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« Gaza Flotilla: The Text of the UN Security Council Statement | Main | Gaza Flotilla: A Short Note on Why Our "New Media" Are Essential »

Gaza Flotilla LiveBlog: The Politics After the Attack (1 June)

2200 GMT: Israeli officials stated that around 10 thousand tons of humanitarian aid reached to Gaza.


Gaza Flotilla: The Text of the UN Security Council Statement
Gaza Flotilla: A Short Note on Why Our “New Media” Are Essential
Blaming the Gaza Flotilla: Text of US Remarks in Security Council
The Flotilla: Has Israel Lost Its Second Gaza War? (Burston)

2115 GMT: Israeli officials said all 680 activists held would be released, including two dozen Israel had threatened earlier to prosecute charging they had assaulted its troops.

2030 GMT: Israeli officials are concerned that Turkey will dispatch Navy warships to accompany a future flotilla to the Gaza Strip.

2000 GMT: The state asked the High Court of Justice to reject out of hand petitions demanding that Israel return the hundreds of anti-blockade activists to their boats in international waters and allow them to sail to Gaza.

1930 GMT: Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen urged Israel to let the vessel to finish its mission. Speaking at the parliament in Dublin, he said: "The government has formally requested the Israeli government to allow the Irish-owned ship ... to be allowed to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza".

1840 GMT: Hamas chief Khaled Meshal called on all states to cut diplomatic ties with Israel. He said:
We call on all Arab and Islamic nations, and all those who have relations with Israel, to cut all their relations and contacts in all shapes and levels with the Zionist entity.

The continuation of contacts and relations with Israel is a reward for their crimes.

1750 GMT: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated the 'significance of the operation" during a special meeting with his ministers. He said:
We know from the experience of Operation Cast Lead that the weapons entering Gaza are being turned against our civilians.

Gaza is a terror state funded by the Iranians, and therefore we must try to prevent any weapons from being brought into Gaza by air, sea and land

1715 GMT: NATO called for a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation". Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also demanded the immediate release of the detained civilians and ships held by Israel.

1655 GMT: A report written by the Israeli based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center says that The Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) is a “radical Islamic Organization with an anti-Western orientation.” The report continues: “Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and that at least in the past, even global jihad networks.”

According to the defense officials, the IDF identified a group of about 100 passengers on the ship that could have terrorist connections with Global Jihad affiliated groups.

1630 GMT: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused the international community of being "two faced," following UNSC's statement.

1610 GMT: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered to open the Rafah land crossing for an unlimited time to let medical and humanitarian aid go in Gaza.

1600 GMT: More Witness Statements. German activist Norman Paech said he had only seen wooden sticks being brandished as troops abseiled on to the deck of the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the Flotilla.

Fellow German activist Inge Hoeger said, "We were aware that this would not be a simple cruise across the sea to deliver the goods to Gaza. But we did not count on this kind of brutality."

Bayram Kalyon, arriving back in Istanbul, recounted, "The captain... told us, 'They are firing randomly, they are breaking the windows and entering inside. So you should get out of here as soon as possible'. That was our last conversation with him." (

1515 GMT: Getting to the Point. Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin, deported from Israel, said Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the Flotilla.

Cetin, whose husband is the Mavi Marmara's chief engineer, said, "The Mavi Marmara is filled with blood....The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn't stop these warnings turned into an attack.
There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters."

The account supports video evidence and other accounts, posted on EA, that indicate Israeli forces fired before boarding the ship.

1350 GMT: Speaking at the Knesset, Mossad's Chief Meir Dagan said that strategic ties between Jerusalem and Washington have been slowly changing since the end of the Cold War. He continued: "Bit by bit,
Israel is becoming less of a strategic asset for America

1330 GMT: A top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post that Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade and added:
We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war. That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.

1315 GMT:The Limits of Criticism. Despite Prime Minister Erdogan's strident criticism of Israel's "bloody massacre" (see 1245 GMT), Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said the Freedom Flotilla crisis will not affect the planned delivery of Israel-made Heron drones to Turkey.

1305 GMT: An American official says, “The situation is that [the Israelis] are so isolated right now that it’s not only that we’re the only ones who will stick up for them. We’re the only ones who believe them –-- and what they’re saying is true.”

Another "senior Administration official" has indicated that there will be no strong US action against Israel, “The president has always said that it will be much easier for Israel to make peace if it feels secure.”

1300 GMT: We've posted the text of the UN Security Council resolution on the Flotilla attack.

1245 GMT: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Parliament, "This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse."

Erdogan demanded that Israel immediately halt its "inhumane" blockade of Gaza.

1200 GMT: Back from a break to find Al Jazeera cameraman Issam Za'atar, who was on the Flotilla, talking about his experience. A summary from an activist:
"Shocked by savage behavior" of Israelis....Israeli soldiers attacked journalists, chased cameraman, tried to attack him with electric prod to stop him filming....They attacked with gunfire, tear gas, strange-smelling gases.

0945 GMT: Six Greek citizens are back in Athens after accepting deportation from Israel. The released passengers said Israeli commandos beat activists with clubs and used electric shocks. They added that they could hear shooting as Israeli forces boarded the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship.

The Greek government has suspended joint military exercises with Israel and issued a harsh statement condemning the raid.

0845 GMT:The Next Aid Ships. Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement says a second boat carrying about three dozen passengers will join the MV Rachel Corrie, already en route to Gaza and expected to reach coastal waters on Wednesday.

0815 GMT: The protest march in Ankara, heading for the Israeli Embassy in Turkey, has begun.

Demonstrators are stomping on a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dressed as a pirate.

0810 GMT: Football and Politics. It is reported that Turkey's Ministry of Sport has cancelled tonight's friendly between the Israeli and Turkish youth football teams.

0745 GMT: Amidst the propaganda battle to define what occurred yesterday and the "proper" political response, we've posted a separate entry on "Why Our 'New Media' Are Essential".

0730 GMT: Neil MacFarquhar of The New York Times gets behind the formal UN Security Council resolution:
Turkey proposed a statement that would condemn Israel for violating international law, demand a United Nations investigation and demand that Israel prosecute those responsible for the raid and pay compensation to the victims. It also called for the end of the blockade.

The Obama administration refused to endorse a statement that singled out Israel, and proposed a broader condemnation of the violence that would include the assault of the Israeli commandos as they landed on the deck of the ship."

0725 GMT: And Who Can Speak to the Passengers? The Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the Flotilla, reports, "Israel has refused our lawyers contact with passengers. No contact with any of them since 3:30 am yesterday. None. Zero. Zip."

0720 GMT: What Happened? Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera asks an important question: "Will footage taken by journalists onboard the Mavi Marmara [the lead ship in the Flotilla] be confiscated? Still no confirmation by police."

0640 GMT: More Politics. It is interesting this morning thatformer and present British diplomats are pressing the line that Israeli restrictions on aid to Gaza --- the "siege" --- must be lifted. Whether this translates into meaningful action is another matter.

Meanwhile, The New York Times stumbles upon the point that my colleague Ali Yenidunya was already making with his updates to the LiveBlog last night: "Israeli Raid Complicates US Push for Peace".

Let's be clearer than that, shall we? If there is no US denunciation of the Israeli attack --- irrespective of whether you think it should be denounced --- there will be "no push for peace" in the foreseeable future. No Palestinian leader can risk talks, direct or indirect, given the anger throughout the Middle East --- and, in some cases, beyond --- over West Jerusalem's military action.

0635 GMT: How Many Died? We have not posted a figure because we simply don't know. Al Jazeera was reporting "up to 19", but the Israeli military changed the figures throughout the day, finally settling on nine or ten. Because there is no communication with the flotilla or the passengers, thanks to that Israeli military, it is not possible to get close to the truth.

0630 GMT: Amidst the Israel PR line that the passengers on the flotilla were connected to Hamas, The Guardian of London has a useful summary of the former and current parliamentarians, journalists, fimmakers, Nobel Prize laureate, and human rights activists who were aboard.

0615 GMT: Catching up with overnight developments, which have already put down important political markers to watch....

The United Nations Security Council has gone through the ritual of an "emergency session" with few surprises in the statements. Most members denounced the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla, while Israel maintained the line, "What kind of peace activists use knives, clubs and other weapons to attack soldiers?". The US statement (text in separate entry) implicitly defended West Jerusalem by putting the blame for the incident on the flotilla organisers.

The session concluded with a call for an enquiry, but that begs an important question: will that enquiry be by an independent body or by Israeli authorities?

The lesson of the Gaza War of December-January 2008/2009 is significant here. The UN held out against Israeli pressure for its own investigation of the military actions during the war, but Israel and allies effectively trashed the Goldstone Report (and Richard Goldstone) in the months since it appeared.

On another legal/political front, Israel will deport 48 activists from the Flotilla, including 81-year-old former US Ambassador Edward Peck; however, another 480 will be detained in Beersheba pending appeals/eventual deportation.

If many of those 480 continue to refuse deportation, and thus wind up in Israeli jails for an indefinite period, that may be a point of pressure upon West Jerusalem.

Then there is the possibility of an immediate sequel to yesterday's assault: the Israeli military has declared that it is ready to stop another aid ship headed to Gaza. The MV Rachel Corrie, a converted merchant ship named after the activist run down and killed by an Israeli bulldozer, is planning to reach Gazan waters by Wednesday.

Reader Comments (12)

[...] Live-Blog zum Angriff auf Gaza-Flotille, schwere Vorwürfe gegen Israel im UN-Sicherheitsrat [...]

Henning Mankell and 10 other Swedish activists reportedly kept by Israeli security forces in Ashdod, with the options to leave the country or get sentenced:" rel="nofollow">

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

I am still baffled about what happened yesterday. I can't get over the stupidity of the Israeli intervention. If there's one country that is able to develop different scenarios and predict their different outcomes, it's Israel. This approach, many outside and inside Israel agree, ended up in an absolute (PR) nightmare. As the New York Times op-ed captions: "The flotilla fiasco"...

Still, I see no analysis yet of how this all came about. I might have missed it, though.
But who decided to put this amateurish move in action, while prime minister Nethanyahu was far away in Canada and on his way to the White House? Did anyone oversee the consequences of a potentially dangerous, botched up intervention? Wasn't Israel aware of the use of live video streams from the flotilla? Or were they and was that the reason they brought their own? So we could see afterwards - oh irony - how incredibly stupid they were in sending a few poor guys down a rope onto a ship with 600 angry passengers?

From the NYT: "Israel will now endure days, if not months, of condemnations by its many enemies. Middle East peace talks are at risk again, as are Israel's once-strong relations with Turkey. What was to have been a conciliatory meeting between Mr. Netanyahu and President Obama Tuesday has been cancelled." The NYT rightfully points out that one of Netanyahu's main problems is that his cabinet consists of only "hawks who have made Israeli diplomacy an oxymoron. The prime minister is in a deepening hole; his only way out is to move to the center."

My journalistic question would be: how did he get in this hole in the first place? Did Nethanyahu OK this move, did he know? Was there any communication with the US about the impending intervention?
If anyone knows any answers I would love to read them...

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

[...] Enduring America Read More [...]


"2 members of German leftist party "Die Linke" accuse Israel for committing war crimes:"

You neglected to mention your view, if any, on those charges.

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereabrill

"Israel's idea of a democratic State: Accused have no access to lawyers or family-thats a democracy?"

What think you, Enduring America?

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereabrill


"Henning Mankell and 10 other Swedish activists reportedly kept by Israeli security forces in Ashdod, with the options to leave the country or get sentenced:"

Sentenced for what? That doesn't sound fair. Are they getting access to lawyers, family members? I'll bet EA will be all over this one, eh?

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereabrill

"0810 GMT: Football and Politics. It is reported that Turkey’s Ministry of Sport has cancelled tonight’s friendly between the Israeli and Turkish youth football teams."


Why do they have to punish the kids?

June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave

2030 GMT: Israeli officials are concerned that Turkey will dispatch Navy warships to accompany a future flotilla to the Gaza Strip.


There's some commentary about that here --" rel="nofollow">,7340,L-38966...

June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave

[...] NEW Gaza Flotilla Video & Transcript: Hillary Clinton’s Statement (1 June) Gaza Flotilla: The Text of the UN Security Council Statement Gaza Flotilla: A Short Note on Why Our “New Media” Are Essential Blaming the Gaza Flotilla: Text of US Remarks in Security Council The Flotilla: Has Israel Lost Its Second Gaza War? (Burston) Gaza Flotilla LiveBlog: The Politics After the Attack (1 June) [...]

[...] Gaza Flotilla LiveBlog: The Politics After the Attack (1 June) [...]

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