Israel and Free Gaza Flotilla

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Israel and Free Gaza Flotilla

WASHINGTON - CINDY and CRAIG CORRIE
Cindy and Craig Corrie are the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in the Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003, while trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist, his wife and three young children.

A Free Gaza boat that is being readied to sail to Gaza is named for her. Among those on board are Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, who is also Irish.

The Corries, who have themselves been to Gaza twice and recently to Israel for a trial related to their daughter's killing, said today in a statement: "We call on the U.S. government and governments of the world to act now. First, the well-being of all the flotilla passengers still in Israel must be secured, and the identities of those killed and injured must be released immediately. Second, governments around the world must demand an independent investigation into the attack upon the flotilla and the killings that occurred. An Israeli-led investigation into an international incident of this magnitude is unacceptable. Our family's own experience has made it all too painfully clear that the Israeli military is unable or unwilling to adequately investigate itself. Third, the U.S. and other governments can and must insist that other boats from the flotilla, including the MV Rachel Corrie, named for our daughter, be permitted to sail through international waters to Gaza unobstructed. Finally, we demand that the governments of the world act as courageously as did the activists on the Free Gaza flotilla and, themselves, break the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza."

FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Boyle said today: "The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla violated the SUA Convention [Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation], to which Israel, Turkey, Ireland and the USA are all parties. This convention was pushed by the USA in reaction to the Achille Lauro hijacking and the murder of Leon Klinghoffer." See: "Is the Israeli Blockade of Gaza Against the Law?"

Boyle's books include Palestine, Palestinians and International Law and most recently Tackling America's Toughest Questions.

Amb. EDWARD L. PECK
Available for a limited number of interviews, Peck was aboard one of the Free Gaza boats trying to go to Gaza that Israel seized. He returned to the U.S. yesterday. He said today: "What the Israelis are claiming is laughable. The passengers were defending the ships, the Israelis were attacking them -- not the other way around. The Israeli spokespeople keep referring to their soldiers having paint guns -- as if they didn't pose a real threat -- but they also had automatic weapons and stun grenades and pepper spray and tasers." Peck was chief of mission in Iraq and Mauritania and deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan administration.

JOE MEADORS
Meadors was on the same Free Gaza boat as Peck that Israel seized. He is also a survivor of the 1967 attack by Israel on the U.S. military ship the USS Liberty. He said today: "All of our cameras and digital media devices were confiscated, the Israelis are controlling the images that people are seeing on TV. Many people seem unaware that one of the ships, the Challenger I, is a U.S.-flagged vessel. ... Talk about an investigation of this brings home to me that the U.S. government still has not conducted an investigation of the USS Liberty attack by Israel which killed 34 Americans in 1967."

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