Rachel Corrie Lives: The Attack On the Aid Flotilla

Just when you think Israel can not do anything more to anger most of the world, it does. The attack on the aid flotilla of ships that includes the MV Rachel Corrie on May 31, 2010 was beyond the pale of conventionally accepted actions, even by Israel. It was the ship Mavi Marmara that was attacked and several of its passengers killed because they dared to physically challenge the tactics of the Israeli government in its campaign to isolate and eventually eradicate the idea of a Palestinian people. Like Rachel herself, the people on the ship were activists actively opposing the Israeli regime’s decades-long crusade to dehumanize and destroy the lives of those who call themselves Palestinian. Realizing that the blockade of goods into Gaza has reached disastrous proportions, these folks worked with thousands of others around the world to gather food, medicines and a multitude of other goods forbidden by Israel to enter Gaza and bring the goods to Gaza.

Israel, seeing this humanitarian act as a threat to its control of events in Gaza and the West Bank, decided that this shipment of goods would not go through. After all, if Tel Aviv had allowed the flotilla carrying the goods to pass through on the flotilla’s terms, that would mean that there truly was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In addition, it would also be a direct challenge to the forces in Israel whose goal is the eradication of Palestine and its assumption into a Zionist state where Palestinians are at best second-class residents. Apparently, it is not enough for Tel Aviv to take Palestinian land and ignore agreements it made with the Palestinians in Oslo–agreements that ensured Israel’s dominance in the region despite the allowances they provided to the Palestinians. Like its partner in crime in Washington in the world, Israel insists that it will be the only power in the region to determine what happens to its subjects in occupied Palestine. No one can help them without being painted as a terrorist and anyone who does help them will be treated as such.

Washington’s current doctrine (which it calls self-defense) provides it with its motivation to wage preemptive war or attack and occupy a nation where some members of a terror group trained. Tel Aviv’s self-defense doctrine provides it with the self-justification to turn Gaza into an open air prison and attack it at will, arrest or kill Palestinians opposed to illegal Zionist settlements on Palestinian land, and divide families in two with a wall designed to keep Palestinians out of the ever-expanding state of Israel. That doctrine has now provided its misguided leaders with an excuse to illegally board a civilian ship in international waters and kill at least ten of its passengers. On the other side of the continent from where Israel undertook its act of mass murder on May 31, 2010 several nations are involved in capturing groups of pirates who attack and board ships carrying goods bound for other places. These pirates are considered international criminals and face the wrath of whatever navy happens to confront them. Their ships are often destroyed and the crews captured. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the IDF should face a similar justice.

Press releases from the Free Gaza Movement, which helped organize the flotilla, stated “Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep.” Naturally, Tel Aviv tells a different story. Already, the Israeli media is painting the attack on the flotilla as one that was evenhanded. Left unmentioned in their reports is the fact that Israel attacked the ship in international waters and without any military provocation. Yet, if we are to believe the Israeli media, the best military force in the world–the IDF–was threatened by activists who may have been armed with some slingshots and baseball bats. Of course, this is the same IDF that sees boys with stones as mortal enemies and has killed many hundreds of those boys. There may be those outside of the Israeli power structure who will point to the fact that the activists on the attacked ship were armed with the aforementioned small weapons. Indeed, some Israeli politicians have already pointed to this fact as evidence of the flotilla members’ evil intent and their role as members of something these politicians call”global jihad.” This portrayal of the situation ignores the fact that Israel attacked the ship, not the other way around. What the activists on board were doing is defending themselves from the much greater weaponry of the IDF. That is the definition of self-defense, not the perversion of the concept used by the Washington and Tel Aviv to defend their crimes. Crimes that would be known as such if they were committed by smaller and weaker nations.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground and Tripping Through the American Night, and the novels Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator's Tale. His third novel All the Sinners, Saints is a companion to the previous two and was published early in 2013. Read other articles by Ron.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on June 1st, 2010 at 9:38am #

    Some footage taken on board as the attack happened. 9.35mins Unfortunately I don’t understand Turkish..or Hebrew! but you can hear gun fire throughout. It must have been a terrifying ordeal.

    Half way down the page where the video is embedded.

  2. Jonas Rand said on June 1st, 2010 at 2:31pm #

    Warning: Long rant ahead.

    This attack is an atrocity, pure and simple, that happened in international waters, in violation of international law. There is no justification for this brutality, wreaked upon a group of humanitarian aid workers and activists. The aggression of the IDF against non-governmental aid organization gives a great amount of insight into the lack of compassion shown by the governments of the United States and Israel. On CNN, Robert Gibbs tried, slyly, to evade any questions of violation of international law by Israel in its senseless slaughter of civilians. Why is it that Israel, in its racist occupation of Gaza, wants to limit humanitarian aid? While the actions of suicide bombers are definitely wrong and criminal, there is sometimes no choice and they are mostly acts of desperation. Knowledge of the situation in Palestine is so scant in the United States; the media likes to paint things a certain way, and nobody gets information.

    Benyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu should resign. The 3-year siege of Gaza has left an entire region, 1.5 million people, paralyzed with anger, grief, sorrow, and desperation. Sadly, instead of doing anything to heal the pain inflicted continually upon the imprisoned population of a stolen land, Netanyahu has tried to defend the indefensible war crime. The outrage that this caused across the World has now been painted in the mainstream media as a violent mob of Muslims, reviving a hateful, ignorant stereotype (I apologize for the use of tautological terminology) of the type that should not exist in the 21st century. The protests across Turkey, etc, were anger unleashed due to a terrible occurrence. Israel should not be defended by the government of the United States and this is living proof of it.

    Humanitarian aid workers cannot ship aid to Gaza because of a blockade that has terrorized the people there and anyone who dares to go for three years. It is a testament to the utter disdain that great powers have for people. The actions of the courageous activists who went to Gaza to deliver aid, in defiance of a senseless occupation government ban on such helpful actions is a testament to the power of the human spirit. There should be a war crimes tribunal for Israel; Bibi should resign as president, and the Palestinians should be freed from Israeli gov. fascism (they should stop their military occupation and break the siege). The prejudice demonstrated in Gaza is something which forces us all to be witnesses to injustice, being done before our eyes, in an American client state. Israel’s state-sponsored racism is the 21st century apartheid.

    At the same time, there is no excuse for prejudice against Jews. Everyone has the right to their own faith/religion, and principles in Judaism are seriously being violated by Israeli soldiers’ actions. The Jews who have spoken out against IDF terrorism against Palestinians are admirable. Do not disparage the entire religious group due to the actions of a few people. No prejudice should be exalted, not just tolerance but acceptance should be shown, even if you are not a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist, etc. The Israeli government is not synonymous with the Israeli people.

    In the United States, our sensitivity to these issues has eroded somewhat. This is a saddening cynicism that persists and should be stopped; we should have consideration for Palestinian people and their struggle, rather than dehumanizing them. We should see them as humans too.

  3. mary said on June 1st, 2010 at 3:21pm #

    I understand that 92% of the Israeli Jewish population go along with the current policies.

    And how about these Israelis outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv, jubilant at the outcome of the IDF/Navy operation ‘Winds of Heaven’.


    Are they representative of the whole? I well remember those Israelis picnicking on a hill overlooking Gaza watching and laughing as the bombs and shells in Vilnai’s promised shoah were raining down on the captive civilian population.

  4. jahzwolf said on June 18th, 2010 at 10:28am #

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Child of Fear –
    Category: News and Politics
    When will it end how many more before they feel love?
    Before the innocents can sleep with no fear of the thundering above

    Before the child can play in the street without hunger for peace and humility
    Who will dare to say enough of this heartbreak
    Like anyone can even hold the soil that God has touched

    What will it take to soften the hearts of those who take our childrens life
    Who know nothing but love for those who look deep into their faithful eyes
    Who cursed the innocent saying these faithful eyes are nothing but lies
    That the soil where they dwell should become their hell

    For all their folks dare question is the spell that Zion is only for Jews to dwell
    Who will break this spell that lives in the hearts of people who dwell
    With fear of them who simply believe that God has spoken more Words than they care to tell

    Who was born to shatter this spell, Rachel is the one I can sell
    She knew as a child that her dream of peace and security could be
    For all of the children of God even in Gaza she saw
    The very same children that she laughed and played with in Olympia
    She knew the score of how this war could end without even a tear or a fear of the children so dear.