#GM2J | Will Israel follow pro-Palestinian ship again?

Even as activists of Global March to Jerusalem use multiple methods to publicise the event, counter publicity stunts allegedly on behalf of Israel are at work

Kunal Majumder | Tehelka.com | March 27, 2012
Port of Tasucu (Turkey)

As the Asian delegates prepare to leave for Beirut from the Port of Tasucu in Turkey, the talk among the protesters is whether Israeli forces will follow the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) ship like it did last time during the Asian convoy to Gaza. A cargo ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists was followed as it traveled from Latakia port in Syria to Al-Areesh in Egypt on 1 January 2011. The memories of the Mavi Marmara massacre in 2010 are still fresh in the minds of the Turks. Israeli commandos had raided and killed nine Turks on the aid ship to Gaza. Israel had claimed that the ship was being used to transport arms.

Fear of possible Israeli action increased after media reports claimed that Israel has warned its four neighbours, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah against allowing GMJ protesters to assemble on its borders on 30 March — Palestine Land Day. Despite the pressure, Jordanian authorities have permitted the planned march in the Jordan Valley on Friday as organisers denied any intentions to storm the Jordanian-West Bank border. Israel has alleged that the march has been instigated by Iran and Palestine, a charge rubbished by the organisers of the event.

Even as activists of GMJ use multiple methods to publicise the event, counter publicity stunts allegedly on behalf of Israel is at work. An anti-GMJ website called http://www.gm2J.co has been constantly following the activities of the march and making numerous allegations. It claims to be a forum to expose “the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem.” Among numerous mails and online forums targeting GMJ, the most amusing attack came from “WORLD MUSLIM ZIONIST ORGANIZATION” based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It claims that there is an extensive history of collaboration of GMJ organizers with the jihadist Palestinian war criminals in Gaza, the Fatah gangsters in Ramallah, and the Hizbullah heretics in Beirut.” The organisers have refused to respond to such allegations.

The anti-GMJ activists have even started targeting independent participants, including this writer, through Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. It is not just the online sphere, as 30 March approaches anti-GMJ activities on ground have increased. Reports from Gaza suggest that Israel has restricted power supply to the Palestinian area to just six hours a day for the week. Crackdown on the activists flying down to Palestine has already begun. Vincent Caron, an activist who flew down to Israel, was arrested and deported. His post on GMJ Facebook page on 26 March reads: “Did my best but won’t be around Al-Quds for the march. Good luck to all the peace activists who want to make a change by non-violent action.”

Meanwhile, the Asian delegates visited the shrine of Sufi philosopher Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi in Turkish town of Konya and participated in a protest march against “occupation of Palestine.” The GMJ delegates will march towards the border of Israel in Jordan and Lebanon on 30 March.

Kunal Majumder is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.

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