Israel Strikes on High Seas Again; World Outraged
By Victor Thorn
On June 8, 1967, members of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) slaughtered 35 U.S. sailors, while wounding 170 others during their attack on the USS Liberty. Fast-forward to today, and the IDF continues to deliberately massacre innocent people (in this case civilians) in international waters.
On the morning of May 31, the Mavi Marmara—part of a seven-ship international flotilla—flew a white flag, the universal symbol of non-violence. Aboard this craft were tons of medical supplies, food, wheelchairs and other humanitarian aid products. Absolutely no weapons were discovered among the cargo.
Despite its benign nature, suddenly, in the pre-dawn hours, Israeli patrol boats, dinghies and helicopters approached the Mavi Marmara. While their sea-based vessels bristled with gunfire, the IDF’s airborne contingent unleashed an array of gas and sound bombs.
One of the passengers, Jamal Elshayyal of Al Jazeera news, described the onslaught. “It was an unprovoked attack,” said Elshayyal. “Tear gas was used, sound grenades were launched, and rubber-coated steel bullets were fired from almost every direction.”
The notion that these assailants only used “rubber bullets” or “paintball guns” is an obvious cover story. Yonatan Shapira, a former IDF officer, admitted, “No Israeli pilot would drop commandos on a ship in the middle of the sea, in the middle of the night, during such an operation without the soldiers carrying live ammunition. There is no doubt that the soldiers had, and were prepared to use, live ammunition.”
Indeed they did. After assailants dropped onto the humanitarian ship from helicopters, eyewitness Nilufer Cetin, who held a one-year-old baby, remarked, “The operation started immediately with firing.”
Writing for The Guardian in the UK on June 4, Robert Booth described the massacre. “The oldest victim, 60-year-old Ibrahim Bilgin . . . had been shot once in the right temple, once in the right side of the chest, once in the back and once in the hip,” wrote Booth.
He further elaborated on 54-year-old Cetin Topcuotlu, who was shot “once in the back of his head, once in his hip and once in his belly.” Another victim was riddled with five bullets, one at point-blank range to the back of his head.
Australian Sunday Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeough viewed the carnage from an adjacent ship.
He said the IDF commandos went on a rampage like “hyenas hunting animals in the night.”
To put this matter into perspective, on the one hand you had masked bloodthirsty murderers storming onto a ship filled with unarmed civilians, namely nurses, doctors, teachers and humanitarian aid workers. Nine of these passengers (one an American) were killed, 48 were wounded, while six still remain missing.
Again, their mission must be reiterated: This flotilla’s sole aim revolved around delivering life-sustaining goods to the Gaza Strip, which the Brussels Tribunals calls “the world’s largest open-air prison and the 21st century’s undeclared concentration camp.”
The backlash against this undeniable war crime has been nearly universal. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogen spoke out at a funeral service for one of the teenage victims. “You killed 19-year-old Furkan Dogan brutally; which faith, which holy book, can be an excuse for killing him?” he asked. “It is no longer possible to cover up or ignore Israel’s lawlessness.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) agreed, stressing in a letter to President Obama that Israel’s preferred status “does not extend to shooting innocent civilians anywhere in the world, anytime it pleases.”
Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists his military forces only acted in “self-defense.”
Such blatant deceit is akin to a gun-toting burglar breaking into the home of unarmed citizens, slaughtering three of them in cold blood, then complaining to police that he only acted in such a brutal fashion to protect himself. Yet he was the only one with a weapon, and he intruded into the house.
Any jury in the world would convict a thug for such murderous acts, but since Israel has the presiding judge (i.e. the United States of America) in its back pocket, its crimes continue to go unpunished.
The Goldstone Report, which detailed Israeli war crimes in its war on Gaza, and the Mossad assassination of a Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel are two recent examples of Israel’s immunity from prosecution.
Indicative of Israel’s appallingly demented mindset is an incident that occurred a week after the Mavi Marmara bloodbath.
Another aid ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, was subjected to an Israeli hijacking. Although they didn’t unleash another killing spree on this occasion, it’s reported that the commandos refused to call the vessel by its proper name. When radioing into port, the Israelis referred to the Rachel Corrie as “Linda,” the boat’s previous name.
Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist, died on March 16, 2003 when an IDF bulldozer crushed her to death as she stood in front of a Palestinian’s home set to be demolished. The IDF soldier driving the massive Caterpillar bulldozer claimed he couldn’t see Ms. Corrie, despite the fact that photos show her standing on a large pile of dirt, screaming at the operator with a bullhorn.
Similar to how Israeli government leaders stonewalled that incident, Israelis, too, have refused any independent investigations into the Mavi Marmara attack.
AFP correspondent Matthias Chang, the author of the Future FastForward series published by this newspaper, was on the Rachel Corrie. You can see Chang’s reports on Future FastForward.com
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and the author of many books on 9-11 and the New World Order. These include 9-11 Evil: The Israeli Role in 9-11 and Phantom Flight 93.
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(Issue # 24 & 25, June 14 & 21, 2010)