The Gaza Freedom March

Steve Walt has an excellent piece over at Foreign Policy about the Gaza Freedom March. I also recommend you check out PULSE, which is covering developments, and Twitter is a goldmine of articles and press reports.ย  Also check out the Italian GFM members singing Bella Ciao outside the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate in Cairo.

Finally, a good friend of mine, Maggie Schmitt, has produced a compelling video about fishing in Gaza, which you can watch at Vimeo.
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14 thoughts on “The Gaza Freedom March

  1. What BS about the Gaza fishermen. I have seen direct evidence of fishermen aiding smuggling of weapons by picking up packages thrown off large boats. The 3 mile limit makes a lot of sense. If the fishermen have a problem, they should complain to the Hamas government. I am sure Israel would be happy to discuss lifting restrictions if Hamas ever comes to the realization that Israel exists.

    As for the Gaza freedom march, how dense can these people be??? The problem is Hamas. They are responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza. They have made Europe and the US their enemy, and now also Egypt. Walt and his ilk are useful idiots that by their naive views just help Hamas terrorism, from which in the end, mostly the Palestinians suffer. With friends like these, the Palestinians will only suffer more.

    Posted by AIG | December 29, 2009, 7:02 pm
  2. And one more thing.
    Why don’t you invite the Gaza Freedom Marchers to Beirut, to march from there to the Israeli border??? Why doesn’t the Lebanese government do this??? So what if Lebanon has no border with Gaza, it has a border with Israel and the publicity effect would be similar if not stronger, especially if you can get thousands of Lebanese to join the march.
    So what are you waiting for? Why are you complaining about the Egyptian government instead of being proactive on your side???
    I hope the next year starts with a little less hypocrisy than this one ends.

    Or perhaps I could interest you in getting Naher el Bared rebuilt faster by protesting against Aoun’s law suit halting the reconstruction? Is that too close to home and you are afraid you may actually make a difference? Such simple action will prove that you are really interested in the Palestinian’s plight and not about scoring political points against the US and Israel.

    Posted by AIG | December 29, 2009, 7:25 pm
  3. Good evening AIG. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I had a bet with myself that you would be the first commenter on this post.

    The fact that you are both the first and second commenter means that I will pay myself twice.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | December 29, 2009, 7:33 pm
  4. Good evening, you can also pay yourself for this post. I feel magnanimous today.

    Posted by AIG | December 29, 2009, 7:42 pm
  5. The plight of Christians under Hamas rule (if it interests anyone):

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 29, 2009, 8:35 pm
  6. I do realize that the video producer had to tell a whole story in 6 minutes but some stories cannot be credibly told in so little time. I do not question the validity of the position taken by the producer but that is not due to the very amateurish video. One is supposed to be convinced that the point of view being presented is accurate based on one lengthy interviewwith a fisherman and another shorter one by another fishrman. That is it. No explanation no context. If this problem is so big the shouldn’t it be calued at more than $3 million a year. A human rights violation must never be measured in monetary terms but the producer never said a word about rights or Human Rights violkations. The narrator was satisfied in telling us that the restrictions are costing Gaza $3 million a year. Do we know for a fact that the fishing yield per effort is greater betond the 3 mile zone and if so then by how much. Is the drop in the yield being affected by unsustainable fishing practices both by the Gazans and other fishing fleets. I am afraid that the video was not informative in the least. It played a nice tune, took some nice footage of a small harbour and conducted an interview and a half without providing any background information about anuthing.I think that Ms. Schmitt should stick to writing she is so much better at it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by ghassan karam | December 29, 2009, 11:00 pm
  7. Nice post. I also liked Mr. Walt’s post in the Foreign Policy magazine.

    I don’t know what else can I add. It is really a shame that none of the major American news networks are reporting this. Yet it is totally expected. ..Sigh

    Posted by za3tar | December 30, 2009, 12:27 am
  8. @akbar palace: nope, it doesn’t.

    or at least, don’t deflect.

    Posted by bint abeeha | December 30, 2009, 11:18 am
  9. Za3tar,

    The NY Times covered the story yesterday. Not that this makes a huge difference.

    I would like to ask you, to what degree do you think Hamas is responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza?

    Posted by AIG | December 30, 2009, 12:24 pm
  10. I would like to ask you, to what degree do you think Hamas is responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza?


    Since when are ANY Arab or Muslim leaders responsible for their own people? An Arab/Muslim leader or terrorist organization can kill hundreds of thousands of their own people, and absolutely nothing is said.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | December 30, 2009, 3:23 pm
  11. When will Israel be accountable for anything it does?

    I mean AIG, you seem very adherent on promoting regime change for and on behalf of the interest of the Palestinian people, And you seem to be outraged, you and other commentators, by the hypocrisy of Arab regimes and leaders, yet I have never noticed you take any account of Israel’s actions.
    Or is the Israeli state just mere victim of Arab politics?

    Arab Leaders and Arab regimes need to be smashed by the Arab masses, but that case will only lead to one scenario which is a wide revolt against the Israeli state.

    When the Israeli people votes for a right wing government which does not acknowledge the rights of Palestinians and replies to any defiance to its policies by threatening to go to war bullying its surroundings through its immense war machine, this is considered by the existent “International Community” as a democratic decision which everyone should accept and shush their mouths. But when the Palestinian people chooses Hamas for government it becomes the gravest terrorist act in history. Hamas does not acknowledge Israel’s existence, and the Israeli state does not acknowledge Palestinians right for self determination nor their right of return.

    The hypocrisy in your opinions are just outrageous and noticeable to any child.

    THE CONTINUATION AND THE PERSISTENCE of dictatorships in the Arab region is dependent on the existence of a war loving Zionist state, and the existence of the Israeli state is guaranteed by the continuation of the Arab regimes in oppressing and confining the Arab masses.

    Because freedom in the Arab world would simply mean a mass revolt against Israel and its Arab allies.

    Moubarak’s regime is the center of that bottleneck, and it is in the interest of the whole of the Arab masses to present as much pressure as possible against his regime.

    The fall of Moubarak would trigger the birth of an immense movement in the Arab world and that is why the USA and Israel are very keen on keeping good relations with Egypt, and it makes no surprise that Obama chose Egypt to deliver his message to the Arab masses, yet the cries of the people of Gaza are still louder then Obama’s polished rethoric.

    30 years ago, and Israeli would look out from the window to the surrounding middle east and would see masses of Arab peasantry, Israel was promoted to be the Modern corner of the Middle East; but today an Israeli is faced with a far more highly developed censorship that any average Arab citizen, Israeli society is still highly militarized, while forced conscription to the army has diminished in most middle eastern countries. Moreover the middle east has been witnessing one of the sharpest urbanization rates of the world, in 60’s Lebanon the majority of the population occupied the rural regions, nowadays 90% of the Lebanese population is an urban population. Industrial and financial capital as well as Arab oil cartels are one of the most powerful capitalist blocks in the region. All of these developments have have sufficiently discredited the Myth of a Modern Oasis inside a backward Middle East. Instead we see the occurrence of several movements in the Middle East calling for change, protesting against dictatorships and oppression and above all these movements have one main thing in common, they all see that change will not happen unless the fight for democracy in the Middle East is associated with the dismantlement and the smashing of the Zionist state.

    Posted by BAS | January 2, 2010, 8:58 pm
  12. Bas,
    So the Israeli government is stopping democracy in Syria? Of course not, which shows that your whole discourse is just plain wrong.

    Democratization of the Arab world will lead to an excellent state of no war. Let’s say tomorrow Mubarak is replaced by a truly accountable government. Is that government going to re-neg on the peace treaty and enter into a confrontation with the West??? Of course not. What the average Egyptian wants first and foremost is a job and a future for his children. Fighting the West will bring nothing but economic catastrophe to Egypt and if any accountable government would pursue it, it will quickly lose power by elections.

    That is the great irony you have to swallow. A democratic middle east will be the best thing possible for Israel. It will not mean peace treaties, but it will mean no war, and that is all Israel needs.

    Posted by AIG | January 3, 2010, 1:41 am
  13. BAS said:

    When the Israeli people votes for a right wing government which does not acknowledge the rights of Palestinians…


    And when the Israeli and American people votes for a left-wing government there is absolutely no difference, because the same thugs you cheer and support don’t give a shiite.

    The likud and Netanyahu have already recognized the need for Palestinian state. But what good is that if peace with Israel is an impossibility that no Arab thug is willing to die for? The poor helpless “Arab street” would prefer destitution than another peace treaty with the evil Zionists.

    Figure it out yourself.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | January 3, 2010, 11:08 am
  14. It is absolutely astonishing how you claim to be quite knowledgeable about the Arab street, especially since you have no account of actually meeting with it.

    All the protests for democracy either in Lebanon or in Egypt is being pushed mainly by the left and by anti-imperialist social forces, the trade unions in Egypt in their last waves of strikes accomplished their economic demand, but moreover organized the aid for Gaza and actively participated in the movement calling for the liberation of Palestine.

    In Lebanon the 2006 Israeli war brought a wave of protests against the government on economic demands but moreover it was tagged with giant anti-Zionist feelings.

    The average Egyptian and Lebanese and Syrian knows quite well that it is the west which supports the oppressive regimes that rule his daily life, and knows as well that the fight for democracy is a fight against imperialism.

    and in the case of Syria it is absolutely correct that any possible regime change in Syria which proves to be anti-imperialist will be faced with rather fierce oppression and the American administration acknowledges quite clearly that it DOES NOT want regime change in Syria.

    I really think you are living in a bubble where your account of middle Eastern politics is built on Zionist aspirations rather than on the reality of life in the Middle East and the Arab world.

    Your logic falls on the question of abiding to western politics because the Arab World should never pick on the Beast, and if they do so they will deal with an economic catastrophe, it doesn’t really seem like a recipe for peace but rather a recipe for creating subservient political regimes which are mere puppets for the west, which is exactly the same picture we have today.

    Change in the Arab world will no bring another Moubarak who is keen on applying Israeli policies in its constant attack and siege on the Palestinian people.

    Moreover you have ignored all my comments about the Palestinian right to choose their own government, ignores the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, and continues to build settlements all over the place, and continues the siege on Gaza, and also continues in meddling in Palestinian security by arresting whomever they want.

    This is quite far a way from recognizing Palestinian sovereignty and State rule, the issue is the Israeli State wants a dependent Palestinian state that it can controls as it wishes rather than an independent State.

    Posted by BAS | January 7, 2010, 6:33 pm

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