SF considers condemning Israel's flotilla raid

June 15, 2010 6:50:23 PM PDT
Last month's Israeli raid of a flotilla that tried to break through the Gaza blockade ended in nine deaths. Now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering throwing in its two cents with a resolution condemning the Israeli act.

In the cover of night, Israeli commandos boarded ships bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza. A violent clash followed. Israel says they were fired on first; regardless, in the end, nine people were killed and an international political firestorm erupted.

San Francisco is now feeling the heat.

"Israel's political and military power is not always right, despite real concerns about the vulnerability of the people of Israel," Supervisor John Avalos said.

Avalos has introduced a resolution condemning what he calls the "Israeli's military attack on the freedom flotilla," and urging President Barack Obama and Congress to actively seek an end to the blockade. He says the resolution is not against Israel, but for human rights.

He does have some opposition.

"I don't believe my constituents elected me to be weighing in on a blockade in the middle of the Mediterranean. I think they elected me to worry about balancing the Muni budget, filling potholes, taking care of the city," Sean Elsbernd said.

Oakland resident Gene St. Onge was one of 46 passengers on the Sfendonh, the second of the six ships in the convoy. He came through with minor injuries and was on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday supporting the resolution.

"I understand that in the past San Francisco has taken a stand on international issues, apartheid, it's not inappropriate at all. We're part of a world community," St. Onge said.

San Francisco resident and city employee Julia Vcherashny sees the resolution as a vote of confidence for terrorism.

"That would be really bad. That would mean world against Israel and stay onside of terrorists," Vcherashny said.

The Board of Supervisors will not vote on the resolution until late Tuesday night.