Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Istanbul Declaration and the Mavi Marmara (ITIC)

Brilliant research from ITIC:

1...The Gaza flotilla initiative was a step in implementing the jihadist "Istanbul Declaration," issued at a conference called "Gaza Victory" and held in Istanbul on February 14-15, 2009. The conference was attended by 200 Arab and European Sunni sheikhs and clerics as well as members of Hamas, and bore the signatures of 90 participants (See Appendix). According to a BBC reporter who attended the event, "speaker after speaker called for jihad against Israel in support of Hamas."2  
The Istanbul Declaration provided the ideological background for the future violent implementation of its decisions, as demonstrated by the flotilla to Gaza. The events have to be understood within a radical pan-Islamic context and the mindset of their proponents, and in light of the Istanbul Declaration and the 90 radical Muslim scholars and clerics who publicly sanctioned the legitimacy of Hamas and their support for its military actions.

The Istanbul Declaration affirmed "the obligation of the Islamic Nation to find a just reconciliation formula for the Palestinian people, who will be responsible for forming a legitimate authority that will fix norms and attend to legitimate and national rights, 
and will continue with jihad and resistance against the occupation until the liberation of all Palestine." It also affirmed "the obligation of the Islamic Nation to open permanently the crossings—all crossings—in and out of Palestine to allow all the Palestinians to satisfy their needs for money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials, so that they can live and carry out jihad in the path of Almighty Allah." The Declaration also noted that "We affirm that the victory Allah accomplished by means of our brothers the Mujahidin, our defiant and steadfast kinsfolk in Gaza, was indeed achieved through His favor and help -- exalted be He! It was also achieved through fulfilling the religious obligation of jihad in His path." 
According to the Istanbul Declaration, there is an obligation for "the Islamic Nation to regard sending foreign warships into Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and preventing the smuggling of arms to Gaza as a declaration of war, a new occupation, sinful aggression and a clear violation of the sovereignty of the Nation." It continues, "This must be rejected and fought by all means and ways."3

The list of passengers on board the Mavi Marmara revealed the names of two conference participants who had signed the Istanbul Declaration. Their personal involvement in the flotilla demonstrated their commitment to the jihadist cause and their desire to represent themselves as models.

Muhammad Kazem Sawalha -- a fugitive, high-ranking former Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades commander in Judea and Samaria, currently residing and active in the UK (signature number 72).4 He was involved in launching the previous aid flotilla (Lifeline 3). At the time he noted that the next aid convoy would avoid an "unwanted confrontation" with the Egyptian authorities and that "the confrontation will be directly with the Zionist enemy itself on the high seas" (Al-Intiqad, Hezbollah's website, January 17, 2010). Sawalha, one of the prominent organizers of the flotilla, did not board the ship. Known to Israeli security services and wanted for his notorious Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades activities in Judea and Samaria in the past, it can be assumed he feared being arrested and tried in Israel.

A. Walid Al-Tabtabai -- a prominent Kuwaiti activist who is known to support armed resistance in Palestine and Iraq (signature number 88). At a press conference in Antalya the flotilla organizers asked all the participants to "write their wills." Following the press conference, Walid Al-Tabtabai reportedly "did not hesitate to write his will, in defiance of Israeli threats."5

B. Sheikh Muhammad al-Hazimi -- a member of the Yemeni Parliament and Al-Islah (the Yemini reform bloc) was photographed on the deck of the Mavi Marmara brandishing his large curved dagger (signature number 66).
Jihadist, peace activist - what's the difference, really, as long as you hate Israel?

It is notable that to date, the "anti-violence" Free Gaza movement has not said a word against the violence done by the IHH members aboard the Mavi Marmara. On the contrary, they have consistently defended it.