June 5, 2010
An Infowars.com poll conducted earlier in the week suggests Israel’s commando raid on a flotilla headed for Gaza with humanitarian aid will result in war between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Between 9 and 19 pro-Palestinian activists were killed by Israeli commandos in the raid conducted in international waters of the Mediterranean. Most of the dead are Turkish citizens.
Turkey has threatened to sever diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel over the incident. News reports earlier in the week suggested Turkey may provide future aid ships headed to the blockaded Gaza Strip with military escorts.
Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to Washington, outlined three Turkish demands for Israel on Friday including a public apology. He said Israel also must accept a credible independent investigation of the raid and end its blockade against Gaza.
Israel has rejected calls for an international investigation. Israeli PM Netanyahu told a meeting of Israel’s inner cabinet on June 2 that he would not bow to pressure to lift the blockade on Gaza
“We support an Israeli investigation that meets those criteria. We are open to different ways of assuring a credible investigation, including international participation, and we will continue to discuss these ideas with the Israelis and our international partners in the days ahead,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters on Tuesday.
Obama administration officials and most members of Congress, according to the Forward newspaper, indicate the United States will not urge Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza
Israel insists its commandos responded with deadly fire after they were attacked by activists on the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the flotilla. On Thursday, Al Jazeera English broadcast an interview with Jamal Elshayyal, one of the channel’s journalists who was on board the Mavi Marmara on Monday. Elshayyal insisted that the Israelis had fired live ammunition at the ship from the air before commandos landed on the boat.
Numerous eyewitnesses told the media Israeli commandos opened fire prior to boarding and it appeared they targeted certain individuals.
The nine Turkish activists killed during the raid, including one with U.S. citizenship, were shot a total of 30 times and five died of gunshot wounds to the head, according to Reuters. In addition to those killed, 48 others suffered gunshot wounds and six activists are still missing, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.
On Saturday, the Turkish newspaper Zaman reported that the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office began compiling evidence against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. If the prosecutor’s office can compile enough evidence against Israel at the end of its probe, it will charge the Israeli officials with various crimes, including murder, injury, taking hostages, attacking Turkish citizens on the open seas and piracy.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the activists as members of Hamas. An earlier assertion by the Israelis that al-Qaeda was involved in the incident was retracted on Friday.
In reaction to the fatal raid, demonstrations have erupted around the world. A demonstration outside the White House called for the U.S. to remove Israel’s ambassador. Amid shouts of “no more nickles, no more dimes, no more funding Israel’s crimes,” protesters in Washington also called for the end of Israeli occupation and blockade of Gaza. Angry protests have occurred in Turkey, the United Kingdom, Europe, South America, Australia, India, and elsewhere.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
It remains to be seen if the Gaza flotilla incident will lead to wider hostilities in the Middle East. Israel remains steadfast in its commitment to occupy Palestinian land and take an aggressive stance toward Arab neighbors its insists are determined to destroy the Jewish state. Israel has threatened numerous times to launch raids of Iran and destroy its nuclear program.
“Netanyahu believes the Arab world understands only the language of power and exercise of force. He and his supporters are determined to build the Israel they want — where desirable, on Palestinian land,” writes Max Hastings for the Mail Online. “It is Israel’s tragedy that many of its people have decided that permanent war is preferable to peace on terms their enemies might accept, which would include evacuation of the occupied territories and east Jerusalem.”
“A new war in the Middle East is looming on the horizon — one that could create a fundamental shift in the region, and whose repercussions would be felt around the world,” Joshua Gleis wrote for the Huntington Post on June 1. “One need not look any farther than World War I to remember that millions of lives can be lost due to happenstance. It would not be the first time a region teeming with armies ignited in war despite a stated desire for peace…. It is without question that all sides are feverishly preparing for war even if they do not necessarily want to fight one.”
Earlier today, the Israeli military boarded the 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie cargo ship from the sea. Army spokeswoman Lt Col. Avital Leibovich said Saturday’s takeover took only a few minutes and that the vessel was being taken to Israel’s Ashdod port, the Telegraph reports.
Passengers on the Gaza-bound MV Rachel Corrie include Nobel peace prize laureate Máiread Maguire and former UN Assistant Secretary-General Denis Halliday.