It all happened before.
A ship sailing to Palestine. Its organizers care not so much about the ship’s arrival. They want to bring world attention to the injustices in Palestine. Live broadcasts from aboard the ship excite and inspire supporters on the shores.
The power controlling Palestine in a non-democratic manner, responds in form. It sends soldiers to storm the ship at sea some 20 miles out of Gaza. Passengers fight back using non-lethal means. Troops open fire killing 3, then force the ship to another port, arrest the passengers and deport them. The battle is won, but the campaign is lost. World opinion, and other world powers, turn against the controlling power. Within a few months it decides to cede control of Palestine.
The ship’s name was “Europe Exodus 1947″, or in short, “Exodus”.
Now, 63 years later, the tables have fully turned, and Israel’s leaders seem determined to act every bit as brutally and stupidly as their British predecessors.
First, links to the Witness Gaza flotilla.
Live feed from Turkish boat Insani Yardim Vakfi
(intermittent, but authentic and quite entertaining when on. Maybe less entertaining if you know Turkish)
Homepage of Free Gaza, the group organizing siege-breaking sailings since 2008, and one of the organizers of the present flotilla.
Now, let us set the record straight regarding the Gaza siege, in particular the siege of Gaza’s port. English-language media keep insisting that the port has been blockaded since the Gaza mini-civil-war in 2007, or perhaps since the Hamas election victory in 2006.
The 2008 Free Gaza boat was the first foreign vessel to land in Gaza since…
In other words: Egypt had blockaded Gaza for 10 years. Then Israel for 38 years of direct control. Then, since Israel’s 2005 “disengagement” – a Potemkin display if there ever was one – both Israel and Egypt have colluded to continue the siege. So the next time anyone says “Hamas”, “terror”, etc. to justify the siege, set them right. Gaza has been a de-facto prison for decades. Only the rationales for this atrocity keep shifting.
The new trend: they’re not even hiding it!
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has no problem saying “We have to remember: These people are entering Israel illegally” (h/t TomJ). In other words, when convenient Israel claims it “does not control” Gaza, but when push comes to shove it regards Gaza’s waters as its own, in plain view of the world.
Whence the Chutzpah? Here’s whence. In 1947, the newly-dominant powers of the US and the USSR were all too happy shafting the UK via the Palestine question. Both had sided with the Jewish immigrants and insurgents, a support which quickly led to a UN resolution favorable to he Jews, and – more importantly – to the Brits obeying the resolution, in fact eager to get out of Palestine.
In 2010, there is no major government in the world really willing to put any political dime next to its cheap “remove the siege” talk. Why, even Obama formally asked Israel to remove the Gaza siege. Talk is indeed cheap. In actions, Obama, like Bush before him and like all others leaders of the West, have colluded with Gaza’s imprisonment and made sure that Western puppets like Mubarak collaborate with it.
During this decade, increasingly, Israel has become allied with the world’s political and economic elites, and oblivious, even hostile, to global public opinion. This includes many countries considered friends of Israel. The US where public sentiment tends to reflexively support the Israeli stand, has been a somewhat different story – but even here, the ground has been shifting since the 2008-9 Gaza war. In most other countries, that same war has pretty much sealed the case and solidified a seemingly irreversible anti-Occupation public consensus. And yet, the Occupation and the imprisonment of Gaza continue.
Coincidentally, last year a new government coalition came into power in Israel, its most right-wing coalition ever. Previous governments knew they must give the world some lip-service about peace, to help ally governments divert attention from the Occupation so as not to get into trouble with their constituencies. By comparison, the present Bibi-Lieberman-Barak government seems like a physical incarnation of Deh Stoopid.
Israeli pundits call the new diplomatic approach Pissing into the Pool from the High Jump: if we’ve got the power and all powers-that-matter keep doing our bidding, then we couldn’t care less about what anyone thinks, and we might as well do it out in the open. In Bibi’s books, the strategy is working well. Why, only a few weeks ago Israel was admitted to the OECD, reportedly thanks to some behind-the-scenes arm-twisting from the Obama administration.
Beyond that, the sad fact is that Israel’s government and its military leadership do genuinely think and act like dictators, and at this point seem unable to even start thinking differently. Rather than sit back, let the modest flotilla sail in, make a few speeches and sail back – they are willing to risk a major PR catastrophe, and employ violence so as to deny Gazans anything except what they prescribe for them.
The Gaza flotilla story unfolding right now is the perfect occasion to remind the Israeli regime, that yes, the vast majority of the world’s population who think the Gaza siege should have never started and should stop yesterday DOES COUNT, and that he who keeps pissing from the top of the high jump right into the pool of global community, might eventually get his private parts damaged.