And the demonization and isolation of Israel proceeds apace. “Israel’s military spokesman has accused the organisers of the flotilla of organising a ‘violent provocation.'” “Mideast: Flotilla, World ‘Shocked’ After Israeli Attack,” from ANSAmed, May 31 (thanks to Insubria):
TEL AVIV, MAY 31 – The attack carried out last night by Israeli forces on a multi-national flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists heading for the Gaza Strip carrying humanitarian aid has ended in a bloodbath, with at least 19 people dead. There have been serious and immediate protests from Turkey, who has recalled its ambassador to Israel, while governments in European capitals have expressed their shock at the killings.
The activists, who were led by the NGO Free Gaza, wanted to force the blockade set up around the Gaza Strip when the Islamic group Hamas came into power in 2007. The clash occurred in international waters, a few dozen miles off the coast, on the vessel of a Turkish NGO that was leading the six-ship expedition. Israeli commandos, who reached the ship using boats and helicopters, opened fire, killing 19 people, according to the latest reports from the Israeli television station Channel 10. An Israeli military spokesman has said that the chaos began when some activists attempted to resist the boarding of the marines using clubs, knives and at least one firearm, which is said to have been taken from an Israeli soldier. Twenty-six activists were injured, one of whom is in a critical condition. Among the injured is sheikh Raed Salah. Ten Israeli soldiers were also injured, two seriously.
Israel’s military spokesman has accused the organisers of the flotilla of organising a “violent provocation”. The first of the ships has already arrived at the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, which has been close off to the media. There is no news of the five Italian activists who were on board, including the Torino-based journalist, Angela Lano, 47, the director of the press agency Infopal, which deals with Palestinian issues. Israel has raised the level of alert on its northern border (with Lebanon) and also to the south, on the border with the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned the incident as “a massacre”, and has declared three days of national mourning. Hamas officials in Gaza have spoken of a “crime” committed by Israel. An Islamic representative, Ahmed Yusef, has called for “an intifada” of the people in front of Israeli embassies throughout the world. Arab Israelis have called a general strike tomorrow.
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has said that he is “shocked” by Israel’s attack on the pro-Palestinian activist fleet, as has the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. Great concern and grief has also been expressed by the Vatican. The Arab League has called an urgent meeting of its Foreign Ministers in Cairo tomorrow. Turkey, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland have held talks with their respective ambassadors to Israel, and the European Union has called for the Jewish state to open an investigation….