Artorius Castus

Gaza Relief Ship rammed by Israeli Gunship

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 30, 2008

The Free Gaza Yacht that brings aid to Gaza was accosted by Israeli gunboats and forced to divert to Tyre, Lebanon. The yacht was carrying former US Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney.

Former congresswoman McKinney can’t keep out of the news. A passenger on a yacht bringing “aid” to Gaza, her boat was attacked by Israeli gunboats and damaged. The Israeli Navy claimed the yacht was attempting to penetrate a maritime exclusion zone set up after the raids on Gaza began last week. The Free Gaza website tells a different story.

“When attacked, the Dignity was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza,” the group said on its website. “The gunboats also fired their machine guns into the water in an attempt to stop the mercy ship from getting to Gaza.

“Israel thumbs its nose in the face of maritime law by attacking a human rights boat in international waters and has put all of these human rights observers at risk.

“At no time was the Dignity ever close to Israeli waters. They clearly identified themselves, and the Israeli attack was willful and criminal.”

The damaged Free Gaza boat Dignity arrives in Lebanon after its encounter with the Israeli navy. Photograph: Ali Hashisho/Reuters

Incidents like this are going to happen in wartime, and while it might appear Israeli action was heavy handed, one must remember groups like Free Gaza’s tactics. Refusing radio calls and not altering course as ordered generally leads to situations like this. Greenpeace has adopted similar tactics; provoke a response from the belligerent and then rely on the media to make their case.

The Dignity was carrying three tons of medical supplies requested by Gazan doctors.

But what was the former congresswoman doing on yacht? That remains to be seen, but with Ms Mckinney on board, you bet the response will be less than dignified.

For right or for wrong, attempting to bust a naval blockade is not a wise thing to do, humanitarian or not. Warring parties have no idea whats on the boat, whether it is mined or carrying weapons.

A former US Congresswoman should know better than to behave like this;she is still a former US Representative. While I understand the altruism, it seems more like an incident garnered to provoke a reaction with the added weight of a former Congresswoman.

This column will await Ms Mckinney’s inevitable statement blaming everyone but the stunt she participated in, for the medical supplies not reaching Gaza.

As for the Israeli Navy, if they were attacking 90 miles off the coast, then they were in violation of International Law.

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