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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Evidence of Weapon Smuggling on Ships

Nadene Goldfoot
Two years ago the Israeli Navy found 500 tons of weapons; rockets and  missiles hidden in 36 large shipping containers behind hundreds of sacks of polyethylene on the German merchant ship, Francop which flew the flag of of Antiqua and Barbuda.  The crew claimed they knew nothing.  The shipment came from Iran meant for Hizbollah terrorists in Southern Lebanon.  The ship was taken to Ashdod for searching as it cannot be done in waters.  This was largest amount of weapons that Israel has ever found in one ship.  Israel invited heads of other countries to come and see just how much they had found. 

This year in March the ship Victoria was searched and found to have 50 tons of weapons. They were carrying anti-ship missiles along with other types which are considered very dangerous.   Again, the crew knew nothing.  The weapons were headed to Gaza. 

This is why Israel must search all ships.  Hamas terrorists have lots of sympathizers and Hamas is getting weapons somehow.  This is one way they try to bring them in.  Even if all the "passengers" have not been the providers of weapons, they can still be boarded on such a ship by other terrorist sympathizers.  These very weapons could be the cause of many deaths in Israel.  The government is legally in the right to search all ships.  The law states that if the ship clearly intends to illegally enter another country's waters, it is in the wrong as soon as it leaves its port of origin.  So as soon as this flotilla leaves Greece, it's in the wrong.

The problem last year with the May 2010 flotilla was that the action supposedly took place 70 nautical miles (130 kilometers ) from the coast, inside international waters, and then 9 activists on the Mavi Marmara were killed.  Turkey thought Israel was in violation of international maritime law. 

The San Remo Manual of 1994, a legally recognized but nonbinding document from the International Institute of Humanitarian Law dealing with blockades and armed conflicts, the international standard for blockades, explains the law. 

Israel is following the rules.  It has given prior ntice and has informed shipping companies and other countries where and when the blockade is being enacted.  No ship, peaceful, commercial or otherwise, can enter the area of the blockade for any reason.  It cannot block neutral ports or waters.  Here it would be Egyptian ports.  It cannot use a blockade to deny the civilians items essential to their survival.  This is what the flotilla organizers are trying to use as a reason.  However, Israel is constantly trucking in supplies with 300 trucks per day into Gaza.  They have more supplies than most American cities.  The people are thriving.

The world has had a lot of blockades:
3. Vietnam War
4. Sri Lanka
5. NATO uses it against Libya

Gaza is not a country.  Israel has sovereignty of the area and up to 12 nautical miles from its coast.  The blockade goes to 20 nautical miles from the coast or 37km.  A nautical mile used on the ocean is 1.852 km. 

Reference: on Victoria

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