Last year, a flotilla of boats set sail carrying toys, medical supplies, and other things to aid the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, blockaded by sea, sky and wall as an “anti-suicide bomber” effort, effectively starving the economy and people held therein. The flotilla was intercepted by the Israeli Defense Forces just off Gaza, and while some activists resisted passively (nonviolently), the activists on one of the ships did respond with violence, resulting in nine of the activists being killed, dozens wounded, and seven IDF members wounded as well. The flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement, an organization seeking to end the Israeli blockade on Gaza.
This year, they’re making another attempt.
FGM reports that they’ve been successful five times in bringing aid to Gaza, but the last four attempts have been stopped by the IDF. A lot of us are watching and wondering what is going to happen here. Dispatches from members of Waging Nonviolence, part of the US Boat to Gaza Project, are giving accounts of the events occurring in the Strip moving them to act, as well as showing feelings of hope and determination. Egypt recently has lent its support, and at a time where Palestinians are potentially being ordered to pay for the demolition of their own homes, aid can’t come soon enough. Presently, they’re still in Greece, citing sabotage, but hopefully, they’ll be up and moving soon. My prayers and support are with them.
As for those of the United States State Department, I’m not so sure. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has more or less given the green light for the Israelis to launch an assault on the flotilla, stating that any action taken by the IDF will be considered “self defense” (against activists having signed a nonviolence pact, no less). Governor of Texas Rick Perry is calling for punishment of those from the United States participating in the flotilla Long and short, the US citizens participating in this effort aren’t getting a whole lot of love from the government here.
As an American, Clinton’s response sickens me. Are we so blinded by our love affair with Israel that we ignore the suffering in the Gaza Strip? When a group of people bands together to not only bring aid to an oppressed people, but call for an end to oppression as a whole, why do we encourage their persecution? I want to see PEACE in the Middle East between BOTH nations, not just one ruling over the other!
These state actions will not assist anyone in seeing peace in the Middle East; they’re making it worse by supporting one government over another. I’m praying that this flotilla brings it aid to Gaza and brings it soon, without IDF interception.
What do you think?
BTW, if you’re as against this as I am, sign the petition for a Palestinian State in the UN.