Occupation of GAZA, odd letter sent to Peace Activist's from FreeGaza on a Peaceful Mission
They've been warned about staying ou of certain waters, see the letter from a few minutes ago.
The following message was sent to us from aboard the SS Liberty, currently at
sea - on the way to Gaza!
Admiral Marom’s Strange Proclamation
The signature of Israeli Navy Commander in Chief Admiral Eliezer Marom appears
on a very odd document. (See attached.) Dated August 11th, 2008, it is not
written on official stationery, nor is it addressed to anyone.
The document declares that the Israeli Navy is operating in a maritime zone off
the coast of Gaza. Was there any doubt that they have been doing so
continuously since 1967?
It includes the sketch of a map and a series of coordinates (also attached) to
define the zone, which includes all of Gaza coastal waters, and a major slice
of international waters as well. It advises all foreign vessels to remain
clear of this zone because of a “security situation” that is apparently so
obvious that it requires no definition or explanation.
The only hint about the “security situation” is a reference to the delivery
of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, which,
according to the document, should be done only at the land crossings between
Israel and the Gaza Strip (i.e. by Israeli permission only). Why is the
Israeli Navy issuing a proclamation regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid
The proclamation goes on to prescribe a set of protocols for vessels
approaching the “maritime zone” and to prohibit vessels from entering Gaza
because of the undefined “security situation.”
Finally, the document pronounces its benevolent intentions to ensure “safe
navigation” and its neighborly undertaking to prevent vessels from
approaching an area where their safety may be endangered. Endangered? By
whom? By what?
There is, of course, an explanation for such a strange document, disseminated
(as nearly as can be determined) to a narrow circle of maritime authorities.
It is that the document itself is an embarrassment to Israel, which
nevertheless feels compelled to issue it in some form, as a disclaimer for any
forceful action that they might take against an unnamed threat.
The embarrassment is that the unnamed threat consists of the two converted
fishing boats of the Free Gaza Movement, bought and refurbished in Greece, and
flying the Greek flag. On board is a contingent of forty-three crew and human
rights advocates, sworn to nonviolence, as well as a modest cargo of hearing
aids for Palestinian children in Gaza. Among their ranks are a Greek member of
parliament, an 81-year-old Catholic nun and the sister-in-law of former British
prime minister Tony Blair.
No wonder Israel is embarrassed. Does Israel seriously consider the delivery
of humanitarian aid to be a security crisis? Does the initiative of a small
group of harmless people constitute such a threat? If so, what does that say
about the kind of state to which Israelis pledge allegiance?
Finally, the declaration’s kindly words of interest for the safety of vessels
traveling in the area hide the threat to use force against the motley flotilla
that dares to challenge the entrapment of 1.5 million people in what has become
the largest and most permanent concentration camp in the world, and to animate
a civil rights movement where others see only a manufactured humanitarian
Israel’s blockade of the Gaza coast is an affront to all peoples, but most
especially the seafaring peoples of the Mediterranean, where people have lived,
prospered and built great civilizations through access to the sea since time
immemorial, not least in Gaza itself. To deny Palestinians this resource is a
human rights obscenity that Greeks, Italians, North Africans, Turks, and other
seafaring peoples must unite to condemn.
Admiral’s Marom’s proclamation shows nothing so much as the desperation and
paranoia of a regime that lacks the imagination and courage to embrace a
project that harms no one and delivers hope as its primary cargo. It behooves
Israel to welcome the Free Gaza initiative as a step towards mutual respect for
the human rights of all persons who call the land of Palestine their home.
Written and sent from aboard the SS Liberty, one of two boats heading to Gaza
as part of the Free Gaza Movement.