The U.S. and Israel are afraid of Hope.
Greece is in a dire economic position, teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and threatening to bring down the entire EU currency in the process. As a result, the government is particularly vulnerable to diplomatic blackmail of the sort Israel and the U.S. are employing to prevent the sailing of several ships of the Gaza Flotilla, in particular the U.S. Audacity of Hope:
Passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, are asking Greek government officials to clarify whether the[ir] boat…is being blocked from leaving Greece because of…a political decision has been made by the Greek government in response to U.S. and Israeli government pressure. They specifically want to know if the U.S. is using its leverage at the International Monetary Fund over the implementation of an ongoing bailout of European banks with massive Greek debts to compel the Greek government to block the U.S. Boat to Gaza from leaving Greece.
On the morning of June 23, the American passengers learned that a “private complaint” had been filed against the U.S. Boat to Gaza, which is part of an international flotilla scheduled to sail to Gaza in the next few days. This complaint, its origin still unknown to the Americans, claimed that the boat is “not seaworthy” and therefore requires a detailed inspection. On June 25 a police order declared that until the complaint is resolved the boat will not be permitted to leave.
[Is] Israel, which has extensive economic trade and investments in Greece…using its clout to pressure the Greek government…[Or is] the Obama Administration…using U.S. leverage at the IMF to compel the Greek authorities to stop the U.S. boat from leaving Greece. Greece’s economic and political crisis is a result of extreme austerity measures imposed by the European Union and the largely U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund…
As I’ve written here, Israel is known for using economic clout and blandishments to induce other states to do its bidding. An Israeli source confirmed to me that Ukraine had agreed to the extraordinary rendition of Dirar Abusisi in return for various trade pacts and lobbying help and access in Washington DC. Some are speculating that Israel might’ve agreed to lobby various European countries on behalf of Turkey’s candidacy for the EU in return for that country pulling the plug on its own contingent in the Gaza Flotilla.
Greece of course is stuck in a particular bind because it is hanging by a hair economically. It doesn’t need the distraction of Israeli threats to its further damage its economy should it allow the U.S. boat to depart for Gaza. It seems that at least in this particular matter, Israel and the U.S. have Greece by the short hairs and the Gaza Flotilla suffers the consequences of such bad timing.
Israel is attempting to play hardball by threatening international journalists covering the Flotilla with a ten year ban from entering the country and confiscation (that is, “theft”) of their equipment. I’m wondering what they plan to do with the journalists like Amira Hass, Joseph Dana and Mya Guarnieri, who are Israeli citizens covering the trip. Maybe they will ban them from their own country a la apartheid era South Africa or Soviet Russia?
Lest Israel crow about its victory, it should be remembered that generally Israel’s timing is pretty bad on similar matters and that the next time it gets into a similar scrape there may be others qvelling from the pain Israel inflicts on itself.
There is a saying I think I remember Bobby Kennedy using in his speeches about racial injustice: “Justice delayed in justice denied.” In the case of the flotilla, even if the Israelis and Obama administration succeed by subterfuge to frustrate the aims of the Flotilla, they have not excused the fundamental injustice of the Gaza siege and Israel’s overall policy toward Palestine. The nasty boil remains on the body politic. Refusing the aggressive treatment offered by the Flotilla doesn’t conceal the fact that the Occupation and siege are part of a terrible illness that afflicts Israel. The illness won’t go away. It remains for all to see. The Israelis will happily point to their success in cancelling the sailing of Hope. But what sort of victory have they won? At best, it’s Pyrrhic.
Show your support for the brave Flotilla activists and your opposition to the empty threats and lies of the U.S. and Israeli governments. Make a donation to support the cause. A friend of this blog, Mary Hughes Thompson sails on the Canadian boat, Tahrir. You may support it here.