Greece has been blocking a flotilla of boats from leaving its port to deliver aid to Gaza, which has been strangled by an Israeli blockade. The Greek government is citing security concerns, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, in light of the deadly Israeli assault on a similar flotilla last year. However, the Greek government also warned that lives could be lost if the mission goes forward, implying that the Greeks themselves might kill activists before the Israelis ever get the chance, drawing into question the claim that they are merely trying to saving lives and bolstering the claim that they are merely serving as Israeli mercenaries in their war against the Palestinians.
Yesterday, the Tahrir was boarded by armed Greek soldiers and commandeered back to port against the will of its crew, the Guardian reported. Smaller activist crews in canoes and kayaks tried to block the Greek coastguard, but failed to impede the faster coastguard boat. Such confrontations could easily provoke violence by the Greek authorities, who are perhaps trying to distract the Greek public from the severe austerity measures they have imposed on them on behalf of international capital.
One ship remains poised to succeed in leaving Greek waters, a Dutch-Italian vessel commanded by Stefano Chiarini and docked at Corfu, whose provincial official Spiros Spirou supports the flotilla’s cause. Spirou said he would make no attempt to stop the boat from leaving harbor, the Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton has given the green light for Israel to attack the flotilla with military force, threatening the lives of American citizens, including author Alice Walker, as well as hundreds of international activists. According to IndyMedia.org, Clinton said, “. . . we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.”
Aside from the fact that the U.S. secretary of state is telling a foreign government it has the right to kill U.S. citizens, her statement is inaccurate. No countries recognize Gaza as a part or sovereign Israel. Either the region is independent, as Israel would like to have the world believe, or it is still illegally occupied by Israel. In either case, waters of the coast of Gaza are not legitimately Israeli and, therefore, Israel would be illegally entering Gazan waters to attack the flotilla. It should also be pointed out that last year when Israel attacked another Gaza flotilla, it did so in international waters (see Electronic Intifada), as the boats sailed away from Israel, refuting the idea that Israel is defending its own territory.
The U.S. state department is also declaring that any attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza would be aiding the terrorist organization Hamas, which currently dominates the political landscape there. Thus, unarmed activists delivering humanitarian aid to a people under siege, with the highest unemployment rate in the world, living in prison-like conditions, are now justifiably murdered as terrorist sympathizers. Under this logic, the mass imprisonment of communist sympathizers under McCarthy would seem restrained.