30 May 2010 — According to Turkish news sources (CNN Turk, Hürriyet, Milliyet, NTV, and many others), Israeli soldiers stormed the Turkish Free Gaza ship Mavi Marmara belonging to İnsani Yardım Vakfı (Humanitarian Aid Foundation), killing at least 2 and wounding over 30 on board. The Turkish government has set up a crisis room while summoning Israel’s ambassador. Hundreds of Turks are protesting at the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. A major international conflict is expected.
31 May 2010 — Al Jazeera confirms that “at least 2 people” were killed, adding that according to Israeli Army Radio (Galatz) the death toll may be “as high as 16 people.” Earlier reports above reflect the first deaths reported before the Free Gaza Flotilla’s communication got cut off. The Turkish sources are now also reporting the number mentioned by Galatz.
Al Aqsa TV says that the death toll may now be 20. Hamas calls for a general strike in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and demonstrations of the Palestinian diaspora; an end to the Palestinian Authority’s negotiation with Israel; an Arab League emergency meeting; an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting to adopt a resolution on the siege of Gaza; Russia’s withdrawal from the Quartet; International Criminal Court trials of the Israeli leaders who are responsible for the occupation; etc.
In its first official statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry says: “This grave incident which took place in high seas in gross violation of international law might cause irreversible consequences in our relations” (emphasis added).
Greek Alternate FM Dimitris Droutsas: “In a third part of my demarche, I officially informed the Israeli Ambassador that the Greek government, Greece, is discontinuing the joint military exercise with Israel, and we are postponing the visit of the Head of the Israeli Air Force General Staff to Athens — that visit was to take place tomorrow.”
From Russia Today, a video of protests in Turkey, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Gaza:
International Solidarity Movement, “Protest Israeli Murders of Freedom Flotilla Activists” (phone and fax numbers of Israeli officials, etc.).
Jewish Voice for Peace Emergency Protests:
NY: 3 PM Monday, Times Square. Assemble at 47th St. and 7th Ave.
SAN FRANCISCO: 1 pm rally (Powell and Market)
CHICAGO: 4.30 pm Tuesday, Israeli Consulate (111 E. Wacker Drive)
FYI, here comes Israeli hasbara. . . .
TeleSur: “The UN Security Council will convene an emergency meeting this afternoon in New York to deal with the Israeli military attack against the flotilla that attempted to take humanitarian aid to Gaza, the attack that has resulted in the death of at least 10 international activists. The hour of the meeting has yet to be concretely scheduled, but some diplomatic sources say it may begin at 17:00 GMT.”
The Alternative Information Center reports that more than 60 Israeli activists were denied entry into the port of Ashdod, where the IDF is taking the Freedom Flotilla. Noam Sheizaf, liveblogging, says that some demonstrations are taking place in Israel: “[A] few hundreds are protesting the attack on the flotilla in the Arab town [of] Um El-Fahem. Small protests are scheduled for 7.00 in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There were also pro-IDF protests in Ashdod and in Haifa.”
Hadash Chairman MK Mohammad Barakeh sardonically “congratulated” the Israeli prime minister and defense minister for “the shining victory of their pirate army” over the civilian flotilla. The Communist Party of Israel informs us of some planned protests: the Ashdod port protest at 4 PM today (which, as noted by the AIC above, the Israeli government has sought to prevent activists from holding); Friday, June 4, East and West Jerusalem; Saturday, June 5 (on the eve of the 43rd anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza), Tel Aviv.
Protest videos from Um el-Fahem, an Arab town in Israel.
Russia Today reports that the UNSC emergency meeting, called by Turkey and Lebanon, on the Israeli attack is now underway.
Irish Congress of Trade Unions: “We lend our support to calls for an immediate suspension of the EU’s trade agreement with Israel and we also believe that the recent decision to accept Israel into full membership of the OECD should be reversed with immediate effect.”
In the wake of Israel’s Freedom Flotilla massacre, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has finally had it with the collaborationist Mubarak regime, ready to go for broke? No.
Norman G. Finkelstein: “We have to ask ourselves a simple, basic, fundamental question: can a lunatic state like Israel be trusted with two to three hundred nuclear devices when it is now threatening its neighbors Iran and Lebanon with an attack?”
For more information, visit <www.ihh.org.tr>, <www.witnessgaza.com>, <www.freegaza.org>, <savegaza.eu>.