Israel's Flotilla Massacre
By Justin Podur at May 31, 2010
Overnight, Israeli commandos attacked an aid flotilla in the high seas, some 65km from Israel. The commandos killed at least 10 people and injured dozens of others, mostly Turkish nonviolent activists bound for Gaza who were aiming to break Israel's siege with humanitarian supplies. Israel attacked all of the ships in the flotilla, but the killings seem to have happened on the flagship Mavi Marmari.
At this moment, Israel will be actively trying to prevent the truth of what happened from getting out. Israel is currently in control of all the ships and all the people on them, and is unlikely to allow any of the great deal of recordings that have no doubt been made of the slaughter to reach the public. Blocking communications was one of the opening moves in the attack.
Given that exact numbers have not been released of who lived, who is injured, and who has survived, witnesses to the slaughter are in extreme danger of being killed now. This is not simply a murder that happened last night, but an abduction as well, in which the hostages, who are witnesses to an international crime, are in danger for their lives. This crime was, of course, motivated by a larger crime - the siege, starvation, and massacres in Gaza, and the dispossession and occupation of the Palestinians by Israel. The current emergency is not yet over.
Israel's strategy towards Palestine and Gaza in particular involves committing atrocities to test the international reaction. Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu is in Ottawa and meeting with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper. While their press conference and dinner was cancelled, there will still be a public handshake between the two - given the timing, Harper will be providing a major diplomatic help in ensuring impunity for these murders.
Israeli officials have said that the fate of the activists in their power is "in their own hands" - if they cooperate, they will be deported, if not, they will remain at the mercies of Israel.
Spain, Sweden, Greece, and Turkey have recalled their ambassadors to Israel. There are pickets outside Israeli consulates all over the world, and some are staging hunger strikes and other protests until the activists are released.