If there was anything dumber for the Israeli government to do I don’t know what it could have been. Threatening journalists who are covering the Gaza flotilla backfired, as it should.
Netanyahu said in a statement that the policy for journalists covering the flotilla should not be the same as against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally.
Members of the Israeli media and international journalists will be embedded in Israeli Navy vessels in contact with the flotilla “in order to create transparency and credible coverage of the events,” said a statement issued Monday from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“We are pleased to see that Israel has recognized the value of allowing reporters to cover an important news event, and understands that journalists should be treated differently from political activists. We urge the government to continue to do its utmost to promote freedom of the press as core values of a democratic society,” the Foreign Press Association said Monday in a statement. It had previously criticized the threats made to journalists covering the flotilla.
Max Blumenthal has written a piece over at Mondoweiss about the extremist Rev. Hagee funding the group Shurat Hadin, among others, trying to sabotage the mission of “The Audacity of Hope.” Max covers the story below in detail, complete with video exposing Hagee.
Sources in the Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) on Sunday took responsibility for lodging an anonymous civil complaint against the American-flagged ship, The Audacity of Hope, which is a part of the flotilla expected to sail towards Gaza later this week, Army Radio reported. The complaint, filed to Greek harbormasters, alleged that the boat was not seaworthy and accused the organizers sailing the ship of aiding terror, according to the report. – Group says its responsible for flotilla complaint
From the Christian Science Monitor:
This flotilla is attempting to reach Gaza in a dramatically changed regional context from May 2010, before the uprisings collectively known as the Arab spring. With the chance for real democratic change in Israeli neighbors like Egypt, organizers are hoping to press home their argument that the Palestinian residents of Gaza are as deserving of basic freedoms as any of their neighbors. “It’s even more relevant this year,” says Robert Naiman, a US activist waiting to board in Athens. “There’s a revolution of popular expectations and we’re playing out on a stage in which governments in the region feel more pressure to respond to public opinion.” – Intense Israeli lobbying stalls Gaza flotilla
One of the ships due to participate in the Gaza flotilla was deliberately tampered with while it was docked in Greece’s Piraeus port, Gaza flotilla activists told Haaretz on Monday. The ship, due to carry Greek, Norwegian, and Swedish passengers to Gaza, was found with its propeller shaft broken, the ship’s spokesman Israeli activist Dror Feiler told Haaretz.
There’s also a story in Haaretz about Turkey and last year’s flotilla worth reading:
Turkey has asked Israel to agree to a toned-down version of the UN Secretary-General’s report on last year’s flotilla to Gaza, according to a senior government official in Jerusalem.
According to the official, the Turks are “very worried” about the harsh criticism of Turkey they expect the report to contain, and want Israel to agree to a softened version as part of a package deal to end the crisis between the two countries over the flotilla, which took place in May 2010.