Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories – Book Review

The Biggest Prison on Earth: a History of the Occupied Territories

 

The Biggest Prison on Earth – A History of the Occupied Territories, by Ilan Pappe. (Photo: File)

By Jim Miles

(The Biggest Prison on Earth – A History of the Occupied Territories.  Ilan Pappe.  Oneworld Publications, London, 2018)

The history of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is continued with Ilan Pappe’s recent work, The Biggest Prison on Earth.  For those who have read Pappe’s earlier histories, it is clear the original Zionists recognized the existence of the Palestinian population and the resistance most likely to rise from it.  Also recognized are the actions taken throughout the occupation and settlement that the Jewish settlers were intent on marginalizing, displacing, and cleaning as much of Palestine as they could of its residents.

The revelation in this continuation of the history is the high degree to which these policies were officially planned and ready for action starting up to four years before the 1967 six day pre-emptive war against the Arab states.  The details of control, the laws, and institutions necessary to contain the Palestinian population and to try and force it into exile were developed before the war started – and implemented immediately afterward. These rules and regulations essentially made all occupied areas into large open-air prisons.

Pappe argues that the term “occupation” is invalid for two main reasons:  first, it is not a temporary situation; and it denies 80 percent of the Palestinian Mandate.  I understood the latter to recognize that in reality all of the British controlled Mandate is occupied by Jewish settlers.   Israel is in its entirety a colonial settler society and not an occupying power: it is permanent and it practices ethnic cleansing.

Demographics above all plays a major role in Palestine.  With the 1967 war about to start, the Israeli’s recognized they were absorbing an even larger demographic deficit by acquiring the new territories.  The means to control the situation domestically and with foreign countries was important, and most importantly was the support of the U.S. politically, militarily, and financially.  The goal, apart from completely eliminating the Palestinians, was to hold territory without annexing it and preventing any contiguous Palestinian control. The book works through the political discussions before and after the war, and then through the different periods leading up to the Oslo Accords.

The Oslo Accords fit perfectly into the Israeli plans of never intending to create a Palestinian state.  Domestically, the PLO and Fatah were not only sidelined but with the creation of the Palestinian Authority and the three zones of control in the West Bank, essentially became partners in crime.    Internationally, the politicians talked, and talked some more while more and more settlements were established in the newly occupied zones…and the international community accepted the ploy.

Pappe also takes the reader through the two Intifadas and the various onslaughts/punishments handed out to Gaza.  In sum, Gaza has served as a maximum security prison, without recourse to any international recognition except for a few moments when the assaults killed large numbers of women and children.   It has served in some respects as a training ground and munitions testing site for the Israeli army highlighting mostly what the world should know about its complete lack of morality and its general lack of on ground fighting efficiency.

Israel never intended from the start to do more than nod their collective heads and continue on with their well-planned zones of military control.  The Biggest Prison on Earth – A History of the Occupied Territories is essential reading in order to help complete the overall picture of Israeli intransigence in regards to international law and international human rights standards and their callous subjugation of the Palestinian people.

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.

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In Gaza, hospitals run short on fuel while israel (apartheid state) tightens requirements for medical transfers

In Gaza, hospitals run short on fuel while Israel tightens requirements for medical transfers

Gaza

When illness is a ‘death sentence’: The victimization of Gaza women
29 August 2018 Ma’an News Agency—Hanan al-Khoudari resorted to Facebook in a cry for help when Israeli authorities rejected her request to accompany her three-year-old son, Louay, suffering from aggressive soft tissue sarcoma, to his chemotherapy treatment in East Jerusalem. Israeli authorities then justified their decision based on a vague claim that one of Hannan’s relatives is a “Hamas operative.” Even if an explanation is offered, denying gravely ill Palestinians from receiving life-saving treatment remains an immoral and illegal act. See more: Counterpunch

WHO strengthens trauma care services in Gaza
16 September 2018 The World Health Organization—A report states that it is replenishing stocks of urgently-needed trauma medicines in the besieged Gaza Strip and providing hands-on training for health staff working in frontline Trauma Stabilization Points (TSPs).  Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub said in the report that life-saving medicines and medical supplies to treat more than 100,000 people have been delivered to hospitals and TSPs.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is a managed crisis with no political resolution on the horizon
17 September 2018 OCHA-OPT—The most immediate crisis this month is for emergency fuel to sustain essential services. If there is no emergency funding, services provided at hospitals, clinics, as well as sewage treatment, water and sanitation facilities will cease. Gaza has been repeatedly brought to the brink before stop-gap aid contributions (in the case the UN) avert disaster and the political stalemate drags on, supported by the failure of the international community. See more: Electronic Intifada

The Israeli High Court of Justice denies a Defense Ministry directive preventing Gazans with ties to Hamas members from receiving lifesaving treatment in Israel
27 August 2018 Haaretz by Amira Hass—“Justice Groskopf wrote that “the possibility of using a patient in desperate need of lifesaving medical treatment, who no one claims is herself involved in activities against the State of Israel, as a ‘pressure lever’ is not compatible with the values of the State of Israel and cannot stand legally.” According to a joint statement from rights groups Gisha, Al Mezan, Adalah, and Physicians for Human Rights Israel — who filed the petition earlier this month on behalf of the women — the court ruled that “the decision to deny Gaza patients access to medical treatment as means of leverage over Hamas was ineffective and illegal.” See more: Mondoweiss

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) launched a video titled: ‘Medical Personnel Under Fire’
27 August 2018 PCHR Gaza—The video sheds lights on the serious violations committed against Palestinian medical personnel while rescuing the casualties of the peaceful March of Return. The video shows that Israeli forces used excessive force against medical staffers, which resulted in the killing of 3 paramedics and the injury of about 103 medical staffers.

Thinking internationally about the social determinants of health care, UN reports ‘A child dies every 5 seconds’
21 September 2018 The Lancet—While the health catastrophe in Gaza is largely a result of the siege, recurrent assaults, and lack of clean water, electricity, medical supplies, as well as rampant poverty and trauma, this article in the Lancet reminds us that worldwide, “social injustice is still killing on a grand scale.” Another example is a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group. New mortality estimates show that an estimated 6.3 million children under the age of 15 died in 2017 or one child every five seconds.  According to the UNICEF report, the cause of death is the lack of water, sanitation, nutrition and basic health care, saying that the vast majority of these deaths, 5.4 million, occurred in the first five years of life. Newborns account half of the deaths. See more: Ma’an News

Occupied Palestinian territory

Israeli Cruelty and Palestine’s Predicamentreview of Palestinian nonviolent resistance and the Israeli response, with a focus on university education: Given repeated Israeli attacks, it is not unexpected that Israel has now blocked the entry of half of the foreign nationals who teach at Birzeit University and at other Palestinian institutions of higher learning (from Gaza’s University of Palestine to Jerico’s al-Istiqlal University). 

US Administration decision completely flouts the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
4 September 2018 BadilPalestinian human rights groups continue to denounce the Trump administration’s halting of all aid to UNRWA: Badil (Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights) issued the statement U.S. Administration decision completely flouts the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to self-determination and reparations (voluntary repatriation, property restitution, compensation and non-repetition).

US decision to end funds to UNRWA: yet another blow to dire living conditions in Gaza
4 September 2018 GishaFinding a sustainable solution to the refugee issue is a goal shared by all, but it will come with a resolution to the conflict, not by unilaterally withdrawing funding for vulnerable populations.” See more from: Mondoweiss’ ‘If UNRWA leaves, we won’t survive,’ and from Jadaliya, Noura Erakat’s Quick Thoughts on the US Zeroing Out Its UNRWA Funding.

Book on Israel’s deliberate maiming of Palestinians wins top academic prize
17 September 2018Rutgers University Professor Jasbir Puar was awarded the National Women’s Studies Association’s Alison Piepmeier Book Prize for “The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability.” The book exposes the Israeli military policy of maiming Palestinians as a matter of policy.  She shows how debility, (defined as bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors), disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. See more: Duke University Press

Israel

Conscientious objector to mark Jewish new year in prison
7 September 2018+972 MagazineConscientious objector
Hilel Garmi, 18, was sentenced to 10 days in prison beginning September 10th. This will be his third time in prison (totaling 37 days) for refusing to serve in the Israeli military in protest of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories. “I know I will be proud of this decision for the rest of my life, knowing that in the moment of truth, I was loyal to my beliefs, and did the only thing that seems moral to me. The way I see it, I chose to be on the right side of history,” said Garmi upon his entry to prison.  He was inspired by Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the lead organizers of the nonviolent Great Return March protests on the Gaza border. “I was impressed to find people who prefer to deal with the situation between the Jordan River and the sea without resorting to violence. I, too, believe in civil disobedience – in applying nonviolent pressure to highlight a government’s lack of morality…Civil disobedience is usually used when the government has lost its legitimate source of authority, and I think that after 50 years of undemocratic rule, the government between the Jordan River and the sea has lost its legitimate authority.”

Khan al-Ahmar demolition and Israel’s high court
5 September 2018 B’TselemIn its ruling on September 5, in which the demolition of the community of Khan al-Ahmar was upheld and given approval to proceed within a week, Israel’s high court acted as if an imaginary world exists without occupation, where planners take the needs of Palestinians into account.  In reality, Palestinians cannot build legally and are excluded from the processes where decisions are made; the planning systems exist exclusively for the needs of the settlers.  Thus, Palestinians cannot successfully seek justice from the occupier’s courts.  B’Tselem’s director urged the EU’s foreign policy high representative to back its position that there will be serious consequences for Israel if the demolition proceeds.  The demolition will violate the prohibition on forcible transfer in international humanitarian law, constituting a war crime. See more: B’Tselem

United States

In late August/early September, the United States cut funds to Palestinian aid
7 August 2018 by Edward Wong The New York TimesHealth in the Occupied Palestinian Territories may be at risk due to funding shortfalls, following the U.S.’ announcement on August 31 that it would be cutting $300 million in funding this year, funds which had been allocated for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.  On August 24, the U.S. announced that $200 million in funds designated for relief programs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were being cancelled and on September 8, the U.S. announced that $25 million earmarked for the 6-hospital East Jerusalem Hospital Network was being cancelled.  In addition, on September 14, $10 million in funds for programs that had been designated for “people-to-people reconciliation activities” that bring Israelis and Palestinians together were restricted to use for citizens inside Israel only.

Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA commissioner-general, said in an open letter on September 1 that the U.S. cuts “represented an evident politicisation of humanitarian aid”. UNRWA’s health services are the only source of care for many Palestinian refugees, serving approximately 5 million Palestinian refugees, employing more than 3300 health staff, and operating 143 primary health facilities in its 5 areas (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip).  More than 3.1 million refugees accessed UNRWA care in nearly 9 million patient visits last year.

More from: The Lancet, multiple stories from NPR , NPR (9/7/2018), NPR (9/12/2018), NPR (9/15/2018), The Guardian, an op-ed fromThe New York Times andMondoweiss.

In a similar pattern, the US is questioning the number of Palestinian refugees and the right of return while attacking UNRWA
28 August 2018 ReutersU.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley appeared to question the world body’s count of Palestinian refugees, the latest in a series of steps by the Trump administration challenging how relief aid is delivered to the Palestinians. More from: Mondoweiss and Mondoweiss.

Deadly Exchange: The Dangerous Consequences of American Law Enforcement Trainings in Israel
2018 Researching the American Israeli AllianceRAIA, in partnership with anti-occupation group Jewish Voice for Peace released a report detailing the ways in which exchanges between the US and Israeli state security agencies have reinforced a “security model that justifies flagrant human and civil rights violations” in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.  This model, which relies on civilian surveillance and racial profiling along with suppressing public protests and critical social movements, does not target potential foreign enemy threats but civilian population and minority communities. “While framed as an opportunity for U.S. law enforcement to learn policing strategies from a … democracy with counter-terror experience, in fact, these are trainings with an occupying force that rules a population deprived of human and civil rights,” the report contends.

Filthy israeli (apartheid state) Settlers Flood Khan al-Ahmar with Wastewater

Israeli Settlers Flood Khan al-Ahmar with Wastewater

By Maan News Agency,

As Israel threatened to raid and demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar at any moment since the evacuation period ended, Israeli settlers stormed the village and flooded the area with wastewater, on Tuesday afternoon.

Locals said that Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim stormed the village and were confronted by international and local activists along with residents of Khan al-Ahmar.

Israeli settlers managed to flood the area with wastewater before activists and residents were able to stop them.

Following the Israeli High Court’s approval for the demolition, it had granted a deadline for the residents of Khan al-Ahmar to evacuate the village until October 1st.

Since the deadline has ended, the village is in danger of being demolished by Israeli forces at any moment, which would displace 181 people, half of whom are children.

Critics and human rights organizations argue that the demolition is part of an Israeli plan to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adummim and to create a region of contiguous Israeli control from Jerusalem almost to the Dead Sea, which would make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.

Israel has been constantly trying to uproot Bedouin communities from the east of Jerusalem area to allow settlement expansion in the area, which would later turn the entire eastern part of the West Bank into a settlement zone.

Although international humanitarian law prohibits the demolition of the village and illegal confiscation of private property, Israeli forces continue their planned expansion by forcing evictions and violating basic human rights of the people

The original source of this article is Ma’an News Agency

They don’t miss a trick, israel (apartheid state) is all about theft

Israel Seizes Children’s Clothes Enroute to Gaza

30 Sep  9:23 AM

Israeli occupation authorities have reportedly seized a number of large containers of children’s clothing while on their way to the besieged Gaza Strip, claiming they were to be used for terrorist acts, Israeli media reported on Saturday.

According to  Israeli news site Ynet, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that confiscating the clothing is part of the Israeli war on “Palestinian terror.”

He claimed that the containers of children’s clothing, were intended for Gaza merchants who planned to pay the revenues for Hamas.

“Of course, this is a big lie,” a Gaza merchant told Days of Palestine. “This is just a false claim in order to the justify the 12-year-old Israeli siege imposed on the coastal enclave.”

At the beginning of the school year, Palestinian families in Gaza were unable to find school uniforms in the Gaza markets, for their children.

The merchant said that the Israeli occupation blocked tens of items of children’s clothes, including school uniforms.

“Even socks did not exist in the markets,” Sarah, a mother of three school boys, said. “I bought shoes for my kids, and they have been wearing them without socks,” she said.

israel (apartheid state) turns West Bank into toxic waste dump

Source

The Israeli occupation has turned the occupied Palestinian West Bank into a massive landfill for dangerous and toxic wastes since 1967, the Anadolu Agency revealed yesterday.

Palestinian experts and officials said that 60 per cent of Israel’s waste ends up in the occupied West Bank.

They stressed that this puts the life of Palestinians at stake, as well as damaging the soil and poisoning the groundwater.

According to Palestinian experts, Israeli disposal of its wastes is a clear violation of international laws related to environmental protection.

US envoy to Israel: ‘No need’ to evacuate illegal settlements

Speaking to Anadolu, head of the Palestinian Environment Authority Adala Al-Atira said: “There are 98 Israeli landfills across the occupied West Bank.”

This is in addition to the scores of landfill sites which are used by the illegal settlements but have not been officially recognised or allocated.

 

People can be seen sorting through a landfill [Thibaud Saintin/Flickr]

عهد التميمي النجمة و«الكارثة»..

يوليو 30, 2018

روزانا رمّال

لن تكون قصة أسر «عهد التميمي» من قبل الاحتلال الإسرائيلي وإطلاق سراحها قصة عادية من قصص أسر الفلسطينيات مستقبلاً لكل ما تحمله من استثنائية كادت تطيح بصورة الكيان المرتبك أمام المجتمع الدولي. فكم هي المرات النادرة التي احرجت فيها «إسرائيل» أمام العالم لهمجيتها.

ليست صور الدماء غالباً وحدها ما يحفظ في ذاكرة الرأي العام العالمي. وليس الدم وحده قادراً على تحريك المنظمات الدولية والانسانية وتغيير قواعد اللعبة. وعهد التميمي ونضالها بالعيون والشفاه والصوت والروح والقلب دليل، لكن الظلام الذي يحيط بالإسرائيليين حيال أطفال فلسطين كان وحده أكثر مَن أوقع تل ابيب بخطر تصدُّع صورتها امام كل من تعاطف معها من عواصم العالم. وهو الأمر الذي التفتت اليه صحف «إسرائيل» وكبار خبرائها لحظة أسرها، فكانت ان سجلت الكاميرات الصفعة الكبيرة على وجه الجندي الإسرائيلي التي كانت بالواقع صفعة لـ»إسرائيل» بأكملها وانتشر المقطع بشكل كبير ومعه الغضب بين المتطرفين الإسرائيليين وقيادات كبيرة من الجيش الإسرائيلي، عقبتها مطالبات صارخة بمعاقبة الفتاة الشابة لما في ذلك من عامل ردع لشبان من جيلها كي لا يتكرّر هذا المشهد مجدداً، وهو مشهد إهانة الجيش الإسرائيلي.

كل شيء سار بعكس ما سعت إليه القيادات الإسرائيلية، خصوصاً أفيغدور ليبرمان وزير الدفاع المستنفر داخلياً أمام المستوطنين الذين ارتفعت حدة اشتباكاتهم المباشرة مع الفلسطينيين بشكل كبير كيف بالحال الأراضي المحتلة كانت تتحضر لنقل السفارة الأميركية اليها وتغلي على وقع تدنيس قوات الاحتلال أسبوعياً المسجد الأقصى وتهدد بالمزيد حتى وصول التلويح بصفقة القرن أوجه!

من ناحية عهد، فإن كل شيء سار بشكل لافت وحمل المتظاهرون المناصرون للقضية الفلسطينية في كل عواصم العالم صورها ونشرت حملات دعائية وطرقية تتغنى بجمالها وبشعرها الذهبي وعيونها الملوّنة حتى صارت نجمة عالمية، بحسب هارتس الإسرائيلية التي اعتبرت عهد التميمي «الكارثة» على الدعاية الإسرائيلية!

خرجت عهد من السجن مع والدتها بعد قضاء ثمانية أشهر في سجون الاحتلال الإسرائيلي الى المكان نفسه التي صفعت فيه جندياً اعتدى علىيها بالقرب من باحة منزلها في قرية النبي صالح في الضفة الغربية المحتلة… خرجت عهد وخرج معها وابل من العنفوان والكبرياء على الكيان الغاصب. فإن شيئاً لم يهدئ روعها وشيئاً من تلك القضبان لم يحني ظهرها ولا تزال تلك الجميلة تعد بالكثير. هذا فحوى كلام الفتاة التي سابقت عمر النضج وتفتّحت على مسؤولية تعليم الأطفال كيف يكونون أسياداً وأحراراً في ظل الاحتلال بالوقت الذي يتنافس فيه حكام الدول العربية على الذل والهوان ودفع الأموال العربية ووهب الثروات النفطية الى الولايات المتحدة الأميركية كرهائن حقيقيين وأسرى محكوم عليهم بالمؤبد!

وحدك عهد التميمي «حرة»..

تتحدث معاهد الدراسات الإسرائيلية منذ أسر عهد عن «صورة» «إسرائيل» المهتزة، وتشرح كيف تحوّلت الفتاة الصغيرة «ظاهرة» أحرجت «إسرائيل» في الوقت الذي لم تتمكن فيه منظمات دولية القيام بذلك وكيف تحولت مادة خبرية على رأس وسائل الإعلام حول العالم، ورمزاً للمقاومة والكفاح الذي تبذل «إسرائيل» جهداً للتخفيف من عناصر تأجيجه لدى الجيل الجديد ليتبين بحالة عهد أن شيئاً من هذا لم يكن ممكناً إنجازه إلا ان المستوطنين الذين يجدون فيها خصماً على صغرها اكتشفوا عن صراع حيوي ينتابهم عند كل طلوع فجر وغروب شمس. فلا شيء مستقر في الأراضي المحتلة وكل شيء مهتز في مكونات الكيان وأهله ما رفع منسوب الحركات اليهودية المتطرفة خلال السنوات الماضية أكثر من أي وقت مضى.

عهد التميمي فعلاً «كارثة» على الدعاية الإسرائيلية، حسب وصف الصحيفة الصهيونية لها. ففي الوقت الذي ضغطت فيها منظمات يهودية متطرفة لعدم إطلاق سراحها، وجدت القيادة الإسرائيلية أن الإمعان في الاسر يستجلب المزيد من الضغوط والتساؤلات التي تصعّب على «إسرائيل» مهمة التقدم أكثر باتجاه مقبولية تطمح اليها لدى الجوار وترويج دعاية السلام الممكن والمرجو منذ عقود مع طموح مضاعف اليوم بتمرير صفقة القرن او التأسيس لها من دون إزعاج. وهي الخطة «الانسيابية» التي يعمل عليها بهدوء تماماً كما مر ملف نقل السفارة الأميركية بصمت شعبي عربي واضح. أما من جهة صورة الكيان فإن المظلومية التي تدعيها «إسرائيل» غالباً من اجل استعطاف الدول الكبرى، خصوصاً تلك المؤيدة لتعزيز فرص تمكين الدولية اليهودية، اهتزت لحظة أسر الفتاة «القاصر» بما تعارض مع كل الأعراف الدولية، خصوصاً أن مسألة التصنيفات الدولية لجهة معاملة الأطفال وحماية حقوق الانسان، خصوصاً القاصرات، في المنطقة العربية تتكفل بنسج صورة كاملة عن الجهة المقصودة وبالبقاء على عهد سجينة تخسر «إسرائيل» ما تبقى من ماء وجه أمام المساندين والمؤيدين حقوقياً. كل هذا بسبب الجاذبية التي تمتّعت بها عهد والتي أدارت انظار العالم كله نحوها. فهي طفلة كاريزمية من الدرجة الأولى. وفي هذا العصر تشكل أحد عناصر الترويج اللافتة لوجه مشرق عن المقاومة بدون أي تأويلات أو شوائب.

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Activists expect israeli (apartheid state) raid as freedom flotilla nears Gaza

Activists expect Israeli raid as freedom flotilla nears Gaza

The photo shows one of the vessels in the Gaza "Freedom Flotilla." The photo shows one of the vessels in the Gaza “Freedom Flotilla.”

An international flotilla, meant to draw the world’s attention to the suffering of Palestinians under an inhumane Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, is nearing the coastal enclave’s waters.

Pierre Stambul, co-president of the French Jewish Union for Peace, told AFP that one of the three vessels in the “Freedom Flotilla,” called al-Awda in Arabic (the return), may arrive off Gaza shores as early as Sunday.

About 40 activists from 15 countries are on board the vessels, which left the Italian city of Palermo on July 21.

The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli siege since 2007 and has witnessed three wars. The Israeli regime also carries out regular air raids on the coastal enclave under the pretext of hitting positions belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Egypt closely cooperates with Israel in maintaining the siege by keeping Rafah, Gaza’s only land terminal that bypasses Israel, closed most of the time.

Zaher Birawi, head of the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, confirmed that the flotilla had crossed into Egyptian waters and was expected to reach Gaza’s territorial waters on Sunday.

Press TV’s correspondent Richard Sudan, who is on board the flotilla, said in a video posted online that one of the vessels had dropped out with an unspecified “problem” and that two boats were now making their way toward Gaza.

European activists and a Jordanian lawmaker are on board al-Awda, which is also carrying medical aid for Gaza residents, he added.

However, the Israeli navy is expected to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza shores as was the case with previous attempts by pro-Palestine activists.

The activists stressed that they will resist Israel’s expected takeover of the boats in non-violent ways, reports said.

Back in May 2010, an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, called Mavi Marmara, killed 10 Turkish activists in high seas and sent Ankara-Tel Aviv ties into a tailspin.

The two sides normalized relations in June 2016, but their ties sank to a fresh low in May 2018 after the expelling of envoys amid growing tensions over the killing of dozens of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip at the hands of Israeli forces.

Tensions have been running high near the Gaza fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

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