Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.21 Trump and impeachment: where Democrats stand after Mueller

04.21 Trump's moral squalor, not impeachment, will remove him from power

04.21 Dutch engineers build world's biggest sun-seeking solar farm [A replacement of lost Arctic ice?]

04.21 We’re altering the climate so severely that we’ll soon face apocalyptic consequences. Here are 9 last-ditch ways we could hack the planet to reverse that trend.[Hail Mary pass ideas]

04.18 'We Can Be Whatever We Have the Courage to See': New Video From AOC Envisions a #GreenNewDeal Future [7:35 video]

04.18 'Decades of denial': major report finds New Zealand's environment is in serious trouble

04.17 Thawing Permafrost Emitting Higher Levels of Potent Greenhouse Gas Than Previously Thought: Study

04.16 'That Backfired': Watch Bernie Sanders Counter Right-Wing Talking Point, Make Case for Medicare for All on Fox News

04.16 Cause of cancer is written into DNA of tumours, scientists find, creating a 'black box' for origin of disease

04.16 Scientists Unveil World's First Human Heart 3D-Printed From Patients' Own Cells

04.15 What It Was Like to Have a Baby in Sweden

04.14 'Shut the country down': British climate group Extinction Rebellion heads to US

04.13 With Youth Climate Actions Backed by Leading Experts, Latest Round of Protests Highlights Call for Bold and Urgent Action

04.11 Will You Rise Up for Climate Justice Next Week? Don’t Let Fatalism and Cynicism Hold You Back

04.11 300+ Groups to Congress: #GreenNewDeal 'Must Transform Our Food System and Revitalize Rural America'

04.10 Glaciers and arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it's too late [Willfully ignorant "conservatives" and corporately-bribed liberals diddle self-obsessively while life on earth dies]

04.10 Is there a beautiful, briny solution to the world’s clean water crisis?

04.08 'The perfect storm': hydrogen gains ground on LNG as alternative fuel [Good!]

04.08 Himalayan glaciers on the eve of destruction

04.08 Russia moves to free nearly 100 captive whales after outcry [Good!]

News Media Matters

04.12 DOJ Charging Docs: Julian Assange Committed Journalism

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

04.21 Pentagon Spending Set to Hit Near-Record Levels, But 'Establishment Says We Can't Afford' Progressive Policies

04.19 14 Must-Read Moments From the Mueller Report

04.19 No One Listens to the President

04.19 'Whimsical, uninformed': French ambassador's parting verdict on Trump

04.19 Mueller report: press secretary Sarah Sanders admitted to lying to reporters

04.19 Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border

04.19 Mueller report unable to clear Trump of obstruction of justice [PDF]

04.19 Nadler says Mueller report shows 'disturbing evidence' of obstruction of justice – video [2:41 video]

04.18 Top Democrats Accuse Barr of 'Acting to Protect Donald Trump' Ahead of Mueller Report Rollout

04.18 Bernie Sanders 'Raises the Bar Even Further' on Climate With Vow to Ban Fracking, All New Fossil Fuel Projects [Mindlessly killing ourselves must stop]

Justice Matters

04.21 In Ruling on Coal Mining, Federal Judge Issues Latest Rebuke of Trump's Attack on Public Lands

04.19 The Mueller Report Is Clear: Donald Trump Repeatedly Tried to Obstruct Justice

High Crimes

04.17 'Shameful': With Millions on Brink of Famine in Yemen, Trump Vetoes Resolution to End US Complicity

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

04.21 Progressive Capitalism Is Not an Oxymoron [For the good of the public and healthier economic growth, can we make government and financial markets behave morally?]

04.19 The Pentagon’s Bottomless Money Pit [pdf; Until the Pentagon can pass audits, use their allocated budget to fight causes of global warming]

04.19 The Public Banking Revolution Is Upon Us

04.18 Mark Carney tells global banks they cannot ignore climate change dangers

04.17 A Path to Democratic Socialism Means a Path To Climate Justice

International & Futurism

04.21 Frustration grows among migrants in Mexico as support fades

04.21 Decrying 'Toxic Alliance' of Macron and Polluters, Climate Campaigners Stage One of France's Largest Ever Acts of Civil Disobedience

04.21 Yellow Vests Demonstrate in Paris as Notre Dame Donations Highlight Wealth Inequality

04.21 The Observer view on the Mueller report: Trump is a disgrace not welcome in Britain

04.21 The Government Is Still Massively Complacent About Climate Change

04.19 Ways to Save the World

04.18 Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

04.18 Britain will have its second referendum – at the EU elections on 23 May

04.18 Hypocrisy without borders: the pomposity of Ivanka Trump’s trip to Africa

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Israel's New Initiative: Barbarism and Piracy at Sea

SPEAKING OUT:

Israel's New Initiative: Barbarism and Piracy at Sea

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
All Israeli belligerent acts are joint IDF-Pentagon initiatives, including the Flotilla attack, unlikely to have been undertaken without approval, joint planning, funding, weapons and munitions from Washington, Israel's paymaster/partner in crime.

This article follows from this writer's Monday one, accessed through the following link.

On May 31, under cover of darkness, Israeli commandos conducted a premeditated act of state terrorism against civilian aid activists trying to deliver thousands of tons of essential to life aid to besieged Gazans. Israeli radio reported that 19 were slaughtered, dozens more injured, and according to EarthTimes.org:

"About 480 foreign activists who were stopped by Israel on the high seas while sailing to Gaza were transfered overnight to a prison in the southern city of Beersheba, Israeli Radio reported (June 1)." About 48 others were deported. Other reports had over 600 arrested and an Israeli-imposed news blackout.

Those held now face grueling interrogations, followed either by deportation or detainment ahead of prosecution, Israel's customary practice - blaming victims, absolving state terrorism, repeatedly committed, claiming it's to safeguard national security.

Or by Israeli logic, its attack was self-defense. Linked to "global Jihad, Al Qaeda and Hamas," humanitarian activists were an "armada of hate and violence (engaging in a) premeditated and outrageous provocation," according to Israel's deputy defense minister, Danny Ayalon.

Not according to Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Canceling scheduled military exercises with Israel and recalling his ambassador, Oguz Celikkol, he said:

"It is no longer possible to cover up or ignore Israel's lawlessness....This action, totally contrary to the principles of international law, is inhumane state terrorism. Nobody should think we will keep quiet in the face of this."

Nor should anyone let Israel get away with a crime this grave, its latest example of lawlessness, this time in international waters in violation of the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas and 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Relevant International Law

Under UNCLOS' Article 101, maritime piracy includes "any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation....against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State (and) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating (such) an act."

Usually it refers to robbery or criminal violence committed by private parties. Broadly interpreted, it can apply to states committing lawless acts. UNCLOS lets them interdict at sea to prevent illegal arms and drug smuggling, the slave trade or terrorist activities - not applicable to Flotilla activists despite Israel's accusations.

Its mission was humanitarian. Inspected before departure, its cargo included food, medicines, educational, construction, and other materials, not weapons, munitions or anything threatening Israel. Under UNCLOS, its commandos had no right to interdict or attack activists on board, especially in international waters.

Under customary maritime law, ships have "innocent passage" rights through all international and coastal area waters, subject to certain restrictions.

UNCLOS defines "innocent passage" as expeditious, continuous passage through waters in ways not "prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security" of a coastal state.

America's Defense Department defines it as:

"The right of all ships to engage in continuous and expeditious surface passage through the territorial sea and archipelagic water of foreign coastal states in a manner not prejudicial to its peace, good order, or security. Passage includes stopping and anchoring, but only if incidental to ordinary navigation or necessary for force majeure (a natural or unavoidable catastrophe) or distress, or for the purpose of rendering assistance to persons, ships, or aircraft in danger of distress."

Israel's brazen slaughter constituted a crime of war and against humanity, punishable under international law. Claiming it an act self-defense is bogus, reprehensible and laughable on its face.

The Legitimate Right of Self-Defense

As reported on Ma'anNews.net, Mahmoud Abu Rahma, the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, explained that:

"In international waters, the crew of a ship has the right to prevent others from boarding their ship without their permission, including by resorting to violence," if, in fact, it was used by whatever means activists managed to employ.

Further, states may only act within its 12 nautical mile limit, not in international waters for any reasons other than what UNCLOS permits, with verifiable evidence to prove it.

Abu Rahma also raised other considerations, including "whether Gaza is occupied or not. If not, then Israel has absolutely no right to act inside or outside its nautical jurisdiction," but in either case, the right of self-defense applies.

As for Israel claiming it, the UN Charter's Article 51 is clear. It's allowed against an attack or an impending one "until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security." In other words, justifiable self-defense is permissible. Charter Articles 2(3), 2(4), and 33 absolutely prohibit any unilateral threat or use of force not specifically allowed under Article 51 or authorized by the Security Council.

Three General Assembly resolutions concur, absolutely prohibiting "non-consensual military intervention," precisely what Israel used.

Abu Rahma also said that "Military or police forces may not use force except to the extent necessary to deal with a certain situation, (but) given the very high number of casualties and injuries," clearly extreme lethal measures was used.

A final issue pertains to the rights and sovereignty of states "under whose flags the ships were sailing when they were attacked," particularly since the incident was in international waters.

Global Condemnation Following Israel's Premeditated, Unconscionable Slaughter

Haaretz writer Gideon Levy called the attack a "Mini Cast Lead. Like its larger, losing predecessor, this operation had it all: the usual false claim that is was they who had started it...." They committed "the first act of violence," not heavily armed commandos facing unarmed civilians. We acted in "self defense....they lynched us," but all the dead are theirs. "Yesterday there was no one on the planet, not a newsman or analyst, except for its conscripted chorus, who could say a good word about the lethal takeover."

As usual in America, the "chorus" had its regular participants, the major media's paid liars.

Haaretz writers offer both sides, Bradley Burston, for example, headlining, "A Special Place in Hell/The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea," saying:

"We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the (indefensible) siege, which is itself becoming Israel's Vietnam," another protracted illegal war.

Displaying a brave face, US media reports covered the attack, the subsequent international outrage, and disturbing unanswered questions while largely supporting Israel. On May 31, New York Times writer Isabel Kershner headlined, "Deadly Israeli Raid Draws Condemnation," citing global protests, then stating:

"Israel said the violence was instigated by pro-Palestinian activists who presented themselves as humanitarians but had come ready for a fight," mindless of an accusation so bogus it begs the question why a legitimate journalist would even suggest it. Nor quote vice admiral Eliezer Marom saying his forces "had to open fire in order to defend themselves. Their lives were at risk." Or deputy defense minister Danny Ayalon claiming the siege is "aimed at preventing the infiltration of terror and terrorists into Gaza," when clearly it's an illegal act of collective punishment against 1.5 million civilians, guilty only of being Palestinians - a high crime for Israeli authorities and in much of the US media.

In her article titled, "Israel Murders Human Rights Workers Delivering Humanitarian Aid," Law Professor and former National Lawyers Guild President, Marjorie Cohn, denounced the attack as "a clear breach of international law," called for an investigation, and said "Israel must end its illegal blockade of Gaza which constitutes unlawful aggression under General Assembly Resolution 3314 (1974)," including blockades in its definition.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) "strongly condemn(ed)" Israel's crime by using "excessive and lethal force" against nonviolent, unarmed activists delivering humanitarian aid. Calling the attack "characteristic of a long series of war crimes and grave violations....against civilians," PCHR said international community silence and failure to comply with international law provides "an open invitation for (Israeli forces to) continue to commit crimes against civilians" and inflict collective punishment against 1.5 million besieged Gazans.

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) "strongly condemn(ed) Israel's barbarous early-morning raid, carried out in international waters, on a maritime humanitarian convoy," calling it an "act of piracy" and murder.

Professor Francis Boyle is a distinguished international law expert. In his December 31, 2008 article, titled "An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal (ICTI) May be the Only Deterrent to a Global War," he said:

"The United Nations General Assembly must immediately establish an (ICTI) under UN Charter Article 22 (to) investigate and prosecute Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Peoples of Lebanon and Palestine (to) provide (them) some small degree of justice...."

Earlier, Boyle called for "immediately" suspending Israel "throughout the entirely of the United Nations System, including the General Assembly and all UN subsidiary organs and bodies." It's justified legally as follows:

"As a condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel formally agreed to accept General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) (1947) (partition/Jerusalem trusteeship) and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) (1948) (Palestinian right of return), inter alia."

Thereafter, Israel repudiated its obligation under dozens of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, condemning and censuring its actions, demanding they end, but stopping short of taking action.

Key is America's abstention as an "honest broker." It "invariably side(s) with Israel against the Palestinians," so what's needed is "some type of international framework to sponsor (honest) negotiation(s) where (those representing) Palestinians will not be subjected to the continual bullying, threats, harassment, intimidation and outright lies perpetrated by the United States government" under Obama like his predecessors.

On June 1, Boyle reported that Israel's Flotilla attack "violated the SUA (Suppression of Unlawful Acts) Convention, to which Israel, Turkey and the USA are all parties." SUA followed "in reaction to the (1985) Achille Lauro Hijacking and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer." It's "one of the Conventions adopted by the UN and its affiliated organizations to deal with the phenomenon of international terrorism," precisely what Israel committed this week and does all the time.

The US-Israeli Relationship

On June 1, Haaretz writer Natasha Mozgovaya asked "Will the Gaza flotilla attack affect US-Israel ties," noting hundreds of angry Americans in front of the White House "demanding (Washington) cut ties with Israel." Earlier, Israel's embassy was "besieged" by protesters, demanding its ambassador's expulsion, cutting US aid, and stopping Israeli piracy funding.

Suggesting a "deep rift" between them, however, overlooks realpolitik. Public displeasure masks rock-solid relations, the power of the Israeli Lobby cementing them, besides each side needing the other as allies, a longstanding relationship for decades.

UN Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting

On June 1, the Security Council called for an impartial investigation into the attack, stopping short of demanding an end to the siege, as well as accountability and criminal prosecutions for those responsible for cold-blooded murder.

Expressing deep regret for "the loss of life and injuries," the Council "condemn(ed)" the action, "request(ed) the immediate release of the ships as well as the civilians held by Israel....and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance from the convoy to its destination."

France, Russia and China called for the siege to be lifted. America hinted about an easing, but stopped short of requesting it, US deputy permanent representative, Alejandro Wolff, saying only that Washington was "deeply disturbed by recent violence and regrets tragic loss of life and injuries," no matter its partnership and support in all Israeli initiatives.

On June 1, the Free Gaza Movement reported that Israel-licensed attorneys filed two habeas briefs. One asked for the release of all passengers and ships, and their aid to be delivered to Gaza. The other requested information on all passengers and lifting of Israel's news blackout.

Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi on board the Flotilla said:

"It was clear from the size of (Israel's assault) force (that) the purpose was not only to (abort the mission) but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities (and other casualties) in order to stop such initiatives in the future."

Some Final Comments

Two remaining Flotilla ships are still heading to Gaza, including the MV Rachel Corrie with two internationally renown figures on board among others:

  • Mairead Maguire, 1976 Nobel Peace laureate and co-founder of Northern Ireland's Peace People; and
  • Denis Halliday, former Iraq Humanitarian Program head, who resigned in protest saying he was asked to commit the equivalent of genocide, killing 5,000 children a month.

Israel announced both ships will be interdicted and taken to the port city of Ashdod.

On June 1, in the wake of world condemnation for its attack, the Palestinian News Network (PNN) reported that:

"Three Palestinian fighters were killed by Israeli shelling targeting the northern part of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday afternoon," two others as well in a ground incursion. On the same day, Israeli tanks shelled residents' homes in Khan Younis, then invaded Al Qarrara village, bulldozing lands near the borders according to residents.

These type attacks happen repeatedly, but go largely unreported in the US media. For them, only Israeli deaths and injuries matter, and once outrage over the Flotilla attacks subsides, the fate of the activists, ships and supplies will be ignored.

So too will Lebanon and Syria's accusations of Israel's warmongering, following weeks of threatening its northern neighbors and conducting provocative military exercises requiring its citizens to flee to bunkers and safe rooms in response to a simulated missile attack.

Earlier this year, Israel deployed troops to its northern border, suggesting a planned military operation would follow, and in May, the Obama administration requested an additional $205 million in military aid to support its "Iron Dome" rocket shield system.

Reports now say Israel will deploy three nuclear-armed submarines in the Persian Gulf near Iran (one already there), and won't participate in a 2012 conference on establishing a nuclear-free Middle East, an idea first endorsed in the mid-1990s but never pursued.

All Israeli belligerent acts are joint IDF-Pentagon initiatives, including the Flotilla attack, unlikely to have been undertaken without approval, joint planning, funding, weapons and munitions from Washington, Israel's paymaster/partner in crime.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on June 2, 2010.
 

Public Service Ads: