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German Jews sending aid ship to Gaza Strip

AFP · 10 Jun 2010, 15:23

Published: 10 Jun 2010 15:23 GMT+02:00

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"The list of passengers has not been drawn up yet but we have a lot of requests from around the world," said Edith Lutz, who is preparing the journey for the German chapter of European Jews for a Just Peace.

Lutz told Deutschlandfunk public radio that the group had collected donations for children in Gaza including binders with educational materials, games, clothing and musical instruments.

The Israeli raid on May 31 on a Gaza-bound activist aid flotilla, during which nine Turkish activists were shot dead, meant that: "Our ship is more urgent than ever," she said.

"We are going to go there and try to convince Israel that our ship is harmless," she said. "If Israel blocks the way, we will turn around. But we will return after that."

She said that the group was seeking official approval.

"We are in contact with the Israeli government and the embassy in Berlin. We informed them a while ago," Lutz said. She said the embassy had said it would not help the organisation but that discussions were continuing.

The project has received several letters of support from Israelis, Lutz said, and a few Israelis may join the group on board, along with political figures and some non-Jews.

Story continues below…

Israel said Thursday it would not lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip unless Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory, allows the Red Cross to visit a soldier captured in 2006. The Islamist movement rejected the demand.

Germany has been working behind the scenes for years to try to negotiate the release of the soldier, Gilad Shalit.

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Your comments about this article

15:46 June 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
A waste of time, money and fuel. Israel will never yield on this issue.
16:03 June 10, 2010 by Major B
@ Hazza - Nice comment

This will be hard. Hopefully this will get through.

Back to the Turkish led convoy that created such an uproar, with the Ottomans huffing and puffing because of the attack, which they went away with even though they were attacked. . Funny how everyone is taking the Turkish position when they still occupy almost half of Cyprus. How about an aid convoy to the Turkish part of Cyprus which will deliver seasoned elections administrators with ballots to determine if the population there agree with the occupation or would rather reunify with their Greek bretheren under a single government?
17:42 June 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Major B --

Why in the world would Turkish-occupied Cypress want to buy into Greece's bankruptcy? Turkey desperately wants to be admitted to the EU so that it, too, will be able to benefit from the largess of the productive countries such as Germany. Given Turkey's grandstanding with Brazil over Iranian uranium, I don't think that's about to happen any time soon.

Back to this topic. Netanyahu isn't about to let any relief ships bust the blockade, period. And Hamas won't accept the relief anyway, as this is a great PR cycle for them. The Israeli government and Hamas are equally to blame for this debacle, and neither is about to blink until there is some serious bloodshed.
18:18 June 10, 2010 by jinxgelb
@pas I highly doubt he would qualify: he doesn't fit into any of the listed categories ("educational materials, games, clothing and musical instruments"). Had they mentioned "pets" or "circus animals", he might. :-)

@MajorB Happily not everyone takes sides with the Turkish in this matter or with Erdogan's approach to "solving" the conflict, for all compassion with the depraved Palestinians and for all due criticism of Israeli sense of measure. Those who read newspapers rather than the Bild, and whose memory is not blurred by emotions or propaganda will remember that numerous ship and plane seizures both in the past and recetly proved there were weapons on board for Hezbollah and Hamas. This is the reason why Israel is particularly edgy about any Gaza-bound ship let alone whole flotillas.

@prufrock2010 Hope springs eternal... Their strategy is much more likely to have some positive effects though than the recent push-through-no-matter-what approach of the Turkish. Being an inveterate optimist I still hope there will be no major bloodshed. When we think back of the cold war: almost everybody was convinced we were teetering on the brink of a third world war involving the atomic bomb. And yet the Iron Curtain came down, and the bombs remain where they were, or have even been dismantled.
19:30 June 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
jinxgelb --

Hope you're right. I lived through the cold war, and I've never seen the world in a more precarious condition than it is in today. At least during the cold war there was the slight comfort of knowing that hostile nuclear armed powers were nations who were aware of the principle of mutual assured destruction, thus there was somewhat of a deterrent to insane aggression. The geopolitical landscape has changed considerably since then, and our adversaries are insane.
19:50 June 10, 2010 by trevzns
Official approval or not, please ship your aid.
20:32 June 10, 2010 by Jibzy
@prufrock: I disagree with your claim that Hamas will not accept the aid. Do you mean to say that not accepting the aid would be because Jews sent it or what?

The world is not anti-semitic..they're anti-Israel (apart from special interest groups in western governments i mean).
20:55 June 10, 2010 by jinxgelb
@Jibzy I wish you were right, but if you remember, it was Hamas, or their adherents, who shouted out in the Netherlands "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!" and Article 32 of the Hamas Covenants says: "'The HAMAS regards itself the spearhead and the vanguard of the circle of struggle against World Zionism... Islamic groups all over the Arab world should also do the same, since they are best equipped for their future role in the fight against the warmongering Jews.' (The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement was issued on August

18, 1988.)
21:03 June 10, 2010 by vonSchwerin
Is it really significant -- i.e. newsworthy -- that some JEWISH Germans are actively opposing the blockade of Gaza? Should their Jewishness be highlighted in the headline and article?

I suspect that the overwhelming majority of Jews in Germany support the blockade and the Israeli government. So, is this movement really significant? Why not just write "German Group Sending Aid to Gaza Strip"?

I bet that most Turks in Germany oppose the blockade and support efforts to lift it, but if a small group of Ataturkist, secular, anti-Erdogan Turks in Germany support the Israeli government's policy, would that be worthy of an article? Considing that it would be a small and not significant minority, probably not. So, why doesn't the same principle apply here?
21:11 June 10, 2010 by jinxgelb
@prufrock2010 Your comment just called back to my memory a song by Sting, "i Hope That Russians Love Their Children Too":

In Europe and America, there's a growing feeling of hysteria

Conditioned to respond to all the threats

In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets

Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you

I don't subscribe to this point of view

It would be such an ignorant thing to do

If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer's deadly toy

There is no monopoly in common sense

On either side of the political fence

We share the same biology

Regardless of ideology

Believe me when I say to you

I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent

To put the words in the mouth of the President

There's no such thing as a winnable war

It's a lie that we don't believe anymore

Mr. Reagan says we will protect you

I don't subscribe to this point of view

Believe me when I say to you

I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology

Regardless of ideology

What might save us, me, and you

Is if the Russians love their children too

I lIke this song, the tune, and Sting's rendition of it.

I have to admit that I personally didn't feel re-assured at all, not until Gorbachev came to power. As long as Honecker and Brezhnev sang their intrepid duo, a sense of gloom albeit subtle prevailed.
21:13 June 10, 2010 by Major B
Comment: @ Prufrock2010 - "Why in the world would Turkish-occupied Cypress want to buy into Greece's bankruptcy? Turkey desperately wants to be admitted to the EU so that it, too, will be able to benefit from the largess of the productive countries such as Germany. " No, a single Cypriot Government that is unified and independent. The Turks would never allow it to be unified with Greece and rightly so. By the way, I loved my three years in Greece(years ago) and especially the people. Just think you all are being too tough on them. I used to side with the Turks, but now, with their superIslamism, and yes grandstanding, I don't understand how they are being let off the hook over Cyprus, much less their refusal to admit the Armenian massacre in 1915. Their reaction to the Gaza fiasco is their diversion. Attaturk's wisdom and vision is becoming more and more evident.

@jinxngelb_ Yes are adversaries are insane. The times are insane. The fact is that monumental upheavals such as WWII cause circumstances that take GENERATIONS to absorb. I don't think the reaction would be good if the Germans expelled from Silesia starting shelling the territory that is now occupied by Poles. We all know the circumstances in Europe that brought about the creation of the modern Israeli state. For Europeans to be so hard on Israel -- it is just hard for some of us to swallow. Your points on previous arms interventions and Israel's edginess is well taken.

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21:33 June 10, 2010 by dv600
In case not all have read until the end...:

"Israel said Thursday it would not lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip unless Hamas, which controls the Palestinian territory, allows the Red Cross to visit a soldier captured in 2006. The Islamist movement rejected the demand."

These are the people you protect - to keep a human without possibility to meet even the Red Cross - 4 YEARS. I want to see you if it was a relative of your. Continue protecting these people, they will do great. WHat is sure that they will do all to stay poor, as you like it so much...
21:40 June 10, 2010 by jinxgelb
@MajorB Totally tally with your statement. I believe the reason is, on the one hand, the fact that 65 years have passed since the end of WWII, which means that more than one generation has no direct links to that disaster any longer. On the other hand, Europe, especially the youth, has been shifting left and away from Christian interpretation of history ever since the 68s, notwithstanding the Kohl era. Forming a distinct we-are-fighting-for-the-underdog mentality and simultaneously having lost the awareness of the very reasons for the establishing of the state of Israel, many took sides with the Palestinians. One may disagree with Israel's policies, yet in my humble opinion, to do the issue justice one should also strongly oppose Hamas' denial of Israel's right of existence. I'm happy Merkel does this.
21:48 June 10, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
As I said in another comment area before The Local turned off comments on it:

They're both bastards. Both the Israelis and Hamas surrendered their right to moral superiority a long time ago. They have both killed too many innocent people.
00:07 June 11, 2010 by Jibzy
@dv600: Yes that is so correct. Everyone here is supporting Hamas and terrorism and whatever you said. Hamas is so not like Israel...who actually kill people every other day..that is okay..just as long as they kill all other family members of the deceased..so the entire family can meet =)
00:38 June 11, 2010 by Gurkhan
it is a great way of showing that it is wrong to keep people under siege for so long in an unjust warfare... so how can one contribute to this ship actually?
01:04 June 11, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I agree with the Grenadier on this one, to a point. Yes, both Hamas and Israel have surrendered any claim to moral superiority, and both have killed too many innocent people. However, this issue ironically transcends moral superiority in favor of stark pragmatism. I believe that both sides are quintessentially wrong. Hamas is a terrorist organization, duly elected, which is intent on destroying Israel. Israel is a garrison state that has morphed into the very thing it fled in Europe, albeit more democratic. Both have committed, and continue to commit, atrocities against each other. It will benefit no one to advance the argument that one side or the other is to blame, as both are to blame. The only salient question is what can be done by the rest of the world to establish some form of peaceful coexistence between the two factions. Israel must abandon its aparteid policies toward the Palestinians, and the Palestinians must regain control of its destiny by disavowing the governance of Hamas. This will not be easy, as both parties seem determined to fight it out to the death like intransigent school children with weapons of mass destruction. All conflicts end eventually. The question here, however, is existential, not just for Israel and the Palestinians, but for all of humankind, because this conflict has the potential to spark a worldwide conflagration. Cooler heads must prevail by whatever means that can be possibly brought to bear on the part of the world community. Israel must end its blockade of Gaza because it is immoral and illegal. Hamas must disavow its intention to destroy Israel and release the Israeli soldier. If the UN has any value or usefulness, it must intercede now with binding resolutions and troops to enforce some sort of truce. As in any negotiation, each party must be prepared to lose a little bit to claim a beneficial outcome. In this case, the whole world is being held hostage by this belligerent and hopeless standoff. Thus we all have a legitimate stake in its outcome.
06:53 June 11, 2010 by Major B
Hamas. Oh Hamas. The fact is they serve as a proxy for a larger movement that will never accept the existence of Israel. Same with Hezbollah. Look at the embarrassment of Helen Thomas' recent statement(member of the U.S. White House Press Corps who said Jews can leave Israel and go back to Poland and Germany). Is reflective of a worldwide sentiment and those voices are certainly heard in Europe. Yes, the people in Gaza need help. But some of us will never accept a movement that let their people suffer so greatly because of their hatred for Israel. Israel's policies toward Gaza are hard. Maybe too hard. But they withdrew from Gaza, allowed elections, per the directions of the PREVIOUS U.S. administration and Hamas was elected. Look at how that turned out. Hamas expelled Fatah, even desecrating Arafat's former HQs and the march to insanity was on. They brought on the destruction of their own people.

Question: Is there concern over Turkey's treatment of its Kurdish minority, which still leaves a lot to be desired?

How about Iran's treatment and violent suppression of its opposition? Not hearing much about that anymore Its hard for some of us to take the "so called concern" for the plight of the poor Gazans with any seriousness. I can't respect a man who will bring wanton violence and destruction to his family. Should that man be allowed to "keep" his family? Now there's a question to be answered.
11:58 June 11, 2010 by Prufrock2010
This discussion is unusually civil and thoughtful. I wonder how long it will take for The Local to delete it.
12:08 June 11, 2010 by Jibzy
@Major B:

" Israel's policies toward Gaza are hard. Maybe too hard."

You need a standing ovation for that..dont you.

Lets look at it in another way. Suppose Hamas was controlling the entire region..and gave a tiny strip to Israel to hold elections. They hold elections and they elect the maniac Netenyahu. So they do start launching mortars into Palestine. Now Hamas cant tolerate that..they would have to defend their people. So they use white phosphorous on Israelis.

Would you still hold the Israelis accountable or are you plain anti-Hamas?
14:28 June 11, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I don't know anyone who is PRO-Hamas. I doubt that most Palestinians are. Hamas is a terrorist organization whose intent is unequivocal. Hamas also has no regard for the people it claims to represent. That said, Israel is illegally, immorally and unconscionably punishing the Palestinian people at large because of its purported fear of Hamas. But Israel's atrocities toward the Palestinians began long before Hamas even existed, so its justification for its current actions is hollow and disingenuous. Netanyahu is determined to provoke an all-out war.
16:44 June 11, 2010 by Jibzy
I know George Galloway, a MP in UK from 1987 till 2010, supports them and i agree with him. I agree with everything else you said. Recently i was shocked to hear that Hamas bulldozed some Palestinian houses to build a mosque or something.

But i would claim that Hamas is NOT a terrorist organization. They're the government of Gaza. Just because we hear it a lot doesnt mean its true. Thats called propoganda.

Hamas even offered Israel peace if they withdraw to 1967 borders..over and over again. But Israel refuses and says Israel will grow further. Which is the MAIN REASON why there's fighting.
16:55 June 11, 2010 by gtaglia
The sea blockade of Gaza exists for a reason, not to make life miserable for Palestinians, but to prevent Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating there from acquiring even more and bigger weapons than are already being smuggled in from Egypt. Iran and Syria have gone to great expense over the last few years to arm Hamas, Hezbollah and the rest of the terrorists for their next war against Israel, which is likely to come soon.

As for humanitarian aid, a great deal of food, money and other necessities of life are coming into Gaza from Israel and Egypt. If anyone is hungry in Gaza, it is because the leadership of Hamas, who has control of everything coming in, is stealing much of it for themselves and giving the rest to their supporters, to the detriment of the rest of the people there.
19:08 June 11, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"Where are the flotillas to Darfur as tens of thousands or more are murdered and starved there by Muslims? Silence...no flotillas there. And why?"

Maybe because Darfur is LANDLOCKED? You really should go back and try to get a 5th grade education. Or at least try to read a newspaper. Normally I'd suggest reading a book, but that would undoubtedly be too daunting for you.
19:25 June 11, 2010 by wenddiver
Useful idiots or International Fellow Travelers??? I would guess both. When neighbors become comrades they don't ussually have any problem with the Genocide of their fellow neighbors. Don't we all know this in a country where German Leftists shot regular Grmans for trying to cross the wall in our lifetime.
19:38 June 11, 2010 by Major B
@ Prufrock2010_ Thought you just said these "discussions were unusually civil and thoughtful". Yes Greycoat went a little far with the "self-hating German Jew" bit but he and gtaglia are essentially right and covered the key points perfectly. Although there is a tepid UN and European presence in Darfur, it only came about after hundreds of thousands were slaughtered, same as in Rwanda. In Kosovo and Bosnia, there wasn't the outcry at the Serbian slaughter and the damn business didn't get settled till the Americans came in. So shameful. So again, where is all this outcry for the "poor pitiful" people of Gaza? Where is the response for the Tibetans? No, the whole protest thing and the ranting is a cover to go after Israel, plain and simple.

Their other points, that Hamas is willing to "SACRIFICE the lives and health of their people" for their political purposes speak to a much much larger and more sinister purpose and design. But noone will speak to that.

Now, since the whole situation came about because of the great conflagration that took place 72 - 65 years ago in Europe, I'm sure the good people there can find places to live and work for the poor Gazans and other Palestinians, giving them an opportunity to live in the West and to be exposed to advanced societies. This could be a solution to the aging population there and be a source of regeneration. Would these Middle Easterners have a better fate than than their Hebrew cousins did? Any takers? I mean, there is all this concern.
19:58 June 11, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Major B --

This was a reasonable discussion until the flame-throwing started by people who don't know the geography of the Sudan and who call everyone who is thoughtful or compassionate a leftist, and who wishes to see innocent peace activists murdered. That's a little over the top for me.

I agree with you that the Rwandans, Bosnians, Kosovites, Tibetans et al. have been given short shrift, and that these are all subjects worthy of discussion and action. But this topic happens to be about Israel and Gaza, and deserves more thoughtful responses than vapid name-calling and the utterance of slogans that fit onto bumper stickers. This is a delicate, nuanced crisis that impacts every one of us. Political labeling is not useful to the discourse, and calling concerned Jews who disagree with Israel's politics "useful idiots" is offensive, simplistic and inflammatory. I could call the poster who published that remark a "useless idiot," but I will refrain. His post speaks for itself.

I'll remove myself from this discussion now, as I've said all I have to say on this subject.
23:56 June 11, 2010 by Laurence F
Sad & Pathetic that German Jews have the need to support the political farce that Muslims play at; this modern day Muslim Goebbels propaganda barrage against Israel; this circus of modern Chamberlains peacemakers; and these Utopian views that gave us a hundred million deaths from communist visions.

Don't play the fool to Muslim visions of conquest, as play their games of victim-hood. The "World is their oyster" or one should say "target." You Europeans with your thoughtful questions and philosophizing will find yourself slowing being strangled by the burkas that the Muslims are putting around you; thread by thread.
01:43 June 12, 2010 by vonSchwerin
"Sad & Pathetic that German Jews have the need to support the political farce"

I don't think that Edith Lutz and her group of Jewish Germans are representative of public opinion among Jews in Germany. In fact, considering the demographics of today's Jewish community in Germany, I am sure that she is highly UNrepresentative. And if it weren't for her religion, no one would possibly think that a story about her would be newsworthy. She'd be just another European leftist who sympathizes with the people of Gaza.
03:55 June 12, 2010 by Jibzy
I think all the Israelis wake up at this hour and start posting utter non-sense on internet forums. So is it on other forums where this discussion comes up.

Its unimaginable that there are people in the world who believe that "there's no humanitarian crisis in Gaza". And then they say..if there is one..its probably becuz they elected Hamas. So basically...what Palestinians are doing wrong there is that they're living in their homeland. These internet-forum-trolling Israelis will never change their mind and they just come here to give excuses for killing more civilians.

Reasoning with them is just like counting your hair.. you cant do it..and even if you DO do it....congratulations...you just wasted considerable amount of your time.
17:16 June 12, 2010 by Major B
Am not Israeli or Jewish. Just imagine, there are many who can think for themselves and not be taken in by the Worldwide Anti-Israel conglomerate. Oops, am not supposed to say that -- isn't fashionable.
22:05 June 12, 2010 by Kennneth Ingle
Look at the Old Testament and read the books of Moses. The Jews were given 10 comandments and promised a land of their own. This promise was given with the restriction, that the laws of God must be held. By failure, this ethnic group would be cursed and scattered all over the world.

The Governments of Israel have, in the history of this people, seldom kept to these laws and still do not in this day and age.

We must make therefore a difference, between Israel's nationalists and Jews.

Many Jews do try to live acording to their own religion. Others just use their ethnic origin to obtain material or poltical advantages.

As major B mentioned, the Germans who were robbed and deported from Silesia always wanted to return to their homeland, but never threatend to do so by force. In so far, they have in many ways suffered more than many israelis, for their deportation was not due to their own fault.
13:58 June 13, 2010 by Jibzy
@Germinator: Correct. To put it better, its an economic war against Palestinians until they vote the way Israel wants them to vote.
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