ThisBoyTV on Jun 27, 2011
Up to 50 Americans are set to sail from a Greek port on a U.S.-flagged ship that is part of an international flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and letters of support for Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian residents. Its fate is now in limbo under the weight of U.S.-Israeli pressure and Greece’s economic turmoil. Israel insists it will enforce its blockade on Gaza, which it says is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the Hamas government. “The Israelis have a right to interdict arms traffic. We are bearing letters,” says Ray McGovern, former Senior CIA analyst and passenger on the U.S. aid ship. “How can these letters be considered a threat to security of Israel?” Democracy Now! producer Aaron Maté is in Athens to cover the journey of The Audacity of Hope, named after President Obama’s best-selling book. He and fellow producer, Hany Massoud, are the only journalists with the U.S. delegation. They file this exclusive report.
A group of U.S. citizens is rejecting the Obama administration’s attempt to thwart their aid mission to the Gaza Strip, which threatens to leave them stranded in Greece. They are set to sail from a Greek port on a U.S.-flagged ship called “The Audacity of Hope,” part of an international humanitarian flotilla carrying aid for Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinian residents. Flotilla members are taking part despite Israeli threats to intercept their ships. Nine people were killed in an Israeli attack on the first aid flotilla just over a year ago. The Audacity of Hope passengers have called for the U.S. government’s help in ensuring their safe passage. But instead, the Obama administration has told them not to set sail and even warned them they could face punishment back home. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Israel would have the right to use force to prevent the ships’ passage. The State Department called the flotilla “irresponsible and provocative” and warned that U.S. delegates could face “fines and incarceration.” We play an excerpt from a press conference when State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland is repeatedly questioned about the Obama administration’s threat, but refuses to answer whether the U.S. considers the Israeli blockade of Gaza to be legal.