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October 9, 2010

New Side-by-Side Gaza Flotilla Timeline Report Discredits Israeli Version of Events

 

Navi Marmara

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON D.C., October 7, 2010: A comprehensive report examining the minute-by-minute versions of the same events during the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla attack by Israel was released by two charity groups today. Contrasting passenger testimonies against official Israeli accounts side-by-side to each other, a complete picture can be seen as to exactly what transpired in the days and hours leading up to the incident as well as its aftermath.

The attack took place in international waters in the early hours of May 31, 2010 as humanitarian aid workers carrying goods and supplies, including medical equipment, attempted to break the Israeli-imposed blockade on Gaza. The attack on the six ships in the flotilla led to the deaths of nine passengers on the Turkish-supported Mavi Marmara ship. The result has been an intense worldwide condemnation of Israeli policies towards the increase in aid missions.

The Timeline and Inconsistencies Report, co-sponsored by the International Bureau of Humanitarian NGOs (IBH) in Geneva and Paris, and the Friends of Charities Association (FOCA) in Washington D.C., takes each individual action as it happened, and aligns the passenger version against the Israeli account. The “conclusions are in sharp contrast to the Israeli official version of events,” the report found.

Released as an advance copy coincidentally on the same day as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) issued its damning conclusions of Israeli actions, the timeline analysis lets the evidence speak for itself.

Tom Nelson, lawyer and spokesperson for FOCA, presented the Timeline Report to colleagues in Europe this week. “It got absolutely raving positive reviews here in Brussels,” he said, adding, “It is a powerful supplement to the UN Human Rights Commission report.”

IBH and FOCA conducted the research over a 4-month period based on information gathered from passenger testimonies, government authorities, world press coverage, official videos and film smuggled from the ship, as well as the United Nations report, Israeli self-inquiry, and Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) report.

Conclusions  show  that  Israel  clearly  manipulated  evidence  to  bolster  its  argument  that  the  attack  on  the Mavi  Marmara  was  in  self-defense  against  armed  violent  activists.   Using  second-by-second  analysis,  the reports shows how the six passengers killed were victims of execution-style murders by the Israeli soldiers.

Examples  of  manufactured  computer-generated  images  installed  into  the  official  Israeli  video  released  are revealed as individual frames.

The report goes on to note that when passengers were detained and independently and consistently testified to  being  beaten,  sexually  harassed  and  abused,  “no  argument  as  to  imminent  threat  could  be  justified”  by the Israeli authorities.

The report can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.foca.net/media/documents/timeline-inconsistencies-gaza-flotilla-attack-31052010.pdf

###

ABOUT THE REPORT SPONSORS

International Bureau of Humanitarian NGOs (IBH) and Friends of Charities Association (FOCA)

IBH and FOCA are non-profit organizations that advocate the rights of Islamic charities throughout the world, promote ties with civil society groups, and support the reform of global security laws and policies that impact charities of all denominations.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Wendell Belew: Tel +1202 255 3808; Email wbelew@belewlaw.com

Tom Nelson: Tel +1 503 622 3262; Email nelson@thnelson.com

_________________________________

Friends of Charities Association (FOCA) 1150 Connecticut Avenue NW

Suite 900

Washington, DC 20036

Tel: + 1 202 862 4348

Fax: +1 202 364 8868 Email: info@foca.net

www.foca.net

International Bureau of Humanitarian NGOs (IBH)

Geneva and Paris

Tel & Fax: +33 1 4746 1988

Email: ibh@ibh.me

www.ibh.me; www.humanitarianibh.net

Source: FOCA, IBH

On AIPAC and Other Bullies

07 Oct 10

By Miko Peled

It is typical for America to suddenly wake up to an issue that has been around for, well, forever. Today it is bullying. But there can be little surprise that America has a bully problem. American policies around the world have been marked and characterized by bullying, as one would expect from an empire, even an empire that likes to see itself as spreading freedom and democracy. Bullying in America is hailed and glamorized as heroism so really, what kid wouldn’t want to be a bully?

One bully that has gotten America by the, well, where it hurts is AIPAC. Everywhere you go you hear people complaining that nothing can be done to curb Israeli violence and brutality because this fierce all powerful lobby called AIPAC. Nowhere is this heard more than our nation’s capital Washington DC.

In AIPAC’s website they make the following claim: “From a small pro-Israel public affairs boutique in the 1950s, AIPAC has grown into a 100,000-member national grassroots movement described by The New York Times as “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel.” Wow!

I recently spent a weekend in DC and I heard two stories that exemplify the odd relationship between the world’s only superpower and this omnipotent organization, and that this has been going on for close to forty years. The first story takes place during the Carter administration when an attempt to put together a meeting between President Carter and one of the worlds leading Jewish leaders, Dr. Nahum Goldman was unsuccessful. When a mutual friend of Carter and Dr. Goldman, who told me this story, inquired with the President about this the President replied that a meeting with Dr. Goldman is not possible because Dr. Goldman really gets American Jews agitated.

Dr. Nahum Goldman was one of, if not the most important Jewish Zionist leader in America. He was a staunch Zionist his whole life and was the Co founder of the World Jewish Congress, which he led for several decades. But Goldman’s brand of Zionism was not palatable for Israeli leaders such as David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and well, the rest of Israeli politicians because Goldman tried to negotiate between Israel and the neighboring Arab states. He committed the crime of being critical of Israel for what he saw as an over-reliance on military might and for not making concessions after the 1967 Six-Day War. He further brought upon him the wrath of Jewish zealots by advocating a position that the only chance of long-term survival for Israel was to accept the rights of the Palestinians as a people. So how can the President meet with such a man?

Fast forward to today’s Washington DC. A young non-Jewish Ivy League graduate member of a DC think tank proposes to present a paper on the Palestinian perspective. She lived and reported from Palestine, she has first hand knowledge and a deeper understanding of the situation than most experts. After a long wait the paper is shelved fearing it will bring about too much debate and that it is one sided. Well, by presenting the perspective of a particular side of the conflict the paper was by definition one sided and as for creating debate, isn’t that what a think tank is supposed to do?

I have learned that on a local level agents of this ridiculous bully follow me and my activism quite closely. Self proclaimed keepers of the most zealous and uncompromising brand of Jewish nationalism have taken it upon themselves to attend, record, film and conduct classes on the things that I say about the heinous crimes and viscous attacks committed by Israel against the Palestinian people which it rules. I am not sure if I should be flattered or afraid. I mean, after all will they report me to the authorities? Will they deny me entry to Israel or the US? But of course I then recall that other than being a self-proclaimed policing force that refuses to see the ridicule and the tragedy in its positions and its actions these little bullies are really nothing.

Local elected officials are offered great trips to Israel, free of course. Happily the ones I know stood up to this bully and the favors it offers and refused the gift on grounds that it is wrong for an elected official to receive such expensive gifts. Besides, no gift of this kind is free. It comes with the expectation of future support for Israel’s draconian policies regarding the Palestinians.

It is said that AIPAC itself has the power to dethrone powerful people. That it is a king maker as well as a killer of political careers, even well established careers. But I have yet to hear an explanation as to why. Why is it that this organization and its self-righteous agents yield so much power of extortion over the world greatest power? What secrets do they posses that can yield such powers of extortion? While in DC I had the pleasure of meeting one man who is rather close to the President himself. He works with the President on issues other than the Mideast but when we met the Mideast we talked mostly about the Middle East. “Perhaps you over estimate the power of the President” is what this man said to me.

If President Obama said one sentence that truly relates to the horrors of Israeli policies, if he made one comment to criticize Israeli human rights violations or the treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli prisons, if he publicly said what he surely knows, that Israeli insistence on building settlements for Jews only on land that belongs to Palestinians is wrong or even, God forbid that he should say that the situation in Gaza is unacceptable (not unsustainable as he said in the past). If the President says just one of theses things it would get the ball rolling sparking a serious debate and it will embolden others to ask these questions and make demands of Israel.

Far from me to suggest that politicians align themselves with what is right and what is just. However, those politicians who do care need to know the following: there are ways to stop bullies but succumbing to them and appeasing them are not included. To stop bullies one needs to stand up to the bullies and to make it clear that we will not take their BS!

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