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Israeli piracy and the Freedom Flotilla
2 June 2010
The Australian Arabic Council has been profiling the Gaza Flotilla over recent weeks out of concern that the attempt to transport aid and raise awareness of the plight of the people of Gaza would have disastrous consequences.
As Israel adds piracy to its list of crimes, the deaths aboard the flotilla stand as a stark reminder of how far outside international norms the Jewish State resides.
The attack, in international waters, on a Turkish flagged vessel is an act of war that will have lasting consequences for the region. It is also a flagrantly provocative act by a rouge state that has for too long escaped responsibility for its atrocities by virtue of its superpower alliance. The attacks on the flotilla should act as a long overdue turning point and Israel should be called to account by the United Nations Security Council and held responsible for its actions.
The AAC lends its voice to those throughout the international system calling for a swift and just response to this latest outrage. State terrorism cannot be tolerated and Tel Aviv’s relationship to Washington should not continue to provide Israel with immunity to oppress, occupy and attack at will.
In the raids, an Australian citizen was shot by Israeli commandos and two respected Australian journalists were detained. Considering the gravity of these actions, the AAC also calls on the Australian government to formally re-consider Australia’s diplomatic ties with the State of Israel.
The Rudd Government rightly chose to expel a member of the Israeli Embassy over the theft of Australian passports for the recent murder of a HAMAS operative in Dubai. Piracy, murder and an armed attack on Australian citizens in international waters should engender an even stronger response.
For comment or more information please contact the AAC: 0413 219 141
1 June 2010
RE: ATTACK ON THE FREEDOM FLOTILLA
I join the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Stephen Smith, and the international community in condemning the ‘terrible’ and ‘shocking’ Israeli commando attack on the Freedom Flotilla humanitarian aid convoy to Palestine, carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, aimed at breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza.
Latest reports indicate that this unjustifiable attack, which took place in international waters, has left a number of people dead, as well as one Australian wounded and two Australians journalists detained. Those on board have been either killed, injured or detained and I support the Minister’s comments that Australia ‘deplores the violence and deplores the deaths’.
I stand in support of international condemnation of the Israeli attack, and reiterate the Minister’s calls for a full ‘credible, transparent investigation’ into the bloodshed.
I am personally appalled by Israel’s attempt to justify and defend what is an indefensible attack on the humanitarian aid convoy, which included parliamentarians from across the world. Israel’s narrative can only be described as being bereft of a sense of reality towards its own obligations and responsibilities in upholding international law and the principles of democracy.
Our thoughts go out to those on board the Freedom Flotilla humanitarian aid convoy, who were subjected to this aggression. They were there to provide solidarity and support to a besieged population of 1.5 million, eighty per cent of which is dependent on international humanitarian aid – a population that remains unable to rebuild their shattered lives following the December 08/January 09 attack on Gaza.
I also sympathise with those people in Israel who so desperately want peace within the framework of international law. It is clear that their government has once again let them down.
The international community must now hold Israel to account, not only on this latest incident, but on its continued siege of war-ravaged Gaza - and stranglehold of the West Bank and East Jerusalem - and recognise that its ongoing actions are an inherent obstacle to the peace process.
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