A New Flotilla Steams Towards Gaza

by Elizabeth Murray from Consortium News

“Islands Bruegge,” an idyllic harbor park that stretches along the east bank of Copenhagen, was alive with a celebratory crowd on Monday as three ships were about to steam towards Gaza. The 2018 Freedom Flotilla—two ships from Sweden and one from Norway — will call at ports in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy before traveling through the Mediterranean Sea to its final destination: Gaza harbor.

Volunteer boat guides explained the history and mission of the Gaza Flotilla movement, which has organized a number of journeys to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Gaza and break the illegal economic siege. An independent U.N. panel and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) say the blockade violates the Geneva Conventions and is illegal.

Israel dragged the last Israeli settlers from Gaza and withdrew the Israeli Defense Force in 2005. When the Palestinian Authority lost a 2006 election in Gaza to Hamas, Israel imposed the illegal blockade. A considerable number of young Danish people learned about Gaza for the first time and walked away with new political awareness of the injustices suffered by Gaza’s children, who are denied the same carefree life enjoyed by Danish children.

The upbeat music and offerings of traditional Palestinian falafel wraps washed down with Danish beer created a festive atmosphere at the Freedom Flotilla tent Passerby lined up to buy ‘Boat to Gaza’ T-shirts, Palestinian kaffiyehs (traditional checkered scarves) while a Palestinian musician strummed the oud (traditional Palestinian lute) and sang a song of sentimental love for his Palestinian homeland. A local Palestinian man danced and waved the Palestinian flag while the crowd clapped along…

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Which side of history are you on? Gaza is the litmus test. Period

The world is watching and reacting in horror to what the IDF is doing to unarmed protesters in Gaza. The complicit media spin the blame, making the victims the perps and the perps the victims. What side of history are you on? These are the moments that test our metal and expose us for who we really are. Step up or step off.

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Facebook labels Palestinian journalism “hate speech”

from Electronic Intifada

Facebook is defending its decision to shut down the page of a major Palestinian news outlet, describing the action as a move against “hate speech.”

On Saturday, the social media giant closed without warning the page of the Safa Palestinian Press Agency, which had 1.3 million followers, as well as Safa’s account on the photo sharing site Instagram.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Media Association condemned Facebook’s widening assault on the free speech of Palestinian journalists, calling it “clear submission to the policies and dictates of the Israeli occupation which is pursuing Palestinian activists on the basis of their political views and intellectual positions and issuing prison sentences against them.”

But Facebook is justifying the removal of Safa’s account. “This page was correctly removed for violating our community standards,” a company spokesperson emailed The Electronic Intifada Monday evening. “There is no room for hate speech or incitement of violence on our platform.”…

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Facebook’s latest crackdown on Palestinian journalists and activists began several weeks ago, after Israeli occupation forces extrajudicially executed Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, a man Israel claims was involved in the shooting death of an Israeli settler in early January.

Israeli lawmakers also discussed how to suppress online content, including getting Facebook to take down images of Jarrar.

Since the beginning of the year, Haaretz says, citing an unnamed Palestinian activist who monitors the issue, about 500 Facebook pages of Palestinian activists and journalists have been closed by the company…

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Erdogan calls Netanyahu a ‘terrorist’ in wake of Gaza deaths

from RT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a blistering attack on Benjamin Netanyahu, calling his Israeli counterpart the “leader of a terrorist state” following the deadly shooting of protesters in Gaza.

Erdogan made the comments at his party’s congress in southern Turkey. Addressing the event, the president slammed Netanyahu’s criticism of Turkey’s military operation in Syria. “I do not need to tell the world how cruel the Israeli army is. We can see what this terror state is doing by looking at the situation in Gaza and Jerusalem,” Erdogan said, according to the Daily Sabah.

“Israel has carried out a massacre in Gaza and Netanyahu is a terrorist. We will continue to expose Israeli terror all the time and on all platforms,” he added.

Erdogan’s remarks are just the latest in a rapidly escalating war of words between the two nations. Earlier this week, Netanyahu suggested that Erdogan was playing an April Fool’s Day prank when his spokesman described Friday’s killing of protesters in Gaza as “inhumane.”

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Listen to Israeli Prime Minister’s Propaganda Mouthpiece, David Keyes, LIE THROUGH HIS TEETH about #greatreturnmarch

This is sickening to listen to. One lie after another after another after another. When he is finally asked by the interviewer for some specific evidence of Palestinian protesters “firing guns and rockets at Israeli soldiers” he says “well, large rocks can kill as well”

This man is deranged. He’s mentally ill.

Bernie Sanders condemns Israel’s killing of Palestinian protesters

from the Daily Sabah

S. Senator from Vermont and former Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized Israel’s violent response to Palestinian protesters and urged the U.S. administration to work towards improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Sanders, who is Jewish, said in a tweet on Saturday that the killing of Palestinian protesters near the Gaza border was tragic, calling the situation in the blockaded enclave a “humanitarian disaster.”

“The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.” Sen. Sanders

The senator also said that the United States must play a positive role in ending the blockade and help Palestinians and Israelis build a future together that “works for all.”

The 76-year-old senator has become the first prominent U.S. politician to openly criticize the Israeli response to the peaceful protesters. Turkey has condemned the country for the killings while the EU said: “Israel has the responsibility to use it proportionately.”…

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Abbas announces ‘day of mourning’ as Gaza death toll reaches 16

from al Araby

President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas declared Saturday as a day of national mourning for the 16 Gazans killed by Israeli forces while commemorating the 42nd anniversary of Land Day.

Friday became the conflict’s worst single day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war with some 1,600 injured, over 700 of them by live bullets and the remainder by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation.

At least 20 are in critical condition in Gaza’s hospitals, which have been overwhelmed by the skyrocketing number of casualties occurring over just several hours on Friday.

Abbas called on the United Nations to provide international protection for the defenseless Palestinian people, pointing out that the especially high number of Palestinian casualties seen on Friday confirms the need for intervention by the international community…

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