U.S. Delegation Headed for Gaza with International Aid Flotilla

The Free Palestine Movement, a California-based human rights organization, has announced a new “multinational grassroots effort to deliver humanitarian relief aid to the besieged Gaza Strip by sea…One of the ships participating in the convoy, the MV Rachel Corrie, set sail from Ireland on May 14. When it reaches the eastern Mediterranean, it will rendezvous with the other ships, which are sailing from Greece and Turkey. The flotilla is due to arrive in Gaza around the end of May… the convoy will include at least eight ships, carrying 600 passengers and 5,000 tons of building materials, medical equipment, and school supplies…Backed by activists in 30 countries and organized by groups in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Sweden, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union as well as the U.S., the Freedom Flotilla is the biggest international effort yet to break the Israeli siege of Gaza.”

This effort deserves a bit of attention for several reasons. It’s an uncommon thing when something happens that galvanizes so many different national groups to cooperate; just getting the Greeks and the Turks together is noteworthy by itself. And this event is pretty newsworthy in its own right, kind of a seaborne version of Gandhi’s salt march perhaps. It’s a game of chicken being played out on the high seas. When sympathizers did something like this last year, on a much smaller scale, the Israeli navy seized the ship, impounded the cargo and arrested the personnel. The Israelis will have to use a lot more muscle to stop this one, and if, for example, there’s a Turkish naval vessel hanging around, it could get very interesting.

But you’d never know there’s a story here, if you depend on the Washington Post and the New York Times to keep you informed, as I do and many others in the Washington area. Just for the fun of it, call up Google and ask it to search for “U.S. Delegation Headed for Gaza with International Aid Flotilla”. I found items on this story from Ireland, Norway, Turkey, Malaysia, and other places, but the only US citations Google lists were from sources I’d never heard of. Nothing in the major newspapers or, apparently, the other major media.

As usual, the motto “All the News That’s Fit to Print” has to be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to reporting any development that could be construed to reflect badly on America’s darling, our rogue nation in the Eastern Med. The announcement I report here is twice blackballed because it refers to the unmentionable incident of the USS Liberty. One of the participants in the flotilla exercise, it reports, will be…”Joe Meadors, a decorated Navy veteran and one of the survivors of the 1967 attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, in which Israeli fighter planes and ships killed 34 Americans and wounded 173…”

Sounds like the NYT motto should be changed to “Don’t ask, don’t tell…” Meanwhile stay tuned, this may yet become a big enough story to break through the taboos and hit the major media.

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