Avnery: Let the Flotilla through, open the Port of Gaza under international supervision
Former Knesset Member Uri Avnery, of Gush Shalom (The Israeli Peace Bloc), calls upon Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon to take a sober thought at the last moment and allow what had been called "The Swedish Flotilla" to reach the Port of Gaza. "Four small boats, loaded with medical equipment and solar panels to generate electricity, do not constitute the slightest threat to Israel's security. The arrival of the boats with their humanitarian cargo at Gaza would be a modest good will gesture by the State of Israel. Conversely, sending armed commandos to take over the boats at sea would be one more act of naked force which would further entrench Israel's image as an aggressive and violent Goliath - an image which is the main reason for the increasing acts of boycott against Israel all over the world".
Avnery recalled that on at least four past occasions, the State of Israel allowed the arrival of humanitarian aid ships to Gaza. That was before the decision to adopt the policy of naked force, a policy which caused bloodshed in the disastrous Marmara Affair. For example, In November 2008, the government of Israel allowed two boats, which carried 44 activists from 17 countries, to dock at the port of Gaza. At that time, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement reading "We will allow these publicity-seekers to get into Gaza, and thus deny success to their public relations provocation". The Israeli Navy was then instructed to track the boats but not interfere with their sailing and docking at Gaza – and that was all. "The text of the 2008 communique can still be found in the Foreign Ministry computers, and it can still be re-published today, word by word" suggested Avnery.
"Beyond the specific issue of this flotilla, it's high time to open the Port of Gaza and free the economy of the Gaza Strip from the strangulation which drives its residents to unemployment and terrible poverty, the breeding ground for extremism and hatred. It is well known that international parties are willing to mediate an agreement on international supervision of the Port of Gaza, and the Hamas leadership is willing to reach such an agreement" says Avnery.
Contact: Adam Keller +972-(0)54-2340749
Following is the text of the message which we got from organizers of the flotilla. It should be noted that Gush Shalom is not directly involved in organizing this flotilla and is not responsible for the text of the following message. We are passing it on as a public service, to let the voice of the activists who went to sea be heard in their own words, rather than via hostile and distorted propaganda.
Freedom Flotilla sets sail III: Next Port Gaza
Robert Naiman, Policy Director, Just Foreign Policy Phone: +2024482898 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today, June 27th 2015, at 4AM Gaza time, four boats of the 2015 the Freedom Flotilla III set sail from their final European points of departure. Through nonviolent resistance they will challenge the illegal blockade of the Palestinian Gaza strip, which is running on its 9th year, sailing as always from international waters directly into Palestinian waters.
The Flotilla is due to reach Gaza in just a few days. Participants on board include 48 human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures representing 17 countries. This is the third Freedom Flotilla to sail, in addition to nine single boats that have undertaken to sail to Gaza, beginning in 2008 when several voyages reached Gaza City harbor and returned to Europe from their mission of bringing supplies and solidarity to the people of Gaza .
A converted fishing trawler, the 'Marianne of Gothenburg' left Sweden in May to join the flotilla and has made numerous stops along its journey around Europe. Marianne is carrying solar panels that would help alleviate the serious problem of electricity in Gaza, as well .as medical equipment. Three other sailing vessels (Rachel, Vittorio and Juliano II) are accompanying Marianne in its mission to break the blockade of Gaza, in solidarity to the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. With different strategies and different itineraries, we will continue to sail until the blockade is lifted and Gaza's port is open.
Dr. Basel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli Knesset, is on board the ships, as well as Dr. Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia, the first president after the 2011 popular uprising. Members of parliament from Spain, Jordan, Greece and Algeria are also on board together with members of European Parliament. Former US Army Col. Ann Wright and USS Liberty veteran Joe Meadors are on board. Ten participants and crew have been on previous missions. Media outlets on board the flotilla are Al Jazeera, Euronews, Maori TV (New Zealand), Al-Quds TV, Channel 2 TV (Israel) and Russia Today TV, as well as several independent print journalists.
Over 100 European Parliamentarians have signed a letter to the EU's High Representative, Federica Mogherini, in support of the Freedom Flotillaand calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza. It's time to say enough is enough, and that the international community stands in solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza.
A full list of participants will be available soon at https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org/
Robert Naiman Policy Director Just Foreign Policy www.justforeignpolicy.org email@example.com (202) 448-2898