July 1, 2011
Greek Ambassador to Canada
It seems that the Greek Government has succumbed to Israeli pressure and blackmail to stop the Freedom Flotilla from leaving Greece. By doing so, the Greek government has proven that it is prone to Israeli, US and European pressures and does not care for principles, the rule of international humanitarian law nor for the long standing friendship between the Palestinian and Arab peoples and the Greek people. With this move, the Greek government is implicating itself and its country in Israeli war crimes and Apartheid. We call on the Greek government to immediately lift the ban on the FREEDOM Flotilla and allow it to sail to Gaza and to stop doing the dirty work for the Israeli government. We will call for a Boycott of Greek Products if you do not immediately reverse your hostile action towards the international human rights activists. We hate to resort to such actions because we know the Greek people are not behind your government’s move, but you leave all of us who believe in peace with justice with no other choice.
Canada Palestine Association
Richard Silverstein writes,
"The Greek government has now become a direct accomplice of the Israeli plan to sabotage the Gaza flotilla. When the Audacity of Hope set sail earlier today from its Greek port, a Coast Guard boat intercepted it followed by another full of Greek commandos. Apparently a nation teetering on the brink of bankruptcy can muster armed to the teeth commandos to commandeer an unarmed civilian vessel full of peace activists. Instead of saving its country from impending collapse, Greece is petrified of 60 American peace activists in a small boat sailing to Gaza. For shame. But this is what happens when your country has mortgaged its future through economic indulgence, leaving itself open to the pressure, blandishments, and extortion of other nations."Read more here
Philip Weiss also offers some perceptive observations :
Evidently, the Israelis and Americans (and the French and Germans?) have succeeded in pressuring the failing Greek government into preventing the flotilla from sailing. As Medea Benjamin pointed out earlier, this likely has a lot to do with Greece’s sovereign debt crisis.He concludes
While many of us feel angry, it’s probably best not to direct our anger at the Greek government. After all, here is a coalition which has surrendered its sovereign decision-making process in order to secure a few more billion stopgap dollars. And for all its troubles – for the hot humiliation of being dictated to – the Papandreou government will likely still be “restructured.” The average Greek deserves our sympathy for the years of economic and social pain they’re in for (probably, the average EU citizen too).
Collectively, it’s important for activists to remember that the flotilla isn’t a goal unto itself. The main objective here is to draw attention to numerous Israeli violations of international law (chiefly, ghettoizing a people through collective punishment for racial difference). The dedicated activists on the Gaza-bound ships are risking their lives to publicize the human rights and needs of the Palestinians in Gaza. That’s where the focus ought to remain.
The main project at hand is working towards a just solution to the conflict, which I believe means overcoming Zionism.
It is easy to feel powerless, helpless and small when faced with the combined power of large states and supranational institutions, particularly when they’re subordinated to nefarious personal ambitions and special interests. But this is not the time lose heart.
The Palestinian struggle is a long one. The Palestinian people have experienced heartbreak after setback after shocking disappointment for generations now.
And yet, the struggle continues. Indeed, Palestinian resilience is a hallmark of the struggle. Our struggle will continue for the foreseeable future; this won’t get any easier.
In the nearer term, the Papandreou government will fail. The special-interest automatons occupying the dining rooms of the Four Seasons on both sides of the Atlantic will fail. That’s partly because activists will double, redouble, and treble their efforts. But it’s also because the Obamas of the world are hollow and cynical: shiny trinkets do not comprise a value system.
We are driven by the unyielding belief in justice, above all. We are unmovable. And we will prevail.