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« Video: Armed 'Peace Activists' | Main | Liveblogging the Free Gaza Media War: June 2 »

Tuesday, June 1 2010

Liveblogging the Free Gaza Media War

Ewa_jasiewicz11:16 p.m: The Times of London published a list of passengers. One name that rings a bell is Ewa Jasiewicz.

Jasiewicz, a Lauren Booth wannabe, is a member of both the UK's National Union of Journalists and the International Solidarity Movement.

She was deported from Israel in 2004 after she "abused her NUJ Press Card in order to interfere with IDF [Israeli Defense Force] anti terrorist activities as a political activist . . ."

10:49 p.m: Interrogations of detained activists reveal that some passengers were recruited specifically to attack Israeli soldiers:

Israel's investigation has revealed some 100 people infiltrated the peace and humanitarian aid activists making their way to Gaza, with the explicit design to attack Israeli soldiers using cold arms.

Some among that group are believed to have ties with World Jihad groups, mainly al-Qaeda . . .

Some of the suspects were found to be carrying large sums of money. Others had Kevlar vests and gas masks; and all were found to be carrying weapons such as knives, metal clubs and slingshots.

10:34 p.m: Egypt opens its border with Rafah. Where are the aid convoys?

10:14 p.m: You know things are getting surreal when pro-Palestinian protestors storm BBC offices in Manchester. Why?

Protesters said they were also angry about the BBC's coverage of Israel.

I'm fed up with the Beeb's byzantine complaints system too. Check out this Idiot's Guide to Navigating BBC Complaints.

IHH 9:49 p.m: More on IHH, the dubious Turkish charity which spearheaded the flotilla. Andrew Bolt nails their modus operandi:

In 2001, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the prominent French counter-terrorism magistrate, testified in the trial of the "Millennium bomber" that IHH had played "an important role" in the plot to blow up Los Angeles airport.

He said the charity was "a type of cover-up" to infiltrate mujahidin into combat, get forged documents and smuggle weapons.

In 2006, the Danish Institute for International Studies reported that Turkish security forces had raided the IHH's Istanbul bureau and found firearms, explosives and bomb-making instructions.

The Turkish investigators concluded this "charity" was sending jihadists to Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.

(Hat tip: email from Barry Rubin)

Paul_mcgeough8:58 p.m: Australian journalist Paul McGeough, who was aboard one of the boats, plans to fight deportation. The Sydney Morning Herald elaborates:

Israel has begun legal proceedings to deport the journalists and they have 72 hours to lodge a legal challenge.

Israeli officials have offered them the alternative of signing an agreement to waive their legal right to appeal and be deported immediately. If they are deported, both McGeough and Geraghty would face a 10-year ban on re-entering Israel.

Israeli authorities are seeking to deport the pair on the grounds that they tried to enter the blockaded maritime area surrounding Gaza without permission.

It is believed that McGeough advised consular officials of his intention to fight moves to deport him. If McGeough mounts a legal challenge, he could face several weeks in detention.

I don't have any reason to believe McGeough had an agenda in joining the convoy. (Australian Jewish media watchdogs, correct me if I'm wrong.) If he stays in prison fighting the deportation, I could see this getting messy. McGeough's an Irish national -- and the Irish Foreign Ministry's especially shrill about the naval intercept.

8:48 p.m: 124 Arab "activists" to return to their countries of origin via Jordan.

8:40 p.m: Wounded "peace activists" are enjoying Red Cross visits.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Red Cross could get the same access to Gilad Shalit?

8:23 p.m: One of the soldiers describes how "peace activists" aboard the Mavi Marmara tried to lynch him and his comrades:

8:09 p.m: Mona Charen's worth reading: Flotillas and Falsehoods: Don’t members of the press ever resent being so used? (via Daled Amos)

7:33 p.m: I'm back online after taking care of other things. Just in time to find some emails from readers who are rightly angry with Steve Bell, cartoonist at The Guardian.

Cartoons like this are powerful visuals. Thanks to the Free Gaza movement, Hamas P.R. is celebrating Christmas in June.


2:48 p.m: Question: How would things have unfolded differently had the Egyptian navy intercepted the flotilla?

2:21 p.m: My podcast with Yarden Frankl about the flotilla is online now. Give it a listen and share with your friends.

Stephen_walt2:13 p.m. My day ain't complete without Stephen Walt's wisdom. Out with it, professor!

This incident will harm our relations with other Middle Eastern countries, lend additional credence to jihadi narratives about the "Zionist-Crusader alliance," and complicate efforts to deal with Iran.

(Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon)

2:06 p.m. I'm looking over Joel Fishman's assessment of "the morning after hangover."

1:25 p.m: The IDF found smoke torches on board the Mavi Marmara.

A smoke torch is a pyrotechnic device creating a smoke cloud in order to conceal something. What humanitarian purpose does this serve Gaza families? Click on the image to enlarge.


1:12 p.m: If this IBN report (via Israel Matzav) is true, any discussion of salvaging Israel-Turkey relations -- or its role as a possible mediator in peace talks -- is simply dead.

Ankara warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy, a development with unpredictable consequences.

12:58 p.m: Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty declined deportation and are currently in a Beersheba prison while diplomatic officials sort out their status. McGeough was travelling on an Irish passport.

He and Geraghty were aboard the MV Samoud.

Newsweek_logo12:40 p.m: What has Israel gained from the blockade of Gaza? Here's Dan Ephron's answer, then I'll share mine:

Mostly a public-relations headache.

The Newsweek reporter is correct, but only partly so. If nothing else, containing Hamas also means fewer rockets fired at Israelis like me.

12:26 p.m: CNN raises an important point about the casualties. Israel hasn't released the names of the dead activists, while Free Gaza hasn't offered an exact number of its own.

Information needs to be carefully confirmed before being released, but I hope the numbers get cleared up soon.

12:12 p.m: Boston Globe editors evidently don't understand fear:

But Israel didn’t wait for the ships to reach Israeli territory; launching a military raid in international waters was a disproportionate response. Israel bears responsbility for the loss of life. It is reasonable to inquire whether Israeli soldiers feared for their lives before firing. But the Israeli army, in ordering the raid, had to know that bloodshed was a possible outcome.

If Globe editors were attacked with knives and crowbars, would an inquiry really be necessary to determine if they feared for their lives? Maybe the Globe should watch this video:

11:42 a.m: The Washington Post gets it!

What's plain is that the group's nominal purpose, delivering "humanitarian" supplies to Gaza, was secondary to the aim of provoking a confrontation. The flotilla turned down an Israeli offer to unload the six boats and deliver the goods to Gaza by truck; it ignored repeated warnings that it would not be allowed to reach Gaza. Its spokesmen said they would insist on "breaking Israel's siege," as one of them put it.

11:29 a.m: Good grief, Chris McGreal throws everything but the kitchen sink at Israel.

Twitter 11:24 a.m: Twitter users cried censorship when discussions on the flotilla failed to turn up in search results. In case you missed it, TechCrunch concluded:

So the most likely explanation is that Twitter’s recently updated trending topics algorithm mistakes #gaza and #flotilla for older news unrelated to current events.

An update to the post adds:

. . . it became clear Twitter users had switched to different terms, namely “Gaza flotilla” and #freedomflotilla which are working and trending just fine, so there is clearly no “censorship” going on. As we say, it may well have been down to technical problems with the original hashtags people were using.

11:09 a.m: I just joined the Facebook group: Gaza Flotilla - the world should know the truth

11:03 a.m: The Daily Telegraph points a finger at Turkey for yesterday's fiasco:

As the man responsible for Turkish security, Mr Erdogan knows that the government in Jerusalem has to vet goods brought into the Strip. A secular, non-Arab country, Turkey is in a unique position to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians. Its prime minister appears instead to have chosen a more biased role designed to appeal to his domestic Islamic constituency.

TheIndependentMasthead 10:51 a.m: A staff-ed in The Independent blames disproportionate tactics, but doesn't offer any suggestions on what steps Israel could've taken that would A) be effective and B) meet the editorial staff's self-righteous standards:

Above all, it is Israel's abject failure to devise ways of defending itself other than by overwhelming military force. Faced with mass demonstrations or aid shipments that are cast by their organisers as peaceful, Israel still has no answer beyond a call to arms. It cannot, therefore, be surprised when most of the rest of the world then judges the means to be excessive and disproportionate to the ends.

10:45 a.m: A staff-ed in The Guardian compares the Israeli navy to Somali pirates:

If an armed group of Somali pirates had yesterday boarded six vessels on the high seas, killing at least 10 passengers and injuring many more, a Nato taskforce would today be heading for the Somali coast. What happened yesterday in international waters off the coast of Gaza was the work of Israeli commandos, not pirates, and no Nato warships will in fact be heading for Israel. Perhaps they should be.

I'm sure the Somali pirates are still waiting for Turkey to organize a "Free Darfur" aid convoy.



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2:48 p.m: Question: How would things have unfolded differently had the Egyptian navy intercepted the flotilla?

There would've been a lot more deaths, and a lot less fuss.

does anyone really think that israel would risk
its naval officers to block medical goods from reaching gaza ?
it is obvious that they fear other goods such as chemical warfare products or rocket parts could be hidden within the cargo
products such as these have been unloaded in lebanon
i would like to see jouranlists on standby when the cargo is unloaded

Making Hamas and affiliates honest brokers in this incident is baseless and hypocritical. No, the Turkish ship was not bringing humanitarian aid, it was being provacative and aggressive . These were not peaceful activitists , they were violent rogues who were intent on causing havoc and harm.

Of course Israel is guilty; when haven't they been? If the UN says so, it must be true. The USA will come to Israel's aid as usual, not anymore!

Our wonderful President promised change; aren't we changing concerning Israel?

If the French get biased about the whole affair, let them eat of their own food:
French Secret Service agents killed Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira in an attack that would have made Inspector Gadget look slick. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary gathered within days of the attack, France continued to deny responsibility for over two months. Here we trace the events that led to the eventual reluctant admission of guilt and the disappearance of those responsible.
Just before midnight on July 10, 1985, the crew of the Rainbow Warrior stared in disbelief at the half-submerged ship - their home and an international symbol of peace. But it was not until police were able to view the holes left in the ship – one big enough to drive a car through – that it was clear this was an act of sabotage and not just a tragic accident.

The main issue is whether these boats contain humanitarian aid or are smuggling weapons. By now, there should be answers to these questions.

My Home News Tribune paper in central NJ started its article titled Israel blames 'armada of hate' in clash and had its first sentence by Michele Chabin, Special to USA TODAY read "JERUSALEM -- Israel defended itself Monday against accusations it overreacted to a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists it said provoked a battle with Israeli commandos that left nine activists dead and several soldiers severely injured." The article includes "blockade of Gaza set up by Israel and Egypt to keep weapons from Hamas." "Hamas ... has rained more than 6,500 rockets onto Israeli towns" "captains of all ships were contacted at sea and told they could offload their supplies at an Israeli port for delivery to Gaza. They refused..." "activists...used guns, knives and bats to attack commandos" etc.
Essentially, this was a fairly balanced article. I believe we should thank the media when they do balanced reporting, especially when it gives the Israeli side at the beginning of the article. I expect to do so.

I'm puzzled that Christial nations do not support Israel. Do they understand that giving up Israel will the end of judeo-christianity. This incident once again displays how peaceful Islam is - religion of wars, bloodshed and distruction

If any incident in recent times could demonstrate how far away the press are from telling the truth about Israels attempts to simply exists as a democratic country it is the coverage of this so called Peaceful flotilla.
The press are so blinded by agenda that, as Alan Dershowitz points out in his book, they apply a constant and blatant double standard to their descriptions of events.

It leaves one speechless to see just how totally biased and distorted the reporting is.

I am glad that you all at H R are so tenacious in the face of what seems such a hopeless lack of ability amongst reporters to even see what is right before their eyes. The blindness seems so total it is hard to imagine ever being able to get them to see through it.

Thank you for what you do. We must all try to emulate you and support you by doing all we can to keep the truth before the eyes of the world.

John Whitbread

This entire aid scheme was designed as a confrontational move to discredit Israel. It was set up and carried out with the total cooperation and support of the Turkish Govt. . The last thing on the minds of these people was humanitarian aid. Before Mr. Erdogan starts to talk about "a massacre" let him not forget about the genocide carried out by the Turks when they killed millions of Armenians. The Turkish Govt should hide its face in shame for provoking an international incident merely to satisfy the terrorists of Hamas. As for the "innocent civilian aid workers," they got what they asked for. Martyrdom.I hope the 72 virgins will take good care of them.

Am Israel Haj! Israel forever!

What is wrong with the World? It is clearly stated in ALL news reports that the ship did NOT go through "proper channels." There is a policy in effect. They choose to ignore this policy and go the other way rather than have their boat inspected. Why would they not want to go through proper channels and honor the policy to stop and allow the ship to be inspected? This would have avoided every thing that went down. Why? Because they were up to no good, that's why!
This is a WAR people! For the sake of your selves, open your eyes up! Do you not see how the Hamas is moving into our soil as well as the attempt to sneak pass the proper channels? Now the Turks are being blatent enough to say they will keep breaking the policy and continue to send ships enroute the way they want to rather than be inspected. What is wrong with this World is the veil is heavier than ever! Bleeding hearts and those who want to see a one World order are up for some surprises, you watch and see, the minority will no longer rule those of us who are actually in the majority! Wake up World, do you not think for a moment that any other country would have done the very same thing if it were their soil that was being "invaded" ??? PROPER CHANNELS were ignored and the Israelis aren't supposed to defend those proper channels? Every one knows that when one ignores the policy and the proper water route what will happen, this should be absolutely no surprise what so ever. God Bless the Israelis!!!

I agree that the ship was sent to provoke Israel. Israel was foolish to allow itself to be provoked. There must have been a better way to handle this.

hamas is at war with israel,hamas has sworn to kill every jew on earth. these peace activists did not sing kum-ba-ya and sit quietly. if the arabs stop the rockets, accept israel, resettle their fellow arabs release gilad shallit, stop educating people for death, all would be well. utube and other media may help. may isreal go from strength to strength

I think even a blind man could see it was an outright provokation from Israels' enemies. Evidence is in the aftermath. These enemies of Israel get it all backwards, there is no logical nor practicle reasoning with them because they are terrorists. Israel has been nothing but patient and accomodating.
If they were peace activists even though the element of surprise may have scared them, why did they respond with such "so called self defence" as if they were defending a ligitimate peace?
As for International waters, Israel is under great threat of international persecution as is the evidence also shown in aftermath and foremath.

Apoyamos a Israel, en su defensa. Los otros no son tan angelitos como parecen.

Carlos Galeao

Israel army was left with no option but to defend and to save their own life. The army could have not fought with sticks etc as they would have been outnumbered.


Turning Gaza into a concentration camp is not a solution. I'm not for Israel, nor am I for the Palestinians. However, both of these bickering idiots are willing to push the world into a major conflict. As Kennedy said, "We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth." Both the Palestinians and Israelis are so blinded with hatred, they would see the world as a burnt out cinder, before they would see one another live in peace. Israel and the Palestinians are incapable of living with one another; if the world cannot force them to live in peace, we certainly, cannot help them by providing weapons. There isn't any amount of spin in all the medias and brainwashing of the psychological engineers in all the universe to make any sane person look upon this situation, and not be shamed at the stupidity of man against another man. Hamas is no worse or better than Zionists, no better or worse than KKK, no better or worse than Hitler, Mao, many bodies must line this earth over the insanity of one man's ideology verses another man's ideology. My sons and daughters lives are not worth this stupidity. Apparently, the Palestinian children and Israeli children will be all too willingly sacrified by their parents to each others hateful spite; having the audacity to claim their gods favor their deeds. Every media in the world should be filming both sides 24/7, perhaps, by filming this shamefullness, we could teach the rest of us, the grand foolishness of hate. You cannot have peace by mistreating each other; this continuous tit for tat, degradation upon degradation. The victor does not decide that which is right and wrong, for there are no victors here, just wrongs. You cannot perpetrate evils and wrongs upon even your enemies, and proclaim they are righteous and just.

Your blogger said that the blockade has achieved "fewer rockets fired at Israelis like me".
Perhaps that is true in the short term but what always seems to be ignored is the fact that virtually no rockets were fired from Gaza between June and November 2008. The period of calm was broken when a raid by the IDF resulted in the death (note the use of the passive tense so bemoaned by HR!) 6 Palestinians in Gaza. They may have been militants but the fact is that that predictably ensured the breakdown of the ceasefire and led to the invasion of Gaza conveniently just before the US presidential elections. So Hamas is capable of observing a ceasefire and perhaps a more positive response by Israel in November 2008 may have resulted in a better long term outcome.
So the blockade may work for a few yerars or a few score years but Israel surely wants to survive for centuries and building on hate through the blockade is not the way to go about it


The IDF incursion you refer didn't happen out of the blue. It was in response to the discovery of a tunnel dug under the Israel-Gaza border similar to the one used in the Gilad Shalit kidnapping.

The army's raid destroyed the tunnel. Hamas retaliated with a flurry of rockets.

See this link.

I remain unconvinced that Hamas is capable of observing a cease-fire.

Wrong, the media got it right, and gets it right when Israel is mentioned .

It is a no brainer, Israel has always been the lightening rod in the world . Everyone scrambles to make sure that smoke becomes the fire of the media.
It is why the media can survive. Knowing full well, that the world in general is anti-Israel, and therefore anti-semetic(one cannot separate the two), the converse is also true,it makes for the perfect equation. Israel becomes the bad guy in the wrestling arena .The media is the image maker.

I am well aware of the
story behind the tunnel but surely there is way of blocking up a tunnel without killing 6 people during a sensitive ceasefire. Couldnt Israel have poured concrete down! Unfortunately Pesach, the Palestinians are unconvinced about Israel's bona fides as well and that is the tragedy. But force of arms will beget more force and more hatred and I remain unconvinced that Israel has tried hard enough to achieve a just settlement.

Israel must remain strong and focused.Anything to do with Islamic fundermentalism,Al-queda,Jihadsm, are aimed at terrorising the Jews nation. If the Hamas and Iranian Leaders openly speak of inhalation of the Israel state.How best does one expect Israel to have security consciousness?
All those blaming the IDF's action against the Follita peace activists must look at Israels history.
Please Israel dont allow the Hitler phenomenon occur to you again.
If they were for peace,why didn't they use peaceful means like the united nations red cross or the alternatives the Israel government provided instead of resorting to confrotational and provocative means.

The real story of the Gaza siege is not that killing 9 terrorists was a "tragedy". The real story is the left wing's contiuous flirtation with violence, their use of "human rights" language to cover it up, and that our journalists keep letting them get away with it. At least the latter appears to be due for a change. This week in Sweden, Jan Guillou, one of its most revered left-wing "journalists", who for 35 years has consistently criticized the US and Israel and elevated the Palestinians, lost his appeal against a Swedish newspaper, Expressen. Expressen wrote that Guillou had been a KGB spy while he broke the story that made him famous (the revelation that Sweden had an internal spy organization keeping tab on leftists). It has since come out that Guillou also spied for the PFLP, a Palestinian left wing terror organization, trying to figure out El-Al security systems in the Copenhagen airport. The vote was 14 to 4 against punishing the Expressen which Guillou had accused of morally damaging himself. Who is next, I wonder? Anybody reading those KGB files?

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