Plea to our representatives – Free Gaza Movement and Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human

Greta Berlin:  We do love the letter. We wrote it!! It’s from Free Gaza Movement. This plea should be sent to all representatives from all countries. Please use..Translate it and send it out. We really appreciate it.. Thank you everyone.. Greta

Dear xxxx

On behalf of the Free Gaza Movement and Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human, I am writing to ask for your support for the flotilla to the occupied Gaza strip, set to sail in the second half of June.

This is the second large-scale citizen-to-citizen humanitarian and human rights initiative to be launched by international grassroots groups.

At least ten ships with dignitaries, doctors, professors, artists, journalists, and activists as well as construction supplies and humanitarian aid will sail from ports in Europe to Gaza in an act of non-violent civil disobedience to persuade the international community to fulfill its obligations towards the Palestinian people and end Israel’s four year illegal blockade of Gaza and overall policies of control of Palestinian lives throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.

On her recent visit to the Palestinian territories and Israel, Valerie Amos, OCHA’s Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator called for ending the blockade, however she did not offer any methods for doing so. While our flotilla may not provide a long-term solution, last year’s flotilla opened the subject of Gaza on the world stage and put considerable pressure on Israel to change its policy on Gaza – something the international community had failed to do for 3 years. While that change was welcome, it was not nearly enough, and the awful humanitarian situation persists, as does the illegal blockade – identified as such by the International Committee of the Red Cross following last year’s flotilla.

The Free Gaza Movement was established in late 2006. Since 2008, through the donations of thousands of supporters from around the world, we have sailed to Gaza nine times. Five times we succeeded in breaking Israel’s blockade and bringing internationals, including Palestinians and Israelis, into the besieged territory in solidarity with those trapped.

In May 2010, the first Freedom Flotilla sent seven vessels to Gaza carrying nearly 700 passengers from 36 different countries. Israeli commandos attacked the boats, shot and killed nine passengers, injured over 50 and imprisoned all aboard.

Undeterred, Freedom Flotilla II, including the Turkish-flagged vessel, Mavi Marmara, is returning. Organised by 14 national groups and international coalitions, and carrying approximately 1000 ‘freedom riders’ [1] we are determined to break Israel’s ongoing collectively punishing blockade.

• Amnesty International has called Israel’s closure of Gaza “a collective punishment and violation of international law” that has left four out of five Palestinians dependent on humanitarian aid. [2] The International Committee for the Red Cross and the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict have called the blockade a violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power towards the civilian population of Gaza.

• In May 2008, Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu denounced the Gaza blockade as an “abomination” and said that the international community’s “silence and complicity…shames us all.”

• As early as October 2006, Prof. John Dugard, then UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), stated: “Gaza is a prison and Israel seems to have thrown away the key”. Israel still controls Gaza by land, sea and air. However we believe that it is the international community, held to account by civil society that holds the key to ending the blockade. And, from previous experience, it is only when this issue is forced into international consciousness do any tangible results materialize.

Pages upon pages of reports have been researched and published. Countless statements have been made and calls issued. And yet, for 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, the reality remains the same. Israeli governments have proven time and again their willingness to ignore such diplomatic entreaties when there is no pressure involved; when there has been firm pressure, Israel has often yielded to the will of the international community. On Gaza, the consensus is clear, yet the pressure has not materialized, except in the wake of the first Freedom Flotilla. The next flotilla will generate even greater pressure around the world, and your support will help amplify not only the voices of Palestinians in Gaza, but also the human rights campaigners challenging a brutal blockade regime at sea.

We hope we can count on your support for our forthcoming mission and public advocacy for human rights and respect of international law.

Yours sincerely

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

[1] Human rights initiatives from Turkey, Spain, Greece, Norway, Sweden, France, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Denmark and the USA own vessels either singularly or in coalition with others

[2] Amnesty International Annual Report 2010

[3] The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, September 2009, p276 and ICRC release, ‘Gaza Closure: not another year!’, June 14th 2010

( http://www.freedomflotilla.eu/en/news/announcements/112-we-are-getting-ready-to-sail          / 23.04.2011)

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