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Outrageous and deadly

June 3, 2010

Israel’s deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world. The exact details of the boarding of the aid ships and the tragedy that followed are still somewhat unclear, and the UN¹, EU, and innumerable governments and NGOs have called for a full investigation of the flotilla raid.

What we do know, is that at least nine civilian activists protesting against the blockade on the Gaza strip have been killed by Israeli forces. The activists were on a flotilla of ships carrying aid to the Gaza strip in defiance of the devastating three-year blockade. While it is not clear who threw the first punch or fired the first shot, it seems perfectly clear that Israel sent armed soldiers to board a convoy of civilian ships in international waters. This amounts to nothing less than an outrageous use of deadly force to defend an outrageous and deadly policy – the Israeli blockade of Gaza. As columnist Bradley Burston writes in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:

“Here in Israel, we have still yet to learn the lesson: We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel’s Vietnam.”

Both the attack on the aid flotilla and the blockade itself have had – and will continue to have – dire consequences. Not only for the activists, but for thousands of Palestinian families who don’t know where they’ll find their next meal. In the end, the blockade may well prove disastrous for Israel as well, as the only ones to benefit from it are the worst extremists on both sides of the border.  The Egyptian government has finally realized that the blockade is not only ineffective, but also counter-productive, and has opened the Gaza border. It is time for Israel to follow suit.

Sign the AVAAZ petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza!

Also, email UK Foreign Secretary William Hague from Amnesty International’s website and ask him to to press Israel to lift the blockade.

¹In a presidential statement, the UN security council “takes note of the statement of the UN Secretary-General on the need to have a full investigation into the matter and it calls for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards”.

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