The Freedom Flotilla II turned "Flytilla" Gaza mission Forsaken and Fizzled out, but not a Flop

Published July 13th, 2011 - 12:37 GMT

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Gaza flotilla raid May 2010: Israel triumphed in last year's flotilla fiasco,  Murder on Turkish contingent, the 'Mavi
Marmara'. Pardoned then by a report pronouncing Israel acted lawfully, albeit forcefully, Israel  triumphed  this time without 
dirtying its hands. But maybe a victory skin-deep.
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Image 1 of 14: Gaza flotilla raid May 2010: Israel triumphed in last year's flotilla fiasco, Murder on Turkish contingent, the 'Mavi Marmara'. Pardoned then by a report pronouncing Israel acted lawfully, albeit forcefully, Israel triumphed this time without dirtying its hands. But maybe a victory skin-deep.

Starkly missing this round of flotilla fanfare were the Turks- leaving it to the Canadians, Americans, Irish, British, Italians,
French and Swedes: One of the main contender boats was the Audacity of Hope- the U.S entry claiming to challenge both
US foreign policy and Israel in one fell swoop.
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Image 1 of 14: Starkly missing this round of flotilla fanfare were the Turks- leaving it to the Canadians, Americans, Irish, British, Italians, French and Swedes: One of the main contender boats was the Audacity of Hope- the U.S entry claiming to challenge both US foreign policy and Israel in one fell swoop.

Blame it on the Greeks: Greek captain of one of the boats, George Klontzas sure did. So
frustrated  by what his own country did to foil his flotilla from floating : “I just want to leave Greece now,”
“even shoot myself!” Israeli PM BiBi Netanyahu thanked Greek PM George Papandreou for his
 help.
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Image 1 of 14: Blame it on the Greeks: Greek captain of one of the boats, George Klontzas sure did. So frustrated by what his own country did to foil his flotilla from floating : “I just want to leave Greece now,” “even shoot myself!” Israeli PM BiBi Netanyahu thanked Greek PM George Papandreou for his help.

Still smiling, activists after 8/10 boats intercepted 2 weeks on from the sunny start. 2 remaining boats of aspiring
sea-farers, French ship the 'Dignity El Karameh' and the Swedish-Norwegian-Greek 'Juliano' still struggle, docked in the
Greek grip.
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Image 1 of 14: Still smiling, activists after 8/10 boats intercepted 2 weeks on from the sunny start. 2 remaining boats of aspiring sea-farers, French ship the 'Dignity El Karameh' and the Swedish-Norwegian-Greek 'Juliano' still struggle, docked in the Greek grip.

Going where some oldies had gone before! Many of the delegates to this peaceful mission had taken leave
from work to be here and after numerous delays and bureaucratic tie-ups got stranded.  By now, resuming  their land-lives. 
Old-timers were returnees from a successful  2008  sailing into Gaza.
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Image 1 of 14: Going where some oldies had gone before! Many of the delegates to this peaceful mission had taken leave from work to be here and after numerous delays and bureaucratic tie-ups got stranded. By now, resuming their land-lives. Old-timers were returnees from a successful 2008 sailing into Gaza.

Symbolic mission: Not about the aid, this flotilla, as the last,  was about an attempt to break the nigh- on- 5-year Israeli sea blockade of Gaza
and deliver a symbolic amount of humanitarian aid to Palestinians living there. Free Gaza Movement's ninth attempt to break the
naval blockade.
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Image 1 of 14: Symbolic mission: Not about the aid, this flotilla, as the last, was about an attempt to break the nigh- on- 5-year Israeli sea blockade of Gaza and deliver a symbolic amount of humanitarian aid to Palestinians living there. Free Gaza Movement's ninth attempt to break the naval blockade.

French boat 'Louise Michel' and Canadian boat Tahrir were the big players. The anti-flotilla propaganda machine was no small 
order: Israel called the mission phony.  Israel said it had invited them to use the land crossings but they refused, guilty of wrapping themselves in a humanitarian cloak.
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Image 1 of 14: French boat 'Louise Michel' and Canadian boat Tahrir were the big players. The anti-flotilla propaganda machine was no small order: Israel called the mission phony. Israel said it had invited them to use the land crossings but they refused, guilty of wrapping themselves in a humanitarian cloak.

The rebuttal or mission's admission! “This mission is about breaking Israel's siege
 on 1.5 million Palestinians, to raise awareness about the prison-closure of Gaza, pressuring the international community
 to review its sanctions policy and support for continued Israeli occupation.'
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Image 1 of 14: The rebuttal or mission's admission! “This mission is about breaking Israel's siege on 1.5 million Palestinians, to raise awareness about the prison-closure of Gaza, pressuring the international community to review its sanctions policy and support for continued Israeli occupation."

More Israeli propaganda waged included some blatant lie campaigns, like a gay Palestine supporter
refused entry to flotilla, and hyperbole & psycho-babble as waged in a YouTube-broadcast shrink-interview with a paranoid
'Israel', in the form of a sexy woman suffering flotilla syndrome.
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Image 1 of 14: More Israeli propaganda waged included some blatant lie campaigns, like a gay Palestine supporter refused entry to flotilla, and hyperbole & psycho-babble as waged in a YouTube-broadcast shrink-interview with a paranoid 'Israel', in the form of a sexy woman suffering flotilla syndrome.

Gaza is Grateful: 'Even if physically you did not manage to reach us,' a letter said, 'your voice - and the voices of all those in solidarity who mobilized to support you - have been heard and your message of peace for the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been received.'
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Image 1 of 14: Gaza is Grateful: "Even if physically you did not manage to reach us," a letter said, "your voice - and the voices of all those in solidarity who mobilized to support you - have been heard and your message of peace for the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been received."

It were these feeble type of amateur water-crews  that created a 'provocation' on the high seas—from a fleet of flotillas
 (flimsy and charity boats in every sense). Attempts to scupper the mission succeeded through proxy agent Greece's
 draconian 'security' measures and checks.
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Image 1 of 14: It were these feeble type of amateur water-crews that created a 'provocation' on the high seas—from a fleet of flotillas (flimsy and charity boats in every sense). Attempts to scupper the mission succeeded through proxy agent Greece's draconian 'security' measures and checks.

The Canadian ship The Tahrir pulled out of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II over the weekend, 10th July.
Leaving only the French ship the Dignity El Karameh and the Swedish-Norwegian-Greek ship, Juliano,. Many activists
were forced to drop out, chiefly because they had to return to jobs.
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Image 1 of 14: The Canadian ship The Tahrir pulled out of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II over the weekend, 10th July. Leaving only the French ship the Dignity El Karameh and the Swedish-Norwegian-Greek ship, Juliano,. Many activists were forced to drop out, chiefly because they had to return to jobs.

Flotilla fights back: The coordinator for the French boat, MP John-Paul Lecoq, announced that the flotilla organizers
 will go to the European court to fight the Greek government's decision.
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Image 1 of 14: Flotilla fights back: The coordinator for the French boat, MP John-Paul Lecoq, announced that the flotilla organizers will go to the European court to fight the Greek government's decision.

Flytilla, Aerial flotilla: They tried another front. When the sea fails look up to the skies!  Israel ordered the deportation of 65 
arrivals at Tel Aviv, Friday, and further banned hundreds from flying in, or detained some for questioning, offering them flowers as
 compensation for barred entry.
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Image 1 of 14: Flytilla, Aerial flotilla: They tried another front. When the sea fails look up to the skies! Israel ordered the deportation of 65 arrivals at Tel Aviv, Friday, and further banned hundreds from flying in, or detained some for questioning, offering them flowers as compensation for barred entry.

For a while it seemed afloat but only momentarily before this fleet floundered, most notably at the port of Greece.  Here it underwent what was considered a form of sabotage akin to that afflicted by Israel last time round (see our photo-gallery flotilla review) but this time in the form of Greece's over-zealous and probably illegal paperwork and security check facade- saving Israel the trouble of later intercepting this fleet of activists or as it termed them 'provocateurs' which may have resulted in more than just a beareaucratic injury to the crews, given last year's bloody boat scenario.

Scuppering Aspiring Sailors who refuse the tag of failed mission

Last time, May 2010, Turkey was caught up in a naval tussle with Israel, when the flotilla expedition that disembarked from its shores, and sailing under its flag, was not only not made welcome in Israel but was attacked and suffered 9 fatalities. Turkey was less than pleased and for a while fuming at Israel's hostile response to its sea charity work.  But now. the Greeks and Turks have never quite seen eye to eye and inevitably have played things differently.

Greeks show-down with the Turks

Greece has banned all boats in the Gaza Flotilla from leaving port. Greek authorities cite security concerns, given last year’s raids by Israeli forces on a similar flotilla.

Greece has acted the proxy Israel, screening these boats for 'security' and thwarting their pro-Pal (Palestine) mission in polar contrats to the Turkish side stance last year.  This said, Turkey who was tangibly missing from this year's boat protest -- IHH - the proudly Hamas-affiliated group from last year's tragic flotilla meltdown chose not to sail this year--  is on a bid to mend diplomatic ties with israel- historically a firm ally. They woudn't let a flotilla come between years of friendship would they? Nor would they wish to let former and long-standing foe Greece get all the good-guy-kudos.

The Greeks' behaviour has not escaped Turkey's notice and has resulted in a form of bidding war between the two leaders to help Israel flop the flotilla. As a senior IDF officer told the Jewish Chronicle this week: "We will make peace with the Palestinians long before the Greeks and Turks resolve their differences."

For the last fortnight, a fleet of 10 boats (4 up on last year's 6 boat fleet) attempted a mission to symoblically challenge the blockade Israel has sustained for  5 years in a gesture of charity, peace and a delivery of  goods and supplies, letters, and above all a show of solidarity with the Palestinian 'prisoners' people's plight.

Until 10 July the Canadian big gun boat the Tahrir was still fit and fighting, now retired together with the bulk of the rest first to fall out was the American effort in the Audacity of Hope.  By Monday this week, all but 2 had effectively sunk-  2 boats remained, a French one and a Swedish-Norwegian-Greek ship. By Tuesday one boat was said to be still moored under Greece's strict watch.

By Tuesday this week, reports of another forced retiree were awash, while today there are still probably futile negotiations in place to keep or indeed set the last boat afloat. If it can liberate itself from Greece's red-taped clutch.

By  now the mission is all but fizzled out after some of the fleet floundered and fought nobly before their crew either gave up and returned to land life, and jobs whose leave had run its course. These retiring delegates to a somehow failed mission, left on the promise this was not the last we'd seen of them and that they'd be back. It looked they'd been beaten by a series of bureaucratic and petty-paper legislation and an aggressive campaign of distortion, disinformation and sabotage mounted by Israel and its network, that may have scuppered the sailings, but not the sailor spiritis! These were far from brow-beaten as they celebrated the attention they had commanded and their public barring from the legitimate use of international waters or clear passage to depart a country's shores.  The bending of universal naval law in the name of siding with Israel.  For Israel even the 'free high seas' mantra was contravened

If not Flotilla, then "Flytilla"

Quite a fiasco has ensued on this round of flotilla drama, with protests aimed at the Greeks ensuing world-wide, and bouyed up by inspiration from an Arab Spring-turned Summer. When additional supporters fo the fleet and cause decided to look to the skies for clear passage instead - forging an Aerial Flotilla of sorts, termed Flytilla in honour of the sea fleet pioneers- and were foiled by air too by the influence of Israeli comandeering of ocean and sky!-  that was when they actually felt vindicated in their mission for the public exposure they had caused Israel.

Though it may seem as if the Palestinian solidarity movement suffered a dent and a sinking, it is actually Israel that was harshly beaten here, for Israel has managed to expose its level of hysteria: it seems that under 10 tatty yachts and a few hundred no frill air passengers have got Israel out of sorts and clamoring to manipulate international air and sea law- as always, heavy-handed reactions (perhaps not bloody but stridently intolerant and paranoid).

Say the activists and supporters, "Both the Flotilla and the Flytilla are exemplary cases of ‘civil society campaigns’-- they were intended to mobilise international public support using peaceful and democratic means."

Israealis even suggested that these Palestinian supporters find some other Arab cause to adopt: since so many around. Israeli anti-demonstrator Michelle Marshalian, apparently unaffected by the beefed-up police presence at Ben-Gurion airport, Tel Aviv, held a sign urging protesters to go instead to Syria, Libya and other Arab states roiled by revolts.

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