Friday, August 6, 2010

New (and Mostly Useless) Ship to Gaza Flotilla Planned

Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet reported  this week, that Swedish Ship to Gaza activists formally announced that another flotilla will sail before the end of the year. Spokesman Dror Feiler stated in a press conference in Stockholm:

"We will go [again] before the end of this year and we are quite sure that this flotilla will have more boats, bigger boats, there will be several passenger boats."

These efforts certainly do not come up to the level anticipated by celebrity Swedish mystery author and flotilla sailor Henning Mankell who manically boasted of larger exploits and “glowing” results:

“What will happen next year when we come back with hundreds of boats? Will they drop an atomic bomb?”

Sure, Henning, Israel is just itching to drop a nuclear bomb right near its own beaches. Actually the flotilla has barely delivered results—as far as Gaza residents are concerned. The facts are that

-“Of the seven flotilla ships, only four were freight ships. The Challenger 1 (small yacht), the Sfendonh (small passenger boat) and the Mavi Marmara (passenger ship) did not carry any humanitarian aid.”

So, firstly, in plain language, when Feiler speaks of more passenger ships, he means more ships with no aid cargo for Gazans. At best he is talking about increasing protest tourism for drama-seekers like Mankell, and at worst, he is talking about bringing more armed jihadist would-be martyrs.

As the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported in June, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition would also bring more IHH members—again, would-be Islamic martyrs with clubs, night scopes, knives, etc.—from the jihadist group linked with Hamas.

Secondly, like other “aid shipments” the four freight ships brought cargo which was largely useless for humanitarian purposes:

-“The equipment does not constitute humanitarian aid in the accepted sense (basic foodstuffs, new and functional equipment, fresh medicines).

-“Because of the improper packing, some of the equipment was crushed by the weight in transit.

-“ Some of the medicines have already expired, and some will expire soon. The operating theater equipment, which should be kept sterile, was carelessly wrapped.”

And the bulk of the “aid” was

- “some 2000 tons of construction equipment - building materials and tools, and construction waste (rubble, toilets, sinks and cement) for re-use.”

No surprises here. A large amount of the “aid” sent to the Palestinians by donors consists of used goods and product dumping. Expired medicines which are either useless or harmful are “generously” given by donors who claim to have donated thousands or even millions of dollars in aid—it’s just that they are referring to the cost of medicines and equipment when they were originally purchased, not their current value. Al Jazeera produced this clip which diplomatically demurs from naming donors, and points out the environmental damage caused by indiscriminate dumping of pharmaceutical waste:

In point of fact, Israel has expanded the types of goods allowed in and is shipping more goods than ever into Gaza. Every week thousands of tons of fresh food and medicines as well as consumer goods are trucked in for Gaza’s citizens.

It is now clearer than ever that the Ship to Gaza movement is not more than a political scam. Many boats did not bring any humanitarian aid and the ones that did brought mostly expired and nearly-expired medicines and used or damaged equipment. So far Israel has been demonized when trying to protect it citizens. One can only hope that many more people now think twice about the true agenda of Mankell and his martyr friends.

By Chanah Shapira

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