The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Israel Attacks on Aid Ships Called Aggression



is professor of international law emeritus, Princeton University and
Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories for the United
Nations Human Rights Council. He said today: "The Israeli naval and
helicopter lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla bringing needed
humanitarian relief to the civilian population of Gaza is a shocking
crime against humanity. Some of the facts are contested, but an Israeli
military attack on the high seas is an act of aggression, and those on
board the ships had a legal right to act in self-defense.

"In any event, Israel's use of force was grossly disproportionate and
excessive given the circumstances, and should be investigated and those
responsible held criminally accountable. This incident should serve as
a wake-up call for a complicit international community. There are three
political imperatives that need to emerge with a sense of urgency:
condemnation of the Israeli attack and an accompanying demand for the
immediate end of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, appropriately
by a decision in the UN Security Council; an authoritative launching of
an investigation of war crimes allegations against Israel by the
International Criminal Court; the widest possible endorsement and
strengthening of the already growing worldwide boycott, divestment, and
sanctions campaign directed at Israel's occupation policies in
Palestinian Territories."

is on the board of the Free Gaza Movement. He said today: "CNN is
looping footage of mayhem on one of the ships, but is not giving the
context that the Israelis had killed someone already at that point. The
ship was in international waters, there was no plausible rationale to
take it over by the Israelis. The ships were not going to Israel, they
were going to Gaza, they had no plans to enter Israeli waters. All this
could have been avoided if Israel had let the ships deliver their aid
to Gaza."

Berlin and Kysia are organizers with the Free Gaza Movement.
More Information
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AMJAD SHAWA, [in Gaza]
Shawa is Coordinator of PNGO, the Palestinian NGO Network.

For video from various outlets:

Live coverage on Al Jazeera English:

Background: Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said today
that it was an "armada of hate and violence" that was engaging in
"outrageous provocation" and the "organizers are well known for their
ties to global terror," adding that "Israel did everything to avoid
this outcome."

Those aboard the ships include parliamentarians from various countries
and Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, Nazi Holocaust survivor Hedy
Epstein, former U.S. diplomats Amb. Edward Peck and Colonel Ann Wright
and USS Liberty veteran and survivor Joe Meadors.

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.