In the meantime, Jerusalem Post is reporting that the IHH would send six more ships to Gaza in July and that family members of the 9 killed on board the Mavi Marmara have requested to join the next flotilla. The Navy is expecting Iranian ships to arrive at the weekend, and is anticipating the Lebanon will be the next to send ships, possibly with Hezbollah operatives on board.
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 9 JUNE AT 12:47pm:
From the Intelligence and Terrorist Information Centre:
Analysis - IHH Preparations for a Violent Confrontation with IDF Soldiers Aboard the Turkish Ship Mavi Marmara: Initial conclusions from questioning passengers and examining equipment on board the ship. Read more
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 9 JUNE AT 11:41am:
Kuwaiti Journalist: The Flotilla Was Violent; Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself From MEMRI
In a June 3, 2010 article in the daily Al-Watan, Kuwaiti journalist 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq supported Israel's decision to stop the Gaza flotilla, saying that the outcome of the Israeli navy's operation was "in direct proportion to the violence" of the flotilla activists, and that the flotilla organizers are known to have ties with global and regional terror organizations. Read more
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 8 JUNE AT 11:35pm:
•Over one million tons of humanitarian supplies were delivered by Israel to the people of Gaza in the past 18 months – that’s equal to nearly one ton of aid for every man, woman and child in Gaza.
•In the first quarter of 2010 alone (January-March), Israel delivered 94,500 tons of supplies to Gaza. It’s very easy to miss what that actually means for the people of Gaza. The breakdown includes: ◦40,000 tons of wheat – which is equal to 53 million loaves of bread; ◦2,760 tons of rice – which equals 69 million servings; ◦1,987 tons of clothes and footwear – the equivalent weight of 3.6 million pairs of jeans; and ◦553 tons of milk powder and baby food – equivalent to over 3.1 million days of formula for an average six-month-old baby. •This reflects a long-term effort on the part of Israel to deliver a massive and comprehensive supply of aid to Gaza’s civilians, while restricting the ability of Hamas to import missiles that have been launched at the cities of southern Israel. In 2009 alone: ◦During the Muslim holy days of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, Israel shipped some 11,000 head of cattle into Gaza – enough to provide 8.8 million meals of beef; ◦More than 3,000 tons of hypochlorite were delivered by Israel to Gaza for water purification purposes – that’s 60 billion gallons of purified water; and ◦Israel brought some 4,883 tons of medical equipment and medicine into Gaza – a weight equivalent to over 360,000 260-piece mobile trauma first aid kits.
This is a breakdown of the statistics provided by MFA. For the full statistics, click here.
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 8 JUNE AT 3:00pm:
IDF Chief calls for an external inquest into deadly raid on flotilla:
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 8 JUNE AT 2:40pm:
Reuters removes images of blood and weaponry from images from the Gaza flotilla:
Please read 'Reuters under fire for removing weapons, blood from images of Gaza flotilla' from Haaretz. In one photograph there is an IDF soldier being attacked by passengers on the Mavi Marmara ship, and with a passenger's knife the hand of a wounded soldier and a pool of blood cropped out. In the second image, the knife is again cropped out. The article contains the original pictures as well as the cropped version originally published by Reuters.
Let us not forget that this is not the first time Reuters has been embroiled in a photo scandal in regards to Israel. During the 2006 Second Lebanon War Reuters released photos taken after an Israeli airstrike on Beirut where additional smoke was doctored in using photoshop (see more here and here).
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 8 JUNE AT 1:36pm:
Debunking a myth:
There are currently emails being circulated around with a video of Israeli soldiers unloading cargo from a ship. Hidden behind bags of flour is heavy weaponry and ammunition. The email is attributing this video to the Mavi Marmara incident. This information is incorrect.
The video was actually taken in November last year after the Israeli Navy intercepted an Iranian ship that was en route to deliver weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. To read more about that incident, click here.
Please verify all videos and links if they do not come from official channels and be careful sending out false information to your networks.
Despite the video not being related to this particular incident, it is an example of the reason why the Israeli army needs to be vigilant with boats delivering cargo in the region. The ship was carrying weapons under the guise of a civilian, merchant ship.
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 7 JUNE AT 3:27pm:
The following passengers on board the Mavi Marmara are known to be involved in terrorist activity. The Mavi Marmara attempted to break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip on Monday, May 31, 2010, and was boarded by Israel Navy forces.
Fatima Mahmadi (born 1979), is a United States resident of Iranian origin, and an active member of the organization "Viva Palestine", she attempted to smuggle forbidden electronic components into the Gaza Strip.
Ken O'Keefe (Born 1969), an American and British citizen, is a radical anti-Israel activist and operative of the Hamas terror organization. He attempted to enter the Gaza Strip in order to form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organization.
Hassan Iynasi (born 1982), a Turkish citizen and activist in a Turkish charity organization, is known of providing financial support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization.
Hussein Urosh, a Turkish citizen and activist in the IHH organization, was on his way to the Gaza Strip in order to assist in smuggling Al-Qaeda operatives via Turkey into the Strip.
Ahmad Umimon (born 1959), is a French citizen of Moroccan origin, and an operative of the Hamas terrorist organization.
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 6 JUNE AT 4:14pm
VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THE SEVENTH FLOTILLA SHIP "RACHEL CORRIE" ARRIVING AT THE PORT IN ASHDOD:
Yesterday evening on 4 June 2010, the IDF released an audio recording of a radio transmission between the Israeli Navy vessel and the Flotilla ships wherein unidentified flotilla passengers tell the Israeli Navy vessel to “shut up, go back to Auschwitz” and “we’re helping Arabs go against the US, don’t forget 9/11.” There have been questions regarding the authenticity of the recording as well as its attribution to a communication with the Mavi Marmara.
So to clarify: the audio was edited down to cut out periods of silence over the radio as well as incomprehensible comments so as to make it easier for people to listen to the exchange. We have now uploaded the entire segment of 5 minutes and 58 seconds in which the exchange took place and the comments were made.
This transmission had originally cited the Mavi Marmara ship as being the source of these remarks, however, due to an open channel, the specific ship or ships in the “Freedom Flotilla” responding to the Israeli Navy could not be identified. During radio transmissions between Israeli Navy and the ships of the “Free Gaza” Flotilla on 31 May 2010, the Israeli Navy ship attempts to make contact with the ‘Defne Y’ on channel 1-6. Other ships from the flotilla respond on the channel, without identifying themselves. At some point during the radio exchange the Israeli Navy is told by one of the ships to “shut up, go back to Auschwitz” (2:05) and “don’t forget 9-11″ (5:42).
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 4 JUNE AT 4:01pm:
LATEST ISRAEL ADVOCACY UPDATE - 4 JUNE 2010 - NOW ONLINE - click here To comment on something from the Advocacy Update,
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 3 JUNE AT 9:40pm:
VIDEO OF FLOTILLA PASSENGER DECLARING, " I WANT TO BE A SHAHID (MARTYR)
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 3 JUNE 2010 AT 3:54pm:
US Vice President Joe Biden: "Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest"
In an interview US Vice President Joe Biden has stated, "They [Israel] have said, 'Here you go. You're in the Mediterranean. This ship - if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we'll get the stuff to Gaza.' So what's the big deal here? What's the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, 'I don't know what's on that ship. These guys are dropping eight - 3,000 rockets on my people".
As of right now (2 June, 18:30), the State of Israel has loaded 20 trucks with various types of aid found onboard the flotilla. Expired medication, clothing, blankets, some medical equipment and toys were among the aid found on the ships.
Unfortunately, the Hamas terror organization is unwilling to accept the cargo and the trucks filled with humanitarian aid have not been allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.It appears that Hamas is in fact stopping the transfer of the humanitarian aid.
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 3 JUNE 2010 AT 9:23am:
VIDEO OF FLOTILLA RIOTERS AS THEY PREPARE RODS, SLINGSHOTS, BROKEN BOTTLES AND METAL OBJECTS TO ATTACKS IDF SOLIDERS
Ynet reports: "Interrogation of Gaza aid sail detainees reveals some of passengers recruited specifically to attack Israeli soldiers. Suspects found to be carrying multiple weapons, cash. Meanwhile, Navy launches its own inquiry into raid.
The ongoing interrogation of passengers who were aboard the Marmara – the Gaza aid flotilla's flagship – revealed that the majority of those who attacked the Israeli Naval Commandos boarding the ship have direct and indirect Global Jihad ties.
Israel's investigation has revealed some 100 people infiltrated the peace and humanitarian aid activists making their way to Gaza, with the explicit design to attack Israeli soldiers using cold arms."
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 2 JUNE 2010 AT 1:47pm:
Breakdown of countries and numbers ordered to be expelled (excluding the nine that were killed and those that are injured and being treated in Israeli hospitals:
Australia 3; Azerbaijan 2; Italy 6; Indonesia 12; Ireland 9; Algeria 28; United States 11; Bulgaria 2; Bosnia 1; Bahrain 4; Belgium 5; Germany 11; South Africa 1; Holland 2; United Kingdom 31; Greece 38; Jordan 30; Kuwait 15; Lebanon 3; Mauritania 3; Malaysia 11; Egypt 3; Macedonia 3; Morocco 7; Norway 3; New Zealand 1; Syria 3; Serbia 1; Oman 1; Pakistan 3; Czech Republic 4; France 9; Kosovo 1; Canada 1; Sweden 11; Turkey 380; Yemen 4.
UPDATED BY THE ZIONIST COUNCIL OF VICTORIA ON 1 JUNE 2010 AT 12:07pm:
In an effort to present you with as much information as possible about the clash that occurred on international waters between Israeli naval officers and “Free Gaza activists”, this update will consist of talking points and facts collected from various sources.
First and foremost, click here to read about how, despite attacks by Hamas, Israel maintains an ongoing humanitarian corridor for the transfer or food and humanitarian supplies to Gaza. This should help to clear up all of the misinformation being disseminated in the press today.
• Israeli forces stormed a flotilla of activists' boats attempting to break the blockade of Gaza early this morning, resulting in at least 10 deaths among those on board.
• Prior to the incident, Israel offered to transfer the aid carried by the protestors to the Gaza Strip via land borders under the activists' observation, after security checks. Whilst committed to facilitating the flow of aid to Gaza, Israel is concerned not allow the Gaza coast to become a corridor for weapons transfers to Hamas.
• There has been an angry reaction in particular from Turkey, the Palestinians, and Israeli Arabs. International organizations are demanding explanations from Israel.
• Israeli ministers have expressed "sorrow" at the deaths but stressed that the protestors acted violently to the Israeli forces including with live fire. Israel has also highlighted that IHH, the Turkish group involved in the flotilla, is believed to have a history of support for terrorism.
• Early on Monday 31 May, a flotilla of six activist's boats headed towards the Gaza coast.
• They were met by vessels from the Israeli Navy about 60km from the coast, apparently in international waters. The Israeli navy warned them that that Gaza is under naval blockade. The Israeli navy invited the boats to enter the Ashdod port, north of Gaza. Israel offered to transfer the humanitarian aid to Gaza under the observation of the activists, according to Israeli authority regulations. The flotilla continued to try and reach the Gaza coast.
VIDEO OF ISRAEL NAVAL OFFICERS ADDRESSING THE SHIP
For the link, click here. The transcript is as follows: “Mavi Marmara, you are approaching an area of hostilities which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza area coastal region and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic. The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and invites you to enter the Ashdod port. Delivery of supplies in accordance with the authorities' regulations will be through the formal land crossings and under your observation, after which you can return to your home ports on the vessels on which you have arrived." Response: "Negative, negative. Our destination is Gaza."
• A team of Israeli commandos from the elite naval Shayetet 13 commando unit boarded the protest boats at around 4am from helicopters. It appears that five of the boats were captured without violence, but that on the largest, the Turkish flagged Marmara, Israel soldiers were met with planned, violent resistance, which Israeli officials described as attempts to lynch the soldiers.
• The IDF says they were attacked with "live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs". Turkish television footage shows Israeli soldiers landing on the decks of the boats and immediately being set upon by men with sticks and planks. In the ensuing struggle at least ten, and possibly as many as nineteen, activists were killed and ten Israeli soldiers were harmed, four seriously. One soldier was stabbed and two were shot with firearms taken from the soldiers.
VIDEO TAKEN BY THE IDF SHOWING PASSENGERS OF THE MAVI MARMARA VIOLENTLY ATTACKING IDF OFFICERS TRYING TO BOARD THE SHIP
The video shows large groups of passengers surrounding soliders and beating them with metal poles and chairs, and threw one soldier over the side of the ship. Some passengers grabbed pistols from the IDF soldiers and opened fire.
The ‘Free Gaza’ flotilla had publicly insisted on their non-violent intentions, however their violent attack on the IDF soldiers was clearly premeditated. They have knives, metal rods, firebombs and other items ready to use.
CLOSE UP VIDEO OF "PEACE ACTIVISTS" ATTACKING WITH METAL BATONS
WHO WAS ON THE PROTEST BOATS AND WHAT WAS THEIR AIM?
• Some 700 activists are reported to be on the boats, including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and British activists. The Marmara is reported to be carrying more than 500 people.
• The organizations involved in the movement include the UK based ‘Free Gaza Movement' alongside other European NGOs, and the Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) movement.
• Speaking to BBC World News, a spokeswoman for the flotilla, Audrey Bomse stressed that the primary mission of the flotilla was to make a political statement with regard to the human rights of the Palestinian in Gaza and to "break the siege", as opposed to delivering the aid itself.
• The groups involved refused requests from Israeli campaigners last week to deliver packages and letters to Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip without any external contact since 2006.
WHAT IS ISRAEL'S POLICY ON ACCESS TO THE GAZA STRIP?
• Israel facilitates the daily passage of around one hundred trucks a day of aid to Gaza through its land border. There are no limits on the quantity of aid, but Israel restricts the types of goods it will allow in, because of the state of conflict that exists between Israel and the Hamas regime in Gaza.
• Israel is concerned to avoid any action that will strengthen the Hamas government in Gaza, in the context of the divide between Hamas and the moderate Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. In contrast to Gaza, the West Bank has seen considerable improvement in movement and access in the last two years due to improved cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
• Israel insists that all aid entering Gaza be checked to ensure it does not include weaponry. It seeks to maintain the naval blockade in order to prevent the coast of Gaza becoming a corridor for the smuggling of arms to Hamas. Hamas has made considerable efforts to rearm and improve its arsenal with Iranian weapons smuggled under the Gaza-Egypt border.
• Egypt, which considers Hamas to present a major threat to its own security, allows almost nothing to pass through its border with Gaza, but large quantities of goods enter the strip through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.
• In a press conference, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak expressed his "sorrow" at the events, but stressed the responsibility lay with the organisers of the flotilla. He asserted that the Israeli forces involved were well trained, and acted only to defend themselves. He further emphasised that there was a well established procedure to send aid to Gaza and that it was unacceptable to allow the boats to reach Gaza without security checks, which would open up a precedent for a smuggling corridor.
• Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, "Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything it could to avoid this outcome," but stressed, that on the part of the protestors, "Their intent was violence, their methods were violence, and the outcome was violence."
• Israeli Arab leaders and parliamentarians have reacted angrily, strongly condemning the Israeli actions, and there have been calls for protests among Israeli Arabs.
• Israeli media commentators are raising questions about how this operation was planned and executed. Concerns are being expressed about the impact on Israel's international image and the possible reaction from Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE INTERNATIONAL REACTION?
• Foreign Secretary William Hague said in statement, "I deplore the loss of life during the interception of theGaza Flotilla." He added, "We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way, because of the risks involved. But at the same time, there is a clear need for Israel to act with restraint and in line with international obligations."
• There has been a very angry reaction from the government of Turkey, the flag state of the largest ship, who have recalled their ambassador. The Turkish Prime Minister has returned early from an overseas trip. Protestors attempted to storm the Israeli embassy in Ankara.
• Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the incident as a "massacre" and has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League.
• European Foreign Affairs representative Baroness Ashton has called for an inquiry and for crossings into Gaza to be opened.
• Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency have expressed shock in a statement and sought explanations from Israel.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?
• The situation at sea is still unclear and Israeli authorities report that the incident is still being brought under control.
• Israel has said it will unload and check the aid at the Ashdod port and transfer the aid that is permitted to enter the Gaza Strip via the usual land crossings on the Israel-Gaza border. The protestors will be handled by Israeli immigration authorities.
VIDEO OF THE CACHE OF WEAPONS INCLUDING KNIVES, SLINGSHOTS, ROCKS, SMOKE BOMBS, METAL RODS, IMPROVISED SHARP METAL OBJECTS, STICKS AND CLUBS, 5KG HAMMERS AND FIREBOMBS
Information from StandWithUs: Can be used as quick talking points
• Activists carried out a pre-planned violence, armed with knives and metal bars, each sailor being attacked by a mob of a dozen extremists
• The provocateurs were organized by an Islamist organization that has links to fundamentalist jihadi groups.
• The extremists brought small children on board knowing that they intended to violate international maritime law.
• Israel offered to transfer the aid to Gaza again and again - they refused - and chose confrontation.
• Israeli Minister Danny Ayalon: "Weapons found on board; the organizers intent was violent, their method was violent and the result was, unfortunately violent"
• Israeli Minister Danny Ayalon: "We repeatedly called on the organizers to stop this provocation"
• Israeli Minister Danny Ayalon: "The maritime blockade in Gaza is because of the terrorism of Hamas"
• Israeli Minister Danny Ayalon: Allowing the illegal flotilla to reach Hamas would have opened a corridor of smuggling of weapons to Gaza and resulting in civilian deaths.
• Israel transfers about 15,000 tons of supplies and humanitarian aid every week to the people of Gaza.
• "We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us, they are going to have to forcefully stop us," said one of the flotilla’s organizers
• Using the Arabic term ‘intifada,’ Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said "We call on all Arabs and Muslims to rise up in front of Zionist embassies across the whole world.
• Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said this week: "If the ships reach Gaza it is a victory; if they are intercepted, it will be a victory too"; Hamas is responsible for the suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis.
• Israel left Gaza in hopes of peace in 2005 and in return received more than 10,000 rockets and terrorist attacks.
• Israel has said that it will deliver any humanitarian aid to Gaza, as it does daily.
• No country would allow illegal entry of any vessel into their waters without a security check.
• Any police force in the world would respond to aggression; the provocation is the reason for this regrettable outcome.
• Wounded, including violent activists, are receiving medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
Yesterday the IDF gained control over the flotilla which intended to reach the Gaza Strip and break the naval blockade. Defence Minister Ehud Barak spoke at a press conference stating, "the cabinet, the Prime Minister and I instructed the IDF to take action. On one of the six ships, the protesters initiated violence. We express remorse for the injured activists, however, the full responsibility rests on the organizers of the flotilla and those participants who acted violently.”
Given the large number of vessels participating in the flotilla, there was an operational need to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from the area of the blockade, as permitted under international humanitarian law. It was the stated intention of the flotilla organizers in earlier television interviews that the primary goal of the action was to resist the blockade by any means possible. The purpose of the naval blockade is to protect Israeli citizens. Just last year 1,000 rockets were fired on Israeli citizens. These rockets are built from weaponry smuggled in to the Gaza Strip to be used by the terrorist organization Hamas. It is for this reason that Israel can not allow unchecked material to travel in to Gaza.
If the flotilla organizers were concerned with the wellbeing of the people of Gaza, they would have accepted the offers by Israel and Egypt to transport the aid through the land borders. They refused this offer, instead choosing provocation and aggression.
For your information and use, please take note of the links to video footage below of the intervention by the IDF.
To write a letter to our local newspapers contact: The Australian: