The American State Department and the flotillas to Gaza

American State Department Travel Warning: If You Try To Sail To Gaza, Israel May Kill You

Ali Gharib on June 22, 2011:

The State Department today released an updated travel warning for Israel and the Occupied Territories. The update signified that it was issued “to warn against participation in any attempt to reach Gaza by sea.” The warning is likely in light of the so-called “Freedom Flotilla” of humanitarian activists setting out any day now to break the blockade of Gaza enforced by the Israeli military.

Last year, a similar attempt to break the blockade ended in the deaths of nine people, including an American.

The State Department warning said:

The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel. […] On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt.

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/06/22/251355/state-travel-warning-israel/?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150289547940325_17917649_10150296093165325#f30f500478

Photo: The Libyan ship Amalthea.

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10 Reacties to “The American State Department and the flotillas to Gaza”

  1. kruitvat Says:

    The American State Department warning is very vicious. The U.S. government is responsible for this situation by blocking all the UN resolutions critical of Israel… On November 15, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for urging his cabinet to accept a U.S. proposal to extend a freeze on West Bank settlement building for 90 days. Under the plan, Washington would block UN resolutions critical of Israel.

  2. kruitvat Says:

    The American State Department… On May 31, 2010, Israeli forces attacked a convoy bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, killing at least ten people in international waters.
    Statement by Philip J. Crowley, assistent secretary of State for Public Affairs: ‘The United States deeply regrets the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident today aboard the Gaza-bound ships. We are working to ascertain the facts, and expect that the Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation. The United States remains deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza. We will continue to engage the Israelis on a daily basis to expand the scope and type of goods allowed into Gaza to address the full range of the population’s humanitarian and recovery needs. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, along with international NGOs and the UN, to provide adequate access for humanitarian goods, including reconstruction materials, through the border crossings, while bearing in mind the Government of Israel’s legitimate security concerns. However, Hamas’ interference with international assistance shipments and work of nongovernmental organizations, and its use and endorsement of violence, complicates efforts in Gaza. Mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by governments and groups that wish to do so. These mechanisms should be used for the benefit of all those in Gaza.’

  3. kruitvat Says:

    The American State Department… On June 14, 2010, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York held a press event in Times Square. A half-dozen elected Democrats called on the State Department to ban every flotilla participant from entering the United States. The Liberal Democrats Charlie Rangel, Anthony Weiner and Jerry Nadler demanded flotilla “terrorists” be denied entry into U.S. http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/06/14/times_square_flotilla

  4. kruitvat Says:

    The American State Department… On 4 July 2010, an aid group in Egypt unloaded aid supplies from the Libyan ship Amalthea. The Tripoli-based Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation had wanted the ship to take the supplies directly to Gaza. Israeli missile ships had been shadowing the Amalthea since Wednesday morning to ensure that it would not reach Gaza. U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley urged Libya to avoid confrontation and allow the Israelis to inspect the vessel with 2,000 tons of aid supplies.

  5. kruitvat Says:

    The American State Department… On June 8, 2011, Sderot resident and Canadian citizen Cherna Rosenberg has filed a million dollar law suit against two Canadian organizations raising money to sponsor a ship – The Canadian Boat to Gaza – to join the international flotilla to Gaza. The suit was presented by Toronto barrister and law professor Ed Morgan and New York attorney Neal Sher. From 1994-1996, Sher was Executive Director of the American Israel lobby group AIPAC where he worked on a bi-partisan basis with members of Congress, the State Department and other agencies responsible for formulating and overseeing U.S. policies in the Middle East.

  6. kruitvat Says:

    The U.S. Department of State – ‘Diplomacy in Action’

    Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs » Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations » Press Releases: June 2011 » Gaza “Anniversary” Flotilla

    Gaza “Anniversary” Flotilla

    Press Statement
    Victoria Nuland
    Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
    Washington, DC

    June 24, 2011

    Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the confrontation between Israeli forces and activists when a flotilla attempted to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza on May 31, 2010. The United States deeply regrets the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in that incident aboard the Gaza bound ships.

    We are concerned that a number of groups are organizing a one year “anniversary” flotilla to commemorate the incident by sailing from various European ports to Gaza in the near future. Groups that seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers. Established and efficient mechanisms exist to transfer humanitarian assistance to Gaza. For example, humanitarian assistance can be delivered at the Israeli port of Ashdod, where cargo can be offloaded, inspected, and transported to Gaza. We urge all those seeking to provide such assistance to the people of Gaza to use these mechanisms, and not to participate in actions like the planned flotilla.

    Recent seizures by Israel and Egypt of advanced military systems, weapons, and ammunition bound for terrorist groups in Gaza, as well as periodic rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians, highlight the continuing problem of illicit arms smuggling to Gaza. These seizures underscore the vital importance to Israel’s security of ensuring that all cargo bound for Gaza is appropriately screened for illegal arms and dual-use materials.

    The United States remains concerned by conditions in Gaza, but notes that the humanitarian situation has significantly improved over the last year, including a marked increase in the range and scope of goods and materials moving into Gaza, an increase in international project activity, and the gradual expansion of exports. The United States will continue to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, donors, and the international community to do more and ensure that the needs of the people of Gaza are being met.

    We also continue to call on Hamas to play a constructive role by renouncing violence, recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and accepting past agreements. We underscore that delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver material support or other resources to or for the benefit of a designated foreign terrorist organization, such as Hamas, could violate U.S. civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration.

    PRN: 2011/1046
    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/06/166967.htm

  7. kruitvat Says:

    American ‘diplomacy’ in action…

    Travel Warning
    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
    Bureau of Consular Affairs

    Israel, the West Bank and Gaza

    June 22, 2011

    The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to U.S. interests in those locations. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to remain mindful of security factors when planning travel to Israel and the West Bank and to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip. This replaces the Travel Warning issued August 10, 2010, to update information on the general security environment and to warn against participation in any attempt to reach Gaza by sea.

    The Gaza Strip and Southern Israel

    The Department of State strongly urges that U.S. citizens refrain from all travel to the Gaza Strip. This recommendation applies to all U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens should be aware that as a consequence of a longstanding prohibition on travel by U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. Government into the Gaza Strip, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens there is extremely limited, including the provision of routine consular services.

    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) strictly controls the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel. The Government of Israel has announced its intention to seek ten-year travel bans to Israel for anyone participating in an attempt to enter Gaza by sea. On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem are not able to provide consular assistance in Gaza or on the high seas or coastal waters.

    From December 27, 2008, through January 17, 2009, Israel conducted a military operation in Gaza. Israel and Hamas, a State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that violently seized power in Gaza in June 2007, declared separate truces to end the fighting. Small clashes continue to occur along the boundary of the Gaza Strip. Rockets and mortars are still fired into Israel from Gaza, and Israel continues to conduct military operations inside Gaza, including airstrikes. Israel has also declared an exclusion zone inside Gaza along its boundary with Israel and has taken lethal measures against individuals who enter it. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is open, but it does not operate full time, and U.S. citizens are not always able to leave Gaza at a time of their choosing.

    In the past, some rockets have traveled more than 40 km (24 miles) from Gaza and landed as far north as Yavne and Gadera and as far east as Beersheva. As a result of possible military operations by the Government of Israel in Gaza and the ever-present risk of rocket and mortar attacks into Israel from Gaza, U.S. government personnel travelling in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip boundary, to include the city of Sderot, require approval from the Embassy’s Regional Security Office. U.S. citizens in the area should be aware of the risks and should take note of announcements by the Government of Israel’s office of Homefront Command.

    The West Bank

    The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank. Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces are now deployed in all major cities and other limited areas within the West Bank. As a result, violence in recent years has decreased markedly throughout the West Bank. Nonetheless, demonstrations and violent incidents can occur without warning. Vehicles have also been the target of rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire on West Bank roads. The IDF continues to carry out security operations in the West Bank. Israeli security operations, including incursions in Palestinian population centers, can occur at any time and lead to disturbances and violence. U.S. citizens can be caught in the middle of potentially dangerous situations. Some U.S. citizens involved in demonstrations in the West Bank have sustained serious injuries in confrontations with Israeli security forces. The State Department recommends that U.S. citizens, for their own safety, avoid demonstrations.

    During periods of unrest, the Israeli Government sometimes closes off access to the West Bank and those areas may be placed under curfew. All persons in areas under curfew should remain indoors to avoid risking arrest or injury. U.S. citizens have been killed, seriously injured, or detained and deported as a result of encounters with Israeli operations in the West Bank. Travel restrictions may be imposed by Israel with little or no warning. Strict measures have frequently been imposed following terrorist actions, and the movement of PalestinianAmericans, both those with residency status in the West Bank or Gaza as well as foreign passport holders, has been severely impeded. Security conditions in the West Bank can hinder the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens.

    Jerusalem

    The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to remain vigilant while traveling throughout Jerusalem, including in commercial and downtown areas of West Jerusalem. Spontaneous or planned protests within the Old City are possible, especially after Friday prayers. Some of these protests have led to violent clashes. Travelers should exercise caution at religious sites on holy days, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Isolated street protests and demonstrations can also occur in areas of East Jerusalem, including around Salah Ed-Din Street, Damascus Gate, Silwan and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. U.S. Government employees are authorized to visit the Old City from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., but not between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Fridays. The area of the ramparts on the city wall between Herod’s Gate and Lion’s Gate is off-limits to U.S. Government personnel at all times. The Sherover or Haas Promenade (scenic overlook) located in Armon Hanatziv is open to U.S. Government personnel during daylight hours only. Official personnel and their family members are prohibited from using public buses and bus terminals or stations.

    Travel Restrictions for U.S. Government Personnel

    Personal travel in the West Bank for U.S. Government personnel and their families is allowed for limited mission-approved purposes in the areas described below. They may travel to Bethlehem on weekends and holidays during daylight hours only and to Jericho on weekends and holidays; and transit through the West Bank using Routes 1 and 90 to reach the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, or the Dead Sea coast near Ein Gedi and Masada. They also may travel north on Route 90 from the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge to the Sea of Galilee. Use of these routes is approved for transit purposes during daylight hours, with stops permitted only at roadside facilities on Highways 1 and 90. Personal travel also is permitted to Qumran National Park off Route 90 by the Dead Sea, and all areas south of Highway 1 and east of route 90 (Dead Sea area). Each transit requires prior notification to the Consulate General’s security office.

    U.S. Government personnel and family members are permitted both official and personal travel on Route 443 between Modi’in and Jerusalem without prior notification between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. only. All other personal travel in the West Bank, unless specifically authorized for mission-approved purposes, is prohibited.

    General Safety and Security

    Israeli authorities remain concerned about the continuing threat of terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens are cautioned that a greater danger may exist around restaurants, businesses, and other places associated with U.S. interests and/or located near U.S. official buildings, such as the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. U.S. citizens are also urged to exercise a high degree of caution and to use common sense when patronizing restaurants, nightclubs, cafes, malls, places of worship, and theaters, especially during peak hours. Large crowds and public gatherings have been targeted by terrorists in the past and should be avoided to the extent practicable. U.S. Government personnel have been directed to avoid protests and demonstrations and urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and situational awareness at all times. U.S. citizens should take into consideration that public buses, and their respective terminals are “off-limits” to U.S. Governmentpersonnel.

    Two U.S. citizens were murdered in separate incidents while walking in the woods in the Beit Shemesh area near Jerusalem in the last 18 months. Israeli authorities characterized the murders as terrorist attacks.

    A bomb blast near the Central Bus Terminal in Jerusalem on March 23, 2011 injured several U.S. citizens.

    In the Golan Heights and West Bank, there are live landmines in many areas and visitors should walk only on established roads or trails.

    Entry/Exit Difficulties

    U.S. citizens planning to travel to Israel or the West Bank should read carefully the detailed information concerning entry and exit difficulties in the Country Specific Information sheet. U.S. citizens in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are strongly encouraged to enroll with the Consular Sections of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv or the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Occasional warden messages issued by the Embassy and the Consulate General are e-mailed to registered U.S. citizens and are posted on State Department websites to highlight time-sensitive security concerns.

    U.S. citizens who require emergency services may telephone the Consulate General in Jerusalem at (972) (2) 630-4000, after hours (for emergencies): (972) (2) 622-7250, or the Embassy in Tel Aviv at (972) (3) 519-7575, after hours (for emergencies): (972) (3) 519-7551.

    Current information on travel and security in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. For additional and more in-depth information about specific aspects of travel to these areas, U.S. citizens should consult: the Country Specific Information for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza; and the Worldwide Caution. These along with other Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts and Country Specific Information are available on the Department’s Internet website. Up-to-date information on security conditions can also be accessed at http://usembassy-israel.org.il or http://jerusalem.usconsulate.gov. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on facebook as well.

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5511.html

  8. kruitvat Says:

    The ‘Golden Deal’ with Israel

    Washington is responsible for the hopeless situation in Gaza by blocking all the UN resolutions critical of Israel:

    On November 15, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for urging his cabinet to accept a U.S. proposal to extend a freeze on West Bank settlement building for 90 days. Under the plan, Washington would block UN resolutions critical of Israel, and supply Israel with fighter jets worth $3 billion. The US government also promised Israel that after the 90-day moratorium, they would not seek an extension, and settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (all of which is illegal under international law) could continue unabated.
    In February 2011, more than 100 nations voted for a U.N. resolution that would have condemned illegal Israeli settlements and halted any new construction. The United States vetoed it.
    On February 19, 2011, Israel said it was deeply grateful to the United States after it vetoed a United Nations resolution put forward by the Palestinian leadership condemning Israeli settlement activity.

  9. kruitvat Says:

    June 3, 2011 – NATO-rebels: “The future regime will maintain normal relations with other democratic countries, including Israel.”

    June 13, 2011 – Germany recognises Libya rebels – Germany today recognised Libya’s rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. (The Irish Times)

    As a reminder: The drones (unmanned aircraft) used by NATO for bombing Afghanistani, Pakistani and Libyan civilians are designed by Israel. The Israelis are denied entry into Afghanistan, but nevertheless, the Israeli drones provide ‘security’ for the coalition in Afghanistan. Israeli drones are used by Canada, France, Australia and Germany in Afghanistan. Today, Israeli specialists are on the air base at Ein Shemer for training the flight of “Herons” repainted in the colors of Germany. Most of the Israeli weapons are NATO compatible.

  10. kruitvat Says:

    ‎U.S. – ISRAEL

    On 1.3.2011 the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said he believed a no-fly zone should be imposed on Libya to stop a “danger of genocide”. Speaking at a conference in Brussels, Ayalon said international moves to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to stop Moamer Kadhafi using air strikes against his own people, ‘had not been discussed by the Israeli government’. ‘There is a danger of genocide in Libya. Morally we have to stop it and its best to have the UN’s okay,” he said. (AFP) Ayalon was the Israeli ambassador in the U.S.

    On 2.3.2011 (one day after the visit of Danny Ayalon to Brussels where the headquarter of NATO is located), US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that a no-fly zone could be imposed on Libya, ‘in order to prevent Gaddafi from bombing his own people’. She has also hinted strongly that ‘direct military intervention is on the cards’ and said that ‘it is time for Gaddafi to go’.

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