“Let’s Chant: Free, Free Palestine”: Western Public Opinion in the Wake of the Attack on the Freedom Flotilla
Seeing the footage dispatched from London to TV stations around the world following the massacre of peace activists onboard the Freedom Flotilla embarrassed me for several reasons: British citizens storming onto the streets of London, holding the flags of Turkey and Palestine, chanting “Free, Free Palestine”.
Although the vicious regime of Israel has been successful in uniting Muslim and non-Muslim nations around the world in support of the cause of the suffering people of Palestine, the sentiments that emanated from the British citizens offered a different, an unprecedented feeling this time.
In the past, they would demonstrate to condemn the brutalities of Tel Aviv. It was a perceptive sympathy that propelled them to the streets to chant for the freedom of Palestine. This time was different, however. This time the insight came together with a patriotic resentment against those who had mistreated their fellow citizens.
The British protestors were touching the pain that the Palestinian people have suffered over the past 60 years. 42 British citizens were among the 480 people whom the Zionist regime had arrested. This time, the British citizens saw how Israel does not draw a distinction between Palestinian and non-Palestinian; to the racist leaders of Israel and their agents, a human being does not have any value, so imprisoning, torturing, killing or massacring people from different nationalities, races and religions is viewed as normal. Since September 2000, 1,441 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces. Children do not pose a threat to the national security of Israel, so these killings emanate from the essential nature of Israel – one of atrocity and butchery.
Interestingly, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, lauded his country’s massacre of the international peace activists, likening it to “America’s fight against Nazi Germany in the Second World War”. In an interview with Fox News, he called this mass killing by the Israel Defense Forces “perfectly legal, perfectly humane and very responsible”.
The intensified cruelty and violence of the past years has cost the Israeli regime its diplomatic relations with five countries, namely Qatar, Mauritania, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua. Once again, Israel has exhibited its inhumanity and parades before the eyes of the international community how it ignores law and globally recognized regulations.
Aside from breaching the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel violated Article 3 of the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation that was adopted on March 10, 1988 in Rome. This article obligates measures that insure the safety of marine passengers. According to this Convention, any person or entity that intentionally and unlawfully resorts to violent action against the passengers of any type of vessel is considered criminal.
Let’s get back to my own sentiments. I found myself slack-jawed as I saw the people who had come to chant their dissatisfaction with the ongoing aggression of Israel. They did not have anything to do with the nation of Palestine religiously or nationalistically. They came from different continents, different ethnic backgrounds, different religions and spoke different languages, but their message was strong and that was what made them impressive and inspiring.
They chanted that they don’t want to tolerate the incessant bloodshed of Israel anymore. They don’t want to hear of the killing, kidnapping, torturing and bombing that Israel does every day. They don’t want Israel to be singled out as the state that is never held accountable for what it does or what it intends to do. They don’t want the arbitrary approach of the superpowers toward Israel to continue. They don’t want the United Nations or other international organizations to sit back and watch apathetically while Israel tortures and murders.
The message of the citizens who have poured into the streets around the world, like the tens of millions of them who had chanted and rallied for the freedom of Gaza in the early days of 2009, is clear and unambiguous. They don’t want Israel to be treated as if it has tumbled to the Levant from another planet. They don’t want Israel to be exempt from international law or regulation.
Looking back at the calamitous days of the 1982 Lebanon War in which 17,852 Lebanese were unjustifiably killed by Israeli forces, you might remember that Israel finally withdrew after the United Nations Security Council issued six consecutive resolutions, demanding that Tel Aviv pull its troops out of Lebanon. Israel has a strange take on the language of logic and ration. It continually violates Resolution 487 which calls on it to put its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. This resolution was adopted 29 years ago, but Israel has yet to comply.
What we witnessed in the Freedom Flotilla carnage was not something totally unexpected. The Israeli regime, since its establishment, has engaged in killing, denials of any wrongdoing, and then killing again. The peace activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla came from 44 countries; the least thing these countries can do is to sever ties with the Israeli regime, a criminal entity that does not understand the language of peace. However, the man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 simply offered his “deep condolences” and called for a “credible, impartial and transparent investigation” into the issue. It seems that news is possibly being obstructed en route to Mr. Obama. Perhaps he is waiting for an investigative group to tell him what has happened.
Let Mr. Obama find a pretext which he thinks will exempt him from condemning the felony of Israel. We are the citizens of the world who all chant together: “Free, Free Palestine!”