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Inside documents of the Free Gaza movement seized in the recent flotilla expose considerable discrepancies between its strategy and tactics and its public stance

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ipc_e0101.htm

Inside documents of the Free Gaza movement seized in the recent flotilla
expose considerable discrepancies between its strategy and tactics and its
public stance. The documents prove, among other things, the attempts to
conceal the aid to the Hamas administration since Hamas is designated as a
terrorist organization in the US.

1. Established in 2006, the Free Gaza movement (hereinafter: Free Gaza) is a
pro-Palestinian/pro-Hamas group whose stated purpose is to “break the siege”
imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip following the Hamas takeover. Free Gaza
is registered in Cyprus as a human rights project and is headquartered in
Nicosia. Its website says that Free Gaza has branches in 28 countries,
including 11 in Europe, 5 in North America (4 in the US and one in Canada),
and a branch in Israel (referred to on the movement’s website as “Palestine
1948 territories”). The organizational framework of Free Gaza also includes
the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which also took part in the
latest flotilla.

2. Free Gaza played an important role in the coalition of organizations
which orchestrated the latest flotilla, even though the dominant force was
the Turkish IHH. Free Gaza started sending aid flotillas to the Gaza Strip
in 2008. Prior to the latest flotilla, Free Gaza was able to send four other
aid flotillas to the Gaza Strip:
a. August 2008: two ships departed from Cyprus and arrived at the port of
Gaza on August 23 (BBC, August 23, 2008).
b. October 2008: a yacht named Dignity with 26 activists and medical
supplies on board arrived in Gaza on October 29 (JTA, October 29, 2008).
c. December 2008: the same yacht, Dignity, with about 3 tons of medical
supplies, attempted to penetrate the waters of Gaza but was stopped by the
Israeli navy (ynet, December 30, 2008).
d. June 2009: a ship called Spirit of Humanity, which attempted to reach
Gaza on June 30, was stopped by the Israeli navy near the Gaza port
(Jerusalem Post, June 29, 2009).

3. The movement’s mission, as appears on its website, is to break the siege
of Gaza. It also states that it will not ask for Israel’s permission for its
actions, since the movement’s intent is “to overcome this brutal siege
through civil resistance and non-violent direct action, and establish a
permanent sea lane between Gaza and the rest of the world” (Free Gaza
website).

4. Free Gaza is now organizing yet another flotilla to the Gaza Strip. Nidal
Hejazi, a Free Gaza senior official in Norway, said that the movement is now
planning to acquire yet another boat from Norway to depart for the Gaza
Strip as soon as possible. He said he was hoping to organize a flotilla
consisting of more than ten additional boats from European countries.
According to Hejazi, upon returning from Turkey on June 3, the movement
started working on a list of passengers from Norway to join the flotilla,
and the list will be finalized in the coming days (Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, June
5, 2010).

5. Inside documents of Free Gaza seized in the latest flotilla (see
appendices for the unedited, complete text) deal with the movement’s
strategy and with briefings given to its activists prior to the flotilla’s
departure. Analysis and comparison of the inside documents to the movement’s
public stance shows significant discrepancies and even contradictions
between them. For example:
a. Legal aspect: a legal briefing (“legal information”) given by Free Gaza
to its activists shows that the movement is well aware of the legal problem
of delivering assistance to the Hamas de-facto administration in the Gaza
Strip, particularly considering that the US designated Hamas as a terrorist
organization. Reading between the lines also shows that while Free Gaza
publicly states that the aid is for the Palestinian population in the Gaza
Strip, Free Gaza is aware that, in fact, it assists the Hamas de-facto
administration. Therefore, at a legal briefing for activists who took part
in the flotilla, they were warned against making any statement or taking any
action that could be construed as providing material assistance to Hamas to
avoid being incriminated in the US and in other countries (the movement has
activists in the US whose participation in the flotilla seems to contradict
US law; also, Free Gaza raises funds in the US, where it has a contact man
for allegedly humanitarian purposes, yet those purposes are in fact clearly
political).
b. Political aspect: during the legal briefing, as a way of solving the
problem of Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organization, the activists
were told that Free Gaza had publicly announced that it had no political
agenda, and that it was committed to “non-violent humanitarian assistance”
to the Palestinian people (Free Gaza is registered as a Human Rights
Project, a definition which appears on its website). However, according to
an inside document found on the Mavi Marmara, the goals of the flotilla were
clearly political rather than humanitarian (the minimum goals defined in the
document are generating media [impact] about the blockade on the Gaza Strip
and pushing foreign governments to take punitive action against Israel;
delivering humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip was not listed as a goal).
c. Response to possible scenarios during the voyage: Free Gaza drew up
“defensive” scenarios for the flotilla based on the premise that the IDF
would be unable to stop the boats without using force. Several tactics are
listed to prevent the IDF from taking over the boat. One of the things
mentioned is putting obstructions with sharp points on the deck and
barricading in the wheelhouse and the engine room.
d. Although those tactics pale in comparison to the organized violence used
by IHH, they are still incompatible with instructions given by Free Gaza to
its activists, which categorically prohibited the use of verbal of physical
violence. It therefore appears that the term “non-violent resistance”, which
appears in the instructions of human rights organizations which took part in
the flotilla, was open to interpretation by the various organizations and
the various activists, who were eager to confront the IDF soldiers (as
demonstrated by the preparations made by IHH, which also defines itself as a
humanitarian organization, for a violent confrontation with the IDF).

6. What follows is an analysis of Free Gaza inside documents seized in the
latest flotilla
Appendix A

Legal briefing given by Free Gaza to passengers on the ship Challenger (it
can be assumed that a similar briefing was given to Free Gaza activists on
other ships)
1. A document titled “Legal Information” was seized aboard the Challenger, a
Free Gaza ship. The document notes that Hamas is designated as a “global
terrorist” organization by the US Treasury Department. In addition, it
states that the UN has also blacklisted Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Consequently, a US citizen providing “material support” to Hamas may face
criminal charges in US courts. This may also pose a problem to citizens of
other countries, which is why Free Gaza advises them to check the laws and
regulations on dealing with Hamas in their countries.

2. Reading between the lines, it appears that Free Gaza is well aware that
transporting aid to the Hamas de-facto administration, considered to be an
inseparable part of Hamas by the US administration, is a violation of US
law.

3. The document illustrates that Free Gaza is aware that it is legally
problematic to deliver aid to the Hamas de-facto administration in the Gaza
Strip, particularly in the US, where Hamas is banned.1 Therefore, the
document contains a legal briefing of sorts (“legal information”) to
activists taking part in the flotilla, the main points of which are:
a. The activists from the various countries, particularly US residents, must
avoid even the appearance of providing “material support” to Hamas,
including its leadership.
b. Free Gaza has said publicly and repeatedly that it serves no political
agenda whatsoever and that it is engaged solely in non-violent humanitarian
support for the Palestinian people, not the Palestinian leadership. Under no
circumstances should any participant make a public statement of affinity or
admiration of any political group in Palestine (note: the public portrayal
of providing humanitarian support for the Palestinian people as the
movement’s goal is incorrect, since an inside document found aboard the Mavi
Marmara defined the goals of the flotilla to be political, not
humanitarian-see Appendix B for details).

Appendix B

Inside document detailing the strategy and tactics of
Free Gaza in preparation for the flotilla
Overview
1. Found on one of the computers seized aboard the Mavi Marmara was the
draft of an inside document (“not for distribution”) dated March 7, 2010.
The document describes the goals of and preparations for the flotilla, lists
problems and offers solutions.

2. Following are the main issues that appear in the document:

a. The goals of the flotilla: the goals of the flotilla as defined in the
document are clearly political, contradicting the public image of
“humanitarian support” which appears in the legal briefing. The “minimum
goal” is to “generate a lot of media about the blockade on Gaza” and the
“situation of Palestinians in Gaza”. A secondary goal is “taking
legal/political action, including jail stays, to push foreign governments to
do more than make statements, but to take punitive action towards Israel.”
Elsewhere in the document, the goal is said to be generating media coverage
and putting pressure on Israel.

b. Importance of flotilla’s success in view of Free Gaza’s financial
difficulties: the document states that the movement is “in a bad financial
position” for the current flotilla and for other flotillas to follow: “There
is virtually no likelihood of us [i.e., the movement] being able to get more
funds for a mission that does not result in tangible results for Gaza.”

c. “The Galloway Factor”: George Galloway is a former British pro-Hamas
parliament member who played a key role in organizing Lifeline-3, the
previous aid convoy to the Gaza Strip. The participants of the previous
convoy confronted Egyptian authorities, subsequent to which George Galloway
was declared a persona non grata in Egypt. According to the Free Gaza
document, George Galloway no longer assists Free Gaza as much as he did in
the past (for his own reasons). The document notes that Galloway may not be
able to get much support for a flotilla if the ships do not reach Gaza’s
shores. In the view of Free Gaza, this factor makes it all the more
important for the flotilla to reach Gaza.

d. Flotilla passengers: the passengers on behalf of Free Gaza were divided
into three categories: celebrities and VIPs, parliament members (from
national parliaments and ideally not backbenchers), and union leaders. Free
Gaza considered increasing the number of passengers since it had permission
to bring its passengers on the IHH passenger ship (i.e., the Mavi Marmara).
That combination of passengers was designed to increase the media impact of
the flotilla.

e. Potential scenarios for the voyage: the document analyzes several
“defensive” scenarios, based on a premise that is the fundamental guideline
of the flotilla: “We will not turn back. The only way for Israel to stop us
is to use force” (from a sub-chapter titled “Mission Strategy”). The
scenarios raised in the document can be summarized as follows:

1. Aerial boarding (of soldiers): the document examines how boarding can be
prevented. One of the methods mentioned is putting obstructions with sharp
points on the deck, making it too dangerous for the soldiers to board (note:
the behavior agreement distributed by Free Gaza to its activists prior to
the launch of the flotilla says that the activists shall not use verbal or
physical violence and that the mission was designed to support the
“non-violent resistance of the Palestinians”. The inside document makes it
clear that the term “non-violent resistance” is open to interpretation that
may change the non-violent and “defensive” resistance into a violent and
offensive one, which was what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara).

2. If IDF soldiers do manage to board the ship, the Free Gaza activists were
to focus on two areas: the wheelhouse and the engine room. The document says
that the wheelhouse had to be made “impenetrable”, which would require
replacing glass with bullet-proof glass, replacing doors with steel doors,
and adding locks.

3. Using a tugboat to prevent the ship from coming to Gaza. In that case,
the ship would try to outmaneuver the tugboat and reach the Gaza Strip, even
though its chances of success were unclear.

4. Opening fire (by IDF) or using explosives to neutralize the ship. Free
Gaza’s “defensive option” for that scenario was putting VIPs on the cargo
ship’s deck (hoping their presence would deter the IDF soldiers).

5. Blocking the cargo ships while giving the passenger ship permission to
proceed. In that case, the question was whether the mission was worth
continuing with only the passenger ship. The decision was to be made only
after the launch of the flotilla.

f. Behavior on the passenger ship: the author of the document believes that
there would be a way to deter the kind of boarding Free Gaza had with the
Spirit of Humanity (a ship sent by the movement on June 30, 2009, which was
stopped by the Israeli navy near the Gaza port). This required putting
1.5-meter steel poles over the sides of the ship. A more likely option was
that the Israelis would try to ram the ship, as they had done before.

g. Support from various bodies and organizations: letters from unions and
letters from parliaments and governments calling on Israel not to interfere
must be prepared; ambassadors in Tel-Aviv must be called on to request no
interference from Israel (the countries mentioned are Venezuela, Chile,
India, South Africa, Ireland, Belgium, Britain, and Norway); UNIFIL and NATO
must be asked for inspection and escort; live broadcasts from the ship must
be arranged (the document details a media plan to be implemented in the
various stages of the flotilla’s journey).
The original document
DRAFT – NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION – UPDATED 3/07/2010
Free Gaza Strategy
There are now two parts to the strategy – one for the overall FG situation
and one for the mission. The two are not inseparable, as it is prudent to
think not only of how we conduct this mission, but also what happens the day
after.
CURRENT STATUS
Boats
2 new passenger ships for high profilers
1 FG boat for activists
1 Cargo ship from IHH
1 passenger ship from IHH (500 pax)
1 passenger ship from ECESG
pending -
cargo ship (FG)
cargo ship (Greece)
passenger ship (Turkey)
passenger ship (Greece)
cargo ship (Sweden)
ship (Indonesia)
Finances
The FG accounts (including what is being held aside and what is held
elsewhere,
seems to have approximately 50,000 . From that, at least X will be needed
up front for the FG cargo ship and other costs related to holding onto the
passenger ships that FG possesses.
There is currently no money available for the mission itself for FG, though
efforts are being made to secure those funds.
Ports
It is clear that Cyprus will not be a point of departure. Turkish ships can
leave from Turkey. FG and Greek ships (if any) can leave from Greece, though
the situation in Greece will have to be monitored in the event that the
economy dives again and more strikes and unrest follow. The FG cargo ship
can leave from its position now (if we get the ship).
Timing
The earliest we will know about cargo ship is March 20, and maybe not until
March 31. We still do not know what, if any, kind of repairs will be needed
and how long it will take. For this ship to be in position to join rest of
flotilla, at least 2 weeks are needed. Therefore, if we are using this cargo
ship, it is unlikely we can be ready to go with passengers from port before
April 25.
Given the above factors, it seems that at as FG, we should next consider the
overall FG situation, in order to make decisions that will affect the
mission itself.
OVERALL FG SITUATION
As stated above, we are in a bad financial position for the mission and for
afterwards, if we go ahead with the purchase of the cargo ship. We are also
in a limited position in terms of trying to raise more funds if this mission
is not successful, in that there is virtually no likelihood of us being able
to get more funds for a mission that does not result in tangible results for
Gaza. Getting media, creating pressure on Israel, etc. are all good, but
unlikely to yield greater funding opportunities. This is particularly true
if we end up not in possession of one or more of our ships, or with ships
damaged, regardless of what legal strategy we pursue.
Additionally, we cannot ignore the Galloway factor, which practically means
that while he may not find as much support as he has in the past, for
various reasons mostly of his own doing, and while he may not be able to get
as much support for a flotilla if ours does not reach Gaza’s shores, the
fact is that he has far greater outreach ability by virtue of his name and
the willingness of key people to support him because of his political
position as an MP and what he has said/done vis-à-vis Arab governments.
Thus, whatever effort we make in the wake of our mission, unless we arrive
in Gaza, will undoubtedly be in competition with Galloway, and so far, we
have not been able to meet that challenge in terms of funds raised, having a
network operating to get funds at that level and to do so in a timely
manner.
Now, moving on to other considerations that factor in the financial picture.
Given the responses to the email that was sent out asking for each of us to
identify our minimum goal for this mission and the minimum ship requirement
for launching this mission, the responses lined up pretty much in accordance
with this position:
MINIMUM GOAL:
The goal of this mission is to generate a lot of media about the blockade on
Gaza and the illegal/criminal nature of it, as well as the situation of
Palestinians in Gaza. Secondly, but connected is the goal of taking
legal/political action, including jail stays, pushing foreign governments to
do more than make statements, but to take punitive action towards Israel.
Our position, then, is that reaching Gaza, while our intention is not our
minimum strategic goal.
CARGO SHIP:
This point is seemingly this point is moot now. The IHH has a cargo ship, so
we have a minimum of 1, which was the majority opinion of those who
responded.
The question now is, does it make sense for FG to get a cargo ship – see
below for explanation and for where we need to make a strategic decision.
HOLD 2 BOATS FOR IMMEDIATE FOLLOW UP:
There is basically a split among those who responded to this, so no decision
here.
See below for further explanation why this might make sense, though given
the minimum goal for the mission.
For strategic consideration for next mission and FG overall
Given the consensus mission goal, there needs to be decisions derived based
on that position, regarding the other points listed above.
Since we have confirmation that we have 1 cargo ship, the pressing question
becomes does FG need to get this other cargo ship that is in auction, now
that there is competition and that it is potentially going to set us back in
terms of timing for mission? I list here some Pros/Cons, but I think we need
a decision on this ASAP. (I have tried not to factor in hypothetical
situations, as this becomes a never-ending exercise, and should not be how
we base this decision – for every ‘if’ on one side, we can add an ‘if’ on
the other).
ProsCons
1. Allows more cargo to be brought1. Cost involved is quite high
(management) and a drain on resources that we are not secured of
2. Allows for more groups to participate in providing cargo for mission2.
Owning the ship post-mission will be costly and require full-time attention
3. One more ship that is part of flotilla3. Given the minimum goal for the
mission, there does not seem to be a strategic reason to have more than 1
cargo ship
4. Having 2 cargo ships will necessitate a bigger effort by Israel to stop
the flotilla4. Will require additional expense to secure more cargo, which
will require more fundraising
5. While we can bring some material, this is still largely a symbolic
measure that until proven that we can deliver, will not be seen as a viable
undertaking – having the one cargo ship from IHH allows for the symbolic
value already and for testing the viability of this tactic

PROS/CONS of having a FG Cargo Ship
OPTION 1 – GET FG CARGO SHIP
If we decide on getting this cargo ship, then we proceed accordingly and
must stay in this position of being unable to take more concrete action with
regard to date, cargo, etc. until we know for sure that this is our ship.
Given that the idea of pursuing a back-up cargo ship was pretty much shot
down, then we might yet end up in a position of not having a FG cargo ship.
OPTION 2 – NO FG CARGO SHIP
If we decide to not get this ship, then we have to first make sure it is OK
with Malaysia, explaining why it is not strategic, and why we are still
achieving what we/they want by having the IHH cargo ship. We can use those
funds in part then, to procure cargo, which would allow Malaysia to still
‘take credit’ (if that is a concern) for providing building materials to
Gaza. If we decide on not getting this ship, then we should be able to move
more quickly towards setting time, procuring and getting cargo in place
(from departure point of IHH ship), etc. Not getting the ship also frees up
funds for FG work in the mission – not just the cost of the cargo ship, but
also the cost of the management company and the cost of cargo.
When considering which option, I think we really need to consider
financial/logistic aspects of this, notably:
- if we are planning to take legal action, political work and do media work
for an extended period after a mission that is stopped, then we need to have
funds to do so;
- for those of you who think that regardless of what happens on this mission
that FG will continue to send missions to Gaza in some way, then FG must
have financial resources to be able to do so;
- having a cargo ship in possession will require ongoing costs and
management of the ship, and someone from FG will have to be involved in
this.
In terms of the prospect of holding 2 passenger boats back and have them
ready for an immediate launch in the event that Israel stops the flotilla,
the question to consider is does this fit into the minimum strategic goal
for the mission. If the flotilla is not stopped, then these boats will be
ready to head to Gaza with a follow up flotilla when the initial flotilla
returns from Gaza. Again, some Pros/Cons are (these are only applicable for
consideration in planning for if the flotilla is stopped):
ProsCons
1. Having an immediate follow up mission will generate more media and keep
the drama of the situation in the forefront1. Requires additional land crew
and passengers willing to be in a wait and see position; including some key
FG personnel to not join initial flotilla
2. More media likely to participate in follow up2. Likely will not have VIPs
on board, but perhaps is not necessary
3. Will keep media focus overall on mission, including on those in flotilla
who are taken to jail3. Requires keeping funds in reserve for this part of
the overall mission, and thus potentially the need for having more money in
hand to start with
4. Will give tangible action for politicians and governments to support and
could result in enabling the kind of political work we need without having
us have to go back to capitals to seek action

OPTION 1 – KEEP 2 BOATS BACK
If we decide to do this, then we need to identify from now which 2 ships,
and start identifying passengers for this part of the mission, so they are
clear from start. We should also prepare land crew and PR material for the
backup teams, all of which should be in place and ready to go within hours
of word of what happens with the flotilla when it is confronted by Israeli
military.
OPTION 2 – DO NOT HOLD BACK BOATS
Continue our work as is.
Overall FG position
In considering the above, we need to consider not just for this mission but
for the position of FG overall. Thus making the strategic choices above will
impact not just the mission but the ‘day after’. To continue this work in a
strategic manner, which requires keeping pressure on Israel, leveraging that
by winning allies (organization and political) and generating tangible
results (beyond statements of support), will mean that we have to be in
position to do so. Choosing from the above choices should therefore be done
with an eye to the mission and an eye to beyond the mission.
Mission Strategy
Passengers
We have decided that for passengers, there would a prioritization of:
1. Celebrities, VIPs
2. MPs (from national parliaments and ideally not those on fringe)
3. Union Leaders
Given the capacity of the IHH passenger ship, we can now accommodate many
more passengers, so we do not have pressure to limit spots, but we should
still maintain a kind of minimum number of passengers that we want to get
per the three categories above.
The sheer number of passengers that we can bring on the IHH ship may result
in a different tactic by Israel in terms of detention. To remove that many
passengers to shore and to process them would be both a logistic challenge
and also a costly maneuver by Israel, require long man-hours, processing
time/cost and a challenge to their detention capacity in detention centers
that are already crowded with refugees and asylum seekers.
It is thus possible, and potentially likely, that Israel will use a
different tactic if it brings the ship to port, which would be to hold the
passengers on the ship itself. This is something Israel has developed plans
for in terms of housing the detainees it has, but has to implement. We need
to strongly consider this possibility and what we could to in terms of this
kind of maneuver. However, it should not necessarily change the strategy of
the mission prior to capture, though we can take steps to prepare the ship
with material/items that could be useful for such a situation.
MISSION STRATEGY
Basic Principle – We will not turn back. The only way for Israel to stop us
is to use force.
Resistance?
On this next mission, we will be traveling with VIPs. Is there a likelihood
that they will be willing to take action to resist interference from Israel?
Not likely, though we can ask. At this point, we can assume no, and move
forward in planning. Once we invite, we can check again.
If the minimum goal for the mission is media attention, etc. then is there a
point of having any kind of resistance, including pre-emptive measures to
prevent them from taking the ships?
We need a concrete decision here in order to make plans, and in order to
work with our partners to develop clear understandings of what we are doing.
We also would need to have time to make ships ready for such action.
If we do agree to pre-emptive action, then we can consider that there are
basically 2 ways the Israelis have boarded ships – with speedboats the way
they boarded the Spirit, and with a helicopter the way they boarded the
Lebanese cargo ship.
Since we will have both kinds of ships, we must anticipate both types of
boardings.
There is a fundamental question to answer before choosing any strategy – do
we want to do all we can to keep the ships in our hands, given that if the
Israelis take the boats the chances of us launching another mission become
near impossible.
Assuming that we want to keep the boats, then these are possible strategies:
SCENARIOS AT SEA
In the event of an aerial boarding, one option is to try to prevent the
boarding itself. If the soldiers are coming from the air, then there might
be steps to take that can dissuade them from making such a boarding. Put
obstructions on the deck of various heights and with sharp points might make
such a landing too risky.
If the soldiers do land on the ship, then our choices would need to focus on
two areas – the wheelhouse and the engine room. For the wheelhouse, we would
have to try to make it impenetrable. This would require switching any glass
to bullet-proof glass, replacing doors with steel doors (if not already
steel) and adding locks that cannot be broken by conventional tools. For the
engine room, we will have to check with the crew about what can be done in
terms of safety. And we will have to investigate what possible options would
be available.
In any event, even if we prevent a boarding or a take-over of the controls
of the ship, Israel can still bring a tugboat out to force our ship. I do
not know at this point how that would work if we still maintain ability to
maneuver the ship if the tugboat can still force us.
If it can, then the only question left in terms of trying to prevent a
takeover of the ship is how long it would take them to bring a tugboat out
and if we would have enough time to get to Gaza. If they stop us at the
20-mile limit, that means we need 3 hours at the speed of the cargo ship to
get to shore. Assuming the tugboat would come from Ashdod at 15 knots per
hour, it does seem that we could conceivably have enough time to get to
Gaza.
The Israelis might then open fire on the ship, though would not do so if
their soldiers were on board. Another mechanism using some kind of explosive
might be used to dismantle the ship, but that would be a serious escalation
from the kind of force they have been using to date. Even hitting the
Dignity is different than firing or using explosives. That said, we have to
take this into consideration.
If we are putting VIPs on board the cargo ship, then they and the crew must
be willing to go along with this strategy. If the VIPs are not, then we have
to decide if we want to not put VIPs on the cargo ship and thereby have this
defensive option open to us.
Another scenario might be that the Israelis try to block the cargo ship
while letting the passenger ship go. Assuming we are not successful in
preventing the cargo ship from being taken but the passenger ships are not
interfered with, then the question to us is whether our mission is worth
continuing with only passengers. This is something we have to decide as a
board. If we decide to forego going to Gaza, then it seems the only option
at that point would be to take the passengers and follow the cargo ship and
force the Israelis to deal with us trying to enter Israel. The likelihood is
that they would simply detain everyone and move for deportation. We can then
put into motion whatever strategy we choose for a DETENTION SCENARIO.
For the passenger ship, it does seem that there would be a way to deter the
kind of boarding we had with the Spirit. This would require putting steel
poles pointing out from all directions on the boat out over sides of the
ship, thus creating a kind of ring of steel poles jutting out 5 feet or so
from the ship. I do not know how this would affect the handling of the ship,
but assuming it is do-able, then the question is what would be the Israeli
response. One option they would have – given they would not get close enough
with the speedboats to get onboard – would be to come up alongside and ram
the steel poles to break them off. But I think that would not necessarily
work for them as they may break but not completely and would leave what
remains as a continued deterrent to their boarding. A more likely option is
that they would simply ram the ship, like they did with Dignity. Dennis will
have to speak to how this new ship would respond to such a ramming. The
decision then rests with us in terms of do we want to cause them to
escalate. We can also take similar action as with the cargo ship in terms of
barricading the wheelhouse and sealing the engine room, per safety issues.
But we are not immune on this ship from ramming.
Other Mission Needs
SUPPORT
Letters from Unions
Letters from Governments and Parliaments calling on Israel to not
Interfere
Get Ambassadors in Tel Aviv to Meet with Israeli Ministers to Request no
Interference (Venezuela, Chile, India, S. Africa, Ireland, Belgium, UK,
Norway)
Ask UNIFL for inspections and escort
Ask NATO for inspections and escort
Live Broadcast from Ship – use Sailor 500 & have trained people to use
MEDIA
3-prong strategy
- pre-mission media, including launch events
- during mission
- entry or interference
Pre-Mission
- Press Conference in Ireland for Cargo Launch
- Press Conference with Passengers from Port
- Op-Eds by Passengers in their Home Countries
- Op-Eds by Board of Advisors
- Media Briefing Papers on Humanitarian Situation in Gaza, International
Law, Goldstone Report & Blockade, One-Year Later, etc.
- prep work for stories that we want to push with media
- website and YouTube materials
During Mission
- set up Press Center in Jerusalem/Ramallah or Athens or London
- Broadcast from Boat
- Media Interviews with VIPs from Boat – try to schedule in advance on SAT
phones
- Media Helicopter from Cyprus
- Symbolic Launches from around the world
Entry
- prepare for stories we want told from Gaza – assuming limited time, what
is critical to tell; also stories connected to our mission like Green Gaza,
etc.
Interference
- Publish prepared statements by government officials, celebrities, VIPs,
etc. condemning Israel’s actions and in support of Free Gaza Movement
- publish prepared Op-Eds for newspapers from passengers
- Press conference in Jerusalem (at a consulate?) and/or Tel Aviv airport or
at embassy (if immediate deportation)
- Immediate filing for return of ship in Israeli court and foreign court
where ship is registered
- file lawsuit against navy for aggression
- Malaysia to introduce General Assembly debate on issuing a UN Resolution
for ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution 377, calling for international action to
open Gaza
JAIL
If this mission is stopped and we are taken to jail, then it is extremely
unlikely (and we should plan on it not happening) that VIPs and media will
agree to a potential long-term jail strategy. We can put it out in the media
that our plan is to stay in jail until we are allowed to go to Gaza, but
unless we are serious about it, then it is very harmful to credibility to
not follow through. We CAN file for immediate release based on the lack of
charges (which is how we were held last time) and petition the court for
visas to Israel for all of the passengers. This would allow us to use the
court for more PR work and would potentially put Israel in the position of
having to charge the passengers, which would also require taking a legal
position on Gaza.
If passengers are detained on the 500-person passenger ship, then the
likelihood is that any deportation hearings will be done at the port in a
makeshift hearing room, although we also need to look at what the legal
situation would be if the passengers were not turned over to civilian
jurisdiction. That is, if we are kept at a naval base, and in military
custody, what legal avenues are available. This should be sorted out prior
to mission in the formulation of a legal strategy.
For passengers on the Free Gaza ship, then the question is are they ready
for jail stay and to what end? Is Free Gaza in a position to strategically
support those staying in jail, particularly if we are going to try to launch
another mission/take advantage of the PR opportunities that will abound by
virtue of this action. What is minimum number of volunteers needed for
jail-solidarity team for media/legal work? Who is going to be available
post-mission for touring/public speaking?
Appendix C

A document titled “Free Gaza Movement” found in the
possession of one of the movement’s activists
1. Attached is a list of Free Gaza liaisons and their contact information
based on a document found in the possession of one of the activists (with
ITIC comments added). One of them, Ramzi Kysia, is located in the US.
NamePositionPhoneE-mail
Greta BerlinOn-board coordinator33607374512 (French
number)iristulip@gmail.com
Niamh Moloughney (Ireland)(Included on the list of Free Gaza board members,
coordinators etc.)353857747257 (Irish number)freegazaireland@gmail.com
Ramzi KysiaWashington coordinator17039945422 (US number)ramzi@freegaza.org
Alex HarrisonOn-board coordinator35796489805 (Irish number)duvdaa@gmail.com
Angie PalShip passenger35796399715 (Irish number)
DerrickFree Gaza coordinator in Cyprusdelgraham@gmail.com
Therese McDermottLogistics administrator on Crete306989943191 (Greek number)
Giorgos KlontzasOne of the captains306944505400 (Greek number)
Caoimhe Butterly (Ireland)ISM contact353876114553 (Greek
number)Sahara78@hotmail.co.uk
Ism Gazaismgaza@yahoo.com
Eva Bartlett (Canada)ISM contact in GazaEvabartlett@hotmail.com
Bianca ZammitISM volunteer in Gaza who was injuredbiancazammit@gmail.com

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