(Updated June 4) Condemn Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, break ties with murderous Israel!
June 1, 2010 -- Emergency rally in Sydney to protest Israeli commando assault on Gaza aid flotilla, attended by 4000 people. Photos by Darrian Perry for Green Left Weekly.
Statements by International Solidarity Movement (Palestine), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah (Palestine), Socialist Alliance (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Party of Malaysia, People's Democratic Party (Indonesia), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), Working People's Association (PRP) (Indonesia), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, Coalition for a Free Palestine (South Africa), Congress of South African Trade Unions, South African Communist Party, Socialist Party USA, Fourth International, Sinn Fein (Ireland) (check back for more).
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Call from Gaza for global response to killings on the freedom flotilla
May 31, 2010 -- We Gaza-based Palestinian Civil Society Organisations and international activists call on the international community and civil society to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings in Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla sailing for Gaza, and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.
We salute the courage of all those who have organised this aid intervention and demand a safe passage through to Gaza for the 750 people of conscience from 40 different countries including 35 international politicians intent on breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. We offer our sincerest condolences to family and friends who have lost loved ones in the attack.
By sailing directly to Gaza, outside of Israeli waters, with cargo banned illegally by Israel, such as the 10,000 tonnes of badly needed concrete, toys, workbooks, chocolate, pasta and substantial medical supplies, the flotilla is exercising international law and upholding article 33 of the Geneva Convention which clearly states that collective punishment is a crime against humanity.
The hardships of Israel's closure of Gaza have been well documented by all human rights groups operating, most recently by Amnesty International in their Annual Human Rights Report concluding that the siege has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law."
The United Nations continuously states that only a fraction of the required aid is entering the Gaza Strip due to what it calls "the medieval siege", with John Ging the director of UNRWA in Gaza specifically expressing the need for the Flotilla to enter Gaza. The European Union’s new foreign affairs minister Catherine Ashton has just reiterated its call for “an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza”.
The people of Gaza are not dependent people, but self-sufficient people doing what they can to retain some dignity in life in the wake of this colossal man-made devastation that deprives so many of a basic start in life or minimal aspirations for the future.
We, from Gaza, call on you to demonstrate and support the courageous men and women on the Flotilla and join the, many now murdered on a humanitarian aid mission. We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the international protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged. Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as any other people, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the 6 million Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.
Dr Haidar Eid: One Democratic Sate Group and University Teachers' Association
Dr Mona El Farra: Middle East Children's Alliance, Gaza 00.972(0)598.868.222
Adie Mormech: International Solidarity Movement 00.972(0)597.717.696
Max Ajl: Gaza Freedom March 00.972(0)597.750.798
The One Democratic State Group
University Teachers Association
Arab Cultural Forum
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Association of Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Info
Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements
International Solidarity Movement
Palestinian Network of Non-Governmental Organisations
Palestinian Women Committees
Progressive Students Union
Medical Relief Society
The General Society for Rehabilitation
Gaza Community Mental Health Program
General Union of Palestinian Women
Afaq Jadeeda Cultural Centre for Women and Children
Deir Al-Balah Cultural Centre for Women and Children
Maghazi Cultural Centre for Children
Al-Sahel Centre for Women and Youth
Ghassan Kanfani Kindergartens
Rachel Corrie Centre, Rafah
Rafah Olympia City Sisters
Al Awda Centre, Rafah
Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya Camp
Ajyal Association, Gaza
General Union of Palestinian Syndicates
Al Karmel Centre, Nuseirat
Local Inititiative, Beit Hanoun
Union of Health Work Committees
Red Crescent Society Gaza Strip
Beit Lahiya Cultural Centre
Al Awda Centre, Rafah
[The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led non-violent resistance movement committed to ending Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. We call for full compliance with all relevant UN resolutions and international law. For specific media inquires such as interview requests, photo usage, etc. please email the ISM Media Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
PFLP condemns the murderous crimes of the Israeli pirates and salutes the heroes of the Freedom Flotilla
June 1, 2010 -- The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine condemns the latest Israeli massacre on the high seas, in international waters, the brutal assault on the international Freedom Flotilla to Gaza on May 31, 2010. The Israeli state terror pirates, said the Front, attacked the humanitarian aid and international solidarity ships with firearms and commandos; the Front said that this is the latest crime against humanity committed by the occupation state, illustrating its blatant disregard for international law.
The Front saluted all of the members of the Freedom Flotilla, particularly the martyrs and wounded, saying that these are martyrs of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause, and of the struggle of people everywhere for liberation, justice and freedom, and will be immortal in our struggle, and that the Flotilla's prisoners are with the prisoners of our Palestinian Arab nation, prisoners of freedom in the hands of a terror occupation state.
It called upon the Palstinian movement in Palestine and in exile and all progressive forces around the world to continue and escalate their actions at Israeli embassies and consulates around the world, including emulating the example of the Turkish people in occupying the Israeli embassy in Anakara, and demanded an immediate end to any so-called indirect or direct negotiations with the murderous regime.
The Front demanded that all Arab nations end their relations with the occupation state and cut off diplomatic ties, demanding serious international action at an official level to bring the criminal leaders of the occupation state to justice in international courts and severely punish them for their crimes. Furthermore, the Front said that the United States government and all silent and complicit governments bear responsibility for this latest crime as well as all of the ongoing crimes of this occupation state against the Palestinian Arab people.
The Front pledged to hold fast to the examples of these activists, the latest martyrs of the great struggle of people for liberation and return and for justice in the face of an occupier and invader. They shall live on, the PFLP pledged, in the determination and resistance of the Palestinian people to see justice and freedom and end the crimes of the terror state.
Fatah: An act of piracy and a crime against humanity
By the Fatah Foreign Relations Commission
May 31, 2010 -- The Israeli attack against the Gaza Freedom Fleet is piracy and a crime against humanity. At a time when the recent Israeli war crimes against Gaza remains fresh in our memory, Israeli occupation warships attacked today the Freedom Fleet, a flotilla of aid boats manned by dozens of international peace activists, parliamentarians and journalists. Israeli occupation forces assaulted the fleet while the ships were still in international waters, attempting to reach the Gaza shores to deliver desperately needed humanitarian supplies to the population. This aggression has resulted in the killing and injury of dozens of activists aboard these boats. The Fateh Foreign Relations Commission condemns this heinous crime in the strongest possible way.
The Freedom Fleet was more than 90 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza, well in international waters, when it came under attack from Israeli warships. These illegal Israeli actions are an explicit act of piracy under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. They are also a continuation to persistent Israeli belligerence and impunity and expose the fallacy of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
It has been nearly four years since Israel, the occupying power, began its illegal, immoral and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip; a blockade that has brought Gaza's economy to a grinding halt and plummeted the socioeconomic living standards of 1.7 million Palestinian civilians. The suffering of the civilian population was further deepened by the brutal, merciless military aggression waged on Gaza by the Israeli occupation.
The international community must act; it cannot remain on the sidelines as Israel continues to flagrantly and blatantly breach international law while innocent lives are lost and the principles of international law are violated. The unfortunate international inaction and silence has emboldened the occupying power to escalate its impunity over time. It is therefore imperative that Israel be compelled, first and foremost, to immediately and completely lift its siege on the Gaza Strip to allow for the movement of persons and goods in order to end the isolation and humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian civilian population.
Furthermore the safe release of the courageous civilian solidarity activists, who were abducted at sea, must be secured. Under international conventions in force, states are obliged to extend their full cooperation to suppress piracy on the high seas or anywhere outside the jurisdiction of any state. As such, we call on all law-abiding states to assume their responsibility in this regard and ensure that the principle of piracy and violence, which Israel has adopted as policy, is combated and confronted.
It is high time that the international community undertake its collective duty to exert the necessary, serious efforts to redress the illegal situation in the occupied Palestinian Territory and bring an end to Israel’s illegal policies and practices. There is no legal, political, moral or human justification for the inhumane policies that Israel is carrying out against the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip.
Peace can never be realised as long as Israel continues to defy the law and remains an unwilling partner in the peace process. The international community therefore must cease its appeasement of such behaviour by Israel and must shoulder its responsibilities to bring about a change of course that will undoubtedly contribute to the realisation of the two-state solution for peace.
Socialist Alliance: Australian government must break ties with murderous Israel
By the Socialist Alliance (Australia) statement
May 31, 2010 -- Socialist Alliance condemns the completely unwarranted and murderous attack by Israel on the civilian Flotilla carrying aid to Gaza.
Media reports on May 31 say that between 16-20 people may have been killed and more than 30 injured after hundreds of masked Israeli commandos stormed the six vessels of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters off the coast of Gaza.
Al Jazeera reported that the ships are being towed by Israeli warships to the port of Haifa, instead of Ashdod, where dozens of journalists were awaiting the Flotilla's arrival.
Protests erupted in Turkey and Gaza immediately, and are being organised around Australia for June 1.
It is not yet clear who from among the hundreds of activists on board the flotilla of ships, many of which were Turkish, has been killed.
Two Australians, among them well-known Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeough, were on board the flotilla. Their whereabouts is not known.
Not since the French secret service blew up the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985 has there been such a brazen act of international piracy by a sovereign state. Governments all around the world have condemned the criminal actions of Somali pirates in international waters off the Horn of Africa, and have even sent naval armadas to confront those pirates. The international community must now unreservedly condemn this criminal act of piracy on the high seas, and immediately send an international naval armada to restrain the barbaric actions of the Israeli navy.
We demand the Australian Labor government immediately condemn the killings of unarmed civilians, break off diplomatic relations with Israel and demand that the flotilla is allowed to land unimpeded, and the aid delivered to the people of Gaza.
Most of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza rely on aid – which has been blocked by Israel and Egypt.
The government of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd must demand that the siege of Gaza, imposed in 2007, be lifted immediately and that Israel recognise the democratically elected government of Gaza.
Israel has once again violated international law and must be bought to justice for these and other war crimes.June 1 protests around Australia
Huge protests have broken out in Turkey and the Israeli embassy there has been stormed. There are emergency protests being organised around the world.
Sydney: Tuesday, June 1, 5.30pm, Town Hall,
organised by Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine.
Melbourne: Tuesday, June 1, 4.30pm, State Library.
Perth: Tuesday, June 1, 5pm, Wesley Church, cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth. Organised by Friends of Palestine.
Brisbane: Tuesday, June 1, 5-7pm, Brisbane Sq, Cnr Queen and George Sts.
Adelaide: Details coming soon - keep checking back here!
Canberra: Tuesday, June 1, 5pm, outside Israeli embassy, 6 Turrana St, Yarralumla. Plus a rally in Garema Place on Thursday, June 3, 4pm (organised by Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine).
Labour Party Pakistan: Condemn Israel’s attack on humanitarian aid to Gaza
June 1, 2010 -- The Labour Party Pakistan strongly condemns the attack of Israeli commandos on a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. The murderous attack has brutally killed up to 20 people and wounded more than 30 people.
The six-ship flotilla, carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, was an attempt by activists mainly from Turkey including Pakistan to defy a blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza since Hamas took power in Palestine in 2007. The blockade by Israel has apparently turned Gaza into the largest concentration camp in the world, with most of the 1.5 million Palestinians living there denied access to the most basic needs such as food, water and medicine.
This is not the first time the US-backed Zionist regime of Israel has committed such atrocities. From December 2008 to January 2009, the Israeli armed force committed a massacre which killed more than 1400 people and wounded over 5300 people in Gaza over 3 weeks.
The attack on humanitarian aid to Gaza has again revealed the true nature of the Zionist Israeli state –- a racist state founded on the mass expulsion of the Palestinians. The genocidal regime of Israel has been supported by imperialist powers like US and its allies. These imperialist powers are continuing to provide financial support and weapons supply to Israel in order to carry on its siege on Gaza.
The LPP demands that:
- Israel immediately end the siege of Gaza, and allow all humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.
- Governments all over the world have to condemn the killing of unarmed civilians by Israeli troops and bring Israel to justice for its war crimes.
- US and its allies stop all military aid to Israel and impose an arms embargo against Israel.
- LPP demands the immediate recovery of Talat Hussain and the two other activists, there is no news about the three.
The LPP extends its solidarity with the people of Palestine as well as people who support the Palestinians’ struggle for justice. A lasting peace in the Middle East will only prevail if justice is upheld for the Palestinian people and imperialism is defeated.
We also endorse the following statement of the campaign Pakistanis For Palestine:
Pakistanis for Palestine condemns Israel’s attack on the International Freedom Flotilla
Pakistanis for Palestine condemns the naked aggression of the Israeli Defense Forces against the international “Freedom Flotilla”, the convoy of ships attempting to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip that has been unilaterally blockaded by Israel since June 2007. The ships were in international waters, about 150 km off the coast of Gaza, where Israel has no jurisdiction.
Current death toll: 20, Injured: more than 60
1. That the United Nations include the Israeli Defense Forces in its list of terrorist organisations and put Israel on the list of states that officially sponsor terrorism;
2. That “the international community” end its hypocritical attitude towards Israel and authorise international news media to report objectively on acts of Israeli aggression; and
3. That Pakistan should use its status as the most important non-NATO ally of the US to pressure it to punish Israel for this gross violation of international humanitarian law
It is time for people of conscience all over the world to demand the end of the apartheid regime in Israel, the last colonial state in this post-colonial world, and to join the worldwide movement for the Boycott of Sanctions on and Divergent from all organisations and entities that support the racist ideology of Zionism.
For more information on the BDS campaign, see: http://bdsmovement.net/. We subscribe to the three principles laid out in the Palestinian call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel that calls on Israel to:
1. End its occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognise the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
We call on all Pakistanis who support the principles listed above to join the campaign.
Please contact us at:
Email address: PakistanisForPalestine@gmail.com
PSM: Condemnation of Israel’s attack on humanitarian aid to Gaza
By the Socialist Party of Malaysia
May 31, 2010 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) strongly condemns the attack by Israeli commandos on a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. The murderous attack has brutally killed up to 10 people and wounded more than 30 people.
The six-ship flotilla, carrying 10, 000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, was an attempt by activists mainly from Turkey to defy a blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza since Hamas took power in Palestine in 2007. The blockade by Israel has apparently turned Gaza into the largest concentration camp in the world, with most of the 1.5 million Palestinians living there denied access to the most basic needs such as food, water and medicine.
This is not the first time the US-backed Zionist regime of Israel has commited such atrocities. From December 2008 to January 2009, the Israeli armed force committed a massacre which killed more than 1400 people and wounded over 5300 people in Gaza over three weeks.
The attack on humanitarian aid to Gaza has again revealed the true nature of the Zionist Israeli state – a racist state founded on the mass expulsion of the Palestinians. The genocidal regime of Israel has been supported by imperialist powers like US and its allies. These imperialist powers are continuing to provide financial support and weapons supply to Israel in order to carry on its siege on Gaza.
The PSM demands that:
- Israel immediately end the siege of Gaza, and allow all humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.
- Governments all over the world condemn the killing of unarmed civilians by Israeli troops and bring Israel to justice for its war crimes.
- The US and its allies stop all military aid to Israel and impose an arms embargo against Israel.
The PSM extends its solidarity with the people of Palestine as well as people who support the Palestinians’ struggle for justice. A lasting peace in the Middle East will only prevail if justice is upheld for the Palestinian people and imperialism is defeated.
Released by Choo Chon Kai, International Bureau, Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM). Visit our website at: http://parti-sosialis.org/.
People's Democratic Party (Indonesia) condemns Israel's military attack on humanitarian workers
Central Executive Committee, Democratic People's Party (KPP-PRD), Jakarta
June 1, 2010 -- The People's Democratic Party (PRD) strongly condemns [yesterday's] Israeli military action against volunteers delivering aid to the Gaza Strip. As a result of its dishonourable action, at least 19 people have been declared dead and 50 others injured.
Humanitarian volunteers from various countries, approximately 700 activists, were sailing and transporting 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to the people in the Gaza Strip, because this area, owned by Palestinians, has been blockaded by the Israeli military.
This cannot be tolerated, whatever the claims of Israeli defence officials. Moreover, the Israeli military has a track record of repeated crimes against the Palestinian and international civil society.
We are also aware that the political policies of Israel share the interests of global imperialism commanded by the United States of America. Israel has long been disrupting world peace, because it does not accept the political sovereignty of the Palestinian people.
The US itself, which has not reacted strongly against today's crime, has become an important ally of Israeli war machine in the Middle East. Note that, every year, the US gives US$4 billion in aid to strengthen the capacity of the Israeli military. That means, that the US has been a proponent of Israel's aggressive wars and other crimes.
We demand there should be no more casualties in this incident. As a follow up, we ask the UN to immediately intervene to stop the evil actions of the Israeli military. We also demand that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and senior Israeli military officials, should be tried in an international human rights court.
These are the main points of our stance:
1. Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono must issue an official statement condemning Israeli military action against human volunteers.
2. Israel must immediately stop the action of blockade and withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip, as well as begin to appreciate the sovereignty of the Palestinian people.
3. The UN Security Council should immediately hold an emergency session and consider the weight to Israeli sanctions.
4. The US should immediately stop military aid to Israel and implement an arms embargo on Israel.
5. We call upon all in the international community to go to Israel's embassies and consulates to protest Israel's latest crime.
[Translation by Peter Boyle.]
Lift the blockade on Gaza now! An arms embargo on Israel! Philippines must break diplomatic relations with Israel!
By the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Power of the Labouring Masses Party, Philippines)
We strongly condemn the Israeli massacre (19 dead according to latest reports) and attack on unarmed civilians on the Peace flotilla in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against the blockade of Gaza. We join the expressions of outrage of protesters from around the world who have taken to the streets condemning the Israeli terrorist attacks. These terror tactics used by Israel are an example of the far worse treatment that the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation are forced to suffer every day.
We also specifically call on the Philippine government to take a principled and moral stance on the basis of human rights and break all diplomatic relations with Israel. Such a stance, although from a minor player such as the Philippines, will nevertheless send a strong message to governments around the world and will be testimony to our willingness to assert an independent foreign policy position, especially one different from the US.
We demand that:
- Israel immediately release the political prisoners from the Peace flotilla that it now holds in its jails!
- Lift the blockade against the people of Gaza!
- An arms embargo against Israel, now!
- The imperialist governments, especially the US and Britain which militarily back Israel, stop the sale of military weapons to Israel!
- The Philippine government, including the government of incoming President Noynoy Aquino, must immediately cut all diplomatic relations with Israel!
- ASEAN, currently chaired by Vietnam, strongly condemn Israel's terrorist actions! We call on ASEAN to break diplomatic relations with Israel!
Working People's Association (PRP): Stop the violence! Fight Zionism and imperialism!
June 1, 2010 -- The Working People Association of Indonesia condemns the Zionist Israel brutal attack on the humanitarian aid activists, known as Freedom Flotilla. The humanitarian aid was composed of six ships which were carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid. The plan was to bring the aid to Gaza, which has been blockaded since 2007 by Zionist Israel. The blockade has caused misery to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. On those ships were also dozens of journalists, and volunteers from Indonesia. The raid itself has caused dozens of people to die and tens of others injured. Israel has also put in prison other volunteers.
This crime against humanity is one of many crimes which have been perpetrated by the Zionist Israel, which Israel hasn't yet been held responsible. This is also because of the support from the US ruling regime, even from Obama who recently received Nobel Peace Prize. This support is clearly seen from US veto against all UN Security Council resolutions that disadvantage Israel, and how easily Israel can break all resolutions of the UN Security Council. The US has also provided $3 billion support every year since 1985, excluding billions of dollars of military aid which the US provides every year.
Meanwhile, Indonesia's SBY-Budiono regime is not any different as it readily accepts military aid from the US. This includes the latest plan, when Obama visits Indonesia, to reactivate military cooperation between US military and Kopassus (Indonesia's Special Force Command). No matter how brutal the repression which has befallen the people of Palestine, there has never been a stern measure from the SBY-Budiono regime against the Israel and US governments. The SBY-Budiono regime is more concerned about building image through statements of principle, but they never use its political power to genuinely help the liberation of the Palestinian people.
That is why the Working People Association demands:
- Stop the blockade against the people of Palestine in Gaza.
- Free all the volunteers and journalists who are in the Freedom Flotilla fleet.
- Obama to stop military and diplomatic support given by the US to the Zionist Israel.
- SBY-Budiono demand the UN bring Zionist Israel to the International Human Rights Tribunal for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
- Support and call for the building of international solidarity to fight against Zionist Israel and US imperialist regime.
The Working People Association sends its solidarity to the people of Palestine, and also reaffirms our commitment to build an international solidarity and support the genuine independence of the people of Palestine.
Socialism, the true liberation for working people!
Socialism, the solution for the global crisis of capitalism!
Unite, build the working-class party!
Central Committee, Working People Association,
National chairperson, Anwar Ma'ruf,
General secretary, Rendro Prayogo
CPI (ML) Liberation: Condemn Israel's terrorism against aid workers! Demand international sanctions on Israel Immediate end to India-Israel arms deals
By the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation
June 2, 2010 -- In flagrant violation of all international laws, Israeli commandos attacked a flotilla of aid carrying ships, firing at and killing over 19 unarmed peace activists, leaving dozens others injured. The CPI (ML) condemns this blatant act of war crime and a crime against humanity in no uncertain terms. The ships were part of a peaceful humanitarian response by citizens from 50 countries against the continuation of a three-year old unlawful siege which has resulted in great physical and mental distress to the 1.5 million people entrapped within Gaza.
The Israeli government and its propaganda machinery have predictably sought to show the attack as an act of self-defence, with the Israel's PM, Binyamin Netanyahu, giving his “full backing” to the Israeli Defence Forces after the raid, and the Defense Minister Ehud Barak blaming the Flotilla organisers for inciting the attack. Outdoing the two, Deputy Defence Minister Danny Alalon said that the activists aboard the ship were linked to international terrorist organisations and were trying to smuggle in arms, claiming shamelessly that weapons were found on board. Video footage of the assault clearly shows that the Israeli commandos dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment they landed on the deck at peaceful civilians without provocation. In short, it was premeditated slaughter in cold blood.
The Israeli actions have prompted an avalanche of protests the world over calling for international sanctions and isolation of Israel, with several European countries summoning their Israeli ambassadors for explanation. Closer home, India's Ministry of External Affairs has issued an insipid condemnation while choosing to be conveniently silent on the increasing strategic and military intimacy between India and Israel. The words of condemnation will remain hollow and ritualistic until all arms deals with Israel are scrapped.
Since 2008, Israel has gained the status of India's top defence supplier. While these deals, secured in utmost secrecy, remain mired in corruption allegations, the moot issue is that through these deals India actually subsidises Israel’s massive war economy and in fact contributes to the killings of Palestinians.
The CPI (ML) stands in solidarity with the demand for international sanctions against the state of Israel and demands for an immediate lifting of the blockade in Gaza.
The CPI (ML) calls for an urgent scrapping of India’s military and strategic ties with Isreal.
The CPI (ML) appeals all to protest against this blatant act of war crime and a crime against humanity.
South African civil society outraged at Israeli massacre
Issued by the Coalition for a Free Palestine (South Africa)
May 31, 2010 -- The under-mentioned civil society organisations, including the Palestine solidarity movement in South Africa and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, are outraged by the massacre committed by Israeli forces this morning, in flagrant violation of international maritime law.
At 04:30 this morning, in international waters, Israeli navy commandos invaded an international humanitarian aid boat, Mavi Marmara, which was part of an aid flotilla travelling to the Gaza Strip. The troops killed at least 19 civilians of the aid convoy and injured dozens more. The attack was a direct violation of international law and reflects the Israelis’ arrogant and flagrant disregard for law and human rights.
The convoy of ships was carrying 750 people from 40 different countries including 35 international politicians, members of parliament, former diplomats, human rights activists, aid workers and journalists and was destined for the Gaza port of Rafah later this afternoon. The flotilla carried essential aid material, such as medication, construction material, toys, workbooks, chocolate and pasta to Gaza. The entry of all these materials into Gaza has been banned by Israel. It is widely accepted that Israel's imposition of the now four year long siege on the Gaza strip is a crime against humanity. This view is supported by the recent UN Report by South African Judge, Richard Goldstone.
According to the UN, Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in January 2009 damaged or destroyed at least 11,000 houses, 105 factories, 20 hospitals and clinics, and 159 schools, universities, play schools and technical institutions. Further, 1,400 people were killed, some 51,800 were displaced, and 20,000 remain homeless to this day because Israel will not allow construction material into the besieged territory.
By sailing directly to Gaza, outside of Israeli waters, the flotilla was attempting to break the siege which is in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention which clearly states that collective punishment is a crime against humanity.South Africans will from today be joining the call to demonstrate support for the courageous women and men on the flotilla and to mourn the loss of those murdered on their humanitarian aid mission. We demand that, until Israel acts in accordance with international law, releases all political prisoners, and lifts the siege on Gaza, the South African government:
- immediately recalls the South African ambassador to Tel Aviv;
- expel the Israeli ambassador back to Israel;
- sever all diplomatic relations with Israel; and
- support the international campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the apartheid Israel state.
This statement is supported by:
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU)
Palestine Solidarity Committee
Palestine Solidarity Group
Palestine Solidarity Alliance
Muslim Judicial Council
Muslim Youth Movement
COSATU condemns Israeli state piracy
May 31, 2010 -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is outraged at the murder by Israeli commandos' of at least 20 people -- and injuries to a further 60 -- as a result of their armed attack on a convoy of ships carrying aid to the people of Gaza last night.
COSATU sends its condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives and calls upon the people of the world to condemn this act of Israeli state-sponsored piracy.
The six-ship flotilla, with 750 Palestine solidarity activists from around the world on board and carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid for the people of Gaza, left Cyprus on Sunday and had been due to arrive in Gaza today.
Then, when it was about 64 km out to sea, in international waters, Israeli armed forces boarded the largest vessel and fought with those on board. The activists say Israeli troops came on board shooting. Israel is now reported to be towing the boats to the port of Ashdod and says it will deport the passengers from there.
The ships were bringing the people of Gaza 10,000 tonnes of badly needed concrete, toys, workbooks, chocolate, pasta and substantial medical supplies. It was acting in accordance with international law.
COSATU fully supports the call on the international community to pressure their governments to condemn this brutal deed and hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid.
The federation welcomes the decision by the government of Spain and Sweden to withdraw their ambassadors from Israel and calls upon the South African government to follow their lead.
The flotilla was an international response to the plight of the people of Gaza, following Israel's closure of the border. Amnesty International in their Annual Human Rights Report concluded that the siege has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law."
The United Nations has continuously stated that only a fraction of the required aid is entering Gaza due to what it calls "the medieval siege". John Ging, the director of UNRWA in Gaza, has specifically expressed the need for the flotilla to enter Gaza.
The European Union's new foreign affairs minister, Catherine Ashton, has just reiterated its call for, "an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza".
COSATU also calls for greater support for the international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign against Israel, which is proving again to be violent and ruthless in attacking and murdering those who stand in its way. We urge all South Africans to refuse to buy or handle any goods from Israel or have any dealings with Israeli businesses.
COSATU reaffirms its support of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to national sovereignty and the same human rights as any other people. We demand the immediate end to the Israeli siege and the illegal occupation of the sovereign territory which has been violently seized from the Palestinian nation.
Issued by Patrick Craven (national spokesperson), Congress of South African Trade Unions.
SACP statement on the murderous Israeli aggression against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
June 2, 2010 -- The SACP condemns in the strongest possible terms the criminal and murderous acts of aggression against a peaceful Gaza Freedom Flotilla, bound for the besieged Gaza to deliver much needed aid.
The criminal massacre perpetrated by Israeli military forces against the humanitarian aid mission destined for Palestine, carrying about ten thousand tons of necessity goods in the face of the calamitous humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, a result of the illegal blockade upon this territory and its people, came under attack from the Israeli navy, where peace-activists were brutally killed.
The attack against the humanitarian convoy constitutes a flagrant and shocking violation of the most basic rules of international law, an act of piracy and a further proof of the terrorist policy of a State that has relied upon the complicity and support of the USA and the European Union. Given this serious event, the SACP demands that our government should in no uncertain terms repudiate apartheid Israeli and condemn these latest acts of aggression. A condemnation that, in the framework of Portuguese foreign policy and Portugal's participation in the diverse international institutions, gives Israel no immunity and derives from this event all the political, diplomatic and foreign relations consequences regarding the State of Israel.
The SACP reiterates its unequivocal support of the Palestinian people in their struggle for establishment of the Palestinian State along the pre-1967 borders with its capital in Jerusalem, and appeals to the South African people and progressive organizations within the solidarity and peace movements, with the Palestinian people to express their disgust and indignation and condemnation against this additional heinous act of the Israeli government and its military forces.
May 31, 2010 -- Thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Times Square to protest the murder of human rights activist by Israel. These activists were on six ships called the Freedom Flotilla delivering medical aid, food and other supplies to Gaza when they were brutally attacked by Israeli soldiers.
Socialist Party USA: Statement on the IDF attack on the Gaza aid flotilla
Statement by the SPUSA co-chairs
May 31, 2010 -- As co-chairs of the Socialist Party USA we condemn the attack by the Israeli Defence Forces on the unarmed humanitarian aid boat The Spirit of Humanity. The boat was carrying desperately needed aid supplies meant to break the inhuman Israeli blockade of Gaza. The death of at least 10 people, the injuring of dozens and the arrest of 20 stands as one of the most egregious attacks on humanitarian workers ever.
We join the activist group Viva Palestina in calling for the immediate release of those arrested so that they may continue their mission. We join the international community, including the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in calling for an immediate end the blockade of Gaza. Finally, as Americans, we demand an immediate end to all military aid provided by the US government to Israel.
Co-chair, Socialist Party USA
Co-chair, Socialist Party USA
Fourth International: end impunity for Israel’s crimes!
By the Bureau of the Fourth International, Paris
June 1, 2010 -- The far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman has demonstrated once more its ability to go even further than earlier Israeli governments in trampling international law and basic human decency under foot. Their murderous attack in international waters on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla is a new escalation of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. It must be met with a forceful escalation in the response from the solidarity movement and world public opinion.
Thanks to the Labour Party’s presence in Netanyahu’s extremist government, the whole Zionist political establishment is complicit in this fresh outrage. Labour defence minister Ehud Barak has declared that the government knowingly accepted the consequences of its act. Knowing, that is, that the world’s governments would reflexively respond with mere words: some diplomatic communiqués, some tut-tutting at Israeli ambassadors. As usual. But this time it must be different. This time an outpouring of protest must force governments to move from words to deeds.
Already US President Barack Obama and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-mon have spoken of investigation. What is there of consequence to investigate? The Israeli government does not deny that it launched an illegal attack in international waters; it proclaims it. The Israeli army itself says that more than ten activists were killed. The Israeli military’s own spokesperson claims no more than four Israeli injuries as extenuation for the slaughter. Al-Jazeera’s correspondent on the lead boat reports that a white flag was raised, and yet the Israelis opened fire as they stormed it, without provocation. All this points to a deliberate resort, as in 2008-09, to “disproportionate force”, certainly not a case of “self-defence”.
The assault on the Freedom Flotilla was in fact a logical extension of the blockade of Gaza that the flotilla was protesting and challenging. Hardly a government on Earth besides Israel’s has a word to say in defence of this blockade, a blatant case of an illegal collective punishment of a civilian population. Yet hardly a government on Earth lifts a finger to stop it. And the shamelessly cynical Israeli PR operation makes light of the blockade’s effects, recommending a posh Gaza restaurant to journalists.
Surely that press statement’s author remembers that posh restaurants remained in business in the Warsaw Ghetto as Jews were starving to death in the street outside! Not that there is mass starvation today in Gaza; arbitrary and capricious as the Israeli blockade is, it has so far been calibrated to avoid that degree of devastation. It has led only to widespread malnutrition; only to the traumatisation of tens of thousands of children; only to mass unemployment that has left 80 per cent of the Gaza Strip’s 1.5 million people dependent on relief; only to the helplessness of a population trying to live among the ruins left by the 2008-09 Israeli aggression, which they are denied any means of repairing; only to the deaths of 28 Palestinians waiting for permission to leave for urgently needed medical treatment.
The protests against the attack on the flotilla, coming on top of the blockade, are more than justified. The picket lines and demonstrations outside Israeli embassies and consulates should continue. But the protests must go further, targeting the governments in each of our countries that have made and are making Israeli outrages possible.
- In the United States, which under the Obama administration has remained Israel’s main backer, protests must demand and secure an immediate halt to the $3 billion in annual aid that funds the Israeli government’s crimes.
- In the countries of the European Union, which only months ago decided on closer ties with Israel, protests must demand and secure immediate invocation of the human rights clause in the Israeli-EU free trade agreement, suspending the commercial privileges that give Israel an economic lifeline.
- In the Arab countries that maintain ties with Israel, the peoples’ fury should frighten their governments into halting their complicity – and especially frighten the Egyptian government into ending its indispensable role in the criminal blockade of Gaza.
- In the Israeli state, where protests are also taking place, there should be stepped-up resistance to the far-right government.
- Everywhere where the solidarity movement is not yet strong enough to compel governments to break in practice with the Israeli state, people should take matters into their own hands with massive boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.
Finally, this new Israeli crime should lead to a new wave of discussion and reflection about the bankruptcy of the “peace process” supposedly aimed at establishing a Palestinian mini-state in the 1967 territories alongside an intact Zionist Israel. Today the Israeli government is being “punished” for its attack on the flotilla with yet another suspension of the anaemic process of indirect talks with the Palestinian Authority – a process that it obviously views as nothing more than an occasionally useful distraction from its work of establishing facts on the ground.
Movements for peace and solidarity should now be spurred to more clarity and resolve about the need for an alternative, heading towards true peace, with full and unconditional Palestinian self-determination, the right of return for the 1948 refugees (who make up four-fifths of the Gaza Strip’s population), the dismantling of the Zionist state, and a political solution in which the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish peoples can live together in full equality of rights.
Sinn Féin: There must be consequences for Israel’s murderous attack on humanitarian aid flotilla
May 31, 2010 -- Sinn Féin TD [parliamentarian] Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who had hoped to be on board the Free Gaza Flotilla which was attacked by the Israeli Army overnight leaving at least sixteen people dead, has described the attack as cold and calculated.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said there must be action from the International Community and called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to summon the Israeli Ambassador and expel him from the Country.
Speaking this morning Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
It looks as though this cold and calculated attack took place in international waters, in breach of all international maritime laws. There must be action from the international community.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mícheál Martin must summon the Israeli Ambassador and expel him from the Country. Furthermore the preferential trade agreement with Israel must be ended.
This was a humanitarian aid mission carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to the besieged city of Gaza. The blockade of Gaza is illegal under international law.
At all stage of preparations to join the flotilla the organisers reiterated non-violent and peaceful resistance to any boarding by Israeli army. The Israelis had nothing to fear from this flotilla.
The attack has left up to 20 dead and fifty injured 10,000 tons of much needed aid wasted.
My thoughts are with the families of those who died. They were courageous men and women as was each and every person on the flotilla.
Horror at the loss of life on Gaza aid convoy
Sinn Féin MEP [member of the European Parliament] Bairbre de Brún has expressed her horror at the loss of life resulting from an Israeli commando attack on a flotilla of boats carrying aid to Gaza, saying nothing could justify the storming of the aid ships. Ms de Brún said:
The Israeli government has compounded its illegal actions in blockading Gaza with this horrifying attack on the flotilla carrying aid. Nothing can justify the commando storming of these aid ships.
The EU must suspend its preferential trade agreement with Israel and ensure that it can only be re-instated if Israel ends its blatant disregard for international law and basic human rights.
The blockade of Gaza is contrary to international law yet Israel persists in denying people there the basic necessities to run their economy and their daily lives. Now they have compounded this denial of basic rights with an armed commando attack on the flotilla carrying aid to Gaza by sea.
I am horrified by the loss of life in this morning’s commando attack on the aid flotilla and call on the EU to take the strongest possible action in response.Ifthe EU stands by yet again and allows such actions to go unpunished then we forfeit any right to talk to others on the international stage about respect for human rightsI am calling for all who wish to show their outrage at this attack on a humanitarian convoy to attend the protest today at Belfast City Hall at 4pm.
Thousands of Palestinians cross border as Turkey calls for Israel to be punished for attack
Thousands of Palestinians crossed the border at Rafah as Turkey called for Israel to be punished for the attack, which left at least nine people dead. Volatility in the area was further underlined by reports that five members of Islamic Jihad were killed in Gaza in two separate attacks.
The Israeli army confirmed its aircraft had shot at militants in Gaza, killing three, after they had fired rockets into southern Israel, and that two gunmen were killed after breaching Israel's border fence.
Earlier, putting aside his hostility to Hamas, which has links to his political opponent, the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, ordered that the crossing be opened until further notice. The move is being seen as a response to increasing Arab anger at what is perceived as Egyptian complicity in the blockade.
The border normally only opens once a month for a few days.
An Egyptian security source told Reuters: "Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip to allow humanitarian and medical aid to enter. The border will remain open for an unlimited time."
The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, said that if Israel had heeded calls to lift the blockade earlier, the raid on the flotilla would not have happened.
The Free Gaza Movement, one of the organisers of the aid flotilla, said more ships have been sent to Gaza. Israel has repeatedly warned that the ships will be blocked.
Turkey today revealed that four of the people killed in the attack were its nationals. Its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, described the Israeli action as a "bloody massacre" that deserved "every kind of curse".
Speaking to the Turkish parliament he said: "This attack should definitely be punished."
In a speech that was greeted by a standing ovation, Erdogan said: "No one should test Turkey's patience. The foundation of peace in the Middle East is being rocked by the reckless attitude of Israel." The flotilla was the ninth attempt by sea to breach the blockade Israel and Egypt imposed after the militant Hamas group violently seized the Gaza Strip in 2007.
"Israel in no way can legitimise this murder, it cannot wash its hands of this blood," Erdogan said.
He added Turkey would continue to support the Palestinian people. "Turkey's hostility is as strong as its friendship is valuable," he said.
Turkey sent three planes to bring back some 20 Turks wounded during the raid. The nationalities of the other people killed in the attack have not yet been released . The Foreign Office has confirmed that a British man, named as Ahsan Shamruk, is among the injured, according to Channel 4 news.
More accounts of what happened yesterday are also emerging.
Haneen Zuabi, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset who was on the Mavi Marmara ship, accused Israel of trying to "cause the largest number of fatalities".
She told a press conference today: "What we saw was five bodies. There were only civilians and there were no weapons. There was a sense that I may not come out of it alive. Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation."
Earlier the UN security council called for an impartial investigation into the raid, but it stopped short of an outright condemnation of the attack.
In a carefully worded compromise statement drafted after 10 hours of debate, the security council also called for the immediate release of hundreds of civilians held after the raid.
Palestinians, Arabs and Turkey wanted a much stronger criticism of Israel.
June 2, 2010 -- Israeli citizens protest massacre on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.