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15 internationals killed as Israel attacks and hijacks Gaza Flotilla in International Waters
by sarah hampton
Monday May 31st, 2010 2:21 AM
Up to 15 international human rights activists have been killed and over 30 others injured after Israeli commandos attacked the unarmed Gaza Freedom Flotilla early this morning in international waters, according to reports from the flotilla organisers, while Israeli military sources confirmed 10 dead. This attack is a clear breach of international law.
No word has been received on the condition of the three Irish passengers as the satellite phone on the Challenger 1 on which they were passengers is uncontactable. The IPSC expresses its concern for these brave people we hope that they are safe.

Israel has imposed a gag order on reporting on the attack

Live-streaming video showed images of Israeli commandoes descending from helicopters at around 4am this morning, and reports say that they proceeded to use live ammunition against the ships passengers. Video also showed casualties on the boat. The attack happened as the flotilla entered an arbitrarily imposed Israeli ‘military exclusion zone’ in international waters around Gaza, as the captain of the Turkish IHH ship the Mavi Marmara refused a military order to turn back.

Although reports remain unclear, with no line of communication to the boats, it appears that Israeli forces have now hijacked the flotilla and are some 30 miles away from the Israeli port of Ashdod where they will dock. The ships are due to reach the port in the next two hours. Other reports suggest that they may divert to the port of Haifa where there are no media. Upon arrival, the Israeli military have stated that all Israeli participants will be arrested, Palestinians will be questioned by Israeli secret police and internationals will be deported or held in a detention centre if they contest deportation.

On board the ship are hundreds of civilians – including parliamentarians - attempting to bring 10,000 tonnes of supplies and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip which has been under an illegal Israeli-imposed siege for the past three years.

All the Palestinian factions were united in their condemnation, and the Palestinian Authority called it an act of piracy and declared a three-day state of mourning.

Mustafa Baraghout, an independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council called the attack “a declaration of war on many countries, including Turkey, Sweden and Ireland”.

Dr. David Landy, Chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “This act of Israeli piracy is a clear breach of international law. The fact that Israel would allow its forces to kill and wound international human rights activists shows the world once again that Israeli is a rogue state that acts with impunity. It is high-time for this impunity to be ended and for Israeli to be brought to account for its disregard for international law.”
Dr. Landy continued: “Israel has claimed that it no longer occupies Gaza. If this is the case, then why did they prevent this humanitarian aid flotilla from reaching Gaza? The hypocrisy of the Israeli state is simply astounding, and it is time for the international community to take serious action against Israel. We demand justice both for those murdered today and the Palestinian people for whom such acts are, unfortunately, commonplace.”

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called a protest for this evening at 6pm, assembling at the Spire on O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 which will then march to the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge. Speakers at the event will be Aengus O Snodaigh TD and Chris Andrews TD, both of whom were refused access to the flotilla by the Cypriot authorities after coming under severe pressure from Israel. The IPSC is calling on people in Ireland to show their outrage at this murderous attack against unarmed solidarity activists by coming out on the streets tomorrow.
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We, Pakistani nation condemn Israiel attack strongly on fleet of peace and prosperity(FREEDOM FLOTILLA). The zionist forces have proved that they are not in favor of peace in this world. What is their justification of this attack and killing of innocent people, they(Israielis) are the biggest terrorists in this world and we dont have a doubt in saying this now!!!

by Becky Johnson
Monday May 31st, 2010 11:26 AM
I'm reading reports at various Israeli newspapers. This is what they are saying. The IDF boarded five of the six ships and inspected their cargoes without incident. But when they boarded the 6th ship, they were met with armed resistance: clubs and knives . No guns.

The IDF dispersed the resisters using non-lethal means. During the scuffle, two guns were taken from IDF soldiers. These were then turned on the IDF soldiers which caused the lethal response.
Five IDF soldiers were injured in the melee, two of them seriously.

The Israeli blockade of GAZA is legal under international law because HAMAS is a hostile party and Hamas and Israel are in a state of war. Israel has every right to blockade Gaza and ensure that no materials cross into Gaza which will then be used against Israeli civilians.

It will be days, even weeks before we learn with any surety what happened in this incident. My condolences to the families of those slain.

by becky is slime
Monday May 31st, 2010 9:32 PM
Amy Goodman: We are reading Israeli military reports that say when they boarded the Turkish ship, that they were attacked by sticks and knives. What do you understand has happened?

Adam Shapiro: Our people on the ship reported live as the soldiers came onto the ship, and reported that soldiers were opening fire as they were coming onto the ship, and they were descending from helicopters. So, our understanding is that the Israeli soldiers opened fire first. I have not seen or heard any thing else about–and there are many journalists on board that ship–anything else about our people, the passengers on that ship, posing any kind of threat. There was a live feed coming from the ship using satellite, video satellite, on satellite, that has been rebroadcast on CNN, on CNN Turk, on Al Jazeera, on Press TV, on numerous media outlets, not one image from this entire footage shows any of the passengers holding any kind of object that could be construed as a weapon. So, I mean, I am sure that the Israelis would like the world to believe that they were the ones being attacked as they assaulted these ships, but this is just Israeli spin.
by J.T.
Friday Jun 18th, 2010 2:48 PM
Thousands mourn Ethiopian fire victims in Seattle ON June 18th, 2010 IN SEATTLE — An Ethiopian Orthodox Christian ceremony began with traditional chanting by religious leaders as a memorial service got under way Friday morning at Key Arena for the victims of last weekend's fatal fire in Fremont.

A crowd of nearly 3,000 was expected to attend the event, many arriving by shuttle from Yesler Community Center, where the East African community has been gathering all week to grieve alongside the victims' families, members of Seattle's Ethiopian community.

Killed in the fire at Helen Gebregiorgis' Fremont apartment were three of her children, Joseph Gebregiorgis, 13; Nisreen Shamam, 6; and Yaseen Shamam, 5; her sister, Yerusalem Gebregiorgis, 22; and a niece, 7-year-old Nyella Smith, daughter of a third sister, Yordanos Gebregiorgis.

The names of the dead were displayed on the electronic reader board above the gathering Key Arena crowd, many of them members of the area's East African community and dressed in traditional attire, with women in flowing garments and white shawls known as netellas, which are worn at spiritual events.

Mayor Mike McGinn was expected to address the crowd, along with Maria Goodloe-Johnson, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. Others expected to speak were local East African religious and community leaders, with a reading of a letter of condolence from the Ethiopian Consulate in Los Angeles.

A slideshow and musical presentation in honor of the dead was expected to conclude the event, which Daniel Gebregiorgis, brother of the Gebregiorgis sisters, said would mark the end of public mourning as the family turns its attention to helping Helen find a new home.

"We don't know where Helen is going to go from here," he said.

The Gebregiorgis siblings came to the U.S. n in 1989 along with their refugee parents, who had fled their war-torn native country.

The memorial, originally set for the center's Exhibition Hall, was moved to Key Arena because of the large number of expected attendees. "We didn't want to be in a position where people would have to be turned away," said Seattle Center spokeswoman Deborah Daoust.

Some Seattle residents have questioned Mayor McGinn's decision to provide the use of Key Arena for the service at taxpayer expense. Daoust said those costs — which she initially estimated at about $5,000 — were low because the arena was already configured for such a large-capacity stage event, having hosted several recent high-school graduation ceremonies.