You are browsing the archive for Audacity of Hope.

by CTuttle

Audacity of Hope’s Captain Held in ‘Shocking Conditions’, And, Debunking Bronner…

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

It’s always reassuring to me when The Real News reports on the very same developments that I’ve already written about…!

Now, I hadn’t planned to do a Diary today, but, this Ma’an article had me absolutely livid…

US captain of Gaza ship held in ‘shocking conditions’

The captain of a US vessel intercepted after it tried to defy a ban and sail for Gaza from Greece was being held in “shocking conditions” Sunday and has not received consular assistance, a lawyer said.

Captain John Klusmer was arrested when the US boat Audacity of Hope — the flagship in a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists — attempted to leave Greek waters on Friday after Athens banned all Gaza-bound ships from setting sail.

Klusmer was charged with two felonies and ordered to appear in court Tuesday. The US Boat to Gaza organization said he was being held in jail in “shocking conditions” and as far as it was aware, had not yet received consular assistance.

New York lawyer Richard Levy — a passenger on the boat who has visited Klusmer in jail in a port town near Athens — told enraged US activists that “he had no bed or toilet in his cell, and is receiving no food or water”.

“We’ve offered to pay his bail,” said passenger Robert Naiman, from the Washington-based Just Foreign Policy organization. “But we have had no indication at all that he will be allowed out of jail before Tuesday.”

The US embassy in Athens was not available for comment…

Then, the Grey Lady’s Chief Israeli Apologist, Ethan Bronner crapped out this boatload of Bovine manure…

Setting Sail on Gaza’s Sea of Spin

…Israel is therefore quick to say that Gaza is well provided for and does not need any flotilla. If it still wants to bring in aid, it should take it to either Israel or Egypt and it will be delivered by truck. Sea access must remain blocked to prevent weapons smuggling.

The Israeli position defies a brutal truth: last year’s flotilla made a big difference for the people of Gaza — at a terrible cost in lives — by refocusing international attention on their plight and forcing a change in Israeli policy. Today, twice as many goods enter from Israel as before. Nonetheless, Gaza remains a deeply sad and deprived place.

“The focus on humanitarian aid by both flotilla organizers and the Israeli government is infuriating and misleading,” Gisha, an Israeli human rights group focused on Gaza, said in a statement. “There is no shortage of food in Gaza, but economic recovery is blocked by sweeping restrictions.” [...]

“The flotilla is entirely designed to attack Israel’s image around the world,” said Yuli Edelstein, minister for public diplomacy. “We know that there are representatives of different terror groups on their way to join the flotilla.”

That utter BS needs some serious unpacking…

First, Gisha does indeed state that food is readily available in Gaza(I’d beg to differ), but, Bronner completely ignored the rest of the report, in asserting that everything is hunky-dory in Gaza and the West Bank…

As the flotilla approaches, Gisha warns: Gaza residents don’t need more aid, they need to export and travel

· 83% of Gaza’s factories are closed or working at 50% or less capacity

· Israel forbids export from Gaza: not a single truck allowed since May

…Sari Bashi, Executive Director of Gisha, says it is infuriating that residents of Gaza are being deliberately reduced to recipients of humanitarian aid. “The problem in Gaza is not a shortage of food but rather a violation of the right to productive, dignified work. There is just one solution that will respect the rights of Gaza residents to freedom of movement and livelihood while protecting Israel’s legitimate security interests: Israel must lift the ban on construction materials, exit of goods and travel between Gaza and the West Bank”.

As UNRWA reported just last month…

As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new UN report finds unemployment there among the highest in the world while the Hamas-dominated public sector grows…
As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new report by the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, says broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. The report released today, finds that real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006.

“These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.”

Even more on the Israeli economic Siege imposed on Gaza, from Wikileaks, no less…

Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis…

While the [Israeli government] believes that maintaining the shekel as the currency of the Palestinian Territories is in Israel’s interests, it treats decisions regarding the amount of shekels in circulation in Gaza as a security matter. Requests by Palestinian banks to transfer shekels into Gaza are ultimately approved, partially approved, or denied by the National Security Council (NSC), an organ of the Israeli security establishment, not by the Bank of Israel (BOI). As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to econoffs on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge…

Interestingly, Ma’an also reported today that Abbas has to cut the PA’s salaries due to a drop off in that ‘Humanitarian Aid’ that Bronner and Gisha were touting…

Palestinian civil servants put on half pay

Palestinian Authority staff will only receive half their salaries this month as donors continue to deliver less money than pledged, prime minister in Ramallah says…

And Israel wonders why some homemade rockets are ‘launched’ into Israel…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

Audacity of Hope’s Captain is Jailed

4:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Ma’an is all over this unpleasant development…

Captain of American boat jailed in Athens

…John Klusmer is being charged with two felonies, organizers of the boat told reporters at a news conference in the Greek capital. The investigation will begin Tuesday, they said.

Klusmer was handcuffed and jailed Saturday afternoon. He and the organizers initially understood the charges to be misdemeanors. They later discovered the charges to be felonies upon arrival at the station.

The captain’s four-member crew is being detained on the boat. While passengers are free to go, they are staying on the Audacity of Hope as a show of solidarity with their captain and crew.

US Boat to Gaza organizer Jane Hirschmann told reporters the captain was charged with disobeying a police order not to leave the port and disturbing sea traffic.

The latter charge drew laughs from reporters.
Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Greece Halts Entire Freedom Flotilla

4:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Ma’an cites the lead organizer, Col. Ann Wright…

“The Greeks declared that there would be no boats leaving from Greece to Gaza, no boats at all,” organizer Ann Wright told reporters as the ship was being escorted back to shore, where coastguard officials said the activists would not likely be arrested, but were being kept on board the vessel.

“If we did not comply with what we said they would board us,” she said, confirming that the decision to turn around was made by the captain and seconded by organizers.

“Confronting the Israelis is one thing, but here in Greek waters, that is not what we are about,” Wright said, though activists on board said they had hoped for a confrontation to “expose the violence of our opponents.”

Wright, however, stressed agreements made between passengers on safety, saying “safety is our first priority beyond challenging the blockade, when they have M16s, live ammunition aimed at us — those were not tear gas launchers — that’s not the fight that we want.”

She said the ship was being taken to the a new harbor, adding that activists planned to stay on board until more information was available.

“I am extremely thrilled with what we have done, we have gotten international attention for the flotilla, we have broken out from Greece. We didn’t get as far as we wanted — all the way to Gaza — but we are the only boat that has tried this,” Wright said, adding that organizers intended to challenge the cabinet decision…

The AFP’s take… Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Israel Navy Commander: ‘Hate Flotilla’ to Gaza Must be Stopped, And Other Flotilla News

1:02 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

From Haaretz…

Israel Navy commander: ‘Hate flotilla’ to Gaza must be stopped

Israel Navy commander Adm. Eliezer Marom issued a stark warning on Sunday for the organizers of the Gaza flotilla intended to set sail at the end of the month.

“The Navy has prevented and will continue to prevent the arrival of the ‘hate flotilla’ whose only goals are to clash with IDF soldiers, create media provocation and to delegitimize the State of Israel,” Marom cautioned, speaking during the Israel Navy Divers’ Course concluding ceremony…

As Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, a participant, wrote in Common Dreams…

Setting Sail for Gaza, Armed with Love Letters and a Missive from Dr. King

…The U.S. boat, which will carry 50 Americans, is called The Audacity of Hope. It is named after Obama’s bestselling political autobiography in which he lauds our collective audacity of striving to become a better nation. But I prefer to think of our boat as part of Dr. King’s legacy. He, too, talked about audacity, about his audacious faith in the future. “I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him,” Dr. King said.

Our intrepid group has its moral compass aimed at the way things ought to be. Our cargo is not humanitarian aid, as some of the other ships are carrying, but thousands of letters from the U.S. people, letters of compassion, solidarity and hope written to people living in the Gaza Strip. We travel with what Dr. King called “unarmed truth and unconditional love.”

Naturally, Foggy Bottom tries to cover it’s bloody arse…

In a new travel advisory for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, the department says the Gaza coast is “dangerous and volatile.”

The advisory notes that the Israeli navy has stopped previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea, and that’s resulted in deaths, injuries and arrests.

The U.S. says those participating may face arrest, prosecution and deportation. Israeli authorities say they will seek to ban anyone attempting to break the blockade from traveling to Israel for 10 years.

As another participant, Ridgely Fuller recently wrote…

Fuller: A ‘Freedom Rider’ returns to Gaza

My first substantial trip to Gaza in 2009 included dancing the “hokey pokey” on the beach with dozens of Palestinian children. My second trip in 2010 involved coming under live fire Israeli gunfire while accompanying Palestinians into the Israeli declared “no go” zone comprising almost one third of Gaza and its most fertile agricultural land.

Naturally, I wonder what my third trip, as a passenger to Gaza on the U.S. ship, “The Audacity of Hope,” will bring…

Who’s the real ‘terrorists’…?

As I’ve noted before…

Israel Threatens to use Attack Dogs on Unarmed Civilians of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla…

Will the Gaza flotilla be safe from Israel’s murderous threats?

The Israelis did succeed in pressuring several groups to pull out of the flotilla…

Why the Mavi Marmara pulled out?

French flotilla called off due to Jewish community’s pressure.

Wtf is this…?

US man seeks to seize flotilla ships using anti-piracy law…

Senator wants U.S. Navy to help block flotillas to Gaza…

In summation…

Savvy flotilla prep in full swing at Athens port

Non-violence training and anti-sabotage measures are in place for the volunteers, activists and media arriving in Athens as the Freedom Flotilla II prepares to sail to Gaza.

In hopes of preventing sabotage which organizers said docked two boats from the 2010 flotilla, the ships for the June voyage have been moored in undisclosed locations, and press members have been asked not to release photographs of the vessels.

Upon arrival, those registered to sail to Gaza and attempt to break the Israeli blockade will participate in seminars designed by flotilla organizers on how to handle expected confrontations with Israeli forces when the boats approach the Gaza shore. [...]

Lynda Brayer, a human rights lawyer, maintains that the military operation against the 2010 flotilla was a violation of international law.

Speaking with Ma’an, Brayer explained that the men and women on the ships were unarmed civilians. “They are what [are] called in international law hors de combat, which means out of the field of combat. That is the definition of civilians. Because they’re not part of the other side, they don’t fall into the category of an army, so they’re not allowed to be attacked.”

A fact-finding mission convened by the United Nations Human Rights Council, after the 2010 flotilla, found after investigation that:

“The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality. Such conduct cannot be justified or condoned on security or any other grounds. It constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.”

The report called the Israeli blockade “totally intolerable and unacceptable.”

God Speed and God Bless…!