CBS Paints Anti-Israel Flotilla Activists As Nonviolent, Fails to Note Violent Coup By Hamas

 After showing behind anchor Russ Mitchell an image of the sign "To Gaza with Love" from one of the flotilla boats planning to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, Saturday’s CBS Evening News showed a report highlighting the allegedly nonviolent intentions of American activists on board one of the ships - named "The Audacity of Hope" - without noting that, during last year’s anti-Israel flotilla trip, some activists attacked Israeli troops as they attempted to board. CBS correspondent Barry Peterson merely recounted that Israeli troops killed some of the activists without explaining why:

Last year, boats ran the blockade. Israeli commandos stormed one ship, killing nine. This time, politics was enough to have Greece ban any boats leaving in a new flotilla. Israel and Greece do more than half a billion dollars in trade, and Israel is planning a natural gas pipeline to Greece. The American activists knew getting to Gaza was a long shot, but still practiced to resist Israeli soldiers who might have boarded their ship.

A clip was shown of this year’s activists sitting on the floor in a circle as if practicing to nonviolently resist Israeli troops.

And, as Peterson informed viewers that the terrorist group Hamas’s control of Gaza was Israel's motivation behind the blockade, he incorrectly claimed that the blockade was imposed after Hamas won elections when, in reality, the blockade was imposed a year and a half after the elections after Hamas staged a violent coup against Fatah in Gaza in June 2007. The CBS correspondent also failed to explicitly state that the blockade’s purpose is to prevent the shipment of weapons to Hamas. Peterson: "The Israelis blockaded Gaza in 2007 after the terrorist group Hamas won elections, and Israel maintains tight control of its checkpoints as Egypt does from its side."

After Hamas narrowly won the popular vote in the January 2006 parliamentary elections, Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party was still the legitimate president of the Palestinian Authority. It was not until June 2007 that Hamas violently overthrew Fatah’s executive authority in the Gaza Strip, leading Israel and Egypt to impose the blockade.

After Hamas took control of the Palestinian parliament in January 2006, Israel had joined the Quartet entities - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia - in imposing economic sanctions against the Palestinian Authority - affecting both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. But, after Hamas overthrew Fatah’s executive authority in Gaza in 2007, sanctions affecting the West Bank were lifted to assist Fatah, while the blockade was imposed on the Gaza Strip to weaken Hamas.

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Saturday, July 2, CBS Evening News :

RUSS MITCHELL, BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: And new setbacks for that flotilla that hoped to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Those stories when the CBS Evening News continues.

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MITCHELL: Authorities in Greece today arrested the captain of one of the boats in that flotilla that was going to try to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. As Barry Peterson reports from Athens, today's arrest is just the latest in a string of setbacks for the controversial sea-going mission.

BARRY PETERSON: A ship load of pro-Palestinian Americans with a mission, carrying nothing but letters in a symbolic effort to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, sailing in defiance of Greek orders and Israeli pressure. This was basically a dare to the Greek authorities who had said the boat was not allowed to leave. The idea, go as far out as they could get and see what happens. Not far, before the coast guard with commandos intercepted the boat. The Americans yelled their frustration. The Israelis blockaded Gaza in 2007 after the terrorist group Hamas won elections, and Israel maintains tight control of its checkpoints as Egypt does from its side.

Last year, boats ran the blockade. Israeli commandos stormed one ship, killing nine. This time, politics was enough to have Greece ban any boats leaving in a new flotilla. Israel and Greece do more than half a billion dollars in trade, and Israel is planning a natural gas pipeline to Greece. The American activists knew getting to Gaza was a long shot, but still practiced to resist Israeli soldiers who might have boarded their ship. They are determined to try again, and Israel is just as determined that their boat and their cause are going nowhere. Barry Peterson, CBS News, Athens.