Freedom Flotilla Coalition Meets in Stockholm; Next Flotilla on Its Way Back to Gaza

For Immediate Release

Free Gaza
Contact: 

Huwaida Arraf 970-598-336-215, 972 54 881 7046
Mattias Gardell: +46 703036666
Dror Feiler: +46 702855777
Greta Berlin, +33 607 374 512

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Meets in Stockholm; Next Flotilla on Its Way Back to Gaza

STOCKHOLM - It has been over two months since Israel's 31 May 2010 deadly
assault on the Freedom Flotilla and little to nothing has been done to
hold Israel accountable for its savage attack that led to the killing
of nine of our colleagues, or to end Israel's continued violations
against the Palestinian people, especially the 1.5 million residents of
Gaza.  Therefore, we are continuing our global, grassroots effort to
stand up to Israel's ongoing intransigence, including planning our next
direct action, plans to enlarge our coalition to include groups from
around the world who want to join us, as well as intensify our efforts
to mobilize for the new Freedom Flotilla 2.

The world must
continue to demand that Israel cooperate with the UN Human Rights
Council's investigation committee to ensure independence, thoroughness,
credibility, and justice for the victims.

We have real
concerns with the new UN panel tasked by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
to investigate Israel's raid. as an apparent attempt to downgrade the
UN Human Rights Council's investigation, which Israel has yet to
accept. The Secretary General's new panel will have a very limited
mandate of evaluating only current national investigations by Israel and
Turkey, and therefore will hardly meet international standards for
being impartial, and thorough.

Moreover, the appointment of
ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe as its vice-chair further corrodes
the legitimacy of this UN panel. Not only is the Uribe government on
record stating a desire to strengthen Colombia's military relationship
with Israel, but President Uribe's own human rights record in Columbia
should be a matter for investigation as evidenced by the report from
the Fellowship of Reconciliation. http://forusa.org/content/report-military-assistance-human-rights-colombia-us-accountability-global-implications.

The United Nations must not be involved in any attempt to
whitewash atrocities or to preempt international legal action on behalf
of the victims of the flotilla. Israel's alleged easing of the closure
on Gaza has been purely cosmetic, intended only to deflect criticism
from its illegal policies. Expanding the list of items permitted into
Gaza does not address the most fundamental concern of the people there -
freedom of movement. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children
are still denied the right to travel freely for medical care,
educational opportunities, or even to reunite with family members in
other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory. What we demand is an
immediate and complete lifting of the closure including a lifting of
the travel ban as well as the ban on exports from Gaza. We also demand
that Israel release, unconditionally, our captured vessels and stolen
equipment.

Israel and our respective governments must know that
we represent a growing movement of international civilians unwilling to
stand idly by while Israel continues to act with impunity -- killing,
maiming, jailing, stealing, and assaulting the very basics of our
common humanity. Israel has not only deliberately created a
humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but it has created a crisis of human
rights and human dignity in all of Palestine that the world must
address.

This is why our flotilla aimed to challenge the very
policies that have left Palestinians in need of humanitarian aid, and
not just to deliver essential goods to Gaza. It is why, in the coming
months, we will send larger and larger flotillas to Gaza.

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