Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hope Floating - Again

Dozens of Americans, among them a Pulitzer Prize winner and a prominent social activist, are planning to board an American ship called The Audacity of Hope bound for the Gaza Strip.

They will be among an estimated 500 to 600 people taking part in Freedom Flotilla II. It will be the second attempt by activists to penetrate the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza and its organisers are under intense pressure to call it off.

The activists will sail on 10 ships and represent 22 countries. They are expected to sail from Greece tomorrow or Sunday. The ship The Audacity of Hope is named as a reference to the book by the US president, Barack Obama, written just before he stood for the presidency.

Israel said on Wednesday it has warned the UN that the flotilla could result in "dangerous consequences".

  The National

Like the attempt last year which resulted in 9 people killed by Israeli officers boarding their ship.

There weren't dozens of Americans on that trip, though, which sailed from Turkey. So this should be interesting.

UN and Israeli officials announced on Tuesday that Israel had approved the building of new homes and schools in Gaza worth $100 million. That means Israel will allow building materials to be imported, undercutting the need for a flotilla.

Yeah, that’s all they need! Homes and schools.

Israel’s blockade of Gaza prevents the export anything produced in the Strip by the Palestinians that live there (including the 40% of residents who are refugees from Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign). It also steeply limits imports. Over half of Palestinians in Gaza are food insecure, and some die every year because Israel won’t let them get out in time for specialized medical care. Unemployment is estimated at 40 percent.

Numerous reports by Oxfam and others have detailed the unnecessary misery that the Israelis are inflicting on the Palestinians of Gaza. Wikileaks has released State Department cables detailing the Israeli plan to keep Palestinians there living on the edge of catastrophe, without quite allowing the situation to tip into a humanitarian disaster that would stir the world against the policy.

  Juan Cole

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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