The Lone Ship of the Freedom Flotilla: The Rachel Corrie MV Continues to Sail Towards Gaza in Defiance of Israeli Threats
by Michel Chossudovsky
Following Israel's criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.
In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:
RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.
The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.
In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.
We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.
We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.
Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.
Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie - by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)
In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis:
"Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale." (Haaretz.com headlines RSS
What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet.
The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure?
What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids?
What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27?
Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel's military and intelligence establishment?
Did the Obama administration give the Green Light?
It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel's criminal embargo.
In this endeavor we shall prevail. Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV.
It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised "to respond even more harshly":
“Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.” (www.ynetnews.com)
The Rachel Corrie MV is in part supported by the Perdana Global Peace Organization under the helm of Malaysia's former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky is a member of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.
Rachel Corrie Continues Towards Gaza: Will Obama Let Israel Attack?
How do you know when someone is serious about pursuing a strategy of nonviolent resistance until victory for justice is achieved?
When they refuse to turn back in the face of state violence. Damn the commandos. Full speed ahead.
The Irish Times reports:
The MV Rachel Corrie is ploughing ahead with its attempt to deliver aid to Gaza despite yesterday's attack by the Israeli navy on Gaza-bound ship the Mavi Marmara.
The cargo ship, which has four Irish nationals and five Malaysians aboard, is due to arrive in Gazan waters tomorrow, a spokeswoman for the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said.
The vessel became separated from the main aid flotilla after being delayed for 48 hours in Cyprus due to logistical reasons.
Nobel laureate Maireád Corrigan-Maguire, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, and husband and wife Derek and Jenny Graham are the Irish nationals on board.
Speaking from the ship today, Mr Graham said the vessel was carrying educational materials, construction materials and some toys. "Everything aboard has been inspected in Ireland," he said. "We would hope to have safe passage through."
Might the Israeli military attack the Rachel Corrie, as the Israeli military attacked the Mavi Marmara? Would the Obama Administration permit such an Israeli attack on the Rachel Corrie, as the Obama Administration permitted the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara?
Note that in particular, under international law, an Israeli military attack on the Rachel Corrie in international waters would be an attack on the government and people of Ireland, because the Rachel Corrie is an Irish-flagged vessel. As former British Ambassador Craig Murray recently wrote:
To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.
Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody's territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.
There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.
Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.
Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.
One presumes that Michael Higgins, the foreign affairs spokesman of the Irish Labour Party, is well aware of these considerations, and that his statement about Irish government policy noted in the Irish Times article should be read in this light:
Labour foreign affairs spokesman Michael D Higgins today called on the Government to demand safe passage for the MV Rachel Corrie.In cities around the United States today, Americans will be protesting against the Israeli government attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. While protesting the attack on the Mavi Marmara, Americans should demand that the Obama Administration act to guarantee safe passage for the Rachel Corrie to reach Gaza.
In a statement, he said some of those on the vessel had contacted him earlier today and had stressed they wanted to avoid conflict and to be allowed unload their cargo to help the residents of the Gaza Strip.
"The Minister for Foreign Affairs . . . must make it clear that any assault on the Rachel Corrie would be regarded as a hostile act against Ireland and a clear breach of international law that could not be ignored by this country," Mr Higgins said.