Saturday, August 23, 2008

Palestinians Win A Symbolic Victory

Israel: We let protest boat reach Gaza to stymie bad press 8/24/8

"Despite an Israel Defense Forces plan to halt boats bearing left-wing activists on their way to Gaza, the government decided to permit the boats to reach Gaza shores in order to avoid a public relations disaster. Senior political sources in Jerusalem said that the fact that Israel allowed the boats to reach Gaza "took the wind out of the sails of the left-wing activists who were seeking to create a provocation."
Several discussions were held last week on this matter. At the time, the IDF raised the idea of forcibly preventing the boats from reaching Gaza. The army officers suggested stopping the boats at sea and towing them to the Ashdod port for inspection, where the activists on board would be detained for interrogation.
However, after further consultation, it was decided on Friday to avoid a confrontation and to allow the boats to reach the Gaza Strip. In the wake of that decision, urgent directives were sent to Israel's embassies around the world regarding the stance they should take concerning this event."

"Haaretz has learned that before the boats sailed, Israel attempted dialogue with the organizers."

Boats in Cyprus pass inspection for Gaza protest 8/20/8

"The two wooden sailboats have passed a safety inspection, Cyprus' Merchant Shipping Director Serghios Serghiou said."

"London-based Palestinian activist Osama Qashoo, 27, said he has received several death threats in recent days, including three by phone on Wednesday.
He said one unidentified individual called to ask "how do you wish to die", while similar calls had been made to his family's West Bank home


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