From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.
The MV Rachel Corrie, a converted merchant ship bought by pro-Palestinian activists and named after the 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, set off Monday from Malta.
The organizers – the Free Gaza Movement – said their intent remains to break Israel’s blockade of the 1.5 million people in Gaza.
Rachel Corrie was killed while undertaking nonviolent direct action to prevent Israeli bulldozers from demolishing the home of a Palestinian family.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the ship is Irish-owned.
“The government has formally requested the Israeli government to allow the Irish-owned ship … to be allowed to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza,” Cowen told parliament in Dublin.
Israel has said it is prepared to block the ship.
Organizers say that passengers on the Rachel Corrie include Northern Irish Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and Denis Halliday, an Irish former senior UN diplomat, and several other Irish citizens. Corrigan-Maguire, is a Northern Irish peace activist who co-founded, with Betty Williams, the Community of Peace People, an organization that worked for a peaceful resolution to the fighting in Northern Ireland. The two women received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.
Israel’s Army Radio reported that the ship would reach Gazan waters by Wednesday, but activists say it might not attempt to reach Gaza until early next week.
The Rachel Corrie is carrying medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies and cement, a material Israel has banned in Hamas-ruled Gaza, organizers said.
Mark Daly, a member of Ireland’s upper house of parliament who had been due to join the convoy but was refused permission to leave Cyprus, told Reuters in Dublin that the ship had fallen behind the rest of the aid convoy that was attacked by Israel early Sunday morning because it was slower.
Passengers aboard it had heard about the Israeli attacks that killed at least 10 people but decided not to turn back.
Meanwhile, Adam Shapiro who is on the board of the Free Gaza Movement, said yesterday: “CNN is looping footage of mayhem on one of the ships, but is not giving the context that the Israelis had killed someone already at that point. The ship was in international waters, there was no plausible rationale to take it over by the Israelis. The ships were not going to Israel, they were going to Gaza, they had no plans to enter Israeli waters. All this could have been avoided if Israel had let the ships deliver their aid to Gaza.”
Richard Falk, a professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University and the Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories for the United Nations Human Rights Council, said yesterday: “The Israeli naval and helicopter lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla bringing needed humanitarian relief to the civilian population of Gaza is a shocking crime against humanity. Some of the facts are contested, but an Israeli military attack on the high seas is an act of aggression, and those on board the ships had a legal right to act in self-defense.”
By Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, June 1, 2010
In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:
RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.
The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.
In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.
We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.
We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.
Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.
Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie – by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)
In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis:
“Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale.” What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet. (Haaretz.com headlines RSS
The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure?
What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids?
What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27?
Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment?
Did the Obama administration give the Green Light?
It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel’s criminal embargo.
In this endeavor we shall prevail. Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV.
It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised “to respond even more harshly”:
“Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.” (www.ynetnews.com)
The Rachel Corrie MV is in part supported by the Perdana Global Peace Organization under the helm of the Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky is a member of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.