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  October 5, 2016

Israel Seizes Yacht Attempting to Breach Gaza Blockade

Col. Ann Wright was among 13 female activists that were part of the Women's Boat to Gaza
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JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Palestinians gathered on Gaza City's Mediterranean shoreline on Wednesday, October 5, hoping to welcome a yacht with activists aboard who were attempting to break Israel's nine-year naval blockade of the territory.

But the yacht, had earlier been boarded by the Israeli military and was being towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod, the military said.

Israel defended their actions. But the move brought international condemnation and from Gazan activists

ADHAM ABU SILMEYYEH: The Israeli navy exercises piracy in the international waters against a boat that was in a humanitarian mission for Gaza. This boat is holding the Dutch flag and nationality. What happened is a terrorism from the country and piracy which is against all the international law. And it is a crime that is considered a war crime that Israel carried out against 13 international female supporter of Gaza, we have no idea about their destiny now as we lost contact with them an hour and a half ago,

NOOR: This is just the latest attempt to break Israel’s maritime blockade. 9 Turks were killed when the Mavi Marmara was boarded by the Israeli navy in 2010.

The yacht, with an all-female crew, had been sailing under the Women's Boat to Gaza activist mission.

On board were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, Nobel Peace Laureate Maguire, and Ann Wright, a decorated former US diplomat and long-time CODEPINK activist who recorded this message before her capture.

ANN WRIGHT: My name is Ann Wright. I’m a US citizen. I’m a retired US army coronel and a former US diplomat. I resigned in opposition to the war in Iraq in 2003. If you’re seeing this, this means that the Israeli occupation forces have kidnapped me in international waters and taken me against my will to Israel. I ask that you call the President of the United States Barack Obama and my former boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, to raise great protests about the illegal actions of the Israeli military in kidnapping citizens from around the world in international waters and taking them to Israel. Thank you.

NOOR: It also comes the same day as the White House said it was disappointed by a new round of Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and Israel and Hamas exchanged rocket fire over Gaza. It comes less than 3 weeks after a record $38 billion dollar weapons deal to Israel.

PHYLLIS BENNIS: The package is again a statement of absolute support for Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid. This is not about Israeli defenses. This is about enabling the apartheid situation that now exists that is imposed by Israel and that the Obama administration and everyone before it has said is not sustainable. It becomes sustainable when the U.S. finances it. $3.8 billion a year of our tax money over ten years, more than has been given to any other country for military assistance, including even Iraq in the ten years of the Iraq War from 2003 until 2011. This is significantly more than that, in the midst of a U.S. war.

So this notion that this somehow is about defending poor little Israel simply doesn't hold up. This is about enabling the Israeli government to continue its policies. In the particulars, it's way more than we've seen in the past. In the past, the highest this year was--the end of this ten-year period has been $3.1 billion a year--already an outrageous amount of money for the 23rd wealthiest country in the world. And the notion that we are somehow looking at a scenario where Israel is being punished by, for example, having to do what every other country does who gets military aid--most of them, all of them much less than Israel gets--they have to spend it on the U.S. war industry rather than building their own war industry to compete with our own. All that we're doing here is seeing that Israel is being held to the same standard of benefiting our military corporations that other countries are being held to.

So this notion that somehow this is a concession by Israel simply doesn't stand up. And then, finally, this point about Israel agreeing not to go back to Congress and ask for more unless there's an emergency. As we know, Israel creates the emergencies. Israel is the one who goes to war against Gaza and then demands that the U.S. send more bullets when they use them up, or more planes or more bombs. So that's exactly what we've seen in the past. It's exactly the same that we'll be seeing in the future.

NOOR: For the Real News this is Jaisal Noor.


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