Friday, June 04, 2010

The Gaza Siege: A Fact Sheet

by Yousef Munayyer on June 3, 2010

Post image for The Gaza Siege: A Fact Sheet

What exactly is the blockade of Gaza?

By Yousef Munayyer* | Sabbah Report |

In recent days, coverage of the attack on the aid flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip has focused on the lack of availability of certain humanitarian goods. This fact sheet is a reference tool based on international aid agencies and human rights groups on the impact of the siege on the population of Gaza.

Electricity: The siege has led to a significant lack of power in the Gaza Strip. In 2006, Israel carried out an attack on Gaza's only power plant and never permitted the rebuilding to its pre-attack capacity (down to producing 80 megawatts maximum from 140 megawatts). According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), the daily electricity deficit has increased since January of 2010 with the plant only able to operate one turbine producing only 30 megawatts compared to its previous average of 60-65 megawatts in 2009. The majority of houses have power cuts at least eight hours per day. Some have no electricity for long as 12 hours a day. The lack of electricity has led to reliance on generators, many of which have exploded from overwork, killing and maiming civilians. Oxfam reported that "[in 2009], a total of 75 Palestinians died from carbon monoxide gas poisoning or fires from generators, and 15 died and 27 people were injured in the first two months of this year."

Water: Israel has not permitted supplies into the Gaza Strip to rebuild the sewage system. Amnesty International reports that 90-95 percent of the drinking water in Gaza is contaminated and unfit for consumption. The United Nations even found that bottled water in Gaza contained contaminants, likely due to the plastic bottles recycled in dysfunctional factories. The lack of sufficient power for desalination and sewage facilities results in significant amounts of sewage seeping into Gaza's costal aquifer–the main source of water for the people of Gaza.

Industry: Prior to the siege, the industrial sector employed 20 percent of Gaza's labor force. One year after the siege began, the Palestinian Federation of Industries reported that "61% of the factories have completely closed down. 1% was forced to change their scope of work in order to meet their living expenses, 38% were partially closed (sometimes means they operate with less than 15% capacity)". A World Health Organization report from this year states: "In the Gaza Strip, private enterprise is practically at a standstill as a consequence of the blockade. Almost all (98%) industrial operations have been shut down. The construction sector, which before September 2000 provided 15% of all jobs, has effectively halted. Only 258 industrial establishments in Gaza were operational in 2009 compared with over 2400 in 2006. As a result, unemployment rates have soared to 42% (up from 32% before the blockade)."

Health: Gaza's health sector, dramatically overworked, was also significantly damaged by Operation Cast Lead. According to UN OCHA, infrastructure for 15 of 27 of Gaza's hospitals, 43 of 110 of its primary care facilities, and 29 of its 148 ambulances were damaged or destroyed during the war. Without rebuilding materials like cement and glass due to Israeli restrictions, the vast majority of the destroyed health infrastructure has not been rebuilt. Many medical procedures for advanced illnesses are not available in Gaza. 1103 individuals applied for permits to exit the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing for medical treatment in 2009. 21 percent of these permits were denied or delayed resulting in missed hospital appointments, and several have died waiting to leave Gaza for treatment.

Food: A 2010 World Health Organization report stated that "chronic malnutrition in the Gaza Strip has risen over the past few years and has now reached 10.2%. Micronutrient deficiencies among children and women have reached levels that are of concern." According to UN OCHA: "Over 60 percent of households are now food insecure, threatening the health and wellbeing of children, women and men. In this context, agriculture offers some practical solutions to a humanitarian problem. However, Israel's import and access restrictions continue to suffocate the agriculture sector and directly contribute to rising food insecurity. Of particular concern, farmers and fishers' lives are regularly put at risk, due to Israel's enforcement of its access restrictions. The fact that this coastal population now imports fish from Israel and through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border speaks to the absurdity of the situation." 72 percent of Gaza's fish profit comes from beyond the three nautical mile mark, but further restrictions by Israel's naval blockade prevents Gazans from fishing beyond that mark. Between 2008 and 2009 the fishing catch was down 47 percent.

* Yousef Munayyer is the Executive Director of the Jerusalem Fund and the Palestine Center.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Israel's Dangerous Turn

This question can't be posed publicly in the American mainstream news media nor in U.S. political circles, where fear of the pro-Israel lobby remains strong. But it is a concern that is being discussed quietly by foreign policy analysts around the world.

Even as America’s commentariat again generates the predictable excuses for Israeli latest actions, the political reality inside Israel is one that is shifting more and more toward a society dominated by Jewish fundamentalists, including an aggressive and racist settler bloc.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas Party is now in the Likud ruling coalition and holds important Cabinet posts such as housing. Shas leaders have made it clear that they favor a country segregated not just between Arab and Jew but between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

If these fundamentalist elements continue to consolidate their political power, the world could soon be facing an isolated and paranoid religious state with some 200 to 400 nuclear warheads along with a sophisticated collection of chemical and biological weapons.

One Israeli émigré, who spent his young adulthood working for the Israeli government, told me that he fears Israel is becoming like North Korea, except qualitatively more dangerous because Israel has an advanced nuclear arsenal and sits in a more strategic part of the world.

The current government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also appears excessively confident that Israel’s sophisticated propaganda network and its American neoconservative allies can overwhelm any criticism of Israeli actions in Washington and ensure eventual U.S. backing for a military strike on Iran.

Netanyahu has been dismissive toward President Barack Obama’s peace initiatives, particularly Obama’s demand that Israel stop building Jewish housing in traditionally Arab areas.

Ignoring those wishes, Netanyahu’s Shas Party allies announced new Jewish construction in Arab East Jerusalem last March as Vice President Joe Biden arrived to reaffirm U.S. solidarity with Israel.

Though Obama let his annoyance be known, Netanyahu followed up by announcing that the Jewish housing construction would go forward.


Faced with this Israeli intransigence, Obama quieted his criticism. He was reportedly looking forward to a “kiss-and-make-up” session with Netanyahu on Tuesday before Israel’s lethal assault on the “Freedom Flotilla” caused Netanyahu to cancel the meeting and rush back to Israel.

Obama also has fallen in line behind Israeli insistence that a confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program be put at the top of the international agenda and that a new Iranian offer to ship about half its low-enriched uranium out of the country be rejected.

The President had privately urged the leaders of Brazil and Turkey to draw Iran into that agreement, which they did two weeks ago. But Israel and American neocons denounced and ridiculed the deal, demanding instead stiffer sanctions and stepped-up efforts for “regime change” in Iran.

Instead of admitting that he had backed the Iran-Brazil-Turkey deal, Obama stayed silent, as he has in the wake of Israel’s middle-of-the-night commando raid on the flotilla, which left nine peace activists dead early Monday.

In a P.R. blitz on Tuesday, Israeli officials made a point of showing off knives and other hand-made weapons that some of the activists allegedly used to defend the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, when the Israeli commandos landed by ropes from helicopters.

According to Israeli accounts, the resistance from the people onboard led the commandos to open fire. The Israeli government and many U.S. commentators blamed the ship's resistance for the violence.

However, it would not be unusual – and certainly not illegal – for a ship’s crew and passengers in international waters to defend themselves from an armed assault, especially one launched in the dark of night. If the attackers were Somalis instead of Israelis, the ship’s defenders would be hailed as heroes.

In an e-mail to me, Marquette Professor of Moral Theology Daniel C. Maguire cited one important distinction between “Somali piracy and Israeli piracy – Israel kills during its piracy and then claims it does so in self-defense. That is [a] first in the history of piracy.

“Traditionally, pirates have been outlaws and admit it. It is very much like a rapist saying: ‘The victim I was raping resisted and so I killed her in self-defense.’ A defense like that would make even a mob lawyer blush.”

Act of War

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and Foreign Office specialist on maritime law, said the Israeli commando raid was a violation of international law and the Law of the Sea, since the ship under a Turkish flag was in international waters.

If “the Israeli commandoes were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists in international waters, the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred," in this case Turkey.

"In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory. So,” Murray continued, “Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the attack by Israeli commandos falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime."

However, not surprisingly, the Israeli P.R. response to the intense international criticism worked wonders in winning over the U.S. news media.

After playing video of the Israeli assault and the efforts of some passengers to resist the attackers, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews came down decisively on the Israeli side, calling criticism of the lethal attack “an unfair shot at Israel.”

Matthews added that he agreed with the pro-Israeli position taken by the Washington Post's neoconservative editorial page, which faulted Israel for the sloppiness of its attack while siding with its purpose.

“We have no sympathy for the motives of the participants in the flotilla -- a motley collection that included European sympathizers with the Palestinian cause, Israeli Arab leaders and Turkish Islamic activists,” the Post wrote on Tuesday.

“Israel says that some of the organizers have ties to Hamas and al-Qaeda. What's plain is that the group's nominal purpose, delivering "humanitarian" supplies to Gaza, was secondary to the aim of provoking a confrontation.”

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman weighed in Wednesday with an op-ed that downplayed the human tragedy in Gaza where some 1,400 Palestinians died in an Israeli month-long offensive at the end of 2008 and the start of 2009 and where a blockade has continued for three years.

"That concern for Gaza and Israel's blockade is so out [of] balance with ... other horrific cases in the region that it is not surprising Israelis dismiss it as motivated by hatred -- not the advice of friends," Friedman wrote.

So, in the view of the mainstream U.S. news media, Israel is justified in maintaining a fierce embargo on the 1.5 million people crowded into the tiny Gaza Strip and any “motley collection” of activists that tries to run the blockade is at fault for whatever happens.

Plus, it seems, when Israel launches an attack on a ship in international waters, the people onboard must accept whatever treatment they receive at Israeli hands. They must not fight back.

By contrast, one can only imagine how the U.S. press corps would rise up in collective fury if, say, Iran sent its commandos into international waters to attack and seize vessels that were on a humanitarian mission.

Lost Objectivity

What’s striking in all this is how far the U.S. news media has veered away from its supposed commitment to objectivity, even as it pretends to continue abiding by that journalistic principle.

The U.S. media also would drip with sarcasm over some of the post-facto rationales used to justify the attack, if the attacking nation wasn’t Israel.

For instance, there’s the Israeli accusation that the cargo on the ships wasn’t packed properly.

Shuki Sagis, chief executive of the Israel port at Ashdod, complained to the Jerusalem Post that the supplies – including scooters for the handicapped, wheelchairs, stretchers, hospital beds, boxes of medicine, food products and toys – weren’t neatly stacked.

“The cargo ships were loaded haphazardly, with all of the equipment mixed up in the large holds,” Sagis said. “Ships loaded in this way would not be accepted in any port. We are loading the equipment on the trucks far more carefully than it was loaded on to the ships.”

Other Israeli officials claimed that the humanitarian supplies on the ships were not items that were needed by the Gazans.

“I can say with great assurance,” said Colonel Moshe Levi, “that none of the equipment on board is needed in Gaza. The equipment that we found is all equipment that we have regularly allowed into the Strip over the past year.”

Levi said that fact “proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the whole premise of the voyage was for propaganda and provocation and not for humanitarian purposes.”

However, the Israelis did concede that their searches of the vessels turned up no weapons being smuggled into Gaza. The only “contraband” was construction equipment, including sacks of concrete and metal rods, Levi said.

Levi explained that Israel won’t let construction equipment in to rebuild Gaza, which was devastated by a month-long Israeli offensive that ended in January 2009, because the material might be used to build fortifications for "terrorists."

The notion that bombed-out Gazans must be made to survive in makeshift shanties so some future Israeli assault won’t be complicated by the existence of buildings that might be used by Gaza’s defenders could be regarded in a different context as evidence of grotesque inhumanity.

That is, if the perpetrators were some nation or group that the U.S. media didn’t like.

The Israeli Navy also claimed that it had learned an important lesson from its assault on the Freedom Flotilla.

A top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post that the next time, Israel will use much more military force to stop the ships.

"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," said the officer, who wasn’t identified by name. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

Combined with other recent incidents, like Israel's Jan. 20 assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room and its open threats about bombing Iran, Israel might be diagnosed as suffering from a violent form of paranoia if it were a patient in a psychiatric ward rather than a nuclear-armed state.

Yet, instead of addressing this growing threat to world peace -- that is, Israel's increasingly erratic behavior and deepening religious fervor -- the U.S. news media continues to give this favored country a free pass.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Gaza Roundup 2 PIRATES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN: State-sponsored villains and emerging heroes


By now, it's widely acknowledged that state-sponsored piracy did not die when Captain Kidd was hanged (thanks, Jim, for that illuminating comment). It's alive and well, and not just off the coast of Somalia or the Straits of Malacca. The Mediterranean is a thriving hub for high-seas crime, and as in the case of merry old England, there are state-sponsored buccaneers out there plying the waters, terrorizing the ships, and sending innocent souls to Davy Jones' locker. But the pirates aren't who you think they are. They don't wear billowy shirts or big feathered hats, nor do they strut around with parrots on their shoulders. They don't have wooden legs or eyepatches. They wear modern military uniforms. And they do their vile deeds (which can well be classified as terrorism) under the flag of a nation:

According to a report in The Guardian, an Algerian activist, who gave her name as Sabrina, revealed that Israeli troops pointed their gun at a one-year-old Turkish child in front of his parents to force the captain of the Mavi Marmara to stop sailing.

Many reports have emerged from among the 124 activists who crossed over into Amman, Jordan, yesterday.

In an interview with Sky News, IT professional Hasan Nowarah, from Glasgow, described the moments as the Israeli troops descended on the ship.

"All you could see was screaming and bullets. Out of the blue as I looked around our ship, all I could see were hundreds of Zodiacs. Hundreds of Zodiacs full of soldiers, and big ships, lots of ships, and I believe as well submarines in the sea."

Kuwaiti MP Walid Al Tabtabai said the Israelis were "brutal and arrogant".

"Israelis roughed up and humiliated all of us, women, men and children," he said.

Algerian Izzeddine Zahrour said Israeli authorities "deprived us of food, water and sleep and we weren't allowed to use the toilet".

"It was an ugly kidnapping and subsequently bad treatment in Israeli jail," he said.

"They handcuffed us, pushed us around and humiliated us," Egyptian MP Hazem Farouq, who was also on the boat, said and added what he witnessed on the ship "defied his imagination".

"It was hell on the sea. I saw Israeli soldiers killing activists in cold blood and then walking on their bodies," Farouq, who was one of more than 700 activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla attacked by Israeli commandos, said on Tuesday in Cairo.

"The Israeli soldiers sprayed bullets as if they were a mafia in an American film."

But the piracy is not going unremarked. Many heroes are speaking out against it:

Monia Mazigh, wife of Canadian abduction/torture victim Maher Arar. She worked tirelessly to secure his release and get the facts out into the public eye. His eventual return was not the end of her activism, but a beginning. Now she's engaged on behalf of the Palestinians, and was out yesterday demonstrating against the siege of Gaza and the piracy of the IDF.

Robert Scheer. He calls it an act of terrorism, and demands that Palestinians be treated the same as Jews. He also notes how hard it is to get major media, and even some "progressive" media, to be honest about Israel's crimes.

Ann Wright, former US army colonel and now peace activist and human-rights advocate. She was apparently seen being led off the ship by the pirates-in-uniform. Her cellphone is on, but so far, no one's answered. What do you bet it was one of the ones confiscated by the IDF to keep the facts from leaking out until the hasbara came out and was making the rounds?

Greta Berlin, a US-based co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement. And one of the first to dispel the hasbara lies.

Swedish author/activist Henning Mankell, who singlehandedly showed just what a joke the IDF's claims of a weapons cache on board the ships really is.

Rather surprisingly, Reporters Without Borders. The org has taken some time out from its usual Venezuela-bashing, and accurately reported the Israeli military's efforts to stifle independent reporting. A brief aberration from their usual pattern, I'm sure. They will probably soon enough issue an IDF-dictated "correction" and express "regret" for the "error". (Remember, you saw it here first.)

And if you're really in the mood for a good laugh, guess what this astute netizen found! "Weapons cache" photos dating back to 2003, 2006 and who knows when else. Gosh, who knew the Mavi Marmara could travel through TIME, as well as the Mediterranean? (Note: The IDF has since "corrected" the dates on the "incriminating" photos. Too late, the truth is already out!)

Gaza Roundup 1: Naomi Klein and the OTHER Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein, Canadian journalist and author of The Shock Doctrine, addresses yesterday's big rally to protest the Israeli assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.

And in other shocking (literally) news, we have this item from the Edmonton Sun:

Activists returning to Europe after Israeli forces raided their aid flotilla said Tuesday that the commandos had beaten passengers and used electric shocks during the assault.

Six Greeks and several others, including a Turkish woman and her 1-year-old baby, were released Tuesday, but Israel has barred access to hundreds of others seized during the raid that killed at least nine people and wounded dozens early Monday.


Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin, who had hidden with her baby in her cabin's bathroom aboard the Mavi Marmara, told reporters she believed there were 11 dead.

"The ship turned into a lake of blood," Cetin told reporters in Istanbul, having returned after Israeli officials warned that jail would be too harsh for her child.

"We were aware of the possible danger" in joining the trip, she said. "But there are thousands of babies in Gaza. If we had reached Gaza we would have played with them and taken them food."

She said Israeli vessels "harassed" the flotilla for two hours starting around 10 p.m. Sunday, and returned at around 4 a.m. Monday, fired warning shots and told the ships to turn back.

"When the Mavi Marmara continued on its course the harassment turned into an attack. They used smoke bombs followed by gas canisters. They started to descend onto the ship with helicopters," she said, calling the clashes that then erupted "extremely bad and brutal."

"I was one of the first victims to be released because I had a child," she told reporters, but "they confiscated everything, our telephones, laptops are all gone." Her husband -- the ship's engineer -- was still being held by Israeli authorities.


"Suddenly from everywhere we saw inflatables coming at us, and within seconds fully equipped commandos came up on the boat," said Greek activist Dimitris Gielalis, who had been aboard the Sfendoni. He was among six Greeks returned home Tuesday.

"They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used," he said.

He said the boat's captain was beaten for refusing to leave the wheel, and had sustained non-life-threatening injuries, while a cameraman filming the raid was hit with a rifle butt in the eye," he said. "Of course we weren't prepared for a situation of war."


"During their interrogation, many of them were badly beaten in front of us," said Aris Papadokostopoulos, who was aboard the Free Mediterranean travelling behind the Turkish ship and carrying mainly Greek and Swedish activists.

Papadokostopoulos said the flotilla was about 80 miles (130 kilometres) off Gaza when the raid occurred around 4 a.m. Monday.

"The Turkish ship was in front of us ... on which there was a terrible raid from the air and from the sea and from everywhere, with shooting," he said.

Aboard the other boats, he said, commandos beat activists, but nobody was gravely injured. He said no one put up resistance on the Free Mediterranean, which was carrying a cargo of wheelchairs, building material and medical and pharmaceutical aid.

"Some people were hit by clubs and electric shocks," he said.

Crew member Mihalis Grigoropoulos said he was on the bridge of the Free Mediterranean and heard shooting coming from the Turkish ship.

Several people who tried to stop the Israeli forces from getting to the bridge were hit by electric shocks and plastic bullets, he said. "We didn't' resist at all. Even if we had wanted to, what could we do?"

This account, of course, contradicts completely the various things the Israelis are saying--that the ship's passengers "ambushed" them. Some say they used kitchen knives and deck chairs in a "lynching" attempt, others insist they had live ammo. But of course, the passengers can't give their accounts until they are deported from Israel, by which time the Israelis will--or so they hope--have seized control of the story and made their version the one the rest of the world will believe.

Too bad for Israel, then, that this happened in international waters, meaning that the Israelis were out of their rightful jurisdiction, and that there is also raw video out there that puts the definitive lie to the Israeli version, and confirms what the three activists I've quoted say--that the Israelis were harassing the flotilla for hours beforehand, that they fired on the boats before boarding them, and that the passengers and crew were in no position to resist, being unarmed (and it being the dead of night). Watch this and see:

Various reporters from Press TV (Iran) and al-Jazeera (Qatar) address the camera in English and Arabic here, on board the Mavi Marmara. (If anyone can tell me what was said in Arabic, I'd be glad to know.) The last minute and a half or so (starting at 8:15) are the most telling--in the background you can hear a voice over the loudspeaker saying (in English) that "all the brothers" should "take your seats", as the ship is not prepared to fend off an attack. There is no sign of resistance from any passengers on any cameras aboard the ship, but there is some footage near the end of two masked, uniformed Israeli soldiers, firing at something or someone out of sight. Some "lynching"!

I'll be blogging more about this shortly. In the meantime, I've opened a new category here, called "Gazing on Gaza". Yes, it's a play on the title, Eyeless in Gaza; but this time, it's in reverse. Gaza is now very much under the eyes of the world. We are all watching. And we will not be silent about what we see.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Barbarism on the High Seas - America's Complicity in Evil


As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House. Thus has Obama made America complicit once again in Israel’s barbaric war crimes. Just as the US Congress voted to deep-six Judge Goldstone’s report on Israel’s war crimes committed in Israel’s January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Obama has deep-sixed Israel’s latest act of barbarism by pretending that he doesn’t know what has happened.

No one in the world will believe that Israel attacked ships in international waters carrying Israeli citizens, a Nobel Laureate, elected politicians, and noted humanitarians bringing medicines and building materials to Palestinians in Gaza, who have been living in the rubble of their homes without repairs or medicines since January 2009, without first clearing the crime with its American protector. Without America’s protection, Israel, a totally artificial state, could not exist. No one in the world will believe that America’s spy apparatus did not detect the movement of the Israeli attack force toward the aid ships in international waters in an act of piracy, killing 20, wounding 50, and kidnapping the rest. Obama’s pretense at ignorance confirms his complicity.

Once again the US government has permitted the Israeli state to murder good people known for their moral conscience. The Israeli state has declared that anyone with a moral conscience is an enemy of Israel, and every American president except Eisenhower and Carter has agreed.

Obama’s 12-hour silence in the face of extreme barbarity is his signal to the controlled corporate media to remain on the sidelines until Israeli propaganda sets the story.

The Israeli story, preposterous as always, is that the humanitarians on one of the ships took two pistols from Israeli commandos, highly trained troops armed with automatic weapons, and fired on the attack force. The Israeli government claims that the commandos’ response (70 casualties at last reporting) was justified self-defense. Israel was innocent. Israel did not do anything except drop commandos aboard from helicopters in order to intercept an arms shipment to Gazans being brought in by ships manned by terrorists.

Many Christian evangelicals, brainwashed by their pastors that it is God’s will for Americans to protect Israel, will believe the Israeli story, especially when it is unlikely they will ever hear any other. Conservative Americans, especially on Memorial Day when they are celebrating feats of American arms, will admire Israel for its toughness. Here in north Georgia where I am at the moment, I have heard several say, admiringly, “Them, Israelis, they don’t put up with nuthin.”

Conservative Americans want the US to be like Israel. They do not understand why the US doesn’t stop pissing around after nine years and just go ahead and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. They don’t understand why the US didn’t defeat whoever was opposing American forces in Iraq. Conservatives are incensed that America had to “win” the war by buying off the Iraqis and putting them on the US payroll. Israel murders people and then blames its victims. This appeals to American conservatives, who want the US to do the same.

It is likely that Americans will accept Israeli propagandist Mark Regev’s story that Israelis were met by deadly fire when they tried to intercept an arms shipment to Palestinian terrorists from IHH, a radical Turkish Islamist organization hiding under the cover of humanitarian aid.

Americans will never hear from the US media that Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan declared that the aid ships were carefully inspected before departure from Turkey and that there were no terrorists or arms aboard: "I want to say to the world, to the heads of state and the governments, that these boats that left from Turkey and other countries were checked in a strict way under the framework of the rules of international navigation and were only loaded with humanitarian aid."

Turkey is a US ally, a member of NATO. Turkey’s cooperation is important to American’s plan for world hegemony. Erdogan must wonder about the morality of Israel’s American protector. According to a report in, the Turkish government declared that “future aid ships will be dispatched with a military escort so as to prevent future Israeli attacks.” Will the CIA assassinate Erdogan or pay the Turkish military to overthrow him? Murat Mercan, head of Turkey’s foreign relations committee, said that Israel’s claim that there were terrorists aboard the aid ships was Israel’s way of covering up its crime.

Mercan declared: "Any allegation that the members of this ship is attached to al-Qaeda is a big lie because there are Israeli civilians, Israeli authorities, Israeli parliamentarians on board the ship."

The criminal Israeli state does not deny its act of piracy. Israeli military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters: “This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.” Americans, and their Western European puppet states and the puppet state in Canada, will be persuaded by the servile media to buy the story fabricated by Israeli propaganda that the humanitarian aid ships were manned by terrorists bringing weapons to the Palestinians in Gaza, and that the terrorists posing as humanitarians attacked the force of Israeli commandos with two pistols, clubs, and knives. Many Americans will swallow this story without a hiccup.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: