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Israel and Gaza: Northwest connections

You don't have to look very far to find Northwest ties to the flotilla confrontation.

The Northwest's connections to the tensions over aid to Gaza will get some stark underlining, if only because of the name of the flotilla's one remaining aid ship. It's the MV Rachel Corrie, dubbed in honor of the 23-year-old Evergreen State College woman killed in Gaza while trying to keep Israeli bulldozers from demolishing a Palestinian home in 2003.

Even before the remaining ship began to receive attention, The Seattle Times reported that an 80-year-old Orcas Island resident, David Schermerhorn, was taken into custody uninjured from the flotilla after a raid by Israeli forces.

I first noticed the ship's name on the SeattlePostGlobe site, which has been following the events through postings on a blog published by former Seattle Post-Intelligencer foreign editor Larry Johnson.

Before the flotilla and the deaths of its activists came into the news, a series of postings on both Johnson's site and the PostGlobe site served as a reminder of the far-reaching connections to all sides of the Israel-Palestine questions. Both sites ran a series of guest articles by Gerri Haynes, organizer of a Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility delegation that made a trip to work in Gaza clinics and hospitals. (Links to most of the series are here.) Haynes and, apparently, Rachel Corrie's mother, Cindy, can be seen on a video giving a pro-Palestinian view of the flotilla and the deaths of activists.

More or less at the same time, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle was running a blog from a trip involving a group of 100 travelers from "Seattle to Portland" visiting Israel on what sounded like a combined fun and educational tour. The federation's website today (June 1) has a background paper with its view of the flotilla and a statement expressing sorrow over "the loss of life and the injuries to both civilians and soldiers."

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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