Global condemnation is aimed at Israel for its attack of the humanitarian aid flotilla. The UN has called for the release of the over 500 international civilians immediately and for the three yearlong blockade on Gaza to be lifted. The Israeli response to this? To launch a missile attack on the Gaza strip…killing at least 3 Palestinians.
Update on the Ships and Humanitarian Workers
There have been a number of videos issued by the Israeli Defence Force showing apparent violent resistance from the ships, in particular the Mavi Marmara. However, the counter argument to the Israeli claims can only be made by peace activists and friends and relatives of those who have been imprisoned by the IDF. The aid teams on the ships themselves, some 500 plus international citizens from 32 countries are unable to tell their story as they are imprisoned, In Israel, with no opportunity to present their side of the story to the world.
Meanwhile in Gaza
Meanwhile, in the inflamed atmosphere, acts of attempted retaliation from within Gaza itself have been met with a vicious response by the IDF once again. Not content with shooting merely one lot of fish in a barrel this week.
Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world being 25 miles long and 7 wide, with some 1.5 million inhabitants. Having visited Gaza, I can attest to the sense of being quite thoroughly trapped, even in my visits in 2002; before the blockade. At that time areas like Jabalia camp were still recovering from the Israeli air and tank incursions of April that year which had flattened kilometres of the camp and killed hundreds. It stings me to think of the families and organisations I met and what on earth they have been going through since.
The area has been occupied by Israel; its air space, borders and territorial waters under Israeli control since the six day war in 1967. In 2005, Israel pulled its soldiers out of Gaza in a move it described as unilateral disengagement and announced it was no longer the occupying force. However, many international organisations still consider the Israeli government as occupying Gaza as they continue to control the air space, borders and territorial waters, as has been evidenced from the violent interception of the humanitarian aid flotilla this week.
The blockade which the Humanitarian aid flotilla was attempting to break this week has been in operation for three years and has been almost unanimously opposed by individual nations and international organisations alike. United Nations officials have described the situation as ‘grim’, ‘deteriorating’ and like ‘a medieval siege’.
More information on the nature of the blockade and international reaction can be found below:
During these 3 years the economy and society in Gaza have been choked off, impoverished and held hermetically sealed from the rest of the world. The region does not need to be dependent on humanitarian aid. Gaza has phenomenal natural resources and an educated, dedicated population. However, the blockade means the companies cannot trade, merchants cannot import or export goods, bombed homes and schools cannot be rebuilt, hospitals and doctors surgeries cannot get supplies. Whilst one may be contested in calling the blockade on Gaza genocide, it most certainly is sociocide. The systematic devastation of a society.
Honouring the Flotilla
The work of the flotilla and the organisations behind it, the most prominent being the Free Gaza Movement is to defy the illegal Israeli occupation of Gaza and bring into sharp focus, the plight of the people of Gaza. Some have paid with their lives to achieve the international spotlight which now shines upon Gaza and the Israeli government and armed forces.
Israeli Voices of Peace
But do not forget, there are active and inspirational groups within Israel itself who are pushing for peace and the rights of the Palestinians to live their lives unfettered by occupying military force. Please follow the link below to see some of these organisations….if you are an Israeli looking for a means of peacefully standing for a country that works then please join these organisations or set up your own:
The Israeli rights organisation B’tselem has been forthright in its opposition of the blockade and consistent is holding its government to account and fighting for the rights of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs:
Also witness the press release from Arab Israeli right organisation Adalah, following their submission of a petition to the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG), the Israel Prison Service (IPS), the Israeli Police, and the Immigration Authority
What Else Can You Do?
1. Demonstrations and petitions will be posted in Scriptonite Daily articles as they come through. Join them, sign them, and make your voice heard!
2. Write to your political representative, wherever you are in the world
3. Donate to one of the worthy groups and organisation which work to relieve the pain in Gaza and the rest of the Occupied Territories
4. Be aware: look beyond the mainstream news media for a rounder version of events…make it your business to be informed.