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Israelis Soldiers refuse to serve in Gaza (by SocialTV)
“To refuse, I needed more courage. Because in all these things I did in the military I was surrounded with a group of men that did the same thing, I was in such a herd atmosphere that these things seemed natural. So I say here whole heartedly that it took me more courage to refuse than to do all of the things I did in the military.”
A restaurant run and staffed by deaf people opened for business in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, helped by Palestinians seeking to build a more inclusive society where people with disabilities can realize their full potential.
Waiters and cooks use sign language, guests point to selections from the menu and what ensues is a spontaneous form of communication that organizers hope will break down bias and barriers. Read more.
Israel Threatens Aid Ship Seeking to Deliver Food to Gaza
Ambassador Demands UN Intervention to Prevent Food From Being Delivered
The Finnish-flagged Swedish aid ship Estelle is looking to near the Gaza Strip in the next few days, capping off a summer-long sail around Europe to raise awareness for the blockade. The ship is loaded with food aid.
Which has Israelis typically furious, but none moreso than Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, who penned a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon claiming the Swedes on board the ship were less moral than Viking raiders and demanding international military intervention to prevent the food from being delivered.
This has sparked some criticism, claiming Prosor’s bellicosity is drawing undue influence to the single ship, while Israeli officials say they intend to militarily keep the ship away from the Gaza coast, as they so often have with past ships.
But that military action is going to happen under considerably more scrutiny than it normally would have because of both Prosor’s letter and this week’s revelation that the Israeli military has been trying to limit the number of calories of food allowed into the Gaza Strip.
“The Estelle is now under attack - I have just had a message from them by phone,” Victoria Strand, a Stockholm-based spokeswoman for the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign told the AFP news agency on Saturday.
According to Dror Feiler, another spokesperson, the Estelle, whose passengers include five parliamentarians and a former Canadian politician, was attacked at around 08:15 GMT.
“Five or six military vessels surrounded the Estelle. Soldiers wearing masks are now trying to board the ship. The attack took place on international water: N31 26 E33 45,” Feiler said.
The Estelle, the latest ship to try to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza as part of the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ movement, set sail from Naples in southern Italy.
The ship, whose voyage is being organised by an international pro-Palestinian coalition, is carrying humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip.
There are 17 activists from around the world on board, including passengers and crew from Canada, Israel, Norway, Sweden and the US.
—The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend. by Abraham Lincoln
• The Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace: 2 boys
A Palestinian boy looks up from inside a damaged house after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip December 30, 2008. (IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/Reuters)