Yet again! Israel’s hijacking impunity

1 Jul

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Murray McCully with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Jwire)

by Leslie Bravery, Aotearoa Independent Media Centre, 1 July 2015

New Zealand now has a voice at the UN Security Council, and that is a grave responsibility, yet John Key’s responses to Kennedy Graham are shameful and desperately sad.

A senior columnist and political analyst for Israeli newspapers, Ben Caspit, who also has regular TV shows on politics and Israel, noted in an article for al-Monitor that Israel’s hijacking of the Gaza flotilla ship the Marianne “barely made the news or garnered any real attention.” Caspit went on to gloat that “. . . what is happening in Gaza is apparently no longer of interest to the international media . . .” The columnist also expressed satisfaction that Israel had been able, with scarcely any adverse comment, to send “fighters from the navy’s special forces unit Shayetet 13” to board the Marianne and seize control in order to tow it to the port of Ashdod. As Caspit said in the article, “In the new Middle East, Israel finds that it has much more room to manoeuvre . . .” It’s called impunity of course – for which the news media must bear their share of the responsibility.

Māori Television crew aboard hijacked vessel

In New Zealand, even the fact that a Māori Television crew was aboard the Freedom Flotilla boat when it was hijacked by the Israeli Navy was of little note, either to the news media or to Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza has been in force since 2007. Israel uses the captive population as guinea pigs in the development of weapons of war and population control. Gaza is used to develop bombardment and terror techniques, as well as advanced chemical weapons use. In 2013, a documentary called The Lab turned the spotlight on Israel’s arms industry. It showed how captive Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are being subjected to military experiments that not only keep them subjugated but also enrich Israeli arms dealers, entrepreneurs and former generals. Israel is ranked as one of the world’s largest arms exporters, which is hardly surprising, given the country’s militaristic founding ideology and massive US tax-payer contributions to the Israeli military. Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a former Israeli defence minister, attributes Israel’s burgeoning arms sales to the fact that “people like to buy things that have been tested.” Techniques for the crippling of socio-economic activities, such as agriculture, fisheries, power production and distribution etc., upon which a population’s well-being depend, are developed with the objective of profitably furthering the Zionist enterprise. In an interview on Maori TV, Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) spokesperson, Janfrie Wakim, commented, “This is an outrage. This is a humanitarian crisis and the world is turning a blind eye.”


The Marianne was in international waters (approximately 100 nautical miles off shore) at the time of the hijacking. The captive vessel was carrying a consignment of solar panels for a people whose electricity supply has been destroyed by Israel. But the news media dutifully reported Israel’s monstrous claim that the flotilla carried no humanitarian aid. According to international law, Israel’s territorial waters should extend just 12 nautical miles from shore, as laid down in the 1984 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which directs that: “Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.” They certainly do not extend as far as 100 nautical miles.

The Israeli Navy ordered the Marianne to change course a number of times and relayed a message that: “There is no blockade on the Gaza Strip, and you are invited to transfer humanitarian supplies through Israel.” That, in itself, is an admission by Israel that there is a blockade and also that the ship was indeed carrying humanitarian aid. The civilised course of action would have been not to interfere with a vessel in international waters and to allow it to pass unmolested to the Port of Gaza. Forcing the Marianne to be towed to Israel was an additional outrage.

News media complicity

Imagine the news media headlines and condemnation if, for instance, Hamas had hijacked a vessel on the high seas! The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea makes “piracy a universal crime and subjects pirates to arrest and prosecution by any nation.” Unsurprisingly, Israel has not signed the Convention and, considering the Zionist state’s past and present conduct, the reasons are obvious:

Part 7 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea:
Article 89: No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.
Article 90: Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas.
Article 100: All States shall co-operate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State.

But sadly, as Ben Caspit noted, Israel’s hijacking of the Gaza flotilla ship the Marianne “barely made the news or garnered any real attention.” The New Zealand Government likewise remains disinterested. On Tuesday, 30 June, in the New Zealand Parliament, the Green Party MP Kennedy Graham questioned the Prime Minister, John Key:

Dr Kennedy Graham: Given that the Prime Minister has said he wants New Zealand to champion peace between Israel and Palestine, will he condemn the Israeli boarding of the Freedom Flotilla yesterday, with two New Zealanders on board?

Rt Hon John Key: No, but I will encourage both Israel and Palestine to continue to try to find a peaceful resolution to the problems in Gaza.

The New Zealand Prime Minister contributes to Israel’s impunity by maintaining the pretence that the brutal Israeli Occupation and blockade of native Palestinian territory is nothing more than a dispute between two equal parties. Asked in Parliament to condemn Israel’s excessive use of force in Gaza, with its use of “huge firepower of 6,000 airstrikes and 50,000 artillery shells”, as reported by the UN, John Key lamely replied: “I do not think that it would be terribly conducive to the good relationship that New Zealand enjoys with Israel and Palestine to start throwing stones on either side in particular.”

New Zealand now has a voice at the UN Security Council, and that is a grave responsibility, yet John Key’s responses to Kennedy Graham are shameful and desperately sad. Nothing in the world is more destabilising than Israel’s selfish, ideologically-driven repression and exploitation of the Palestinian people. Key’s evasive attitude bodes ill for hopes of Middle East peace because it not only reinforces Israel’s impunity but also, by default, renders this country complicit in Israel’s war crimes.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Freedom Flotilla promises: ‘We will sail again’

30 Jun

gaza_4 Image from the deck of the Marianne of Gothenburg ship, which was captured by the Israeli Navy overnight (Monday). (Photo courtesy of Freedom Flotilla Coalition)

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer, Common Dreams, 29 June 2015

After Freedom Flotilla Kidnapped by Israeli Navy, Global Campaign Vows to Sail Again

A freedom flotilla sailing to break the blockade of Gaza was captured early Monday morning by the Israeli navy and the 18 journalists, campaigners, and crew aboard are currently in the occupying army’s custody, in an attack global supporters are calling piracy and kidnapping at high sea.

Continue reading

‘Barely a whisper’ when Israel arrests MaoriTV journalists

30 Jun

Maori TV journalist Ruwani Perera and free-lance cameraman Jacob Bryant with other international participants aboard MariannePhoto Credit: Kia Ora Gaza : Jacob Bryant on the left and Ruwani Perera 4th from the left alongside other international participants on the Flotilla boat the Marianne.

By Martyn Bradbury, DailyBlog editor on Waatea News, 30 June 2015

NZ mainstream media will focus on Maori TV when journalists leave, but not when their journalists get arrested by Israel

It’s remarkable.

When Journalists leave Maori TV, the mainstream media are almost gleeful in covering it, yet today when Maori TV have had two of their journalists arrested by the Israeli’s, there is barely a whisper?

Maori TV Journalist Ruwani Perera and camera operator, Jacob Bryant, were arrested yesterday on board a peace flotilla trying to break the violent and brutal blockade of Gaza.

In 2010, Israel boarded another peace flotilla and murdered 10 activists. The cruelty and apartheid nature of the occupation of Gaza by the Israeli’s is one of the great on going cultural genocides the modern planet is witnessing. Maori TV have a long history of covering indigenous issues around the globe, and the vicious nature of the illegal occupation of Palestinians is an issue they should be focusing upon. Gaza is little more than the largest open air prison on Earth and the inhumane manner in which Palestinians are forced to suffer as a people is the very type of story Maori TV has every right to cover.

Trying to ignore the journalistic reasons as to why Maori TV journalists are there and paint them as ‘trouble makers’ merely supports and aids the occupiers. It doesn’t shine light on the ugly truth.

At a time when our Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, is attempting fro search for peace in the Middle East as part of our new role on the Security Council, the least he can do is demand Israel release two of our journalists immediately, and the least the wider NZ media can do is show support for two of their colleagues arrested for doing their job.

Martyn Bradbury, Editor –   Facebook/CitizenBomber

Detained Kiwi journalists ‘safe & well’ – due back tomorrow

30 Jun
Ruwani Perera

Statement from Maori Television, 30 June 2015

A Māori Television crew will be flown back from Israel after their boat was detained by the Israeli Navy while attempting to break the Gaza blockade.

Native Affairs senior reporter Ruwani Perera and cameraman Jacob Bryant, were invited to join the Freedom Flotilla FF3 as observers to document their quest by New Zealand organisation Kia Ora Gaza.

Head of News and Current Affairs Maramena Roderick says Ms Perera and Mr Bryant are both safe and well and are expected to arrive back in New Zealand tomorrow.

She says Māori Television staff are working with authorities at the New Zealand embassy in Ankara, Turkey to support the crew.

“Foreign Affairs says their embassy staff in Ankara had informed them that both Ruwani and Jacob have been treated well and with respect by local authorities.

“We appreciate the assistance of embassy officials to bring our crew home. The contingencies plans we had all worked so carefully on are now falling into place.”

Ms Roderick says the safety of our crew has and will always remain a priority for the network. “Our team is committed to their safe return home.”


Māori Television korero on Flotilla hi-jacking

29 Jun
Kia Ora Gaza's Roger Fowler speaks to Native Affairs presenter Mihingarangi Forbes about hi-jacking of Freedom Flotilla

Native Affairs presenter Mihingarangi Forbes speaks to Kia Ora Gaza’s Roger Fowler about Freedom Flotilla hi-jacking

Native Affairs reporter Ruwani Perera and cameraman Jacob Bryant are two of 20 people who have been detained by Israeli Authorities and are now enroute to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

Joining Mihingarangi Forbes in the studio to discuss this developing story are Kia Ora Gaza’s Roger Fowler as well as Māori Party, Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell, Co-Leader of the Green Party Metiria Turei, Leader of New Zealand First Winston Peters and Labour Party spokesperson for Māori Affairs and Treaty Settlements, Nanaia Mahuta.

Video link here

Israel commits an act of state piracy in the Mediterranean

29 Jun

Statement by Freedom Flotilla Coalition, 29 June 2015

At 02:06AM today (Gaza time) the “Marianne” contacted Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) and informed us that three boats of the Israeli navy had surrounded her in international waters, while sailing approximately 100NM from Gaza coast. After that we lost contact with the “Marianne” and at 05:11AM (Gaza time) the IDF announced that they had “visited and searched” Marianne. They had captured the boat and detained all on board “in international waters” as they admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite Netanyahu’s government recent denial that one exists.

We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was “uneventful”, because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012, the people on board the “Estelle” were badly tasered and beaten with clubs. Back in 2010, ten passengers of Mavi Marmara were murdered by the IDF during a similar operation in international waters.

It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of “no tolerance”, meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean. We demand that the Israeli government cease and desist the illegal detainment of peaceful civilians travelling in international waters in support of humanitarian aid.

We call on our governments to ensure that all passengers and crew from the “Marianne” are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation of international maritime law by the Israeli state. We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of Israel. People all over the world will continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.

For more updates visit:

International participants aboard the Marianne

International participants aboard the Marianne

Open letter to Murray McCully

29 Jun
Maori TV journalist Ruwani Perera and free-lance cameraman Jacob Bryant with other international participants aboard Marianne

Maori TV journalist Ruwani Perera and free-lance cameraman Jacob Bryant with other international participants aboard Marianne

Hon Murray McCully,
Minister of Foreign Affairs.


Dear Sir,

Please be advised that the Freedom Flotilla ship ‘Marianne’ carrying 2 New Zealand journalists has recently been intercepted by Israeli forces in international waters. The ship, which posed no threat to Israel, is currently being towed to Israel.

We request that you condemn Israel’s unwarranted action and call on Israel to immediately release the ship and its passengers unharmed.

Your sincerely,

Roger Fowler QSM,
Kia Ora Gaza
PO Box 86022,
Mangere East,


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