Israel Kidnaps Humanitarian Activists to Gaza
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Israel’s blockade of Gaza since mid-2007 is a flagrant breach of international law.
It’s a declaration of war against two million Strip residents, wanting freedom from Israeli viciousness.
Since blockade was instituted solely for political, not security, reasons, Israel waged three preemptive wars of aggression on Gaza, massacring thousands, injuring many thousands more, turning much of the Strip to rubble.
Defenseless civilians were harmed most. Entire families were slaughtered in cold blood. Like America, Israel considers civilians threatening no one legitimate targets, including women, young children, infants, the elderly and infirm.
In the aftermath of Israel’s summer 2014 war on Gaza, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said “the scale of destruction, devastation and displacement during the 50 days of conflict is unprecedented in Gaza since at least the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967.”
Humanitarian crisis conditions today are worse than ever. According to the Gisha Center for Freedom of Movement, reality on the ground in Gaza is “unbearable by any reasonable standards.”
Strip “residents have hovered on the brink of humanitarian disaster for too long…(T)here is no (legal, security, or other) justification for (maintaining) suffocating” conditions.
The disastrous “state of civilian infrastructure in Gaza is unfathomable.” Its two million residents are held hostage by Israeli apartheid ruthlessness.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) supports the “right to a just future for Palestine” – free from illegal militarized occupation.
On Sunday, FFC’s vessel Al Awda (The Return), with nearly two dozen humanitarian activists on board from 16 countries (including Israeli citizens), was unlawfully interdicted by Israeli warships, its passengers kidnapped, the vessel hijacked – an act of barbarism and piracy, an Israeli specialty repeated time and again.
Al Awda is part of a flotilla trying to break Israel’s blockade symbolically. The Olmert and Netanyahu regimes want Gazans suffocated into submission.
Over a decade of slow-motion genocide on the Strip remains ongoing – with full US support and encouragement, world leaders doing nothing to hold Israel accountable for this and numerous other high crimes of war and against humanity.
On Sunday, FFC tweeted the following: “#FreedomFlotilla boat hijacked by Israeli forces.”
“PLEASE contact gov’ts to demand they call for #SafePassage for all on board #AlAwda (The Return) & speedy delivery of our #solidarity gifts to the #Palestinians of #Gaza…”
The FFC is an international “grassroots people-to-people solidarity movement composed of campaigns and initiatives from all over the world working together to end the siege of Gaza.”
Its partners include the “Canadian Boat to Gaza, Freedom Flotilla Italia, MyCARE Malaysia, Kia Ora Gaza (New Zealand/Aotearoa), Ship to Gaza Norway, IHH (Turkey), Palestine Solidarity Alliance (South Africa), Rumbo a Gaza (Spain), Ship to Gaza Sweden, US Boat to Gaza, the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, Gaza Freedom Flotilla Australia, ’National Collective for Palestine, and ‘Platform of NGOs for Palestine’ (France).”
Its partner in Gaza includes the “Union of Agricultural Work Committees, which represents Palestinian fishers and farmers.”
FFC explained that Al Awda sailed under a Norwegian flag with 22 activists onboard and a cargo of vitally needed medical supplies.
The boat is “a former fishing vessel from Norway, (offered as) a gift to Palestinian fishers in Gaza” – confiscated by Israel unlawfully.
In mid-May four humanitarian boats sailed for Gaza, stopping in 28 ports, the mission’s aim to build support for a Just Future for Palestine.
The Swedish vessel Freedom, with activists onboard and medical supplies, is expected to reach waters where Al Awda was interdicted on Tuesday.
Two smaller boats “participated in the mission until Palermo,” Italy, FFC said. Ship to Gaza Norway’s Torstein Dahle said the following:
“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on the Norwegian Government, the national governments of those aboard Al Awda, the Freedom, other national governments, and relevant international organizations to act immediately.”
“The international community must assume its responsibilities and demand that Israeli authorities ensure the safety of those on board, the speedy delivery of our gifts to the Palestinian people in Gaza, an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza, and to stop impeding our legal right of innocent passage to Gaza to deliver our gift of much-needed medical supplies.”
US-led international community complicity with Israel denies long-suffering Palestinians freedom and justice affirmed under international law.
A Final Comment
Suheir Hammad’s poem, titled “Gaza: Poem” reads as follows:
“some must die because they are the vicinity
some must die because it was written
no army does not apologize has never
apologized authority chases paper assembly
occupation settles deeper
a great miracle here
the living are dying and the dying living
a festival of lights
a strip a land a blaze
the sea a mirror of fire
a casting of lead upon children
their heads roll off their shoulders into streets
their tops spin in hands
an army feasting on epiphany
driving future into history
carrying torches into women
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