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Emerging From An Israeli Prison, Freedom Flotilla Captain Accuses Canada’s Government Of Complicity PDF Print E-mail
Aug 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM

DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dmitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News Network from Montreal, Canada.

For the past few months, The Real News has been covering the voyage of the Freedom Flotilla from Scandinavia to Gaza. Matters came to a head in late July when Al Awda, the lead vessel of the flotilla, was hijacked in international waters by Israel’s navy. Its passengers were then forced to enter Israel and were incarcerated there. The second vessel in the flotilla, the Freedom, was hijacked by Israel’s navy a few days later. Freedom was captained by Canadian human rights activist John Turnbull. The Real News spoke to John by satellite phone a few days before Israel’s seizure of the vessel. And last week, John was finally released from an Israeli prison after the seizure and was permitted to leave the country. He joins us today from Paris, France. Thanks very much for joining us, John.

JOHN TURNBULL: You’re very welcome, Dimitri. Good to be here.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: John, why don’t we start with the moment at which the vessel the Freedom was first contacted by Israeli forces, and then talk to us, please, about the seizure of the vessel. How did that unfold?

JOHN TURNBULL: Well, we are a sailboat, a fairly heavy, reasonably large sailboat, 72 feet long. We were waiting for nightfall, expecting to be contacted, and in fact hoping that they might let us go until sunrise the next day. But that was not to happen. Around 7:00 we received a VHF call. It was fairly standard call asking for identity. But when the questions got a little farther than our simple identity, which is convention, I objected. That I didn’t understand the nature of the call, or the intent behind it.

At that point, the Israeli navy read two statements- in fact, I think it might have been a recording of a statement- basically saying we were entering a military zone and our vessel could be confiscated. And then a few moments later there was a sort of second degree, but similar, message. We began at that point, and now it’s about 8:00, to notice lights surrounding us on all the cardinal and intermediate points of the compass. Those lights came closer. A little bit like seeing the eyes of wolves in the forest, if that’s happened to you.

"Kill and Kill and Kill" PDF Print E-mail
May 16, 2018 at 12:00 AM

... The demographer Arnon Sofer of Haifa University is the architect of the current isolation of Gaza.  In 2004, he advised the government of Ariel Sharon to withdraw Israeli forces from within Gaza, seal the territory off from the outside world, and simply shoot anyone who tries to break out.  “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe,” Sofer told an interviewer in the Jerusalem Post (11 November 2004); “Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam.  The pressure at the border will be awful.  It’s going to be a terrible war.  So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill.  All day, every day.”  He added that “the only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.” ...

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Justin Trudeau fails to condemn slaughter in Gaza PDF Print E-mail
May 16, 2018 at 12:00 AM
Statement by the Prime Minister on violence in Gaza Strip
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the violence in the Gaza Strip:

“Canada deplores and is gravely concerned by the violence in the Gaza Strip that has led to a tragic loss of life and injured countless people. We are appalled that Dr. Tarek Loubani, a Canadian citizen, is among the wounded – along with so many unarmed people, including civilians, members of the media, first responders, and children.

“We are doing everything we can to assist Dr. Loubani and his family, and to determine how a Canadian citizen came to be injured. We are engaging with Israeli officials to get to the bottom of these events.

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Jeremy Corbyn condemns slaughter in Gaza PDF Print E-mail
May 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Today's killing of dozens of unarmed protesters and the wounding of many more by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage that demands not just international condemnation, but action to hold those responsible to account.

This slaughter follows weeks of killings of Palestinian civilians demonstrating for their right to return, most of whom are refugees or the families of refugees. Coming on the day President Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, it underlines the threat to peace posed by the continuing and intolerable injustices faced by the Palestinian people.

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Israel: Gaza Killings Unlawful, Calculated PDF Print E-mail
Apr 03, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Officials Green-Light Shooting of Unarmed Demonstrators

(Jerusalem) – Senior Israeli officials who unlawfully called for use of live ammunition against Palestinian demonstrations who posed no imminent threat to life bear responsibility for the killings of 14 demonstrators in Gaza and the injuring of hundreds on March 30, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today.

Both before and after the confrontations, senior officials publicly said that soldiers stationed along the barrier that separates Gaza and Israel had orders to target “instigators” and those who approach the border. However, the Israeli government presented no evidence that rock-throwing and other violence by some demonstrators seriously threatened Israeli soldiers across the border fence. The high number of deaths and injuries was the foreseeable consequence of granting soldiers leeway to use lethal force outside of life-threatening situations in violation of international norms, coupled with the longstanding culture of impunity within the Israeli army for serious abuses.

“Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force, but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the Palestinian demonstrations,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The result was foreseeable deaths and injuries of demonstrators on the other side of a border who posed no imminent threat to life.”

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Running Orders: A Poem for Gaza PDF Print E-mail
Sep 20, 2016 at 05:00 PM

More than 1,000 Palestinians—the vast majority of them civilians—have been killed during Israel’s latest assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, which is home to roughly 1.8 million Palestinians. Lena Khalaf Tuffaha’s poem conveys the harrowing experience of receiving Israeli warnings of imminent strikes and having nowhere to run.

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Women's Boat to Gaza half way to Ajaccio PDF Print E-mail
Nov 30, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Zaytouna is half way to Ajaccio
Searching for a replacement of Amal

Barcelona, Spain: As Zaytouna-Oliva makes its way towards Ajaccio, France; the Women’s Boat to Gaza* (WBG) releases its passenger list, which includes women from nine countries across five continents. The list (found here) includes parliamentarian Malin Björk, a Swedish member of the EU parliament; Spanish actress Rosana Pastor Muñoz; and Yudit Ilany of Israel who serves as advisor to Knesset member Haneen Zoabi.

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Women's Boat to Gaza Captured

Zaytouna-Oliva Women Deported
Details Emerge about the Capture

Messina, Italy:  All 13 of the women on the Women’s Boat to Gaza are currently in the process of deportation after being captured by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and detained in a prison at Ashdod. Wendy Goldsmith, a member of the land team working to secure the release of the women stated that, “the deportation was much quicker than in prior flotillas. While we had a great legal team assisting the women, we suspect that the reason for the quick release was because of all the negative media attention Israel has been receiving for its illegal interception.”

According to early reports from the women released, the Zaytouna-Oliva was surrounded by two warships along with four to five smaller naval boats. The IDF gave warning to the Zaytouna-Oliva to stop their course towards Gaza. When the warning was refused, at least 7 IDF members, both male and female, boarded the Zaytouna-Oliva and commandeered the sailboat. This happened in international waters.

In the course of their capture, the women persisted in telling the IDF that Israel’s interception of their boat was illegal and that they were being taken against their will to Israel. 

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