For Immediate Release
ICRC: Israel’s Blockade Breaks the Law Free Gaza: Send More Ships
LONDON - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a
statement yesterday stating unequivocally that Israel's closure of the
Gaza Strip constitutes collective punishment, an act prohibited under
the Geneva Conventions. http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/56-news/1227-israels-gaza-blockade-breaks-law-says-icrc-
For the first time, the ICRC explicitly states that Israel's blockade
constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law, confirming
what the Free Gaza Movement has been saying all along – the closure is
illegal and states have neglected their obligation to uphold the Fourth
Geneva Convention and compel Israel to end the deliberate strangulation
of 1.5 million Palestinians locked in an open-air prison.
Therefore, our voyages to defy Israel's blockade are legal and
necessary, as civil society is compelled to step up to defend human
rights when governments refuse to do so, and we are already organizing
another voyage called Freedom Flotilla Two.
In the early morning darkness of 31 May, Israel launched a lethal
assault on the Freedom Flotilla, assassinating nine men and wounding
over 50 human rights activists on all six boats in the flotilla. The
world’s attention is now focused on Israel’s continued flagrant
violations of international and maritime law, as they hijacked our ships
in international waters, forced us into an Israeli port, illegally
detained, coerced, and beat the passengers and illegally confiscated or
destroyed electronic equipment, audio, photo and video evidence,
personal possessions as well as much of the cargo.
The Free Gaza Movement is currently working with attorneys in a
number of countries, including Turkey, the UK, the Netherlands, Israel
and the United States to pursue legal action, since people were killed
or badly injured and property was destroyed during Israel’s attack on us
in international waters.
We continue to call for an independent, international investigation
into the attack. Israel's internal government investigation committee is
an unacceptable alternative. Israel must not be allowed to continue
acting above the law and cannot be trusted to investigate its own
actions. Barring political will by our governments to hold Israel
accountable, global civil society will continue to act.
We will pursue legal action around the world, intensify boycott,
divestment and sanctions efforts, and continue to send ships to Gaza
until the illegal blockade is ended.
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Since August 2008, the Free Gaza Movement has sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip on several successful voyages, bringing in international witnesses to see first hand the devastating effects of Israeli violence against the Palestinian people. Ours are the first international boats to journey to Gaza since 1967.