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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mavi Marmara’

‘Activists’ Hoping to Help Breach Gaza Blockade, Raped in Benghazi

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Three female British nationals who had been attempting to take part in yet another effort to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza were brutally gang raped when, blocked from leaving the Libyan border, they were abducted and assaulted.  Early reports are that the men who abducted and attacked the women are Libyan soldiers.

The women were part of a ten vehicle convoy which had been wending its way through southern Europe and northern Africa towards Egypt, allegedly seeking to bring in “humanitarian” aid to Gaza.  Typically these efforts to break the legal blockade of Gaza carry little of real value, any of which can be brought in through other points of entry.

This vehicular convoy was organized by the Turkish nongovernmental organization IHH, which describes itself as a humanitarian relief organization, but which terrorism experts consider a “a radical Islamist group masquerading as a humanitarian agency.”

According to terrorism financing expert Jonathan Schanzer, the IHH belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good.  Schanzer wrote that “the Union is chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.”  Qardawi is alleged to have personally transferred millions of dollars to the Union in an effort to provide financial support to Hamas.

The IHH, of course, is the same “humanitarian” agency that had organized the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in late May, 2010.  During that effort Israeli naval forces repeatedly informed those on board the ships that they had to turn back and all goods could be distributed if they docked at the Israeli port of Ashdod. When the flotilla ships refused to turn back, Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship, where they were brutally attacked. The Israelis eventually opened fire, leading to the death of 9 aboard the ship, and injury to many more, including to the Israeli soldiers.

The “aid” convoy of approximately ten trucks left Britain on February 25, but had been detained for many days along the Libyan-Egyptian border.  Egyptian border guards refused to allow them to cross into that country. The convoy was named the “Mavi Marmara” after the ship on which the Israeli and Turkish nationals had been injured during the 2010 confrontation.

The British nationals, frustrated by the long wait at the Egyptian border, went to Benghazi, hoping to make arrangements to fly back to Britain.  It was in Benghazi that the five were abducted, and the three women, two of whom are sisters and who were accompanied by their father, were sexually assaulted.  The father was present and witnessed the horrific assaults on his daughters.

The IHH allegedly mediated for the release of the captives, and they were released to the Turkish Consulate in Libya, where they are currently reported as safe and waiting to return to the UK.

The Libyan Deputy Prime Minister, Awadh al-Barassi, said he had been to visit the women who had been assaulted and their family was “in a very bad psychological state.”

“Sadly [the perpetrators] belong to army, but they don’t reflect the ethics of Libya army,” Mr al-Barassi said in an interview with the national Libya al-Hurra television channel.

Erdogan Ups the Ante

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey hasn’t been enough to satisfy the appetite of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Netanyahu’s offer of putting nearly a million dollars into a fund for the nine Turkish activists killed when they attacked IDF soldiers boarding the Mavi Marmara who were illegally trying to break the blockade on Gaza, hasn’t been sufficient for Erdogan either.

Erdogan told the Turkish parliament that he expects a million dollars for each activist killed, and a lifting of the naval blockade against Gaza.

Not lifting the blockade would be a deal breaker, he claimed.

It is unlikely that Netanyahu would lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is currently controlled by Hamas terrorists.

Minister Naftali Bennett posted on his Facebook page that Erdogan has done everything in his power to make Israel regret the apology, as he [Erdogan] runs a personal campaign against Turkish-Israel relations.

Hamas Official says Abbas May Visit Gaza with Erdogan

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom the Obama administration has praised for not publicly avowing violence like Hamas, may visit Gaza with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

“I believe if Erdogan comes to Gaza, he may accompany president Abu Mazen,” Ahmed Yousef, former senior political adviser to de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told the news agency hours after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan for the clash on the high seas in May 2010.

Prime Minister Netanyahu communicated to Erdogan “an apology to the Turkish people for a mistake that could lead to loss of human life.,” referring to the clash on the Mavi Mamara ship that was manned by Turkish terrorists who falsely claimed they were trying to take humanitarian aid to Gaza, where a maritime blockade is in force against terrorists.

After the clash, in which IDF commandos were brutally attacked before they overcame the terrorists, the ship was brought to Ashdod, where no humanitarian aid was found on board.

Hamas said on Friday that Erdogan told its leader supreme Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal that Israel had promised to lift the maritime blockade and the alleged “siege” on Gaza. Israel has opened up land crossing to almost all goods and merchandise except for those directly involved in terror, such as explosives.

Erdogan has stated several times in the past year he would visit Gaza, and doing so now, after Netanyahu’s apology, would be considered a swift kick in the butt in return for Israel’s exercise in appeasing Turkish anger over the deaths of nine of the terrorists in the flotilla clash.

If Abbas were to visit, it would also be a kick in pants of the Obama administration. President Barack Obama showered Abbas with praise during his visit to Ramallah last Thursday, taking pains to try to prove that Abbas, as opposed to Hamas, is a true “partner” for peace with Israel.

Did Israel `Apologize’ to Turkey? Well, No, Not Exactly

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Israel apologizes to Turkey, reads every headline. That simply isn’t true in the sense it is taken to imply. To understand what happened one must examine the long negotiations on this issue.

The issue began when several ships were sent to break the Israeli sanctions on the Gaza Strip in May 2010. These sanctions were put on by Israel—Egypt, then under the government of President Husni Mubarak, had its own restrictions—against a radical Islamist regime in the Gaza Strip that openly rejected peace, used terrorism, and called for genocide against the Jews and the elimination of Israel.

This flotilla was not interested in helping the people of Gaza. It refused to land the cargos in Israel and have them passed across the border after inspection. Rather, the goal was to help Hamas. A key role in the flotilla was played by the IHH, an Islamist group that has been involved in terrorism, backed by Turkey’s government.

These ships were intercepted by Israel’s navy and after warnings were seized. On all of the ships this happened without any injuries except on the Mavi Marmara, where radical jihadists with weapons had sworn to fight. They attacked the arriving soldiers, injured several, and took a couple of soldiers hostage. At that time the soldiers opened fire and several Turkish citizens were killed.

It is important to understand that the flotilla issue was not the cause of Israel-Turkish problems, which had begun long before. The real basis was the election of an Islamist government in Turkey. Discussions inside the Israeli government for years had known Prime Minister Erdogan’s hatred for Israel but did not want to be seen as responsible for any breakdown of relations.

During the talks, Erdogan made three demands:

  • * Israel must apologize completely.
  • * Such an apology implies a legal responsibility to pay reparations.
  • * Erdogan insisted that Israel drop the embargo against the Gaza Strip.

Israel rejected these demands and instead offered:

* To say it regretted the clash and the loss of life. This is like saying: If I offended anyone I’m sorry.
* It offered to pay voluntarily as a humanitarian gesture, not as part of a guilty plea, the families of those killed.
* Israel rejected any change on its policy toward the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan angrily rejected Israel’s offer.

Now, a compromise has been reached, apparently with some help from President Barack Obama. The agreement, which includes restoring normal bilateral relations, has been portrayed as some sort of Israeli surrender.

That is simply not true. The agreement is much closer to Israel’s position. There is no change on Israel’s strategic policy toward the Gaza Strip at all. While the word “apology” appears in Netanyahu’s statement, it is notably directed at the Turkish people, not the government and is of the sorry if your feelings were hurt variety.

Moreover, Israel denied that it killed the Turkish citizens intentionally, a situation quite different from what Erdogan wanted, and offered to pay humanitarian assistance to families.

Should Israel have expressed regret when it should instead receive an apology from the Turkish government for helping to send terrorists to create a confrontation?

On purely moral grounds, no. Yet as I pointed out Israel did not abandon its long-standing position on the issue. It does not want an antagonism with the Turkish people nor one that will continue long after Erdogan and his regime are long out of office. Perhaps this was undertaken to make Obama happy and in exchange for U.S. benefits. But what has happened is far more complex than onlookers seem to be realizing.

Perhaps these seeming word games and niceties are beyond the interest or comprehension of many people, but everyone involved directly on this issue knows exactly what is happening. Erdogan knows very well that this was not a Turkish victory—except in public relations– though Israel won’t object to letting it be claimed as such.

Israel acted to try to reduce the tension with Turkey but without any illusions that the Erdogan regime would now be friendly. Indeed, there were implications that Erdogan was breaking his commitment on the deal. Immediately afterward, he said that a legal case against Israeli officers for alleged responsibility in the death of the Turks would continue and he was not yet sending back his ambassador to Israel. This might be posturing for a few hours or a real deal-breaker. We will see.

Obama’s role in this deal is not clear. (I have made clear to readers that I’m not just bashing Obama reflexively but I will also continue to analyze his actions as accurately as possible.) Did he put any pressure on Erdogan or Netanyahu? Did he promise either or both sides some benefits for making a deal? Not yet clear.

The danger is that this is the kind of arrangement that is all too common in the region. The media proclaim progress; the political leaders say what they want; but nothing changes in reality. One possibility is that Obama doesn’t understand (or doesn’t care) how deeply Erdogan’s anti-Israel feeling runs just as he doesn’t understand how deeply that is true for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Still, this deal is clearly in U.S. interests since it supposedly heals a rift between two countries that are close allies to itself in Washington’s eyes. As I said above, let’s see if this deal sticks or if there is any progress in fixing Israel-Turkey relations in the coming weeks.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Run Zoabi, Run

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

In a very unsurprising move, the Supreme Court overruled the Central Elections Commission and determined that MK Hanin Zoabi of the Balad party can run in the upcoming elections.

Despite the Elections Commission being clearly right in saying she breached the requirements regarding who is not allowed to run, and the Supreme Court being clearly wrong in having overruled them, I probably have to support Zoabi’s right to run.

Zoabi, as you should recall, was an involved passenger on the Mavi Marmara blockade run attempt in 2010.

On the Mavi Marmara, a group of passengers, connected to the Turkish IHH (designated as a terror organization by Israel), attacked IDF naval troops, including with at least one gun, during their attempt to break the blockade of Hamas terror-controlled Gaza and provide aid to Israel’s enemy.

Zoabi set off a political storm in Israel with her participation on that particular boat.

So you must be asking yourself, why am I supporting her right to run in the Knesset, despite her association with known terrorists and attempting to aid the enemy?

After all, in Israel’s Elections Law it clearly states the following are the basis for individuals and parties not being allowed to run:

1. The rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

2. Incitement of racism.

3. Support of the armed struggle of enemy states or terrorist organizations against the state of Israel.

4. A reasonable basis to conclude that the party will be used for illegal activities.

Zoabi seems to clearly be in violation of at least #1 and #3.

And the Balad party’s stated goal is the “struggle to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity,” is clearly in violation of #1.

And its not like there isn’t history here.

You might recall the famous case of MK Azmi Bishara, not coincidentally, also from the Balad party.

Bishara ran away before he could be arrested for actively aiding Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War. And then the Knesset banned the Balad party, but once again the Supreme Court overruled them and let Balad run.

I have two reasons for this admittedly strange position.

The first is that it’s a badly written law.

It’s vague and it potentially chills free speech.

Parts of the law above are incredibly vague (such as #2), and there’s far too much wiggle room that allows it to be spuriously applied to any political enemy, such as the recent attempts to use it against Ben-Ari and Naftali Bennett, in an attempt to block them from running.

It’s a law crying out for selective abuse, just as it was selectively abused in the past against another rightwing party who was becoming very popular, and yet it was never used against any leftwing anti-Jewish parties (such as Shinui) or anti-Settler parties (such as Meretz), no matter how racist they might be considered, nor despite their attempts to remove the Jewish component from Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state.

In short, the law is poorly written, it is selectively applied, and until the law is fixed, it’s problematic to have it applied to anyone, since it can be used against any political enemy.

The second and perhaps more important reason is that the Knesset dropped the ball.

IHH is designated a terrorist organization.

Zoabi was on the boat with a terrorist organization to break the Israeli government’s lawful blockade on a terrorist entity.

Nu?

Why didn’t the Knesset do its equivalent of impeaching her?

Why did the government fail in its charges against her participation in the Mavi Marmara?

Simply because she claimed she was acting independent from the IHH! For heaven’s sake, why isn’t Zoabi sitting in jail?

But that’s only part of it.

The government dropped the ball, in another place. And perhaps not where you think.

The government also dropped the ball, because it still hasn’t fought the Supreme Court, and their self-assumed right to overrule any Knesset ruling they don’t like.

Until the Knesset decides to take a clear position that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds and taking on powers it doesn’t have, then the Knesset deserves every slap in the face it gets from the Supreme Court.

Israel Deports Estelle Infiltrators

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Israel deported 15 international protesters arrested for trying to infiltrate an Israeli security zone set up around Gaza with their flotilla, Estelle.

Infiltrators hailed from Greece, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Canada.

Israeli naval commandos boarded Estelle on October 20.  Estelle is Swedish-owned, Finnish-flagged.

The attempt follows in the wake of the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists who claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in May 2010.  When Israeli commandos boarded the illegal vessel, they were attacked by the activists who stabbed several and beat others with pipes and sticks.  Defending themselves against the attackers, soldiers killed nine Turkish activists before quelling the attack.

 

The Diplomacy of Rabbis (in Turkey and Beyond)

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

We are all aware of the dismal state of Turkish-Israel relations, which deteriorated as a result of a long line of events: Operation Cast Lead (December 2008-January 2009), the Davos meeting between Peres and Erdoğan (January 2009) and the cancellation of the joint naval maneuver (that was to take place in October 2009). The Mavi Marmara incident (May 2010), plunged the relationship between the two countries to a new low.

Neither country hosts the other’s ambassadors. The investigative committees that functioned over the past two years failed to bridge differences of opinion. Each has demands of the other and the state of affairs between them seems to be “stuck”.

Yet, there are many people in Israel andTurkey who are very dissatisfied with the present condition of relations between the countries and long for the warmth and brotherhood that characterized the cooperation in many areas in the past.

Despite the politics, over the past two years the trade relations between the two countries actually expanded. While El Al has stopped flying to Turkey, the Turkish airline maintains a number of flights every day between the two countries and the planes are full.

And behind the scenes, some Turkish friends of Israel are working to improve the relationship between the two countries. One such person is Adnan Oktar, a Turk and a Muslim author who has been, for the past twenty-five years, publishing books and articles under the pen-name, Harun Yahya, dealing with issues regarding Darwinism, Communism, history, philosophy and religion.

Oktar has accumulated a good amount of support over the years. According to the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan, in 2010 he was among the fifty most influential people in the Islamic world today, for his dissemination of creationism in an Islamic context and other extensively distributed publications on Islamic topics.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Oktar published a book in which he claims that true Islam rejects terror and since then he has been endeavoring to promote inter-faith dialog and to encourage mutual understanding. In his articles and books he often quotes the prophets of Israeland the vision of redemption and global peace that they gave to the world.

Oktar has accumulated more than a few rivals who try anything to silence him: He was accused, for example, of being Holocaust denier because a book under the title “The Holocaust Lie” was falsely published under his pen-name in 1995.

Because of his public support for the right of the Jewish people to live on the land of its fathers with sovereignty, independence and in true peace with its neighbors, whether Arab, Turkish, Iranians or others, his detractors claim that he is actually an agent of the Mossad.

As an Islamic thinker, Oktar prefers to conduct a dialog with believing Jews, because he finds a common cultural basis with them. To him, a God-fearing Jew is his brother, as is any person in the world who believes in God. Abraham – the “Father of Many Nations” – is the ancient father of all monotheists, and therefore there is no reason that they should bicker over anything. Peace, brotherhood and cooperation between people are the supreme values in the eyes of the Creator, and therefore war, conflict and death are contrary to His will.

These beliefs moved Oktar to invite to Turkey a delegation of religious Knesset Members and other notables, for a series of meetings with Turkey’s political echelon,  specifically the religious Justice and Development Party (the AKP), which has ruled Turkey since 2002.

The Israeli delegation included Members of Knesset Rabbi Nisim Ze’ev and Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen, who is also deputy minister of the treasury. Other prominent religious figures included the rabbi ofGeneva, Rabbi Dr. Yitzhak Dayan and Rabbi Benjamin Abramson, an adviser to the Sanhedrin. I participated as well.

Oktar and his organization provided complete funding for the meetings and members of both delegations including flights, accommodations, transportation and strictly kosher food for the Israelis.

The delegation conducted two days of hearings, one inAnkara,Turkey’s capital, and one in Istanbul. The discussions included dozens of people from the boiling cauldron of Turkish politics, most of whom are members of the AKP.

It is important to note that the AKP is not homogeneous. It has many shades and variations. Just try to imagine a religious party in Israel that includes Satmar, Shas, Degel Hatorah, Aguda, Mafdal (now the Jewish Home), as well as the Conservatives and the Reform. The wolf will live with the lamb and the tiger will lie down with the kid before such a party is established in Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/the-diplomacy-of-rabbis-in-turkey-and-beyond/2012/08/26/

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