More high drama on the high seas.
A ship due to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was sabotaged in the Greek port of Piraeus today according to organizers. A Swedish-language statement issued by Ship to Gaza described damage to the ship’s propeller shaft. Here is a rapid translation of the statement by The Electronic Intifada:
At 5.30 pm Swedish time on Monday it was discovered that Ship to Gaza’s passenger boat “Juliano” was the victim of sabotage in the port of Piraeus [Greece]. Hostile divers destroyed the propeller house and cut the propeller shaft. No one was injured in the attack.
Ship to Gaza has documented the sabotage using its own camera equipped divers. A first inspection was carried out to repair the damage before the planned departure at the end of this week.
Passenger boat “Juliano” (named after Juliano Meir Khamis, the murdered actor and director at Freedom Theatre in Jenin) is owned jointly by the Ship to Gaza organizations in Sweden, Norway and Greece.
In a first comment ‘Ship to Gaza’ spokesperson Mattias Gardell said:
“It’s one thing for a foreign power to press the Greek government to delay our voyage with red tape. It is quite another thing for enemy agents to operate on Greek territory…”
Now, it sounds like they don’t know with 100% certainty who is involved in the sabotage, so, we’ll leave it at that.
I will say this though- If I had been a public relations firm working with the Israeli government regarding how to deal with the publicity surrounding the Flotilla, I would have told them to do the opposite of what everyone is expecting them to do. Instead of running around fear-mongering, huffing and puffing and trying to silence journalists and threaten governments, I would have told them to send out a statement saying:
“The Flotilla is an unnecessary provocation that intrudes on Israeli sovereignty. However, Israel is offering to meet with the Flotilla organizers in an effort to discuss how to prevent an avoidable confrontation and also offer to offload supplies at the port closest to Gaza. Israel stresses that it will maintain the blockade while ensuring essential supplies get to the people of Gaza.”
Or something like that. Now, I’m not saying that I agree with the substance of what I just wrote above- in fact I don’t, not at all. I’m just putting myself in the Israeli government’s propaganda shoes and trying to demonstrate how Israel could have turned the tables on their detractors while actually coming across looking moderately reasonable. For a change. It would have totally caught everyone off guard. Who would have condemned them for that response?