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NGOs: "It's a lie that there were weapons on board the aid ships"


June 1, 2010 - "It's simply ridiculous to imagine that there could have been weapons on board those ships", says FreeGaza Movement spokeswoman Maria Elena Dela, choking back her understandable emotion. FreeGaza Movement is one of the leading organisations in the tragically ended humanitarian expedition. "To assert such a thing, as the Israeli government has done, one must be in bad faith and pretend not to know what rigorous procedures have to be undergone before a cargo vessel or passenger ship can leave the harbour. In Cyprus, as in all the other ports of departure of the nine vessels, only six of which formed the convoy," Dela adds, "very strict inspections were carried out, both on the cargoes and on the passenger list, which has in any case been made public"...

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NGOs: "It's a lie that there were weapons on board the aid ships"

by Carlo Ciavoni

June 1, 2010

"It's a lie to say that there were weapons on board"
The reply of the NGOs on Israel's assault
"It was an extremely grave and irresponsible act that threatens the safety of the Mediterranean"


ROME - "It's simply ridiculous to imagine that there could have been weapons on board those ships", says FreeGaza Movement spokeswoman Maria Elena Dela, choking back her understandable emotion. FreeGaza Movement is one of the leading organisations in the tragically ended humanitarian expedition. "To assert such a thing, as the Israeli government has done, one must be in bad faith and pretend not to know what rigorous procedures have to be undergone before a cargo vessel or passenger ship can leave the harbour. In Cyprus, as in all the other ports of departure of the nine vessels, only six of which formed the convoy," Dela adds, "very strict inspections were carried out, both on the cargoes and on the passenger list, which has in any case been made public".

"A purely pacifist action". Maria Elena Dela continues: "Of course I cannot rule out the possibility of reactions in the face of what was a real ambush on the part of the Israeli navy. An ambush that took place, by the way, in international waters, that is to say 75 miles off the coast, well beyond the limit unilaterally set the other evening by the Israeli government. But even without ruling it out," Dela adds, "the disproportion between forces was so blatant that I don't think it's even worth mentioning. And in any case, even if there was some kind of reaction it was not an armed reaction. All the more so as the action that the flotilla was bringing to completion had all the characteristics of a peaceful humanitarian initiative, intended solely to bring aid to the population of Gaza, forced into isolation by the Israeli blockade, and also with the aim of drawing the attention of the world's public opinion to this humanitarian crisis".

The leading organisations. Here is the list of the organisations that were in charge of the realisation of the flotilla: the Turkish association IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi), the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), the Greek Ship to Gaza Campaign, the Swedish Ship to Gaza Campaign and the Free Gaza Movement, with the support of a coordinated group of NGOs from 42 different countries, including the United States, Turkey, Greece, Malaysia, Belgium, Sweden, Indonesia and Ireland.

The Italian NGOs. From the world of Italian NGOs we also received these comments and analysis by Francesco Petrelli, chairman of the organisation that represents 250 NGOs and Associations. "This was a very grave and irresponsible act," Petrelli begins, "which risks making the situation in the Mediterranean precipitate. The decision Israel made last night not only puts the security of the state of Israel itself at risk, it is in fact threatening its relations with a NATO country like Turkey".

"I understand," he added "that the manner of representing a humanitarian crisis can be open to discussion, but in Gaza the issue is about a humanitarian crisis, not something else. I think it is urgently necessary for the international community to assume a clear and inequivocal position on this problem, taking into account the fact that what is at stake here is above all the survival of the one and a half million persons who live in Gaza".

Translation from Italian into English by Parvati Roma
Original article : http://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2010/05/31/news/che_ci_fosse
ro_armi_a_bordo_una_menzogna-4466681/







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