Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Another ship still headed to Gaza--MV Rachel Corrie—and Israel is ready to intercept
by Larry Geller
Activists vowed on Tuesday to try to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza with another ship, and an Israeli officer pledged to halt it, setting the stage for a fresh confrontation after Monday's deadly clash.
The MV Rachel Corrie, a converted merchant ship bought by pro-Palestinian activists and named after an American woman killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003, set off Monday from Malta, organizers said. "We are an initiative to break Israel's blockade of 1.5 million people in Gaza. Our mission has not changed and this is not going to be the last flotilla," Free Gaza Movement activist Greta Berlin, based in Cyprus, told Reuters. [Reuters, Israel navy braced to intercept next Gaza aid ship, 6/1/2010]
The US and Obama continue to support Israel and have blocked the UN Security Council from passing a resolution to remove the illegal Israeli blockade. This is despite Security Council resolution 1860, passed in January 2009, calling for lifting the blockade, which Israel has ignored.
All the permanent member of the Security Council except for the United States explicitly called for Israel’s three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted. Thousands of people in cities across the world, from Turkey to Europe to the United States to Pakistan, have come out on the streets to protest the bloody attack on the humanitarian aid convoy. [Democracy Now, 6/1/2010]
See also: Source: Hillary asking foreign leaders to `dial down' criticism of Israel (Washington Post, 6/1/2010). Since Israel is dependent on US aid, Obama has the power to stop a potential followup massacre by Israel on future ships delivering supplies to Gaza. Should more lives be lost, the world will be holding the US accountable along with Israel.
Despite the danger, the Rachel Corrie, like its namesake, has decided to move forward. More from the Reuters story::
The Rachel Corrie was carrying medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement, a material Israel has banned in Hamas-ruled Gaza, organizers said.
Mark Daly, a member of Ireland's upper house of parliament who had been due to join the convoy but was refused permission to leave Cyprus, told Reuters in Dublin that the ship had fallen behind the rest of the convoy because it was slower.
Passengers aboard it had heard about the attacks but decided not to turn back, he said.
"After having a discussion among themselves about what to do, they decided to keep going," Daly said.
In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:
RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.
The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.
In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.
We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.
We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.
Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie. [Center for Global Research (Canada), The Lone Ship of the Freedom Flotilla: The Rachel Corrie MV Continues to Sail Towards Gaza in Defiance of Israeli Threats, 6/1/2010]
Final note for this article—among the “terrorists” on the Turkish ship attacked by Israel in international waters were members of a Turkish aid organization that was one of the first to provide assistance after the earthquake in Haiti. Others were reporters, who found their cameras confiscated or smashed and were forced to leave their reports behind.
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