Gaza Roundup 5: Bringing out the dead, the facts, and some provocative questions

Former US ambassador Edward Peck on Democracy Now, saying what we all know–that Israel is lying about the killings on board the Freedom Flotilla. The numbers given are low; they claim only nine were killed, and four of them were Turks. In fact, nine Turks were killed out of a probable 19 fatal victims. Lawrence of Cyberia has the names and faces of those nine.

The first fatal victim on Lawrence’s list is 61-year-old Ibrahim Bilgen, an electrical engineer, who is himself at the centre of an intriguing, as yet unanswered question. According to Ali Abunimah, Bilgen bears a passing resemblance to a prominent Arab-Israeli religious leader who was on the same vessel. That man is Sheikh Raed Salah, an outspoken pro-Palestinian activist whom the Israeli armed forces are said to have been trying to kill. Might the Sheikh have been the real reason (or one of the real reasons) behind the raid? Obviously they couldn’t kill him on Israeli soil, or it would have raised all kinds of incriminating flags. Salah himself believes that Bilgen was shot by mistake for himself, and that the only reason he’s still alive is because some IDF soldier could not tell two Muslims apart. Ali Abunimah notes that it is not far-fetched to suppose that this may have been an assassination attempt gone wrong; the Mossad-committed murder of another Palestinian leader in Dubai earlier this year being a prime example of how Israel prefers to deal with inconvenient Palestinians.

So far these are still just questions, but they are provocative ones. The answer may be awhile in coming, as we still don’t even know who all the dead are, or just how much truth (if any) is in the Israeli version of the story.

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