It’s been a while since we last heard from Cynthia McKinney, but today we discover that she’s … well, in the same place as six months ago. McKinney tried running the Israeli blockade on Gaza and got captured, along with her crew. Now she demands her release, while the Israelis make the completely understandable case that they don’t want her a minute longer than necessary (via Yid with Lid):
Former U.S. lawmaker and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, whose relief boat was seized by an Israeli naval ship Tuesday for the second time in a year, is demanding the immediate release of her and 20 other activists.
McKinney, a longtime supporter of Palestinians, said her Greek-flagged boat, the Spirit of Humanity, was carrying medical supplies, cement, olive trees and children’s toys to Gaza when it was boarded by the Israeli navy.
“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us,” said McKinney. “Our boat was not in Israeli waters and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip. President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”
Well, President Obama is not president of Israel. He doesn’t get to dictate policy to Jerusalem, although Obama himself might think that he can. The Israelis do allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, but through closely secured transit points that allow them to keep out weapons, especially rockets that get launched from Gaza at cities in southern Israel. Running a blockade carries with it the risk of arrest — or worse — and announcing your intention to run the blockade (as McKinney does in this statement) is certainly enough reason to stop the Spirit of Humanity before it succeeds.
In fact, the Israelis warned McKinney and her crew to stay out of Gaza waters. They ignored the radio warning and proceeded towards Gaza until the Israeli navy intercepted them and forced them into an Israeli port. Israel also said that they would send the goods McKinney transported into Gaza as soon as it checked out as safe.
The Israelis, meanwhile, have already tired of McKinney:
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was planning to free the crew and passengers.
“Nobody wants to keep them here,” he said. “They will be released as soon as they are checked.”
We feel your pain, Yigal.