The Greek government has now become a direct accomplice of the Israeli plan to sabotage the Gaza flotilla. When the Audacity of Hope set sail earlier today from its Greek port, a Coast Guard boat intercepted it followed by another full of Greek commandos. Apparently a nation teetering on the brink of bankruptcy can muster armed to the teeth commandos to commandeer an unarmed civilian vessel full of peace activists. Instead of saving its country from impending collapse, Greece is petrified of 60 American peace activists in a small boat sailing to Gaza. For shame. But this is what happens when your country has mortgaged its future through economic indulgence, leaving itself open to the pressure, blandishments, and extortion of other nations.
Netanyahu recently decided to come to the aid of his newfound friend in a meeting of foreign ministers and European leaders, imploring them to provide Greece with financial aid.
“Netanyahu has become Greece’s lobbyist to the European Union,” an Israeli diplomat said.
In recent weeks, as efforts to stop the impending pro-Palestinian flotilla to Gaza came to a head, Netanyahu reaped the benefits of his investment in Israel-Greece ties and his gamble on the European country paid off.
Several of Israel’s good friends among my readers have taken me to task for my alleged fantasies about collusion between Israel and Greece and my claim (along with that of the Flotilla organizers) that Greece’s current financial crisis has virtually forced it into Israel’s embrace. Now we have our proof.
Further, Mary Hughes-Thompson, a co-founder of the Gaza Flotilla movement and a passenger on the Canadian boat, Tahrir (also stopped by the Greeks), writes this tonight:
After more than a week of stalling by the Greek authorities, while we were required to produce one form, one authorization, one receipt, one piece of paper after another… and inspection after inspection even though our boat had already passed inspection by the Greeks a few days earlier… yesterday while I was on board doing my “security boat-watch shift,” we were boarded by officials from the coast guard.
After much discussion between the officials and our captain…we realized it wasn’t about pieces of paper or inspections but was in fact a decision already made some days ago that no boat would be allowed to leave Greece with a destination of Gaza. We quickly mobilized all our delegates to come to the boat with banners and flags, Banners were hung around the boat, we chanted: FREE GAZA, FREE THE FLOTILLA. Meantime a huge Coast Guard vessel passed in front the TAHRIR and clearly intended to block us if we tried to leave the port (as the U.S. boat had already done, though we didn’t realize it yet.)
The Opinionator blog wrote earlier today, in a post that otherwise tried to have it both ways and convinced few, about Greece’s decline from the heights of western civilization to its current low state:
Greece, the country that is ever revered as the cradle of democracy, philosophy and pretty much the entirety of Western civilization (no oxymoron jokes, please), is having a tough year. A recent economic near-collapse, European bailout, the difficult passage of a raft of unpopular austerity measures and, of course, angry demonstrations, protests and bloody riots in the streets have tested the country’s fortitude.
…Scott Sayare of The Times reported the latest on Friday, and quoted one activist, who described the situation this way: “It’s like they’ve moved the blockade from Gaza to Greece.”
I can’t help the feeling that Greece is so insolvent that Israel has agreed to pay for all the expenses of mounting this military operation to sink the Hope. This has to be a new low in the foreign policy of a once proud, independent country.
The U.S. activists aboard the boat believe the government, which has no jurisdiction over the largely American passengers, will target the individual over whom they do have jurisdiction, the Greek captain. The expectation is that the government will bring charges against him and so effectively torpedo the chances that the boat can sail. It’s a nice piece of work on the government’s part. They’ve collaborated with the Israeli and U.S. governments in frustrating the peace plans of the U.S. contingent and removed yet another possible thorn in the side of the Israelis, who will have one less boat to hijack in international waters when the time comes.
As the U.S. boat of course, it was likely to garner the most media attention and leverage the most pressure on the U.S. government.
I have a modest proposal that may shock the Greeks into recognizing that they are playing with fire. There may be dock workers and port authorities in foreign countries who may not take kindly to Greece’s violation of maritime custom in this case. They might want to consider treating Greek vessels in their own ports and waters with the same “courtesy” Greece is according the Tahrir and Audacity of Hope. Two or three can play this game, Greece.
If you share my outrage, you may contact the Greek embassy (email@example.com or 202-939-1300) in Washington (or whatever country you live in) or your local Greek consulate if you live in a major U.S. city:
Consulate General – San Francisco
2441 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/sanfrancisco/
Consulate General – Los Angeles
12424 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/losangeles/
Consulate – Atlanta
Tower Place, Suite 1670 3340, Peachtree Rd., N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30326
Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/atlanta/
It appears that the current flotilla was meant to present Israel’s stupidity.
…Instead of realizing that the best way to counter a public relations flotilla is to ignore it, Israel’s PR geniuses made sure to promote the event with spine-tingling leaks to the media about flotilla members being equipped with chemical weapons, laser guns and dragons.
The only optimistic aspect of this conduct is the hope that flotilla organizers would realize that they don’t really have to sail here and get seasick and all. Their objective – isolating Israel on the international stage and driving it mad – had already been secured.