Farewell to Australians on Gaza Freedom Flotilla

June 17, 2011
Free Gaza graphic
Free Gaza graphic

Three Australian activists joining the Freedom Flotilla 2 were given a heartfelt sendoff by Green Left Weekly at the Resistance Centre on June 15.

The three will soon join activists from 50 countries taking part in this latest international action to pressure Israel to lift the illegal blockade on Gaza. They have partnered with a Canadian organisation and their boat Tahrir (Liberation) will carry about 50 passengers and crew.

Vivienne Porzsolt, spokesperson for Jews Against the Occupation, said she could not abide what Israel is doing. “As a Jew I feel a special obligation to oppose it in the traditions of Jewish ethics abandoned by Israel and its Zionist supporters…

“I am sailing on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza to help pose a real challenge to the cruel, illegal imprisonment of the people of Gaza and to make it visible to the world. We hope to shame all those governments who are complicit with this injustice and lawlessness. Ordinary people must act when their governments won't.”

Sydney youth worker Michael Coleman said, like so many others, he was outraged by Israel’s attack on the first Freedom Flotilla in May 2010. Having spent three months in Nablus, in the West Bank, around the time of Operation Cast Lead, Coleman said he was witness to the “ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their own land”.

“It's not an Israel-Palestine conflict,” he said. “It’s the oppression of Palestine by Israel, and it's got to stop.”

Sylvia Hale, a former NSW Greens MP, said: “Israel sells itself as 'an island of stability and democracy in the Middle East'.

“But while we cheer on the ‘Arab Spring’ — the uprisings for democracy and economic justice across the Middle East — Israel shows up its hypocrisy by opposing moves by Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing.”

Hale said she had four reasons for taking part in the flotilla: to challenge Israel’s right to impose a blockade; to help exert pressure on Israel to lift the blockade; to expose the conditions the people of Gaza have to endure; and to pressure the Gillard government “to do something for the Palestinian people”.

“Israel has been able to count on the US and Australia — in particular — as loyal allies,” Hale said. “We’ve sent a letter to the PM calling on her government to use its influence with Israel to lift the illegal blockade and ensure that the flotilla is not harmed in any way. We hope you will help us.”

[To stay up to date with the Freedom Flotilla 2, check the Palestine Relief Fund website and Facebook]


So dumb, as long as there is a war then the blockade is legal under international law, go read the rules of war before demonizing a country for using it's right to defend itself that every other country has in times of war, it's equivalent to demanding Britain lift it's blockade on Germany in 1941, I'm really dumb founded on this one, as long as there Is a war there will be a siege, and rather then push for peace these activists are trying to prolong the war by giving Hamas an alternative to peace.
Maybe Hale can add 2 more reasons for going. 1.Ask Hamas to stop firing Rockets at Israel. 2.Free the kidnapped Gilad Shalit. If these 2 objectives are met Israel would end the blockade. All that Hamas needs to do is end violence!!!!!!!
The blockade is legal and recognized as such by international law. Any attempt to break the blockade is a violation of international law and Israel has the right to do anything they need to do to stop the blockade from succeeding. This means that is the war activists on this free Gaza flotilla are killed it is their own fault and every world government knows this. . .
Nobody accepts the supposed legality of the starvation blockade against Gaza. What kind of person would support the prevention of humanitarian aid from reaching a beseiged country, let alone one that has been bombed into ruins by racist land thieves? Shame Israel, shame.
Supporters of Israel need to learn some history. Roughly 750,000 Palestinians were forced off their land by Israeli terror squads like the Stern Gang in cahoots with the Israeli army which was trained and supplied by the British. Massacres like that of Deir Yassin and news of such events fanned the exodus. Palestine became an occupied territory so that today Ariel Sharon's Matrix of Control has all but suffocated Palestinian freedom of movement and self expression with a network of military checkpoints integrated with the apartheid wall. Palestinians are stymied from taking up educational or work opportunities outside because either permission to leave is not granted or their ability to return is denied. Routinely the IDF confiscate Palestinian IDs just for the he'll of it leaving the unfortunate victim in limbo. Palestinian exports of fruit or flowers are kept waiting at checkpoints so long they all rot. Palestinians are restricted in drilling for water from reaching the same depth as Israelis. All in all life in occupied Palestine is appalling. The people of Bilin won a legal victory in having Wall shifted so that they can access their fields and olive groves but last Friday they were tear gassed yet again, shot with rubber bullets and sprayed with offensive liquid as they tore down the barrier. House demolitions have made homeless thousands and traumatized hundreds of children while Israel illegally expands its settlement building. When the Nazis occupied France, for example, the resistance killed many hundreds of German soldiers and sabotaged their equipment. In Palestine Israel practices Nazi tactics like the blitzkrieg of Gaza so does it deserve any better? The Flotilla and BDS are non-violent resistance & deserve our support!
How about quoting from international law - your absurd claim needs a citation. Murdering children by blockading them and denying them food is legal, hey? Israel is conducting an illegal and genocidal occupation of Palestinian land - a cowardly war of aggression against the Palestinian people whose land Israel is occupying. Israel has the third most powerful military in the world - courtesy of the theft of Arab land and resources and handouts from the U.S. taxpayer. The Palestinians on the other hand, do not have an army, a navy or an airforce. They have a few ineffectual rockets pitted against the homicidal IDF. Yet they are subjected to one of the most sadistic occupations every conceived. As Noam Chomsky says "Israel has chosen expansion and aggression over security and peace". Israel is not "defending itself" when it bulldozes homes and villages, murders activists, bombs civilians, bombs schools, kindergartens, apartment blocks, hospitals and universities. It is not defending itself when it rapes, tortures and steals other peoples land. That is exactly what Hitler said as he was murdering the Jews and stealing their property - "We're just defending ourselves". "
Well Mr Expert what exactly was Hittler referring to when he as you claim stated "We're just defending ourselves", comforting to see another "critic" of Israel so well versed in Hittler quotations. Maybe you can back this one up "one of the most sadistic occupations every conceived" really? Genocide, really? "It has never been among the world's poorest places. There is near-universal literacy and relatively low infant mortality, and health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world." Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/economic-recovery-tunnels-through-blockades-20110627-1gnbm.html#ixzz1QjDOzwhc The above article also refers to a new shopping mall opening where you can ride escalators imported from Israel. "They have a few ineffectual rockets pitted against the homicidal IDF". Perhaps Mr high horse you would like to volunteer to have one of these "ineffectual rockets" launched at your house. you say "Few" its over 6000 that have been fired and that's why there's a blockade.
Clearly a few homemade rockets fired from Gaza is a good excuse for demolishing whole villages of Bedouin, Palestinian houses in Jerusalem and the West Bank, nowhere near Gaza. Nothing like ethnic cleansing at all is it, just understandable revenge for the brutal aggression of Palestine since 1948 against the Jewish people. What a sad lot of racist mythology.
Free Gilad Shalit, why does alternative media ignore his plight?
The applicable bit of international law used by Israel. "Ambassador Craig Murray, an internationally recognized authority on maritime jurisdiction and naval boarding issues. He is former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. He was deputy head of the teams which negotiated the UK’s maritime boundaries with France, Germany, Denmark (Faeroe Islands) and Ireland. “San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be. San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population." For it to apply, Israel would have to recognise the Palestinian state, then declare war on it. The blockade is illegal. http://www.kadaitcha.com/2011/07/01/why-israels-blockade-on-gaza-is-illegal/ Trick.
Because a soldier captured in wartime is not as big a crime as Israel's kidnapping and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinian political figures, women and children.
I'm sure the Germans thought the Warsaw Ghetto was legal and proper too....
The Red Cross comments on the dire situation in Gaza: The ICRC is concerned about the fact that the 1.5 million people in the Strip are unable to live a normal and dignified life. Almost no one can leave the Gaza Strip, not even to go to the West Bank, where many Gazans have family or previously had work. Health-care facilities are suffering from the restrictions imposed by Israel on the transfer of medical equipment, building materials and many basic items needed for maintenance. Water and sanitation facilities have been under strain for many decades. The fact that they remain even barely in working order is due to the efforts of certain humanitarian organizations. Buildings that have been in need of repair for several years and the many buildings that were destroyed during the Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2008-2009 cannot be repaired or rebuilt as long as basic building materials, such as concrete, are not allowed into the Gaza Strip in meaningful quantities. Gaza is more dependent than ever on outside aid. For young people – fully 50 per cent of Gaza's 1.5 million residents are under 18 years of age – there is a crushing lack of prospects, and it is a constant struggle for them to maintain hope in the future. The strict limits on imports and the almost absolute ban on exports imposed by Israel make economic recovery impossible. The unemployment rate currently stands at nearly 40 per cent. It will remain ruinously high as long as the economy fails to recover. This difficult situation exacerbates the considerable hardship already caused by the collapse of previously prosperous branches of the economy. The entry of goods into Gaza is also still highly restricted, not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of the particular items allowed. Long delays are frequent. Some goods that are allowed in are so expensive that their availability hardly matters to the vast majority of the population, who could never afford them. http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/interview/2011/palestine-israel-interview-2011-05-19.htm But there's 'no humanitarian crisis', the Israeli prison guards insist.
http://rdln.wordpress.com/ Income and wealth inequality unchanged by last Labour government Posted: 5 July, 2011 by Admin in Economics, Labour Party NZ, Uncategorized 0 The article below was written in 2006 and provides a useful snapshot of the lack of growth of workers incomes, and the widening of inequality, under the last Labour government. One of the most noticeable features of economic discussion in New Zealand today is just how little of it there actually is. On radio and television news bulletins and in the business pages of the newspapers, the “business news” is largely confined to sound bites about international and local businesses or reports on how a particular sector is performing, followed by an update on share prices and exchange rates. What actually underlies economic decisions and what their impacts are, especially on workers, is rarely considered worthy of analysis. We hear good news stories about businesses engaging in successful export ventures or bad news stories about companies relocating their production offshore with accompanying job losses but, again, there is no analysis of what this really means or discussion of why this really happens, and since the government has abdicated any responsibility for any of this, we are left at the mercy of those who do make these decision, the “business community”. Read the rest of this entry » On the 25th anniversary of homosexual law reform: Gay liberation or crumbs from parliament? Posted: 5 July, 2011 by Admin in Gay Rights, LGBT 0 By Sean Kearns This Saturday, July 9, marks the 25th anniversary of the 1986 partial liberalisation of New Zealand’s by then outmoded and draconian anti-homosexual laws. On July 9, 1986, 14 months after it was first introduced to parliament, the first section of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill, legalising consensual sexual activities between males 16 years and over, was narrowly passed by parliament (49 to 44).[1] The second section, which would have made anti-gay discrimination illegal, didn’t pass. Read the rest of this entry » The Workplace Solidarity Bill Posted: 4 July, 2011 by Admin in Women's Rights 0 By Don Franks Women doing equivalent work to men would be entitled to know what their male colleagues are paid under a bill proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner. Dr Judy McGregor’s Pay Equity Bill would remove an employer’s ability to keep salaries secret. It would mean a woman doing the same work as a man would be entitled to know what he was paid. Read the rest of this entry » Still no left turn Posted: 3 July, 2011 by Admin in Uncategorized 0 By Colin Clarke I first heard of Chris Trotter three years ago, when I bought his book, ‘No left turn’, at Auckland airport, when I was leaving New Zealand after a holiday. Bits of the book were good as a potted history of various struggles in New Zealand labour history but throughout there was special pleading on behalf of Labour Party and union leaders about how difficult things were for them and a constant excusing of their actions. At the same time, anyone to their left was excoriated for daring to criticise them. I was left feeling that the title of the book was a sub-conscious reference to his own politics. Read the rest of this entry » Will NZ’s govt endorse a Palestinian state? Posted: 30 June, 2011 by Admin in Israel, Palestine 5 Officials from the PLO will visit New Zealand to seek support for a Palestinian state. Philip Ferguson discusses how Key’s government may respond: It might depend on what sort of “statehood” is involved. In the PLO case, it’s not even a neo-colonial set-up they are after; basically it’s a neo-neo-colonial set-up! I think it’s quite possible for the imperialists to go along with this, although Israel isn’t playing ball. I would’ve thought a standard neo-colonial set-up would have suited Israel – they give the PLO control over a Palestine state which is economically impoverished and which the PLO polices for Israel. That’s what the brits did with Ireland in 1921 – Churchill said it was protecting British interests “with an economy of British lives” because the new neo-colonial regime in the south would do all the suppressing of Irish republicanism. But the Israeli ruling class doesn’t even seem to want that. Read the rest of this entry » Last machinist at Achilles Industries Posted: 30 June, 2011 by Admin in At the coalface 0 By Ted Somerset It started off as a normal Achilles Wednesday. From the box at the plant gate I lugged in five litres of milk, stuck one container in the top office fridge and put the others in the cafe. Alex snuck in as usual to carry out his ritual theft. Every morning Alex would enter the café and ostentatiously deposit his smoko banana in the men’s fridge. While so doing, with his broad back concealing the fridge door, he’d slide a litre of new milk into his duffle bag to take home that night. Read the rest of this entry » A few thoughts on the politics of stasis* Posted: 29 June, 2011 by Admin in New Zealand history 4 by Daphna Whitmore One of the aims of the Redline contributors is to make sense of New Zealand politics. This means that as well as looking at the dramatic periods of class struggle, such as the Waterfront dispute of 1951, we try to understand the long periods marked by low levels of struggle, the long years of inactivity. Twenty years ago, workers were getting ready for a showdown. Tens of thousands joined demonstrations against the Employment Contract Bill. This attack by the National government came after two terms of a Labour government that had sold state assets off and dismantled or downsized industries which were centres of worker militancy (freezing works, mines, waterfront, seafarers, car plants, railways). There was an expectation that union leaders would call for strikes. Read the rest of this entry »

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