Piracy is still piracy, even if it’s carried out by a state, by Al Jazeera
As the much anticipated departure of the Freedom Flotilla nears, Israel has been busy issuing statements and press releases as how it intends to deal with the humanitarian aid convoy of ships bound for Gaza.
Israel’s military says it has completed the construction of a mass detention centre in Ashdod where it plans to hold the 800 or so activists, humanitarians and journalists on board the nine ships.
Tel Aviv has declared the waters off the shores of Gaza a military zone, deeming any unauthorised entry tress passing.
But the problem is, Gaza’s waters are just that – waters belonging to Gaza. Israel’s navy has no right under any law to enter those waters let alone declare the area a military zone. In fact ask any of Gaza’s one and a half million residents and you will find that anything related to Israel is not welcome.
The Freedom Flotilla on the other hand, is welcomed by Gaza’s besieged people. It brings them much needed aid, building materials school and hospital equipment. Whereas as far as Palestinians are concerned all Israel has brought Gaza since 1948 is refugees, war and destruction.
Israel insists it no longer occupies Gaza, however its continued strangle hold over all but one of the strip’s entry and exit points deems such protestations, to put it mildly, grossly inaccurate.
Thus if the Israeli military does indeed act upon its threats of boarding the Flotilla and forcibly re-directing it as well as detaining the passengers; its actions, in the eyes of the conscious many, would amount to nothing less than piracy and abduction.
The likely ransom demands for the release of 800 activists, parliamentarians, aid workers and journalist:
1. Remain silent in the face of aggression.
2. Turn a blind eye to the suffering of many.
3. Report not on the injustices of Israel.
4. Forget that Gaza even exists.
Since the resurgence of piracy off the coasts of Somalia, western governments who’s vessels have been captured by pirates in recent years have always insisted that they do not negotiate with pirates. One wonders whether they will afford the same right to those on board the Freedom Flotilla.
Meanwhile, some multi-national corporations have taken a different approach when their interests were held to ransom, paying out millions of dollars to secure their financial assets on board these ships. But for the 800 odd passengers on their way to Gaza, the ransom that could be asked of them, may prove to be too valuable a price to pay.