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2 July 2010

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Mary Nelis

Making inquiries in Derry and Gaza

THE world is about to witness the Israeli version of the Widgery Inquiry as the Israeli Government begins an investigation into the murders of nine peace activists on board aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, the Turkish peace ship bound for Gaza in an attempt to breach the illegal Israeli blockade.

The Mavi Marmara was part of a flotilla of ships bringing medical supplies and other aid to the beleaguered people of Gaza. The Israeli version of the attack on the Marmara, whose passengers included writers, journalists and politicians, bore an uncanny resemblance to the British version of events on Bloody Sunday in Derry. As the blood of the dead and wounded swirled around the decks of a boat and the gutters of Derry streets, the Israelis, like their British counterparts, would tell the world that those killed or wounded were gunmen, terrorists, bombers, extremists. In the communications war, it’s the first story out that’s counts. In the Derry communities, as on the Marmara, it would take days, weeks, for those traumatised by their experiences to begin to tell the truth of what happened as they witnessed it. In areas like the Bogside and Creggan, a shocked population began to challenge the British version of events as those who survived on the Marmara are now challenging the Israeli Government.

THE pressure from the Turkish Government has prompted the Israeli Government to set up this investigation though it is becoming clear that its purpose is to do a Widgery on the dead aboard the Marmara. In case anyone has any doubts about the Israeli Government’s intentions, one has only to examine the panel heading up this investigative whitewash. Who with any sense of decency or concern for the truth would appoint a panel whose members will include Israeli Supreme Court Judge Yaakov Turkel (the Israeli equivalent of Lord Widgery) and David Trimble, the Nobel laureate, now elevated to the British House of Lords, the place reserved for failed politicians. He has been asked as an ‘independent ‘ international observer along with a Canadian retired military prosecutor.

Trimble, a former member of Bill Craig’s quasi-military Vanguard organisation of the early 1970s, and of the recently-established ‘Friends of Israel Initiative’ (!), was awarded the Nobel Peace prize along with John Hume. His performance on the day was described by Professor William Lafferty of Oslo University as “a premature prize for an immature laureate” who has served the Peace Process poorly. No doubt he will be a suitable nodding donkey for the Zionists.

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