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June 7, 2010

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Video: Gaza Flotilla to Israeli Navy: "Shut Up, Go Back to Auschwitz," "We're Helping Arabs Go Against the U.S." (IDF Spokesperson-IMRA)
    In response to a radio transmission by the Israeli Navy warning the Gaza flotilla that they are approaching a naval blockade, flotilla passengers responded, "Shut up, go back to Auschwitz" and "We're helping Arabs go against the U.S., don't forget 9/11."
    View Video (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel Concerned Over New Turkish Intelligence Chief - Amir Oren (Ha'aretz)
    The Israeli defense establishment - and especially the Mossad, which maintains ties with Turkey's national intelligence organization (MIT) - is concerned over the recent appointment of Hakan Fidan, a personal confidant of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as head of that organization.
    Israeli security sources believe the Mavi Marmara incident reflects an intentional change in relations between Israel and Turkey - orchestrated by Erdogan, along with Fidan and Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu.
    During the past year Fidan served as deputy director of the prime minister's office and played a central role in tightening Turkish ties with Iran, especially on the nuclear issue.

Turkish Islamists Came to Fight - Jonathan Spyer (Jerusalem Post)
    Journalists who covered the previous "aid convoy" to Gaza - George Galloway's "Viva Palestina" extravaganza last year - were the least surprised by the flotilla events.
    On that convoy, there was a very notable divide between young, Western leftist participants, and a hard-core group of Turkish Islamists who were there courtesy of IHH, who openly proclaimed their commitment to jihad and fighting Israel.
    The Turkish group was centrally involved in clashes with Egyptian security forces at that time, in which one Egyptian policeman was killed. Western participants in the convoy were afraid and depressed by their unexpected companions.

Turkey Accuses Israel of "Ordering Kurdish Terror Attack" (Ynet News)
    Turkish authorities are accusing Israel of "ordering" a terror attack carried out by Kurdish rebels on the same day the Israeli Navy raided a Turkish-owned Gaza-bound ship last week in revenge for Ankara's involvement in the incident, the Turkish newspaper Zaman reported Sunday.
    Seven Turkish soldiers were killed in the attack at a Turkish navy base in Iskenderun.
    According to the report, Ankara's intelligence services are looking into the possibility that the Kurdish PKK attack was "ordered by Israel's secret services."

Egypt Refuses to Let Aid into Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Over the weekend, the Arab Physicians Union submitted a request to the Egyptian government to send 400 tons of food and construction material, including cement, into Gaza.
    The request was turned down by the Egyptian authorities, who did not offer any explanation, said Munir Albarsh, a representative of the union.

Did Reuters Crop a Photo to Remove a Peace Activist's Weapon? (Little Green Footballs)
    A Turkish newspaper has released photos taken by the "peace activists" aboard the Mavi Marmara, showing them attempting to take hostage an injured Israeli soldier who had been stabbed.
    In the same photo as released by Reuters, the knife is cropped out.
    See also Cropped Reuters Photo Deletes Another Knife (Little Green Footballs)

    See also Pictures of Commandos Prove Soldiers' Lives Were in Danger - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    Turkey's top daily, Hurriyet, on Sunday published pictures of Israeli Navy commandos - helpless, possibly unconscious, badly beaten and bloodied.
    The images of soldiers dragged along the floor and down staircases seem to corroborate IDF reports that the soldiers were in danger of being held as hostages.

White House Correspondent Apologizes for Saying Jews Should "Get Out of Palestine" and Go Back to Poland and Germany - Leo Standora (New York Daily News)
    Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas suggested last week that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else."
    The daughter of Lebanese immigrants made her controversial comments at a White House Jewish Heritage Celebration on May 27.
    Thomas later posted a lukewarm apology on her personal Web site.
    View Video (YouTube)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:

  • Iran Offers Escort to Next Gaza Aid Convoy - Ian Black
    Iran has warned that it could send Revolutionary Guard naval units to escort humanitarian aid convoys seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. "Iran's Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys," pledged Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi, the personal representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the guards corps. (Guardian-UK)
        See also Iran Red Crescent to Send Two Aid Ships to Gaza - Farhad Pouladi
    The Iranian Red Crescent will send two aid ships to Gaza this week in a bid to break the blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory by Israel. Red Crescent director for international affairs Abdolrauf Adibzadeh told the state IRNA news agency on Sunday that the decision was taken after a meeting with the Iranian foreign ministry. (AFP)
  • IHH Official: "Our Goal Was to Reach Gaza or to Die Trying"
    IHH official Hussein Orush spoke about U.S.-born Furkan Dogan on Al-Jazeera TV on June 5:: "One of the martyrs was 19 years old. We've just found his last diary in his suitcase. The last lines he wrote before the attack were: 'Only a short time left before martyrdom. This is the most important stage of my life. Nothing is more beautiful than martyrdom.'" Orush added, "Our goal was to reach Gaza or to die trying. All the ship's passengers were ready for this. IHH was ready for this too."
        Journalist Saleh Al-Azraq told Al-Hiwar TV on June 4: "The moment the ship set sail, the cries of 'Allah Akbar' began. It was half past midnight on Friday. There were cries of 'Allah Akbar' and people reciting the Koran. It made you feel as if you were going on an Islamic conquest or raid."  (MEMRI)
  • U.S. Couple Conspired to Send Money to Hizbullah - Carol Cratty
    An Ohio couple was arrested Thursday in Toledo for plotting to send money to the terrorist organization Hizbullah in Lebanon, federal authorities said. Hor and Amera Akl, who are dual U.S.-Lebanon citizens, were approached by an FBI informant who claimed to work for an anonymous donor wanting to support Hizbullah. The criminal complaint says the couple suggested numerous ways to send money to Lebanon. The Akls settled on a plan to pack a large amount of money in hollow sections of a vehicle and ship it from the U.S. to Lebanon. (CNN)
  • American Hurt in 2003 Hamas Bombing Dies of Wounds
    A U.S. citizen seriously injured in a Palestinian suicide bombing seven years ago has died as a result of complications from his wounds. Julie Averbach says her husband, 44-year-old New Jersey native Steve Averbach, died on Thursday. A Hamas suicide bomber killed seven people and wounded 20 when he detonated his explosives on a packed commuter bus in Jerusalem in May 2003. Averbach was hit by shrapnel and paralyzed from the neck down. (AP)
        See also Profile of a Hero, Steve Averbach - Michael Wildes (The Record)
        See also The Tikvot Team
    Steve Averbach, a former policeman, served as spokesman for "Tikvot," dedicated to rehabilitating victims of terrorism through sport. (Tikvot)
  • News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:

  • Israel Navy Takes Over New Gaza Aid Ship Without Incident - Yanir Yagna, Barak Ravid and Anshel Pfeffer
    IDF naval commandos took control Saturday of the Rachel Corrie, a ship trying to breach the maritime blockade on Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday that the activists on board did not enter into any confrontations with the troops. The boat was brought to Ashdod port for inspection of its cargo. "Today we saw the difference between a flotilla of peace activists - with whom we disagree, but whose right to a different opinion we respect - and a flotilla of hate organized by violent, terrorism-supporting extremists," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Netanyahu: "We Will Not Allow the Establishment of an Iranian Port in Gaza"
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday: "Regarding yesterday's ship and five of the six ships in the previous flotilla, this process ended without casualties or untoward incidents. Only on one ship, on which dozens of thugs from a terrorist organization - or, to be more precise, an extremist, terrorism-supporting organization - had prepared in advance, armed with axes, knives and other 'cold' weapons, were our soldiers compelled to defend themselves against a tangible danger to their lives."
        "According to the information currently in our possession, this group boarded separately in a different city, organized separately, equipped itself separately and went on deck under different procedures. In effect, they underwent no checks. The clear intent of this hostile group was to initiate a violent clash with IDF soldiers. This truth is gradually spreading around the world."
        "We will not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza. We will not allow the free flow of war materiel and contraband to Hamas. On the other hand, we have no desire to make things difficult for the civilian population in Gaza. We would like for goods that are neither war materiel nor contraband to enter Gaza. Thus we have acted in this case as well. I would like to stress that, as of now, Hamas is preventing the entry of the goods into Gaza and this proves it is not the assistance to the residents of Gaza that is important to Hamas, but provocations."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • IDF: Five Gaza Flotilla Activists Linked to Hamas, Al-Qaeda - Anshel Pfeffer
    The Israel Defense Forces revealed on Sunday that five of the pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Turkish-flagged ship it intercepted last week have links to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They include Hassan Iynasi, 28, a Turkish citizen who belongs to an Islamic charity and regularly contributed financial assistance to Islamic Jihad; Hussein Urosh, a supporter of the Turkish IHH who was planning to help bring al-Qaeda militants from Turkey to Gaza; and Ahmad Umimon, 51, a Moroccan-born resident of France and allegedly a member of Hamas. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Navy Foils Sea Attack from Gaza - Yaakov Katz
    An Israeli Navy force intercepted a unit of heavily armed Palestinian frogmen in the Nahal Aza area on Monday and opened fire on them, killing five. The terrorists were wearing diving gear and trying to swim to an Israeli city along the Mediterranean coast. According to the IDF, the size of the unit and equipment it was carrying indicated an intention to carry out a large-scale attack in Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Turkey Must Be the Focus of Any International Investigation - Editorial
    There was no fighting with five of the six boats in the flotilla fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic "charity" that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). The relationship between Erdogan's government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the "Union of Good," a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the U.S. in 2008.
        Turkish officials insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization. Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Erdogan. "All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan," IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year. And Erdogan seems to share that notion: In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hizbullah's Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state.
        Erdogan's crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil's president in linking arms with Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new UN sanctions. What's remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. (Washington Post)
  • Why No Outrage for Anti-Israel, Phony Flotilla? - Mort Zuckerman
    Israel paid close attention when the so-called flotilla of some 700 activists, dominated by members of an extremist Islamist organization in Turkey known as IHH and other radical groups, boarded six ships and stated that their real mission was to bust the Israeli naval blockade to establish a permanent sea lane between Gaza and the rest of the world. The outcry that Israel was inhumanely denying aid was proved false - beyond any reasonable doubt - by the fact that both Israel and Egypt offered to have all the food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods sent to Gaza if the boats agreed to land in an Israeli or Egyptian port. This was rejected by the flotilla leaders. The convoy was not about freedom and it was not about aid. It was about helping Hamas, aiding its terrorist activities, and harming Israel.
        Only Israel is selectively prosecuted in the court of public opinion. No other country would be denied the right of self-defense under comparable circumstances. No other country would be depicted in the global media as a barbaric aggressor, while Hamas terrorists and their fellow travelers are portrayed as valiant champions of human rights. This confuses the firefighter and the arsonist. (U.S. News)
  • Should Jews Apologize to Turkey? - Victor Davis Hanson
    The Turkish ambassador to the U.S. has a long op-ed in the Washington Post asking for Israel to apologize to Turkey for the Gaza flotilla incident, and urging the U.S. to pressure Israel to act accordingly. If anyone might be offering apologies, it should be Ambassador Tan, or at least an explanation for why a ship left a Turkish port headed for a planned confrontation, staffed in large part by the Insani Yardim Vakfi organization, which according to American and European intelligence chiefs is a terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda.
        Turkey currently quite illegally and against world opinion sponsors the occupation of Cyprus. The Turkish government has killed far more Turkish Kurds than the Israeli government has Palestinians; it has zero tolerance for foreign human rights organizations that have wished to investigate the treatment of Kurds in Turkish prisons. Turkish fighter aircraft are not always so careful to stay on their side of the Aegean.
        As far as the request that Americans pressure Israel, that is an odd wish from a society that continually broadcasts gruesome anti-American serials on its television channels, and now has chosen to reach out to the terrorist-sponsoring regimes in Teheran and Damascus that are responsible for a number of American deaths in Iraq. Most Americans sense that the end of Turkey's participation in NATO is only a matter of when, not if. Turkey wishes to reestablish its old Ottoman role as the more legitimate voice of the Sunni Muslim world. (Pajamas Media)
  • U.S. Groups React to Gaza Flotilla Violence - Paul Frysh
    "Many countries have had naval blockades," said Malcolm Hoenlein, president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "Few are more justified than Israel facing a terrorist organization [Hamas]...and denying them access to the missiles." The thousands of rockets fired into Israel by Hamas show that the threat is a real one, Hoenlein said. "Do you know how many ships have smuggled arms into Gaza under the guise of humanitarian aid, under all sorts of subterfuges: fishing boats, commercial vehicles?...There is a long track record and history of the smuggling that goes in by sea."
        Israel, said Hoenlein, told members of the flotilla that it would allow the aid into Gaza but simply wanted to inspect it first and send it through the Israeli port city of Ashdod. "If they were really interested in getting humanitarian aid into Gaza, why didn't they simply go into Ashdod port, unload onto trucks, ride with the trucks into Gaza? Because that's not what their interest was."  (CNN)
  • The Gaza Flotilla - Rafael L. Bardaji
    It's been said that the naval blockade of Gaza is illegal. That's false. On May 2, 1982, the United Kingdom imposed a blockade of the Falklands and even sunk the cruiser General Belgrano, causing more than 300 casualties. And Israel is accused of using disproportionate force. The writer is a senior fellow of the Strategic Studies Group (GEES) and former executive adviser to the Spanish defense minister. (La Gaceta-Spain)
  • Observations:

    The Myth of the Siege of Gaza - Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

    • Since 2007, Israel has maintained a legal maritime blockade around Gaza whose purpose is to keep rockets and other weapons out of the hands of Hamas, while letting food and other humanitarian aid in. Yet there have been a wide variety of officials and commentators who insist that Gaza is starving, setting the stage for the repeated efforts of "humanitarian" ships to break the Gaza blockade  
    • Gaza is not cut off from the outside world. In the last year, the markets of Gaza have been flooded with produce and merchandise. In fact, in 2009, a total of 7,233 truckloads of humanitarian aid from the international community passed from Israel into Gaza. From June 2007 (the date of the Hamas military takeover of Gaza), overall monetary transfers to Gaza have totaled over $5 billion from governmental and extragovernmental sources. The governor of the Central Bank of the Palestinian Authority, Jihad al-Wazir, confirmed that 56 percent of the PA budget is designated for Gaza. Gaza receives additional aid funds directly from Iran and the Arab countries.
    • There is also an established economic system of Palestinian imports from Egypt via hundreds of tunnels operating under the control of a Hamas government that grants approval for operating them and collects taxes from their owners. The tunnel network has increased imports from Egypt to Gaza from $30 million annually during the years 1994-2006 to more than $650 million annually. Given the abundance of supply, the price of diesel fuel and gasoline, delivered to Gaza through pipes from Egypt, is half that of the price in Israel.
    • Farid Zakout, director of the Gaza Construction Association, told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam that the price of a ton of cement now stands at NIS 800 as opposed to NIS 1,200 two months ago, and over NIS 3,000 more than a year ago. Cement prices fell after some 80 percent of tunnel owners began to import cement. The renewed surge in construction activity has fostered a rise of 25 percent in the number of those employed in the industry.

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