PRESS STATEMENT 27 September 2010 – Freedom Flotilla Coalition Grows in Athens

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Grows in Athens – Legal, Political and Grassroots Action to End Israeli Impunity

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has just concluded its meeting in Athens, where we assessed developments related to our ongoing efforts to end Israel’s criminal blockade on Gaza and other illegal policies perpetrated against the Palestinian people. We have said that we would not allow Israel’s violence against Freedom Flotilla I stop our global citizen efforts to stand up to Israel’s ongoing intransigence and indeed it has not. Over the last three months, we have been joined by national coalitions in Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Canada, Norway, Belgium, Austria, Australia, and the United States, and other countries, each of which is working on sending a boat to Gaza. As we speak, a Jewish boat is on its way to Gaza in a statement to the world that Israel does not act in the name of world Jewry, nor does Israel’s blockade of Gaza have anything to do with protecting Jews. The people of Gaza anxiously await their arrival.
We have started a movement that Israel, with all its weapons, cannot stop. We have been forced to do this because our governments have not been willing to hold Israel accountable for systematic violations of Palestinian human rights. We expect our governments to support our nonviolent actions to uphold international law, and to take action when their unarmed citizens are violently attacked, beaten, arrested and killed. We lost nine of our colleagues to Israel’s senseless violence and this is only a fraction of the violence that Palestinians have been subjected to over the last 60 years.
Today the independent Fact Finding Mission, commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council releases the conclusions of its investigation into the Freedom Flotilla raid. The UN flotilla report concludes that Israeli troops used “incredible violence” against us, committing “grave breaches” of international law. The report also says there is “clear evidence to support prosecutions” against Israel for “willful killing” and torture committed when its soldiers stormed our flotilla last May. Greece, as a signatory to the Rome Statute has the right to bring this matter before the International Criminal Court. Our respective countries have the ability to invoke universal jurisdictions to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
Israel has consistently tried to label any individual or group that acts to defend Palestinian rights as “terrorist.” They launched a slanderous attack on our Turkish partners. The UN Flotilla report rejected the notion that intervention by civil society to address the cause of a humanitarian crisis is meddlesome. It called for space for both humanitarian intervention to alleviate the crisis in Gaza, and political action to address the causes creating the crisis. The Second Freedom Flotilla now being organized, like the one so brutally attacked by Israel, will aim to do both. In the meantime we call upon our countries to use all available legal and political means to ensure that Israel stops acting above the law so that we do not have to put our lives on the line to do so.


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