Tel Aviv Diary - June 2-6, 2010 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - June 2, 2010 Karen Alkalay-Gut

June 2, 2010

1. A maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza. Such blockade has been imposed, as Israel is currently in a state of armed conflict with the Hamas regime that controls Gaza, which has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in Israel with weapons that have been smuggled into Gaza via the sea.

2. Maritime blockades are a legitimate and recognized measure under international law that may be implemented as part of an armed conflict at sea.

3. A blockade may be imposed at sea, including in international waters, so long as it does not bar access to the ports and coasts of neutral states.

4. The naval manuals of several western countries, including the US and England recognize the maritime blockade as an effective naval measure and set forth the various criteria that make a blockade valid, including the requirement of give due notice of the existence of the blockade.

5. In this vein, it should be noted that Israel publicized the existence of the blockade and the precise coordinates of such by means of the accepted international professional maritime channels. Israel also provided appropriate notification to the affected governments and to the organizers of the Gaza protest flotilla. Moreover, in real time, the ships participating in the protest flotilla were warned repeatedly that a maritime blockade is in effect.

6. Here, it should be noted that under customary law, knowledge of the blockade may be presumed once a blockade has been declared and appropriate notification has been granted, as above.

7. Under international maritime law, when a maritime blockade is in effect, no boats can enter the blockaded area. That includes both civilian and enemy vessels.

8. A state may take action to enforce a blockade. Any vessel that violates or attempts to violate a maritime blockade may be captured or even attacked under international law. The US Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations sets forth that a vessel is considered to be in attempt to breach a blockade from the time the vessel leaves its port with the intention of evading the blockade.

9. Here we should note that the protesters indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade by means of written and oral statements. Moreover, the route of these vessels indicated their clear intention to violate the blockade in violation of international law.

10. Given the protesters explicit intention to violate the naval blockade, Israel exercised its right under international law to enforce the blockade. It should be noted that prior to undertaking enforcement measures, explicit warnings were relayed directly to the captains of the vessels, expressing Israel's intent to exercise its right to enforce the blockade.

11. Israel had attempted to take control of the vessels participating in the flotilla by peaceful means and in an orderly fashion in order to enforce the blockade. Given the large number of vessels participating in the flotilla, an operational decision was made to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from the area of the blockade.

12. Israeli personnel attempting to enforce the blockade were met with violence by the protesters and acted in self defense to fend off such attacks.


Not that I like the idea one bit. The whole idea of a blockade is disgusting and inhumane, and should be reevaluated at the very least in terms of what can get through. But rockets ARE being fired from there all the time, and the only reason there are few terrorist attacks is that ISRAELI SOLDIERS stop them. I will also bet we will be facing a new era of terrorism as of today because of the empowerment of the Hamas.

I tell my daughter that we'll probably have to cancel my reading in Ankara next month and don't know if I can get a refund, and she says, "Why not take a cruise? I hear it's cheap to go to Gaza now."

Here's a video of what it's like on the Marmara

June 3, 2010

If these are indeed,as the site "Palestine Today" saysphotographs of Gaza, I'm not seeing any effects of a siege. I am, however, seeing effects of a lot of long-term propaganda.

But the whole business of who's wrong and who's right is such a bloody waste of time - all it really does is keep the attention from solving the problem at hand. There was a big traffic jam this evening on HaYarkon Street with thousands of Israeli Flags outside the Turkish Embassy, while the Turks are celebrating their injured heroes coming home. In the mean time, who is solving the problem of poverty in the middle east?

June 4, 2010

Friends from abroad are frantic about the PR Israel is getting. "Israel is squandering the good will of the Holocaust." A great headline.

Here's a few of my opinions - not all of them. Israel tried to pull out of Gaza a while back - leaving greenhouses, buildings, farms... They were destroyed, and then the rockets started coming. So there was a blockade. All this is not to deny that we have a silly government that has not read Martin Buber or Machiavelli.

The photographs of the richness of the market in Gaza (in spite of everything we try to do to screw them up) drew me to the Carmel Shuk today. But we started on Allenby, after lunch at Papa's, and we never made it to the vegetables. There was just too much to see, too much to admire, too much to buy. Earrings I am sure everyone will admire (bought them), t-shirts that even I found funny - especially the shorts for men (didn't buy), sexy underwear you really have to be in the mood for, cleaning products, the same toys my grandson brought with him from the States, and lots of good conversation. Our usual marital banter brought the seller of the bellydancing belt(bought it)to encourage me to share the changehe gives me with my penniless husband. "The more I give him, the more he buys me!" I complain, and he gets my humor completely. Here he is, a middle-aged Arab man, laughing with an ageing Jewish woman, and I know that when he goes home and tells his wife about this, he'll have to tell it differently.

June 5, 2010

Never trust me without checking my facts. As Lucille Clifton once said of herself, "She's a poet, she don't have much sense." And so, here is one instance. Ricky writes me about what I wrote about her in Metula last month"

…uh, I did not go to the border to beg the soldiers to let the Lebanese in. I was in Europe at the time. No one told me it was going to happen Also, it wasn't "the Lebanese", it was Samia's two sons. Samia and her family, you will remember, live in Metulla and they have taken Israeli citizenship. They are building a house in Metulla and her daughter and son-in-law have bought a house up on the hill opposite my house. The stuffed cabbage and other Lebanese goodies you tasted at my house were Samia's work. That was not in 2000, by the way, but in 2006, when the fence was down so the tanks could go across.
If you are going to infringe on my privacy, at least get the facts right!!!

Rats. I forgot my cardinal rules - try to get the facts straight, and check with friends before you gossip. I'm lucky people like Ricky know me well enough not to expect too much from me.

Here are some facts that have been checked a bit more carefully: Israel's humanitarian efforts with Palestinians

June 6, 2010

I get lots of complaints about my forgetting to warn people when I'm reading or appearing. So here's a list for the week. Yesterday there was a radio program on channel 1 at 11. It will be repeated on thursday at 7 a.m. Tomorrow Panic Ensemble, the group that sings my poetry, will be on the Voice of Peace at 7 p.m. Panic Ensemble will be performing at 7 Levontin Street on Saturday Night at 8:30. I'm doing an introduction to a film about Ginsberg on Tuesday evening at the Cinemateque. Next week I'm reading in Florence.

To Karen Alkalay-Gut Diary

To Karen Alkalay-Gut home