Peace for the Soul

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Gregg Carlstrom is an online journalist with Al Jazeera English, based in Doha.
 

Early Monday morning, Israel attacked a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip; at least 16 people were killed in the pre-dawn raid, according to organisers and media sources.

We'll be live-blogging the aftermath of this incident throughout the day; keep checking back for international reaction, news from our correspondents on the ground, photos and video. (All times are GMT, except where noted.)

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Update, 10:57am: Israel's National Security Counter-Terrorism Bureau just issued a travel warning for Turkey, warning of the threat of "violent outbreaks" against Israeli citizens traveling there.

It advises Israelis to postpone any trips to Turkey; for Israelis currently in Turkey, it recommends that they "should remain in their places of residence, avoid city centers and sites in which demonstrations are being held, and monitor developments out of concern that the situation could worsen."

Update, 10:53am: Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, was one of the first Arab leaders to condemn the attack; he called it an "act of piracy" in a speech earlier this morning.

Before I conclude I must briefly refer to what happened this morning: The Israeli act of piracy against Arab and foreign activists, who tried to break a non-humanitarian, unjust siege imposed on our fellow citizens in the Gaza Strip, [imposed] for no reason but [that] they exercised their democratic right of choice. The crimes perpetrated this morning against the civilians supporting the Palestinians remind us of the unjust siege, the open bleeding wound in the [Gaza] Strip. All those who preach freedom, justice and democracy are required now to move, and to act to break this siege, so the blood of these free men does not go down the drain. This is a message addressed to the Arab states, who were brought to the moment of justice by those free men on board."

Update, 10:48am: The BBC is reporting that the Greek government canceled joint military exercises with Israel in protest over the attack.

Turkey's deputy prime minister announced a few moments ago that Turkey, too, is canceling joint drills with Israel.

Update, 10:43am: We're still trying to track down information about today's victims (various reports now put the death toll between 16 and 20).

We do know that the majority of the people on board the ships were Turkish. The passengers also include people from Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Norway, Palestine, Serbia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

At least three of the German passengers were members of parliament.

Update, 10:38am: The Los Angeles Times is reporting a crowd of roughly 10,000 demonstrators in Istanbul today; they marched from the Israeli consulate to Taksim Square.

Turkish media, meanwhile, are reporting that the foreign ministry recalled Turkey's ambassador to Israel.

Update, 10:32am: The Egyptian foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the flotilla attack, according to Al Jazeera's Amr El-Kahky, who sends this note from Cairo summarizing the statement.

The spokesman sent his condolences for the families of the victims. He added that such actions remind the world that Gaza is still entirely under occupation calling for the immediate lifting of the blockade. He vowed that Egypt will continue to ease the suffering of Gazans by allowing more individual passage to and from the coastal strip and making sure aid heading for Gaza is delivered to the beseiged Palestinians.

The Egyptian government temporarily opened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza earlier this month, but it generally maintains tight controls over the movement of people and goods.

Jordan's government is expected to issue a formal statement in about a half-hour.

Update, 10:10am: We're hearing from Iraq that Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a large anti-Israel rally across from the Green Zone in Baghdad. The rally is scheduled to start around 5pm local time (2pm GMT).

Update, 10:04am: Raed Salah, a senior member of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was reportedly seriously wounded during the attack, and is being treated in a hospital in Israel.

Salah's deputy, Sheikh Kamel Khatib, told an Israeli radio station that Israel would be "directly responsible" if Salah was killed.

Update, 9:53am: More international condemnation continues to roll in:

  • Pakistan's foreign ministry issued a statement that "strongly condemns the use of brazen force by Israel."

  • The Jordanian foreign ministry has summoned the Israeli charge d'affaires, the ranking official at the Israeli embassy in Amman.

  • Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator from the Palestinian Authority, called the Israeli attack "a war crime."

Update, 9:14am: The Stop the War Coalition and several other organisations are planning a rally this afternoon at 2pm local time (1pm GMT) outside the UK prime minister's residence.

Update, 8:59am: I just spoke with Greta Berlin, one of the flotilla's organisers, who said her organisation (the Free Gaza Movement) has had no contact with the passengers and crew on board the ships since they were attacked.

Berlin also strongly rejected the Israel's claim that the activists were the first ones to start shooting. She said there were no weapons on board the boats, and that any violence from the activists would have been in self-defense:

People certainly have the right to resist if they're being attacked. We taught our Free Gaza Movement people to be non-violent, and the Turks did the same, but if anyone resisted, it was in response to soldiers opening fire on them when they hit the deck.

Berlin also said organisers are still hoping to launch a second flotilla of boats, most of which remain at port in Cyprus.

We need to find out where the passengers are, where the crews are... and then we need to assess - we split up our flotilla, we have a second set of boats.

But Berlin said she didn't know when that second launch would happen; she expects it will be several days until everyone on board the first flotilla is accounted for.

Update, 8:43am: A statement from Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, who called the attack "dangerous and crazy":

The Israeli attack on the aid convoy is a dangerous and crazy step that will exacerbate tensions in the region.

Lebanon firmly denounces this attack and calls on the international community, notably major powers... to take action in order to end this continued violation of human rights and threat to international peace.

Update, 8:31am: Spain's foreign ministry has also summoned the Israeli ambassador for questioning. And Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, described himself as "profoundly shocked" over the attack.

Update, 8:24am: An observation: We've heard a lot from the Israeli army, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, the European Union, and a number of other governments.

The one party we haven't heard from in the last few hours is the organisers of the flotilla. Obviously it's impossible to reach those activists who were on board; and I haven't been able to reach their on-shore counterparts. The group's Web site hasn't been updated in the last few hours.

Update, 8:17am: This video, a report from Iran's state-run English-language Press TV network, shows a large crowd of protesters gathered outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul this morning.

 

 


Update, 8:05am: Turkish media are reporting protests throughout the country, particularly in Istanbul (several of the ships, and many of the activists on board, are Turkish). 300 people tried to storm the Turkish consulate in Istanbul early this morning; a larger protest is planned for 12:30 local time (9:30GMT).

"Massive" security is reported around the Israeli embassy in Ankara, and around the residence of Gaby Levy, the Israeli ambassador.

There are also reports of a small demonstration outside the US consulate in Adana, a city in southern Turkey.

Update, 7:53am: A few more international reactions:

•The European Union has called for an inquiry into the attack. Individual European governments are also starting to issue statements: Sweden's foreign minister, Carl Bildt, said his government summoned the Israeli ambassador "to get information."

•The Syrian government has called for an Arab League meeting to discuss the attack.

•Kuwait's parliament is due to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the raid. Waleed al-Tabtabai, a member of parliament, was one of 16 Kuwaiti nationals on board the ships.

Update, 7:47am: We're getting reports of a protest planned for later this morning outside the prime minister's office in Amman, Jordan. The organisers are reportedly demanding the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman.

Update, 7:39am: If you haven't seen it, here's the report our Jamal Elshayyal filed shortly before communications from the ships were cut off.


Update, 7:21am: Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Washington later this week to visit US president Barack Obama. Ha'aretz reports that he may cancel the trip in the wake of the flotilla attack (though we should note the Ha'aretz report isn't actually sourced to anyone).

Update, 7:11am: Avital Leibovich, a spokeswoman for the Israeli military, is giving a press conference right now at Ashdod port, where the navy originally planned to tow the flotilla ships after seizing them.

Leibovich acknowledged that the flotilla was seized in international waters, not in Israeli territorial waters.

The Israeli army also issued a statement on the attack, claiming that the activists on board the ship were armed.

During the intercept of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, including live fire.

The Israeli foreign ministry is expected to comment on the attack within the hour.

Update, 7:07am: Over in the West Bank, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas declared a three-day state of mourning over the flotilla deaths. He also issued a brief statement:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemns the crime perpetrated by the occupation authorities against international solidarity activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla. The Palestinian leadership is closely following the developments and the President calls on the United Nations to confront Israel, which is disregarding all international laws and norms.

The Palestinian cabinet is scheduled to convene about one hour from now, at 8am GMT.

Update, 6:58am: Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, wrapped up a speech to journalists a few minutes ago. He called on the Palestinian Authority to end its indirect talks with Israel, demanded a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the attack on the flotilla, and called for a general strike tomorrow (Tuesday) in the West Bank and Gaza.

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Yes, zionism began in Europe, not as a European enterprise (much to Herzl's dismay) but as a European Jewish enterprise. But it has been a long century now that zionism as a movement has included Jews from well beyond Europe - and gotten mixed responses (support, opposition, indifference, etc.) from non-Jews in Europe and elsewhere. In any case it is hardly a European enterprise now.

It is good to distinguish between zionism and Jews, but it is not an either/or distinction, like between species. It's more like distinguishing between green and soft: They don't necessarily go together, but it's quite possible to be both.

Blessings,
-Hayyim
I didn't say anything about loving zionism. (And I don't even know what it would mean to love a corporation, except in the sense that one might "love" ice cream.) But zionists, on the other hand, are indeed your precious sisters and brothers - just like the people who work at BP. Moreover, peace will not be made without a great many of them participating.

Blessings,
-Hayyim

Genie said:
Zionism is a political ideology, love does not play into it. It's big business, like BP. I don't have to love BP.
What I know is the Palestine Jews formed a consensus along with Palestine Muslims and Christians and they all opposed a Zionist State and also immigration of foreign Jews. They oppose it to this day. There are those who play ball because they have no choice but it has been in vain either way. As far as the enterprise being a thing of the past, I think we can look at what's left of Palestine today and what's left of the people and know the enterprise has been alive and well and moving full steam ahead since Rothschild and Balfour invented it. I simply see no dispute, it's there for those with eyes. Remember: Jews owned 6% of the land at the time the first Nakba. The rest is stolen. homes, farms, plantations, banks, cars, ports, railroads, schools, hospitals, trucks, tractors, etc. Agriculture, the Potash company, the airport. Water. Trade. All belong to Palestine. There was never going to be 2 states, another obvious thing when you look at the pattern of Israeli behavior. The reason you can't exclude the past and try and only view it as the "now" is because then you miss the pattern of behavior and events from the time of Rothschild/Balfour. There is a beginning of the plan, you can't just leave it out. They didn't just "quit" the plans or drop it or forget it with time! They have not missed a beat! They have never deviated, never "reconsidered." 62 years of genocide with no deviation. The "left" and the "right" has never deviated even if it seemed to at the time. The proof is in the pudding.


A


Hayyim Feldman said:
Yes, zionism began in Europe, not as a European enterprise (much to Herzl's dismay) but as a European Jewish enterprise. But it has been a long century now that zionism as a movement has included Jews from well beyond Europe - and gotten mixed responses (support, opposition, indifference, etc.) from non-Jews in Europe and elsewhere. In any case it is hardly a European enterprise now.

It is good to distinguish between zionism and Jews, but it is not an either/or distinction, like between species. It's more like distinguishing between green and soft: They don't necessarily go together, but it's quite possible to be both.

Blessings,
-Hayyim
oh and about the non European or Arab Jews. The Europeans actually came to Palestine under their umbrella. Sneaky. When Palestine becomes a state for her people, we will not have to separate real Jews from fake Jews, foreign or otherwise. The people who love Palestine will continue to be the people of Palestine.

Genie said:
What I know is the Palestine Jews formed a consensus along with Palestine Muslims and Christians and they all opposed a Zionist State and also immigration of foreign Jews. They oppose it to this day. There are those who play ball because they have no choice but it has been in vain either way. As far as the enterprise being a thing of the past, I think we can look at what's left of Palestine today and what's left of the people and know the enterprise has been alive and well and moving full steam ahead since Rothschild and Balfour invented it. I simply see no dispute, it's there for those with eyes. Remember: Jews owned 6% of the land at the time the first Nakba. The rest is stolen. homes, farms, plantations, banks, cars, ports, railroads, schools, hospitals, trucks, tractors, etc. Agriculture, the Potash company, the airport. Water. Trade. All belong to Palestine. There was never going to be 2 states, another obvious thing when you look at the pattern of Israeli behavior. The reason you can't exclude the past and try and only view it as the "now" is because then you miss the pattern of behavior and events from the time of Rothschild/Balfour. There is a beginning of the plan, you can't just leave it out. They didn't just "quit" the plans or drop it or forget it with time! They have not missed a beat! They have never deviated, never "reconsidered." 62 years of genocide with no deviation. The "left" and the "right" has never deviated even if it seemed to at the time. The proof is in the pudding.


A


Hayyim Feldman said:
Yes, zionism began in Europe, not as a European enterprise (much to Herzl's dismay) but as a European Jewish enterprise. But it has been a long century now that zionism as a movement has included Jews from well beyond Europe - and gotten mixed responses (support, opposition, indifference, etc.) from non-Jews in Europe and elsewhere. In any case it is hardly a European enterprise now.

It is good to distinguish between zionism and Jews, but it is not an either/or distinction, like between species. It's more like distinguishing between green and soft: They don't necessarily go together, but it's quite possible to be both.

Blessings,
-Hayyim
Genie,

I don't want to get drawn into a clash of historical perspectives here in Eva's thread - especially not with someone who manages to cram so much factual error and hyperbole into one short paragraph, and does so with such supreme confidence. If you want to look into that history together, I invite you to initiate another discussion for that purpose on this site. Please let me know if you do so. The more welcoming you make it sound - the more your praiseworthy desire to speak your truth seems to be matched by your interest in listening and learning how other people see things differently from you - the more likely I am to engage in dialog with you about it.

Meanwhile, to go back to where we began in this exchange, I'll just remind you that quite aside from any differences of perspective between us, there is neither any peace nor justice to be found in your repeated retreat from love into hostile polarization. Peace is as much about the quality of relationship among different kinds of people as it is about "correct" analysis, winning an argument, or politicians signing some diplomatic document.

Blessings,
-Hayyim
Guess we have to leave it here then. I don't want to clog a thread, but I did not bring up the topic, it was already here and I responded.

Hayyim Feldman said:
Genie,

I don't want to get drawn into a clash of historical perspectives here in Eva's thread - especially not with someone who manages to cram so much factual error and hyperbole into one short paragraph, and does so with such supreme confidence. If you want to look into that history together, I invite you to initiate another discussion for that purpose on this site. Please let me know if you do so. The more welcoming you make it sound - the more your praiseworthy desire to speak your truth seems to be matched by your interest in listening and learning how other people see things differently from you - the more likely I am to engage in dialog with you about it.

Meanwhile, to go back to where we began in this exchange, I'll just remind you that quite aside from any differences of perspective between us, there is neither any peace nor justice to be found in your repeated retreat from love into hostile polarization. Peace is as much about the quality of relationship among different kinds of people as it is about "correct" analysis, winning an argument, or politicians signing some diplomatic document.

Blessings,
-Hayyim
Oh darn I have to say one more thing, just to explain my position and then I will stop. For real. If a thief came and stole my neighbors house and property, or an illegal government, I would take the side of the property owner. The excuses of the thief interest me not at all. I am the wife of a Palestinian and the daughter in law of 1948 nakba refugees. I have relatives who suffer as I speak in Nablus. There isn't much I don't know of the issue from both sides of the coin. I also have land I have inherited from my in laws. I intend to recover it for my children. I intend to recover all of Palestine from the river to the sea. That is between God and me, and later between God and my children. Thanks to all who listened. I'm done for this thread.

Hayyim Feldman said:
Genie,

I don't want to get drawn into a clash of historical perspectives here in Eva's thread - especially not with someone who manages to cram so much factual error and hyperbole into one short paragraph, and does so with such supreme confidence. If you want to look into that history together, I invite you to initiate another discussion for that purpose on this site. Please let me know if you do so. The more welcoming you make it sound - the more your praiseworthy desire to speak your truth seems to be matched by your interest in listening and learning how other people see things differently from you - the more likely I am to engage in dialog with you about it.

Meanwhile, to go back to where we began in this exchange, I'll just remind you that quite aside from any differences of perspective between us, there is neither any peace nor justice to be found in your repeated retreat from love into hostile polarization. Peace is as much about the quality of relationship among different kinds of people as it is about "correct" analysis, winning an argument, or politicians signing some diplomatic document.

Blessings,
-Hayyim
Hi peacefullover,
I said that about John Lennon in a joking sense as I have no idea where he was going with that song. But I was reminded of the Bilderberg philosophy of one world government. Which is in fact their philosophy coming from a very powerful movers and shakers group. In particular I was reminded of Margarete Thatchers response when she had accepted an invitation to attend a Bilderberg meeting in which she was appalled. She apparently liked borders and she liked state sovereignty. As for John Lennon, I use to think he was referring to the 'afterlife' in that song because that's the only day anyone will see everything as One. In fact the song never made sense to me anyway. That's as much as I thought about it.
That Ringo video....I have no idea what is a "Reptilian Eye", it gives no explanation.
Yeah I LOVE the Jews against Zionism! I wish I could attend their protests but of course I understand why they are doing what they are doing as an exclusive group. They are the people who know everything without waiting for actual events so I always read from them, they are honest, sincere, knowledgeable and a trustworthy source. Just love those guys! And I stand with them 100%.
wait a minute...peacefullover what are you doing by copying comments off another ning and stuff from Genevieve's blog? huh? That's kind of very weird. We are two separate people here by two separate invites from Eva. You dig? Now you had better disappear because you're freaky.

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