“Reckless” to Sail in International Waters — UK Official

I thought I would share this with you.

Britain’s foreign secretary David Miliband — or rather, a henchman on his behalf — has written to me about the government’s response to Israel’s hijacking of the mercy ship Spirit of Humanity on the high seas and the outrageous treatment of six peace-loving British citizens (including the skipper), en route to Gaza not Israel, who had their gear stolen or damaged and were thrown into Israeli jails. The letter contains the usual wet and meaningless expressions like deplore and press and raise the issue, which are the familiar hallmark of Foreign Office mentality.

And I’m told it is “reckless” to travel in international waters. It should, of course, be safe – and would be if the high and mighty Western allies, always talking big against terror, were to enforce maritime law and rid the Eastern Mediterranean of marauding Israeli pirates.

Miliband’s spokesman says: “The Israeli Navy took control of the Spirit of Humanity on 30 June, diverting it to Ashdod port in Israel. All those on board, including six British nationals, were handed over to Israeli immigration officials. British consular officials had good access to the British detainees and established that they were treated well. The Israeli authorities deported the detainees on 6 July.”

Treated well? That’s not what the peaceful seafarers say. They were assaulted, put in fear of their lives and deprived of their liberty for fully a week — a long time in a stinking Israeli jail.

Miliband’s spokesman: “The Foreign Secretary said in the House of Commons on 30 June that it was ‘vital that all states respect international law, including the law of the sea. It is also important to say that we deplore the interference by the Israeli navy in the activities of Gazan fishermen’.”

Such fine words. Where is the action to back them up? Gaza’s fishermen suffer increasingly unjust restrictions and are still fired on.

Miliband’s spokesman: “When the Foreign Secretary spoke to the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, on 1 July he raised the issue with him and asked for clarification about whether or not the Spirit of Humanity had been intercepted in international waters. We will continue to press the Israeli authorities for clarification.”

It’s well over a week and Lieberman hasn’t clarified anything. There’s a surprise! Was the Israeli ambassador in London summoned and given a dressing down? Has London demanded compensation for the Britishers’ losses and damage? Has the boat and its cargo been returned? Have arrangements been made for the aid to be delivered? Our Zionist-leaning government apparently takes pleasure in Britain’s repeated humiliation. Not long ago the British consul-general in Tel Aviv (a woman) was strip-searched by Israeli security perverts.

Miliband’s spokesman: “We regularly remind the Israeli government of its obligations under international law on a variety of issues, including with respect to humanitarian access to Gaza as well as Israel’s control of Gazan waters and the effect this has on Gaza’s fishing industry.”

Ever get the feeling they’ve switched off their collective hearing aid? What is the point of obligations if they never have to be met? Miliband and the rest should hang their heads in shame, particularly over the Gaza fishing scandal.

Miliband’s spokesman: “As I said on the phone, our Travel Advice makes clear that we advise against all travel to Gaza, including its offshore waters; that it is reckless to travel to Gaza at this time; and that medical and other essential specialist staff needing to travel to Gaza should coordinate their entry to Gaza with the major international humanitarian organisations already on the ground.”

Why does London perpetuate the blockade of Gaza by colluding in Israel’s unlawful conduct? Where are the consequences and penalties for breaching international law and all codes of human decency?

On the other point, Gaza’s Ministry of Health is surely best placed to know what’s needed.

Miliband’s spokesman: “Our Embassy in Tel Aviv and our Consulate General in Jerusalem have also similarly advised those wishing to deliver humanitarian assistance to Gaza to do so through existing humanitarian organisations which can advise, particularly with regards to medicines, [and] which items if any are currently required.”

Private suppliers should be free to deliver aid through whatever channels they wish.

Miliband’s spokesman: “The UK has been unequivocal in its calls for Israel to lessen restrictions at the Gaza crossings, allowing the legitimate flow of humanitarian aid, trade and reconstruction goods and the movement of people. This is essential not only for the people of Gaza, but also for the wider stability of the region.”

“Unequivocal”? “Essential”? More splendid but empty words. The needs of the crushed and devastated and half-starved people of Gaza have been urgent for 3 years, ever since Britain ganged up with the Zionist axis to bring Gaza to its knees.

Miliband’s spokesman: “Recent events in Gaza are a tragic reminder of the importance of progress on the peace process.”

No kidding… They are also a tragic reminder of the West’s perverse failure in its duty to enforce compliance with international law, human rights and UN resolutions.

Miliband’s spokesman: “The UK, with the support of our international allies, will continue to pursue vigorously a comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution, involving a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.”

But never vigorously enough. The world is still waiting after sixty-one years. And let’s change those worn-out words around. How does a secure Palestine alongside a viable Israel sound?

Britain and its allies need to try a new tack… like first establishing the rule of international law and forcibly breaking the siege. It’s so blindingly obvious.

Meanwhile, doesn’t the gut-churning, cowardly shambles that is Gaza make you proud to be British? Or American? Or European?

Stuart Littlewood, after working on jet fighters in the RAF, became an industrial marketeer in oil, electronics and manufacturing, and with innovation and product development consultancies. He also served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and a member of the Police Authority. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and has produced two photo-documentary books including Radio Free Palestine (with foreword by Jeff Halper). Now retired, he campaigns on various issues, especially the Palestinians' struggle for freedom. Read other articles by Stuart, or visit Stuart's website.

22 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on July 13th, 2009 at 8:38am #

    If you visit Mr Littlewood’s website, you’ll discover that he is a former member of the Royal Air Force. The military man that he is might care to tell us what precise steps he thinks the British Government could usefully take. Moreover, by arresting the ship and its crew, the Israelis once again shot themselves in the foot and handed the Palestinians yet another propaganda victory. It was win-win for the Palestinians: if the ship was let through, they would get much-needed supplies and other ships would follow, if not, they would have the PR victory they now have. Nothing the British Government could do would have added to that victory and might even have rallied Israel’s supporters behind it.

    Never look a gift horse …

  2. Noisy Tappet said on July 13th, 2009 at 9:04am #

    Hardly a PR victory, Michael. Our beloved BBC and the rest of the mainstream media barely mentioned the story, for reasons you are no doubt aware of. And the Palestinians didn’t get their aid or the kids their toys.

    One very useful step the British government could take is purge itself of the Israeli stooges and flag-wavers that infest Parliament at every level. Their presence makes a nonsense of the Principles of Public Life which are given so much prominence in British democracy (though not always observed). There are endless diplomatic and economic measures that could be taken to make clear to Israel that failure to conform to international law, UN resolutions and human codes of decency – particularly towards British citizens (in this case) – have consequences. As the UN regards Gaza as a humanitarian crisis it would be interesting to see ships from the member states landing supplies on Gaza’s beaches, with naval escort if necessary.

    All it takes is balls. And integrity.

  3. Mulga Mumblebrain said on July 13th, 2009 at 6:15pm #

    I’m sorry Mr Littlewood, but why do you spare us the salient feature in this story. Miliband is Jew, and not of the Chomsky persuasion. His first loyalty must be to the ‘Land of the Jews’ else his standing in his tribe will be suspect, leading to accusations of being a ‘self-hating Jew’. Such libels have, apparently, been aimed at Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod of Obama’s controlling Zionist apparatus, by Netanyahu. One hopes this is merely black propaganda to make one more likely to believe the lie that Obama is ‘pressuring’ Israel over the illegal colonies on Palestinian land, because the thought of Netanyahu gone stark, raving, mad, with his finger on the button of the world’s only ‘morally pure’ arsenal of neutron, thermonuclear and bacteriological weaponry, is truly chilling.

  4. brian said on July 13th, 2009 at 10:59pm #

    interesting , how in a ‘democracy’, a foreign state controls the govt….both in us and uk.
    What you should have aske is how much control has israel or british zionists over UK policy….

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain said on July 14th, 2009 at 12:37am #

    brian, they control Australia also, lock, stock and barrel. Recently the ‘rich list’ of business parasites in this country was published. The top three fortunes and between a quarter and half of the top twenty were Judaic, despite their being perhaps 1% of the population. Naturally no journalist anywhere dared to mention the unmentionable, not even to sing their praises as ‘industrious’ or ‘thrifty’ of just plain ‘gifted’ in accumulation. This interesting phenomenon, evident throughout the West, deserves some attention, surely, but such investigation, even suggesting it, is absolutely verboten. There is one group in this country that may not be criticised, no matter what its behaviour, and wretches who do so in blogs or private conversation, say by noting that most of the steady stream of Islamophobic hatemongers imported into this country are brought in by local Jewish organisations, are certain to be vilified as ‘anti-Semitic’. How this situation returns to normal, where Jews are just one group in our multicultural society, and judged according to the morality of their actions, not by their birth into a select and privileged tribe that is above criticism, God only knows.

  6. Joe said on July 14th, 2009 at 1:43am #

    I mostly agree with Mulga Mumblebrain’s remarks. While we naively believe what our government, tame media outlets and our US/Israeli masters tell us we’ll continue to believe black is white, lies are truth and pigs might fly.
    It’s odd that it’s mainly Western Govts who are stricken with this moral blindness and vocal paralysis when it comes to speaking up on behalf of those suffering in occupied Palestine. Strangely, these same Govts become quite ardent in a speaking up for dissidents in Iran and
    A cynical person might think the US propaganda machine had something to do with the latter.

  7. mebosa ritchie said on July 14th, 2009 at 4:49am #

    brian-worry about france as well

    France’s new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, lost 57 members of his family to the Nazis and comes from a long line of Jewish and Zionist leaders and heroes.

    IN an interview Nicolas Sarkozy gave in 2004, he expressed an extraordinary understanding of the plight of the Jewish people for a home: “Should I remind you the visceral attachment of every Jew to Israel, as a second mother homeland? There is nothing outrageous about it. Every Jew carries within him a fear passed down through generations, and he knows that if one day he will not feel safe in his country, there will always be a place that would welcome him. And this is Israel.”

    Sarkozy’s sympathy and understanding is most probably a product of his upbringing it is well known that Sarkozy’s mother was born to the Mallah family, one of the oldest Jewish families of Salonika, Greece.

    Additionally, many may be surprised to learn that his yet-to-be-revealed family history involves a true and fascinating story of leadership, heroism and survival.

  8. mebosa ritchie said on July 14th, 2009 at 4:53am #

    brian,ialmost forgot, russia as well

    Medvedev, who recently told a Russian weekly that he was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church at age 23, has not commented on these rumors. But Russian Internet sites are full of reports about his alleged Jewish roots.

    The rumors are based in part on the fact that his maternal grandfather’s first name was Veniamin – similar to the Hebrew Binyamin (Benjamin) – while his family name, Shaposhnikov, is sometimes a Jewish name. But beyond that

  9. B99 said on July 14th, 2009 at 4:56am #

    But if Sarkozy really understands the lessons of the Holocaust, he will side with the concept of self-determination of all peoples, and you know what that means in the case of Palestine. But if he has not learned the lesson, then he will side with global and local hegemons in their effort at genocide of the Palestinian people.

  10. mebosa ritchie said on July 14th, 2009 at 4:58am #

    mugla–even your best friend is jewish
    abandon all hope

    Ahmadinejad’s ‘Jewish Family’
    A hidden family history

    Mehdi Khazali has written on his personal website that he recently learned that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has Jewish roots.

    Khazali notes that Ahmadinejad changed his family name from Saburjian, and says that the origins of the Saburjian family in the town of Aradan should be investigated.

    Ahmadinejad’s relatives had told Britain’s “The Guardian” following his election that the family had changed its name for “a mixture of religious and economic reasons.”

    “The name change provides an insight into the devoutly Islamic working-class roots of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s brand of populist politics,” journalist Robert Tait wrote in “The Guardian.” “The name Saborjhian derives from thread painter — sabor in Farsi — a once common and humble occupation in the carpet industry in Semnan Province, where Aradan is situated. Ahmad, by contrast, is a name also used for the Prophet Muhammad and means virtuous; nejad means race in Farsi, so Ahmadinejad can mean Muhammad’s race or virtuous race.”

  11. mary said on July 14th, 2009 at 5:30am #

    Sarkozeeeeeeeeee the sayan


  12. mebosa ritchie said on July 14th, 2009 at 6:58am #

    read it mary–it’s all true
    everyone with influence in the world is either
    1 jewish
    2 zionist
    3 israeli
    4 all 3 if they are really top notch
    all you losers can post to your heart’s content to each other safe in the knowledge that you are all a complete and utter irrelevance . but keep it up.it gives you something to do to pass the time

  13. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on July 14th, 2009 at 7:48am #

    folks, all land robbers- from sumerians to modern euros [in which i include also australians, ‘jews’, and canadians] have justified the land robbing on the same or simialar conjectures.

    fear of another cult; its culture, rituals, beliefs had always been a factor in al wars of aggression.
    self-laudation or supremacism is also a cause in nearly all warfare. Greed, pursuit of happiness, glory, revenge are also causes for wars.
    anger and hatred add to the mess.

    how about sanity? is that a cause for warfare?
    ‘jews’ like to think that- being supranatural- the earthly causes i have enumerated, cannot pertain to them.
    their circular reasoning precludes them to see that they differ only little from other vainglorious/greedy peoples.
    that’s a self-delusion but their enemies are not delusional!

  14. mebosa ritchie said on July 14th, 2009 at 10:27am #

    bozh,what are you going on about?

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain said on July 14th, 2009 at 5:22pm #

    Ah, mebosa you dear little golem. I have nothing against Jews, providing they act decently. Jews who are bullying, sadistic, racists, I do not like, Same for the goyim. As for Judaism, with repulsive doctrines of racial supremacism so clearly alike to Nazi delusions of Aryan superiority, chapter after chapter of stern injunctions by a mythological God to commit genocide, even of animals, and modern day authorities who preach the cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians as a ;mitzvah’ or good deed, I hold it in contempt. But I also hold Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism etc in contempt, so there’s no ‘anti-Semitic’ bias involved. Provided there is no interference in the lives of others, these horrid superstitions are the business of the deluded ‘believers’ alone.
    I’ m glad Zionist braggarts like you illustrate the many areas Jews have come to dominate. In itself such a phenomenon would be of little significance, if we could believe that these powerful figures performed their duties and exercised their powers in the interests of all their fellow citizens. But that is the question. Where do Miliband, Sarkozy or any of the others’ loyalties lie? It is plain in the US that for many in the Jewish Lobbies, their prime allegiance is to Israel, not the US.
    And that of course brings us to China. As the Jews do not control China to the extent they control the West, China’s rise is a threat to their unique power, influence and Israel’s blessed state as a country beyond international law. Which explains why Rightwing Jews are central to the rapidly escalating propaganda and subversion against China. The big problem with psychopathica zionistica, from which I fear you suffer, is that the impulse to control the planet, which after all is just God’s will, as he created the Jews the supreme beings of the universe, is unobtainable. All the millions of deaths in the Middle East, the subversions throughout Africa, the alliance with the US, doing its dirty work in Central America, the close friendship with apartheid South Africa, the buying and controlling of political parties and media throughout the West, the control of the ‘blood diamond’ trade, the central role in organised crime, drug trafficking and human traffic, all must eventually come to nought. A tribe of twenty million cannot control the world.
    What I suggest, dear golem, is just accept the extraordinarily generous Palestinian peace offer. Return to the 1948 borders, allow the ethnically cleansed refugees to return, keep your people in the West Bank, but as citizens of a Palestinian state, and live at peace with your victims. In time the Middle East could forge an EC like economic community, and the dwellers in Canaan can enrich one another. Keep up the delusions of an Eretz Yisrael, from the Nile to the Euphrates,’Arabrein’ with the indigenous ethnically cleansed, and Israel must collapse. It’s your choice.

  16. mary said on July 15th, 2009 at 12:49am #

    Well well who would have believed this sort of thing happened during the shoah….

    Israel soldiers speak out on Gaza

    Soldier testimonies appear to contradict official Israeli statements
    Israeli soldiers have described the use of “permissive” rules of engagement that cost civilian lives during the recent military campaign in Gaza.

    The troops said they had been urged to fire on any building or person that seemed suspicious and said civilians were sometimes used as human shields.

    Breaking the Silence, a campaign group made up of Israeli soldiers, gathered anonymous accounts from 26 soldiers.

    Israel denies breaking the laws of war and dismissed the report as hearsay.


  17. jon s said on July 16th, 2009 at 9:43pm #

    I can’t seem to locate the previous discussion, where Israel was accused of using poison gas and posoning wells with typhus and other such preposterous stuff, just as I was getting ready to refute…
    I’m not getting paranoid here…
    B99, where were we?

  18. B99 said on July 17th, 2009 at 8:42am #

    Well, you must know that Israel researches and creates all manner of poison gases and toxins at its chemical and biological research center at Nes Ziona near Tel Aviv. The Israelis routinely experiment on Gazans with their latest creations. What they do is drop some conventional bombs to scare away reporters and human rights workers, then drop in some tear gas cannisters as a cover for what they do next – drop in nerve gas cannisters. The cannisters emit a sweet smell and sometimes a rainbow of colors so that Palestinian children are not frightened, but instead are attracted to them. The payoff comes when the kids (or adults) go into convulsions within the hour, convulsions that can last off and on for weeks – or kill. The symptoms vary a bit depending on Israel’s latest concoction of chemicals that it wants to test. This is, we should note, illegal – to say the least.

  19. B99 said on July 17th, 2009 at 11:40am #

    Naeim Giladi describes how Israel was using bacteriological methods and deliberately infected many Palestinians with typhus and dysentery. He quotes Israeli daily, Hadashot of August 13, 1993 in which Sara Laybobis-Dar reported interviews with Israelis who had knowledge of the use of bacteriological weapons in the 1948 war. Mileshtin said bacteria was used to poison the wells of every village emptied of its Arab inhabitants and Moshe Dayan, a division commander at the time “gave orders in 1948 to remove Arabs from villages, bulldoze their homes, and render water wells unusable with typhus and dysentery bacteria.”

    The town of Acre was well defended and was situated on a creek named Capri. The Haganah put typhus bacteria upstream into water flowing to Acre, the defenders got sick and Jewish forces were able to occupy that locality. Haganah sent Jews dressed as Arabs into Gaza, then occupied by Egyptian soldiers, who caught them putting two cans of bacteria, typhus and dysentery into the drinking water supply.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain said on July 20th, 2009 at 2:30am #

    Now B99, you must know by now that, by holy definition, listing Israeli crimes is ‘anti-Semitism’. The Chosen Ones are the only group whose actions are always good, just and moral, even if, to the untutored goyish eye, little indiscretions like mass child murder or brutal sieges, appear unfortunate. But, you see, you are forgetting that we are dealing with God’s emissaries on earth, whose every action is thus sanctified. And, don’t forget, they are working assiduously, behind the scenes, where their money power speaks loudest, to criminalise criticism of Israel and Zionism, so you’d better look out.

  21. B99 said on July 20th, 2009 at 6:00am #

    In as much as the anti-Semitism charge is used to cover everything from the Holocaust and ancient blood libel down to why there are no jars of gefilte fish on the shelf of a convenience store outside Kansas City – the charge has lost all punch. They might as well be calling someone a poo-poo head.

    But of course, there is danger in all this, especially for academics, even Jewish academics. More than a few have lost their university positions for their ‘anti-Semitic’ research.

  22. bozh said on July 20th, 2009 at 7:10am #

    according to historians, semitic people[s] inhabited arab peninsula and the regions now encompassing leb, syr, jordan, and palestine.
    around 4,800 semites began infiltrating sumer, akkad, chaldea, and assyria.
    by 2535 bc, shemites have shemitized all of these people plus also hittites.
    it is not known that a group of shemites numbering even 5,000 people en masse left their land for; let’s say, khazaria, yemen, iraq, n.afrika, iran, georgia, ethiopia, and europe.
    add to this a significant fact that even priests assert that the ten tribes of the n.kingdom entirely vanished and the claim of being ‘jewish’ by euros evaporates.
    judeans almost suffered the same fate. No one knows what happened to judeans or if the people who fled for life to arab lands were actually judeans or a mixture of shemitic peoples or just mosheists.

    so, how can anyone be an antis[h]emite? In fact, the greatest ants[h]e mites are people who took semitic name for selves and most christians. tnx