Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Israel runs into its own fist - what a bunch of idiots



Yes, the big news here and in the region is the incredibly stupid decision of Israel to attack the Turkish based Gaza Aid Flotilla in international waters, in the process killing a significant number (reportedly 16) of essentially unarmed civilians, mostly Turks.

Here is a good analysis by STRATFOR that puts the decision in context, and draws a nice historic analogue to the post war 'Exodus' story that the Zionists used to play the same trick on Britain that the Palestinians have just successfully played on Israel.

I can't wait to see Essa's editorial next week... I wonder what it will be about?




Flotillas and the Wars of Public OpinionBy George Friedman
May 31st 2010

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario
In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza
The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel
It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.


This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

29 comments:

  1. Sadly the creation of the State of Israel was a terrible, terrible mistake. The Jews of Europe were/are very much a Christian problem (as well as a Jewish problem that they (Jews, and self-righteous Jewish ideology) 'help' fester themselves), and not a Muslim one. The Jewish 'Crusade' of Palestine can only ever end in failure. At the end Zionism could be the death of us all. Europe (and the USA) needs to bring the Sabra's 'home'.

    Further, as Tom Paine (the great English-born American writer and political pamphleteer, whose 'Common Sense' and 'Crisis' papers were important influences on the American Revolution. 1737-1809) wrote (in 'The Age of Reason'):

    “It is with pious fraud as with a bad action; it begets a calamitous necessity of going on”

    A Pious fraud? Sound familiar? All a bit like the uppity Cyclone/ASIT Wastafarian amateurs trying to build/run the Blue City project as well eh?

    What's the latest news on that (the BC) debacle Mr Dragon?

    On, On.

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  2. Good read this. But like it says in one place in the article, I doubt the Palestine will know how to make full use of this situation.

    Turkey, the 'poor man of Europe', has done in one day what Palestine has been trying to do for decades.

    --

    On another note, whats up with the Beach Games preparation? Any publicity around town?

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  3. Dear Dragon,

    Your inherited support for Zionists in every situation that arises in Occupied Palestinian land is becoming almost predictable trend on your blog. I don’t understand why an expatriate like yourself come and live in Muslim and Arab country while you fail to gasp the most basic fundamental issue that many of us Omanis feel strong about. Why don’t you move to Israel and save us your bullshit.
    Where do you have the face to come and try to justify this crime by posting this stuff?
    Answer me this question, why didn’t Israelis target ship propeller instead of shooting people onboard? It is daylight murder that shows the world the kind of government than runs your beloved country Israel and don’t try to cover this by twisting facts and mixing truth with lies like a diplomat. Leave that job to your friends at US embassy there is no need for normal guy like you insult your intelligence and common sense.

    Al-Mamari

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  4. Al Mamari

    I don't support 'the Zionists' at all I'm afraid. But I don't support idiots like you either. Nor violent religious zealots like Hamas.

    I think it's obvious that the post above points out how stupid and unnecessary the murder/killing of the people was. It's politics. (BTW, More people are killed in a week by teenage Omani boys in fast cars than were killed by Israeli commandos in the high seas)

    Why don't 'people like you' break off your relationships with the US? LOL

    Why don't 'people like you' support actual progress for Palestinians (via serious aid)?

    Do you give them work permits? No.

    Do you send your navy or army? No.

    LMAO.

    The Trucial states only exist because of the Imperial powers, or the entire Gulf would either be Saudi or Iranian or Iraqi.

    LMAOFOFL

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  5. how smart, you go calling your reader an idiot. You are a fucken jewish pig and you do support all that they do so spare us your bullshit.
    OMR

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  6. OMR

    Err, when someone can't read a basic article without getting the whole point totally backwards I think the term 'idiot' is descriptive rather than a baseless insult.

    Unlike your baseless insult, for example. Do you think if you keep stamping your feet that you might get your way? I'm not your poor Indonesian housemaid/nanny OMR...

    So, can you do us all a favour and drive a little faster please? Hopefully there'll be a concrete median barrier in your future soon.

    And its "fuckin'", you moron.

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  7. You're a Jew, You're an Arab, You're a Christian,
    You're a Pig, You're an idiot,
    no you are
    no you are!
    you are a million!
    you are a billion!
    you are a Brazilian!
    but aren't I an Arab/Jew/Christian?

    This Arab/Israeli issue incites such heated, irrational, nonsensical passions that for most on the sidelines, all involved look like a bunch of children.

    Maybe thats why it hasn't been resolved - those involved can get a grip - those who are cant be bothered.

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  8. Oh dear, it does make me laugh. Sometimes it's not even worth wasting your breath on people. Talk about being way of the mark OMR and Al Mamari. Get off your lazy arses and go to Palestine and help the human rights agencies there. There are plenty of so called "western pigs" there helping the Palestinians. I suppose you would rather have a fast car than an education.

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  9. Inetersting the comments coming on this site - my question why blame others for your woes. The Arab World and the Muslim World has been silent and actionless for 60 years - so who doesnt care. Talk is cheap and thats all Arabs do talk and blame then go home have their lunch and sleep. Collectivelly you are the wealthiest nations in the world but everyone is rabi bi nafs. Get real and face facts and stop blaming others or call people names for making you aware what others are saying or writing.

    A. Al Busaidy

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  10. LOOOOL Blog fight wooopy !!!

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  11. overly exposed mythological reptileJune 2, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Hahaha.

    Oh, man. This is sweet. I haven't seen something like this in a while up here on Muscat Confidential.

    Ok, so OMR, Al Mamari. Stop for a second. Read the post carefully. You have seriously missed the point. So much so, that it is embarrassing.

    Dragon, calm down my friend. I can tell everyone is jacked-up, it may have something to do with the turbulent weather. I am sure you don't wish a concrete median strip to be in an inappropriate place for ole' OMR.

    What I hear now is this wacko chant, it's all across the news channels, you know: Apparently Turkey has achieved what Palestine has been trying to do for years - WRONG. Unless the Arab world pulls the Yank finger out of its lowest orifice and the EU stamps a little harder on Israeli produce; oh and Lady Smith Black Obama does more than just talk, pause... talk, pause... talk - this will be another pimple on the great ugly backside that is Israel's unrelenting stupidity and aggression on innocent people. Oh, and in the UK all you hear is 'by George, on international waters you say?"

    More folks... need to do... MORE!

    (That was MY Obama moment)

    I must say, I find it hilarious that we are surrounded by such poorly educated people, who post up on this blog. It does indeed make humorous reading though. Oh crap, I befriended a 'jewish pig' and I didn't know about it until OMR enlightened me.

    Can you change your name to Handurkavah Dragonstein? Just for kicks?

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  12. The difference between you and the indonesian house maids is just the pay. you all are here to serve us and will always be under our feet that includes your wife (i wonder who she had blow for you to get a job in Oman).
    If you beleive somuch in Israel then why dont you go and live there you low life white trash.
    omr

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  13. Al Mamari and OMR:
    You guys are an embarrassment to the Omani society, if you are a true Muslim I would suggest stop drinking beer n vodka, read the damn article properly and understand it. You have embarrassed Oman as a country and yourself. Please grow up, oh that’s right you still live with your mom and dad LOL, I am 100% Omani and you are such an embarrassment to all of us so please shut your face up, and get some education before you insult yourself more!

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  14. omr go take a nap, with your housemaid, while the ex-pats build up your country and take it out of the stone age. time to join the thousands of students doing very poorly in english foundation courses, so you can read more than just the first few sentences of a brilliant post before you share your stupid opinion.

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  15. overly exposed

    Sorry, but I stick by the median strip comment.

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  16. all i have to say to Al Mamari and OMR, i have your IP address already and you two will know whats taking place by Sunday, so for now sleep well. 100% Omani :)

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  17. I am really SHOCKED! Although I went through the article, I couldn't find what was on it which insults us. I have been following this blog for the last couple of years and rarely seen such comments.

    See brothers from all nations, I am a local who have been travelling all over. I have got friends from everywhere some are supporting our affairs and some not. We are helpless because of our governments not others. Since I was a child I had this feeling of hatred towards Israel but I can't dominate other people opinion. Everybody can think the way he wishes.

    Let us be more educated and discuss facts not emotional wishes.

    Inspirer Omani Man

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  18. Goodness me - better have a word with Ministry of Education for failing its nation. After reading OMR/Al Mamari's comments one can see illiteracy and ignorance is rife. Well guys lets hope they aren't gonna be one of the future problem solvers or we are all EXTERMINATED. Wonder if their homes are near the cyclone path cause as an educated Omani I am cringing with shame at the thought that these guys dare called themselves Omanis.

    By the way Undercover Dragon - check out The Huffington Post article by James Zogby - he is a brilliant ME Analysists.

    A. Al Busaidy

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  19. dont includ Oman and Omanis in this fight. OMR or whoever is embarrasing themselves not Oman and Omanis.

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  20. Dear Dragon,

    Maybe we have a misunderstanding of what my argument was. My piont was that you type that you dont agree with what isreals did and then you go and post an article that tries to compare british occupation and jewish immagrants ( both parties have no right to be in palestinian lands ) with current situation. Palestinians in gaza have been there before british and jews and its thier motherland and I did not like the fact that writer of that article comparing jewish immigrants ( people who have no right to come and steal other peoples land ) with people of Gaza.

    " The Trucial states only exist because of the Imperial powers, or the entire Gulf would either be Saudi or Iranian or Iraqi.
    LMAOFOFL " hehehe :-) coming from someone who would've been german if it wasnt for americans.

    I would also like to put it on record that I dont agree with OMR.

    Al-mamari

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  21. My dear Al Mamari - the Palestinian issue is an Arab and Islamic issue as Al Quds is the second holiest place for Muslims. Yet all they do is talk and give money but no collective action. We always hear our brothers in Palestine being quote but in reality if someone was killing your brother will you just stand there and watch and do nothing.

    I think people need to get reality check and stop throwing the blame - and no its wasnt Brits idea but America based on some prophesy from the Old Testament as an excuse so it was a collective decision between allies. At the end of the day they all now realise it was a bad decision which has been a thorn in world politics ever since.

    But saying that the Arabs or Muslims government have never objected politically or taken action to stop the onslaught - all they did is whisper to protect their own self serving interest with the West.

    History has taught us many lessons and how many civilizations hav vanished and how many super powers are now useless. God is great and his will will be done in the end - and not mankinds. Or as the saying goes - What man proposes God disposes.

    A. Al Busaidy

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  22. Dear Al Busaidy,

    I can altleast try to help by typing few words of support on net and defend thier case in face propganda machine that wants people to forget that there ever is a palestinian case.
    Dont be so hard on yourself, the arabs only lost the wars with isreal because of overwelming support they got from west and fact that arabs have merely freed themselfs from westren colonization in that period of history . I give you example of latest war that happened with lebanon hizbulah. All that shit you here of supreme power of isreal but group of fighters managed to freak them out to piont americans where sending support to help them out. Isrealis are good at shooting unarmed civilians.
    Speaking of washing British hands from handing jews a place in middle east, now that’s new to me. I must have skipped some lessons in history !

    Al-mamari

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  23. Undercover Dragon – thanks for your blog - I always enjoy them.

    Mr A. Al Busaidy,
    Thank you for writing your posts. They give me hope.

    OMR and Al-mamari – I, and I am sure many other millions of people out there can't stand to see innocent people being murdered, no matter what their religion, race or creed! And just for the record, I am not british, german, american, jewish, or omani. I am a human being, and I truly believe that when you write such odious responses, you are no better than those who prejudice and persecute innocent people

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  24. Mmmmmm, Once again I think Tom Paine (‘The Rights of Man, part 2’, 1792)got it about right:

    "Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good"

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  25. AlMamari - Sorry you havent impressed me with your narrow minded and limited knowledge of facts regarding the situation and thats where the problem lies - all talk on points you wanna hear and not facts. The point now is Israel exists and no one is saying they are right but the Arab and Islamic World have a big voice in this world collectively but they always stop short at out right action to end this stalemate once and for all. Simply there are plenty of outstanding resolution at UN which can be enforced but why should they when the brothers of the Palestinians are like you - let insult on website and use foul language to get our message across. And lets shout out the little facts we gathered to show we are not ignorant. Lets point fingers at others so no one realises in reality we have done nothing but talk and given our few Rial to ease our conscious. Next time you wanna argue with me get your fact together and use better language or get lost cause you are an insult to my intelligence. Its mentality like yours thats given all of us a bad image and cause us to be a laughing stock.

    A. Al Busaidy

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  26. Dear Undercover Dragon - as you can see we can never have a decent discussion on Palestine cause we have people who an incapable of moving on and dealing with the now. They need to realise we need to deal with the hear and now and not the past and recrimination and ponting fingers or placing blame - then a solution will be found. Hence the Arab World is still stuck in a time warp and put in the 3rd world category despite all their wealth and all the wasted education. You would imagine with such technology as Internet people will enlighten themselves to find the truth and facts instead of harping on repeated heresay. So sad that we entering the 21st Century with such mentality still in existence. Very scary future.

    A. Al Busaidy

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  27. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine

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  28. And I thought the English Sabla was bad....

    Pity really, OMR and Al Mamri.....talk about missing the point completely.

    And this is what I wonder always, why do such hardliners still have anything to do with the US?! Why use their products? Boycott them? Why watch Showtime? Why use your sexeh Macs? Why use your bloated Dodges and Fords? Why go to Starbucks? Or MCGrease? Why why why?! Let your anti-western-ism shine through, oh young men!!

    LOL. Funny folks.

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  29. Peace activists on board the Flotilla have released videos they claim to have sneaked out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqD_lDzGxAw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tszieOZSKsU

    In the interview:

    JUAN GONZALEZ: Have you unidentified who those missing are?

    IARA LEE: Obviously, we cannot jump to conclusions, but they are not hurt, they are not injured, they are not killed. They disappeared. I don’t know. It’s something that must be investigated. I mean, some people even speculate that we had spies, so maybe some of these missing people were, you know, Mossad agents. We don’t know. We need to investigate. Were they thrown off the boat?......

    And follow this link with One hour of Raw footage from the MV Marmara attack released by The Culture of Resistance.

    http://www.culturesofresistance.org/gaza-freedom-flotilla

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If you wish to post anonymously, please pick a nickname by selecting the Name/URL option, or at least sign off your comment with one! I will delete comments I find objectionable or needlessly inflammatory. Sorry for the word verification.... OMG the spam has gotten BAD these past 12 months... trying to avoid making one log in...