A small ship of humanity will soon drop anchor on the River Clyde.
Sailing through several European ports, Handala, a vessel financed and launched by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) is for pier in glasgow (June 24-27, 2023) as part of his ongoing ‘For the Children of Gaza’ trip to the affected Strip.
The internationally based expedition is the latest courageous attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade on the long-suffering Palestinian enclave.
Previous maritime efforts have been brutally interdicted and hijacked in international waters by Israeli forces, most notably with the infamous assault on the Mavi Marmara in 2010, in which 10 civilians were killed and more than 50 injured. Israel has never accepted responsibility or been held accountable for this appalling massacre.
Thirteen years later, much of the same piracy can be expected on the high seas. One hopes and prays for the safe conduct of the crew. But ahead of any such confrontation, the FFC’s tour of European ports is serving to raise public awareness of the dire situation in Gaza.
Contrary to Israel’s repeated claim to have ‘withdrawn’ from Gaza in 2005, the regime still controls every access point for its more than 2 million inhabitants, one of the most densely populated places in the world.
Hemmed in and controlled by land, air and sea, an imprisoned people are denied the most basic rights to life, including the freedom to sail to and from their own shores.
Consequently, Israel remains, according to the UN and other major human rights bodies, the main occupying force, directly responsible for the protection and well-being of the people of Gaza:
“Although Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the Commission notes that Israel continues to occupy the territory by virtue of its control over, inter alia, Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, as well as its land border crossings, the provision of civilian infrastructure, including water and electricity, and key government functions such as the management of the Palestinian population registry.
In flagrant denial of its legal obligations, Israel has continued to bomb, punish and hold the population, with ruthless disregard for international law.
In particular, this latest flotilla seeks to highlight the plight of the children of Gaza. As explanatory information from the Coalition reminds us, more than half of the population of Gaza are children and minors. endure chronicles shortage of basic human resources, including clean water, nutritious food, normal medical supplies, decent education, safe housing, and continuous electricity. Years of relentless shelling by Israel have left thousands injured and homeless, an entire generation scarred and traumatized.
During the recent March of Return protests along Israel’s gun-laden fence, the regime showed no restraint in gunning down 49 defenseless children and wounding more than 6,000 more, half of whom required hospital treatment. serious.
The callous indifference of the Israeli regime, with its daily massacres in the West Bank and regular ‘lawn mowing’ in Gaza, is only reflected in the cowardly complicity of its international allies in turning a blind eye to such atrocities.
Hopefully, the Flotilla’s visit to Glasgow will help highlight the true extent of Israel’s violence, shame the media into reporting it, and generate even greater support for Palestine from the shores of Scotland.
waters of the clyde
In a similar spirit, on the very bank of the River Clyde, the admirable Roger Waters has just performed his magnificent This is Not a Drill show.
Accompanying an evocative Waters/Pink Floyd catalog – with nods to their own Scottish heritage – the performance featured an impressive array of mass-screen imagery, from anti-war statements and indictments of neoliberal capitalism, to the brutal apartheid wall of Israel and the unrelenting suffering of Palestinians.
In another great expression of solidarity, Waters and his tour management granted special dispensation for two groups to campaign in and around the arena: one in support of Palestine and the Flotilla’s sailing; the other against the evil imprisonment of Julian Assange.
In brave defiance of the Israel lobby spurious claims when trying to close his concerts, he was inspiring to witness Waters sending such strong messages from this waterfront to Palestinians living under occupation and siege between his river and sea.
And in an exemplary display of how to confront the forces of the establishment that are trying to bring it down, as they did with the great humanitarian hope and Palestine defender Jeremy Corbyn – Waters has shown the most brilliant resolve in denouncing the lobby’s deceitful efforts to smear him and his show as ‘anti-Semitic’.
In a truly remarkable on-camera piece for Double Down News, Waters provides a true blueprint for how to handle your bullies and the lying charlatans who try to cancel you out. If anyone has any doubts about the futility of trying to appease the pro-Israel crowd, check out this master class on assertive resistance.
Nor is Waters, in the face of the same establishment vilification, stingy in his condemnation of the prevailing proxy war propaganda, denouncing Western gun advocates with his damningly repeated The Bravery of Being Out of Range.
Spread support in Scotland
In fortunate timing, Waters’s heroic show has also coincided with the release of Asa WinstanleyThe extraordinary new book from , Weaponising Anti-Semitism, a rather brilliant forensic account of how the same dark forces deployed their fabricated narrative to bring down Corbyn.
Again, like Waters, Winstanley fully understands the need to take a critically offensive, rather than pleadingly defensive, stance against such reactionary elements.
Winstanley further reinforced this vital message by teaming up with Scottish journalist Yvonne Ridley (member of a 2008 flotilla that reached Gaza), Israeli dissident ronnie barkanand a multitude of other excellent activist/cultural voices in a recent series of pro-Palestine public rallies in Glasgow, Edinburgh and other places in Scotland.
Israel can only commit such acts knowing that it can expect impunity from its international patrons and silence from the cowardly media.
Another key theme that emerged from the discussions by Barkan and others was how tenuous Israel’s grip on the Palestinians is becoming, as it teeters towards an even more extreme form of theocratic fascism and possible implosion, much to the alarm of its supporters. liberal zionists.
Of course, the zealous abilities of the Israel lobby and the establishment in general cannot be underestimated.
Witness Keir Starmer’s ruthless purge of the Labor Left, along with his display of uncompromising service to Israel.
In fact, Starmer himself shameful letter denouncing Waters as ‘anti-Semitic’, despite all the obvious evidence to the contrary, shows just how low this figure approved by the establishment as a McCarthyite witch hunter has descended, flag-carrying jingo authoritarian and warmongering in the Blair style.
Nor, unfortunately, does there seem to be any sincere or decisive support for the Palestinian cause here from the SNP-led Scottish government. Despite Humza Yousaf’s marital family ties to Gaza, the The new Prime Minister has merely paid lip service on the issue, refusing even to endorse the outspoken statements by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem that Israel is an apartheid state.
However, as with the breakdown of apartheid in South Africa, it is argued basic activism that is driving the Palestinian case – all, of course, as additional support for the Palestinians’ own agency and legitimate resistance.
Backed by international law, rising art boycotts, and growing support from the global south, the same critical tipping point looms for this unsustainable entity.
Indeed, as the internal contradictions of Israel’s fortress system play out, the crisis of its settler colonial project is becoming all too apparent to many disillusioned Jews, who are now leaving Israel for its western shores, and to many, too. , which they observe with increasing distance from them. .
The vision of such a return for the occupied, cornered and exiled Palestinians may seem like a more distant prospect. But it is no less a reality than the increasingly distant horizon of the failed state of Israel.
Seeking one land of equality, dignity and democracy for all, as the only real, just and lasting solution.
As it does, we can take good heart from the resilient body of pro-Palestinian solidarity organisations, human rights campaigns and other staunch supporters here in Scotland who advocate for that one true country.
In the same forward-thinking spirit as Roger Waters’ tour, the Flotilla crew will soon set sail from Glasgow in their valiant effort to break the siege of Gaza, a deadly port where fishermen risk their livelihoods and lives to haul their boats beyond Israel. illegally imposed nautical limit.
And who can forget the brutal murder of the four young children by Israel in 2014: Ismail Muhammad Subhi Bakr aged nine, Ahed Atef Ahed Bakr aged ten, Zakariya Ahed Subhi Bakr aged ten and Muhammad Ramez Ezzat Bakr aged eleven – playing football on the beach in Gaza?
In memory of them and all the other little souls taken by this savage regime.
Wishing those aboard the fine ship Handala a safe voyage, much publicity for your valuable expedition, and best wishes in your honorable quest to save Palestinian lives.