Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

The Flotilla and its Hamas connections

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Despite assurances that the Second Flotilla to Gaza is a ‘humanitarian' mission that has no connection to Hamas, reports suggest otherwise.

NGO Monitor translated a Dutch news story "Pers vertrouwt Gazaboot niet" ("The Media Doesn't Trust Gaza Boat") about a number of Dutch journalists who abandoned their plans to participate in the Flotilla.

The Dutch journalists were frustrated by the secrecy of Flotilla organisers and dismayed by the appearance during preparations of Amin Abou Rashed - an operative who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas - after both journalists and activists were assured the flotilla had nothing to do with Hamas.

Further, according to the story:

Abou Rashed told [Dutch news magazine] Trouw he had secured the boat. Were there any ties with Hamas? "Of course. You can't do without them in Gaza"

Eric Beauchemin, a journalist for the ‘Wereldomroep' (Dutch World Broadcast station) stated: "I've been doing this work for 25 years, but never have I seen a more closed organisation. When we would ask critical questions they would accuse us of being unprofessional."

The Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs also published an article by Israeli analyst Ehud Rosen, highlighting the second Flotilla's Hamas connections.

In one of many examples, Rosen points to the fact that the second Gaza Flotilla is coordinated by Muhammad Sawalha, a senior UK-based Muslim Brotherhood figure connected to Hamas. Sawalha's title is Vice-Chairman of the International Campaign to Break the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG). The ICBCG is a UK-registered group, listing Sawalha as its sole director. According to Israeli sources, Muhammad Sawalha, 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. Sawalha has signed the Istanbul Declaration of February 13, 2009, which stated:

" 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."

The hollowness of the flotilla's ‘humanitarian' pretence has also again been highlighted in a short video produced by the IDF which details the large amounts of aid and other consumer goods provided to the Gaza strip on a daily basis from Israel - and how this renders insignificant the aid provided by the Flotillas.



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