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PRESS RELEASE


Israeli Massacre at Sea Was
Pre-Planned and Premeditated

June 6, 2010 (EIRNS)—This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee.

A careful review of Israeli and other media coverage prior to the May 31 pre-dawn Israeli commando assault on the Gaza aid flotilla, reveals that the operation was not a bungled mistake, but a carefully planned, politically-driven heavy military operation, involving one of Israel's top special operations units, Unit 13. All of the elements of the attack were prepared in advance, and a detention facility, with emergency medical capabilities, was set up in the Israeli port of Ashdod near Gaza. Israeli journalists were given a tour of the detention/medical facility several days prior to the commando assault, and at least one major Israeli daily newspaper, Ma'ariv, was given a summary of the military plans, which they published on May 28-nearly 72 hours before the assault on the flotilla began. And written into the Israeli plan was a military propaganda program, labeling the protesters as armed terrorists.

Ma'ariv of May 28 reported,

"The sea encounter that will occur at the end of the weekend is already planned detail by detail. From the moment that the ships will pass the 'red line' on their way to Gaza, the fighters of Unit 13 will take control and transfer 800 passengers from their boats back to where they came from. And special arrest units were set up."

The Ma'ariv report continued,

"This operation was approved by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak and will be led by the commander of the Navy, Lt. Col. Eliezer Maron, who is nicknamed 'Cheney.' If the people aboard the boats will not agree to turn around, the operation will transfer to the stage of force. 'We are afraid that there will be a terror attack by the boats,' said a high-ranking officer. 'If terrorists have gotten on the boats or if there is an intention to use hot weapons against our forces, we will use full seriousness and caution. We want to avoid using force but as soon as there will be danger to the life of our forces we will be forced to use live fire as a last resort.... After our fighters take over the boats, OKETZ unit dogs and forces of the IHLM unit corps of engineers will inspect them looking for sabotage materials and fighting tools.'"

And the coverage of the looming Israeli military assault on the aid flotilla was not restricted to the Israeli media.

  • On May 28, Al Jazeera announced "Israel To Stop Gaza Aid Ships," quoting from the Ma'ariv account, and reporting that "The Israeli army also took journalists on a tour of a detention centre being prepared at Ashdod port for holding the aid activists." "Israel says it will prevent, if necessary by force, a nine-ship flotilla of peace activists and humanitarian aid from reaching the Gaza strip."

  • Britain's Guardian, the same day, reported

    "The Israeli military has declared its intentions to block the flotilla's progress as soon as it attempts to cross from international waters into the 20-mile exclusion zone Israel maintains off Gaza's coast. The military declined to confirm a report in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv detailing a five-point plan for the confrontation, including warnings, takeover by force, and the detention and deportation of the activists on board... The activists were braced for a violent confrontation, said [Greta] Berlin [of the Free Gaza Movement], pointing to a previous incident in December 2008 when a similar attempt to reach Gaza by sea ended in the activists' boat being rammed by the Israeli Navy. She claimed the navy was attempting to stop the eight boats converging into a flotilla by threatening to attack one of their number, a Turkish passenger ship carrying around 650 people... Israel had jammed satellite phones and radars on board the ships, she claimed... The Ma'ariv report said the military feared that there could be 'terror activists,' explosives and weapons on board the ships."

  • The Age of Australia, on May 29, reported,

    "Thousands of Israeli troops were preparing last night to prevent a flotilla of 10 ships carrying 800 international protesters and tonnes of supplies from breaking Israel's blockage of Gaza Strip... After leading a series of meetings of Israel's security establishment, which also included calls on several foreign ministers of countries whose citizens are on board the flotilla, Mr. Barak authorised an action plan. When the ships reach what Israel has determined to be a 'red line,' navy missile boats and other warships will surround them and warn the people on board that going any further will be in contravention of Israeli law. If the ships ignore the request to turn around, navy commandos wearing black masks to prevent identification will board the ships and redirect them to Israeli waters... 'We wish to avoid using force, but the moment that there is danger to the lives of the troops, we will be forced to use live fire as a last resort,' [an Israeli] officer said."

  • The Al Jazeera coverage of the Israeli commando assault plans added a further dimension to the premeditated nature of the Israeli attack. Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry admitted to Al Jazeera, "We can't win on this one in terms of PR. If we let them throw egg at us, we appear stupid with egg on our face. If we try to prevent them by force, we appear as brutes." The Netanyahu government made a calculated decision to take the brutish path. The fact that the Israeli commandos performed poorly under the fog of war, once the assault on the Mavi Marmara began, does not explain away or excuse the fact that the Israeli Cabinet, at the top, made a calculated decision to use force to maintain the Gaza blockade-at whatever cost to Israel's international standing.