have anything in common with any initiative of theirs. And if you do then you don’t know anything about their politics & they don’t anything about yours. I’ll be talking to them about you to find out if you’re all mouth or whether you’ve ever actually DONE anything to help them.

    And finally why not walk into any Israeli hospital and see the Jewish and Palestinian doctors working side by side to save lives

    Well, not precisely. Palestinian doctors can’t work in Israel. But you may mean Israeli Arab doctors. If so, I would concede there may be handful in Israel. But given that 20%+ of Israelis are Arab would you care to hazard a guess as to what percentage of Israeli doctors are Arab? How much lower than 20% would it be?? Would it even be 1%? And if so, why would that be? Don’t paint a pretty picture of Israeli society that isn’t justified by facts. I don’t mind someone praising Israel, but do it w. facts on yr side.

    You may also like to visit Neve Shalom

    Don’t talk to me about Israeli peace organizations. Believe me, I’ve been supporting them since the late 1960s. I’ve supported Neve Shalom since it was founded. Your views have nothing to do with what Neve Shalom stands for. If you forwarded yr comments in this thread to any member of Neve Shalom they’d blanche at reading yr views.

    Basically, you’ve just listed a catalogue of the few peace groups you know. You haven’t proven that you’ve actually done a thing to support them. But I’d really like to know what specifically you have done to support a single one of these groups. If you have, more power to you. If you haven’t, shame on you for pretending that you have.

    We’re talking about Gaza, remember? Hamas runs Gaza, not Fatah. I’m not going to defend Fatah as I think they’re, with a few exceptions, a bunch of corrupt thugs. You specifically claimed that HAMAS had misappropriated aid funds. Not that Arafat had. I asked you to prove that HAMAS had committed these acts. Not to prove that Arafat had. You are trying to smear Hamas, remember? So let’s stick to Hamas for the sake of argument.

    There is plenty of photographic evidence of arms smuggling through the tunnels but not one thing showing food etc goes through it as you claim

    Sloppy, Joy–very sloppy. This from the pro-Bush neocon Washington Times:

    An elaborate network of tunnels from Egypt has become the primary transport route for commercial goods entering the Gaza Strip, enabling the area’s Hamas rulers to maintain a rudimentary economy in the face of an Israeli embargo.

    Food products, machinery parts, raw materials and even antibiotics are delivered to Gaza through the tunnels…

    Care to retract that statement??

    As you seem to have a major case of logorhea, I’m going to impose a limit on you. You can write one more comment in this thread & then you are done in this thread. If you do not honor this request your privilege to continue commenting in this thread will be revoked. You’ve enjoyed the privilege of publishing several thousand words in this comment thread. Move on to another thread or risk the revocation of yr privileges. Oh & by the way, do feel free to complain about censorship. But before you do, note that I specifically mention this provision meant for the few obsessive compulsives like you who seek to regurgitate endlessly here.

  74. No I don’t care to retract as we are talking tunnels into israel and you refer to tunnels from Egypt
    As expected you asked for evidence and then conveniently ignore acknowledging anything I provided evidence for
    And yes I do regularly hear from Libby and Len by email, and use the information they provide in my talks and emails as I firmly beleive the way forward is through cooperation between people and not arguments between politicians
    Actually after your last reply I was done anyway, and do not consider you cuttinbg me off censorship but a compliment as you clearly don;t like being challenged.
    Privileges? Do you seriously suggest it is a privilege to be on a site like yours. More a penalty

  75. @Joy Wolfe:

    Do you seriously suggest it is a privilege to be on a site like yours. More a penalty

    So that would make you a serious masochist.

    I’ll send your regards to Len & Libby. I can’t imagine why they’d have anything to do with you.

    I note in yr reply that you didn’t actually name anything you’d done on behalf on any of the peace organizations you listed as ones you respect. Which would make you a big talker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: