The Lone Ship of the Freedom Flotilla: The Rachel Corrie MV Continues to Sail Towards Gaza in Defiance of Israeli Threats

 

by Michel Chossudovsky

Following Israel’s criminal raid in international waters on May 31st, the Rachel Corrie MV continues to sail towards the Gaza coastline in defiance of Israeli threats.

In an act of tremendous courage, the Rachel Corrie MV is determined to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

At noon today, I received the following message from Christopher Chang and Ram Kardigasu, on behalf of the Malaysian and Irish peace activists, who are on board the Rachel Corrie:

RACHEL CORRIE: MV Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.
 
The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of lost with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.
 
In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.
 
We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.
 
We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza.
 
Jointly issued by Malaysians and Irish on board the Rachel Corrie.
 
Sent on behalf of the humanitarian activists on aboard the Rachel Corrie – by PGPO land team (Ram Karthigasu and Christopher Chang)

In recent developments, the Netanyahu government is in crisis:

“Senior ministers [of the Netanyahu cabinet] have been sharply critical of the fact that the decision to seize control of the flotilla to Gaza was made after two meetings of the forum of seven senior ministers but without official deliberation by the inner cabinet, the body that has the authority to approve military actions of this scale.” What this suggests is that the actual decision to conduct the raids in international waters bypassed the Cabinet. (Haaretz.com headlines RSS

The question remains: if the Israeli cabinet did not ratify the operation, who ordered the raids and through what procedure? 

What were the respective roles of Israeli intelligence and the IDF in planning these raids?

What role was played by Rahm Emmanuel, Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, who had meetings with both Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres, respectively on May 26 and 27?

Did Rahm Emmanuel meet officials of Israel’s military and intelligence establishment?

Did the Obama administration give the Green Light?

It is important that this news gets out, with a view to ensuring that the Rachel Corrie MV safely reaches the coast of Gaza without encroachment, with a view to breaking Israel’s criminal embargo. 

In this endeavor we shall prevail.  Our hearts and minds are with those who continue to sail on board the Rachel Corrie MV. 

It should be noted that Israel has not in any way modified its policy with regard to the Rachel Corrie MV: There are two more ships heading for Gaza including the Rachel Corrie MV. Israel has promised “to respond even more harshly”:

“Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.” (www.ynetnews.com)


The Rachel Corrie MV is in part supported by the Perdana Global Peace Organization under the helm of  Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Global Research Director Michel Chossudovsky is a member of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.

Biography of Rachel Corrie who the ship was named in honor of….

Rachel Corrie Biography
Activist, Writer, 1979–2003

 

 

“The international media and our government are not going to tell us that we are effective, important, justified in our work, courageous, intelligent, valuable. We have to do that for each other, and one way we can do that is by continuing our work, visibly. People without privilege will be doing this work no matter what, because they are working for their lives. We can work with them, and they know that we work with them, or we can leave them to do this work themselves and curse us for our complicity in killing them.”

Rachel Corrie was a young activist whose life, at 23, ended abruptly on March 16, 2003 while she was working as a protester in the Gaza Strip. She grew up in Olympia, Washington, attending Capital High School and The Evergreen State College. While in college, Corrie joined the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, and later, the International Solidarity Movement, or ISM.

The ISM, founded in 2001, looks worldwide for people to help with their nonviolent protests against the Israeli military in the West Bank. The organization seeks to pressure Israel and its Israeli Defense Force (IDF) into stopping its occupation of Palestinian lands, using a number of nonviolent resistance tactics. Violating Israeli curfews imposed on Palestinian areas, removing roadblocks placed by the IDF to isolate one village from another, and blocking military vehicles like tanks and bulldozers are among the measures used to protest the occupation.

Rachel Corrie went to Rafah in the Gaza Strip in January 2003 and received two days of nonviolent resistance training to assist in ISM activities. She was horrified at the amount of destruction she found there. Homes were destroyed and people detained and killed on a daily basis. Rachel recorded what she observed and felt in letters and emails home to her family. In one email she wrote, “Now the Israeli army has actually dug up the road to Gaza, and both of the major checkpoints are closed. This means that Palestinians who want to go and register for their next quarter at university can’t. People can’t get to their jobs and those who are trapped on the other side can’t get home; and internationals, who have a meeting tomorrow in the West Bank, won’t make it.” Yet through all of this, she found that her presence was welcome, as when she wrote, “Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom….Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the willful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me.”

Rachel Corrie’s efforts to help the resistance movement cost her her life on March 16, 2003. She had placed herself between a Caterpillar bulldozer and a local home, trying to prevent the IDF from demolishing it. She was run over twice by the vehicle and killed.

The outcry from her tragedy has manifested in many ways. A memorial website has been set up to commemorate her life, as well as The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. Several music artists have paid tribute to Corrie in songs and compositions. Actor Alan Rickman and writer Katherine Viner put together a play based on Corrie’s letters, journals, and emails called “My Name is Rachel Corrie.” It played in London in 2005, and after an initial postponement in the US, had a limited run Off-Broadway in New York.

 
 
 
 

 

 Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

“Introducing the MV Rachel Corrie”

April 21, 2010 by Infowars Ireland 

 

Written by Free Gaza Team | 20 April 2010
www.freegaza.org


(Dundalk, Ireland, April 20, 2010) The 1200-ton cargo ship had been abandoned in July 2009, off the coast of Ireland. She was then impounded after an inspection by the International Transport Federation (ITF) discovered her owners had exploited their Lithuanian crewmembers – not paying their wages and subjecting them to humiliating treatment, and they had been left with just one day of food. The 42-year-old MV Linda languished for nine months, waiting in the port of Dundalk for just the right buyer to rescue her. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/

On March 31, 2010, the Free Gaza Movement bought her at auction for €70,000 and will send her to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza loaded with cement, paper, and medical equipment, all banned by Israel from this battered and bruised slice of the Mediterranean.

ITF Inspector and Union organizer Ken Fleming was ecstatic: “We are pleased to announce that this vessel which was used to subject workers to modern day slavery, will now be used to promote human rights for the people of Palestine”.

Added Derek Graham the bidder for Free Gaza and one of the organizers of the flotilla, “We are doing this to show the people of Gaza that they are not alone. There’s nothing going into Gaza, no aid. We are prepared to run the blockade to try and get aid in. We have done it before. Out of eight previous attempts, five were successful.”

The Free Gaza Movement along with the Turkish humanitarian organization, IHH, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Greek and Swedish Boat to Gaza organizations will sail 8 boats loaded with building supplies as well as taking 600 passengers and journalists at the end of May.

As the people from the town of Dundalk work on her every day, painting her, guarding her and collecting cargo, they have a vested interest in what was once a lonely and abandoned vessel, now slowly coming to life under their care. The ship has been renamed the MV Rachel Corrie, in memory of the 23-year-old solidarity activist crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza.

On May Day weekend, a mini convoy of vans loaded with medical supplies from eight different cities in Ireland and England will be delivering and loading these badly-needed supplies on the ship.  The people of Norway have donated more than 6 tons of paper and school supplies with a goal of 25 tons to be loaded as cargo. Israel refuses to allow paper and supplies in for the children.

One of Free Gaza’s organizers, Caoimhe Butterly, stated, ” The public response to the cargo ship has been immense, and we hope that in the remaining three weeks before we set sail, communities across Ireland will continue to mobilize and gather supplies. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a symptom of Israel’s siege and Occupation, and this flotilla will spot-light the devastating collective punishment that is being imposed on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

With everyone’s help, the MV Rachel Corrie will be painted, outfitted, then filled with cargo and ready to leave shortly after May Day, a testimony to civil society doing what governments have refused to do…alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza. Your donations for supplies are still vitally needed. You can earmark your donation for cement or school books and send through our donate page at http://www.freegaza.org/en/donate.

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