Covering the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla and responses in Ireland

This collection of articles covers the attack by the Israeli military on the Freedom Flotilla which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza.  The muderous attack resulted in the deaths of at least ten activists and the wounding of dozens.  More of the hundreds kidnapped off the high seas by the Israeli pirate action were injured when they were beaten in jail.  These articles also include coverage of some of the protests that then took place in Dublin.  All were originally written as the stories broke for the WSM site.

Protests around Ireland after Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla

Protests are to take place in Dublin, Sligo, Galway, Belfast, Derry,  Monaghan & Cork today against the act of international piracy by the Israeli military last night when they attacked a flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza . The Globe & Mail is reporting that 19 people have been killed in an attack staged last night. The flotilla of six ships called the “freedom flotilla” includes one from the Ireland called the Rachel Corrie, named after the American activist murdered by the IDF in 2003. At least 8 Irish people are on board various ships in the flotilla.

The over one million people living in the Gaza Strip have been living under an Israeli military blockade at sea and on land since Israel brutally attacked the Gaza Strip in 2007. The attack on the flotilla occurred when commandos boarded the flotilla from helicopters over head and zodiac boats. Israel’s claims that the flotilla was armed were rubbished by Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly who personally witnessed the preparations before the flotilla left Cyprus. Daly along with Aengus O Snodaigh from Sinn Fein and Chris Andrews from Fianna Fail were both due to participate in the flotilla but were prevented by Israeli diplomatic pressure on the Cypriot government.

At least three of the people from Ireland are on the Rachel Corrie which is carrying 10,000 tonnes of much needed aid for people living in the Gaza strip. The three include Fintan Lane who wrote an article on the emergence of anarchism in Ireland for the WSM magazine Red & Black Revolution. Caoimhe Butterly who took part in the early Grassroots Gatherings appears in the video from Gaza TV News that she pre-recorded for release in the event of the flotilla coming under attack. In it she asks people to mobilise to turn the outrage people feel into effective action.

Dublin - The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has called a march on the Israeli embassy this evening gathering at the Spire on O'Connell street at 6pm. In Cork Corcaigh Palaistín have called a protest for Daunt square at 1pm today. Galway protest at  6pm @ the Liam Mellows Statue, Eyre Square. Sligo - Protest vigil for Palestine & murdered freedom flotilla passengers at GPO in Sligo 6pm today (IPSC) Contact Gerry Casey @ 087 9301 625 for more info. Belfast - 4pm on Monday 31st May at the CITY HALL BELFAST, Derry - GUILDHALL SQUARE 5 PM, Monaghan Town - Courthouse,  today, Monday, @5pm

(written with Finbar)

Live footage from on board ship as attack progressed

Al Jazeera footage of commandos on ship

Sky News footage of commandos attacking ship

IDF release video showing passengers trying to beat off pirates

The Israeli military have released a video which claims to show heroic passengers attempting to beat back the IDF pirates that are boarding their ship in order to hijack it. Although of course that is not the spin that the IDF put on it.
It is shot from a helicopter or drone above the ship and claims to show 3 or 4 of the pirate commandos being attacked as they board the ship by passengers ‘armed’ with what appears to be random material (including what looks like a 5m pole) they have picked up from the deck. Two thrown objects are labelled as ‘stun grenades’ (some sort of firework?) and ‘fire bomb’. The later label is particularly unconvincing as there are no apparent flames when it lands.

Tellingly despite early IDF claims that the passengers defended themselves with guns they had taken off the first pirates to board none are labelled in this short 1 minute video. Raw footage from the ship suggests the actual massacre lasted for almost 10 minutes with gunshots continuing to be heard long after the ships captain has announced that they have hung out a white flag.

If the IDF think this video will justify their massacre of as many as 20 international peace campaigners and the wounding of as many as 50 more they have lost all sense of perspective. Hollywood has made films out of passengers taking on attempted plane hijackers in a similar fashion. If this is the best propaganda the IDF can produce a dozen hours after seizing all the video and image recording devices that were on the ship it only serves to expose just how brutal the Israeli assault was. We can presume that right now the IDF will be erasing any recorded evidence that portrays their bloody assault for what it was. Certainly with this video the deaths and wounding of as many as 70 passengers was not felt worth labelling by the IDF.

Protests at the massacre are now taking place all over the world. In Ireland alone we have now heard of the following protests taking place or due to take place (last as for previous article)

Thousands demonstrate in Dublin against Israeli attack on Freedom Flotilla

Over two thousand people took to the streets of Dublin last night to protest the bloody attack by the Israeli military on the Freedom flotilla to Gaza which left between 9 and 19 people dead and dozens injured. The assembled crowd heard that least five people from Ireland were now in an Israeli jail awaiting trial for refusing to co-operate with being deported from a country they had been brought to against their will, after their ships were hijacked by the heavily armed pirates of the IDF.

The assembled protesters which included a number of solidarity groups, unions branches and political organisations including the Workers Solidarity Movement marched from the Spire in O'Connell street to the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge.  At the start and end of the march speakers from anti-war and solidarity groups addressed the crowd as well as the Irish TDs and Seanad member who were to take part in the fleet until diplomatic pressure exerted on Cyprus from Israel prevented them joining the ships.  Most moving however was the short speech from a woman whose husband was one of those now detained in Israel and whose children she said were unaware of what had happened to him and who thought he was simply on holiday.

Back in March the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) media officer Fintan Lane, who is now one of those awaiting a deportation trial in an Israeli jail, reported that "Freda Hughes, a prominent member of the IPSC, was aggressively questioned about her name and movements by an Israeli embassy staff member while walking on Northumberland Road" with the co-operation of a member of the Irish Gardai. This was in the aftermath of Mossad using Irish passports as part of their murder of a Hamas activist in Dubai. The call to expel the Israeli ambassador was made several times last night but in a reality where the Irish state instructs its police to co-operate with the Israeli security personnel in spying on Irish citizens it's hard to see the crocodile tears of government minister translating into action.

Another call made from the platform was for boycott action against CRH (the Irish-based building material group, formerly known as Cement-Roadstone Holdings).. CRH own a 25% stake in the Mashav Group which supplies the cement used in the construction of the apartheid wall which the IPSC describes as "8 metres high in places, encircles Palestinian towns and villages and cuts through some of the most fertile Palestinian agricultural lands." Another company associated with the Israeli war against the people of Palestine, Raytheon, was driven out of Derry by protests although 14 people are still being prosecuted by the northern state for their part in this campaign.

Protests also took place yesterday in Cork, Galway, Sligo, Belfast, Derry, Monaghan and Castlebar.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Video from Threeriversblue


I also helped edit / summarise

Czech camera man describes beating of Irish activist in Israeli prison

This interview is with the well known Czech camera man Jan Línek who was on the ship alongside the Mavi Marmara when the Israeli military killed at least 10 activists. In it he describes conditions on board, the struggle by the activists to protect the captain, how his camera was confiscated and how he was tricked into signing deportation papers on shore and then told he wasn't getting his camera back. When in prison they were denied sleep and he witnessed an Irish man being beaten in front of him.

Demonstrations in Israel against the flotilla attack

One of the main myths of those who support the Zionist state of Israel is that all Jews, inside and outside of Isreal support that state.  In fact there is small but significant opposition to the oppression of the Palestians from people of Jewish background inside of Isreal.  Since the Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla there have been onging demonstrations agains the attack in Isreal itself, demonstrations that have been largely ignore by Israeli and international media.

Israeli Apartheid, BDS and Grassroots Resistance in Palestine - Audio from the Anarchist Bookfair

Dublin solidarity with the Freedom Flotilla marchThis is the recording of the 'Israeli Apartheid, BDS and Grassroots Resistance in Palestine' from the 2010 anarchist bookfair. The speaker is Freda Hughes from the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Topics covered in the one hour audio include the apartheid wall and settlements, experiences of the occupied territories, popular committees and Bi'lin, the cage protest and other direct actions, how Israeli activists argue for the boycott, Zionism, the freedom flotilla, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.


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