Free Gaza Protesters Given Medals By Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh

By BEILA RABINOWITZ and WILLIAM MAYER

August 25, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - This weekend, 44 activists from 17 countries set sail from Cyprus intending to defy an Israeli blockade of Gaza, which has been in force since the Hamas terrorist movement took over control of the territory in June of 2007.

Seeking to prevent a PR victory for the protesters, the Israeli government has decided to let them in, with a foreign ministry spokesman explaining, "We tried not to play into their hands and be drawn into a provocation when they arrived, and will try to continue this policy when they leave." [source, http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/08/25/africa/ME-Israel-Gaza-Blockade.php]

Writing for the Israeli National News, David Bedein states:

"From their web site, www.FreeGaza.org, it is clear that the group was officially invited by the Hamas regime to make this trip. They have succeeded in their mission: to establish in Gaza an international support network for the next battle in the Hamas war on Israel." [source, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/8195 ]

For their efforts the Free Gaza protesters, were "honored" by the terrorist leader. According to an email, they were invited, "to lunch with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at his house inside the refugee camp," whereupon, "He placed a large medal around each of our necks and spoke to us about who we are, and we were able to respond." Additionally the protesters were notified that the residents of Gaza City would name a square after them, calling it "Free Gaza Square."

Under Hamas rule, Gaza's economy has been devastated, with over 70% unemployment and a constant shortage of basic goods and supplies. Should this boat protest prove to be an effective first step in the eventual lifting of the Israeli embargo, Hamas will soon find itself unconstrained, once again able to pursue its long-term goal, the destruction of the Jewish state.

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