2. Accept the international, impartial inquiry and its conclusion
3. Give up ties with Turkey
A week after top Turkish and Israeli officials held a “secret meeting” over the flotilla crisis, Turkey has renewed its warning to Israel that ties between the once-allies would be cut if Tel Aviv does not apologize.
“Israelis have three options: They will either apologize or acknowledge an international-impartial inquiry and its conclusion. Otherwise, our diplomatic ties will be cut off,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review early Sunday in an interview on his plane returning from Kyrgyzstan.
Davutoğlu held a secret meeting with Israeli Trade Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer last week in Brussels and repeated Turkey’s expectations from Tel Aviv over Israel's raid on a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Eight Turks and one U.S. citizen of Turkish descent were killed during the raid, which triggered a crisis between Turkey and Israel, once regional allies. Turkey recalled its envoy to Tel Aviv, canceled joint military drills and banned some Israeli military flights from using Turkish airspace. Israel refused to participate in an international inquiry commission but instead launched its own investigation into the raid.
“We showed them an exit road. If they apologize as a result of their own investigation’s conclusion, that would be fine for us. But of course we first have to see it,” he said.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that Israel would neither apologize to Turkey nor compensate the victims of the Mavi Marmara. “Then the ties will never be repaired,” Davutoğlu said in response to Netanyahu’s remarks.
“They are aware of our demands. If they do not want to apologize, then they should accept an international investigation,” he said, adding that Turkey would not wait for Israel’s decision indefinitely.
Turkey is now awaiting the creation of a United Nations-backed fact-finding commission for the raid. “We’ll arrange our road map according to the development there,” he said.
“We also want to give a chance to the countries who value mending the ties between Turkey and Israel,” Davutoğlu said, referring to the United States. Netanyahu will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday, and Davutoğlu said this would be an important meeting for the future of Turkish-Israeli ties.
“But,” he said, “there should be no confusion. Our meeting with Ben-Eliezer was not brokered by the U.S. We informed Obama of the meeting during the G-20 summit in Toronto.” The foreign minister also said he met with Ben-Eliezer as “Netanyahu’s special envoy: “Otherwise, why would I speak with Israel’s infrastructure minister?”
Airspace fully banned
If Israel does not meet Ankara’s expectations, the Turkish government has drafted a road map that includes measures to be taken against the country. One of the measures, however, was taken shortly after the flotilla raid, Davutoğlu said.
“Turkey’s airspace is fully closed to Israeli military planes. The ban is not implemented case-by-case. It’s a blanket ban,” he said, adding that the decision was made one week after the incident occurred and with the participation of the Turkish military. When asked, he said the ban could also be expanded to include civilian aircraft.
“If steps are not taken [by Israel], the process of isolation will continue," the minister said. "We know what we want. We are right in all means. We will strictly follow [this path] until our demands are met."
Psychological pressure on Turkey
Davutoğlu also discussed claims that Turkish foreign policy was experiencing a “shift in axis."
“The purpose is clear. The purpose of [launching] such claims are to establish psychological pressure on Turkey. Suppressing its foreign policy and confining it to a more defensive position. While we are trying to be the subject, they are trying to keep us as an object in international relations,” he said.
Emphasizing that Turkey was sure of its motivation and direction, Davutoğlu said: “We do not have to convince anybody about our diplomatic initiatives. If we are doing something, it's for Turkey’s interests.”
Summer of 2010 concerns FM
When asked for his assessment of developments in the region, what Davutoğlu depicted was not a very optimistic situation, especially in the Caucasus and Middle East. “The ground in these regions is very slippery. This concerns me,” he said.
“None of these regions is witnessing a functioning mechanism to solve disputes. There are no healthy dialogues among the relevant parties,” he said, without giving details.
In the Caucasus, major conflicts remain between Georgia and Russia over the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the Nagorno-Karabakh problem also remains unsolved. In the Middle East, the situation is more complicated. Processes for mediating between Israel and Palestine or Israel and Syria seem to be dead.
“We have to be careful. It is only Turkey that can contribute to resolving these problems,” he said, adding that the Tehran Agreement brokered by Turkey and Iran was in fact aiming to stop the further deterioration of the situation in the region. “That was not understood by the international community.” _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
An Israel Defense Forces officer suspected of stealing laptop computers from passengers on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that the navy raided in May, and then selling them to other officers, was remanded by a military court yesterday.
Two other soldiers, who had been detained for questioning on suspicion of buying the computers, were released.
The officer, a second lieutenant, was arrested along with six other soldiers earlier this week on suspicion of stealing at least six laptop computers from the aid flotilla.
The officer allegedly sold some of the computers directly to other soldiers and sold the remainder with a mediator's help. The mediator allegedly bought a laptop for himself from the officer for NIS 1,200, then brokered deals to sell the others to three other soldiers.
The suspected mediator was one of the two soldiers released yesterday. His attorney denied the allegations and said his client did not know the laptops had been stolen from the Turkish ship.
Haaretz reported in June that an Italian journalist detained by the IDF following the flotilla raid said his credit card was used to purchase items after it was confiscated by the Israeli authorities.
Manolo Luppichini was aboard the Sfintoni-8000, one of the smaller boats in the flotilla, when naval commandos took it over. The soldiers searched every passenger and confiscated everything they found, he said.
"They took two cameras, microphones, a stand and other equipment from me and my photographer," he said. "They took my wallet, passport, bag and all my personal effects." _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
A boat carrying Jewish activists from Israel, Germany, the U.S. and Britain set sail on Sunday for Gaza, hoping to breach Israel's blockade there and deliver aid.
Richard Kuper, an organizer with the U.K. group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said one goal is to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians.
Kuper said the boat, which set sail from northern Cyprus flying a British flag, won't resist if Israeli authorities try to stop it.
The trip came nearly four months after Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships. Nine activists were killed in the ensuing clashes. The voyage also came as Israelis, Palestinians and U.S. mediators sought a compromise that would allow Mideast talks to continue after an Israeli settlement slowdown expires at midnight.
Boat passenger Rami Elhanan, an Israeli whose daughter Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in Jerusalem in 1997, said it was his moral duty to act in support of Palestinians in Gaza because reconciliation was the surest path to peace.
"Those 1.5 million people in Gaza are victims exactly as I am," Elhanan, 60, said in an interview.
Other voyage organizers included the group European Jews for a Just Peace and the U.S.-based Jewish Voice for Peace.
Refusnik Israel Air Force pilot Jonathan Shapira, another passenger aboard the ship, told Haaretz that "we hope that the soldiers and officers of the Israeli navy will think twice before they obey orders to stop us."
"Let them remember the history of our people, and those who followed orders and later said 'we were only following orders.' We do not pose any kind of security threat to Israel's citizens. We intend to continue forward with our crew and our cargo to the port in Gaza, where we are expected."
The ship's cargo includes toys, textbooks, musical instruments, fishing gear as well as prosthetic limbs for orthopedic treatments.
The organizers admit that they are a bringing "symbolic" amount of aid. "The ship will try to reach the Gaza shore in order to unload the supplies within the framework of a non-violent symbolic act of solidarity and protest, aimed at calling for the lifting of the siege and the free passage of supplies and people to and from Gaza," the organizers said in a statement.
Shapira said that "I believe that the navy won't want us to pass, but on the other hand, there has never before been a Jewish aid ship, manned by determined people including a Holocaust survivor, trying to reach Gaza. This may prevent them from shooting at us, like they did in the Turkish flotilla."
The 33-foot catamaran Irene, carrying a total of nine passengers and crew members, set sail from the Turkish Cypriot north of the island because the Greek Cypriot south imposed a ban on all-Gaza-bound vessels in May, citing vital interests.
Prior to the ban, international activists had used south Cyprus to launch eight boat trips to Gaza, a coastal strip seized by the Islamic militant group Hamas three years ago.
On May 31, eight pro-Palestinian Turkish activists and a Turkish American died when Israeli naval commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships.
The Irene boat planned to deliver children's toys, medical equipment, outboard motors for fishing boats and books to Gaza residents.
Kuper said the voyage intended to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians and to underscore what he called Israel's illegal, unnecessary and inhumane blockade of Gaza.
"Jewish communities around the world are not united in support of Israel," Kuper said in a telephone interview from London. "Israel's future peace is coming to terms quickly with the Palestinians."
Organizer Alison Prager said from the boat before it left Cyprus that although many Jews have been on previous blockade-busting trips to Gaza, this was the first time Jewish groups have banded together to send a boat of their own.
Kuper said the trip was funded entirely by supporters' donations. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Утром во вторник, 28 сентября, корабли ВМС Израиля задержали яхту-катамаран "Irine", следовавшую в сектор Газы. На борту судна находились 10 левых активистов-евреев, в том числе, пятеро израильских граждан.
ВМС Израиля вышли на связь с яхтой и приказали капитану изменить курс. Военные предложили яхте выбор – вернуться на Кипр или следовать в израильский порт Ашдод, но капитан отверг это предложение и заявил, что собирается продолжать путь в сектор Газы.
После этого военные взяли яхту под свой контроль и направили судно в ашдодский порт. Активисты не оказывали сопротивления.
Яхта перевозила небольшое количество игрушек и медикаментов.
Israeli naval commandos have peacefully boarded a Jewish aid boat attempting to break a naval blockade on Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said at 11:30 A.M. Tuesday.
"IDF naval forces recently boarded the yacht 'Irene', and it is currently being led to the Ashdod seaport along with its passengers," the military said in statement that branded the boat a "provocation yacht".
IDF chief spokesman Avi Benayahu deplored the fact that "naval forces and fighters are being diverted from our main mission" to "a surreal assignment" of intercepting a boatload of activists.
"Its entire intention was to generate media attention and (stage) a provocation. This matter is especially regrettable as we are talking about a group of Jews and of Israeli citizens, and even someone who has worn an IDF officer's uniform."
Before boarding, the navy transmitted two warnings to the boat, which refused to turn back and sailed further into the blockade area, the IDF said.
Shortly before, an Israeli warship had hailed the catamaran carrying Jewish activists toward the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to the group's website.
An Israeli destroyer was cutting off the boat's path and another small boat was also approaching, the 'Jewish Boat to Gaza' website posted minutes before reports of the interception.
At around 11:00 A.M., a navy boat shadowing the 'Irene' made radio contact with the activists, asking: "Where are you going? Where did you come from? What nationalities are on board?" according to the website
The crew replied:
"They came from Farmagusta, the nationalities on board are British, American, German and Israelis, we are going!" the website said.
The Irene is the latest vessel to try to breach the 3-year-old embargo on the Palestinian territory in the wake of the deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish-led flotilla in May, which drew international condemnation.
Earlier, Capt. Glynn Secker said he expected the navy to intercept the Irene, which is carrying nine Jewish activists from Israel and other countries.
"We will not obey them, we will not help them," Secker said. "But we will not confront them physically. We will engage in no violence."
Israel had asked the vessel, which Secker said was carrying medicines, therapeutic toys, water purifiers and outboard engines, to dock in an Israeli port. Cargo that receives security clearance would be transported to Gaza.
In the end, Secker predicted, the catamaran would be towed to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, as has happened with other blockade-busting ships.
The Israeli foreign ministry has labeled the voyage a politically motivated provocation.
Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed in May when Israeli commandos raided the lead ship in the Turkish-led flotilla. Both sides claimed they acted in self-defense.
The international condemnation triggered by the deaths forced Israel to relax its land blockade of Gaza but the naval blockade remains in force. Israel, with Egypt's cooperation, imposed the blockade after Hamas militants seized control of Gaza in June 2007.
The measure was intended to keep out weapons, turn Gazans against their militant Hamas rulers and pressure the group to free a captive Israeli soldier. Those aims were not achieved but the embargo deepened the misery of Gaza's 1.5 million people.
Activists behind the convoy involved in May's deadly raid have said they will send a new flotilla of at least eight ships to try to break the blockade by the end of this year. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group of pro-Palestinian activist behind the efforts, said no date has been set. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
A critical obstacle to restoring a healthy and working relationship between Turkey and Israel is both sides' mutual distrust and lack of information about the events surrounding the Mavi Marmara flotilla disaster at the end of May. The world is still waiting for an authoritative account based on full access to Israeli, Turkish and other actors. Israel has published only small parts of Maj. Gen. (res. ) Giora Eiland's probe, which approved of the Israeli military's conduct during the operation. A civilian investigation under retired Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel may produce a comprehensive report, but key hearings have been held in secret and it is unclear how far it will go beyond an initial focus on the underlying legality of Israeli actions.
Turkey's lengthy official account remains under wraps with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's panel of inquiry, which has no mandate to probe deeply or establish criminal responsibility.
In the meantime, one benefit of the Ban Ki-moon probe is that it has given time and political cover to all to seek new information and think calmly about what actually happened. And - despite all that has been said - one unexpected place to look is the report adopted on September 27 by the UN Human Rights Council.
It is true that the HRC's generally disproportionate focus on Israel, and its disregard for the actions of many of the world's worst human rights abusers, not least among its 47 members, has greatly damaged the body's credibility.
Even the council's chosen rapporteurs on the flotilla rejected their original mandate because of "justified criticism" of its "bias." But the 56-page document deserves careful study. Even the United States, explaining its lone vote against the council's report, did not criticize its contents.
Based on interviews with 112 passengers from 20 countries, the account is thorough, measured and consistent with publicly known facts. And it does not leave the flotilla activists blameless.
For instance, the report notes tension between the political and humanitarian objectives of the organizers. It points out that organizers were aware of Israel's intention to use force, casting more doubt on their decision to actively resist, especially after Israel offered to send the goods to Gaza under neutral supervision. The account details differences between the contract crew of the Mavi Marmara and some organizers, including the Turkish NGO that owned the ship, who were determined to resist the soldiers.
At the same time, the report challenges the lethality and sustained use of force by Israeli commandos against civilians in international waters. In the seizure of the Mavi Marmara, it asserts that Israel used live fire from a helicopter to clear the top deck of hostile activists before any soldiers landed. It finds no evidence of firearms brought on board by the activists or used by them, as some Israeli officials have claimed. It shows that force used in Israel's takeovers of three other of the flotilla's six vessels was also disproportionate.
The rapporteurs list abuses by Israeli troops and officials, during several subsequent stages, including failure to tend properly to several injured people, degrading treatment of handcuffed prisoners during the long sea voyage to Ashdod, the parading of the detained activists in front of jeering Israeli onlookers at the port, attempts to force activists to sign self-incriminating documents, cases of unaccountable Israeli seizure of activists' cameras, computers, cell phones, cash and property, and individual beatings of at least 30 activists at Ben-Gurion International Airport at the time of their deportation.
The legal analysis of the rapporteurs - Trinidad's retired International Criminal Court judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, British former UN war crimes prosecutor Desmond de Silva, and Malaysian women's rights activist Mary Shanthi Dairiam - argues that Israel's blockade of Gaza is illegal because it is "collective punishment - inflicting disproportionate damage on the civilian population."
In the absence of evidence of weaponry on board, or of an overwhelming military threat, the report also sees the interception of the flotilla as illegal and "motivated by concerns about the possible propaganda victory that might be claimed by the organizers."
The report concludes that "the conduct of the Israeli military ... demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence." It finds "clear evidence to support prosecutions" in eight areas of international law ranging from murder to restricting freedom of expression.
The rapporteurs thank Jordan and Turkey for their assistance. They note their "profound regret that, notwithstanding a most cordial meeting" with the Israeli ambassador to the UN, they were informed of an Israeli position of "non-recognition and non-cooperation."
Toward the end of their mission, the rapporteurs sent a list of questions to Israel, but these went unanswered. The Israeli Foreign Ministry dismissed the resulting account as "extremist," but promised to study it. One would hope that many others, also in Turkey, will take into account the detailed and comprehensive material now available in this report.
Hugh Pope, International Crisis Group's Turkey/Cyprus project director, is the author of "Dining with al-Qaeda: Three Decades Exploring the Many Worlds of the Middle East." _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Зарегистрирован: 06.03.2005 Сообщения: 11591 Откуда: Обер-группен-доцент, ст. руководитель группы скоростных свингеров, он же Забашлевич Оцаат Поэлевич
Добавлено: Вторник, 12 Октябрь 2010, 15:13:50 Заголовок сообщения: Людей собаками травить собрались
Ещё, небось, хватит ума немецких овчарок задействовать.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=190629 IDF will use attack dogs in future flotilla interceptions
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Decision follows intensive deliberations on how to improve boarding techniques following the bloody confrontation on 'Mavi Marmara.'
The IDF’s Oketz canine unit will be used to assist soldiers in boarding Gaza-bound ships during future interceptions, a military source said on Thursday.
The decision followed intensive deliberations by military chiefs on how to improve boarding techniques following the bloody confrontation on board the Mavi Marmara ship on May 31, in which navy commandos were stabbed and beaten, and nine Turkish activists were killed.
Boarding the ships has been identified by military planners as the most problematic stage in aid-ship interceptions, and the Oketz unit is seen as a promising solution.
Video footage provided by the IDF of the Mavi Marmara raid shows naval commandos being assaulted by multiple attackers immediately after descending from a helicopter.
In future operations, specially trained dogs will be placed on the ships first to ensure that naval commandos can safely board.
The incorporation of the canine unit will require dog trainers and their animals to train together with the commandos.
Oketz operates under the command of the IDF’s General Staff, and trains dogs to take part in counterterrorism missions, search and rescue tasks, and other specialized activities.
“The dogs are weapons in every sense – like snipers or tank shells – but they are biological weapons,” Yehida, an online military magazine, said in an article on the unit.
“They are animals that should be bonded with and trained for the missions they will face,” the magazine added.
During his August testimony before the Turkel Commission, set up to investigate the raid on the Mavi Marmara, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi hinted that snipers would be used in confrontations with ships carrying violent and armed individuals.
“The IDF uses a range of means to carry out its missions,” the IDF Spokesman Unit said. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Зарегистрирован: 06.03.2005 Сообщения: 11591 Откуда: Обер-группен-доцент, ст. руководитель группы скоростных свингеров, он же Забашлевич Оцаат Поэлевич
Добавлено: Понедельник, 18 Октябрь 2010, 17:17:36 Заголовок сообщения:
Ну что, по крайней мере мародёрствуют по ранжиру! Офицер ворует компьютеры, стажёр тащит что помельче...
Officer held for stealing, selling Gaza flotilla laptops
Second lieutenant arrested along with six other soldiers earlier this week on suspicion of stealing at least six laptop computers from Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
By Fadi Eyadat
Israel's military court sentenced an Israel Defense Forces soldier to five months in military jail for stealing equipment from the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara, aboard which nine activists were killed on May 31 during a skirmish with Israeli commandos.
The Mavi Marmara, aboard which Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla resulted in the deaths of 9 Turkish activists, leaving Haifa on August 5, 2010
Photo by: AP
The Mavi Marmara was one of several aid ships involved in a flotilla aiming to violate Israel's naval blockade on the Gaza Strip and deliver supplies to the impoverished Palestinian territory. The ships were diverted by Israeli forces, with a violent and deadly clash erupting aboard the Mavi Marmara.
The cadet, in training to be an officer, was sentenced within the framework of a plea bargain under the terms of which he confessed to having taken electronic equipment.
In addition to the jail term, the soldier was fined NIS 700, demoted to the rank of private and removed from the officer training course.
Following the sentencing, the soldier expressed remorse and explained that he had made a mistake.
According to the plea bargain, the officer took the items from the ship while it was docked at the Ashdod port in September. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Over 300 activists from Syrian aid flotilla "Viva Palestina" crossed Thursday the Egyptian Border into Gaza by land with tons of medical equipment and food supplies for the residents of the coastal enclave.
According to the organizers of the flotilla, which departed from the Syrian port of Latkia, activists transported products worth in excess of $5 million.
Most of the activists arrived at the Egyptian port El-Arish on flights from Syria, while just 30 activists made the journey with the aid supplies by ship.
Egyptian security services barred a Mauritania citizen who arrived with the group from crossing the border into Gaza and his passport was taken for inspection. While 12 Mauritania activists remained with him pending the inspection, the remaining activists crossed the land border with Gaza uneventfully.
Viva Palestina activists claimed the point of their aid flotilla was to "break the siege on Gaza" despite the fact that Israel recently lifted many of the restrictions imposed on the enclosed coastal strip.
Viva Palestina AP Sept. 28, 2010.
Viva Palestina head George Galloway embracing a Palestinian Muslim cleric in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 28, 2010.
Photo by: AP
Israel imposed the blockade in 2007 after Hamas wrestled control over the territory in a violent coup.
During a visit to Syria on Tuesday, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter called for Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip. Carter made the remarks in the forum of a delegation known as The Elders, who met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hamas leaders in Syria.
"The blockade is one of the most serious human rights violations on Earth and it must be lifted fully," said Carter from Syria.
Besides Carter, the Elders delegation includes former Irish president Mary Robinson and former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. While in Gaza, the group described Israel's blockade as an "illegal collective punishment" and "an impediment to peace." _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
В прошлом израильские морские коммандос уже перехватывали суда, перевозившие оружие
15 марта израильские морские коммандос перехватили в Средиземном море судно, перевозившее груз оружия для палестинских террористов в секторе Газы. Судно "Виктория", следовавшее под либерийским флагом, вышло из Турции.
Коммандос поднялись на борт судна, когда оно находилось на расстоянии примерно в 200 морских миль от израильского побережья. Экипаж не оказал сопротивления, пострадавших не было. В контейнерах было обнаружено разнообразное оружие.
За захватом судна наблюдал командующий ВМС Израиля адмирал Элиэзер Мером. Взяв судно под свой контроль, израильские военные моряки направили "Викторию" в Ашдод.
Перехвату судна предшествовала масштабная оперативная работа, проведенная разведкой.
... _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Egypt's foreign minister said in an interview with Al-Jazeera on Thursday that preparations were underway to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi told Al-Jazeera that within seven to 10 days, steps will be taken in order to alleviate the "blockade and suffering of the Palestinian nation."
The announcement indicates a significant change in the policy on Gaza, which before Egypt's uprising, was operated in conjunction with Israel. The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now.
Israel's blockade on Gaza has been a policy used in conjunction with Egyptian police to weaken Hamas, which has ruled over the strip since 2007. The policy also aims to reduce Hamas' popularity among Gazans by creating economic hardship in the Strip.
Rafah's opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union, which gives EU monitors access to the crossing. The monitors were to reassure Israel that weapons and militants wouldn't get into Gaza after its pullout from the territory in the fall of 2005.
Before Egypt's uprising and ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, the border between Egypt and Gaza had been sealed. It has occasionally opened the passage for limited periods. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
It was a very profound experience for me. First of all, pupils from the conservatory in Gaza came to the Rafah crossing point, and played for me and the orchestra a few selections, and that impressed us; then I met many young people in the concert hall, and I didn’t know − I must say that I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t know − much about civilian life in Gaza.
There are in Gaza, I think, 1.7 million people, and they have 12 universities! I was also impressed by the fact that such a high proportion of the population is under the age of 30; I was told that the figure is 85%. This was a completely non-political event, and I am using these words carefully. It was organized by the United Nations and a Palestinian NGO. I didn’t meet with political figures; we were greeted by UN representative Robert Serry and then I gave a speech − well, not a speech, I said a few words at the end of the concert.
So for me the concert was a success in that I was able to meet so many young, educated people, and this was, and remained, from start to finish, a non-political event.
So why was the concert such a secret?
For security reasons, members of the audience were invited. There were also a number of logistical problems between the UN and the Hamas government. I don’t know the details, but there was hesitation about doing the concert up to the last moment, and so the UN people only declared that the concert would happen when they sent out invitations.
Were you frightened?
It doesn’t create tension when attendees have to be invited?
No. Clearly it’s easier to conduct a concert in Berlin or London, but this was very important to me, and I think it was important for all of us, because our future, the future of the state of Israel, is connected to the Palestinians’ future, whether we like it or not.
You had already appeared many times in Ramallah.
But that is something different. I learned another lesson yesterday: We − myself and the people who work with me, the musicians − can do a lot in Ramallah, and we do quite a bit there, with Europeans ... but if we manage to carry out cultural work, musical work, in Gaza, we will exert an influence on the cultural life of the Gaza Strip as a whole. I think that the key to the future rests in Gaza, and not only in Ramallah.
Your fans in Israel say that you did not utter a single word about Gilad Shalit.
I reiterate: I traveled with a cultural, human message. The Gilad Shalit affair pains me, just as it agonizes everyone in Israel and everyone in the world who value human rights − that’s clear. But I didn’t go there with political objectives.
But this is an issue of human rights.
To whom should I have said a word about Gilad Shalit? Had I met with Hamas leaders, perhaps I would have said something, but I didn’t meet with them. I didn’t want to do that, and they also did not ask to meet with me. I wasn’t going to Gaza to be exploited for political purposes.
What was your impression of Gazans’ circumstances?
The quality of life there is very, very low. Not only with regard to culture, but to life in general. I was very impressed, as I said, that they have there 12 universities, and such a high proportion of young people; people there want to learn, and they have the ability via the Internet to receive all the information that they want, and I’m addressing culture now. They have educated people and they also have other people who lack information and education.
Thus, if we want something positive in our future in the region, we have to have concern for the quality of life led by others. That is a much stronger and worthy course to follow than focusing exclusively on political points. I think that the only important type of security that can be won by the state of Israel is to find acceptance among the peoples in the region, particularly the Palestinians.
Thus, our dispute does not have a military solution. Nor − unlike what many say − is there a political solution based on economics and all that. This is a human problem; it’s not a dispute between two states; we have here a dispute between two peoples which believe that they have a right to live on the same small piece of land. And so we have to learn to live with them, or alongside them, but not with our backs to them and their backs to us.
This could turn into a dispute between states come September.
I think that long ago the time came for them to have a Palestinian state, and I’ve supported this idea for 30 years. I also told them that I believe that the struggle for Palestinian independence is a just one, and so it cannot be attained by violence because violence detracts from the sense of justice. I said this yesterday in Gaza, not in Tel Aviv.
Do you think reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah will work out?
I don’t know. I’m not sure. I hope so. Clearly any new step carries with it the potential of not turning out for the best. But if there is somebody to negotiate with, and if the other side has one united voice, that is, of course, preferable to speaking with a divided body.
This July you will play Beethoven’s five concertos in Israel. I have a feeling that you come here to perform music seriously, whereas you go there to play music to serve other purposes.
Do you think that the music played there wasn’t serious?
I went there with musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, La Scala Orchestra from Milan, and orchestra musicians from Paris. You think that isn’t serious music? _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Israel has approved the building of $100 million worth of new houses and schools in the Gaza Strip, Israeli and UN officials said on Tuesday.
Guy Inbar, a military spokesman, said Israel had given the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) the green light to bring building materials for 18 new schools and 1,200 new houses into the Hamas-controlled territory.
He said the approval was immediate and the process could begin as soon as UNRWA was ready.
"I welcome this significant step and I hope it will happen in a timely fashion," said UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry. Israel says its Gaza blockade, which prevents certain supplies from entering the Strip, stops weapons from reaching Hamas, a militant group that refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and frequently fires cross-border rockets.
Israel, together with Egypt, tightened a blockade on the Gaza Strip after Hamas Islamists seized it from forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.
Israel has made clear it will prevent a planned pro-Palestinian aid flotilla from reaching Gaza. A year ago, nine Turkish activists, including one with dual U.S.-Turkish nationality, died in an Israeli raid on a similar convoy.
Israel, calling the new flotilla a provocation, has stepped up diplomatic efforts to block it. Organizers say the sea convoy, which they hope will set sail this month, will carry humanitarian aid and construction materials.
One foreign diplomat, speaking anonymously, suggested that Tuesday's approval for UNRWA to deliver housing materials _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that it was "unthinkable" to normalize ties with Israel unless Israel apologized for the killing of nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ship bound for the Gaza Strip last year.
Erdogan also said that two other conditions for the normilization of ties were Israel lifting its blockade of Gaza and Israel paying compensation to the victims of the flotilla raid.
Erdogan's statements came during a speech to the Turkish parliament unveiling his new government's program.
"Normalization of relations between the two countries is unthinkable unless Israel apologizes for this illegal act which is against all international law and values, pays compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this atrocious event and lifts the embargo on Gaza," Erdogan said, to the applause of his AK Party lawmakers.
On Thursday, an Israeli official said that a UN report on Israel's interception of last year's flotilla would be published on July 27 after delays to enable talks between Israel and Turkey.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss the findings of the committee set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chaired by former New Zealand premier Geoffrey Palmer, saying only they had been finalized.
But Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favor of Israel.
"From what we understand, the report justifies the [Gaza] blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps," he told reporters.
Steinitz said the Palmer report would include "minor" criticism of the interception of the converted cruise ship Mavi Marmara as it tried to run the Gaza blockade. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that Israel must find a creative formula for expressing regret instead of an apology for the commando raid that killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010.
In a meeting with new U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Washington on Thursday, Barak said, "We need to find a creative formula."
The Americans supported this position, appreciating that an expression of regret, without a formal apology, would prevent legal problems for Israeli officers and soldiers down the track.
They maintained that it is crucial for Israel and Turkey to mend ties. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said a few days prior to Barak's meeting that the Israel-Turkey relationship is "critical for regional stability."
Barak said Israel would rather the United Nations make a general statement than make the entire UN report public, which was postponed yet again this week in order to allow Israel and Turkey to continue negotiating toward a detente in their relations. Such a statement, according to Barak, would need to "suffice both sides" and say something like, "If there were mistakes made during the raid on the Mavi Marmara, we regret that."
Barak also discussed with Panetta Israel's regional threats, including Iran's nuclear program, weapons smuggling in Gaza, Hamas' gaining strength and the events in Syria. He expressed concern that Iran feels less pressure as a result of the regional turmoil, despite that the Assad regime's troubles might weaken the "axis of radicalism."
Panetta stressed the U.S. commitment to Israel's security.
According to Barak's aides, Panetta said he plans to visit Israel in October, calling Israel the United States' "most important ally."
Commenting on comments made by a group of former Israeli officials and diplomats on a visit to Washington on Monday, who claimed that Israel's 1967 borders are defensible, Barak said, "It's clear that the Palestinians need territory for their state, but (U.S.) President (Barack) Obama was very clear in his speeches about the principle: '67 borders with mutually agreed swaps. It's not new." Barak added, "We can't ignore the peace process because the world will create a different paradigm for us and we'll get dragged in. It will become de-facto delegitimization."
While U.S. lawmakers prepared to vote on a plan by House of Representatives Chairman John Boehner overnight – intended to cut spending as a precondition to a Congress vote on raising the national debt ceiling – but was later cancelled, Barak and his fellow Knesset members knew economic struggles awaited them, too, in Israel.
When asked whether the current protests over housing prices could bring about the collapse of the government, Barak said, "I don't think so, but the government must act to address the problems."
During his brief visit to Washington, Barak also met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.
Barak is set to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday in New York. _________________ A la guerre comme a la guerre или вторая редакция Забугорнова