Has Israel Declared War on the International Community?

Yesterday, with amazement, many of us around the world witnessed through a live-feed on the Internet how heavily armed sea pirates – dressed in full military combat gear – descended from Israeli military helicopters unto the decks of the Mavi Marmara – a Turkish flagged humanitarian aid ship carrying hundreds of nonviolent peace advocates from around the globe.

These events took place in International waters, 100 kilometers off the coast of Gaza. The nonviolent peace advocates were on a life-saving mission to liberate the people of Gaza, from the open-aired prison imposed on them by Israel under the consent of its ally, the United States. After being surrounded by Israeli military vessels and with helicopters hovering over their heads, these courageous nonviolent peace advocates watched with amazement and terrorized, as Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara shooting randomly and killing and wounding many of the advocates on board. Following the massacre, the ship was taken to Ashdod port where those who survived have either been arrested awaiting deportation, or are being treated in hospitals across Israel.

As these events have unfolded, popular furor has grown across continents, and demonstrations have been witnessed in front of Israeli embassies around the globe. The UN Security Council has had an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, spokespeople of different states have expressed deep concern about the events, and as Israeli ambassadors stationed in different nations jitter at the possibility of being expelled, the group of elders – the eminent leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela – has condemned the attack as “completely inexcusable.”

It was only a few weeks ago that the Israeli authorities denied entry to professor Noam Chomsky at the Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan to Jericho, in the Palestinian West Bank. Professor Chomsky was on his why to speak at Bir Zeit University. To many of us here in the West, at the time, it seemed bizarre that the Israeli government would commit such a foolish act, by barring academic freedom and freedom of speech in such an open and hostile manner. Professor Chomsky is after all, one of the world’s most renowned academics, and without a doubt, a source of inspiration to many who are advocating nonviolently for peace. What was hard to imagine at the time of this incident, was that professor Chomsky’s refusal of entry into the Palestinian Occupied Territories, although in one sense a continuity of Israeli policy against the Palestinian people and all who befriend them, also marked an intensification of Israel’s open assault on the values and rights of the citizens of the broader international community.

As Western citizens, we have become accustomed by now to the brutal treatment of Palestinian people by Israeli security forces through their daily acts of orchestrated state-terrorism. It comes as no surprise to us, when we hear of the continued extermination of the population of Gaza, and its non-stop humiliation and degradation. A crime which is beyond comprehension and which has already tragically led to the 22-day onslaught on Gaza in late 2008 early 2009 – a destruction of such magnitude, that it is now referred to by many around the world as the Gaza Massacre. An event during which, according to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission’s Goldstone Report, Israeli Defense Forces committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

As Western citizens, we are also used to the ongoing suffering of the people of Gaza, whose physical, psychological, and spiritual hardship is tested on a daily basis as they endure the reality of living in an open-air prison, which their jailers are free to bomb and destroy whenever they please. A situation against which, although condemnation has been strong, international pressure has not succeeded. What we are not accustomed to in the West, however, is to witnessing the Israeli government blatantly attacking hundreds of nonviolent peace advocates from around the globe, congregated on ships navigating in international waters. Peace advocates, whose aid campaign to Gaza has been widely publicized, and who have clearly informed their respective governments of their initiative.

In the West, we have become accustomed to the propaganda machine of the Israeli government filling the global airwaves with fabrications, defamations and outright lies following each crime committed, each violation of international law. Like the Israeli military, the Israeli propaganda apparatus is highly sophisticated. Nevertheless, this latest act seems like a challenge to the world, and I am not sure whether propaganda can bury it. Perhaps in the West, we have become immune to the daily deaths of Palestinians, or to the tragic death of a Western nonviolent peace advocate being shot by the Israeli defense forces while in Palestinian territory. I do not think however, that populations from around the globe can tolerate Israel’s interception of a peaceful convoy in international waters, with its subsequent shootings and killings of citizens from many different nationalities. Parliamentarians, Nobel laureates, spiritual leaders, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists amongst others, forced to endure the terror inflicted upon them by lethal Israeli military commandos.

Clearly, the attack on the Mavi Marmara is a premeditated act, and one for which the Israeli propaganda machine has been preparing for a while. Professor Norman Finkelstein has described Israel as a lunatic state, and has warned of the risk of such a state having hundreds of nuclear weapons. Watching through the Internet live-feed, Israel’s attack – in international waters – on global citizens brought together by a call to civic duty, all one can hope for as a member of the global nonviolent peace advocacy community, is that the pressure we exert on our governments forces an end to Israel’s ongoing crimes against humanity. If Israel is not stopped following this tragedy, it will become clear to us, that just like the Palestinians we have all become targets for the Israeli military, and thus, are no longer protected from Israel’s lunacy.

The world has failed to defend the Palestinians for years, but yesterday Israel made a geopolitical turn by declaring war on the citizens of the world. It made all of us Palestinian, and now it is the responsibility of our governments to respond. Will the nations of the international community defend the rights of their citizens as well as the rights of the Palestinians? Will the siege on Gaza end, and those who have repeatedly broken international law, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity be tried and punished? Or has Israel just declared war on the citizens of the world with the implicit consent of its international allies? One cannot predict the outcome of this massacre; nevertheless, there are clear signs pointing to the potential beginning of a new epoch, for Israel, for Palestine, for the Middle East, and for the citizens of the world. Defining this epoch will revolve around determining whether Israel’s latest act, is an act of war against numerous members of the International community.

Pablo Ouziel is an activist and a freelance writer based in Spain. His work has appeared in many progressive media including ZNet, Palestine Chronicle, Thomas Paine’s Corner, and Atlantic Free Press. Read other articles by Pablo.

31 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on June 2nd, 2010 at 8:28am #


    The much-plundered Jordan River, which flows from the Sea of Galilee (the Israelis call it Lake Kinneret) into the Dead Sea, has been reduced to a trickle. Friends of the Earth Middle East, an environmental organisation, warned in a 3 May report that large stretches of the Jordan, which the Bible described as “overflowing”, could dry up by next year. ic news

    In the past, whenever peace talks reached a bitter dead end, the legendary Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat used to say, “Let the Israelis drink the sea of Gaza.”

    Now, essentially that’s what they’re doing — leaving their Palestinian neighbours, however, still empty cup in hand. pej new’s

    In the coming years will it began to rain as before, no

  2. bozh said on June 2nd, 2010 at 8:39am #

    Praising `zionists` like chomsky, who not only is against ROR but also for a two state nonsolution or a prison for pal`ns, is not what i do.
    As soon as i came across the praise, i stopped reading the article. However, firmly aver that my elucidatory response was needed. tnx

  3. Hue Longer said on June 2nd, 2010 at 9:04am #

    The point went beyond praising the man, bozh. As hypocritical, judgmental and very much not elucidatory as your writings come off at times, I certainly can learn from you. Hugo Chavez or Zach Del La Rocha or Paul Ouziel or anyone referencing Chomsky while making sense? Sure!

  4. dan e said on June 2nd, 2010 at 9:43am #

    Bozh rates praise for calling attn to Ouziel’s shallow grasp of Chomsky’s role. Later in the article Ouziel refers to Finkelstein’s recent “lunatic state” remark, which may be the most intelligent thing Finkelstein ever said, but which adds to my impression that Ouziel’s background on these matters could probably use some deepening.
    However, elsewhere in the article Ouziel presents statements and formulations which also deserve praise and close attention.
    He highlights what many are just waking up to because of this “incident”: “Izreal” is a violent thug state running wild on a world scale, one that cares nothing for world public opinion or for the opinion of “lesser” states less able to give orders to the US government & its military establishment.
    Unfortunately, the choice of Chomsky & Finkelstein indicate that he hasn’t gotten around to making a close study of the mechanisms by which the Zionists & “state of izreal” exercise control over the US political process. Hopefully he will decide to investigate the means by which the Zionist Power Configurations maintains ideological and political hegemony in the US, and will articulate his findings with the same eloquence with which he warns us of the danger Izzy poses to the rest of humanity.

  5. bozh said on June 2nd, 2010 at 10:04am #

    Hue, thanks for ur comment. Not all of OUR ideas are understood. I was going to say not all of my ideas are understood, but, hey, am i an isolated isle loaded with gods`1, 2, 3 ,4, x `knowledges` or am i living among humans and thus learn a lot from them?

    I suppose i learn from gods. But the idea- actually a fact- that we are ruled by greatest criminal minds: priests-nobles, i did not learn from `gods` or mad priests but from humans!
    I am merely couching the idea or fact in different words; which may confuse some people.

    Some people go ballistic when i say that the priests ahead of nobles have some 10 to 15 k yrs utterly destroyed civil and civilized groups or tribes of people that we must have had prepriestly rule over us.

    And why? because priests and modern `nobles` teach people that we have been primitive canibals before priests freed us from ignorance, laziness, barbarity, etc.
    Enormous number of facts prove beyond any doubt it is the other way around.
    It may be that people who get personal ab what i write, do so because they hate what i say and not that they don`t understand what i say.
    Or they simple dissemble ab not understanding in order to shut me up. I have been ejected from some sites even tho i try not to get personal. Nor do i use dysphemism or euphemism!

    Btw! Editors on DV, it appears, still deny that chomsky is not a person for peace-justice! tnx

  6. bozh said on June 2nd, 2010 at 10:24am #

    Yes, we can learn from greatest gentile-honest minds as well as from greatest criminal minds.
    Learning from criminal minds or being taught by them, turns out in US 90%+ of people into criminals.
    I do think that criminals are made. US makes more criminals ratio-wise than even israel. The latter probably takes the silver medal in the making of criminal minds.
    The bronze medal goes to many lands. Nobody cld make me a criminal because i finished last in my class; so, fortunato, nobody talked to me. I guess i was lucky one! tnx

  7. hayate said on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:32am #

    “By deception, we will wage war” or something like that. Israel and zionists are at war with everyone, every country, and every culture other than their own. They’ve been waging this war from the beginning. They wage this war mostly through deception, fraud and manipulation on most peoples, through violence on their neighbours and Palestinians. Cross them, and expect some sort of cowardly act of reprisal. They can not be reasoned with, as what appears to be a reasonable response from zionists is only a deception, practical postponement of their avarice till times are better for its implementation once again.

  8. lamella said on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:35am #

    It’s ridiculous to keep insisting that everyone aboard the Mavi Marmara were “nonviolent peace advocates” when there is so much video and physical evidence to the contrary. They were all essentially unarmed but some fought back using whatever means available. But resisting the Israeli pirate attack isn’t necessarily evil behavior. After all, they were descended upon by heavily armed men from helicopters in the dead of the night who proceeded to beat, shoot, and tase them. No doubt once they feared their lives might be in danger, the activists began to resist simply out of confusion and/or self defense- yet none of the fawning corporate media has yet to regard this as a possibility.

  9. bozh said on June 2nd, 2010 at 1:23pm #

    Look, sweatheart, self defence at a point of time and for a specific purpose cannot be called “violence”.

    If they were indeed defending selves, it is incongruous with this sit’n to call it violent defence or a defence by violent people.
    If they were not defending selves, one can conclude then that they were trying to stop the intrusion of armed people or defended supplies or people who had been attacked by the commandos.
    So let us hear from passengers what occurred. But all that ensued, was caused by israel.
    And by balfour declaration, illegal immigration into palestine; ‘jewish’ warfare-terrorism against unarmed indigenes that may have lived there continuously for at least 8 k yrs.
    Thus even hebrews were intruders let alone modern ‘jews’; which have no connection whatever with sion, canaan, or hebrews-judeans. tnx

  10. lamella said on June 2nd, 2010 at 1:24pm #

    You need to do some research on the definition of non-violence bozh.

  11. dan e said on June 2nd, 2010 at 2:05pm #

    From: Joseph Anderson [radio talkshow info snipt, pasted below –dan]

    The #1 argument which has not been made is (as pro-Palestinian supporters in the mainstream media get all caught-up in Israel’s arguments/”justifications” over who did, and had, what, when or first):

    Once Israel militarily attacked and boarded, by armed force, a civilian vessel on, indisputably, the high seas (a fact not in dispute by even Israel) — and, under the law of the seas, in fact, Israel militarily attacked sovereign territory (Turkey, the flag under which the vessel was sailing), anything that the passengers on board did to resist and defend themselves was, in fact, *SELF-DEFENSE* — FULL START & STOP.

    (Just like the Palestinian people have, from at least 1948 on, a right to even armed resistance/struggle against a violently invading and dispossessing occupier if/when the Palestinians so choose — something even most white-American “leftists” will not publicly acknowledge for the Palestinian people.)

    This is the #1 argument that Adam Shapiro did not (nor most pro-Paletinian supporters in the media do not) point out — in his otherwise excellent articulations — in the interview of him on the PBS Newshour on Monday, May 31 (check the PBS Newshour website for video archive).

    What Israel did, could, in fact, be considered an act of war against Turkey.

    (In fact, the U.S. used the false pretext of “the Gulf of Tonkin incident”, the purported North Vietnamese attack on 2 U.S. military vessels that cruised into the Gulf of Tonkin, hoping to draw North Vietnamese shooting — which wasn’t even on the high seas — it was in North Vietnamese territorial waters — like an enemy nation cruising their military vessels into Santa Monica Bay — as “an act of war”. Although, incredibly, LBJ, as I’ve seen in documentaries, then, actually claimed that the Gulf of Tonkin was “on the high seas”!!)

    We know that Israeli/Zionist Jews always portray themselves as “the victim” — even when they are the clear aggressors, even when they indiscriminately shoot or bomb or fire missiles on even fleeing civilians — and no matter what atrocities Israel commits.

    But what did Malcolm X say about colonialism: “Colonialism is the perpetration that tries to make the wolf look like the lamb and the lamb look like the wolf!”
    All Together in The Struggle, Joseph

    P.S. Btw, didn’t Norman Finkelstein say way back in 2007(!!) that, “The Palestinians were on the verge of victory, within grasp, for a [so-called] Palestinian state!” — and that people supposedly like me (as Finkelstein slurs his Berkeley audience as “aging, Berkeley, armchair, utopian, Marxist hippies from the ’60’s, always trying to pick a fight”) were rocking the boat against that “victory”. Since Finkestein made his claim and subsequent slur (every time he comes to Berkeley), we’ve had Israel’s Gaza massacre, and now Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla, not to mention Israel’s continuing dispossession of Palestinian land, Israel’s contnuing building of the further dispossessing (and often Palestinian encircling) Apartheid Wall, Israel’s continuing destruction of Palestinian orchards, Israel’s continuing vigorous expansion of East Jerusalem (where Netanyahu basically told yet another American president, now Obama, to ‘go to hell’), Israel’s continuing political assassinations, Israel’s continuing killing or maiming of ISM volunteers, etc.)

    And, btw, contrary to what Finkelstein says, Richard Faulk says that we CANNOT just rely solely on [the Western imperialist’s created, solely interpreted and capriciously pick-&-choose enforced], so-called, “international law” or “the international system” to stop Israel’s atrocities: that it’s up to the people of the world to act themselves and to have a serious BDS campaign. BDS against Israel, something both Finkelstein and Chomsky opposes (in fact, Chomsky used to brag that he opposed it!) — but white-American leftists — and, in fact, too many Western Palestinians/Arabs (they’ll find out on day) — love those liberal racist closet Zionists — because too many white-American leftists are just liberals themselves — and too many Palestinians/Arabs are morally desperate for almost any verbal crumbs of (one of my Arab female friends calls it “conditional”) “support”: in other words white liberal, so-called, “support”.

    show website and live audiostream (and later audio archive, usually available after 2:00/2:30pm).

    (audio stream also available at kalw.org)

  12. Don Hawkins said on June 2nd, 2010 at 2:14pm #

    Ohhh! Great warrior! [laughs and shakes his head]
    Wars not make one great!

    “You must unlearn what you have learned.” “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will…”

    “You will know (the good from the bad) when you are calm, at peace. Passive. Use the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack. ”

    Knowledge and defense, Knowledge and defense and the attack part in lies the rub. Research

  13. bozh said on June 2nd, 2010 at 3:34pm #

    I am not sure ab this: u equate defensive violence with offensive violence or all who fight in whatever manner are equally guilty.
    U seem to equate violence bwtn people armed with cudgels, bats, knives, forks and people trained to do violence and armed with guns, etcetc.

    And u equate violence of the intruders with violence of the house people or residents-travelers on ships.

    Since u tacitly affirm that u know the definition of nonviolence, why not teach us ab it? We’d be more than glad to know how u define [is it explain?] [non]violence.
    Don’t forget those helis that cld have unleashed hell on passengers had not commandos prevailed or scare people to death! tnx

  14. bozh said on June 2nd, 2010 at 3:54pm #

    Yes, finkelstein’s and chomsky’s subterfuge worked: present selves as fierce critics of israel; gain trust among us [i had been duped also tho had some doubts] and help kill peace activism.
    Not completely tho in vancouver with our strong StopWar.ca org. I cannot go to the meetings any longer because my wife had been diagnozed with alzheimer some 9 yrs ago.
    But before i left StopWar.ca i have said to chair that i didn’t trust any of many ‘jews’ in that org. tnx

  15. Deadbeat said on June 2nd, 2010 at 4:37pm #

    bozh writes …

    Yes, finkelstein’s and chomsky’s subterfuge worked:

    I totally agree with you.

  16. kalidas said on June 2nd, 2010 at 7:28pm #

    It worked because the phony balonies WANTED to be convinced, WANTED it to work..

  17. hayate said on June 2nd, 2010 at 8:49pm #

    This discussion about whether the aide workers were violent or not is a strawman that the sayanim/hasbarats are using throughout the web and the media. The whole question is completely irrelevant and an intentional misdirection of discussions away from the criminality of israel, and its supporters of this crime. Those who are not doing it for that reason are playing into the hands of the zionists/israelis, irregardless, for they are doing their work for them, even if unintentionally. A good hasbarat can get anti-zionists arguing with anti-zionists about points they both agree with.

  18. hayate said on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:47pm #

    June 2, 2010 “Plan Was to Kill Activists and Deter Future Convoys” Israeli MP’s Night of Terror on Aid Ship



    An Arab member of the Israeli parliament who was on board the international flotilla that was attacked on Monday as it tried to take humanitarian aid to Gaza accused Israel yesterday of intending to kill peace activists as a way to deter future convoys.

    Haneen Zoubi said Israeli naval vessels had surrounded the flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, and fired on it a few minutes before commandos abseiled from a helicopter directly above them.

    Terrified passengers had been forced off the deck when water was sprayed at them. She said she was not aware of any provocation or resistance by the passengers, who were all unarmed.

    She added that within minutes of the raid beginning, three bodies had been brought to the main room on the upper deck in which she and most other passengers were confined. Two had gunshot wounds to the head, in what she suggested had been executions.

    Two other passengers slowly bled to death in the room after Israeli soldiers ignored messages in Hebrew she had held up at the window calling for medical help to save them. She said she saw seven other passengers seriously wounded….


    The descriptions provided here about the placement of bullet wounds make it clear these were probably targeted murders in at least some of the cases. This reinforces that news of the hit list found and the suspicions that the israelis used commandos because this was more than just a mission to stop ships at sea, it was a death squad mission to kill certain members of the aide workers under cover of the mission of stopping the ships.

  19. hayate said on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:50pm #

    Flotilla activists arrive in Turkey

    A first Ankara-bound plane arrived in Turkey with the May 31st aid flotilla victims. They are a Turk and an Irish, both in critical condition. Two more planes are expected to deliver another 17 rights activists. The Turkish Health Minister says at least two more affected are critical and can’t be moved from Israel at the moment.

    Three more plans are traveling to Istanbul to get around 350 Turks that were on the flotilla ships. Greece is receiving the flotilla victims as well.

    Ankara gave Israel the deadline of June 2nd to process all Turkish citizens arrested on May 31st.

    If Tel-Aviv fails to meet the deadline Turkey promises to answer with a political repercussion.


  20. hayate said on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:52pm #

    Israeli assault denounced by UN Human Rights Council

    The United Nation Human Rights Council has denounced the Israeli interception of a Gaza-bound international aid flotilla in an incident on Monday morning. In a resolution on Wednesday, it urges Israel to return all activists on the convoy home and send all cargoes on it to Gaza. It is also mounting an international probe into the interception incident. Israel meantime has started operations to deport the over 600 people from 40 countries who were seized from the savaged convoy. Its naval assault on the aid flotilla is believed to have claimed between 9 and 19 lives.


    It looks like reports in the western media are now claiming 9 aide workers were murdered. Nine bodies arrived in Turkey with the bulk of the Turks after the above 2 stories were posted. The people arriving were treated to a heroes welcome, BTW. I assume the nine bodies sent to Turkey were Turks. What I’m wondering is why the Russians are still describing 9-19 killed. Were there others, possibly Palestinians, murdered? The israelis have kept a media clamp down so only their “news” is getting outside israel on the victims still in israel. Could they be hiding info about the Palestinian victims who might have been the other 10 people reported killed the last few days? It’s something one would expect from israelis.

  21. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 12:11am #

    I just noticed that Cook’s piece has been posted as an article on this site. Oops, I should looked around first before posting. Sorry about that.

  22. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 12:26am #

    An interesting account of 2 protests in new york and comparison of the media coverage between those opposing the israeli war crime and the one praising the crime (yes, if you can believe it, some yahoos were actually cheering the crime – new york, you know).

    Protest in New York, and celebration

    by Pamela Olson on June 2, 2010


    Interesting comments, there, as well. Not the usual crud.

  23. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 12:27am #

    And Helen Thomas kick some bulbous butt again:

    Helen Thomas shows up Obama on the ‘ironclad’ relationship

    by Philip Weiss on June 2, 2010 · 7 comments

    At Democracy Now, from yesterday:

    HELEN THOMAS: Our initial reaction to this flotilla massacre, deliberate massacre, an international crime, was pitiful. What do you mean you regret when something should be so strongly condemned? And if any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms. What is this sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship, where a country that deliberately kills people–

    ROBERT GIBBS: Well, again, Helen, I–

    HELEN THOMAS: –and boycotts, and we aid and abet the boycott?

    ROBERT GIBBS: Well, look, I think the initial reaction, regretted the loss of life, as we tried and still continue to try to gather the relevant–

    HELEN THOMAS: Regret won’t bring them back.

    ROBERT GIBBS: Nothing can bring them back, Helen. We know that for sure, because I think if you could, that wouldn’t be up for debate. We are–we believe that a credible and transparent investigation has to look into the facts. And as I said earlier, we’re open to international participation in that investigation.

    HELEN THOMAS: Why did you think of it so late?

    ROBERT GIBBS: Why did we think of…?

    HELEN THOMAS: Why didn’t you initially condemn it?


  24. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 1:32am #

    From a PDF of talking points sent to Israeli citizens:

    Dear Friend:

    Various Israeli official bodies, including the ministry for Hasbara [i.e. propaganda] have sent messages to Israeli citizens urging them to take an active part in the “propaganda war”. They are told not to ask questions but rather to spread the official messages in every possible way in the virtual world: talkbacks, forums, Facebook etc.. I have the material which is mostly in Hebrew. Although every citizen was asked to use the languages he knows. The attached file is in English. It would be nice if some of you can publish it on the net in order to unveil this coordinated campaign.


    1 World Zionist Organization IDF Interception of Gaza-bound Flotilla Responding to the Consequences of the Episode

    1. Information and Main Points Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs Ongoing Updates http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Behind+the+Headlines/Seizure_Gaza_flotilla_31-May-2010.htm

    Weapons cache http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2010/Israel_Navy_warns_flotilla_31-May-2010.htm#weapons

    Full account and additional information collected by Zionist Council of Victoria / Zionist Federation of Australia: http://www.zcv.org.au/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=535&Itemid=434

  25. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 1:35am #

    (cont. – this pdf was posted as a pdf in the comments section on another site, there was no link for the pdf)

    2. Legal Points [MFA] The Gaza Flotilla and the Maritime Blockade of Gaza Legal Background – 31 May 2010

    1. A maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza. Such blockade has been imposed, as Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime that controls Gaza, which has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza via the sea.

    2. Maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognized measure under international law that may be implemented as part of an armed conflict at sea.

    3. A blockade may be imposed at sea, including in international waters, so long as it does not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral States.

    4. The naval manuals of several western countries, including the US and England recognize the maritime blockade as an effective naval measure and set forth the various criteria that make a blockade valid, including the requirement of give due notice of the existence of the blockade.

    5. In this vein, it should be noted that Israel publicized the existence of the blockade and the precise coordinates of such by means of the accepted international professional maritime channels. Israel also provided appropriate notification to the affected governments and to the organizers of the Gaza protest flotilla. Moreover, in real time, the ships participating in the protest flotilla were warned repeatedly that a maritime blockade is in effect.

    6. Here, it should be noted that under customary law, knowledge of the blockade may be presumed once a blockade has been declared and appropriate notification has been granted, as above.

    7. Under international maritime law, when a maritime blockade is in effect, no boats can enter the blockaded area. That includes both civilian and enemy vessels.

    8. A State may take action to enforce a blockade. Any vessel that violates or attempts to violate a maritime blockade may be captured or even attacked under international law. The US Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations sets forth that a vessel is considered to be in attempt to breach a blockade from the time the vessel leaves its port with the intention of evading the blockade.

    9. Here we should note that the protesters indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade by means of written and oral statements. Moreover, the route of these 2 vessels indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade in violation of international law.

    10. Given the protesters explicit intention to violate the naval blockade, Israel exercised its right under international law to enforce the blockade. It should be noted that prior to undertaking enforcement measures, explicit warnings were relayed directly to the captains of the vessels, expressing Israel’s intent to exercise its right to enforce the blockade.

    11. Israel had attempted to take control of the vessels participating in the flotilla by peaceful means and in an orderly fashion in order to enforce the blockade. Given the large number of vessels participating in the flotilla, an operational decision was made to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from the area of the blockade.

    12. Israeli personnel attempting to enforce the blockade were met with violence by the protesters and acted in self defense to fend off such attacks.

  26. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 1:36am #


    3. Israel Ministry for Diaspora Affairs Talking Points

    1. The State of Israel expresses its sorrow for the casulaties, but places full responsibility on the organizers and the participants who initiated the violence.

    2. Prior to this, the State of Israel had offered the organizers the option of docking at Ashdod port and transfer the humanitarian aid to Gaza overland, but this offer was rejected.

    3. The activists on one of the six boats had intentionally planned a violent response to the IDF Navy interception, including a gunfire attack as well as other weapons, knives, etc., which placed them in a life-threatening situation.

    4. The Gaza Strip is not threatened by starvation or a humanitarian crisis. It is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization which is actively stockpiling arms and rockets for the purpose of targeting Israeli citizens, as in the past, and is holding an Israeli solider hostage in contravention of international covenants. Israel therefore reserves its natural right to check all cargo inbound for Gaza.

    5. The flotilla was a deliberate ploy and act of political provocation designed to attract media attention on the part of anti-Israeli elements and the IHH which is a violent and extremist organization that supports terror organizations under the cover of humanitarian activity.

    6. Israel reiterates its desire and readiness for peace with all who interested in making peace.

  27. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 1:37am #


    4. With Intent – Articles and visual documentation IDF Spokesman: Article and video footage http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/News/today/10/05/3101.htm

    Video by IDF Spokesman [N America Desk] http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk

    A brutal ambush at sea http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896796,00.html

    Ron Ben Yishai: bloody clash aboard Gaza-bound vessel Weapons on board http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896588,00.html

    Peace activist stabs IDF soldier http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buzOWKxN2co

    3 Navy commandos:‘They came for war’ Yaakov Katz, 05/31/2010 20:14 http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177040 View footage, read soldiers’ description of the ‘Mavi Marmara’ raid. Flotilla Leaders Stated Sunday that Violence was Premeditated The organizers of the Gaza flotilla announced in advance their intention of using violence against Israeli forces if the latter tried to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza. This intention was expressed in interviews given by the head of the IHH, Bulent Yildirim, to Turkish television stations on the last night of the voyage, as the ships approached the coast. [More: http://tinyurl.com/IHHViolence ]

    Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=121348851234252

    Acknowledgements: Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs Israel Government Press Office Israel Ministry for Diaspora Affairs IDF Spokesman’s Office ZCV/ZFA Ynet News Jerusalem Post Jewish Agency for Israel/World Zionist Organization Spokesman’s Office Compiled by Gila Ansell Brauner, 1st June 2010

  28. Deadbeat said on June 3rd, 2010 at 1:52am #

    3. Israel Ministry for Diaspora Affairs Talking Points

    This is why the issue of Zionism cannot be limited to Israel. Zionism extends beyond the unclaimed boarders of Israel.

  29. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 2:01am #

    Looks like half of the document is still flagged for moderation. I found that posted as a comment at Mondoweiss. There was no link so I posted it in full. Apparently somebody intercepted an israeli hasbara email and then began emailing friends and web acquaintances, asking them to post it around the web.

  30. mary said on June 3rd, 2010 at 4:29am #

    Hayate I expect you know that any post here containing more than one live links does not get posted immediately but goes to moderation. I learnt to put secondary links in brackets having removed the http:// from the link.

    This page contains a video of our protest in Whitehall last Monday and the march to the Israeli Embassy (the latter hidden away in a gated road needless to say). At the end the video is speeded up so that you get a good idea of how many thousands of us there were at two hours’ notice.


    This Saturday, we are repeating our protests in Whitehall and again marching to Kensington High St. particularly as mv Rachel Corries is still on its voyage to Gaza and the Israeli blockade has not been lifted … yet. The Rafah gate to the outdoor prison has been temporarily opened by the Egyptian quislings.

  31. hayate said on June 3rd, 2010 at 12:29pm #


    Thanks, I had wondered why some posts got flagged and others did not.

    And thanks for the video.