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Freedom Flotilla 2 Immediate Press Release 24.06.2011

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on June 23, 2011

For Immediate Release                     

June 24, 2011

 

Israel Proves that Flotillas Work

 

Israel’s announcement of authorization for construction materials for 1,200 homes and 18 schools in Gaza is the latest achievement by the Freedom Flotilla, scheduled to sail next week.

 

In the weeks leading up to the flotilla, Israel has taken a number of steps to try to address the concerns raised in the public eye by the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human initiative. However organizers say that these steps are symbolic at best, fall far short of Israel’s obligations under international law, are insufficient to meet the needs of Palestinians in Gaza, and are fundamentally designed to maintain the occupation and system of control that Israel exerts over Palestinian lives.  Ultimately, these measures fall short of the greatest test – that of freedom for Palestinians.

 

In addition to the authorization of a limited amount of construction materials, Israel has also recently permitted 19 trucks of medicine to be delivered by Palestinian sources from the West Bank to Gaza.  This was in response to an emergency announcement from health authorities in Gaza that crucial medicines had run out due to Israel’s illegal blockade.  Prior to that, Israel increased the number of aid trucks entering Gaza to between 210 and 220 per day.  However, this still falls 35% short of what is required by Gaza Strip residents.

 

The pattern developing shows that as the sailing date of the Flotilla nears, Israel is increasing efforts to allow humanitarian goods into Gaza, including previously banned reconstruction materials.  This proves three important things: (1) the Flotilla is effective in generating changes, even if they are insufficient, on the ground; (2) the ‘normal channels’ for delivering aid exist, but are useless without pressure on Israel to allow them to function; and (3) Israel’s standard excuse for preventing reconstruction material into Gaza is rendered baseless, given the approval to allow 1,200 homes and 18 schools to be constructed.

 

Even as the Freedom Flotilla welcomes this latest achievement and proof of the necessity and effectiveness of the Flotilla tactic, we also reiterate that our effort is not simply about delivering humanitarian aid.  The goal of the Flotilla is not aid; it is freedom for Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories.  As such, there are no ‘established channels’ for freedom – there is only one – an end to the Israeli occupation.

 

Flotilla preparations continue apace, buoyed by the support of people around the world.  Next week Freedom Flotilla 2: Stay Human sails for Gaza; our destination is freedom.

 

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Gaza Freedom Flotilla II Press Release June 17, 2011.

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on June 23, 2011

FREEDOM FLOTILLA II-STAY HUMAN WILL SAIL TO GAZA! PRESS RELEASE

Istanbul, 17.6.2011

This is a rainbow coalition of human rights defenders. It does not only concern Muslims, but everyone, be they Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, secular or whatever. This is world citizenry united, Our destination is Gaza. Our means are non-violent. Our goal is to lift the illegal siege, completely and permanently and freedom for the Palestinian people.

With national campaigns in over 20 countries and around 10 ships being readied, Freedom Flotilla 2—Stay Human is on track to sail to Gaza to break the illegal Israeli blockade. The Turkish aid organization IHH remains part of the flotilla, even though the Mavi Marmara is unable to sail. There is no doubt about the need for the flotilla. Israel’s policy of collective punishment remains intact. The so-called “established channels” for delivering aid to Gaza, referred to by global leaders seeking to stop our mission, do not allow for the needs of the people of Gaza to be met due to Israel’s many restrictions, nor do they permit freedom for Palestinians. Nowhere else in the world are people required by the international community to accept humanitarian aid instead of freedom. And even that humanitarian aid is not forthcoming, owing to Israel’s blockade. This month, the health authority in Gaza proclaimed a state of emergency due to an acute shortage of vital medicines. Approximately 178 types of medications and 123 types of medical supplies have run out, and an additional 69 types of medications and 70 types of medical supplies are expected to run out within the next three months. A few days ago, 46 Palestinian civil society organizations announced their full support of the Freedom Flotilla 2.

The fact that the Mavi Marmara will not participate in the FF2, means that the misinformation put forward by the Israeli government and its supporters that the flotilla is a “Turkish” and “Islamist” effort will be completely exposed. Hundreds of people from around the world are sailing to break the blockade on Gaza. Freedom Flotilla 2 will include more ships than the first flotilla, even without the Mavi Marmara. Moreover, the coalition consists of significantly more member organizations this time, from all over Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa. Our destination is Gaza. Our means are non-violent. Our goal is to lift the illegal siege, completely and permanently. The International Coalition of

Freedom Flotilla II

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Press Release on the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni and Freedom Flotilla II

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on June 23, 2011

The Israeli efforts to prevent the Humanitarian Aid Flotilla will not succeed

After Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 a deadly blockade, from land, sea and air, has been inflicted on this land. The matter has been brought on to the international agenda and the Freedom Flotilla, which set out with activits from 37 countries, aiming to open a humanitarian aid corridor for Gaza, a land in which 1.5 million people live, ended with an Israeli attack that violated international law in international waters on 31 May, 2010. While nine humanitarian aid volunteers lost their lives in this attack, 56 suffered a variety of wounds. Upon receiving the news that the Freedom Flotilla II was setting out for Gaza, Israel immediately started to make intense efforts to prevent this justified, legal and humane effort. However, as happened before, Israel once again wanted to blockade the new freedom flotilla, which was prepared to set out, with only human feelings, to return the fundamental rights that are expressed in international agreements and resolutions to their owners. In this way while Israel tried to affect the world with their own theses, they tried to prevent institutions and foundations that were making an effort to form a justified initiative for the Palestinian people. Israel must abandon this attitude, not just for the people of Palestine, but for all of humanity.

In the table below the attitude adopted by Israel to prevent the Freedom Flotilla II can be seen:

The decision by Netanyahu for new assassinations

As has been reflected in the media, it has been decided that the Israeli security forces and intelligence agencies are to begin a new wave of assassinations. The resolution was made under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu and taken in the meeting in which leaders of security forces participated. This is not surprising to anyone as one of the infringements of human rights by Israel is the assassination of others.

Vittorio Arrigoni was murdered in Gaza merely because he remained in Gaza with the slogan “Stay Human”

Vittorio Arrigoni was born in 1975 in Lombardia, Italy. He joined the International Solidarity Movement in 2007. Vittorio Arrigoni carried out activities for ISM with 15 other activists from Spain, Italy, Great Britain and America. He came to Gaza for the first time on August 23, 2009 with the Free Gaza Movement and 40 activists from 17 countries. Vittorio was the only foreigner kneeling and kissing the soil of Gaza once he arrived to its shore for the first time.

He described that day as the happiest day of his life, the day that he experienced the most intense emotions. Later on he had stated the reason for coming to Gaza that “We are the activists that remain in Gaza, we are here to help people. In particular after the Mavi Marmara massacre the entire world and the Palestinians understood that there are many people who will put their own lives at risk to give support to them against the Zionist Israeli government. Many lives are being put at risk for this purpose.” Vittorio Arrigoni was living in Gaza. He wrote a book which describes the surveillance and inspections here: “Gaza: Stay Human”, describing how difficult life was for people in Gaza. He informed the Italian and foreign media with articles and videos about the situation of the people in Gaza, standing against Israel. It was announced by video that he had been kidnapped by a group called Sahabi ibn Salama group, on 14 April. A few hours after the broadcast of the video he was found strangled to death in an abandoned house. Vittorio Arrigoni’s mother, the mayor of a region near Milan, refused to have his body sent through Israel, demanding that it to be sent through Egypt. The name of Vittorio Arrigoni was included on the Israeli death list and was identified as a target for the Israeli Air and Defense Forces. Due to the murder and sad loss of Vittorio Arrigoni, we, like the Palestinian people, feel great sorrow. Whoever carried out this brutal murder will be punished for their act. Believing that the murder of one innocent person is paramount to the murder of the whole of humanity, our belief that volunteers like Vittorio Arrigoni, peace envoys, will be commemorated with great love by humanity.

The Palestinian engineer kidnapped by Mossad in the Ukraine

It is known that Mossad operatives seized Dirar Musa Yussef Abu Sisi on 19 February, 2011, bringing him from the Ukraine to Israel. 6 people, identifying themselves as Mossad operatives first brought Abu Sisi to Kiev and then took him, blindfolded and handcuffed, to Israel. Abu Sisi, stating that during the 25 days he was held in the Ashkalon prison that he was not allowed to see a lawyer or to employ any legal rights, also tells how he was intensely interrogated during this period. In the indictment, Abu Sisi, who spent 44 days in the Ashkalon prison, was accused of “being a member of a terrorist organization, carrying out murders and of helping Hamas by bringing long-range Kassam rockets.” Abu Sisi states that “the indictment was an attempt to create a pretext for my unjust incarceration”. On 19 February he disappeared; three weeks later, due to efforts by his family and some human rights organizations, it was learned that he had been taken against his will to Israel. As a result Israel was forced to explain that he was being held in the Abu Sisi prison. However, Israel put a media ban on the details concerning this investigation.

Opposition director murdered in Janin by unknown assailants

Juliano Mer-Khamis was the child of a Palestinian father and a Jewish mother; he was an actor and a peace activist. He lost his life as the victim of a murder in the entrance of the Freedom Theater, which he managed, in the Janin Camp. Mer-Khamis’ name is known as an opponent of the Israeli policies in Palestine.

The threat campaign of Israel against to the organizer and activists of the Flotilla

It is another sad fact that there a great number of threats are being sent by a large number of people, said to be Jews in Israel and Turkey, via Facebook, other social network websites and e-mail. They are attempting to prevent the Freedom Flotilla from setting out with a number of different scenarios, asking constant questions about the Flotilla, many times stating that “punishment is down to us”, “you will pay”, “this is not just a matter of convoys and flotillas, you will pay the price for messing with Israel”, “there will be more deaths” and other similar threats.

As we can see with all the examples given above, Israel is trying to prevent the Flotilla from leaving with new tactics and methods. We as IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation state at every opportunity that our organization and all our efforts, relying on legality and humanity, that our sole destination is humanity and to remain human, and that we will continue this effort for a humane future.

IHH HUMANITARIAN RELIEF FOUNDATION

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Freedom Flotilla II, 9th May Press Statement

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on May 10, 2011

9th May Press Statement

Freedom Flotilla II

Paris. France

Freedom Flotilla II will leave during the third week of June, with ships departing from various European ports.

The international steering committee of Freedom Flotilla II just concluded its planning meeting in Paris, a few weeks before the scheduled departure of the flotilla to Gaza. Freedom Flotilla II will leave during the third week of June, with ships departing from various European ports including Marseilles. We’re very pleased to announce the recent addition of a Swiss-German boat to the flotilla. In July 2010 Germany’s Bundestag passed a resolution calling for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  A number of our respective governments have said the same. The UN Human Rights Committee Fact Finding Mission into the 2010 flotilla attack found Israeli’s blockade on Gaza to be unlawful. The International Committee of the Red Cross has said that Israel must end its illegal closure of Gaza.  Yet Israel continues to disregard international law and ignore the will of the international community. Without any strong diplomatic action being taken to enforce international law and defend the human rights of the Palestinian people, the flotilla must sail and other international initiatives to end Israel’s impunity are called for.  We are encouraged by the reported decision of the new Egyptian government to open the Rafah crossing. But just as Egyptians stayed in Tahrir Square, accepting nothing less than the departure of the former regime, so too we must accept nothing less than a full end of the illegal blockade of Gaza and all forms of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In one week, Palestinians will mark 63 years since the Nakba and the beginning of the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homes. Next month will mark 44 years since the onset of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. And July will mark 44 years since the near hermetic closure of Gaza. The question is no longer why we are sailing to break the blockade, but why is it taking the international community so long to act. We call on the community of states and people around the world to uphold international law in Palestine, and support the Freedom Flotilla. Tomorrow, members of the Steering Committee will head to Strasbourg for meetings with European Parliament members to discuss details of the flotilla and their active support. From now until we sail members of the flotilla will be meeting their government officials, the UN and other international organisations to gain support for this global civil society action to end Israel’s criminal blockade of Gaza.

The International Steering Committee of Freedom Flotilla II

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UN Human Rights Council Backs Gaza Probe

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on September 30, 2010

 The UN Human Rights Council has voted to endorse the findings of a probe backing the prosecution of Israeli officials for the May 31st attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in international waters. A three-member panel of international jurists accused Israeli forces of “willful killing” and torture in the raid on the Mavi Marmara. Nine activists were killed in the attack, including a US citizen. The vote to endorse the report was 30 to one, with the US the lone country in opposition. US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said the report undermines “the cause of peace.”

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe: “This incident underscores the need to move ahead quickly with negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been resumed, and all parties should help create an environment conducive to progress in these talks. We should all be working to advance the cause of peace. The United States was opposed to Resolution 14.1, and we oppose the current resolution’s recommendation that the General Assembly consider the fact-finding mission report. For these reasons, we call for a vote and will vote against this resolution.”

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U.S. Threatens to Cut Off Arms Deal To Turkey Over Criticism of Israel

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on August 16, 2010

The Financial Times is reporting President Obama has personally warned Turkey that unless it shifts its position on Israel and Iran it could be cut off from future US arms deals. During a meeting at the G20 in Toronto, Obama reportedly met with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and called on Turkey to cool its rhetoric about an Israeli raid that killed nine Turks on a flotilla bearing aid for Gaza. In addition Obama criticized Turkey for voting against UN sanctions on Iran. Obama’s warning to Turkey is seen as particularly significant because Ankara wants to buy American drone aircraft that could be used attack the Kurdish separatist group PKK after the US military pulls out of Iraq.

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Israel threatens to Pull Out of UN Flotilla Inquiry

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on August 10, 2010

Israelis watching the bombing of Gaza during the "Operation Cast Lead"

Aug. 10,Tues.

(ref.: Democracy Now!)

Israel has threatened to pull out of a UN inquiry into the deadly raid on a Turkish flotilla heading for Gaza, if the UN tries to question soldiers who took part in the operation. An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

Israel will not cooperate with or take part in any panel that seeks to interrogate Israeli soldiers.

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Free Gaza Movement Raises Concerns About UN Investigation on the Deadly Israeli Attack

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on August 10, 2010

Aug. 4, Wed.

(Ref.: Free Gaza Website)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Stockholm, August 4, 2010) It has been over two months since Israel’s 31 May 2010 deadly assault on the Freedom Flotilla and little to nothing has been done to hold Israel accountable for its savage attack that led to the killing of nine of our colleagues, or to end Israel’s continued violations against the Palestinian people, especially the 1.5 million residents of Gaza.  Therefore, we are continuing our global, grassroots effort to stand up to Israel’s ongoing intransigence, including planning our next direct action, plans to enlarge our coalition to include groups from around the world who want to join us, as well as intensify our efforts to mobilize for the new Freedom Flotilla 2.

The world must continue to demand that Israel cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation committee to ensure independence, thoroughness, credibility, and justice for the victims.

We have real concerns with the new UN panel tasked by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to investigate Israel’s raid. as an apparent attempt to downgrade the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation, which Israel has yet to accept. The Secretary General’s new panel will have a very limited mandate of evaluating only current national investigations by Israel and Turkey, and therefore will hardly meet international standards for being impartial, and thorough.

Moreover, the appointment of ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as its vice-chair further corrodes the legitimacy of this UN panel. Not only is the Uribe government on record stating a desire to strengthen Colombia’s military relationship with Israel, but President Uribe’s own human rights record in Columbia should be a matter for investigation as evidenced by the report from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. http://forusa.org/content/report-military-assistance-human-rights-colombia-us-accountability-global-implications.

The United Nations must not be involved in any attempt to whitewash atrocities or to preempt international legal action on behalf of the victims of the flotilla. Israel’s alleged easing of the closure on Gaza has been purely cosmetic, intended only to deflect criticism from its illegal policies. Expanding the list of items permitted into Gaza does not address the most fundamental concern of the people there – freedom of movement. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are still denied the right to travel freely for medical care, educational opportunities, or even to reunite with family members in other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory. What we demand is an immediate and complete lifting of the closure including a lifting of the travel ban as well as the ban on exports from Gaza. We also demand that Israel release, unconditionally, our captured vessels and stolen equipment.

Israel and our respective governments must know that we represent a growing movement of international civilians unwilling to stand idly by while Israel continues to act with impunity — killing, maiming, jailing, stealing, and assaulting the very basics of our common humanity. Israel has not only deliberately created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but it has created a crisis of human rights and human dignity in all of Palestine that the world must address.

This is why our flotilla aimed to challenge the very policies that have left Palestinians in need of humanitarian aid, and not just to deliver essential goods to Gaza. It is why, in the coming months, we will send larger and larger flotillas to Gaza.

Flotilla members include:  IHH, Free Gaza movement, Swedish Ship to Gaza, European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza and the Greek Ship to Gaza


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Audacity of Hope: US Activists Plan to Set Sail For Gaza

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on August 10, 2010

Aug 6, Fri.

(ref. Democracy Now!)

Hundreds of people boarded a New York boat on Thursday night to support a planned aid mission to the Gaza Strip. Organizers with the US Boat to Gaza campaign are hoping to raise at least $370,000 to join the new international aid flotilla planned for later this year. The boat is named The Audacity of Hope after President Obama’s bestselling book. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights praised the new effort.

Michael Ratner: “Not enough aid is getting in for people to survive. The situation is desperate. And for years, all the countries in the world have done is talk about it, and no one has done anything about it. So with the flotillas that have gone so far, we’re beginning to see some change. And my view is that change, social change, progressive change, change in the blockade, comes when we have people actually engaging in action to break a blockade that is, in my view, utterly illegal.”

Also supporting the campaign was Emily Henochowicz, the twenty-one-year-old US art student who lost her left eye in May after being shot in the face by an Israeli tear gas canister at a protest against Israel’s deadly attack on the first Free Gaza flotilla.

Emily Henochowicz: “The main thing is that when you’re not there, it can seem so much more shocking to talk about freeing Palestine and freeing—you know, when you talk about the blockade on Gaza and trying to see Palestinians just as regular people, when you’re there, it just makes so much sense.”

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Netanyahu Defends Assault on Gaza Aid Flotilla

Posted by ihhgazaflotilla on August 10, 2010

Aug 9, Mon.

(ref. Democracy Now!)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended Israel’s deadly assault on the Gaza aid flotilla during testimony before Israel’s commission of inquiry into the incident. The raid killed eight Turks and one American citizen. Part of Netanyahu’s testimony was done in secret

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