Monday, May 31, 2010

There must be consequences for Israel’s murderous attack on humanitarian aid flotilla

Israel is a rogue state. It has been flouting International law for decades. It is responsible for untold suffering to the Palestinian people. Thousands of Palestinians still languish in refugee camps as a result of the bulldozing of their homes and the building of Jewish settlements. Gaza has been under siege for years and is subject to an illegal Israeli blockade.

It is this blockade that the International teams of humanitarian workers were seeking to breach. They are trying to get much needed food and medical supplies to the besieged people of Gaza. Like so many aid workers they are not prepared to be bullied by oppressive regimes. They courageously sought to continue with their mission to get to Gaza.

They were met with murderous resistance from the leaders of a rogue state. It looks as though this cold and calculated attack took place in international waters, in breach of all international maritime laws. There must be action from the international community. Foreign Affairs Minister Mícheál Martin must summon the Israeli Ambassador and expel him from the Country. Furthermore the preferential trade agreement with Israel must be ended.

This was a humanitarian aid mission carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to the besieged city of Gaza. The blockade of Gaza is illegal under International law.
At all stage of preparations to join the flotilla the organisers reiterated non-violent and peaceful resistance to any boarding by Israeli army. It seems the waving of the white flag means nothing to Israeli soldiers’ intent on murder. The Israelis had nothing to fear from this flotilla. Three Irish parliamentarians including Sinn Féin T.D. Aengus O Snodaigh were due to join the flotilla in Cyprus but were prevented from doing so.

The attack has left up to 20 dead and fifty injured as well as 10,000 tons of much needed aid wasted. My thoughts are with the families of those who died. They were courageous men and women as was each and every person on the flotilla. The Israeli Government should hang their heads in shame. I have tabled an emergency motion to Waterford City Council calling on the Government to expel the Israeli Ambassador. The Israeli Government must no longer be able to flout international law without facing consequences.

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