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Jun-29-2011 21:39printcomments

APN to Obama as Flotilla Sets Sail: Engage Israel to End Gaza Blockade

Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman's characterization of them as "terror activists" is reprehensible. It is consistent with a worrying trend of conflating unarmed protest with violence and terrorism.

Bibi and Obama
Courtesy: al Jazeera

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Israel confronted an international flotilla seeking to challenge its blockade of Gaza, with tragic results. At that time American for Peace Now (APN) called on Israel to investigate the operation that led to these results and to reassess its Gaza policy. APN noted that the difficult situation presented to Israel by the flotilla underscored the extent to which the continued policy of blockading Gaza was untenable and increasingly indefensible.

Now Israel is facing another flotilla, and it appears that another potential debacle is in the making.

Let there be no doubt: the organizers of the flotilla are seeking to provoke a confrontation with Israel. In doing so they are playing a dangerous game. None of us knows what the consequences of their actions will be.

Israel has no control over the flotilla organizers and participants, but this does not mean that Israel is compelled to accept the role they have assigned to it in a choreographed confrontation. Rather, Israel can and should choose a different role - by making the long-overdue decision to end the blockade and allow the boats to pass. Such a policy shift would avert a pointless confrontation and remove the pretext for future similar provocations. APN renews its longstanding call on Washington to engage the Israeli government to achieve this.

In the event that a confrontation does occur, APN calls on both participants in the flotilla and Israeli forces to avoid violence and ensure that the tragedy of 2010 is not repeated.

The Gaza blockade is a failed policy. While Israel's closure of Gaza has been eased in the last year to allow the import of many goods and raw materials into the Gaza Strip, the blockade is still part of an overall closure that inflicts collective punishment on the population of Gaza. The blockade has been ineffective as a security measure, failing to block the flow of weapons into Gaza via other means, including through tunnels. It has failed as a tactic to weaken Hamas, and as leverage to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Years of the blockade have helped wipe out moderate opposition to Hamas in Gaza and have undermined the legitimacy of moderate leaders like Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. Moreover, it has become a strategic liability for Israel: keeping the blockade in place harms Israel's relations with important allies, fuels international criticism, undermines Israel's legitimate claims to self-defense, and makes future confrontations - like the 2010 flotilla and the current one - likely.

We recognize Israel's right to stop and inspect ships it has genuine reason to believe are seeking to smuggle weapons into Gaza. However, a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and continued closure of its borders cannot be defended. More effective and defensible measures to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza - both via land and via the sea - must be implemented, in cooperation with Egypt, the United States, and the international community.

Finally, while it is true that the flotilla participants are seeking to provoke Israel, and it is certainly possible that some organizers and participants are motivated by genuinely anti-Israel sentiments, Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman's characterization of them as "terror activists" is reprehensible. It is consistent with a worrying trend of conflating unarmed protest with violence and terrorism. This is evident in the use of terms like "popular terror" (to describe unarmed protest), "cultural terror" (to describe academic and cultural boycotts), "diplomatic terror" (to describe Palestinian efforts to muster international support and recognition), "economic terror" (to describe boycotts of Israeli settlements products), and "lawfare" (to describe legal challenges to Israeli policy and actions). Such language cheapens the debate, conflicts with Israel's democratic values, and undermines Israel's legitimate position when it acts in genuine self-defense.

Source: Americans for Peace Now




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Akashma Web Blogs July 4, 2011 9:53 pm (Pacific time)

American For Peace Now, are wrong in all their position and their statements. First: "The Gaza blockade is a failed policy. While Israel's closure of Gaza has been eased in the last year to allow the import of many goods and raw materials into the Gaza Strip". The Blockade of Gaza is not a policy is an act to war, an assault on the civilian population, and has nothing to do with any policy or goals but to humiliate the Palestinians. And on the second statement that Israel eased the blockade..Egypt ease the blockade Israel only allows to enter what benefit her, her products, petrol which by the way is very expensive, and the aid that comes as a welfare from UNRWA, very little consumable products. Most of the perishable aid is left to rotten in Israel warehouses, with the pretext that needs to be inspected. "We recognize Israel's right to stop and inspect ships it has genuine reason to believe are seeking to smuggle weapons into Gaza."..Israel does not have any rights to inspect anything that comes from other countries that have already inspected the ships, and besides Israel pull out from Gaza in 2005, why will she has the right?..Do Palestinians have the right to inspect Israel Nuclear Plants, and arsenal. I mean common sense. Giving all the advantages to Israel even in public forums is outrageous and not fair and not right. "Finally, while it is true that the flotilla participants are seeking to provoke Israel, and it is certainly possible that some organizers and participants are motivated by genuinely anti-Israel sentiments" Really!, the flotillas do not want to provoked no one, they want Israel to lift the blockade once and for all, they are not looking to confront Israel. Israel should step out of the way, and let the Ships to pass freely, and let the Palestinian Naval Authorities to inspect the cargo. ..Com' on is common sense, all these theater mounted around Israel rights to do and undo is rethoric of some organizations that are taking donations and need to shoe the world that they are do in something. The only ones that serve the Palestinians cause are the activist that enganged in the flotillas, convoys, International Solidarity Movement, and any organization that really make their present in the occupied territory to help end the Occupation not to easy it, or maintained, as the UN has done..


Anonymous July 1, 2011 9:12 am (Pacific time)

I agree with Dexter...and Amanda, obama is basically a manchurian candidate type, brainwashed and trained from the beginning, he doesnt know how to think for himself. I honestly feel sorry for him. I dont think he is someone who is simply evil such as a Cheney type, but obama is nothing but a walking robot who takes commands from a computer. These flotillas are doing a great service tho, waking up the world to the Palestinian plight, and the oppression of the israeli government. Even if they dont make it. Same with Ron Paul. The elite and elite owned media will NEVER let Ron win the presidency, but his truth will be shared and more people will awaken to the lies of our current (and past) administrations who are owned.


Amanda June 30, 2011 4:41 pm (Pacific time)

If Obama could just stick to his own believes and instinct, instead trying to be politically correct, we would have a different set of values such as expected by the majority of Americans


jimmy June 30, 2011 1:54 pm (Pacific time)

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Dexter June 30, 2011 1:01 am (Pacific time)

This story sums up the facts, just look at the major news stories in American TV as well as the BBC, and German news, and Sweden had some great shots of Obama looking very uncomfortable with his presence; This just proves that Israel does have full control over the states when it comes to Americas Political values.


Richard L. Matteoli June 30, 2011 12:35 am (Pacific time)

Among those who hate to be oppressed are some who like to oppress.

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