UPDATE VI: Israeli Channel 2 reports 20 murdered via Dimi Reider
UPDATE V: New Hasbara effort to blame victims for their murder. IDF claims activists attempted to wrestle IDF arms away from soldiers. I urge every journalist who reports this story to remember the history of lies for which the IDF is known in such embarrassing situations. This report is NOT verified or authenticated and should not be treated as such.
UPDATE IV: Bitter historical irony–remember the Holocaust survivors who ran the British blockade of Palestine in order to reach freedom? What has Israel done? What has it become? H/t Dan Sieradski
UPDATE III: Maariv reports IDF threatened use of live fire against Gaza flotilla before ships departed:
“We have a very great fear of acts of terror being perpetrated from these ships. We have no idea whether terrorists may’ve boarded these boats,” explained a senior officer. “We wish to avoid the use of force, but at the moment there is a danger to life for our troops, we will use live fire.”
In the language of the IDF, this was not a threat, this was a promise.
UPDATE II: The Hasbara apparatus is in full throttle. Maariv reports that foreign news sources (which it conveniently does not name) report that IDF soldiers were fired on by those within the ship. Others report 2 IDF soldiers lightly wounded. Israeli Army Radio reports IDF was confronted by attackers “with sharp objects.” This is true desperation. Blame the victims for their own murder.
UPDATE I: Haaretz reports via Turkish media that 10 have been killed. Dozens storm Israeli consulate in Istanbul in protest.
UPDATE: The BBC is reporting that the first group of six ships was intercepted by the Israeli navy 90 miles off the Gaza coast in international waters. This is certainly a violation of maritime laws as Israel has absolutely no right nor justification for such intervention. Israel itself had lengthened its claim to 68 miles offshore. The Twitter feed reports killed and wounded in the IDF attack. Haaretz reports that two have been killed (or I should say murdered since these were unarmed civilians and the IDF knew this). I have viewed a Turkish video feed which appears to show at least one dead boy on board. Let us add this to the list of Israeli crimes against international law. Other reports note that the ship attacks was Turkish, thus adding to the severity of the incident. Does Israel think that Turkey will take this lying down? And by the way, for those pro-Israel types who wish to claim Gaza is NOT occupied, this intervention gives the lie to this.
A large flotilla of about 10 ships carrying 700 international peace activists and 10,000 tons of supplies has set out to break the Gaza siege. The drama should be played out sometime this weekend as Israel mounts a massive military operation to interdict the dangerous insurrectionists who threaten the very fiber of the Jewish state. A Tweet from an hour ago says the lead ship has been contacted by the Israeli navy and expects “intervention” imminently. Check the WitnessGaza site for updates.
The Israeli press has been full of breathless speculation on the motivation of the Turkish government in fomenting this project which is designed, or so the story goes, to topple the Israeli government. The Israeli navy has been training divers and special ops personnel, they’ve activated the prison commandos and K-9 attacks dogs for the dangerous job of interdicting the ships and preventing them from reaching the land of Hamas, where they will surely put their expert hands to work building Qassams and exacerbating the reign of terror on southern Israel.
For a dose of reality, here is a report on the scene in Cyprus from reader Mary Hughes:
I am in Cyprus monitoring our flotilla boats as they are being hassled and threatened by Israeli gunships and helicopters in international waters. We understand Israel announced today it has extended its territorial water to 68 miles.
The phones are ringing off the hook as reporters from around the world try to get latest updates, which are coming in with some irregularity.
I myself didn’t get on one of our boats yesterday because the Greek Cypriot authorities, and later the Turkish Greek authorities suddenly decided it wasn’t in their best interests to let us leave from Cypriot waters. All of our previous boats to Gaza have left from here, though we know Israel has continuously pressured the authorities here to block our departure. So I am busy in the Free Gaza office in Cyprus
instead of on one of our boats as I had planned. We have two more boats that will follow (from other locations) in the next few days, and Insha’Allah I will be on board one of them.
Nsiyah tovah, Mary. Go in peace and return in peace.
For a small bit of Israeli sanity in a sea of stupidity read Gideon Levy on the flotilla.