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Was Israel's Shin Bet Behind Vittorio Arrigoni's Brutal Murder?Tim King Salem-News.com
Hamas condemned the murder, calling it, "a shameful act, contrary to the tradition of the Palestinian people."
(SALEM, Ore.) - I had a terrible feeling Salem-News.com Correspondent and Gaza Activist Ken O'Keefe was probably on target when be stated 'Israel' repeatedly in regard to Vittorio Arrigoni's kidnapping and murder.
It never made sense that a group of Palestinians would commit an act like this, that is unless they were among the handful of Gazans who out of pure desperation, work with Israel as informants. This generally occurs because they are either threatened or bribed.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) simply exists to help sustain human life. Supporters of Israel consider these humanists to be an enemy of the Zionist state.
There is a demonstrated track record that is undeniable, and the increasing launch of the next Gaza Freedom Flotilla has Israel nervous, very nervous. They know the world is watching this time.
Hamas states on the Website for Al Qassam Brigades, that Palestinian people were shocked when they heard the news of the killing the Italian ISM activist Vottorio Arrigoni. While it was Hamas that initially stated the culprits were members of an extreme religious faction in Gaza, the government now says the resistance factions in Gaza have rushed to distance themselves from the murder-kidnapping.
The resistance factions in Gaza have decried the murder of Italian ISM activist Vittoria Arrigoni, who was kidnapped on Thursday, and found dead early Friday morning.
Hamas says Israel wanted to tell the world, especially the activists who support Gaza and the Palestinian cause, that If they visit Gaza, someone will kill them.
Connection- Suspicious Similarities
Of course many will immediately dismiss the possibility that Israel would have had a direct role in not just Vittorio 'Vik' Arrigoni's murder, but also the 4 April 2011 murder of Palestinian filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis.
Juilano's mother Arna had famously provided a haven for the Palestinian youth in Jenin. She was Jewish. Her husband, Juliano's father, was a Palestinian Christian.
Our writer Gilad Atzmon in London wrote, "According to Jenin police chief Mohammed Tayyim, Mer-Khamis was shot five times by Palestinian militants, but that police were still investigating the circumstances of his murder. I would wait to learn more about the tragic incident; as we know, the IDF trains special units that are operating disguised as Palestinians militants."
"Palestinian militants" is too cliche; probably our first clue stems from a cursory examination of who the benefactors of these murders are. Both are extremely demoralizing for both Palestinians and their worldwide activist friends. I know it will only strengthen resolve, but today hearts are broken and brutality took a real toll.
Nothing was gained for Palestinians by either man's death, and that includes the hardcore jihadists. It's like saying upper echelon in the IDF were murdered and the immediate suspects were Israeli soldiers, what would the odds of that be?
These men were both beacons, real lights of hope that allowed the beleaguered people of Palestine, surviving a brutal military occupation from Israel, to know there is a reason to live, and that people care and they are not always their own countrymen, that point in fact is key.
According to Hamas, "Israel searched for new techniques to foil the efforts of breaking the injustice siege on Gaza people. It found that past technique of killing the peace activists, like what has happened in Mavi Marmara, failed."
Hamas says there is a similarity between the two techniques because, "Israeli soldiers took some of peace activists to the back of the ship and executed them, the Israeli soldiers knew that they didn’t carry weapons."
Both the victims of the Mavi Marmara attack and Vik Arrigoni, were totally unarmed. Ken O'Keefe was aboard the Mavi Marmara and he personally disarmed two of the Israeli commandos and then handed them off to the ship's crew who took them below and gave them medical treatment, before releasing them back to the IDF which was still in the process of killing people aboard the ship. Then the Israelis refused medical treatment and two of the dead passed who could have been saved. It was vastly inhumane.
The common theme observed 31 May of last year in international ocean waters during the Flotilla attack that left nine dead, is that Israel both has what it takes to shoot unarmed victims execution style, as well as the moral fortitude to willfully deny it later to the United Nations. The UN is the agency that investigated and determined that Israel had committed numerous war crimes that day, and the UN investigators are who brought forth the confirmation of the IDF' execution killings of the unarmed civilians.
Hamas says the culprits were, not surprisingly, Israeli Shin Bet agents, "Palestinian traitors helped the service, used the same techniques, Gaza government security personnel found Arrigoni's body in an abandoned house in Gaza following his abduction by Israeli traitors. Two men were arrested and others were being sought in relation to Arrigoni's murder," the official added.
With regard to Palestinians aiding the Israelis, first consider that Gazans are in often cases dirt poor, and Israel blocks the essential items they need in regard to rebuilding their homes, all of which were damaged or destroyed by Israeli military operations. Just the fact that they are homes that were attacked, should set off red flags all over the world. Second, the Israelis are the best in the world at using information against people.
Palestinians who cooperated, if that is the case, easily could have done so under dire threat from Israeli agents. There is no end to what they would be willing to do. The Hamas statements do not reveal anything that wasn't already totally under consideration by many in the pro-Palestine community.
Hamas condemned the murder and characterized it as "a shameful act, contrary to the tradition of the Palestinian people."
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, "The goal of this depraved band of outlaws is to spread chaos and anarchy in the Gaza Strip, a desperate attempt to strike at the stable security situation." Barhoum believes the kidnapping and murder of Arrigoni was intended to scuttle the next Gaza flotilla, expected to depart next month.
Barhoum explained that he believed the murder was meant to dissuade other foreign activists from arriving on the Gaza Strip.
For those who study this ongoing conflict, the idea doesn't sound very hard to believe, at least from a strategic point of view.
Israel's military is already behind the murders of two ISM activists; American Rachel Corrie, and Tom Hurndall of Great Britain.
Rachel was killed by a bulldozer operator while trying to prevent the destruction of a Palestinian doctor's home. (see: (From: Mar-16-2011: On the 8th Anniversary of Rachel Corrie's Stand in Gaza - Craig and Cindy Corrie, The Rachel Corrie Foundation)
Tom was shot in the head by a sniper saving small children from the same sniper. (see: Feb-03-2011: The Shooting of Tom Hurndall - Film review by Tim King Salem-News.com)
With regard to Hamas, it is important to note that Vik had been very critical of them in an article published recently by Salem-News.com 18 March 2011 titled: Gaza's Youth: Hopes Broken at 15 March End Of Division Demonstration.
Yet in spite of this very direct harsh assessment that happened just as he described, it was not Hamas that threatened his life. It was Hamas that tried to save him. Vic told the story of Palestine's suffering; his work made Israel look like what it really is.
Vik was sickened by what he witnessed; the fishermen of Gaza, at least 20 of whom have been murdered at sea by the Israeli navy, were a focus of his attention. Vik was even shot during one of the many shooting encounters.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Israel of perpetrating the murder of Arrigoni because he had been a vocal opponent of Israel's policies in Gaza, and frequently blogged about 'Israeli crimes against Palestinians' equating Israeli policies to 'Nazi' crimes. Vik Arrigoni had also been arrested twice by Israeli authorities, Barhoum alleged. (From: Shin Bet kills the Italian ISM activist Vittorio Arrigoni - Al Qassam Brigade Website)
One could write an endless amount about the pain this has caused. Vittorio's mother has stated that she does not want his body returned home via Israel, she wants to receive his remains through Egypt.
As in the case of other heroes I have studied, Vik was on the verge of returning home. His father was ill and he knew that Gaza had been increasingly becoming more dangerous.
Anti Peace Activist Hate Group's Death Threats
It is also noteworthy that a group called Stop the ISM had called specifically for his death, as well as the deaths of other activists from ISM.
The only reason ISM exists is to counter the brutality and internationally illegal behavior of Israel, and for that they wanted him dead. It seems in a decent world, that this would not tolerated, but it was and is.
In fact Stop the ISM works with and in support of AIPAC and other Zionist groups that support Israel's separate laws for Jews and non-Jews, as well as a long list of human rights violations.
These are the mainstream Israeli and Americans who largely control congress and in fact we are coming right up on the AIPAC Conference held annually in the U.S. AIPAC and others are absolutely consorting with terrorists and this maniac, sick organization in my opinion, is on a level with the Westboro Baptist Church in regard to its hatefulness. On behalf of my Jewish friends and my position in this world as a human being, I am ashamed they exist. (Learn more about the group's hit list in this article originally published by the now defunct Palestine Think Tank: Those who want to bump off the witnesses of the slaughter)
Why was Vittorio in Gaza? What drove him to fight and place his body at risk in order to help people who desperately needed him? One reason is that he is descended from fascist and Nazi fighting grandfathers; men who fought against the occupation of Italy.
"Because he sought to do what the United Nations was failing to do, and is charged with doing, enforcing international law-- he was willing to serve as a "human shield" against violent Israeli encroachments on human freedom in occupied Gaza." (From: Arrigoni: I came here because my grandfathers fought fascist occupation in Italy - Philip Weiss Mondoweiss)
Thoughts on Vittorio from ISM
We mourn the lionhearted Vittorio’s death. And while we recognize that he was killed by a radical Palestinian faction, and we condemn radical Islamism, this in no way diminishes our own commitment to ending the cruel occupation. Read more
Mohammed Rabah Suliman, Gaza
Now that you moved to live in our hearts, we’ll become stronger and fiercer in the battle against occupation, humiliation and injustice. Vittorio. Such an inspiration to all of us. You taught us that life isn’t worth living if one isn’t ready to fight against its injustice, and that’s what gives it a meaning, that’s what makes it all beautiful. Now, empowered by your “memory”, we’ll carry on the fight together. Read more
Statement on Behalf of Italian NGO Workers in Palestine
We express our sincere condolences with Vittorio’s family, his friends and companions in the International Solidarity Movement and with all the people who have known him during the past years, when he was serving as a focal point for all of us in Gaza. Read more
ISM London are in shock and sorrow from the death of Vittorio Arrigoni. He visited London frequently and many of us knew him as a friend as well as a deeply committed activist for the Palestinian cause. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his family, friends and his fellow ISM volunteers.
A tribute to Vittorio Arrigoni (1975-2011), Lived in Gaza, From Italy, International Solidarity Movement.
Produced by Atif Wahab
Articles regarding Vittorio's loss
Articles regarding the death of Juliano Mer Khamis:
April-05-2011: Losing Juliano - Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com
Articles by Vittorio on Salem-News.com:
Advisory regarding comments: Comments on this story need to be of a respectful nature or they will not be approved, you have been advised.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org