15 July 2011

Detained by Israel

The news this week included the detainment of two significant Australian women by the Israeli government. What's with that?

The pro-Palestinian activists, former Greens NSW MP Sylvia Hale and spokesperson for Jews against the Occupation – Sydney, Vivienne Porzsolt, were arrested upon arrival by immigration personnel. They were scheduled to be flown back to Athens after their detainment. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed that the pair has been visited by a consular officer who “advised they were being treated well by Israeli authorities”.

Hale and Porzsolt had reportedly planned to travel on a flotilla attempting to break the naval blockade in Gaza, but when Greek authorities stopped their ship from leaving Crete, they instead boarded a flight along with dozens of other activists on the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative. The two were said to be attempting “to draw attention to Israel’s policy of denying Palestinians the basic human right to receive visitors from abroad”.

Hale was going to 'bring greetings' from Marrickville (NSW), a sister city to Gaza. Porzsolt is a self-described secular Jew originally from New Zealand.

On Wednesday, an Israeli court overturned their deportation orders and as soon as the paperwork is translated into English, the duo will be released. Maybe by this morning that's done.

Their attempted fly-tilla is another embarrassment to Australians. These two are trying to bring global attention to 'the situation' and the plight of the Palestinians who are without basic human rights. I'm gobsmacked. And embarrassed. The floatilla is a sham. The attacks last year and the attempted missile-of-a-ship again this month is simply not on.

Weapons, security, those are the issues, dear ladies. It's not about aid and relief. If bleeding hearts really want to fix things, send supplies like food and clothing and travel to help people build infrastructure in walled areas. Stop being used as pawns in the bigger game of global media assault on Israel. Don't let ships carry weapons to untitled soldiers in Gaza. Send food, help the poor, no one will bother you. It's when guns and military weaponry are conveyed...that's when Israel prevents ships from entering. It's simple... you want to help. Send stuff that helps.

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