Saturday, June 05, 2010
MV Rachel Corrie taken, actions having effect
by Larry Geller
Just a wrapup. You probably know all this by now.
The Rachel Corrie was boarded and taken peacefully to Ashdod. There are many articles, for example: Israel remains defiant, seizes Gaza-bound aid ship (AP, 6/5/2010).
Around the world there are demonstrations, and further action is planned. Also, there is new attention paid not only to the blockade of Gaza, but to what is needed to undo it. See, for example:
Hundreds protest at anti-Israeli rallies across Canada
Thousands demonstrate in Tel Aviv against blockade
French cinema chain cancels Israeli film, replaces with one on Rachel Corrie
Report: Turkey launches probe against Israeli leaders
England is taking some positive action, according to this story: Britain to give 19 million pounds to Gaza (AFP, 6/5/2010):
Britain is to give 19 million pounds to help support schools and health clinics for Gazan refugees, the government said Saturday.
Confirmation of the 2010 contribution comes amid renewed concern about Israel's blockade of Gaza following a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on an aid ship bound for the Palestinian territory earlier this week.
[International Development Secretary Andrew ] Mitchell is expected to describe the humanitarian situation in Gaza as "both unacceptable and unsustainable", and call on the Jewish state to open the border crossings.
Foreign Secretary William Hague on Saturday called for urgent, "unfettered" access to Gaza to help people there.
For awhile, anyway, the eyes of the world (except for much of the US press) are on these actions to breach the blockade. More are planned. From the AP article above:
The organizers of Saturday's sail said they planned to dispatch as many as three more ships in coming months and that four captains already have volunteered for the missions.
"What Israel needs to understand is that nothing is accomplished with force," said Greta Berlin of the Cyprus-based Free Gaza group, which sent the latest aid vessel, the Rachel Corrie.
Last night I stayed up watching the tweets. It was confusing, and I learned that not all tweets are to be believed. Early on there were reports that the Rachel Corrie had been boarded and all communications were jammed. How, then, were the tweets getting out? Later the tweets reported that the ship had not been taken over, but it was being escorted and was still in communication. Then communication was lost, but by then it was visible from land.
The saga of the Rachel Corrie isn’t over, and the aftermath of Israel’s pirate attack on the earlier flotilla is still resounding in cities around the world. As far as I know, the personal effects of the passengers have not been returned to them yet, and there will certainly be various challenges, including perhaps legal, to Israel for its murderous attack. Israel is also in the spotlight for having badly injured, and blinded in one eye, a woman who was just standing around when a soldier with a tear gas gun decided to take her out with a direct hit.
Put all these things together with the growing divestiture movement and perhaps there is a chance to achieve something that will bring relief to the Palestinian people.