Even the leftist tools exploited by Islamic jihad can see it is what it is. Considering how blinded they are by their own delusion, this is pretty remarkable.
This is the real "freedom flotilla." We call on all free nations, free peoples, to support the Freedom from Jihad flotilla with boats, ships, funding, security and will. There should be a navy of Freedom from Jihad flotillas.
The Hamas flotilla is an act of war and should be condemned internationally. Is it any surprise that the Ground Zero mosque radical imam Rauf was a prominent member of the organization that financed the first jihad flotilla?
Leonid Telinna emails, "Hasna El Maroudi, 26, can be described as a “Dutch pro-Palestinian activist/journalist of Moroccan descent.” She had planned to join other activists aboard a Dutch ship to Gaza, until she learned that she would be going on a secret Hamas-organized mission and canceled her participation. On Wednesday she published a rare inside account of what she saw in Greece as the activists were preparing to set sail. This English translation of her account is meant to meant to help her discoveries traverse the language barrier."
Parting with the Gaza Flotilla Joop, opinion section, June 29
Why I am not sailing aboard the Dutch ship after all
I have been to the Greek island of Corfu over the past few days. I got to know the activists and journalists intending to sail to Gaza and received training on non-violent resistance from Anne de Jong, a passenger in the previous flotilla.
Although I had intended to report on the sail for Uitgesproken Vara and Joop, I was going first and foremost as an activist. I want Israel to lift the illegal blockade on Gaza and give the people that which they are entitled to have: Self-rule.
And that is also the issue for me: The population there. The Palestinian youths who published a document last year in which they expressed their longing for leading a normal life. I didn’t go for any political movement or for those in power.
When I decided to subject myself to the sail and the long list of preparatory engagements and training sessions it entailed, I presented the organizers with one single crucial demand: I wanted to know exactly who would sail with me on the Italian-Dutch ship and requested to have the opportunity to meet them all in advance before embarking on the trip.
I did not want to be surprised by the presence of figures or organizations with which I did not want to become involved. I was told that my demand was self-evident: There would be team-building and “we are going to have it in Greece.”
Despite assurances to the contrary, the Italian activists who were supposed to sail with us were nowhere to be seen upon our arrival in Corfu. More crucially, the Dutch delegation was isolated on the island. The rest of the flotilla was in Athens.
I repeatedly I asked to receive a tentative list of all the passengers. Realizing that many difficulties had been put in the organizers’ path, I did not expect to receive a complete list of participants. I would have been satisfied with the available information. None such information was given. Despite my insistence on receiving the list in advance, it was given to me when I decided to return to Holland. Too late
But there was more going on. The ship’s funding remained unclear. Also regarding this point I repeatedly asked for information but as answers I was told of a loose web of associations under different umbrella and daughter organizations. The Nederland Gaza Association [the organizers of the Dutch boat ride] claims to be fully transparent. To me, this means publication of subsidies.
If this complicates fundraising and scares off donors, so be it. It’s the only way to show an already-suspicious Netherlands that you have nothing to hide.
The presence of Amin Abou Rashed suggests there is something to hide. He, too, sailed last year to Gaza with the flotilla, and he was arrested by Israel. According to various media, he is Hamas’ top figure in the Netherlands. He is also affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. How much of this is true, I do not know. How much of this is not true, I know even less. That is the problem, and it creates an atmosphere of suspicion.
Amin Abou Rashed side by side with sjeik Yusuf al Qaradawi (hat tip Ethan)
Over dinner Anne de Jong insisted that it was all lies and that Amin is a terribly nice man with an unbelievable amount of love for the Palestinians. However much I wished I could believe her and those blue eyes of hers, I could not do it. Simply because his involvement with the flotilla was kept secret until the arrival to Greece. And not only vis-à-vis the rest of the world, but also when it came to the flotilla participants. I find this to be detrimental.
On this dangerous action, the participants are laying their lives on the line. It is therefore only fair that they be provided with the relevant essential information.
Amin was there the day the Dutch delegation received a non-violence training but hung in the background. Wilfred van de Poll, a journalist for Trouw, spoke briefly with Amin about his presence and role within the organization. “The brain behind the flotilla” as the man elected to be described, arranged the purchase of the boat. He also provided for the lion’s share of funding, according to Anne de Jong. If he played such a vital role, then why was it kept secret and why couldn’t I know who or what he was?
Our activists were told that the goods [aboard the ship] will be distributed by UNHCR, but it later turned out that this was not 100 percent sure. Few organizations beside UNCHR are capable of performing this task in Gaza. In fact, only one other such entity remains. Hamas. And I wanted to have nothing do with them.
The bottom line is very simple. In a mission such as this one, the activists must be able to fully trust one another, like firefighters entering a burning building. My trust in the organization only diminished the further we progressed.
The moment I expressed reservations about the information which was given out, Anne de Jong’s reacted accusatory and snappy. “Would you rather we told you nothing at all?” she demanded, as though I should applaud her right away for getting to hear anything at all. And as though I had failed to understand the magnitude of the task of setting out against a great power such as Israel.
El Maroudi’s account generated interest in Dutch media. The following articles appeared the next day:
Censorship on the Gaza boat
De Telegraaf, Thursday June 30th, p13, by Bart Olmer
Half a page article, partly literally translated:
Furious at the paranoia, the dictatorial atmosphere, mutual distrust and outright opposition on board, all Dutch journalists decided to leave the ship on which the Dutch activists seek confrontation with Israeli marines in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas leader Amin Abou Rashed to the left behind sheik Yusuf al Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood
According to the four editors who left, they were censored by the activists, who did not like critical questions, such as about the financing of the operational ship, which was bought for nearly three tons. The money is scraped together by for example collections in Dutch mosques, as this newspaper revealed earlier.
Vara editor Hasna El Maroudi decided to quit because the organization did not want to tell her what other people would be on board: "I did not want to be surprised by the presence of figures or organizations that I want nothing to do with. It also remained unclear who financed the boat. Also, I have repeatedly asked about the funding, but the answer was suspended in a web of vague foundations and umbrella organizations.
Now it appears that the infamous Dutch Hamas leader Amin Abou Rashed also been presented the training of the crew in Greece in recent days. El Maroudi: "Amin was present on the day the Dutch delegation, followed part of the non-violence training. Wilfred van de Poll, journalist for Trouw, just spoke with Amin about his presence and his role within the organization. "The brain behind the fleet" arranged the purchase of the boat. He also has a lion's share of funding provided."
El Maroudi: "During the dinner Anne de Jong (one of the driving forces behind the fleet) raved that everything is lies and that Amin is a terribly nice man, who is committed to the Palestininas with incredible love. How much I would like to believe her and her blue eyes, I can not. Simply because his involvement in the fleet had been kept secret until arrival in Greece. Not only for the outside world, but also for the passengers. "
Trouw reporter Wilfred van de Poll withdrew his participation, because he no longer trusted the organization.
Martijn Dekker, spokesman for the Netherlands- Gaza Foundation, is deeply ashamed for the collective departure of the journalists. Dekker: "We can be quite open about for example the origin of the money that the boat is paid with. We can look into the books of the donating foundation Israa. It shows that all donations come from Dutch individuals, not from a shadowy sheik from abroad. "Foundation Netherlands-Gaza says it can only release the list of passengers until after the fleet departs, as it still being changed. The Dutch action ship left yesterday and arrived today at an agreed rendezvous site, which has three other ships awaiting action.
The foundation was forced to admit that Rashed was present in Greece, because of his involvement in the purchase of the ship. But the organization denies his involvement in training, selection and briefings. A unique picture has recently emerged (see above), where the Dutch Hamas leader Sheikh Amin Abou Rashed stands behind Yusuf al Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. This Al Qaradawi is hoping to transform Egypt into fundamentalist dictatorship. The Sheikh, fierce anti-Semite and notorious for his inflammatory speeches, lived in exile in Qatar. After the revolt against Egyptian President Mubarak he returned to Cairo. Al Qaradawi would like to stone gay people and adulterers, would "dismantle" Israel, encourage suicide attacks inside Israel and believes that men should whip "rebellious" women.
Gaza flotilla surrounded by suspicion and deceit
Nederlands Dagblad, Thursday June 30th, p4
The Dutch journalists who decided not to participate in the Gaza flotilla do not have anything positive to say about the organization Netherlands-Gaza.
Journalist Eric Beauchemin of the ‘Wereldomroep’ says never to have seen an organization as closed as Netherlands-Gaza. No filming was aloud during the two-day training in Greece, and it was kept a secret which Dutch people would participate in the fleet. It was said that well know people would participate, but this was untrue.
It is unclear who is funding the Dutch participation. VARA journalist Hasna el-Maoudi cancelled the trip because she had the suspicion that the Hamas was involved in the funding.
And she was right .........
Who Is Behind the Second Gaza Flotilla Ehud Rose, JCPA
- The second flotilla is coordinated by Muhammad Sawalha, a senior UK-based Muslim Brotherhood figure connected to Hamas. Many of the participating organizations can be directly linked with the Union of Good (UoG), a coalition of European charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which in 2008 was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury for transferring funds to Hamas. The UoG was initiated by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on a global scale, shortly after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.
- For the Brotherhood, two chief centers of organization can be clearly seen. On the European and global scene, the centrality of its UK-based activists is once again demonstrated, while in the Middle East, its Jordanian branch is noticeable.
- Other main organizers include the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM), as well as far-left socialists from Europe and the United States. Many of the flotilla's main organizers have stated that its prime aim is to create provocations and harm Israel's image.
- Following Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which ended in January 2009, a series of international conferences was held in Turkey to restructure the struggle against Israel. A conference in February 2009 featured 200 radical Islamist scholars who came to meet with senior Hamas officials to plot a new, "third jihadi front" (in addition to Pakistan and Iraq) centered on Gaza. The conference gave birth to the infamous, pro-Hamas Istanbul Declaration, which also provided justification for attacking foreign navies which might try to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza.
- In general, the same organizers stand behind the second flotilla, with several changes. The most important may be the IHH decision not to send the Mavi Marmara, the ship which brought the first flotilla its publicity following violent clashes between IHH activists and the IDF in which nine Turks were killed. Rather than take a leading role, it appears that the IHH will settle this time for sending activists to sail on other ships.
- Thus, the flotilla is far from being a peaceful, humanitarian effort to support the Palestinians in Gaza. It should instead be seen as a major, pro-Hamas effort to delegitimize Israel by a "red-green alliance" of leftists and Islamists.
The Second "Freedom Flotilla" is a joint and coordinated effort of several groups working to delegitimize Israel on a global scale. The claim of the organizers that they are seeking to relieve the siege of Gaza and to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid rings completely hollow, given the vast economic improvements the territory has been witnessing. Indeed, the New York Times reported on June 25, 2011, that "two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month." The report from Gaza continues with a description of a "second shopping mall" about to open and "hundreds of homes" under construction.1 The motivation behind the flotilla is thus clearly political. All the groups involved have separately sent ships and land convoys aimed to "break the siege" of Gaza in order to hurt Israel's image.
The latest campaign is coordinated by Muhammad Sawalha, a senior UK-based Muslim Brotherhood figure who, according to Israeli sources, helped establish Hamas’ operational infrastructure in the West Bank in the late 1980s. He found asylum in Britain in 1990 and is one of the central leaders of Islamist, anti-Israel, and pro-Hamas activities in Britain. Many of the participating organizations can be directly linked with the Union of Good (UoG), a coalition of European charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which in 2008 was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury for transferring funds to Hamas. Other main organizers include the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM), as well as far-left socialists from Europe and the United States. Many of the flotilla's main organizers have stated that its prime aim is to create provocations and harm Israel's image.
Origins of the Flotilla Campaign
The first group to send ships to Gaza may have been the ISM, which in August 2008 sent two small Greek-registered fishing boats from Cyprus to Gaza with 44 people on board, calling itself the Free Gaza Movement (FGM).2 The ISM was founded in 2001 by a Jewish American, Adam Shapiro, and his American wife of Palestinian origin, Huwaida Arraf,3 after the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Together with its Palestinian partners, ISM sponsored protests in the West Bank and Gaza, where it was known for welcoming any violence that occurred during its protests and for encouraging its volunteers to compare Israel with the Nazis. In March 2003, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was found hiding in an ISM compound. By 2004, ISM's own publicity material had shown its willingness to work with the National and Islamic Forces, a coalition of Palestinian factions that included Hamas and the PIJ. In more recent times, Huwaida Arraf went on to serve on the advisory board of Kinder USA, a charity that an FBI analyst believed was involved with raising funds for Hamas.4
FGM members would later join the first flotilla in May 2010 on the Rachel Corrie, sponsored by the Perdana for Global Peace Foundation (previously the Perdana for Global Peace Movement),5 an organization established by the anti-Semitic/anti-American former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.6 The ISM/FGM had received a large donation of 300,000 euros for the voyage.7 The Rachel Corrie, however, fell behind the original fleet due to mechanical problems.
Other groups and activists usually come from the European and American far-left, such as Dr. Paul Larudee, another ISM and FGM co-founder who now heads an American network called the Free Palestine Movement (FPM);8 anarchist ex-Israeli Dror Feiler; or Greek socialist Prof. Vangelis Pissias.9
However, the more important group in organizing the flotilla is the one affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe, and its Palestinian branch, Hamas. Following Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which ended in January 2009, a series of international conferences was held in Turkey to restructure the struggle against Israel. The relationships between Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas have been widely documented in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs monograph Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla.10 Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in Gaza acted as the main axis for this activity.11A conference held in February 2009 featured 200 radical Islamist scholars who came to meet with senior Hamas officials to plot a new, "third jihadi front" (in addition to Pakistan and Iraq) centered on Gaza.12 One of the participants in the conference, the Saudi scholar Mohsen al-Awajy, told a BBC reporter: "Gaza is a gift....Gaza gives us power, it solves our differences. We are all now in a unified front against Zionism." Thus, Gaza's status is raised as an Islamist symbol for jihad against Israel. The conference gave birth to the infamous, pro-Hamas Istanbul Declaration, which also provided justification for attacking foreign navies which might try to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza.13 In March 2009, the first of three Gaza Lifeline/Viva Palestina land convoys arrived in Gaza. It was led by former British MP George Galloway, under the auspices of a charity he established named Viva Palestina. He was joined with others who, according to Israeli sources, are affiliated with Hamas, particularly Zaher Birawi.14 Another two land convoys made their way to Gaza in July 2009 and January 2010. While the Hamas government was the recipient of all vehicles, goods, and cash in the first convoy,15 the second exposed a deeper connection to the Union of Good (UoG), a coalition of European Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated charities initiated by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on a global scale, shortly after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000. The UoG serves de facto as an important financial arm of Qaradawi's Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups around the world, and was designated as a terrorist organization in 2008 by the U.S. Treasury for transferring funds to Hamas.16 The official recipient of the second convoy's aid was a Gaza-based NGO named Expertise for Consulting and Development, or CODE. On its website, CODE noted that it had previously received funding from the UoG for several projects.17
A much more obvious connection to the Union of Good can be easily made with the largest coalition involved in organizing the Freedom Flotilla - The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG). The campaign was formulated in late 2007 or the beginning of 2008 during one of the Palestinians in Europe Conferences, an annual gathering which has been taking place since 2003, initiated by the London-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), which in December 2010 was deemed "illegal" by the Israeli defense minister as a "European Hamas affiliate."18 The campaign currently lists an address in Brussels. However, its president, Dr. Arafat Shukri (aka Arafat Madi), is also PRC's executive director, and until recently, both PRC and the ECESG also shared the same address and contact details.19 Furthermore, the campaign's website (www.savegaza.eu/) is registered under Shukri's name and PRC e-mail address. Another founding member of the campaign is Dutch-based activist Amin Abu Rashed, who took part in the first flotilla. Abu Rashed was described in the Dutch media, quoting an intelligence source, as "leader of Hamas in the Netherlands."20
Out of 33 NGOs participating in the campaign, almost half are known to have strong connections with the UoG and the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE), an umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. The campaign has also acquired the support of far left European politicians, groups, and individuals.21
The Turkish charity IHH was a very important organizer of the third land convoy, which took place in January 2010. IHH is also a member of the Union of Good. The third convoy, it must be noted, ended with a violent conflict with Egypt, which insisted that the cargo enter Gaza through the Egyptian port of El-Arish in Sinai. The convoy held several demonstrations in Aqaba, Jordan, some held under the flag of the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, another key organizer. At one of them, Turkish IHH leader Yildrim spoke, saying: "Up until now the world thought only Israel was a war criminal. But Egypt has proved it is also complicit in this crime. By preventing us, Egypt has proved it is an Israeli-guided state. We will not remain silent against Egypt and will besiege Egyptian embassies and consulates for days if needed....They are proposing the aid convoy to enter Gaza through Israel. In other words, they have sold Gaza to Israel."22 Five days later, the convoy returned to Syria by land in order to sail to El-Arish.
When the convoy finally arrived in El Arish, the Egyptian authorities said that 59 of its vehicles must enter Gaza via an Israeli crossing rather than through Rafah. Some convoy participants responded to the Egyptian decision by rioting. They broke down the gates of the port and attempted to drive their vehicles out, but were contained by the police. Then they blockaded the port, waving Hamas banners; fought the police with sticks and projectiles; vandalized port property; and took security officers hostage.23 For its part, Hamas called a demonstration in Rafah in support of the convoy and against Egypt. This cost a 21-year-old Egyptian border guard his life.24 Several of the convoy's participants were arrested, but were released following the intervention of Turkish MPs. Part of the convoy was also allowed into Gaza. However, when Galloway got back to Rafah he was deported and declared persona non grata in Egypt.25
This incident harmed the Gaza Lifeline/Viva Palestina convoys, but also brought a change in strategy for its partners. Soon after, Muhammad Sawalha, one of the main organizers of the convoys, revealed in an interview to Hizbullah's Al-Intiqad magazine their plan to send a sea convoy (the May 2010 flotilla), adding, "this time we want to confront the Zionist enemy directly."26 And indeed, in many Islamist websites, the flotilla was referred to as Gaza Lifeline No. 4.The Second Flotilla - What Has Changed?
In general, the same organizers stand behind the second flotilla, with several changes. The most important may be the IHH decision not to send the Mavi Marmara, the ship which brought the first flotilla its publicity following violent clashes between IHH activists and the IDF in which nine Turks were killed. Rather than take a leading role, it appears that the IHH will settle this time for sending activists to sail on other ships.27
This decision apparently brought about a reshuffle in the organization of the flotilla structure, bringing the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood even closer into the picture. Its Gaza Lifeline Committee, which operates under Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood-controlled professional associations, recently purchased a ship for 560,000 euros. Wael al-Saqa, head of the committee, said the ship is able to carry up to 200 people, and is planned to carry Arab participants in the flotilla.28
As for the overall organization, Muhammad Sawalha now appears as the flotilla's coordinator under his title as Vice-Chairman of the International Campaign to Break the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG).29 The ICBCG is a UK-registered group, listing Sawalha as its sole director. The campaign is now also the official coordinator of the Miles of Smiles land convoys, the third of which recently arrived in Gaza.30 Miles of Smiles is another UoG-affiliated operation, mostly identified with Interpal, a major UK-based charity and member of the UoG, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury in 2003 as well.31 Yet a further connection may be seen in the British coalition involved in the flotilla, Britain2Gaza, which is another UK-registered group which has both Sawalha and Hamas-affiliated Zaher Birawi, a convoy and flotilla spokesman, as its directors.
Sawalha signed the Istanbul Declaration of February 13, 2009, which provides important insights into his motivation to take a leading role in the flotillas. Among other points, the declaration states:
The obligation of the Islamic Nation to open the crossings - all crossings - in and out of Palestine permanently, in order to allow access to all the needs of the Palestinians - money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials, so that they are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty (emphasis added).32
Another prominent figure is German-based Walid Abu al-Shewarib, who was previously hailed for the role he played in helping to organize the first flotilla.33 An official Europol document, said to be based on German information, describes him as "a Hamas member who is a leading member of the association Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland (IGD, Islamic Community in Germany), considered to be the headquarters for the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany." He is also managing director of the Islamisches Kultur und Erziehungszentrum Berlin (Center for Islamic Culture and Education), regarded as the point of contact for Hamas in Berlin.34
In the last few weeks, the ex-Israeli activist Dror Feiler has been constantly speaking with the Israeli media. When it first seemed that the IHH would not take any part in the second flotilla, he told Ynet News: "We must remember that the Turks aren't participating so Israel won't be able to claim that this is an Islamist flotilla, so there are benefits."35 Feiler may be one of the flotilla's organizers, but he seems to misread the background of his own colleagues. The Islamist, pro-Hamas character of this flotilla is much deeper than the IHH alone.