FLOTILLA UPDATES; SABOTAGE AND VICTORY
Posted by musliminsuffer on June 29, 2011
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
June 28, 2011 at 11:26
Gaza flotilla activists: One of our ships was sabotaged
Israeli activist says his ship, which is docked in Greece’s Piraeus port, was found with its propeller shaft broken which he believes was a deliberate attempt at sabotage.
By Amira Hass
One of the ships due to participate in the Gaza flotilla was deliberately tampered with while it was docked in Greece’s Piraeus port, Gaza flotilla activists told Haaretz on Monday.
The ship, due to carry Greek, Norwegian, and Swedish passengers to Gaza, was found with its propeller shaft broken, the ship’s spokesman Israeli activist Dror Feiler told Haaretz.
A scuba diver who examines the ship on a daily basis discovered Monday that the ship’s propeller shaft, which connects the transmission inside the vessel directly to the propeller, was cut off.
According to Feiler, there is no doubt that the action was a deliberate attempt at sabotage, which he believed also violated Greece’s sovereignty.
Even though the problem can be fixed, it is still unclear how long it would take, especially with Greece’s recently declared general strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This action adds to a series of delays that have kept the Gaza flotilla from sailing, including Greece’s determination to carry out additional non-routine examinations on several of the ships.
Earlier Monday, organizers of the Gaza flotilla accused Israel of pressuring Greece to halt the ships’ departure.
American activist Ann Wright told a news conference that Israel is mounting a “tremendous diplomatic offensive” to prevent the flotilla from setting sail.
Organizers urged the Greek government in a statement not to “become complicit in Israel’s illegal actions by succumbing to this pressure.”
Protesters urge Israel to lift Gaza blockade
Israel vows to stop international activists from breaking the siege on the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s security cabinet has voted to prevent an international flotilla from reaching Gaza, by any means possible.
The group of boats is due to leave Greece in a few days. Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, says any resulting confrontation will be the responsibility of the organisers.
The Freedom Flotilla II is part of the “Free Gaza movement” – a coalition of human rights groups which sends ships to break Israel’s strict naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. In 2008 it successfully entered Gaza five times.
However, the movement has been intercepted on the past four voyages – including the lethal attack by Israeli forces on the Freedom Flotilla last year on May 31.
Nine people, mostly Turkish activists, were killed and many more injured.
Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Philips reports from the Greek capital, Athens.
One Small Victory as Israel steps back a bit….
Netanyahu rescinds decision to sanction journalists on board Gaza flotilla
PM changes tack: Israel won’t deport, bar foreign journalists aboard Gaza-bound vessels.
After a day in which every single news media outlet in the world seemed to weigh in, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rescinded a Government Press Office decision to sanction any foreign journalist who participates in the Gaza Strip flotilla.
GPO director Oren Helman had announced on Sunday that any foreign journalist on the flotilla would be treated as an illegal infiltrator, meaning they would be deported and then barred from entering Israel for 10 years. But yesterday Netanyahu’s bureau issued a press release rescinding that decision.
“When the matter was brought to his attention, the prime minister directed that the regular policy against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally not be implemented,” the terse statement said. “It has also been agreed that members of the Israeli and international media will be attached to Israel Navy vessels in order to create transparency and credible coverage of the events.”
The Foreign Press Association, which had condemned Sunday’s decision for sending “a chilling message to the international media” that “raises serious questions about Israel’s commitment to freedom of the press,” welcomed yesterday’s reversal.
“We are pleased to see that Israel has recognized the value of allowing reporters to cover an important news event, and understands that journalists should be treated differently from political activists,” it said in a statement.
Sebastian Engelbrecht, a senior journalist from the German television network ARD, said that last year’s flotilla, in which nine people were killed, was the most widely covered news event in Germany; hence the media interest in this year’s sailing. Netanyahu, he added, did well to reverse course, as the attempt to bar journalists from covering the flotilla was “a provocation” unbefitting a democracy.
Last year’s flotilla, Engelbrecht continued, was “a terrible anti-Israel provocation,” and Israel should give thought to the mistakes it made in dealing with it. “A free press is a sign that Israel isn’t afraid and isn’t hiding anything,” he said.
Helman declined to comment yesterday.
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW