Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The stakes rise as FreeGaza flotilla dates get nearer

The BBC reports that Israel has arrested a man working for IHH in the West Bank, declaring the Organisation illegal, although no reason has been given for the statement.
The Prime Minister of Turkey is a founder of IHH, so this is no small matter. The reason is probably that Shin Bet, who say this:

"He was arrested on suspicion he had been working for a long time in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] for the Turkish organisation IHH, which in 2008 was declared illegal in Israel, also that in his activity he assisted other organisations in Judea and Samaria which were declared illegal," the statement said.

"He was arrested on suspicion that his activities in Judea and Samaria risked the security in the area."

The statement also said his arrest was not connected to an IHH's attempts to break the blockade of Gaza by sea, planned for later this month."

want to prime the world community that anyone who tries to break the blockade of Gaza will automatically be a banned organisation. Everyone who works with IHH can now automatically be declared to be assisting a banned organisation, so in Israeli terms, that means everyone on the boats. Mind you I find it difficult to understand how he was allowed to enroll in the Hebrew University if he was known to belong to a banned organisation, and since he was the IHH representative in the West Bank, there really is no secret about it.

This particular FreeGaza trip will be a test, not just between Turkish and Israeli muscle, and subtlety in its use, but of Obama's resolve too. He wants to be friends with Turkey, so lets hope that he does not fall prey to the usual Israeli excuse about action to relieve Gaza's population being a threat to the Peace talks.