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Flotilla organizers: Greece aiding Israel in delaying departure

This post was updated.

Athens — At a press conference held at 3pm local time on Thursday, organizers of the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, unveiled their ship to international press corps. Roughly 70 journalists , including a news crew from Israel’s Channel 10 as well as other Israeli journalists, were in attendance. Organizers defiantly called on the government of Greece to allow their boats safe deployment and passage.

Former US army colonel Anne Wright, speaking on behalf of the US ship, demanded that the Greek government follow through with inspection of the ship, following an Israeli legal organization’s accusation that it is not seaworthy. Wright insisted it is seaworthy and that “The Greek government is complicit with the Israeli government in delaying and trying to stop our boat from sailing.”

During the press conference, all 35 passengers of The Audacity of Hope stood in front of the ship draped in American flags. Wright specifically called on the Greek government to protect the US boat from acts of “state terrorism,” referencing the alleged sabotage of Irish boat. According to Wright, the Irish boat has 20,000 Euros worth of damage and would have sunk if it left port.

Participants of the US boat on the 2011 Gaza-bound flotilla in Athens, June 2011 (photo: Mya Guarnieri)

Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker, a passenger on the US Boat, read letters out loud at the press conference (the boat is carrying over 3,000 personal letters from Americans to Gazans).  One letter had a huge illustration of a smile and said: “Smile, the world loves you.” Walker compared the situation in Israel to that of South Africa during apartheid, saying that “our ancestors would be upset if they knew we were standing by in silence and not in solidarity with the Palestinian people.” Organizers spread out the the thousands of letters on the lower deck of the boat for the press to see.

Before the press conference, the boat organizers invited press onto the boat, which was opened and exposed to disprove any allegations there was dangerous cargo on it. The Israeli news crew took a tour of the boat, filming every crevice.

UPDATE: In a public speech at Israel’s Air Force academy, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked Greece’s PM George A. Papandreou, as well as US and Europe’s leaders, for helping Israel in its effort to stop what he called “the provocative flotilla.”

For more live updates please check out my twitter feed: @ibnezra.

Joseph Dana is in Greece reporting for The Nation, and about to embark on the American ship to Gaza.

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    1. Deïr Yassin

      ‘Holden’ is giving a link to Cifwatch. Wow, yet another among the innumerable right-wing pro-Israeli Zionist organizations: MEMRI, CAMERA, Campus Watch, Pal Watch, Cif Watch;
      Amazing how many people The-Only-Democracy-In-The-Middle-East has to employ to speak its cause, and particularly preventing its opponents from speaking. Shit still smells like shit.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Holden

      @ Deir Yassin. The whining never ends. Meanwhile it’s more than public that Hamas organizers in Europe are behind this little escapade, planning to use the clueless Flotistas as human shields. That’s..if this terror-farce ever sails. Now it looks doubtful.

      While in “Concentration Camp” Gaza stay at the Grand palace Hotel.


      Reply to Comment
    3. Holden

      I’m waiting for some sorry fauxtistas to wave around some more of those pictures of shot-up babies saved from the Lebanon war of 2006. These ghouls have probably got a few of corpses on ice on the boats to flash mob for the media for BDS.

      Let’s face it, “peace activists for Hamas” is about as clueless as it gets. Remember, these nuts cheered and handed out candy when the Fogel family was butchered in their beds a few months ago.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Barry

      Queers for Palestine!
      Anti-Imperialists for the Khalifah!
      Human Rights activists for Gaza!

      Reply to Comment
    5. Thank you Joseph for keeping us informed.
      Thousands and thousands of supporters across the world wish you a safe passage and a wonderful welcome in Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Dani

      Dear Joseph
      Thank you for your brave and brilliant work.The people who seek truth and justice for all of humanity are with you. 100 percent!

      Reply to Comment
    7. What is it that we are afraid of? The Egyptian gates are (partially) open. The tunnels supply all the weapons that Hamas can afford. What is gained by holding the 1,500,000 unarmed citizens of Gaza answerable to the crimes of 25,000 armed members of Hamas. How does the Israeli government expect this example of senseless so called diplomacy to play out in the next few weeks, in the next few months, in the years to come? Does Bibi have any kind of plan at all?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Gaza is Israeli sovereign territory

      The reality is that Gaza subjects have been under full Israeli government control since 1967. In a way the blockade, which is being highlighted by the medicines and food ships, acts to highlight how the people of Gaza are Israeli subjects without Israeli citizenship rights.

      Really the issue here is citizenship rights, the right to vote in return for the Soverign having power. Another 30 years, maybe more, but eventually democracy will of course triumph over this narrow ethnic uber nationalism

      Reply to Comment
    9. max

      The proof of the pudding is in the eating: only when all Gazans are able to hop to Kassit in Tel Aviv for pudding will Israel’s occupation end.
      Their full rights will be restored when they can also control the menu.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Charel-Jerusalem

      @ Deir Yassin, Coucou !
      The flotilla activists are playing a chess game in real life with Israel, Israel accepts the way the activists will expose them and Israel does what it can in order to prevent them peacefully to sail.
      Ok, no big deal. Anyway, the activists got waht they wanted, demonizing Israel more, getting their goods through the border and get media attention.
      I just want to mention that no activist thought about breaking the isolation of Guilad Shalit by bringing him jus one letter.
      It show the state of mind of the flotilla activists, supporting blindly the Palestinian cause.

      Reply to Comment

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