Israeli Pirates Hijack Irish Ship on Gaza Humanitarian Mission

Not for the first time, Israeli enforcers have hijacked a ship on the high seas attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza concentration camp, or Gazastan as many Israelis jokingly refer to it.

This time, people on two ships, the Irish Saoirse and the Canadian Tahrir were violently apprehended as they tried to bring medical supplies to the Gazan people who live in the world’s most densely-populated place, behind high walls and with little hope.

It’s a little under three years since the local superpower bombarded the prisoners in its concentration camp, and in that time, conditions have not improved.  Open sewers still run in the streets and essential medicines are denied to the civilians who live behind the walls of the Gaza concentration camp.

It was covered extensively on this site and you can read all the posts here.

Meanwhile, boats sailing legally on the high seas are being hijacked by Israeli special forces, acting as pirates, while the world looks on and accepts such an abomination.  Last year, peaceful campaigners were murdered while trying to help the civilian prisoners.  It’s despicable that Israel continues to accuse others of terrorism in the face of its own actions against the Gaza concentration camp and against those who try to alleviate human suffering.

Here’s a first-hand account of the hijacking.

We hear much talk from the Americans about the Free World, and yet when one of their clients behaves in such a manner there’s nothing but silence.  Perhaps it’s not surprising that the USA supports the oppression when you see the likes of this video.


70 thoughts on “Israeli Pirates Hijack Irish Ship on Gaza Humanitarian Mission

  1. The two humanitarian ships were boarded in international waters and then towed to Israel, not to Gaza. If the boats are not returned to their owners this will constitute theft as the ships were not intending to dock at an Israeli port.

    It is an ironic act by people whose forebears defied the British blocade of Palestine in the late 1940s following World War II, when a ship bearing Jewish refugees faced down the British navy in an effort to reach Palestine. I remember this as one of the moving scenes in the film version of Leon Uris’s novel Exodus.

  2. What a pity a state that was set up to harbour jewish refugess from one of the most evil periods in history (World War II) should turn into the bully and asshole of the middle east.

    Israel have continuously acted in a very similar way to most despotic regimes including their nemesis the Nazis. Unfortunately there are many Israelis who disagree with this but the country is controlled by the fundamentalists and relious right wing assholes. In a similar way, The United Sates has become a puppet of Israel and is very likely being led into the most serious war in the middle east (not that IRAQ, Afgahanistan etc are not serious).

    Ckeck out the posts on You tube of the Representative Press

    All in all it would seem we are at the mercy if AIPAC an american israeli lobby who have a stranglehold on US politics and amongst other things have continuously blocked UN mandates, UN resolutions etc and whatever resolutions critical of Israel get through are not enforced.

    So what is the UN for ?. It only took a few weeks to organise the Libyan ‘offensive’, a few months to get the IRAQ war going but it is decades since Israel have been continuously ignoring the UN resolutions on Palestine so…………

    time to cross the fingers or find a good hiding place ?

  3. Well, as they said that they refused to unload the aid at Ashdod port because the aim was not the aid but to highlight the blockade, they must be pleased with the result, mustn’t they ?

    Zoe Lawlor lectures in Language and Culture at Limerick University. Shouldn’t that denote an attachment to diversity rather than her present blinkered attitudes ?

  4. It wasn’t an ad hominem comment. She’s listed as a passenger and isn’t backward about coming forward with her opinions. Such as for example, a Facebook page hectoring old Pete Seeger not to do his charity concert in Israel. Culture how are ye ?

  5. And maybe Pete Seeger might reconsider his concert. After all, that was part of the pressure placed on Israel’s old allies, the South African apartheid regime.

  6. Only Los Lobos. The rest ( the African musicians) he paid $196 /hour. And they went on to make a lot more by association.

  7. Hi LM its the ill reared genetically challenged impersonator here again. As Thankfully this time the activists were not killed and then branded as terrorists. The catch all descriptive. The cheek of them Turkish ship terrorist guys – forcably resisting having their ship boarded by armed soldiers in International waters. Who do they think they are, sailing around wherever they feel like? The penalty for resisting Israel is death of course. The Egyptian on the Canadian Ship was hurried straight off to Cairo. Israel likes Egypt these days. Lucky Egypt.

  8. Maybe the ship was intercepted as there were cans of beans aboard.
    God only knows what those palestinians would do with them.

    Interesting discussion recorded recently between Sarkozy and Obama.

    Sarkozy and Obama must be anti-semitic. Definitely.

    I wonder are potential presidents and prime ministers vetted to ensure that they’ll submit with the majority/lobby groups and not their own conscience.

  9. That’s not a bad idea. Instead of sending ships with humanitarian supplies, send a single boat containing a single item banned by Israel. A piece of fresh meat or a jar of fruit preserve, for instance.

    Let it be verified by an unimpeachable authority that the ship contains only this item, and let there be no activists on board apart from the crew.

    This would be a far more powerful symbol of resistance to the oppression.

  10. The most powerful symbol of the lot would be a concerted effort by the activists to help find a way out of the political impasse. But that kind of drudgery doesn’t garner headlines, does it ?

    Hi, Tommy. Got a life yet, or still inhabiting the fringes ?

  11. Controlling the settlers might be a start. What do you think?

    Or maybe taking down the walls of the concentration camp.

    The dishonesty implicit in your statements is staggering, as if this is some kind of stand-off between equals.

  12. Who decides what rate of Tax is charged in Gaza ?……Israel.
    Who decides what products enter Gaza ?………Israel.
    By controlling imports….Israel controls what is produced, taxed and exported ?
    By controlling the Importation and entry of construction materials, Israel therefore controls planning, construction and the most basic fabric of Palestinian existence.

    How would it be remotely possible for what are termed ” Activists ” ( with all the loaded connotations ) to address ” Political impasse ” when the most basic of basic human rights are controlled in such a manner as to guarantee no growth and no progress for the Palestinian people.
    That places the ” Political impasse ” so far down the agenda as to be unreachable for mere mortals.

  13. Nonsense. There are are plenty of NGO’s working in Israel/Palestine, some of whom are under a two pronged attack from both the Government and settlers but who keep on working. I’ve got a suspicion that the antipathy towards working with them stems from a reluctance to engage with the Israeli government because to do so would imply stepping back from the distasteful one-state nonsense that Trots like Lane support.

  14. LM . ” I’ve a suspicion that the antipathy toward working with them stems from a reluctance to engage with the Israeli Government”

    You hardly need to harbour any “suspicions ” as there are endless facts to which you can refer.

    Why are some of the Activists still being held ?
    They have been informed that they can be held for 2 months unless they sign a document stating they entered Israeli waters ” Voluntarily and Illegally ” How did they do that ? Their ships were commandeered 50kms off the Gaza coast in International waters, The Israeli Navy then proceeded to take them and their ships to Ashdod port in Israeli waters.

    Therefore the Israeli Government are asking them to sign an illegitimate document in order to obtain their freedom, could this possibly be an act of malice ?

  15. I heard on the radio earlier today that they’ve been strip searching our aid workers over there – numerous times.

    There should be uproar from our government over this.

    The Israelis seem to be able to act with impunity.
    World leaders bitching about them seems to be about the extent of it.

  16. Trot’s an old fashioned insult because it’s an old fashioned view. And I’m sure the activists are milking the situation for all they’re worth; after all no-one is paying the slightest bit of attention to them ,possibly because giving credibility to Hamas isn’t on anyones agenda and that’s the default of this stunt, whether intended or not.

  17. Activists. It reminds me of the reports of weapons in the Murdoch papers. Israelis use friendly little carbines, while Palestinians have Soviet-made AK-47 assault rifles. Some countries have governments while others have regimes.

    It depends how you spin the loaded words.

  18. Now I know I can be a contrary fucker sometimes, but I’d just like to point out something
    The stated intention of the boat in question was to run the blockade. Therefore Israel were well within their “rights” to intercept it before it entered their waters – so the charge of piracy is just as “spinny” as calling the crew activists.

    That being said – I totally abhor and condemn what they are doing in Gaza. Having helped to create this ridiculous situation, they don’t want to accept that they have had any part in it, and continue to stick their heads in the sand and blame everyone else.

  19. Where did their rights begin? Would they have been within their rights to board the vessel immediately after it left Irish territorial waters?

  20. Was the tub ever in Irish teritorial waters ? I thought that these boats were purchased somewhere in the Med ? And I suppose their rights begin when the activists refuse to unload the humanitarian aid at an Israeli port. And I can’t see how Israel can be blamed for all that is Gaza. Leave Gaza, was the Palestinian cry, so they did…every last rightwing settler was carried out by the army…even the Jewish graves were removed. What was the result ? Chaos.

  21. They boarded the vessel on the high seas. This was piracy. The illegality of such an act has already been explained at length in the discussion on the Mavi Marmara incident and I don’t propose to repeat myself. Anyone interested can look it up.

  22. Bock, perhaps it was technically illegal. Although the supposed experts cannot agree on that either. The crew intended to run a legal blockade. This too was illegal. So they’re both wrong.
    Are you saying you would not be giving out if they had waited for it to cross some imaginary line into Israeli controlled waters? Let’s say for example Israel let this ship or indeed the aforementioned one cross this line and then blew it out of the water since at that point it would have been actually running a blockade – which at least some international organisations (the UN for one) agree is legal – would that be OK? Would we be happy to see all crewmembers lost with the ship as long as no law was broken?

    The fact is, this ship was never meant to make it into Gaza; it was never meant to provide aid to the people there; it was meant solely as a publicity stunt for Hamas sympathisers which unfortunately the stupid, pig-headed Israeli administration are happy to facilitate by giving the crew ammunition about their treatment, whilst the real victims continue to suffer. So I guess in that respect it is mission accomplished. :(

  23. Peole are just buying the line. It happens in all conflict situations that all parties will put a spin on it.
    I do not “support” Hamas – However if the Westminster Govt had bombed West Belfast killing thosands including hundreds of children, and blockaded the ports and borders refusing entry of materials necessary for the everyday functioning of society, of course protesters would have been described by some of the more extreme head cases as “IRA supporters” – there would have been those who would say “Sure they deserved it – they voted for Sinn Fein”
    – Any reasonable person will not support the collective punishment of a civilian population in this way. I include myself with that “fringe”

  24. Of course it doesn’t make you a symapthiser, any more than it makes me one – that’s not what I am saying. But the crews refused to allow the aid to be unloaded in Israel – they know bloody well that anything they want to send in has to be checked – therefore it stands to reason that they do not have the wellbeing of the citizens of said city as their #1 priority; since by refusing to allow the Israelis to fliter it, they are guaranteed that none of it will be sent. I’m also opposed to the blockade and bombardment in general, by the way…

  25. This is also about challenging the validity of the blockade itself. They are now challenging the validy of their detention.

  26. PS you can be sure that whatever dead end the Israeli charade of a legal process hits, these people will be expelled and sent to another destination by force. Their intention is to travel to Gaza. It’s most unlikely that will be the eventual destination.

  27. The Marita Ann was boarded 160 miles off the Irish coast which I presume was international waters ?
    As for supporting or not supporting the blocade, I have a problem with lifting it as I would have to wriggle around quite a bit if the consequences were to allow Hamas – or whoever – to arm themselves to an even greater extent than they are at present and to cause more civilian casualties than they have been able to achieve at present.

  28. “these people will be expelled and sent to another destination by force.” – ah come on – that’s the worst spin I ever heard put on “deported”. you make it sound as though they’ll be fired out of a giant cannon over to Cyprus or something :)You know, they could have asked Egypt to let them travel to Gaza. Or even, asked to sail to Ashdod originally.

    Now as to the validity of the blockade, I think that’s a whole other ballgame and there are arguments to be made on both sides.

  29. A quick glance at this partial list of prohibited items might explain why Israel is not an acceptable destination.

    Incidentally, can I invite people not to sink to the level of trite name-calling. Labelling people as “Trots” or Hamas sympathisers does not reflect well on the standard of debate we try to promote here. Since none of us is psychic, it is not possible to say what goes on in a person’s private thoughts. Therefore, instead of trying to discredit the people on the boats by calling their motives into question, can we please base the discussion on facts?

    Thank you.

  30. Deported?. They were brought to Israel by force. They did not intend to travel to Israel. The point is the blockade is being challenged. If you don’t agree with the blockade then whats the problem with people challenging the blockade? Going in through Egypt does not challenge the Israeli Maritime blockade of Gaza. Is that not obvious?
    They have arrived home – after pridictable messing about by the Israeli authorities clearly aiming to split them up and have them arriving home at different, changing, times – to minimise the media factor on the arrival in Dublin, of course. Israel is good at working the media.

  31. It would be difficult to challenge Chris Andrews’ Drivetime interview- where he painted a completely dishonest picture of Gaza being composed of mothers and their children just wanting for themselves what any Irish mother would want- without being trite to be honest. The men of Gaza had it all to themselves after the settlers were pulled out; they should have taken responsibility for themselves in more constructive ways than they did and continue to do instead of falling into Sharons trap.

  32. LM . Any mother wants certain things for her child – food, medicine, shelter, education, security. You can take it for granted that Mothers in Gaza are not that different from Mothers in Ireland, althogh I don’t get that vibe from your comment. Materials, food, and other products necessary for normal everyday life are not going in – in sufficient quantities. As for the men of Gaza, you are generalising – are you saying they’re all terrorists? The lifting of the maritime blockade would upset the profiteers on both ends of the tunnells – Hamas and Egyptian leeches alike – However it must be lifted by international pressure both on Israel and Hamas. This is a humanitarian crisis and your arguments about the men of gaza and what they did or did not do suggests to me that you agree with collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza because maybe you think they “deserve it”
    It is a disgrace that the supposedly civilised world stands by and lets this happen.

  33. Tommy most people want to see the blockade lifted. But I’m not certain that all the players in Gaza do, as you said. Th best thing for the people of Gaza would be the downfall of the Assad regime in Syria which would leave Hamas twisting in the wind as their conduit from Iran would be cut off unless of course the Islamists who’ve got their hands on the serious weaponry that Libya had bought begin to smuggle it in to Gaza. Apparently Israel has put its civilian air fleet on high alert.

  34. Just to clarify a point – I was not calling the people on the boat Hamas sympathisers. I intended to convey that the publicity was for the benefit of Hamas sympathisers, whoever they may be; And in many ways Israel has made this situation worse for themselves by their treatment of the crews.

    Israel certainly has a lot to answer for, no doubt about it. The slow, passive destruction of Gaza included. Even if we leave aside Hamas, and the (debatable) fact that lifting the blockade opens the door for them to cause more problems, it’s still wrong to punish an entire city like this
    But running blockades and then trying to paint them as monsters will not work – it will only make them worse. Being surrounded by enemies tends to make people defensive. We should be appealing to their better natures, not trying to bully them – they have long since demonstrated that this will only incense them.

  35. LM “The best thing for the people of Gaza would be the downfall of the Assad regime in Syria” … well its the best thing for the people of Syria. Re – looming conflict with Iran – again it’s conflict based on what a neighbour might do not has done. We’re on the subject of Gaza and If I lived there I would be very worried about what Israel might do under the cloak of this distraction, and what way things might turn. And I mean VERY worried.

  36. Loosen up Tommy. The last big thing that Israel did vis a vis Gaza was extract the settlers. The war was a direct result of being attacked.

  37. ” Cast Lead ” and all the intense firepower that was brought to bear on the Palestinian population in Gaza could not have been executed had the ” Settlers ” not been removed……… the first place…..strange that Gaza is the only place where Settlers were removed in the way they were.

  38. Not only were the Settlers from Gaza appropriately rehoused, The compensation they received was in the region of 500,000 Dollars.

  39. No compensation is paid to Palestinian dwellers whose houses are levelled either by bombs, tanks, or even bulldozers.

  40. OK..incursion then. What were they supposed to do ? The sub-Gandhian plot seems to imply that people should sit and die quietly rather than involve us all in nasty wars like the Israelis do or the Iraqi Kurds and Shias did.

  41. Hello,
    As crew on the MV Saoirse I’d like to add my account of the Freedom Waves Flotilla if that’s ok. Just to point out, we are a civil society initiative with no political affiliation within Palestine although we obviously recognise the democratic right of the people there to elect whomever they please, like all people. The aim of this mission was to break the illegal, immoral siege of Gaza – it’s a political siege and the Flotilla initiatives are political responses.
    I note someone mentions the BDS campaign I am involved in – this is an anti apartheid campaign and I’m very proud to be part of it, many artists have cancelled apartheid Israel because of it, as they cancelled Sun City because of similar campaigns. The beat drops when the wall falls.
    If anyone is interested, the chronology of events as I experienced them is here. Thanks.

  42. Zoe, would you like to explain the difference between discrimination and apartheid ? Basil D’Olivera died today, aged 81. I remember when he was refused a visa to play cricket in SA because of his colour, apartheid being being in place at the time. Do you have any examples of religious or ethnic bars in Israel which prevent , for example, soccer players playing in Israel or going to Israel to play ? I’m using the sporting metaphor because I’m a big fan of O’Gara and today was another of his days.

  43. Here’s Rev. Allan Boesak’s take on Israeli apartheid, he’s a veteran of the South Adfrican anti-apartheid struggle.

    The Russell Tribunal on Palestine – South Africa session

    There are different laws for different ethnic groups – that’s apartheid. Just this week 6 Palestinians were hauled off buses on the Freedom Rides initiative – they’re not allowed on the same buses, that’s apartheid.

  44. No, that’s security. You climb on a bus with a suicide belt, you put your fellow Palestinians at a disadvantage for decades.
    And I don’t care what a now irrelevant SA minister says….if the judge dropping the hammer on a former Israeli president is an Arab, then it’s not apartheid. If Druze officers command Jewish troops it’s not Apartheid. I never said that some of the discrimination isn’t either racist or distasteful, but it’s not apartheid.
    And as for calling for a boycott of universities. Where do you think that anti- right-wing thought emanates from ? I should have thought that you position as a university lecturer should have resonated more. Would you boycott loyalists just a couple of hundred miles up the road ? They’re a fairly fundamentalist lot prone to discriminating.

  45. And to think these cuntolas dont even have the common decency to fly the Skull and Cross bones. Well I’m dashed! Zoe, I hope you’re well, great work, inspirational. Norma, I always enjoy readind and learing from your posts on this “matter”. Bock, you can shag off.

  46. Thanks John! :)
    @Lapsedmethodist – keep on defending apartheid if you want, it’s very disturbing. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been calling it apartheid since at least 2002, is he irrelevant too?
    No doubt you don’t read these links as they might challenge your world view but here goes. Different laws for different ethnic groups is apartheid by the way and no amount of tokenism can change that.
    Palestinian civil society has called for a boycott, I respect their non-violent, global solidarity movement.

  47. @ Zoe. That’s false logic. That SOME aspects of law contain SOME aspects of Apartheid doesn’t make the whole analogous to Apartheid. If it did there’d be widespread apartheid, and if that were true, why are you singling out Israel ?
    An example of false logic is ..all cows have tails; Felix has a tail, therefore Felix is a cow.

  48. Israel will never be found guilty of creating an Apartheid system for Palestinians, and just in case you think im agreeing with you LM, im not, all the components of Apartheid exist for Palestinians but those components are so fragmented and manipulated that any comparisons to S.A. will always be called ” false logic” .

    S.A. was dependent on the black population for cheap labour , The Israeli’s have not looked to the Palestinian population for such labour requirements for a long time due to the influx of cheap labour from Asia and Eastern Europe.

    I find your excuse of ” No, thats security ” to be just ignorant, maybe you could answer some questions re; components i refer to for me ?

    Why are the Israeli Gov witholding $100 million of The Palestinian Authority’s tax revenue, which Israel, under the Oslo accord collect for the PA………… that also for “Security ” reasons because the PA will now struggle to pay the Palestinian Security Force without this revenue stream.

    A project called ” Hebrew Labour ” recently formed by a Settler group to ” warn ” Israeli owned business from employing Palestinians……Is that for ” Security ” ?

    The confiscation of 375 acres of Al Aghwar in Sth Jordan threatens the very existence of Bedouin tribes, who for a millenium have wintered their herds there, Israel cut off their water supply in that area while investing millions in a very sophisticated water system for Settlers in that area…..Is that for Security reasons ?

    When the very existence of a Population is threatened, by, deprivation, obstruction, isolation, racism, infringment of basic human rights, We can argue about cow’s and their tails and the need to redefine Apartheid as of today, But it changes none of the components which make life utterly unbearable for the Palestinian people.

  49. @Lapsedmethodist – it’s got some bits of apartheid, but not enough for it to be apartheid??? Keep it up, it’s comical. I’ll believe the Palestinian people, ICAHD, Desmond Tutu, the Russell Tribunal etc and leave you off to defend the indefensible.
    @Norma, good stuff!

  50. lapsedmethodist’s post on November 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm – He compared your voyage to that of the Marita Ann which was in 1984 intercepted after US intelligence advised it was carrying arms. 7 tons of arms and explosives in fact, bound for the provos. What does that tell you?

  51. The boats, unlike the Marita Ann, were not carrying arms. Since Lapsedmethodist has been berating others for using false logic, I can only assume he knew exactly what he was saying. Therefore the only conclusion I can see is that he wanted to slur the crews of these two boats with a false comparison. That sort of dishonesty has been a recurring theme in all the comments on posts I’ve written about Gaza.

  52. The first Prime Minister of Israel who forged that special relationship with the U.S. was Levi Eshkol, he was the reciepient of the first official invite to the White House, what transpired was the securing of military and political aid prior to the 6 day war.

    On May 24th 1967, The NY Times in a report quoted LBJ as saying ……
    ” The Arab blockade of Israeli shipping in the Gulf of Aquba ( Eilat )is illegal and potentially disasterous to the cause of peace, The purported closing of the Gulf has brought a new and grave dimension to the crisis, The U.S. considers the Gulf to be an International waterway “.

    In Dec 1967 during a forum discussion on the ” Refugees of Gaza ” Prime Minister Eshkol was quoted as saying ” Regarding the Arabs of Gaza, I would like to hope they will go away from greater Israel including Gaza ”

    Earlier in ’67, The Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan stated that he would urge the Israeli Government to support a Palestinian state.

    What an appalling legacy they left behind.

    Zoe and John M Thanks, Zoe what you are doing is amazing and brave, I sometimes think LM just likes a good arguement.

  53. Even the Israeli navy know we had no weapons on the ship – they didn’t even look for them.
    @Norma @Tommy – we’re just trying to do the right thing – everyone’s support is really important to such endeavours, so, thanks. :)

  54. My point about the Marita Ann was that if anyone wants to stop a boat, for whatever reason, there’s no such thing as ” international waters “. If there was, the Marita Ann would have been shadowed until it entered Irish waters.
    I’ve no objection to anyone highlighting the blocade btw; it’s the one-sided approach that sticks in my craw.

  55. “if anyone wants to stop a boat, for whatever reason, there’s no such thing as ” international waters”. What law refers to that LM?

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