Israeli Navy Rams Relief Boat Carrying Medical Supplies and Volunteers to Gaza

660px-flag_of_israelsvg1Israel attacked a humanitarian boat carrying medical supplies and staff to Gaza. CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul was aboard the 60-foot pleasure boat Dignity when the patrol boat rammed the vessel, causing extensive damage.

The Dignity was flying the flag of Gibraltar and carrying crew and 16 passengers, including physicians from Britain, Germany and Cyprus and human rights activists from the Free Gaza Solidarity Movement. Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney was also on board.

The boat later docked in the Lebanese port city of Tyre with severe damage was visible to the forward port side of the boat, and the front left window and part of the roof had collapsed. It was flying the flag of Gibraltar.

The captain said there was no warning before the attack and that an Israeli officer radioed them later to stay that they were rammed because they were involved in terrorist activities. A spokesman, however, said that the boat was told that the area was a closed military area and says that the collision was accidental.
The boat was in international water about 90 miles off Gaza.

In a written statement, the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, based in Atlanta, Georgia, said McKinney “has taken it upon herself to commit an act of provocation . . . We regret that during this time of crisis, while Israel is battling with the terrorist organization of Hamas and defending its citizens, that we are forced to deal with Ms. McKinney’s irresponsible behavior.”

In the meantime, the United Nations has complained that Israel is not allowing sufficient medical and humanitarian supplies into Gaza. According to Aidan O’Leary of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA at least 62 civilians have been killed in Israeli air strikes since Saturday. UNRWA has called for Israel to open more border crossings to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

For the full story, click here.

27 thoughts on “Israeli Navy Rams Relief Boat Carrying Medical Supplies and Volunteers to Gaza”

  1. I am a Jew. I am also a supporter of Israel’s right to exist as an independent and Jewish state. Since I am four years older than Israel and come from a proud Jewish family this have been a lifelong topic of interest for me. I am an ardent liberal and/or progressive and so one can imagine that through the years I have had many a heated debate with my confreres on the Left. I’ve reached a point where I find debating the merits of Israel’s case is not fruitful. This is especially true because some of the leading figures in Israeli politics, Begin, Netanyahu Sharon & Ohlmert for instance, have been fools and knaves and I have no wish to defend them, or their policies. There are, however, two points I’d like to make for people to consider when making their judgments on the rights and wrongs of the situation.

    First though, this current “atrocity” or not based on ones’ perspective,is sadly just the latest in a barrage of issues ripe for pro and con propaganda in this ongoing tragedy. The Palestinian (not really the proper nomenclature) people and the Israeli people have been suffering 8 decades of tragic deaths with no resolution in sight. The Palestinians are being screwed and I have great sympathy for their suffering, but I think that many mistake the real cause of their torment. In recent years too, the real suffering of the Israeli’s from terrorism, both physical and psychological, has been downplayed based on the false assumption that US policy has kept Israel in existence and provided its’ strength. I would need to cite a raft of sources and many paragraphs to provide rationales my belief, but suffice it to say that there is factual evidence to give at least credence to my ideas and people can decide for themselves pro or con.

    Wherever one stands on the legitimacy of Israel’s existence it has become a viable country that will not soon cede its specific existence, despite world opinion and pressure. It is a nuclear power and if it just exploded the weapons it has it would render the Mid East oil and natural gas unusable for at least 6,000 years. From a strictly Jewish and no doubt Israeli perspective there will be no more cattle cars to the gas chambers in our future. That this formulation may be startling to non Jews is obvious, but please understand that even I as a very non violent and liberal person that has a deep and emotional connection to the history of my people, feel this way. Twenty five hundred years of persecution (people often forget the Babylonians and Hellenists) from Christianity and Islam is enough and we are a lot tougher than stereotypes make us out to be. So if you accept my premise, or not, where does that leave the situation.

    In my opinion this whole thing is driven by the Saudi’s and their minions, who vitally need Israel to exist as sort of an “Arab Bogeyman.” Israeli existence is required because if Israel didn’t exist the beleaguered Arab masses would look at who was their real oppressor’s and revolt against the despotism of their leaders. Israel deflects attention from the real mid East problem which is modern nations ruled by medieval tyrants.

    The US has become a client state in effect to the Saudi’s, see first Iraq War, and while paying lip service to public support for Israel, has a long history of really keeping the Israeli’s in check and doing the Saudi/OPEC/Big Oil bidding. See the real business ties of George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, George W. Bush, Schulz and Weinberger, for detail on the US/Saudi tie in. Also see the history of Israel’s Independence War, the Suez Canal conflict and the various other wars where the US gave much less than full support to the Israeli’s. If you try to view it from that perspective without pre-judgment it’s possible you might see a different pattern appear.

    Lastly, the PLO, Fatah, Hamas et. al have been primarily supported by Saudi Arabia. The are all little more than gangsters who have lived well while allowing their people to live in poverty and degradation. They have used their people’s misery to keep them focused on Israel as the enemy, while they have done the bidding of their Saudi masters. Arafat was in fact an Egyptian who was the nephew of the anti-Jewish Grand Mufti, who spent WWII as Hitler’s honored guest in Berlin. All is not what it seems and tragedy abounds in the ME.

    From the Israeli side Begin was also a thug, who stupidly pushed for settlements on the West Bank & Gaza, when it was obvious from the start that the only value in them was as bargaining chips for lasting peace. He was in the thrall of the ultra Orthodox, who believe in militancy without military service. Netanayu, Sharon, etc. followed his lead. Interestingly enough though, while the real viable solution was having the west Bank returned to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt, neither of these two nations wanted it back. This was because both nations were aware of the indigenous people’s miserable conditions and militancy and were afraid of bringing these potential powder kegs back into their own fold. Also no doubt the Saudi’s played an influential role. I say this is the real viable solution since the West Bank and Gaza are too far apart both geographically and culturally to function as one nation.

    In any event that’s my take, in brief if you can believe it, you have your own minds to make up as to whether it has merit.

  2. jonolan:

    No one said you did argue that the actions were illegal. I am just aware of no interpretation of criminal law that would impose liability on a person in these humanitarian circumstances. I suspect no jury would ever convict on these facts even if such an interpretation were offered.

  3. Mespo,

    That’s a very long topic, and one none of have enough knowledge to debate. In any case, international is immaterial. McKinney is – for now – an American citizen and subject tot the US Code.

    Remember, I have not said she broke US law; I just wondered if she had.

  4. jonolan:

    I think most countries recognize the application of the Geneva Convention to this situation.International law surely applies. I agree that relinquishing neutral status as defined by the Convention would also result in a loss of protection but I see no evidence of that unless the Israeli’s are now adopting the Bush Doctrine.

  5. Even if the recipient of the medical gear was to be the Red Crescent, the Red Crescent would have immediatley turned the gear over to Hamas as they have done in the past to use on Hamas wounded terrorists instead of injured civilians.

  6. Mespo,

    US law isn’t always in accordance with international treaties, and there’s the question of who was the intended recipient of the aid. If it was the Red Crescent, that’s one thing; if it was the terrorist organization HAMAS, that’s quite another.

    Even the Red Cross / Red Crescent isn’t allowed to transfer funds and materiel between enemies in a conflict, though they can treat anyone on the battlefield irregardless of the injured’s loyalty.

  7. jonolan:

    I do not think that altruistically aiding a war ravaged population with medical care and supplies would constitute a violation of federal law that you cite. Even wounded enemy soldiers on the battle field are entitled to medical care. See Article 6 of the First Geneva Convention adopted in 1864.

  8. candy:

    I dub you the Queen of the Non-Sequitur. Efforts to prevent terror strikes have nothing to do with capsizing relief missions to aid those caught in a war zone through no fault of their own – or are you the type that blames innocent unarmed civilians for failing to stop the actions of armed insurgents?

    P.S.:A little friendly advice here: The regulars around here (myself excluded) are pretty smart. You see it’s not a neo-con know-nothing blog. So I would avoid such “prescient” remarks as you have posted here and elsewhere edifying us for example with the intellectually stimulating and conversation starting comment that “msnbc sucks.” Middle school reasoning doesn’t fair well around here.

  9. candy

    It appears to be you, rather than mespo, who are the hater. This was a relief mission. Relief for people in a war zone, regarless of their affiliation and especially for those affected but unaffiliated with the violence, has a long and noble history. Denying that relief is spiteful and willfully cruel behavior regardless of it’s source.

    Also, your sarcasm about the rockets hurled into Israel missed the fact that, to my knowledge, not a single Israeli has been injured by them versus hundreds of dead Palestinians. No one here condones the actions of Hamas, but neither do many of us grant a blanket amnesty to either side of the conflict. Intentionally disrupting a mission of mercy and aid is an act of terrorism as well and reminisent of government actions in Zimbabwe and Darfur.

  10. Here we have a case of McKinney v. Israel – and by proxy, v. America. You’re going to be hard pressed to find anyone willing to put up a balanced report when you pair off McKinney and Israel on opposite sides of an issue. 😉

    One question comes to my mind though – has McKinney in her vast insanity and stupidity violate US law, specifically US Code § 2339B – Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations by trying to deliver supplies to HAMAS?

  11. mespo727272, I guess I must have missed the news reporting of you and rafflaw going to Gaza to sit on the launch tubes of the terrorists launching rockets at women & children in Israel. Guess we all missed that report. How many rockets did you deter?

  12. Fidel Castro’s Cuba: celebrating 50 years of progress, equality, poverty and murder

    Here is a seductive invitation on which you may have missed out. “Celebrate five decades of resilience, progress, allegiance to peace and social equality with the people of Cuba. Witness the stellar achievements of the Revolution first hand,” enthuses a Canadian-based advertisement for a 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution Tour. Those who were drawn by its blandishments are at this moment visiting the Marxist island paradise.

    “Today millions optimistically follow the course of the Cuban revolution,” declaim the promoters, “which despite hardships resulting from sanctions and blockade, is as dynamic as ever.” Optimistically is right. Since the revolution, Cuba has progressed from third place out of 11 Latin American countries for per capita daily calorific intake, according to the United Nations Statistical Yearbook, to 11th and last today.

    Fidel Castro likes to boast of his country’s 70,000 doctors, but admits “tens of thousands” of them have been sent abroad. The last pre-Castro census (1953) recorded one doctor for every 1,000 Cubans; today, outside the regime’s showcase clinics for the nomenklatura and foreigners, patients have to bring their own bedding, thread for sutures and even light-bulbs into the country’s vermin-infested hospitals.

    The US embargo, cited by the tour advertisement as an alibi for economic failure, is virtually irrelevant, since Cuba can trade with almost anywhere else in the world while US-based exiles remit more than $1 billion home. Not everyone has lost out since the revolution: the Maximum Leader’s personal fortune is an egalitarian $900 million, sufficient to gain him entry to Forbes magazine.

    During his “five decades of resilience, progress, allegiance to peace and social equality”, Castro has executed 16,000 people and imprisoned more than 100,000 in labour camps. The Western media are greatly exercised about Guantanamo; but few have heard of Kilo 5.5, Pinar del Rio, Kilo 7, the Capitiolo (for children up to age 10) and the other camps that compose Castro’s gulag. Two million Cubans have by now rejected the resilience and progress of Castro’s revolution and more than 30,000 have died trying to escape.

    The Castro myth was fabricated by Herbert L Matthews in three articles for the New York Times in 1957. Since then, the liberal media and their army of useful idiots have enlarged the lie, along with the mendacious cult of Che Guevara. Those Western leftists who are currently proclaiming the death of capitalism should migrate to a society far advanced along that path and enjoy the lifestyle. How can the likes of Polly Toynbee bear to live in this oppressive capitalist state, instead of basking in the progress, allegiance to peace and social equality of Castro’s Cuba?

  13. It has always been my understanding that relief boats loaded with physicians, ex-US Congresswomen, and human rights workers, risking their lives to aid the innocents caught in a war zone are typically unnecessarily provocative. The Israeli Navy on the other hand has always been the icon of restraint and caution. Just ask the sailors aboard the “USS Liberty.” Perhaps candy can tell us of her efforts to aid those caught in a miserable situation –like we who have to listen to her unlettered remarks here.

  14. RAFFLAW, when will you leave for Palestine to volunteer to peacefully deter rockets from being launched at civlians in Israel? I can imagine the reaction when you walk up to these murderous thugs and tell them it isn’t nice to launch rockets at civilians and they must stop in the name of world peace.

  15. RAFFLAW, you don’t even care that this group LIED through their teeth do you? Why do you hate Israel so much?

  16. McKinney relief ship, Israeli vessel collide
    By Julia Malone, Bob Deans, Jeffry Scott

    Cox Washington Bureau
    Wednesday, December 31, 2008

    Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, standing beside a lightly damaged yacht, Tuesday accused the Israeli navy of ramming the vessel to halt the delivery of medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip.

    But Israeli authorities said the collision was accidental. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the boat tried to outmaneuver an Israeli navy ship and crashed into it, lightly damaging both vessels. The navy then escorted the boat out into the territorial waters of Cyprus.

    At an afternoon press conference in Atlanta, Israeli Ambassador Reda Mansour decried McKinney’s involvement.

    “We think this is an irresponsible act by a political figure,” said Mansour.

    Jonathan Peled, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said “the boat came very close, we called the ship to basically to turn around, we informed the ship that they wouldn’t be allowed to enter Gaza. The ship wasn’t rammed, that definitely wasn’t the truth.”

    The Dignity set off from Cyprus on Monday with almost 4 tons of Cypriot-donated medical supplies, including surgical equipment and antibiotics, as well as 16 passengers from the United States, Cyprus, Britain, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere, organizers said.


  17. This is a situation that should not be allowed to go unpunished. The State of Israel cannot just attack peaceful ships in international waters without recourse. The United States should say so and demand an apology and compensation for the ships owner. We know Bush will never take a stand when Israel goes too far, but we as a country should. Of course, it is hard for the United States to be taken seriously when we have attacked Iraq without provocation and we are now making illegal incursions into Pakistan. However,the United State’s illegal actions do not legitimize illegal actions by Israel. Israel needs to stop the air strikes in Gaza and allow humanitarian aid immediately.

  18. Mr. Turely, that is the inaccurate McKiney/CNN blith explanation.

    Try the fact the boat was warned it was approaching a blockade or the fact the captain lied about not knowing where the boat was headed when he sailed to sea despite all the “volunteers” and medical gear on board.

    Additionally, this stupid group lied when they claimed the Israeli patrol boat rammed them. The patrol boat was doing what it does to boats that violate waters, it fends them off. That means going parallel to them and warning them back as the patrol boat narrows the difference between them. If the violator does not retreat – they were not “rammed”, the failed to prevent a collision that was under their control. Finally, this stupid bunch claimed their boat was sinking as a result of the collision and made a big stink about it at sea, but when the boat reached harbor; they didn’t want any help because it was another lie their boat was sinking!

    What a bunch of losers this group of volunteers were. Why don’t they volunteer to go to palestine and patrol the orchards and when they find terrorists launching missiles at civilians in Israal, SIT ON THE LAUNCH TUBE to prevent the launch. LOL.

Comments are closed.