Freedom Flotilla II sets sail for Gaza
Freedom Flotilla aid ship is setting sail for Gaza again.
The Palestinian message on the ground is clear, but no one’s listening. They won’t accept surrender for peace. They want nothing less than freedom and justice in their own unoccupied land.
by Debbie Menon
The aid flotilla is being organized by a coalition of pro-Palestinian groups, most of them based in Europe, the Associated Press reported.
The mission is named after the first Freedom Flotilla, which Israeli naval commandos attacked on May 31, 2010, in international waters, killing nine Turkish activists and injuring around 50 others.
Huwaida Arraf, was on board The Challenger, a U.S.-flagged ship that was part of this international effort to break Israel’s cruel illegal blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Huwaida recounts : “Israeli commandos grabbed me by my hair and rammed my head into the deck. They then stepped on my head in order to cuff my hands behind my back and then put a sack over my head. Worse yet, the commandoes killed nine of my fellow passengers, including 19-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan, on the Mavi Marmara.”
An international fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council concluded that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is “collective punishment”–a war crime–and that its May 31, 2010, attack on the flotilla in order to enforce its blockade was “illegal.” The mission found that six passengers, including Furkan, were killed “in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution,” and that survivors were subjected to “torture.”
Rather than put pressure on Israel to end its illegal blockade of Gaza, investigate Israel’s killing of a U.S. citizen and attack against a U.S. ship, and sanction Israel for misusing U.S. weapons to attack the flotilla, the Obama Administration shamefully has tried to shield Israel from accountability for its actions.
On Saturday, Egypt permanently reopened its border crossing with Rafah. This is an important step toward ending Gaza’s isolation. But because Israel is still illegally blockading Gaza by land, sea and air, and because my country–the United States–is still enabling Israel to get away with it (in April, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice even publicly pressured governments to block future flotillas), in June I plan to sail for Gaza again with “Freedom Flotilla II–Stay Human.”
(www.veteranstoday.com / 17.06.2011)