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Just before 9am this morning, the Israeli military forcibly siezed the Irish-owned humanitarian relief ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, from delivering over 1000 tons of medical and construction supplies to besieged Gaza. For the second time in less then a week, Israeli naval commandos stormed an unarmed aid ship, brutally taking its passengers hostage and towing the ship toward Ashdod port in SouthernIsrael.  It is not yet known whether any of the Rachel Corrie’s passengers were killed or injured during the attack, but they are believed to beunharmed.

The Corrie carried 11 passengers and 9 crew from 5 different countires, mostly Ireland and Malaysia. The passengers included Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, Parit Member of the Malaysian Parliament Mohd Nizar Zakaria, and former UN Assistant Secretary General, Denis Halliday. Nine international human rights workers were killed on Monday when Israeli commandos violently stormed the Turkish aid ship, Mavi Marmara and five other unarmed boats taking supplies to Gaza. Prior to being taken hostage by Israeli forces, Derek Graham, an Irish coordinator with the Free Gaza Movement, stated that: “Despite what happened on the Mavi Marmara earlier this week, we are not afraid.

The 1200-ton cargo ship was purchased through a special fund set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister and Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. The ship was named after an American human rights worker, killed in 2003 when she was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. Its cargo included hundreds of tons of medical equipment and cement, as well as paper from the people of Norway, donated to UN-run schools in Gaza.

According to Denis Halliday: “We are the only Gaza-bound aid ship left out here. We’re determined to deliver our cargo.” The Rachel Corrie had been part of the Freedom Flotilla, a 40-nation effort to break through Israel’s illegal blockade, before being forced to drop off late last week due to suspicious mechanical problems.

The attack on the Rachel Corrie may spell trouble for Israel’s relationship with Ireland. The Irish government had formally requested Israel allow the ship to reach Gaza. On 1 June, the Irish parliament also passed an all-party motion condemning Israel’s use of military forceagainst civilian aid ships, and demanding “an end to the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.”

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire summed up the hopes of this joint Irish-Malaysian effort to overcome Israel’s cruel blockade by saying: “We are inspired by the people of Gaza whose courage, love and joy in welcoming us, even in the midst of such suffering gives us all hope. They represent the very best of humanity, and we are all privileged to be given the opportunity to support them in their nonviolent struggle for human dignity, and freedom. This trip will again highlight Israel’s criminal blockade and illegal occupation. In a demonstration of the power of global citizen action, we hope to awaken the conscience of all.”

Passengers aboard the Rachel Corrie include:
Ahmed Faizal bin Azumu, human rights worker, Malaysia
Matthias Chang, attorney, author & human rights worker, Malaysia
Derek Graham, Free Gaza Ireland
Jenny Graham, Free Gaza Ireland
Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General, Ireland
Mohd Jufri Bin Mohd Judin, journalist, Malaysia
Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal, PGPO representative, Malaysia
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ireland
Abdul Halim Bin Mohamed, journalist, Malaysia
Fiona Thompson, film-maker, Ireland
The Hon. Mohd Nizar Zakaria, Parit Member of Parliament, Malaysia

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One Comment

  1. Michael Pyshnov on the 06. Jun, 2010 remarked #

    Hard Calculations Behind the Massacres.

    Over the centuries, Jews became supreme masters of bargaining techniques. The TIME FACTOR acquired the primary importance in the calculations. Dragging time can make you a winner in the otherwise hopeless bargaining.

    How could it happen that the question of stolen land where not a square meter can legally belong to Jews, became the point of a “dispute” continuing for over 60 years?

    Look at the bargaining techniques. The only real question here is: Whose land is this? Obviously, all of it belongs to the Palestinians. But can you create a “dispute” and delay it by committing crimes on this land? Yes, you can. In this case, the world will be talking about your crimes, and the main question becomes postponed, hopefully – indefinitely. These crimes have to be repeated because the world cannot talk about one massacre for more than a few months. A new crime is committed when the previous one is no longer a hot topic and when people dangerously come back to the main question – Whose land is this?

    NEW CRIME PUTS ANOTHER BARGAINING CHIP ON THE TABLE. Israel is not actually a “lunatic”, the crimes serve its purpose. Should Palestinians be allowed to eat and how much? – this is a new question on the table. Let’s discuss it. Israel WANTS you to discuss its crimes – meanwhile, they are getting away with the theft of land for another year. They commit bigger and bigger crimes, not because they are “lunatics”, but because they need bigger and bigger crimes to be on the table for your discussions.

    “How about this?” – says Israel tomorrow, “We will allow them to eat, BUT WE WILL KEEP THE LAND.”

    “We leave them two olive trees untouched by fire, and a water well nearby, BUT WE WILL KEEP THE LAND.”

    “Five olive trees? OK! We give unilaterally five olive trees, BUT WE WILL KEEP THE LAND.”

    “We promise not to torture prisoners, (you can trust us), BUT WE WILL KEEP THE LAND.”

    Before you declare somebody a “lunatic”, have a closer look at him.

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