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In a matter of days, an American ship containing 36 U.S. citizens – The Audacity of Hope – will likely embark for Gaza as part of a controversial flotilla intending to enter Israeli waters and break Israel's blockade of the Strip.

In response, the State Department has issued an updated travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, the text of which is unlike anything I've seen from the State Department in that it warns Americans about the threat of injury or death from the military personnel of a staunch U.S. ally.

Given the diplomatic import such warnings have, what was released by the State Department today is no small matter, and reveals the frustrations building in the Obama administration toward Israel.

Below is the relevant, updated portion of the travel warning (w/ my emphasis):

U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel. The Government of Israel has announced its intention to seek ten-year travel bans to Israel for anyone participating in an attempt to enter Gaza by sea. On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem are not able to provide consular assistance in Gaza or on the high seas or coastal waters.

The text of this warning is curious, and reveals not only the administration's disapproval of (and concern for) Americans taking part in the flotilla, but both a subtle critique of Israel's past use of force and, perhaps, an unintentional echoing of the general frustration this administration is feeling with regard to its ally in the Middle East.

What is curious? This:

Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens.

Considering that the vast majority of those who were met in 2010 by the Israeli navy were ultimately arrested and deported, one might argue that it would make logical sense for the warning to begin with the least severe of fates which could be visited upon Americans choosing to participate in the flotilla, and proceed from there (as most warnings do, such as this current one for Sudan).

But to begin with "injury" and then move to "death" – which, it should be noted, is not constructed in logical order from most severe to least (for those who might argue that a warning should, by definition, begin with the most severe fate) – sends a stark message about how the State Department views Israel's planned military intervention and its ability to show restraint.

Of course, State Department warnings are not meant for Israeli ears – the Obama administration has been admonishing Israel directly in recent days about its need to accept the White House's terms for peace negotiations and about its military stance toward the Palestinians.

What the warning does do, and this is highly unusual, is highlight the dangers posed by a stanch ally's military, dangers that are not characterized as collateral or unintentional. Again, from the warning:

On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt.

The warning does not state that nine people died in Israel's "attempt" to block a non-military convoy of ships in 2010, and this is significant given the diplomatic import such warnings have. For the word "killed" implies not collateral or unintentional results, but military intent.

Words matter, and such travel warnings, particularly those dealing with countries friendly with the U.S., are constructed with great care given the diplomatic ramifications such warnings can have.

Which is why this, to my mind, is significant.

Now, lest this diary be misinterpreted, I want to make one thing clear: I am not intending to pass judgement on the flotilla itself, on its justifications or lack thereof, nor on Israel's right to block it. (Personally, I find the flotilla to be, ultimately, a counterproductive venture, but that's a separate issue.)

What this diary does intend to do is highlight that, as the Obama administration warns Americans about participating in the upcoming flotilla, what it also is does, perhaps unintentionally, is reveal the tension building between this administration and Israel on how to proceed – in all avenues – with regard to resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.

I suspect that such expressions of the tension that is building between America and Israel will continue to leak as September, and the promise of the Palestinians unilaterally declaring statehood before the U.N., draws closer.

Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 08:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Foreign Relations.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Heck, I could have warned them about that! (7+ / 0-)

    Who knows, maybe it's more compelling if they hear it from the State Department.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 06:30:42 PM PDT

  •  it could be a not so coded message to Israel (8+ / 0-)

    but who knows.

  •  I don't necessarily agree that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour

    "killed" in this context implies military intent.

    Saying that nine people were "attacked resulting in their deaths" (or something along those lines), on the other hand, would've.

  •  I do not believe we should veto the Palestinian (18+ / 0-)

    request for membership, in September.  This will cause us unprecidented damage in the interntional community, and may even cause some to ask for a restructuring of the UN, security council veto.

    I also, do not believe Israeli should ask us, purportedly it's best ally, to incur this kind of damage to our international relationships, for what, in the long-term, will be a futile effort to stop Palestinian statehood.

    Those who support a peaceful two state solution should oppose Prime Minister Netanyahu's obtructionism.  Netanyahu, and his extreme right-wing Likud-Shas coalition are not acting in Israel's best interest, IMO.

    At this point,  announcement that the US will support recognition of the Palestinian state, and acceptence into the UN, represents the only breakthough, I can imagine that will break the log-jam, and bring the parties back to the negotiation table.

    Short of this, the 150 or so countries that have indicated support should independently recognize Palestine, and establish bi-laterial relationships with Palestine.  This is how Israel became a state in 1948.  

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 08:49:43 PM PDT

    •  I can't agree with you more, Hound Dog (5+ / 0-)

      I too would like to see the U.S. hold back on its veto threat, assuming there is no progress made by the Netanyahu toward final status peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

      Unfortunately, domestic politics will likely make that scenario impossible for Obama.

      •  But, the power of the UN track is that Obama can (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Troubadour, jim d, KenBee

        remain on the sidelines.

        Even if the US uses a Security Council veto, to prevent membership, the GA can still recognize Palestine, which would be a big boost.

        Controvery seems to exist on whether or not an an emergency session of the GA, under Article 377 could be used to override the US veto of the membership recommendation, which according to UN rules, must come from the Security Council with at least 9 votes.

        Do you see what I mean?  At a certain point, Obama can say, "I did what we could do."  

        And, then let the international community but the pressure on to crack Netanyahu's obstructionism.

        However, the international community, may fear that the House GOP would vote to cut off UN funds.

        And, although, the GA has used these emergency session to override SC 10 times before, the technocality of the membership rules, may prevent it it here, I have not been able to find conclusive expert opinion, yet.

         

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 09:10:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My view (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, jim d, VClib

          The reason Obama will not be able to be viewed as staying on the sidelines is because, if this actually goes down in September, there will be sensational coverage and much scrutiny on the Security Council vote (and on the anticipated U.S. veto). This will be a strikingly large international news event.

          Ultimately, the attention and significance paid to the U.S. Security Council veto will have much to do with whether or not the U.S. is isolated as the only country willing to veto such an initiative, or whether Germany or Britain will join the U.S.

          As for 377, it is my understanding that an emergency session cannot be used in this situation to override a Security Council veto, and the Palestinians know this.

          What they stand to gain from a GA, non-binding resolution remains to be seen, and even Abbas and the Palestinians are wary of not having a Plan B for after such a resolution is passed.

          •  My feeling is that after a majority of countries (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            crankyinNYC, The Troubadour

            recognize them, they request assisstence from The Quartet, to replace IDF troops to the 1967 borders, in order to assist with internal and external security,  pending the negotiation of the mutually agreeable swaps.

            And, they propose a version of the swaps they would agree to that minimizes stranded settlers and provide Palestine with continquious borders, and a transit corridor between the West Bank and Gaza.

            The Quartet isn't going to jump in, however Plan B should to deliberately proceed, ASAP towards a full unilateral statehood, with support from the international community.

            If I were advising them, I would announce in the Declaration of Independence the intention in there constitution to grant equality to woman, and religious freedom.

            As, well, as grant stranded settlers temporary residency Visa, for 3 to 5 years while they try to sell their properties on the open market, if they wish to return to Israel inside the 67 borders, with swap adjustments.

            And, the right to apply for citizenship for those who wish to stay.

            They will also need to establish some court to adjudicate land claims, for those settlements deemed to be illegally siezed Palestinian land.  (It's a complicated mess, I agree, but, the Palestinians need to be seen as proceeding as a responsible government of laws, forward to its future, with, or without a peace agreement with Israel.

            Netanyahu is fond of saying, a Peace Agreement can not be imposed, but, borders certainly can be.

            If Palestine is recognized by 154 plus countries of the world, with bilateral trade, and other agreements, it can move immdiately to establish embassy, and trade agreements.

            If Israel tries to prevent shipping lane, or air access within a sovereign nation's borders, it would be an act of war, bringing on BDS.

            The Plan B Strategy is to overwhelmingly demonstrate to Netanyahu and his Likud-Shas coalition, that the 60 years plus time-advantage of delay Israel has used to establish "fact-on-the-ground" is not over.  

            From this point, on delay favors the Palestinians, because with each passing day, it becomes more "state-like."

            Netanyahu's vision of the Palestinian "state-like entity" is that that Palestine would be demilitarized, have no controls over it's own airspace, or shipping lanes, that Israel would keep troops in the Jordan River valley to control the border with Jordan, and that Israel would control the electro-magnetic spectrum, and keep the lands that would enable it  to control water rights.

            None of this would be acceptable to a soveriegn state.

            Palistine key strategy at this point is to seperate the issues of its recognition, Statehood, and borders from all the rest of the issues.

            This was Alan Dershowitz's main problem with President Obama's announcement about the 1967 borders -- that Obama 'decoupled" it from recognition of Israel as a Jewish State, which is partially a code to say the border swaps have to take the majority of the Arabs currently living within the 1967 borders, and yield higher quality land with water around Jerusalem.

            Dershiwitz recognized that by separating the issues of the 1967 border from all the other issues, Israel has nothing to bargain with.

            Therefore, anyone wishing to see the parties get back to the negotiating table, for the formation of a two-state solution should support the interntional community, and behind the scenes pressures of everysort, including BDS, to break the Netanyahu-Likud-Shas obstructionism.

            It is crucial that this be framed as support for Israel and the People of Israel.  Only against the Netanyahu - AIPAC obstructionist, position.

            This may mean the BDS can not be part of the mainstream strategy, but left to grass roots parties.

            As, long as the objective of convincing Netanyahu, and all Israelis, and if possible American Jews, and politicians, that its best deal will be achieved now, while it is most powerful.

            And, every day of delay, weakens its position, and will lead to a less advantageous negotiated deal.

            Well, this is Plan A.

            But, if it fails, Plan B is to work with the international community to make it happen, without Israel's cooperation.

            The Stalking Horse becomes the main transport.

            The parties can take as long as they want to negotiate peace, or never do it.

            As, long as The Quartet, or some credible international, or Arab force helps with internal, and external security, for some period of time, probably, at least a couple of decades, the conflict is over as far as the international community is concerned.

            We also, need to make it clear that the international community can not afford any funding to make the illegal settlers "whole" on their property losses.

            But, one advantage for Israel, of negotiating with Palestine, is they have a better chance of agreeing to a mutually advantageous financial institution to transfer property, at it's highest price, providing settlers with some compensation, and Palestianian with valuable properties.

            Israel is having a tremendous economic boom right now, and can afford to provide a compensation for the illegal settlers it encouraged to break international laws and illegally sieze Palestinians lands.

            The US and international communities can no more get involved with compensation illegal settlers than it could negotiating with terrorists.  Israel must take the lead on this.

            But, if a mechanism of optimal transfer is worked out, more money comes in from the international community in a mechanism that will appear to have greater legitimacy.

             

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:06:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  HoundDog - I think you are right (0+ / 0-)

          If the US does not veto the Security Counsel vote  recognizing a Palestinian state, the House will cut off all funds to every part of the UN.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:39:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What you mean is (0+ / 0-)

            If the USA does not veto, the Israeli/AIPAC Lobby will urge all its supporters that America should refuse to pay its assessments in the UN.

            That position means that because the Israelis lost, and the US was unable to keep the status quo,  The US should simply abandon the UN?  Not paying its share means it would lose its vote and leadership and would become a defacto "outlaw" nation.

            The Senate might not agree with the defunding of the UN.
            Or Obama could veto it daring an override.

            In any event, the veto by itself would be pretty humiliating.
            The USA wants a two state solution, but doesn't want a independent Palestine, only a weird fractured crazy quilt structure without water rights, without secure borders of its own, without n independent media, electromagnetic spectrum, power stations and its own police and border guards.  A "Bantustatan" like South Africa used to place Black Africans in and force them to have internal passports to move anywhere inside the country.

            Anyway, it may not be the important vote by that point. we could have the ramifications of not raising the debt ceiling and seeing gas prices go up, lending interest rates shoot up and a fall of the financial house of cards.  America might be in a big meltdown chaos as trade gets screwed up and unintended consequences come flying from everywhere.

            138 countries have diplomatic relations with the Palestinian
            entity now, if it gets to 75% of the UN membership by the vote time, the veto won't mean a thing except to isolate the USA  as a still less effective player than it is today.

            cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

            by Pete Rock on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 11:07:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pete - I don't agree with no $ for the UN (0+ / 0-)

              You seemed to take my prediction of what the House would do as my view on the issue. I do not support the House cutting of funds to the UN.  However, I don't think the US can spend money unless it is appropriated by the House. I don't know how far out the appropriations for the UN are already in place, but I do know there will be no $ for the UN if it recognizes a Palestinian state over the veto of the US. I seem to recall that, in the past, several countries were in arrears by as many as five years and they were never tossed out of the UN or lost their votes.  The US picks up an unfair amount of the UN's costs in any event.

              Regarding the national debt we will never default. Interest payments, and redeeming Treasury securities are a really small part of the budget and we have more than enough tax payments to cover them. The President and the Treasury Secretary would never let the US default on a security backed by the full faith and credit of the US. It's not going to happen, ever.  However, there will be a time when the federal government will not be able to pay all of its bills and that will cause some chaos, but interest on the debt will be at the top of the stack when the allocation begins.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 09:32:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The commonwealth solution (0+ / 0-)

      If it could, Israel would put a large moat around Gaza, force all the remaining Palestinians over there, and rename it Puerto Rica Este.

    •  Or, (0+ / 0-)

      let the US veto Palestine, and let he US and Israel slide further into irrelevance.

      Dissolve Israel; stop distinguishing between jew and non-jew in Palestine.

      by high5 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 02:01:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am very disturbed by this (5+ / 0-)

    I have friends on these boats and no harm better come to them.  I realize the State Dept. is issuing this warning as a precaution and maybe to cover themselves, but what sort of "friend" murders your citizens?

    •  Exactly, I see this as a cover for Obama to do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      valadon

      Nothing who are engaged in non-violent blockade running against an Illegal Occupation and Blockade which violate the UN.

      We don't live in a democracy . . . we live in a capitalist oligarchy, with some democratic representation…Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage, or labor unions?… The capitalist oligarchy …were forced to accept them…Howard Zinn

      by jim d on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:08:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  valadon - I wish your friends safe passage (4+ / 0-)

      However, the message I take from the State Dept travel advisory is that if passengers are injured they should not expect any help from the US government. I think they have made it clear that US citizens should not attempt to enter Gaza, including by sea.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:48:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know but how do you (0+ / 0-)

        tell that to people who are passionate about about their cause and who see no other way to challenge what is happening there?

        I'd be on the boat too if I could.

        •  US Boat to Gaza Passenger. (0+ / 0-)

        •  What's their cause? suppporting Hamas. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftynyc, cryonaut, VClib

          The reason for the sea blockade is to prevent weapons (like missiles) from being transported into Gaza and then shot at Israel.  The participants in the flotilla are choosing sides in an on-going war.  

          •  No... I don't agree here. (4+ / 0-)

            Some of them yes, and I think the Hamas is taking advantage of a certain amount of naivete....

            I am firmly in favor of Israel stopping this flotilla just so you know.

            That said I don't believe that all the folks here support Hamas (even if they are being used by Hamas in that manner). I think many of these folks simply see a humanitarian crises, deeply distrust or dislike Israel, and want to help the people of Gaza. I think many of them would not like to live or be anywhere under Hamas rule. However, they feel more antipathy to Israel than they do to Hamas.

            Subtle difference but, an important one.

            DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

            by volleyboy1 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 09:21:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  To back up my point... about Hamas using this (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mets102, JNEREBEL, The Troubadour

            Here from Maan News

            Hamas: Israel will not end siege, flotilla should sail

            GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hamas urged organizers of the Freedom Flotilla II to push ahead with plans to sail to Gaza and break Israel's siege "despite threats," a statement from the party's spokesman said Thursday.

            The party gave its endorsement to the convoy of 10 international ships, saying it considered them as acting within the law in their attempt to break a siege that international rights groups and UN missions have called illegal.

            Speaking for the party, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the flotilla - which plans to sail during the last week of June with a cargo of aid and activists - was essential, since Israel had demonstrated that "it never keeps its promises regarding the lifting or easing of the blockade" on Gaza.

            This quote coming on the heels of this: Israel approves transfer of $100 million of building goods into Gaza

            Israel has approved the building of $100 million worth of new houses and schools in the Gaza Strip, Israeli and UN officials said on Tuesday.

            Guy Inbar, a military spokesman, said Israel had given the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) the green light to bring building materials for 18 new schools and 1,200 new houses into the Hamas-controlled territory.

            He said the approval was immediate and the process could begin as soon as UNRWA was ready.

            "I welcome this significant step and I hope it will happen in a timely fashion," said UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry. Israel says its Gaza blockade, which prevents certain supplies from entering the Strip, stops weapons from reaching Hamas, a militant group that refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and frequently fires cross-border rockets.


            DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

            by volleyboy1 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 09:37:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  This is EXACTLY what I think the message means. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, volleyboy1

        "We're not going to start an international issue over it if you get killed trying to run an Israeli blockade."

    •  Hey it's Bibi (0+ / 0-)

      Besides if you look at the way he treated the POTUS he don't consider him the real President.  Israel better hurry up and let the Liberals take over over there. We all know that Conservatives love only one thing, war.

      Think...It ain't illegal yet ! George Clinton

      by kid funkadelic on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 02:47:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  tough to interpret. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot

    I just found this warning from 2007

    Hate to quote fox, but it's just a quote.

    'On top of that [Hamas gaining control], ongoing and occasional rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza have led to targeted attacks and ground incursions by the Israeli Defense Forces. Such attacks occasionally result in deaths and injuries of bystanders, who have also been caught in the middle of violence between "organized criminal elements."

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/...

    so it's not new that the IDF has been acknowledged.

    As for 'were killed'...well, it was a pretty high-profile international incident--which isn't going to escape anyone who has the idea of going to Gaza.  It doesn't seem that strong a diplomatic message...I kind of agree with Trix there.  But I think the test will be if the Israeli government protests.  They did protest an Aug. 2010 State Department Warning--different context.

    •  on second read, though...attacks probably refers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Troubadour, angry marmot

      directly to the rocket attacks--IDF is cited a bit more loosely in the general context.

      well, glad i'm not a diplomat.

      •  Unfortunately Israel has a diplomat, one (0+ / 0-)

        Daniel Ayalon, the Deputy FM who was interviewed inone of the English language Israeli papers yesterday.  Have a look at pars. 6 and 7 where he talks about what is now under discussion, he does not say with whom,  as being a transitional agreement only, which does not deal with any of the hot button issues there listed. He is from one of the right wing extreme parties, and frequently says extreme things, but he is officially a member of the government.

        The I government has also just run a civil defense emergency practice which the nation had to watch, supposedly in preparation for September. So that a lot of people are probably jumpier than usual. There have also been many articles about IDF standing up for the nation against the Nakba demonstrators, especially those from Syria and a few in suburban Jerusalem.

        If he is telling the truth, this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, because none of the benefits of independence for Palestinians, and even the security agreement Israel wants,  are now being discussed in official governmental Israel,  and September is going to become a more serious issue if such a thing is possible, for want of alternatives.

        If he is telling the truth, it will also be a huge slap at both EU and USA.  

        If he is telling the truth, it could be our state department is warning citizens that less than the usual amount of civility may be accorded to Americans, as a warning . Which may only encourage those countable as celebrities to go, since the stink would be so additionally horrible if something bloody happened to them.

      •  The example you brought highlights (0+ / 0-)

        the unusual nature of this current State Dept. warning, given that this example from 2007 makes clear that any injuries or deaths from "bystanders" will be collateral. And as you rightly point out, the IDF is referred to in a much looser fashion.

  •  The U.S. will veto the resolution. I think they (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, jim d

    gave this warning in an attempt to discourage anyone from going. It'll just be another time the U.S. does nothing other than side with Israel. They could kill everyone on the boat and the U.S. wouldn't do or say anything opposed to Israel's view. I wouldn't be surprised if the State Department, has already been informed about the actions Israel will take.

  •  How does the diarist know... (6+ / 0-)

    that the State Dept. notice "reveals the frustrations building in the Obama administration toward Israel."  

    The people on the first flotilla WERE killed.  That is an accurate statement.  It conveys that this is a dangerous activity with substantial potential risk.

    However, to assign the notice a deeper meaning, based on American frustrations, is a reach that is unsupported by the information presented.

    The diarist overstates the case here while revealing a bias grounded in speculation that conforms to what is now an obvious position that looks to find fault with Israel as a point of departure.

    •  yeah--I don't think there's much to the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, The Troubadour, volleyboy1, Mets102

      statement either.

      Like I said above somewhere--if the Israeli government protests, then maybe there was more to it...otherwise, no.

      But I do give the The Troubadour credit for being civil and reasonable in all diaries...opposing opinions are allowed.  I never see any flat-out-one-sided nonsense coming from T.T.

      •  Civil, perhaps, but not so reasonable... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cryonaut

        because the of the orientation I mentioned.  I have never insinuated that the diarist is uncivil, just biased, though the message preaches to the choir here.

        This is such inside baseball, based on speculation, and a meaningless topic for discussion.  It is to put forth an agenda, not to address real issues.  That's how I see it.

        The flotilla is a purely political thing and I believe will be seen in the end for what it is, an abuse by "humanitarians" that help do the bidding for some of the very worst elements that cause far more human suffering, much more deserving of a flotilla making a statement.

        I think Israel should let them through so the world can watch them celebrate with Hamas, which they would, silent to its human rights record.  The world should understand where their sympathies lie.

        Let's hope that there is no provocation.  However, based on the venomous behavior I see from many "peacemongers," the State Dept. notice is as it should be.  No one knows what may occur and a fair warning is prudent.

        •  No need for humanitarian aid; Gaza is a paradise? (0+ / 0-)

          The US boat is only carrying letters not because the people of Gaza don't need the medicine, supplies and toys the other boats are carrying.

          It is because of the our new police state Supreme Court that has ruled that even advice on how to engage in non-violence politics to a "terrorist organization" can be punished.

          With these rules in place; we would never have ended Aparatheid in South Africa.

          We don't live in a democracy . . . we live in a capitalist oligarchy, with some democratic representation…Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage, or labor unions?… The capitalist oligarchy …were forced to accept them…Howard Zinn

          by jim d on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 10:14:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  South Africa is completely different... (7+ / 0-)

            on so many levels, and what was justified there is unjustified here.

            Terrorist organizations are not stupid.  They already know how to engage in nonviolence.

            If you believe that the flotilla is humanitarian in nature, then we differ greatly.

            Interestingly, the very states that pushed through UN intervention in South Africa are now the first to resist any scrutiny of themselves and spend most of their time to pursue their political interests against Israel by abusing the UN processes.

            •  Not According to Desmond Tutu (0+ / 0-)

              I visited the occupied Palestinian territories, and have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinians at Israeli military checkpoints. The inhumanity that won’t let ambulances reach the injured, farmers tend their land, or children attend schools. This treatment is familiar to me as it was to many Black South Africans who were corralled and harassed by the security forces of the apartheid government. It is not with rancor that we criticize the Israeli government, but with hope — hope that a better future can be made for both Israelis and Palestinians. Hope for a future where one people need not rule over another, engendering suffering, humiliation, and retaliation … True peace comes only with justice.

              ...

              In South Africa, we could not have achieved our freedom without the help of people around the world, and musicians who are central to our struggle. Through music and art, we speak to a common humanity — one which transcends political and economic interests. For this, I am proud to support Freedom for Palestine by OneWorld … Let’s send a message to governments that a critical mass of people want to see an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the oppression of its people.

              ...

              By acting together, we can break cycles of injustice, end the occupation, and build a new world based on our common humanity and justice.

              The participants don't need the State Department to know the risk. Here's how Jane Hirschmann put it of why she's going.

              Given all this, I can remain silent no longer. Every day Palestinians are confronting the Israeli government at the wall, at check points, at demolition sites. They risk their lives. Like the Freedom Rides our boat is sailing to call attention to the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza.

              My humanity and my Jewishness – Jewish history – demand my being part of an organizing effort to end the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. The U.S. Boat, called The Audacity of Hope, will sail in late June to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human. We will be approximately 50 individuals from across the U.S. committed to non-violence, human rights and freedom and justice for the Palestinian people.

              To date, tens of thousands of individuals and over 80 organizations have endorsed this U.S. campaign and each day more sign on to travel with us in name. We travel in peace for justice, and I am proud to be part of this international effort.

              Film maker John Greyson put accepting the risks this way:

              Sure I'm nervous -- we all remember what happened with the Mavi Marmara last year, when nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli commandos -- but I feel very honoured (and safe), travelling with an incredible, diverse group of longtime peace activists from across the country -- some of whom are featured in the video.

              See participant Alice Walker at 3:23 commenting on how this is like the Freedom Riders and why she is participating.

              I see this venture as a continuation of the civil rights struggle. This is the Freedom Ride of this era. To get on this boat, make it to Gaza, to join our stories to their stories, and know that these oppressions can be ended.
              •  Desmond Tutu is wrong (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cryonaut

                The ANC didn't shoot rockets and mortars at white South African areas, and didn't call for the extermination of whites.

                •  Is the Rest of Your History That Bad? (0+ / 0-)

                  The ANC was a lot more effective in their terrorism than Hamas' pitiful rockets.

                  http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

                  1983: Car bomb in South Africa kills 16
                  At least 16 people have been killed and more than 130 people injured in a car bomb explosion in South Africa's capital city, Pretoria.

                  The explosion happened outside the Nedbank Square building on Church Street at about 1630 hours - the height of the city's rush hour.

                  More than 20 ambulances attended the scene and took the dead and injured to three hospitals in and around Pretoria.

                  Police sealed off the surrounding area with a barbed-wire fence as emergency personnel sifted through the rubble looking for bodies.

                  Bomb disposal experts were called to the scene to search for a possible second bomb.

                  The outlawed anti-apartheid group the African National Congress has been blamed for the attack.

                  South Africa has nearly five million whites, 21 million blacks, nearly one million Indians and about 2.5 million people of mixed race.

                  The government's apartheid system denies citizenship rights to black people except in 10 remote homelands.

                  The ANC has warned it intends to step up its campaign to bring an end to white minority rule.

                  So, let's see if there is a parallel. You have a faction of anti-apartheid activists that were/are terrorists. You have a peaceful faction that promoted/promotes boycotting the apartheid regime. You have the United States opposed/opposing boycotts because of the terrorists. You have Desmond Tutu who supported/is supporting the peaceful opposition to apartheid in both cases. The only difference is one group of anti-apartheid activists has won and the other will win. The only question is who is going to be Israel's de Klerk. Let's hope that Obama is not Reagan here but it doesn't really matter much since both are equally irrelevant.

                  One last thing that should be of comfort to the Israelis. The white minority was not obliterated and the terrorism stopped by being co-opted into the political process.

                  •  No, but your reasoning is (0+ / 0-)

                    The ANC resorted to terror only after non-violent methods failed.
                    The ANC primarily targetted military/government targets, including the example you cite.
                    The ANC didn't receive foreign military equipment for their attacks.
                    The ANC wasn't determined to exterminate the whites.

                    •  Wow (0+ / 0-)
                      The ANC primarily targetted military/government targets, including the example you cite.

                      So, according to your logic, Timothy McVeigh did not commit terrorism because he blew up a government building. I'm not naive. Both Hamas is and ANC was a terrorist organization. Israel is in a better situation than South Africa because they can choose their partner in the negotiations while South Africa had to talk with the terrorists.  But by refusing to engage the PA for so long Israel only strengthens the terrorists. Not only does the current Israeli intransigence try the patience of the U.S. State Department it also does so for your average Palestinian and it's the latter which the Israeli government should be more concerned about.

              •  The blacks in South Africa... (0+ / 0-)

                did not reject numerous opportunities for a state or initiate a war of aggression.  Their conflict was an internal one, while here it's over disputed territory.

                Nor did the ANC make repeated calls for genocide of all whites no matter where they are.

                Tutu himself is a poor example to cite because he has shown that, despite his Nobel status, he is just another anti-Semite.

                You may find him persuasive, but he is nothing of the sort to me and many others.

              •  There are some whistles in this music. Catastrophe (0+ / 0-)

                is the translation for the word that many Arabs use for the day Israel was created.

                •  To be more precise (0+ / 0-)

                  Nakba is the catastrophe marking the ethnic cleansing in Israel that had already started prior to the day Israel was created.

                  •  It's used like that, too. Marked on May 15 (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    volleyboy1

                    which is the day after Israel's I.Day, right?

                    •  Obviously the Two are Related (0+ / 0-)

                      The newly independent state used hostilities and the refugees that it caused to expand the boundaries past the original U.N.-mandated boundaries. While ethnic cleansing started prior to May 15 it got much more intense afterwards. Did you notice the big house key in the video?

                      Other protest days include Naksa (setback) June 6 and Land Day March 30. The last one I personally witnessed the peaceful protest of Israeli Arabs in the Galillee for the land stolen and the internal displacement of Arabs within Israel.

                      •  So really, Israel's existence is as much the (0+ / 0-)

                        catastrophe as anything, right?

                        •  No (0+ / 0-)

                          Just building a state by creating an artificial Jewish majority through ethnic cleansing. The ethnic cleansing and not the existence of Israel is the catastrophe. A state of Israel based on internationally agreed to and negotiated set of boundaries where everybody living within said boundaries are full citizens and are secure in those boundaries is just fine. Having a constitution to guarantee said rights is a helpful bonus.

                          •  Yeah... except for no (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bevenro
                            Just building a state by creating an artificial Jewish majority through ethnic cleansing.

                            Except that this was not done. In some cases the population was removed, in some cases the population fled. HOWEVER, you need to know that in the UN Partioned areas partioned to the Jews, the Jewish population was the majority.

                            The ethnic cleansing and not the existence of Israel is the catastrophe.

                            That's very generous of you to say, but, no that is not true either. "The Catastrophe" is the creation of Israel and all that went into it. You are re-defining a term to make it more palatable, but that is not correct.

                            A state of Israel based on internationally agreed to and negotiated set of boundaries where everybody living within said boundaries are full citizens and are secure in those boundaries is just fine.

                            I am glad that you are just fine with that but, this is a very nebulous term and open to many interpretations. I think you need to be more specific with exactly what you mean.

                            BTW, I think that Israel should protect it's minority citizens with full equal civil rights but I think that there should policies in place recognizing that Israel is the National Homeland and State of the Jewish people.

                            DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

                            by volleyboy1 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 02:49:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh really? (0+ / 0-)
                            Except that this was not done. In some cases the population was removed, in some cases the population fled. HOWEVER, you need to know that in the UN Partioned areas partioned to the Jews, the Jewish population was the majority.

                            Let's look at percentage of popluation by district in 1946. If the state of Israel was based on population majority it should have been called the state of Jaffa.

                            Photobucket

                            Now how does this map to the UN partition and the ethnically cleansed villages?

                            Photobucket

                            As we can see the UN granted land to Israel to make what land they already owned contiguous. A slight problem, all those Arab villages. So, they ethnically cleansed to make themselves the majority not only in the land the UN granted them but also grabbed land not granted to them in the Galilee.

                            That's very generous of you to say, but, no that is not true either. "The Catastrophe" is the creation of Israel and all that went into it. You are re-defining a term to make it more palatable, but that is not correct.

                            Funny how you get to determine the meaning of someone else's (Arabic!) term. al Nakba has always referred to the ethnic cleansing. As we can clearly see is al Nakba is all those dots on the map above going away and the JNF planting all those pine trees on top of the former villages to erase the incriminating evidence.

                          •  Again no..... (0+ / 0-)

                            Look at the population figures for the part of the state that was partioned to the Jews and the part to the Arabs.

                            Jewish majority in that part.

                            All your little maps, and Mondofront propaganda, doesn't change that. The Jews accepted the State. The Arabs didn't. Pretty much that's that.

                            DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

                            by volleyboy1 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 11:59:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

                            The only part of the U.N-proposed state that had a Jewish majority was the Jaffa district. The source for my first map is the Supplement to a Survey of Palestine (Jerusalem: Goverment Printer, June 1947). It was subsequently published as United Nations map no 93[b] in August 1950.

                            Looking at the relationship between the U.N.-proposed state and Jewish-owned land in the second makes sense. You could make the same kind of case of granting the entire West Bank from the Area As based on the same principle noted by President Obama, contiguity. I have no beef with the U.N. partition although there was Peel Commision and Woodhead partitions in the 30s which gave land that wasn't so disproportionate to the population.

                            Taking the U.N. boundaries as-is in 1948 was a problem, though. The Jews were not a majority in that "state". In order to not deny self-determination the "excess" population had to be gotten rid of. This started prior to the declaration of independence. Not only were there refugees caused but the villages were razed to the ground and the Jewish National Fund raised money to plant pine trees on top of them. If you look at these former villages using the anti-Semitic conspiracy site Google Earth you can see how they did it. This is the ethnically cleansed village of Saffurriya in a part of Israel that was not granted to them by the U.N.

                            Photobucket

                            Thus, I say the state of Israel was not the Nakba. It was the ethnic cleansing that was used to deny self-determination of the people living inside of Israel as defined by the U.N. in 1948. That was the Nakba. You and other progressive Zionists implicitly admit this when you howl about the right of return inside Israel. Under every other example refugees can return to where they used to live. It cannot be done here because it undermines the "Jewishness" of Israel. You know full well the Arabs were a majority.

                            That doesn't mean that some two-state solution cannot be reached where the Arab refugees return to a future-defined state of Palestine. Your behavior in particular has made me lose all respect for proponents of two state solution with your utter lack of historical understanding and your racist use of terms such as Mondofront. I leave it to the readers here to decide who patiently presented the facts and who made naked assertions and used name calling.

                          •  HAHAHAHA you post on MondoFront (0+ / 0-)

                            and you talk about racism?????

                            You actively support a moderated blog that in a thread you are an active participant has such comments as

                            "The problem with the Democratic Party is it's Jewish influence."

                            Or "Americans will wise up to what the Zionists are doing to them, it will be Guernica all over again. Choose your side".

                            Or.... "Obama's homies are the Jews, and they are the reason for America's troubles."

                            They are in the very thread you call Daily Kos out in.

                            But hey have fun with your buddies over there.

                            As for your data... the population of the proposed Jewish State was 55% Jewish, 45% Arab. No matter how much parsing you cannot get away from that. So nice try.

                            You don't support two-States. Fine, do something about it rblinne.

                            DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

                            by volleyboy1 on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 09:07:40 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I Ran the Numbers (0+ / 0-)

                            The following is from "British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine, prepared by the British Mandate for UN prior to proposing the 1947 partition plan"

                            The sub-districts that correspond to the original partition come out as follows:

                                        Jew            non-Jew
                            Safad    7170    49800
                            Tiberias    13640    27830
                            Beisan    7590    17360
                            Haifa    119020    134430
                            Tulkarm    16180    77040
                            Jaffa            295160    114130
                            Ramla    31590    102440
                            Beersheba   510    6490

                            This comes to 48.11% Jew and 51.89% non-Jew. But Israel took more land and captured the Nazareth and Acre sub-districts not assigned to it by the UN in the 1948 war.

                                         Jew          non-Jew
                            Safad    7170    49800
                            Tiberias    13640    27830
                            Beisan    7590    17360
                            Haifa    119020    134430
                            Tulkarm    16180    77040
                            Jaffa            295160    114130
                            Ramla    31590    102440
                            Beersheba    510    6490
                            Nazareth      7980    41930
                            Acre    3030 70570

                            This comes to 43.87% Jew and  56.13% non-Jew. In neither case do you have Jewish majority. You have to ethnically cleanse to get there. Perhaps like Fox News you got the labels backwards in your polls.

                          •  This one is easy... And Look TEH GOOGLE can be (0+ / 0-)

                            your friend.

                            Here are the population figures for the proposed Jewish State (btw, even Pro-Arab sites agree with this)

                            407,000 Arabs
                            498,000 Jews

                            That makes the % numbers 55% for the Jews and 45% for the Arabs.

                            Perhaps like Fox News you got the labels backwards in your polls.

                            But hey, with the keep trying and enjoy the beautiful commentary at MondoFront.... like these gems:

                            From Danaa

                            The other reason is the deep contamination of democrat party politics by Jewish involvement, and of course the outsize influence of money from wall street interests OTOH and jewish contributors on the other (and the two overlap sometimes).

                            and from thetumta

                            Home run and I’m not a baseball fan! As the fellow from Harvard said Obama’s homies are Jews, rich and powerful American Jews. The problem is here, not there. Solve the problem here and Palestine can take take care of itself. Gaza boats are not going to solve the problem here. No need to sacrifice any more young Furkins for nothing. In spite of your best hopes, this is not going to be settled peacefully. You will have to choose. Guernica, once again.

                            and here from Thomas Rutherford:

                            Money owns the Democratic Party. The “Democratic” Party is a Zionist Party because it has been bought with Zionist money and is controlled by Zionist organizations.

                            AND you wonder why I call it "MondoFront"... Gee, Really?

                            Oh and your buddy Choomin over there... Banned from DKos for anti-Semitism. Nice company you are keeping there.

                            DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

                            by volleyboy1 on Fri Jun 24, 2011 at 01:44:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Here's my source (0+ / 0-)

                            http://www.palestineremembered.com/...

                            Here's the origin of your 55/45 number. No indication on how it was calculated:

                            http://unispal.un.org/...
                            498,000 Jews in the Jewish state, 10,000 in the Arab State and 100,000 in Jerusalem. What the Wikipedia quote fails to take into account though:

                            In addition there will be in the Jewish State about 90,000 Bedouins, cultivators and stock owners who seek grazing further afield in dry seasons.

                            The same estimates 407,000 non-Jews in the Jewish state which makes it 50/50 and not 55/45.  The problem with this estimate is that was not the boundary of the state of Israel.

                            In 1949, the UN estimated (and showed their work this time) on the number of non-Jews in the 1948 boundaries in 1945.

                            The number they estimated was 726,000 which was more than all the Jews above. An attempt to be as unbiased as possible and disconnected from partisan usage came up with an estimate of 670,000. Which is still more than the total number of Jews in 1945.

                            I found the following quote from the 55/45 source interesting:

                            Nearly all previous attempts to draw partition maps for Palestine have been faced with the separation of the solid Arab population in Judea and Samaria from the Arab population in Galilee. To include the whole of Galilee in a Jewish State provides contiguous frontiers, but it also results in the inclusion of the large Arab population of Western Galilee in the Jewish State and weakens the Arab State economically and politically by denying to it a developed Arab area. In the present partition scheme, these problems have been solved by a definition of boundaries which provides two important links, one between Western Galilee and Samaria and one in the south near Gaza. These links are at suitable meeting places of the frontiers, and would consist of a small unbuilt area which would be a condominium. By this means it has been possible to include Western Galilee in the Arab State without the disadvantage of its being separated at all points from Samaria by the territory of the Jewish State.

                            The Galilee was appropriated into the 1948 Armistice borders and it did change the proportion to the point that there were clearly more Arabs than Jews. In light of the recent controversy over the Audacity of Hope the following bit of irony:

                            The proposed Jewish State leaves considerable room for further development and land settlement and, in meeting this need to the extent that it has been met in these proposals, a very substantial minority of Arabs is included in the Jewish State. On the other hand, Western Galilee is attributed to the Arab State, providing it with some areas for further development and also giving it an outlet to the sea at the town of Acre. An outlet to the sea is also provided in the south by the inclusion of Gaza in the Arab State.
        •  Explain to me how this differs from tactics used (0+ / 0-)

          By the future israeli's leading up to the establishment of Israel in the late 40's?

          "I love acting. It is so much more than real life." - Oscar Wilde

          by Farkletoo on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 04:57:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you bevenro, it would be interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bevenro

        if Israel's government protests, though we probably wouldn't be privy to such insider discussions if they did.

        Regardless, I just wanted to state why I think this diary is worthy of being written, for it highlights an example of how diplomatic frustrations with Israel may be leaching into other realms (namely this state dept. warning).

        As always, thanks for your comments.

    •  The Likud Govt. (0+ / 0-)

      has repeatedly attempted to embarrass the Obama administration. Biden was treated very poorly when he went to Israel.

      There's much more evidence to support the diarist's position than this warning.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 09:48:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, but tell me something I don't know. (0+ / 0-)

        There is a lack of trust on both sides.  I don't think a State Dept. notice to Americans is  where these matters are addressed, however.  Nor do I believe speculation furthers the diarist's position, unless one is predisposed.

      •  Agreed...i simply brought this warning as an (0+ / 0-)

        example of how diplomatic frustrations with Israel are leaching into other realms (namely this state dept. warning).

        There is much more evidence to support the position, namely the articles to which I linked in the diary.

        Thanks for the comment, FOW.

  •  People who don't wanna endanger themselves... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cryonaut, volleyboy1

    shouldn't get into fights with the IDF.

  •  Troub, I take a completely different look at this. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cryonaut, AZ Independent, volleyboy1

    I think this is the equivalent of the Rx infomercials that say:
    "Oh by the way, while this product could completely heal you and make your life better, it could also give you a heart attack, stroke, cause infertility, and possibly correlate to spontaneous combustion". Or simply: "You were warned, don't send your family to protest on the WH front lawn if you get arrested and detained."

  •  In reading through the diary.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mets102, JNEREBEL, The Troubadour

    I don't think this is what you say it is Troub. I agree with GoGoGoEverton when he says this is like a warning label.

    I think it is a statement of the obvious, that this flotilla is running a blockade in a conflict zone and that if people put themselves in harms way, they might get harmed AND if they do get harmed it's on them for running a blockade in a conflict zone.

    There are frustrations between the White House and Jerusalem but I don't see that here.

    They are also working on some other regional issues which have a different and higher priority.

    DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

    by volleyboy1 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 09:31:46 AM PDT

  •  Breaking: PM agrees to talks on 67 Boundaries! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Troubadour

    Netanyahu's conditions are recognize Israel as Jewish state and RoR solved outside of Israel's boundaries. Troubadour was on to something about what the State Department was up to behind closed doors. Ma'an is reporting that this was announced to U.S. envoy Dennis Ross who Netanyahu met with last week.

    •  Well hold the phone... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Troubadour

      I see the Maan article here:

      Report: Israel PM agrees to 1967 borders

      The Israelis are denying this:

      However, a statement released by Netanyahu's office deny these claims, saying that “the report is untrue and Netanyahu’s stance concerning 1967 borders is clear, Israel will not return to these borders.”

      I am not seeing anything in the Israeli dailies either on this. Of course, that doesn't mean anything but, I would think Haaretz would be on this. Anyway, if this is true, this will be a freakin' game changer.

      DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 02:58:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NYT Confirmed This on Saturday (0+ / 0-)

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        In related news:
        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        Israel is also keeping any journalist that cover this from coming back to Israel for 10 years.

        Israel threatened Sunday to bar for up to a decade any foreign journalist who boards a flotilla seeking to challenge an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

        Oren Helman, the director of the Government Press Office, sent a letter to registered foreign correspondents here asserting that the flotilla, scheduled to sail this week, was illegal and that participation in it, even as a reporter, was “liable to lead to participants being denied entry into the State of Israel for ten years, to the impoundment of their equipment and to additional sanctions.”

        Israel is desperately trying to control the narrative but like Mubarek's vain attempt they are fighting live feeds via Twitter and satellite phones. Once they confiscate the equipment it will be too late.

    •  I have been looking and have not found (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Troubadour

      anything to back up the Maan Story. I mean I am on the Maariv page in Hebrew (my hebrew is not so good that I am fluent but I can read some of it), I see a lot about Shalit and the news that Hamas refuses to confirm if he is alive.

      I also see that the Israelis are saying: "Well if he is not, it will not go well for any of your folks in our prisons".

      I would think this is big news but the Israelis are not reporting it. Can you find this anywhere else but Maan?

      DK4: For those times when pissing in the hummus isn't enough

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 03:58:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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