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Sinn Féin Poblachtach
International Relations Bureau
223 Parnell Street, BÁC 1, Éire
|RSF condemns action by Israeli commandos|
|Monday, 31 May 2010 17:54|
Statement by Republican Sinn Féin General Secretary Josephine Hayden
“The boarding of the Turkish boat IHH and the murder of up to 18 innocent aid workers/peace activists in International waters by Israeli armed forces must be condemned unreservedly by all right thinking countries and peoples”, the General Secretary of Republican Sinn Féin, Josephine Hayden said on May 31.
“Israeli commandos attacked the convoy of aid workers in international waters without regard to international law or humanitarian principles. No amount of propaganda can hide the fact that this was cold-blooded murder carried out to further isolate the people of Gaza.
“All right-thinking countries should withdraw their diplomatic representatives immediately in protest at this war crime. We urge to the people of Ireland to show their disgust at this unwarranted attack on innocent civilian volunteers by attending protests and boycotting Israeli goods.
“The Freedom Flotilla was/is carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid, including medicines, construction materials, wood, 500 electric wheelchairs and 100 housing caravans. All the donated items will support reconstruction in Gaza after the bombardment by the rogue state of Israel in 2008/ 2009.
“Among the ships heading towards Gaza is the 1,200 tonne Irish cargo ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, which is owned by the Free Gaza Movement. The ship is carrying a cargo of cement and other vital reconstruction materials for the people of Gaza.
“This is not the first time aid convoys were attacked by Israeli forces. In June 2009 activists on board the Free Gaza Movement boat, the Spirit of Humanity, were kidnapped, arrested and deported after their boat was rammed”.
Gush Shalom: Only a government that crossed all red lines
Uri Avnery: this night a crime was perpetrated in the middle of the sea, by order of the government of Israel and the IDF Command. A warlike attack against aid ships and deadly shooting at peace and humanitarian aid activists. It is a crazy thing that only a government that crossed all red lines can do.
"Only a crazy government that has lost all restraint and all connection to reality could something like that - consider ships carrying humanitarian aid and peace activists from around the world as an enemy and send massive military force to international waters to attack them, shoot and kill
"Noone in the world will believe the lies and excuses which the government and army spokesmen come up with," said former Knesset member Uri Avnery of the Gush Shalom movement. Gush Shalom activists together with activists of other organizations are to depart at 11:00 from Tel Aviv to protest in front of the prepared detention facility where the international peace activists will be brought.
Greta Berlin, the spokeswoman for the flotilla organizers located in Cyprus, told Gush Shalom activists that the Israeli commandos landed by helicopter on the boats and immediately opened fire.
This is a day of disgrace to the State of Israel, a day of anxiety in which we discover that our future was entrusted to a bunch of trigger-happy people without any responsibility. This day is a day of disgrace and madness and stupidity without limit, the day the Israeli government took care to blacken the name of the country in the world, adding convincing evidence of aggressiveness and brutality to Israel's already bad international image, discouraging and distancing the few remaining friends.
Indeed, today a provocation took place off the coast of Gaza - but the provocateurs were not the peace activists invited by the Palestinians and seeking to reach Gaza. The provocation was carried out by Navy ships commandos at the bidding of the Israeli government, blocking the way of the aid boats and using deadly force.
It is time to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, which causes severe suffering to its residents. Today the Israeli government ripped the mask of its face with its own hands and exposed the fact that Israel did not "disengage" from Gaza. Real disengagement from the area does not go together with blocking the access to it or sending soldiers to shoot and kill and wound those who try to get there.
The State of Israel promised in the Oslo Accords 17 years ago to enable and encourage the establishment of a deep water port in Gaza, through which Palestinians could import and export freely to develop their economy. It's time to realize this commitment and open the Port of Gaza. Only after the Gaza port will be open to free and undisturbed movement, just like the Ashdod and Haifa ports, will Israel really have disengaged from the Gaza Strip. Until then, the world will continue - and rightly so - to consider the Gaza Strip under Israeli occupation and the State of Israel as responsible for the fate of the people living there.
PCHR Condemns Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the crime perpetrated by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) earlier this morning, 31 May 2010, when Israeli Naval Forces attacked the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" in international waters as it was sailing towards the Gaza Strip. IOF used excessive and lethal force in its attack on the ships, which left dozens of international civilian solidarity activists who were on board dead or injured.
Today's crime is hideous, and it is a shame for the international community to remain silent while IOF commits systematic war crimes against civilians.
PCHR believes that Israel would not continue to commit crimes and attacks against civilians, including the crime committed today against the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" and those international solidarity activists aboard, if the international community did not remain silent, thereby failing to fulfill its obligations and duties to enforce international law and provide protection for civilians.
Today's attack is characteristic of a long series of war crimes and grave violations carried out by IOF against civilians, including the latest Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, in addition to the imposition of collective punishment measures against civilians through the ongoing siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Unfortunately and regrettably, the world has remained motionless and there has been no intervention to stop such crimes or prosecute the perpetrators.
Rather, attempts have been ongoing to foil the report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict (i.e. the Goldstone Report), which provided for the first time practical mechanisms to prosecute Israeli war crimes; such attempts seek to undermine justice and preclude the prosecution of Israeli war criminals, thereby offering them impunity.
Members of the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions, are required to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians and immediately intervene to stop crimes perpetrated against civilians.
The ongoing silence of the international community is effectively an open invitation for IOF to continue to challenge international law, to act as a state above the law, and to continue to commit crimes against civilians.
It is time now to put an end to offering impunity to those who commit crimes of the nature outlined above. The impunity with which these criminals operate results from a policy held by the influential member states of the United Nations of favoring political interests and considerations at the expense of international law and civilians, and it comes with the heavy price of sacrificing human rights, international law, and the rule of law.
Today's crime reconfirms the duplicity of Israel's claims regarding the end of its military control of the Gaza Strip, and further proves that the Gaza Strip will remain an occupied territory so long as the Israeli military control of the air, sea and land is ongoing.