NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE CALLS FOR SAFE PASSAGE FOR THE FREEDOM FLOTILLA II TO GAZA
The many hundreds of world citizens sailing on Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza at the end of June deserve our support and admiration, and I hope the International Community will demand that the Israeli Government do not carry out their threats to use violence against these ‘unarmed’ heroes but give them their right to safe passage to Gaza.
The ‘brave hearts’ on board some 10 boats, not only represent the 40 countries
of which they are citizens, but they are the conscience of the world. They are sailing to Gaza to let the people of Gaza know, they are not forgotten, and that the world abhors the actions of Apartheid Israel as it carries out, for almost 4 years, the immoral and illegal ‘siege’ of Gaza.
In Gaza children are suffering lack of medicine, shortage of food, and are totally traumatized by War. Fishermen are shot and often killed by Israeli Navy, off the shores of Gaza for simply trying to get fish for their families. Gaza farmers have been shot by Israeli soldiers whilst trying to grow food for their families. The Gaza port has been cut off from the World for over 40 years, the airport bombed and crossings closed, all in an attempt by Israeli Government to destroy the spirit of the Palestinian people. Israeli Apartheid policies of siege, occupation, break every law in the book, but above all they try to break the spirit and bodies of men, women, and children of Palestine, and to divide and dominate the Palestinian people. But Israeli policies are not succeeding as the courage and magnificent spirit of the Palestinian people has moved millions of people around the world to identify with their stories of persecution at the hands of the Israeli Government.
Tragically, the USA, EU, and other world Governments, do not act to insist Israel
end this immoral siege and so the civil community is obliged to act on our behalf. Those who sail on the boats have great hearts and great courage and we applaud them. They face long boat journey (maybe up to 18 hours) and as most have never sailed in their lives, many will be sea-sick. Many will be apprehensive as they know they may well be attacked by the Israeli Navy, they might even be killed or injured (as happened last year on the Mavi Marmara boat when Israeli seals killed 9 unarmed passengers). Their boats may well be confiscated and they will be forcefully taken at gunpoint against their will to Israel. They will be finger-printed, detained and deported from Israel for ten years. They will be listed as ‘criminal’ and their only crime will be that of caring about the suffering of the people of Gaza, wanting to bring Humanitarian aid to Gaza and to break the immoral, illegal siege by Israeli.
The International Community (including the UN who can inspect the Cargo) can help protect these brave hearts on the Freedom Flotilla II by breaking its silence and insisting Israel allow the boats to enter the Gaza Port. Even more importantly the International Community and its Political and Spiritual Leaders can begin to show the same kind of moral courage as these passengers of peace on the Flotilla II, and call for the lifting of the Siege of Gaza, and end the collective punishment of the people of
We owe it to the children of Gaza, and we owe it to the Palestinian people to insist that Israel does the right thing, and acts morally.
Israeli security is not threatened by unarmed civilians and boats carrying medicines and toys. Israeli security is threatened only by its own intransigence and lack of political will to choose peace and not land, and to behave morally and uphold International Law and give to Palestinians what most of the rest of the world take for granted – human dignity and human rights.
The Palestinian people can take hope from the fact that the tide is indeed turning and the world is awakening at long last, to the plight of the Palestinian people and adding their voices to their call for freedom and justice now.
The Palestinian people, by their nonviolent insistence on civil and political rights, have inspired millions of people to act and it is hoped that the sailing of the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza, will bring hope to all that justice and peace is possible in the Middle East and in the World.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate
22nd June, 20ll