Ameer Makhoul, Jully 2011
Perpetrated in an era marked by the globalization of State terror, the international and official action of sabotage of the Freedom Flotilla is a founding event in the history of the world popular movement and of solidarity between the peoples. Orchestrated by the ruling world establishment, this action has displayed ominous levels of cooperation and coordination between governments, intelligence services and special military forces, all directed against a popular movement. What we are here dealing with is nothing less than a cartel of official terror set up by those, among States and regimes, who monopolize the means of repression. It is a cartel meant to disable or destroy the peaceful movements that rise and organize in numerous parts of the world in active solidarity with the Palestinian people, in the struggle to break the Gaza blockade.
Needless to say, the many States which took part in this unglorious action share with Israël this crime committed against the Palestinian People and the supporters of its rights.
Amidst these developments withal, a fact of high significance emerges : at the very time the Flotilla was enduring the military, judiciary and overtly terrorist sabotage action seeking to prevent it from sailing to Gaza in early July 2011, this besieged territory gained more freedom. This is the feeling that prevails among us, we, the prisonners of freedom in Israeli jails, the feeling that, thanks to the Flotilla and all the agitation it provoked, freedom is more than ever before within reach.
In these dramatic events, what truly stands out is the greatness and influence of the world peoples’ solidarity movements, especially the « Free Gaza » movement. It is only owing to their growing force that the governments and regimes which participated with Israel in the terrorist action were compelled to act unmasked and, so to speak, in broad daylight. The unprecedented display of brute repressive and military force against peaceful supporters of the Palestinian people is in itself a sign that the Gaza blockade has been shaken more strongly than ever before since its instauration.
We also note that the voices who expressed their hostility towards the Freedom Flotilla -including the Secretary General of the United Nations !- are the same who, on May 15, 2011 and June the fifth following, stood against the mass movements of refugees commemorating the Naksa and the Nakba. These refugees who sought to demonstrate their right to return to their homeland - a right that enjoys international recognition including in U.N resolutions- were accused of provocation against Israël, this regime whose very essence is military occupation, forced mass exodus and ethnic cleansing ! But now, what has become more clear than ever is the ever deepening crisis of Israel itself, a crisis whose root is none other than the question of its legitimacy as a colonial and racist regime. A question that is gaining ground and relevance in the world popular movements.
An important evolution may be observed in the present-day worldwide wave of popular solidarity with the Palestinian people. It is in that many more militants are willing to pay a higher price for their struggle to promote Palestinian rights, including facing the dangers which the confrontation with Israel and its accomplices entail. Despite these dangers, the peoples’ solidarity movements continue to extend, gaining strength and influence, confining Israel in a defensive position and stripping it off its legitimacy.
What we are witnessing here is solidarity in the truest sense of the word. It is what the peoples of the world are capable of doing when, in the face of the unequal struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed, they naturally find their place on the side of the oppressed, with the victims of agression, repression , mass detention, occupation and racism.
We know now, after the Israeli and international agression against the Freedom Flotilla, that the partners in crime with Israel no longer scruple to use and display in full view all the means at their disposal- governments, mass-media, intelligence services, elite military forces and judiciary organs- to pursue the aim of further deepening the unequal balance of power in favor of Israel and to the detriment of the Palestinian people and its cause. This is nothing other than a display of contempt for the peoples who, in this vision, do not count when the interests of the world power structure are at stake.
The European Union set itself the task of defaming the Freedom Flotilla and shedding doubt on its legitimacy but it must be noted that the American Administration, not surprisingly, had preceded it in this base deed. But the worst had yet to come and It came from Great Britain which took the political decision of arresting Cheikh Raed Salah, one of the most prominent leaders of the Palestinian people and a leader in the world movement to end the Gaza Blocus. The campaign of slander unleashed against him and against what he represents, which is nothing more than a gross replication of Israeli propaganda, is most telling for onewho wants to know the collusion or even the obedience of certain circles with Israel and the Zionist lobby.
By arresting Cheikh Raed Salah, Great Britain allowed Israel to pervert and steal away one ofthe means that the world civil society uses to promote just causes, namely and in the case of Great Britain , the recourse to the courts to pursue and arrest Israeli war criminals among politicians and generals. It is important to remember that when the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, along with British supporters, obtained from the court a warrant for the arrest of Doron Almog, this general responsible for the murder of the martyr Salah Shehad and his family of thirteen members in Gaza, the British authorities leaked the warrant to the Israeli embassy which then informed doron Almog, allowing him to flee and evade British justice. Justice thus, which was for the victims of occupation, racism and colonialism a place where their rights could be heard was transformed, by the occupier and its war criminals, into a means for inflicting further oppression to their victims, a means which appends to the Israeli racist repressive legal machinery, the laws of the countries whose governments are involved in crime with Israel.
Greece which is linked to Israel by an ever expanding system of military and security cooperation, including joint military exercises, launched a military operation to disable the Flotilla. Its special naval commando units went as far as blowing up the ships’ engines. But the use of brute force did not prevent it from putting into action its judiciary apparatus to deter the Flotilla from sailing for Gaza and when this partially happened, It again used its military force at sea to besiege the ships and force them under gunpoint to return to the port. All these actions were, of course, highly praised by Israel. Cyprus, for its part, distinguished itself by announcing its decision to ban the ships from its territorial waters. Turkey’s position, all the while, was marked by a singular lack of resolution and this, not just because of the explosions which struck one of the ships in its own ports but also because of the decisions it took not to participate. Most notably, it prevented the Mavi Marmara from joining the Flotilla despite this ship’s status as a symbol of solidarity with Gaza, a status which it gained after the bloody israeli attack against it.
Once again, we are compelled to suffer the sight of a pitifully weak official Palestinian position, upheld by both the Palestinian Authority and the PLO which, in the face of the criminal Israeli and international enterprise against the Flottila, found no better posture than that of presenting themselves as an almost unconcerned « third party » in a conflict in which their people is the main victim ! We must also note that, all along these events, the security cooperation of the Palestinian Authority with Israel was not discontinued or questionned for even one moment.
We expected more from revolutionary Egypt. This State whose potential is that of a regional power had the possiblity to offer the Flotilla safe harbor in its ports and protection during its trip to Gaza because its territorial waters are closer to Gaza than to Israel. But Egypt refrained from providing that help for the reason that, with the present regime, it still acceptsto remain entrapped in the Camp David agreements, as is Palestine entrapped. It is true that Egypt after the revolution opened the Rafah crossing and this an act of great importance, but it must be remarked that when you are capable of opening the crossing, you are no less capable of protecting the Flotilla. For all the progress and relief it has brought, the opening of the Rafah crossing does not put an end to the blockade nor is it sufficient to break it. We must also note that Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are still continuing their security coordination withIsrael and this is dangerous because, ultimately, this coordination is nothing else than a repressive siege on the Palestinian and Arab peoples, a siege that mocks Arab and, especially , Egyptian sovereignty.
There is here, unfortunately, an important lesson : Arab revolutions are still incapable of clearly defining regional responsibilities. This explains why their influence was too weak to prevent the European Union,Greece, Great Britain or Cyprus from displaying with such impudence and brutality their hostility towards the Freedom Flotilla and the movement seeking to break the blockade imposed on our people.
Israel, predictably, had laid the ground for a bloody attack on the Flotilla by launching a campaign inciting to the murder of the Flotilla’s people, by spreading outright lies about them and their intentions and about the nature of the goods they meant to transport to Gaza.
Despite the crudeness of theses lies, a crudeness which their most known journalists have knowledge of, the commandeered media of Israel continued to publicise them as if they believed in the ability of their sole imagination to createirrefutable proof ! The peoples and the supporters of the Palestinian people’s rights are, of course, unaffected by the lies of the Israeli media but we must recognize that Israel aptly received the signal it got after its bloody attack of the Flotilla in june 2010 : a licence for renewed ferocity in crime. But this time, the crime was largely committed by proxy, at the hands of the governments of Great Britain, Greece, Cyprus, the European Union and the USA in a clear attempt to white wash it. Should this attempt succeed by its perpetrators’ standards, it will not fail to be reenacted.
To sum up, a few points need to be highlighted. They are : 1)The unveiling of the nature of the international official establishment and the shift from one-State terrorism to collective, multi-State, organized and complementary terrorism. Terrorism has now been adopted by the world ruling system as an essential means to repress peaceful popular solidarity movements which militate within the framework of international law and Human Rights conventions. The repressive means include the use of the military institutions.
2) The presence on an ever-broadening scale of the world solidarity movements and the importance, for the Palestinian movement, of intensifying interactionwith them. These movements constitute a worldwide line of defense for our people and its struggle. Also, as these movements struggle for the advancement of Human Rights and the Rights of Peoples, an international campaign seeking to provide them the protection they need, based upon international law and conventions, must be promoted.
3) The need to pay greater attention to the task of better integrating the Palestinian cause in the Arab revolutions, especially the Egyptian revolution.
4) The necessity to end the security coordination between Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority with Israel. Also, pressure must be exerted on the Egyptian regime so that it liberates itself from the Camp David agreements, these agreements which rooted out Egypt from its Arab vocation and its place in the conflict with Israel.
5) The preparation of the next Flotilla which must benefit from the lessons of the latest. Among these lessons, the necessity to break the security belt which Israel set for itself with the help of the hostile governments mentionned.
There are lessons to be learned in these events but the greattruth that emerges is that the Freedom Flotilla, without even sailing, has reached Gaza and Gaza, as all of Palestine, has reached the hearts of the peoples of the world. This is the fruit of our struggle and the struggle of our supporters, the partners of our people in Liberty.
Translated by Najib Aloui