Tuesday, July 05, 2011
French flotilla boat leaves for Gaza, American captain freed
by Larry Geller
Perhaps the latest aid flotilla to Gaza has finally got a puff of wind in its sails. Several stories today give hope. As you have read, the Greek coast guard arrested and is detaining the American and Canadian ships after they attempted to leave port in Greece.
A French boat has set sail for Gaza from Corsica in the latest attempt by activists to deliver aid to the Palestinian territory, according to a journalist aboard the vessel.
The Dignite al Karama, which left the western Mediterranean island overnight is, thus far, the only boat in a flotilla organised by pro-Palestinian activists to successfully sail for Gaza, with most confined to ports in Greece.
[Intifada-Palestine, French flotilla boat sets sail for Palestine, 7/5/2011]
The same article reports that the American captain of the Audacity of Hope has been released by Greek authorities and all charges have been dropped:
Meanwhile, the captain of a US ship, who was arrested by Greek authorities, was released on Tuesday and all charges against him dropped, Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal reported from Athens.
“He has not been fined for anything, and he is a free man. This after Greek authorities arrested him or detained him late on Friday as he tried to bring his ship out and take the passengers to Gaza,” Elshayyal said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli navy has had ample time to prepare for its expected confrontation with any flotilla vessel headed for Gaza. See, for example, Navy braced for Gaza-bound French boat that left Greece (Jerusalem Post, 7/6/2011).
As in the past, it can be expected that the Israelis may confront the ships in international waters with extreme brutality and perhaps murder. To a large extent, each of the flotilla boats hopes to guard against the worst excesses by means of a celebrity passenger list. The French boat, for example, includes well-known people whom the Israelis may hesitate to murder (from the first story above):
The vessel’s passengers include Olivier Besancenot, head of the New Left Party in France, French politician and member of the European Parliament Nicole Kiil-Nilsen, and other well-known French personalities.
Also, as in the past, whatever the Israelis do will be condoned by their partner the US government. Indeed, likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, expressing her solidarity with
the Jewish vote Israel, has already given Israel the green light to do as it pleases.
Israel and the US only look like the bullies, their leaders, JERKS, with the actions of denying freedom to Gazans, Palestinians and the Flotillas. Greece is a disappointment, giving into the bullies.Thanks for following, Larry.
I do not understand the legal basis for Greece's actions. Surely a vessel has a right to freely leave a country's ports, provided they are not carrying contraband or smuggling persons wanted for crimes?
How has it become the business of the Greek government whether the passengers are determined to embarrass the Israeli and US governments?
Apparently, the United States government is a strong advocate for the rights of investment capital to move freely across borders, but people? Notso much. Especially when such movement is inconvenient to Israel's continuing illegal blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian people.
I admit I had hoped Obama's ties with the Palestinian community in his early political career in Chicago would have given him a broader view, unrestrained by the imperatives of appeasing the hardline Zionist lobby. But shame on me for having been so naive. Obama is a schmuck. There. I said it!