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Israelis Drilling Gaza Natural Gas

and Stop Humanitarian Aid to Besieged 1.5 Million Palestinians

By Eileen Fleming, July 11, 2009

Independence, Interdependence and HUMANITY

"It appears as though the Israeli government is drilling for natural gas in the buffer zone. That gas belongs to the people of Gaza. It seems to be one of their reasons for stopping us, perhaps they're worried that we may go back and tell the world what we have seen."

On the morning of July 2, 2009 upon discovering the FREE GAZA website had crashed [due to heavy traffic] I phoned Greta Berlin, a founder and coordinator for the movement regarding the status of the 21 activists who were kidnapped on June 30th at gun point by Israeli Naval forces from the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, while it was sailing in international waters 23 miles off the coast of Gaza.

Greta said, "Two have been released and the Bahrainian's will be deported soon and hold a press conference when they land. The irony of it all is that Israel is probably going to charge them all with entering Israel illegally!"

I then phoned the US State Department Press office and left a message that as media I wanted to know what they are doing about the three Americans who had been kidnapped at gunpoint by Israeli Naval Forces while in international waters aboard a boat carrying token humanitarian aid but filled with the kind of hope that is angry at the way things are and courageous enough to do something to change the untenable situation in Gaza Palestine.

Within ten minutes I received a call back from spokesperson, Darby Holladay, but I couldn't take it at the time, for I had finally reached a human at the office of Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

On June 29th I left Regev my first voice message made while I was posting on my website that at the very moment the Israeli Navy had surrounded the FREE GAZA Movement boat and while in international waters it was being threatened and ordered to turn back or be fired upon.

Huwaida Arraf, one of the delegation leaders, was also on a phone at the time with the Israeli gunboats, and could be heard saying, "You Cannot Open Fire on Unarmed Civilians" several times.

Former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, from on board the SPIRIT was flaming "…angry. We demand that the Israeli government call off their attack dogs. We are unarmed civilians aboard an unarmed boat delivering medical and reconstruction aid to other human beings in Gaza. Why in God's name would Israel want to attack us and threaten our safety and welfare? I call on President Obama and the international community to intervene now to prevent this situation from escalating with potentially drastic results to the civilians on board."

Since the boat's navigation equipment was jammed, it turned westward to remain in international waters and the Captain and crew were forced to navigate by compass to stay clear of Israeli waters.
I made it clear -as did Iran- that the new fourth estate is on the web and no government can stop the free flow of info. I ended my diatribe to Regev's rep with my new mantra: End the Siege, Free Gaza Palestine and Free Vanunu Now!

He thanked me "for all of that" and echoed the refrain most internationals will receive at any of the over 600 checkpoints in the West Bank, when after clearing security, the Israeli Occupying Force will wish one to, "Have a nice day."

I was having a blast and most grateful the unwitting rep from the State Department's Press office, could not see the huge smile upon my face as he told me that due to privacy issues he could not state who the three Americans were, but I could not resist a laugh and thought, how lame!

Anyone with an Internet connection can readily learn the abducted Americans are Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate, Adam Shapiro, a documentary film maker and Kathy Sheetz, a nurse and film maker who was traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

When Holladay reiterated Israel's claim that the unarmed boat was in Israeli waters I interrupted and informed him that no way will that float for the truth is already all over the Internet about the former ferry boat that was in international waters up until the Israeli Naval Forces commandeered her and drove her most recklessly to Israel.

I told Holladay that the State Department would be wise to keep informed about what's really happening  to the Americans @

I also informed him that since February, I have made many phone calls, sent many emails and some faxes and snail mail letters to Clinton and Obama, requesting they speak up for Vanunu's right to leave Israel; but I have not received any reply and I want a statement as to why.

Holladay didn't thank me for any of that, but now that I have his number, he will hear much more from me next week, as will Regev's office.

I imagine the best good any of us can do at this time is be a like a gnat in the eye, a mosquito on the neck, a thorn in the side and a voice of conscience that speaks truth to power, for words can be the most powerful weapons.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they have a changed

On July 3, 2009, the five kidnapped passengers from Bahrain left Israel via a private jet furnished by their king and the two Al Jazeera journalists will be freed but without the footage of the Israeli pirate-frogmen who boarded their boat and roughed up some of the passengers.

From his prison cell in Israel, Captain Denis said, "At least four of us went to a hearing yesterday, and we were told we were going to be deported. However, they did not tell us where we were going or when. The boat has been impounded and all of the charts stolen by the Israeli navy. The people at the prison told us we would get all of our stuff back today, but, so far, that has not been true.
"It appears as though the Israeli government is drilling for natural gas in the buffer zone. That gas belongs to the people of Gaza. It seems to be one of their reasons for stopping us, perhaps they're worried that we may go back and tell the world what we have seen."

No perhaps about it, and thanks for shining a light Captain Denis for "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea." –Rev. MLK

Eileen Fleming, A Feature Correspondent for The Palestine Telegraph and
Founder of
Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"




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