We, Israeli organizations, Palestinians and Jews, declare our support for the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla and its declared goals: to break the Israeli siege on Gaza – both on the sea and land – which represents part of the ongoing Israeli occupation.
We denounce the slanderous campaign of the government of Israel against the flotilla and its participants, and warn against the government’s use of these lies as justification for additional violent actions against the participants of this legitimate political protest.
The flotilla to Gaza is a brave act of political protest, which expresses solidarity with the Palestinian people and the opposition throughout the world to Israeli occupation policies, the ongoing siege on Gaza and the collective punishment of civilians.
Today the Gaza Strip is a massive prison for its 1.5 million residents, for whom basic rights are denied. The right of the Palestinians in Gaza to maintain direct contact with the outside world, their right to open their port, their right to receive and send ships, their right to import and export goods and to develop their economy, precisely as for Israel these rights exist. The state of Israel must end its direct and indirect control over the Gaza Strip, as part of its obligations grounded in international law and to end its occupation regime over the Palestinian Territory and to permit the independence of Palestine.
We emphasise that in contrast to government declarations, the very act of the flotilla is a non-violent one, and in case of an attack by the army the activists are preparing for opposition that is also to be non-violent. In an announcement from one of the members of the international coordinating team of the flotilla, which was issued in response to claims of the security apparatus in Israel, it is explicitly noted that “there are no weapons on any of the ships, and on board all of them are tens of international journalists who can attest to this. The passengers undergo training in non-violence and sign a commitment not to use violence.”
We denounce attempts of the government of Israel to create an atmosphere of fear of the flotilla and to discourage participation in it. The government of Israel wishes to create an unfounded atmosphere of fear through knowingly spreading lies about the so-called preparations for violent resistance to kill soldiers, and the intention of peace activists participating in the flotilla to bring weapons with them to Gaza; in parallel, it is exerting unprecedented pressure on international journalists, lest they join the flotilla in order to cover it. This media campaign, intended to sow fear and hatred in the Israeli public, further arouses suspicion that an additional goal is to justify the harsh and dangerous results which are liable to occur in case of a violent takeover of the ships and harm to their passengers.
We strongly denounce the decision of the government of Greece to bar departure of the vessels from its ports to Gaza. This decision contradicts international laws concerning freedom of navigation, and is tinged with extreme unreasonableness. From reports in the media about the contacts between the governments of Israel and Greece, the impression is received that Greece is succumbing to unacceptable political pressures from the government in Israel.
We call on the Greek government to immediately annul the order prohibiting sailing of the flotilla vessels from its ports and to allow their departure whilst ensuring the safety of the passengers and ships.
We call on Israel’s government and security forces to permit the ships to enter Gaza and unload their humanitarian cargo in peace, and hope the ships arrive safely to their destination.
We call on the government of Israel to immediately end the siege of Gaza.
For additional details:
Adam Keller: 054 2340749
Yaakov Manor: 050 5733276
Alternative Information Center (AIC) * Coalition of Women for Peace * Combatants for Peace * Gush Shalom * Hithabrut-Tarabut * Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD) * New Profile * Ta’ayush: Arab-Jewish Partnership * Yesh Gvul