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Greece: Israeli assault on the Flotilla is well underway

ATHENS: Israeli diplomatic and economic pressure is looming large over preparations of the second Gaza aid flotilla, set to sail from a number Greek ports at the end of the month. Israel has clearly stated that it will use every diplomatic and military avenue to maintain its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The events of the past few days in Athens confirm that Israel is making good on its claim. Learning from last year’s botched military operation against the flotilla– which left eight Turkish civilians and one Turkish-American civilian dead– Israel is seemingly applying pressure directly on the Greek government to stop the flotilla boats from setting sail.

Early this morning, I discovered that a ‘private complaint’ had been filed against the US boat to Gaza. The complaint, it is still unclear who filed it, stated that the US boat to Gaza is not ‘sea worthy’ and requires a detailed inspection.The harbor master where the boat is in port has declared that until the complaint is resolved the boat is not permitted to leave. Currently, lawyers representing the US boat are looking into the origins of the complaint and whether it was filed as a result of Israeli economic or diplomatic pressure on the Greek government. The boat is US flagged and registered in the United States.

The government of Greece has been on the edge of collapse due to expected European Union austerity measures which are overwhelmingly unpopular among the majority of the population. Demonstrations and riots have been rocking Athens for the past two weeks. Greek officials have confirmed that Israel and Greece have met in recent days to discuss various issues including the flotilla.

Given the fact that the Greek government is fighting for its political survival, it is unlikely that Greece would bend to Israeli diplomatic pressure. However, it is more probable that Greece would bend to direct Israeli economic pressure. Israel and Greece have a strong economic relationship which includes a joint gas pipeline project in the Eastern Mediterranean.

If substantiated, rumors that Israel is threatening the Israeli-Greek trade relationship could have profound effects on the economy of Greece which, in turn, would make implementing upcoming austerity measure much more difficult. Right now, these sentiments are merely rumors and the Greek government is maintaining silence on economic relations with Israel in connection with the Flotilla. What is clear is that Flotilla ships are being targeted in Greek ports and might not sail.

10 ships are expected to sail as part of the Gaza aid flotilla. Currently three ships, including the US boat, have had complaints levied against them.  US boat organizers believe that Greece will attempt to delay the ships indefinitely by using a serious of bureaucratic measures such as endless safety checks and cargo inspections. Despite the setbacks, organizers are continuing with their nonviolence and safety training. They are hopeful that the Greek government will allow the ships to sail next week as initially planned.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Werner

      Nobody ever expected the Israelis to play fair.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jed

      “Israel is actually threatening the entire economy of the European Union.”

      What is the difference between antisemitism and Anti-Zionism?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Yonatan

      Hmmm – does Israel have ships? Just wonderin’

      Reply to Comment
    4. Rika Chaval

      This is what they call “embedded journalism”, if spreading freely invented rumors can be called journalism at all.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Naftali

      How about we just send the Kapos of +972 to Gaza, go live there and you wont have to suffer us Israelis. I am sure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad would welcome you, just like they did Vittorio

      Reply to Comment
    6. Miki

      LOL Naftali, when are you and your fellow Zionists going to get it, not only is your ignorance astounding, but your insults and your hollow accusations of treason, “self-hate” and anti-semitism don’t work anymore. They have no power. As Malcolm X once said – “The truth is on the side of the oppressed”. And in this case the truth is definitely on the side of the Palestinians and more and more people around the world, including Jews, are releasing this and saying no to Israeli apartheid and occupation. You are on the wrong side of history… get use to it.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Simon

      If he let’s the boats sail the Greek people will be punished.If he stops the boats from sailing, the Greek people will be punished. Sounds like a win win situation for George…It would be so much easier for everyone if the so called aid went through the Egyptian border crossing.That’s the ultimate win win situation.Israel is safe. The Palestinians get the aid and nobody has to get hurt.

      Reply to Comment
    8. wja1969

      Heh heh this site is the same old thing. Journalists who live in Israel (like 99.9% of all Middle East journalists) and criticize Israel for being a brutal oppressive democracy. Why don’t you live in Arab countries which according to you are always right when Israel is always wrong?

      Because you have a high chance of getting killed rather just being called out as cowards. NAFTALI said it best and instead of getting a straight answer, he or she was accused of throwing the anti-sematism card when he or she did no such thing. NAFTALI simply asked a rhetorical question: Why do you choose to live in a democratic country like Israel? I think you know the answer.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Naz

      For Democracy & Prosperity to prevail in Mid East outdated Despots have to be ship away. The despots like ASAD & BENJAMIN NETHANYAHU cause more evil for their their own people than progress.There are many Arabs & Jews Democratic Leaders who can bring New beautiful Age for all Mid East people.
      Maybe force of Change will come from Intelligent People at grass root & not from Bloated Western Powers or Eastern ruling elites. For 60 Years SuperPower has failed. They are Fail Grade Leaders. Please make way for Women & Visionaries like Mahatma Gandhi,MLK,RFK, John Kennedy…..& more…

      Thanks
      Nasir.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Actually, insofar as legality and morality is concerned, I would much rather Israel use diplomatic means of all sorts to prevent the flotilla from sailing. It’s obvious that the Israeli government doesn’t want it to sail, but why are such means unfair? Would anyone rather they use military means? I’m an Israeli, and I was horrified at the way the last flotilla was stopped. That Israel will try to prevent it from sailing is a given. Using non-violent means is the best that can be expected.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Nordic UN veterans have also taken an interest in this.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Can anyone explain the danger the flotilla poses to Israel? There is so much talk about stopping it, but what harm can it do other than giving the Palestinians a face and an existence in public opinion? Are letters of love and solidarity a bigger threat than rockets? If so, Israel does have a problem.

      Reply to Comment
    13. kathleen

      Contact all MSM outlets demand/request/beg them to cover this story.

      Emergency Support Actions
      http://ustogaza.org/emergency-support-actions/

      Forming on this page will be a list of emergency support actions being planned across the United States. If your group is planning these types of action and want to be listed here, please send the details to:

      Reply to Comment
    14. Kathleen

      As someone over at Mondoweiss just suggested. Time for a flash mob by the Flotilla activist

      Reply to Comment
    15. Saeed Hotary

      I hope the flotilla brings zionists back to Europe on its return trip.

      Reply to Comment
    16. kristen

      @the flotilla is just a provocation in order to de- legitimaize israel.
      the UN stated month ago that there is NO humanitarian crisis in Gaza!!!

      why won’t they free gaza from hamas- the real terrorists:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAViBA0Xet8

      Reply to Comment
    17. Kristen+ It’s amazing you dare to come up with that after the pathetic Omer Gershon-scam. Hasbara without the bulldozers to get rid of the evidence means nothing. Stay human.

      Reply to Comment
    18. bon

      Israel does NOT want peace! She wants the water of Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    19. David Rubin

      Israel seems to find 1000s of random rockets launched at civilian targets like towns near Gaza to be objectionable. I guess some people here believe Israel should just allow the rocket attacks and not do anything to prevent them, or to retaliate against them. The blockade of Gaza is meant to prevent weapons or other forms of war material from reaching Gaza. Israel has offered to unload the ships, inspect the humanitarian cargo, and then transport it over land to Gaza.

      Meanwhile, calling Netanyahu a despot lie Asad seems to be a stretch. I thought he was elected by a well defined electoral system. He can be deposed by a no confidence vote of parliament. What rational person can cite facts comparing Netanyahu’s rise to power with that of Asad. Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s range of action is limited by electoral politics. I have never heard that Israel was governed by bribery, corruption and force.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Itamar

      Pretty poor reporting undoubtedly. 1st of all Israel has made no secret of the threat that it sees in the flotilla nor of its desire to use diplomatic means to try to stop it. So what’s the news? Unfounded rumors about some kind of Israel “threatening the Israeli-Greek trade relationship” and the totally unsubstantiated claim that this “could have profound effects on the economy of Greece.” Pathetic. How many more news stories are out there about this public relations war then there are about the actual economic and political crisis that Greece is facing? This stuff is pure distraction.

      Meanwhile, Hamas is at war with the State of Israel so it’s facing a blockade. Undoubtedly that blockade ’causes serious hardship to the people of Gaza, and if people from around the world wanna use non-violent means to try to break that blockade then more power to them. But they should understand that the context is basically a war. Are they consciously choosing to back Hamas in that war? Or do they naively think that they’re simply on the side of peace? Either way they shouldn’t feign surprise or outrage when Israel uses diplomatic and perhaps economic means to stop them.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Ann McCoy

      The USA must stop all funds going to Israel and give the $ to the suffering children of Gaza. Israel has no heart or compassion. They stole the land and need to honor the Palestinian RIGHT OF RETURN.

      Reply to Comment
    22. There is a near total msm/media black out on the *existance* of a second flotilla in Australia atm. ty for this blog.

      The only truth about occupation worth noting – is that it ends.

      Reply to Comment
    23. J M Damon

      Expect the fearless IDF to murder x number of unarmed flotilla participants while the US government pays for it all and our abject congressmen frantically applaud Netanyahu’s bombastic speeches…

      Reply to Comment
    24. Apostolos

      What we are not hearing, or learning, is that the Israelis have discovered natural gas off the coast of GAZA. According to international law every coastal nation is entitled to 200 miles of off-shore governance. Because the Zionists cannot construct a 20 foot high cement partition to confiscate land beneath the sea, the use of a blockade is sufficient to achieve their objectives. Also,I am very surprised that the Greeks, who have prized democracy and freedom from the beginning of time, would give-in to Israel’s bribery and economic threats.

      Reply to Comment
    25. george beres

      If Israel attacks the flotilla again, it should be bombed in retaliation. Targets of retaliation should be Tel Aviv, and– to be fair– Washington, D.C. – George Beres

      Reply to Comment
    26. The Rev. Robert L. Powers

      If only we could arrange to bring back the Egyptian occupation and government of the Gaza strip, which Israel ended in the 1967 war, and restore the happy days then enjoyed by Gazans under that military arrangement! How happy everyone would be, except those for whom all ills are ascribed to the Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    27. There seem to be some here intent on rant and screed, others with thoughtful concerns, some expressing frustration and then the usual suspects.

      In short order, my fellow Hebrews come in to criticize all comers-Jewish-as being “Self-hating” or “Pro-Arab” or simply, oh so sadly, pathetically naive.

      None is further from the truth; we “Jews in the Diaspora using a long-range lens, are afforded the luxury of time and distance from the epicenter.

      What do we see? Intransigence, arrogance, greed, subterfuge & deception. Do not dare to lecture or speak down to us, without the Diaspora your raison’ d’autre fades to obscurity; to exist for the mere sake of existence, is no reason at all. If we do not stand for something, we stand for nothing.

      It is our humanity which has stood us up against all forces throughout time, we are who we are because of what we are.

      If not for this, why have we survived-from Barcelona to Berlin-generations massacred, yet as traders, found succor and security in Ottoman (Turkish) arms? Now you call them traitors, you attack their ship & kill innocent civilians and risk relations, as well as jeopardize US-Turk relations & U.S. efforts in Iraq.

      The world does not revolve around the State of Israel, there are Billions of others, despite your seemingly myopic view of life in a vacuum.

      Our long range lens, allows perspective & a dispassionate view of history which may serve instructive lessons you choose to ignore.

      To wit-Issues raised among these comments:

      #1 Netanyahu elected (& the fallacy of Israeli Democracy)? Actually, the PM was not elected, he is far from the Centrist choice, that would be Lipni. In truth, Peres chose the coalition in a extra-judicial procedure, not supported in the (non-existent) Israeli Constitution. He claimed Bibi had a better chance of forming a cabinet of less contentious forces than Ztivi. Big mistake. Big f-in mistake. Now he criticizes from outside (backstabbing prick) and when asked “Why not go public?”, he is coy and says “I am the State President”, not the loyal opposition. I submit, he is nothing but a mouthpiece with two sides, nobody elected him either, his appointment was arranged, as always, by a secret Zionist group (here to remain unnamed), after they screwed Moshe Katzov (long boring story).

      #2 Non-Violent (Non-Confrontational) approach of bringing in goods through Rafah/Rafia? Of course, taking this route is the ‘path of least resistance’, and a reasonable Jewish/Buddhist alternative, but the purpose of protest-while not to cause friction or confrontation-is certainly to garner attention to a cause, no? So it is a Humanitarian effort, but also a call for Compassion, Change & Renewal.

      What if just the opposite were to occur, simply imagine, if Israelis blew everyone’s mind, and showed up with Coffee & Donuts? Oh, you pathetic Idealist! Don’t you know all Arabs hate Jews, want to push us into the Sea?

      #3 State of War with Hamas? Actually the “Quartet” which sounds more like a Junkyard Band,and their stupid “Road Map” are in the mix, if not the Genesis. Add to this, PLO Corruption, lack of Social Services and the soup is boiling, call it Hamas.

      We insisted on the election, then undermine the results, then designate Hamas as Terrorists. Who forgot even after this subterfuge, Hanya & Maschall still offered a 10 year Cease-Fire, under another name. They were met with Blockade.

      Then the Israelis pulled out of Gaza, to make it easier to kill those who remained. Then they killed 1600. We are not stupid, we have a wide-angle lens too.

      Anti-Semitism versus Anti-Zionism? The oldest charade promulgated by Israelis to stab American, South African, Canadian and British Jews in the neck. Full frontal.

      Where have we heard that? “What’s wrong Douglas, you do not love your own people?” and “Why do you know more Arabic than Hebrew” and “Thanks for coming Douglas, if we want peace we will let you know, Fu-k Off” as this writer was denied entry, then deported.

      Israelis need to wise up fast, this SUMMER, before the UN creates a State and they lose their Border, Sea, Drinking Water, Natural Gas and way, way more.

      We Jews in the Diaspora are not paid for defending Israeli ignorance as we travel the globe, our security diminished, as we tire the task of justifying 63 years of actions which have served as barriers to Shalom, Salem, Peace.

      Israelis should also remember, we in Diaspora have more people, more money & more power which we will wield without mercy.

      You want to spread fear and paranoia of a United PNA/Hamas Government? You best make sure your own house is in order, where dissent now prevails.

      G-d help you if just one life is taken, by accident or intention, of the Flotilla II. Among its passengers, elderly Diaspora Jews, grief-stricken for the conditions allowed to fester under Israeli Occupation (a war crime),they seek to make their point and also bring sustenance.

      Of course you have the right to inspect shipments for Contraband, whether at Sea or Port, but this need not be a provocative act, as much as Customs, Duties & Taxes, if any.

      Stop demonizing all in opposition, your efforts fall on deaf ears, and your continued support for Netanyahu & Lieberman will insure your downfall & subsequent Civil War.

      Reply to Comment
    28. barry fruchter

      I feel very sorrowful that my fellow human beings — including my fellow Jews — have to be at one another’s throats always. When will we ever learn that those who oppress others oppress themselves? How absurd and tragic is it that the same nation that attempted to grow in the name of freedom — “a free people in our land” –via running British blockades in the 1940s now blocks through military attack another attempt to support freedom by running THEIR blockades? The arguments about defense, about criticism of israel being anti-Jewish, about the critics coming from a place of safety — all these and more have been used for fifty years and failed. The time to end the arguments is NOW. The time for reconciliation and peace is NOW. The time for bold Israeli and Palestinian leaders — not the same tired old crew but the people in the trenches! — to come forward is NOW.

      The other poster was right: history is ALWAYS on the side of the oppressed and of justice. It was so in 1945 when Auschwitz was liberated and it will be so when Gaza and Ramallah and Jerusalem are liberated.

      Reply to Comment
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