Monday, May 31, 2010

Press Release: Israeli Attack on Free Gaza Boats Violates International Law, Shows Need to End U.S. Aid to

Washington, DC (May 31) - The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, a national coalition of more than 325 organizations working to change U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality, today condemned the Israeli navy’s attack on civilians aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a convoy of aid ships attempting to deliver rebuilding and medical supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip. The US Campaign calls on U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to vote today to support a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s action and initiating an investigation. This act of piracy in international waters, which has reportedly resulted in the deaths of as many as 19 activists, the wounding of 50-80, and the abduction of the Freedom Flotilla ships, is aided and abetted by U.S. military aid to Israel. In July 2008, the United States signed a contract worth $1.9 billion to transfer the latest-generation of naval combat vessels to Israel at U.S. taxpayer expense. Currently, Congress is in the process of appropriating a record $3.2 billion in military aid to Israel this budget year. The US Campaign has experts available to discuss the role of U.S. military aid and international law in Israel’s latest attack on civilians: Josh Ruebner, US Campaign National Advocacy Director: “This act of piracy is only the latest Israeli violation of international law and human rights. These civilians were attempting to break Israel’s illegal and immoral siege of the Gaza Strip and its denial of reconstruction and medical supplies to the 1.5 million Palestinians who live there. It is unconscionable that the United States continues to supply the Israeli military with the military hardware necessary to carry out violations of this sort.” David Wildman, Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice, Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church: “Today 700 people from many countries who had joined together on 6 ships in an international effort to deliver humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza were met by another act of piracy on international waters by Israel. The brutal attacks today on civilians demonstrate the desperate measures the government of Israel will take to maintain their 3+year long harsh and illegal collective punishment on the whole 1.5 million people of Gaza. We call on the United States to end immediately all military aid to Israel and insist on a full and independent investigation into these gross violations of international law. U.S. military hardware and equipment was undoubtedly used in these acts of piracy and attacks on civilians on the high seas.” David Hosey, US Campaign National Media Coordinator: “The Israeli government is hoping for international silence in the face of its latest attack on civilians attempting to break the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza. In previous attempts to break the siege, the Israeli navy has rammed boats and illegally boarded and abducted members of the Free Gaza Movement. This latest attack reaches new levels, with the use of live ammunition on civilians. The United States has a duty to speak up against this violation of international law and human rights.” Emergency rallies and protests are being organized in response to the attacks. For a complete list of protests, click here: http://gazafreedommarch.org/cms/en/flotilla/protest.aspx The US Campaign is a national coalition of more than 325 organizations working to change U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine to support human rights, international law, and equality. For more information, click here: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=34