Friday, June 4, 2010

Sabotage on the High Sea

Written by Greta Berlin for


(Cyprus, June 4, 2010) On Tuesday,, Colonel Itzik Tourgeman told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that two more ships are on their way to try and break the naval blockade of Gaza. The head of research in the operations division said, "The ships have not reached their target as of today because covert action was taken against them."

We had suspicions about our two boats, Challenger 1 and 2 and their mechanical problems as they sailed toward the flotilla, but we were not going to say anything unless we could prove it. Turns out we didn't have to prove it. Israeli mouthpieces did.

The Guardian ran a piece the same day, saying,

Israel gave strong indications today that its forces had secretly sabotaged some of the ships bound for Gaza as part of the freedom flotilla.

Matan Vilnai, the deputy defence minister, was asked on Israel Radio whether there had not been a smarter alternative to direct assault. He answered that "all possibilities had been considered," adding: "The fact is that there were less than the 10 ships that were due to participate in the flotilla."

An unnamed Israeli Defence Force source who briefed the Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee on the widely criticised armed interception of the flotilla at sea, also spoke of "grey operations" being mounted against the flotilla."

We were lucky that our two captains were supurbly trained and able to offload the passengers safely.

So we are going to make sure the Rachel Corrie is well protected and that Israel is put on notice that anything that happens to her, the passengers and the crew will rest with Israel. As a result of these threats, we're going to pull Rachel Corrie into a port, add more high-profile people on board, and insist that journalists from around the world also come with us.

And sabotage happens with more than deeds. It also happens with words. In today's Haaretz, Barak Ravid reported,

"A diplomatic solution seems imminent to allow the humanitarian aid vessel the Rachel Corrie to dock without incident at the Ashdod Port. According to European diplomats and senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem, quiet messages have been exchanged over the past few days between Israel and the group operating the ship, to allow it to dock."

This, too, is sabotage in writing. We called Haaretz and the reporter. He did not return our call.

We have no intention nor would we ever have any intention of ever docking in Ashdod.

Contact: Greta Berlin 00 357 99 18 72 75
Mary Hughes, 00 357 96 38 38 09