Report: Obama to call for independent inquiry of flotilla raid
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

Of course, be mindful of the source, wanting to hurt Obama  and paint him as the AntiChrist, but, just letting youall know:

The Weekly Standard  has learned that senior Obama administration officials have been telling foreign governments that the administration intends to support an effort next week at the United Nations to set up an independent commission, under UN auspices, to investigate Israel’s behavior in the Gaza flotilla incident.

Pillow talk: ‘NYT’ correspondent’s husband says Israel is in a war against critical information
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

And you’re worried about New York Times correspondent Ethan Bronner’s son joining the IDF? Well the other New York Times correspondent, Isabel Kershner, is an Israeli married to an Israeli, Hirsh Goodman, and below is Goodman’s take on the Mavi Marmara bloodbath.
Note that Goodman seems to think that the Gaza onslaught of 08-09 was just fine. This is a measure of the degradation of the lib-left in Israeli society.
The excerpt, in which Goodman laments the fact that “materials showing the brutal attack on the Israeli commandos were withheld” by the government for several hours:

It seems that a major reason for withholding the pictures may have been the concern in the military that their disclosure would lead to demoralization in the army, not to speak of public criticism. In consequence, the military, with appropriate government approval, withheld the videos, a correct decision perhaps from the army’s perspective, but a bad one for the country’s international relations….
Both in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which led to the Goldstone commission, and in this incident, the need for materials that will help Israel make its case are crucial. This is no longer a question of image, but in the context of post-Goldstone realities and the concerted campaign to besmirch Israel and de-legitimize the country, it is probably as important, if not more so, than the conventional battles Israel faces. As a result of this campaign, Israel faces economic, artistic, and academic embargoes, continuous attacks in the UN, and other world forums. It undermines our allies, especially in the Arab world, where anti-Israel sentiment it at a peak, and embarrasses our friends.
It is time for those in the intelligence and security communities to switch gear when it comes to information sharing. There is a growing awareness that this is needed, but concrete action in this regard still needs to be taken. Israel has in place the necessary public diplomacy structures to make Israel’s case effectively. But without ammunition they are powerless.

Egyptian artists, Abbas, many nations, and Gazan children too– decry the siege
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

And other news and headlines from Today in Palestine:
Land Theft/Destruction and Ethnic Cleansing
Israel orders razing of five Palestinian homes
RAMALLAH: The Israeli authorities on Thursday handed notification to five Palestinian families in the West Bank village of Al-Nabi Saleh that their homes were to be demolished since they were built without the needed permits.

Flotilla Activists/Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Nabi Saleh village Protest The Israeli Wall, One Israeli Activist
Ghassan Bannoura – PNN – Israeli and international activists joined the villagers of Nabi Saleh , central West Bank, on Friday to protest the wall Israel’s is building on villagers lands.  People marched after the midday prayers at the local mosque and headed towards homes the Israeli military have threatened to demolish this week.

Palestinians kick footballs over Israel’s wall
Bethlehem – Ma’an – As the World Cup opened Friday afternoon in Johannesburg, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank hosted an opening ceremony of their own highlighting their right to be an independent nation.  Facing off against Israeli border guards manning a barrier that cuts through half of the Palestinian village, demonstrators in Bili’in, near Ramallah, formed their own Palestine national football team. The players, together with dozens of other Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, marched to Israel’s wall at the edge of the village, where a goal was constructed and a game was begun.

New footage of flotilla attack contradicts Israeli account: Update: Iara Lee has posted her complete, unedited footage

Sail participants to sue Barak in France
French activists who took part in Gaza flotilla plan to file legal claim with local court, ICC against Israeli defense minister over deadly Navy raid. State official tells Ynet visit to Paris won’t be canceled, but security measures around Barak to be tightened during trip.,7340,L-3903695,00.html

Italian flotilla journalist: My credit card was used after IDF confiscated it
Journalist Manolo Luppichini has written Netanyahu, Peres, Barak, Lieberman and Israel’s ambassador in Italy over the matter.

Kidnapped by Israel, forsaken by Britain
Firstly I must apologize for taking so long to update my blog. The events of the past few days have been hectic to say the least, and I am still trying to come to grips with many of the things that have happened.  It was this time last week that I was on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara, and first spotted Israeli war ships in the distance, as they approached the humanitarian flotilla. Little did I know how deadly and bloody were the events that soon began to unfold.

Paul Larudee: The Price of Defying Israel
I was one of those who chose to defy Israeli forces when they attacked and took our Freedom Flotilla ships that were trying to deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid to civilian organizations in the Israeli blockaded Gaza Strip. Most of us resisted, to varying degrees, for which we paid a price — in my case multiple beatings in two days of captivity in Israel. At least nine paid with their lives. My multicolored skin and twisted joints are healing, even at age 64, but my colleagues are gone forever, and some of the dozens of wounded may never fully recover.

South America condemns deadly flotilla raid
Bethlehem – Ma’an – South America has condemned Israel’s assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine passengers dead last week.  The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) issued a declaration in which it condemns Israel’s actions against the Freedom Flotilla. UNASUR represents Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Guyana, Suriname, Mexico and Panama.

Activists to demonstrate outside of European Commission Delegation in Barcelona
The European Union must put an end to the shameful and illegal siege that Israel imposes on Gaza. For 4 years, 1.5 million people have been living in inhumane conditions for having democratically elected a party Israel does not accept; for 43 years, Israel has been blocking all access to Gaza and controlling its territorial waters.

US Campaign offers condolences at Turkish Embassy
Last week, US Campaign National Media Coordinator David Hosey joined representatives of many other civil society organizations including CODEPINK, Friends of Sabeel North America, Viva Palestina, and Veterans for Peace in offering our condolences for the nine Turkish citizens (one of whom was also a U.S. citizen) killed by the Israeli military aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Around the world, surge of BDS in response to Gaza Flotilla massacre (and how you can get involved)
Just a few weeks back, we reported on a renewed wave of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) activity against Israeli apartheid and occupation.  That was before the Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre.  Now, as calls for governments around the globe to hold the Israeli military accountable for the killing of 8 Turkish citizens and one U.S.-Turkish citizen continue, and as Turkey, Nicaragua, and others have withdrawn ambassadors or suspended diplomatic ties, civil society groups are sending a clear message that accountability is the job of global citizens, not just states.

 German Jews prepare shipment for Gaza: group (AFP)
AFP – German Jews are preparing to send a ship loaded with humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip at the end of July despite an Israeli blockade, a representative for the initiative said on Thursday.*

Bahraini aid convoy preparing for trip to Gaza
Gaza – Ma’an – A 15-person strong aid convoy will depart from Bahrain in the coming days, loaded with almost a ton of aid for the Gaza Strip, spokesman for the Popular Committee Against the Siege Ali An-Nazli said Thursday.

They’re Coming: Freedom Flotilla Two and Others Planned, Stephen Lendman
The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) is “an umbrella body” of 34 European human rights and humanitarian organizations supporting the right of Palestinians “to live in peace and dignity,” to be free from occupation, and to have “their own independent and sovereign state, (and) encourages all peoples of conscience and human rights advocates to intensify their efforts to highlight this life-theatening issue and end the catastrophe.”

Protest: TA fountain water painted red
Members of Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza deface Tel Aviv landmarks in protest of deadly Navy raid.,7340,L-3903663,00.html

Ads promoting one democratic state pop up in Ramallah
These photos are ads in the West Bank promoting the idea of one democratic state. The big wide one says the two-state-solution is impossible and the one-state-solution inevitable. These ads have been popping up in Ramallah for weeks at different billboard locations. The group behind them is indicated as “al-Takamol: for the one state solution”. I have been trying to see who’s behind it; I asked people but they don’t know; a friend and I hypothesized that it’s the PA’s idea, a way of blackmailing Israel into negotiating the two state solution with a modicum of integrity and speed. Maybe someone can do the detective work?

Israel plans to send bill to Palestinians over boycotts
What do The Pixies, Elvis Costello, and Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, have in common? A cursory glance might suggest not much yet all have deeply irked Israel.


Egyptian Artists Arrive In Gaza For Solidarity Tour
GAZA, June 11 (Bernama) — A “solidarity mission” comprising Egyptian Actors Association chief Ashraf Zaki and a delegation of 15 other Arab actors and artists arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, entering from Egypt via the Rafah crossing, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

Violence and Aggression
Man shot dead in Wadi Joz; clashes
Jerusalem – Ma’an – A Palestinian man from Jerusalem was shot and killed by Israeli border guards on Friday, after he reportedly failed to stop at a checkpoint in the Wadi Joz neighborhood.  Witnesses said he was in serious condition as he was taken to hospital, with Israeli news sites reporting that the man died en route to hospital.

Soldiers Detain, Violently Attack A Youth In Hebron

Israeli soldiers detained and violently attacked a Palestinian Youth in Beit Ummar, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and released him later on.

Palestinian Detainee Dies In Israeli Prison
The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies reported Thursday that detainee Mohammad Abdul-Salaam Abdeen, 37, from Al Toor Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, died at the Al Ramla prison.

Hamas: PA arrested party members in WB
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Hamas officials accused Palestinian Authority police of detaining two party members from their West Bank homes in Bethlehem and Qalqiliya on Thursday night.

Siege/Human Rights/Humanitarian Issues
Spain seeks EU backing on plan to lift Israeli blockade of Gaza
EU scrambles for policy response after international outrage over Mavi Marmara.

New UN report highlights bleak economic situation for Palestinians
10 June 2010 – The economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territory has seen some improvement but remains precarious, particularly in the Gaza Strip, where the continued Israeli blockade undermines prospects for employment and growth, says a new United Nations report.

Ordinary Gazans hurt most by 3-year blockade (AP)
AP – Three out of four factories in Gaza have closed because they can’t import or export. Legitimate businesses have been replaced by a Hamas-controlled black market economy. Millions of gallons of sewage are pumped into the sea every day because a lack of spare parts holds up infrastructure repairs.*

Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn’t about security
JERUSALEM — As Israel ordered a slight easing of its blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as “economic warfare” against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory.

INTERVIEW-Fayyad wants Gaza opened in line with 2005 deal
* Wants crossings opened in line with 2005 agreement
* Says opening Gaza crossings with help unify Palestinians
* Sees danger if sea blockade ends, but land borders sealed

Palestine/Gaza: The Siege
neverbeforecampaign — June 10, 2010 — The three year old siege on the Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million inhabitants is a testament to the Israeli regime’s disregard of law, decency and morality. This siege amounts to collective punishment, an action outlawed by various conventions and humanitarian laws. This is not to mention the suffering and humanitarian crisis caused by this law. This siege has been disgracefully condoned by the “international community” and justified by the “free world” as a measure that safegurads the security of the Israeli regime.  The same position was applied to the various humanitarian aid ships that were attacked and abuducted in international waters, and the aid carried by those ships confiscated. The killing of 9 Turkish activists on the the Freedom Flotilla on 1 June brought an abrupt end to international silence regarding the siege. It is unfortunate that the world needed to see the blood of those brave men to realize the brutality of the siege and of the besieger.  Nevertheless, it is our duty to finish what the brave men and women of the Freedom Flotilla and the campaigns that preceded it. It is time to brieak the siege.

Hamas rejects Israel-approved snack foods for Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: The Hamas government said Thursday it will not let newly approved food items into the Gaza Strip as long as Israel maintains its blockade of the impoverished territory.Israel slightly eased the much-criticized blockade on Wednesday by permitting snacks, spices and some other previously banned food items into Gaza.

Gaza’s children appeal for normal decent lives
The children of Gaza have taken part in demonstrations seeking to break the siege on the tiny Strip. Bearing the flags of Arab States, the children made an appeal that they be allowed to live decent, happy, normal lives like other children across the globe.  The children also demanded that the world intervene in the dire situation in Gaza whereby even the most basic necessities of life such as sufficient food for them to eat, school stationary and various other goods are prohibited. They asked that the international community come together to bring an end to the continuous Israeli violations; to put pressure on them to open the border crossings and allow Gazans to travel abroad for the purposes of medical treatment, education and otherwise.

Hebron settlers: Don’t improve supply of electricity to Arabs
West Bank city’s Jews say installation of high-voltage line serving Palestinian section ‘absurd’ in light of PA boycott of Israeli products.,7340,L-3903479,00.html

Israel’s Arab Helpers
2 detained by Egypt en route to Sweden
Al-Arish – Ma’an – Egyptian authorities detained three Palestinians they said were attempting to sneak into Egypt via a smuggling tunnel on Wednesday night.  Security officials in Al-Arish said the boys were transferred to interrogations in Rafah, where two of the three told officials that they were en route to Sweeden for treatment, alongside the third, who was identified as a smuggling guide paid by the others to transfer them through.

Why is Egypt Killing Poor Africans for Israel?   African Immigrant Killed By Egyptian Border Police
Egyptian sources reported that an African immigrant was shot and killed on Friday morning by Egyptian Border Police fire as he was trying to infiltrate into Israel, another immigrant was detained at the border with Israel.

Political Developments
Quartet conditions on Hamas a thing of the past: Official
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Recognizing the international Quartet is no longer a requirement to break the siege on Gaza, Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath told Ma’an on Wednesday.  The Palestinian leadership, “told the Americans frankly that the PLO is calling for” an end to the siege regardless of the Gaza government’s position on Israel or on resistance, Sha’ath said.

PA postpones local elections
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has indefinitely postponed local elections scheduled for July 17.  Sources in Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayad’s office confirmed the delay to Al Jazeera, but did not provide any explanation.  Fayad announced the elections in April. Hamas, the Islamic movement which controls Gaza, immediately vowed to boycott the preparations, saying the ballot would “lack credibility and integrity.”

Fatah divisions force delay of Palestinian vote
* Officials say divisions in Fatah behind postponement
* Agreeing nomination lists “too problematic” – official

Hamas: Elections delay not at our request
Gaza – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority decision to delay municipal elections in the West Bank was “partisan and personal,” and aimed at circumventing what was a “national consensus,” a Hamas spokesman said Friday.  Speaking for the Gaza leadership, spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told Ma’an that the decision to postpone the West Bank municipal vote was seen by Hamas as the result of “fierce internal disputes between the Fatah leaderships.”

Leftist PPP says postponing elections a mistake
Ramallah – Ma’an – Secretary-General of the Palestine People’s Party Bassam As-Salhi said he would refuse to recognize the cabinet decision to postpone indefinitely the local elections slated for July.  In a news conference at the Watan Media Center following the Thursday announcement, As-Salhi said he would demand that the elections be held, calling them a central part of the revitalization of democratic life in Palestine and a pillar in the maintenance of national heritage.

PFLP: Elections delay a blow to democracy
Ramallah – Ma’an – Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) candidate on the Ramallah leftist list Kahleda Jarar spoke on behalf of the party Friday, saying the front rejected the PA decision to postpone elections.

DFLP: Elections delay clear violation of law
Bethlehem/ Ramallah – Ma’an – Lining up with other leftist parties, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) called the decision to postpone West Bank municipal elections a clear violation of Palestinian law.

Fatah’s Amr calls vote postponement ‘grave failure’
Ramallah – Ma’an – The cabinet decision to postpone municipal elections represents “a grave failure,” Fatah official Nabil Amr told Ma’an on Friday, one day after the delay was announced.

Fida: PA call to delay vote unjustified
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Democratic Union (Fida) called the delay of a municipal vote “unjustified,” in a statement released on Friday.  In what appeared to be a near-universal trend in the Palestinian political arena, Fida said there was no real justification for the PA decision to postpone “indefinitely” the municipal vote that had been scheduled for 17 July.

Abbas: We demand an end to Gaza siege; entire world stands with us
Palestinian President repeats acceptance of Jews’ claim to the land of Israel, citing the Koran.

Concept of two-state solution ‘beginning to erode’: Abbas (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Thursday he feared the concept of a two-state solution to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians “is beginning to erode.”*

Abbas impresses Jewish community leaders
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can’t seem to unify the political factions within his own community, but there is one disparate group that he does have the ability to bring together: the American Jewish community.  Representatives from all sides of the pro-Israel NGO world all came together to meet with Abbas at a private dinner at the Newseum last night. The groups put aside their differences over Israeli tactics, U.S. pressure, treatment of Gazans, and treatment of the Israeli human rights community to show a united front to the Palestinian leader and get him to answer the questions on their mind.  Leaders of more hawkish groups like AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the Conference of Presidents, Mort Zuckerman, Elliott Abrams, and Dov Zakheim broke bread with the more dovish likes of J Street, Americans for Peace Now, and Hillel.

Other News
Israel, U.S. agree on nature of Gaza flotilla probe
Final decision held up for four days by the Americans, who were dissatisfied with the original proposal for the investigative committee’s composition.

Abbas says flotilla probe should not be left to Israel (AFP)
AFP – An investigation into a deadly May 31 Israeli raid on ships taking aid to the Gaza Strip should not be left to Israel, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Thursday.*

Israel cool to plan for EU checks at Gaza borders (AFP)
AFP – Israel is reluctant to grant European Union oversight of Gaza-bound ships in the wake of the Jewish state’s raid on an aid flotilla, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said.*

Report: Acting PM didn’t know of raid
Minister Moshe Ya’alon was unaware Navy raid of flotilla underway until after operation got out of hand. Earlier this week deputy minister criticizes incident, says ‘someone failed to prepare standard operating procedure’.,7340,L-3903486,00.html

Texas Senator Takes Action to Support Israel
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Tx) has proposed a resolution supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and condemning last week’s actions by the Turkish-sent six-ship flotilla that wanted to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza.

Anshel Pfeffer / Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu – an eloquent racist
In the early 1950s, the young Eliyahu was imprisoned for his membership in a group that collected arms and firebombs with the intention of imposing Torah law on the young state of Israel.

Muqata’s most wanted gets ‘closure’
Kamal Ghanem reads on Ynet he received full pardon after being targeted by Israel for years. Now, he is looking forward to future, hopes Israel ‘gives peace a real chance’.,7340,L-3903551,00.html

Palestine National Football Team In Bili’in
Bil’in – PNN – Israelis and international supporters joined on Friday the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in the village of Bil’in, central West Bank.  Demonstrators in Bil’in today formed their own Palestine national football team, coinciding with the start of the World Cup, to highlight their right to be an independent nation.  Shortly after the midday prayers the players, together with dozens of other Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, marched to the gate of the wall at the edge of the village, where a goal was constructed and a game was begun. This gate separates the villages from their lands.

Advantage Hamas After Flotilla Fiasco, Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH, Jun 10, 2010 (IPS) – Israel may allow soft drinks, juice, canned fruit, salads, biscuits and potato chips into the Gaza Strip from next week. What should be an unremarkable event is making news headlines and portends unseen consequences.

Silencing Gaza flotilla activists in the United States, Cecilie Surasky
The Israeli government, with the aid of its many proxies- especially in the
Jewish institutional world
, is working overtime after the Mavi Mavera massacre to paint the Gaza flotilla participants as terrorists.  Apparently–jamming satellite communications, absconding with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, confiscating every photo and video they could find, and releasing pathetically
doctored “evidence”
(thank you Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal and others) is not enough. Now groups are working to keep flotilla human rights activists out of the country.

Israeli Gov. Promotes Glenn Beck’s Gaza Flotilla Screed, Max Blumenthal
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs — the diplomatic disaster area of Avigdor Lieberman — is promoting Glenn Beck’s
infamous episode
on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on its
“selected articles” page
. Apparently Israel’s department of hasbara does not realize that Beck is looked at by everyone but the most ardent members of the Tea Party movement as a conspiratorial, racist demagogue with no credibility.

Corrie and Dogan: Murdered, American Heroes, RANNIE AMIRI
In the past seven years, two Americans were unjustly, maliciously and violently killed by the Israel “Defense” Forces (IDF). Both had unwittingly given their lives for Gaza, and in the aftermath of their murders, their government forsook them.  Their names were oft-repeated—if not by follow citizens, then by citizens of the world—as Israel’s horrific assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was discussed. These two young, brave individuals were Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan.

Israel’s Greatest Loss: Its Moral Imagination
If a people who so recently experienced such unspeakable inhumanities cannot understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitions are inflicting, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Joe Biden: In Israel’s Service, JEFFREY BLANKFORT

Israel appears to be in more serious trouble diplomatically than at any time in its history following the botched attack by an “elite” commando squad on the Mavi Marmara in the early morning hours of June 1 that left at least nine dead and scores wounded.  Thanks to Al-Jazeera and Iran’s PressTV, whose reporters were aboard the ship, much of the world was able to watch the attack unfold on its TV and computer screens and the result has been an avalanche of outrage and ongoing protests against the Jewish state.  Within Israel this has led to finger-pointing and calls for resignations while its hasbara machinery has gone rapidly into damage-control and disinformation mode.

Obama, the ADC and the Gaza Flotilla, JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN
Imagine the media coverage that would have awaited us in our local and national newspapers, our radio, facebook, twitter and television news alerts and special bulletins had Iran or another ‘enemy’ nation killed –and in some cases executed – 9 or more Israeli or American Jewish peace activists aboard a Turkish vessel (and therefore a NATO partner). What if that vessel were leading a convoy of 700 unarmed activists aboard ships filled with humanitarian aid to a million and a half Jewish political prisoners held hostage by that nation on spurious and sinister claims of ‘national security’?

Rosie O’Donnell Defends Helen Thomas: “She Wasn’t Saying Go Back To The Ovens”
Rosie O’Donnell spent part of her radio broadcast yesterday defending the recent controversial comments made by Helen Thomas (which lead to her retirement.) The former talk show host (who has been called by some as “the next Oprah“) wondered how Thomas comments could be viewed as “hate speech,” then proceeded to interpret what Thomas really meant when she said that “Jews should go back to Germany.”

Uzi Dayan: Israel Must Announce Turkish Warships Casus Beli
Israel must send Turkey a clear message that if Turkish warships are sent to accompany the next flotilla trying to break the embargo on Gaza, these will be considered acts of war by Israel , Uzi Dayan, former deputy Chief of General Staff, told Army Radio Monday morning.

Israel dominates Turkey-Arab forum
Turkey’s prime minister has urged Arab nations to unite and step-up efforts to end Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip.  Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the appeal at a Turkey-Arab economic forum, currently being held in Istanbul.  He also repeated calls for an international investigation into the Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ships.

Turkey looks to create free trade zone with Arabs
ISTANBUL: Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Thursday that both Lebanon and Turkey are endeavoring to create an economic trade zone along with Syria and Jordan to allow people, goods and services to move freely and without charging tariffs and fees.

Arab nations applaud Turkey’s Erdogan for tough stand on Israel
ISTANBUL: Arab nations burst into applause Thursday as Turkey’s prime minister walked to the podium at a summit, reflecting Turkey’s meteoric rise on the world stage amid disputes over Israel’s blockade of Gaza and UN sanctions against Iran.

Israel, Turkey can rebuild ties: Mossad ex-chief (Reuters)
Reuters – It may take months of intense work but both Israel and Turkey have a vested interest in rebuilding ties after the Gaza flotilla assault, a former head of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency said on Thursday.*

Poll: 78 pct of Israelis view Turkey as enemy
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Some 78 percent of Jewish Israelis now view Turkey, once Israel’s only Muslim ally in the Middle East, as an enemy nation, according to a poll published on Thursday.The sharp switch in public attitude towards Turkey comes in the wake of a May 31 raid by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza.

Losing Turkey
In standing so firm alongside one ally the United States may risk another, writes Graham Usher in New York

Will Erdogan Blink?, FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
A recent article by Patrick Cockburn, one of the ablest reporters covering the Middle East, provides an excellent character portrait of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. It is certainly consistent with what little I have been able to learn about this fascinating politician. Regardless of what you may think of Erdogan, and he has many detractors (I am not one), he is certainly establishing himself as an influential world leader who must be reckoned with in an emerging multi-polar world.

Hypocrisy Reigns, WILLIAM BLUM
Things internationally are so dispiriting there’s nothing left to do but fantasize. I picture Turkey, as a member of NATO, demanding that the alliance come to its defense after being attacked by Israel. Under Article 5 of the NATO charter an armed attack on one member is deemed to constitute an armed attack on all members. That is the ostensible reason NATO is fighting in Afghanistan — the attack against the United States on September 11, 2001 is regarded as an attack on all NATO members (disregarding the awkward fact that Afghanistan as a country had nothing to do with the attack). The Israeli attack on a Turkish-flagged ship, operated by a Turkish humanitarian organization, killing nine Turkish nationals and wounding many more can certainly constitute an attack upon a NATO member.

Bombs kill 5, wound 24 in Iraq
BAGHDAD, June 11 (Xinhua) — Car bomb and roadside bomb explosions hit Iraq’s eastern province of Diyala and capital city of Baghdad Friday, killing 5 and wounding 24, a local police source said.   A suicide car bomber hit a Iraq and U.S. joint patrol team in Jalwlaa town, 90 km northeast of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, killing 3 and wounding 15 others, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Police and security forces quickly sealed off the blast site.

Thursday: 8 Iraqis Killed, 16 Wounded
At least eight Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded in the latest attacks. Meanwhile, 60 Iraqi asylum seekers were deported from Europe.

Car bomb in Baghdad kills 4 (Reuters)
Reuters – A car bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol Thursday in Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 10, an Interior Ministry source said.*

Maliki faces legal hurdle
About 20 of Iraq’s newly minted lawmakers including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and key ministers may not be able to take their seats due to a legal hurdle.

Iraqi Shi’ite blocs announce merger (Reuters)
Reuters – Iraq’s two main Shi’ite electoral blocs said on Thursday they would unite under a new name, National Alliance, but they have yet to resolve their differences over their choice for prime minister.*

US military sees no sign of Iranian incursion in Iraqi north (AFP)
AFP – The US military said Thursday it had no evidence to substantiate a report that Iranian troops have been building a small fort on Iraqi territory since crossing the border in pursuit of Kurdish rebels.*

Inside Story: Iraqi refugees being sent home
Dozens of Iraqi refugees are being forced to go back home. The Netherlands, Britain, Norway and Sweden has rejected many asylum claims and what could be the first in a series of deportations took place on Wednesday. These countries argue that Iraq is now safe enough for those not facing specific threats to return. However, United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) disagrees. It says the situation in Iraq is still volatile.

Iraq: The Accidental Prisoner
An Iraqi’s tale of an odyssey through war zones, trying to reach the West but ending up in Guantanamo.

U.S. and Other World News
Iran criticises nuclear ‘monopoly’
Ahmadinejad’s remarks come on visit to Shanghai days after China backs UN sanctions.

Israeli Push for Sanctions Losing Legitimacy, Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler
JERUSALEM, Jun 10, 2010 (IPS) – Israel has given guarded approval to the new round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council in the international community’s bid to haul back Iran’s nuclear programme.

Afghan president ‘has lost faith in US ability to defeat Taliban’
Afghanistan’s former head of intelligence says President Hamid Karzai is increasingly looking to Pakistan to end insurgency.

Blast at Afghan wedding kills at least 40
An explosion at a wedding party just north of Kandahar, Afghanistan, killed at least 40 people and injured more than 70. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said the bombing was an attack against Islam and all of humanity. Karzai blamed the attack on the Taliban, who denied his claims. The victims, including 12 children, are the latest casualties of Afghanistan’s ongoing violence. Al Jazeera’s James Bays reports from Kabul.

US to close base near camp housing Iranian exiles (AP)
AP – The U.S. military says it will turn over a base near a compound housing an Iranian opposition group to Iraqi forces next month.*

Election breakthrough of far-right anti-Muslim party shocks Netherlands
THE HAGUE: The spectacular election breakthrough of the far-right anti-Muslim Party for Freedom shocked the Netherlands on Thursday as two mainstream parties braced for weeks of coalition haggling.  The pro-business Liberal VVD party had 31 seats and the Labor party (PvdA) 30, with 99.6 percent of the vote counted after Wednesday’s election.  However, far-right PVV leader Geert Wilders demanded a share of government after his party came third with 24 seats, more than doubling its current nine seats in the 150-member Parliament.

Corporate media’s message: Turkey is the new enemy
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

The Israeli raid on the Gaza flotilla that resulted in the deaths of eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American has led Israel and its supporters to argue that the Turkish government and a prominent Turkish humanitarian organization are “terrorist” sympathizers with ill intentions toward Israel and the United States. In a series of articles, the U.S. corporate press has joined in.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that IHH, the Turkish aid group involved with the flotilla that attempted to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, has a “dual message of aid and confrontation.” Their evidence for the confrontational attitude of IHH? A banner on the side of their building that reads, “Israel, murderers, hands off our boats!” Don’t pay attention to the fact that IHH was attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, and that it was Israel that confronted and killed people on the ship.
The Post goes on to report claims that IHH has links to Al-Qaeda, citing a 2006 report by “U.S. terrorism investigator” Evan Kohlmann. But two paragraphs down, the Post quotes a “think tank with ties to Israel’s Defense Ministry, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,” that states there is “no known evidence of current links between IHH and ‘global jihad elements.'”
What’s not mentioned in the Post article is that no government besides Israel considers IHH a terrorist organization. In fact, IHH delivered humanitarian aid to Haiti in the aftermath of the January earthquake at a time when the United States military took a leading role in directing relief efforts there. Would the U.S. have allowed a terrorist organization into Haiti? IHH has also helped out in New Orleans.
Marsha B. Cohen, an expert on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, has already debunked IHH’s “terror ties” here at Mondoweiss and cast doubt on the credentials of Evan Kohlmann, pointing to a article on Kohlmann that thoroughly details his lack of expertise. Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, noted that Kohlmann assisted in the prosecution of Osama bin Laden’s former driver by producing a film that was “pure propaganda,” raking in $45,000 for the film and his testimony as an “expert witness” in the much criticized trial.
But be scared! According to the Post:

In the group’s two-story headquarters, IHH members — mostly men in their 30s and 40s dressed in jeans or casual business attire — oversee operations in dozens of countries. The group provides humanitarian aid such as freshwater wells and medical care, as well as Islamic services such as training for prayer leaders. A world map on one wall depicted Palestine, but not Israel.

This article originally appeared at the national media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting’s blog.

Gaza flotilla lesson: nonviolent discipline is the best moral and strategic choice
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

Prof. Michael N. Nagler, founder of UC Berkeley’s Peace and Conflict Studies program and the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education (also, one of my mentors), shares a compelling perspective on the need to maintain strict discipline in a nonviolent direct action such as the Gaza Freedom Flotilla:

…Under normal circumstances even the “smallest” acts of violence can ruin the character of nonviolent action…
It is still hard to say exactly what happened when passengers aboard the Turkish vessel, the MV Mavi Marmara, clashed with Israeli commandos as they rappelled onto the boat from helicopters. Had the soldiers been firing live ammunition? The point is that even if they were – while terribly difficult – the passengers could have resisted nonviolently by refusing to comply with the soldiers’ demands without making any attempt to injure them.
Up until the recent attack it looked as though the flotilla, with its 600 passengers and many tons of humanitarian supplies for the beleaguered citizens of Gaza, was a perfect example of nonviolent action. Organisers’ intentions were advertised well in advance and it put the Israelis in the difficult position of deciding between two unfavourable choices…
However, as Gandhi often said, nonviolence requires, if anything, more training than violence.

Time and again, history has shown that a campaign of nonviolence is much more likely to succeed in accomplishing its stated objectives if the activists maintain nonviolent discipline. Numerous historical examples include the Philippines People Power Movement, Serbia’s OTPOR! overthrow of Milošević, and dozens of others. On the other hand, the Seattle WTO protests demonstrate what happens when violence mixes with nonviolence. A small handful of Black Bloc anarchists smashed up windows and did the anti-corporate globalization movement no favors by distracting the press and confusing the issue.
On a deeper level, the true power of nonviolence to persuade the oppressor is unleashed with a commitment to pursue acts of courageous love (not just “not being violent”). For example, the Civil Rights Movement activists who sat in at the lunch counters, rode the buses, and registered voters never backed down, and nonviolently resisted the oppressors without demonization or rancor, but with a desire to win over those afflicted with racist views.
Remember George Wallace, the famous Alabama Governor who declared “Segregation now, segregation forever,” and subsequently apologized prior to his death? If we want the Zionists who currently enable the policy of occupation to some day see the light, I believe we will only win them over with true nonviolence.
Yes, it would have been hard to maintain nonviolent discipline in the face of an assault like the one on the Mavi Marmara. But were those activists truly prepared? Had they undergone nonviolent training? Was there a consensus and commitment to nonviolence? Apparently not.
Consider as historical precedent the 1930 Indian raid on the Dharasana salt works, the climactic moment in Gandhi’s movement to free India from British colonial rule:

On May 21, 1930, over 2,500 Indians “raided” the Dharasana salt works, a salt production facility controlled by the British regime. Column after column of Indians advanced toward the gates and were severely beaten by the native police under British direction. Not one of the Satyagrahis raised a hand to defend himself as the clubs rained down, fracturing skulls. Many lost consciousness, and several perished. In the Gandhi movie, the scene was famously encapsulated by a Western reporter: “Whatever moral ascendancy the West once held was lost here today.” The Indians accepted this suffering on behalf of the Truth they clung to of ending colonial rule.
While the Salt Satyagraha did not “succeed” in its short-term, situational objective – the salt laws were not repealed – it worked on a deeper level. British public opinion was deeply affected by the Dharasana nonviolent moment, which shockingly revealed the violence inherent in the British colonial system. Ultimately, this led to India’s independence in 1947.

In that incident, the strict nonviolent discipline of the raiders helped to move the hearts of the reference public and the British supporters of colonialism. No, I’m not claiming that discipline is easy, but I am claiming there are numerous historical examples that prove it is possible, and far more effective in advancing the goals of the campaign (as well as being the principled, moral path).
Before publication of this post, Phil Weiss asked me, “I wonder how much of this is because of Israeli violence; they want a violent outcome. And the conditions are far worse than what the Civil Rights Movement faced (and what if Turks didn’t subscribe to nonviolence?).”
Two problems with this argument. One, the resisters’ actions are not dictated by the oppressors’ actions – the resisters can choose to maintain nonviolent discipline if they are properly prepared for it and committed. Two, resisters have maintained effective nonviolent discipline against oppressors who were far more ruthless than the Israeli commandos – see Ralph Summy’s article, “Nonviolence and the case of the extremely ruthless oppressor.”
In a recent email, Paul Larudee, cofounder of the Free Gaza Movement, noted that while he and many other Freedom Flotilla passengers were committed to nonviolence, many of the Turkish passengers who fought (and were wounded, and killed) were not committed to nonviolence. My argument — recognizing that this is Monday-morning armchair Quarterbacking — is future Flotillas should require a consistent commitment to nonviolence among all passengers. Gandhi and King required this commitment, and it’s quite possible for international activist organizers to make this part of the pre-flight checklist before launching such an action.
My broader theme is we should have two main goals on the path toward Israeli/Palestinian equality: 1) shift the international political consensus, esp. the U.S. position, from enabling to obstructing Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, and 2) shift hearts and minds of Israelis (as well as Palestinians, as necessary) to support genuine equality.
The Gaza Flotilla apparently did a fantastic job with goal #1, and apparently has utterly backfired with #2. We cannot and must not operate as if Israeli public opinion is irrelevant; to do so is both a strategic and moral blunder. There’s a reason that so many Israelis demonstrated in support of the IDF’s actions, and I think the violence of the resisters was a huge part of it. Notice how the violent resistance was looped in Caroline Glick’s video — however offensive the video may have been, it underscored the Israeli hasbara about “violent activists”. And while there’s no doubt Israeli propaganda distorts reality quite often, in this case, it appears there’s some truth. When you build propaganda around some kernel of truth, it’s a lot easier to get people to swallow the whole of it then when it’s entirely fabricated.
By the way, shifting views of American Jews is also key, and wouldn’t the case be even easier to make and more powerful right now without the confusion of what the flotilla passengers did or didn’t do when they were boarded?
During my travels in Israel, I found many of the Israeli Jews I interviewed to be intensely scared to their deepest core, behind all of the bluster and tough talk about not giving an inch to the Arabs. We must remember: understandable, justifiable fear of anti-Jewish oppression was the most powerful motivating factor for the project of political Zionism from its inception 130 years ago, and I argue that fear still is the primary motivating factor whether it’s justified fear or not. We must design our activism campaigns to both end the oppression of the Palestinians AND help Israelis to feel less scared and more recognized for their humanity. The most powerful path, and I’d argue the only path, to achieve this is true nonviolence in the tradition of Gandhi and King.
Finally, I hope no one (especially the Gaza Flotilla veterans) hears this as taking away from the very real gains coming in the wake of the action. Put another way: look at how much we accomplished with the mixed message of some nonviolence and some violence, how much more could we accomplish with a consistent and disciplined commitment to nonviolence? If history is any guide, the answer is clear… much more.

Siegman: Moral issue posed by flotilla resisters is same as Jews resisting Nazis
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

The great Henry Siegman, in Haaretz, not in the U.S., you can be sure, dares to say what crosses any intelligent person’s mind when he/she witnesses the treatment of the Palestinians, Israel is writing the history of Jews in Europe on the Palestinians’ bodies. And yes this means the outcry of the world at the treatment of the people of Gaza (who are experiencing their own kind of Warsaw ghetto):

Of course, even the most objectionable Israeli policies do not begin to compare with Hitler’s Germany. But the essential moral issues are the same. How would Jews have reacted to their tormentors had they been consigned to the kind of existence Israel has imposed on Gaza’s population? Would they not have seen human rights activists prepared to risk their lives to call their plight to the world’s attention as heroic, even if they had beaten up commandos trying to prevent their effort? Did Jews admire British commandos who boarded and diverted ships carrying illegal Jewish immigrants to Palestine in the aftermath of World War II, as most Israelis now admire Israel’s naval commandos?
Who would have believed that an Israeli government and its Jewish citizens would seek to demonize and shut down Israeli human rights organizations for their lack of “patriotism,” and dismiss fellow Jews who criticized the assault on the Gaza Flotilla as “Arabs,” pregnant with all the hateful connotations that word has acquired in Israel, not unlike Germans who branded fellow citizens who spoke up for Jews as “Juden”? The German White Rose activists, mostly students from the University of Munich, who dared to condemn the German persecution of the Jews (well before the concentration camp exterminations began) were also considered “traitors” by their fellow Germans, who did not mourn the beheading of these activists by the Gestapo.
So, yes, there is reason for Israelis, and for Jews generally, to think long and hard about the dark Hitler era at this particular time. For the significance of the Gaza Flotilla incident lies not in the questions raised about violations of international law on the high seas, or even about “who assaulted who” first on the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, but in the larger questions raised about our common human condition by Israel’s occupation policies and its devastation of Gaza’s civilian population.
If a people who so recently experienced on its own flesh such unspeakable inhumanities cannot muster the moral imagination to understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitions—and even its legitimate security concerns—are inflicting on another people, what hope is there for the rest of us?

‘NYT’ quickly closes the blinds
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

7 letters to the Times on Tony Judt’s op-ed:  6 highly critical, and for balance, one pleading (a la Rodney King) that we all get along.

‘J Street’ rabbi in Madison suggests that flotilla members were terrorists
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

Bonnie Margulis, a rabbi in Wisconsin, is on J Street’s rabbinic “cabinet.” Well here she  attacks John Nichols for writing that the people on the flotilla were humanitarian activists.

[Dennis] Kucinich mischaracterizes the people on the flotilla as being humanitarian activists, when, in reality, their sponsoring organization in Turkey is supported by Hamas, which the United States recognizes as a terrorist organization.
The fact that five out of the six ships that Israel commandeered surrendered peacefully shows that Israel’s intentions were to interdict and direct the ships to safe Israeli ports. Using knives, pipes and sticks, the sixth boat’s passengers attacked the soldiers who were attempting peacefully to commandeer the boat. They were not the “innocent civilians” that Kucinich calls them.

Here is Nichols piece. The back-and-forth is in Cap Times, a progressive paper in Madison. This is what has happened to many progressive Zionists, they are being dragged by their identification with a militant state into insensitivity and nuttiness.
Look at Lawrence of Cyberia’s pictures of the men killed. Five of them are over 40 years old. The average age is 38. None is in his 20s– the bold age, the soldier’s age. I can imagine these men resisting angrily–but plotting terror, this is crazy. Steve Walt echoed Peter Beinart a week or so back and said, OK where is the line for you progressive Zionists? What won’t you defend? (Thanks to Steve Horn, young, progressive, Jewish…)

Israel brings peace to the Middle East
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

Turkey and two Arab states agree to bury the hatchet and talk about equitably sharing that most precious resource (water).

Video shows FBI visit to the home of a Palestine solidarity activist
Posted: 11 Jun 2010

This was sent to us by the woman in the video who wishes to remain anonymous. All she wanted to add is that she only attends protests dealing with Israel/Palestine, so there is no doubt that this was related to those protests, and that the FBI refused to tell her who had called in her name. She feels this is an attempt to intimidate or silence the growing Palestine solidarity movement in Austin, TX.


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