Breaking the Siege against Gaza: We must End the Apartheid and Establish an Independent Palestine State
by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad
Global Research, July 15, 2010
Perdana Global Peace Organisation
Keynote address to the Kuala Lumpur conference. Breaking the Siege on Gaza, 11 July 2010
Honourable speakers, guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Firstly I would like to welcome all of you to this conference on the siege organised by the Perdana Global Peace Organisation backed by UMNO.
1. We are gathered here today not only to honour the Turkish martyrs who were brutally slaughtered by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara, but also to counter the lies and propaganda by Israel and the Zionist controlled international mass media, that the passengers, specifically the martyrs, were terrorists and therefore the killings were justified.
2.More importantly, we must send a message of hope and solidarity to the Palestinians that the peace loving peoples of the world will never abandon them, come what may and that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their struggle for liberation and for the State of Palestine.
3.Prime Minister Netanyahu has openly and unreservedly declared just a few days ago that Israel will not apologise for the brutal murders committed in international waters in contravention of all conventions and international laws because Israel was justified in the massacre of unarmed people in order to defend Israeli security.
4. Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 1:
“Israel cannot apologise for our soldiers being forced to defend themselves against the mob that almost slaughtered them.”
Yet, not one single Israeli commando was killed. In fact, from the testimony of Ken O’Keefe, a passenger on Mavi Marmara, which we have just witnessed from the multi-media presentation, it was the well-armed commandos who killed and injured the passengers. Far from killing or attempting to kill the commandos, despite their friends being killed, the Turkish passengers managed to disarm three of the commandos and after a doctor had washed away the blood caused by their faces being scratched, released them. Is this the behaviour of a mob bent in slaughtering the commandos?
5. In a speech to the Israeli parliament, Netanyahu elaborated:
“They want to strip us of the natural right to defend ourselves. When we defend ourselves against rocket attack, we are accused of war crimes. We cannot board sea vessels when our soldiers are being attacked and fired upon, because that is a war crime.”
6. But where is the evidence that the Israeli commandos were being attacked and fired upon? Such is the distortion of the truth! Even the UN Report chaired by Justice Robert Goldstone, a Zionist and a Jew who found that the Israelis committed war crimes when it invaded Gaza in 2008, was dismissed as mere propaganda, and the said report was not allowed to be tabled and debated in the U.N.
7. Self-defence can take place if there was an attempt at attacking or when actually attacked by the aggressor. Even the Israelis said that the passengers were armed with iron rods (railings) and scissors. Is Israel suggesting that people with scissors and iron railings attacked the fully armed commandos before they boarded the Mavi Marmara? It was to defend themselves after the commandos dropped from the helicopters and killed their friends that the unarmed passengers tried to defend themselves with scissors and iron railings, the only weapons they could lay hands on.
8. However, even without an Independent Inquiry and in spite of the fact that Israel had confiscated and destroyed incriminating videos of the massacre, the international mass media cannot ignore the overwhelming evidence provided by the survivors of Mavi Marmara – journalists and passengers who were able to evade the tight security measures and brought out videos showing that Israeli commandos had commenced firing at the passengers before boarding the Mavi Marmara. IHH, the organisers of the Mavi Marmara has just come out with their report and I am told that this is available in CD for all delegates.
9. Additionally, we cannot ignore the fact that the intent to attack the Freedom Flotilla was made well before the flotilla set sail for Gaza. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak declared that Israeli naval ships and commandos would be conducting naval exercises to prepare for the eventual attack on the flotilla and that Israel would do everything possible to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza. This was reported by Bloomberg, the Associated Press and even Israeli newspapers, and was affirmed by the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren in an interview on June 2nd, 2010.
10. It came as no surprise that on 31st May 2010, in contravention of international laws, Israeli commandos as directed by the Israeli regime boarded the Mavi Marmara, and in the process shot and killed nine passengers and wounded many more and hijacked the entire flotilla to the port of Ashdod in Israel.
11. Rifat Audeh, a passenger on the Mavi Marmara gave an account of what happened before Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara. She said:
“The Israeli military was firing at us from their vessels which approached the sides of our ship and the helicopters from above as well, even before a single soldier landed on deck. Here we had fully armed Israeli commandos firing live rounds, tear gas, sound grenades and other types of ammunition at unarmed activists of a humanitarian ship at night in international waters, and once again the media has criminalised us and vindicated the perpetrators. Let me be clear: we had every right to defend ourselves and our ship against this illegal barbaric assault as our brothers were being wounded and killed.”
12. Just as Israel denied using white phosphorous and other banned weapons on the civilians of Gaza in the barbaric invasion in 2008 and the massacre of civilians in Jenin in 2003 until exposed by the Robert Goldstone report and independent observers respectively, Israel is denying again and hopes that this time, the war crimes would be lost with the passage of time.
13. But peace loving nations of the world condemned this wanton aggression and demanded that the siege of Gaza be lifted and a U.N. sanctioned Inquiry be established to investigate into the massacre of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara.
14. Knowing that the United States will not condemn its actions and veto any Security Council resolutions that demanded a full account for the incident, Israel ignored international condemnation and maintained that she has the right to do as she likes. Israel considers itself above international laws and common moral values.
15. his heinous murder of Turkish nationals and the confiscation of the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara seemed strange to many, as Turkey has been a close strategic ally of Israel for many years, having regular joint military exercises and shared strategic interests. Turkey is also a NATO member. However, it is evident that even an ally would not be spared the criminal behaviour of Israel whether there is justification or not.
16. Such is Israel’s arrogance and her confidence that she can get away with murder. And indeed Israel has been getting away with blatant murder since 1948.
17. Many may have forgotten that such betrayal by Israel of an ally is not without precedent. The ally that was previously betrayed by Israel was none other than the United States. That treachery needs to be retold, if we want to understand and appreciate the strategic implications of the attack on Mavi Marmara.
18. It was on the 8th of June, 1967, soon after the commencement of the six-day war by Israel against her Arab neighbours. President Johnson had given his consent to Israel to launch a limited war against Egypt on the condition that Israel would not widen the war to include any land grab against Jordan and Syria.
19. Egypt had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships and the limited war was to compel Egypt to reopen the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships. But, the then Defence Minister Moshe Dayan had different ideas from what was agreed between President Johnson and the then prime minister of Israel, Levi Eshkol and his military Chief of Staff, General Yizhak Rabin. Moshe Dayan, the one-eyed war criminal wanted to use the opportunity to extend the borders of Israel to fulfil the aspirations of the Zionists for a “Greater Israel.” It was in the plan that after the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Israeli military would be diverted to the Jordanian and Syrian fronts.
20. The USS Liberty was a “spy ship” and its mission was to listen to all Israel’s military communications so that Israel would abide by the agreement not to widen the war after she attacked Egypt.
21. The USS Liberty clearly stood in the way, as President Johnson would know through communication intercepts by the USS Liberty, if Israel reneged on its agreement for a limited war, and proceeded to wage a full scale war against all her immediate neighbours. Time was of the essence. If the USS Liberty was disabled, Israel would by her surprise attack against Syria and Jordan achieve her aims of a Greater Israel before President Johnson could intervene to stop the wider war.
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