A Call for Global Response to Killings on Freedom Flotilla

We Gaza-based Palestinian civil society organizations 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 organized 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 tons of badly needed 
 concrete, toys, workbooks, chocolate, pasta and substantial medical supplies, 
 the flotilla is carrying out 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 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 who went on the Flotilla, 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.



Press Contacts:


Dr Haidar Eid: One Democratic State Group and University Teachers'
 Association


Dr Mona El Farra: Middle East Children's Alliance, Gaza 
 00.972.598.868.222


Adie Mormech (UK): International Solidarity Movement 
 00.972.597.717.696


Max Ajl (US): Gaza Freedom March 00.972.597.750.798


Signatory Organisations:



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
_

Gaza, Palestine 31. MAY. 2010




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