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Freedom Flotilla II Press Release 30 May 2011


May 30, 2011 - One year ago today, six ships carrying nearly 700 human rights defenders, met at sea to commence the last leg of our voyage to Gaza to break Israel’s brutal stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinians. A few hours later the Israeli military launched a full-scale assault on our civilian convoy, killing nine of our colleagues and injuring over 50 others. Ugur Suleyman 46 years old is still in a coma from the gunshots from Israeli commandos. Despite widespread condemnation and an UN-commissioned investigation that found Israel’s acts unlawful, possibly amounting to war crimes, Israel has yet to be held accountable....

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Freedom Flotilla II Press Release 30 May 2011

IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation

FREEDOM FLOTILLA II-STAY HUMAN SAILS WITH MORE SHIPS AND MORE SPIRIT

30 May 2011, Mavi Marmara, Istanbul

One year ago today, six ships carrying nearly 700 human rights defenders, met at sea to commence the last leg of our voyage to Gaza to break Israel’s brutal stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinians. A few hours later the Israeli military launched a full-scale assault on our civilian convoy, killing nine of our colleagues and injuring over 50 others. Ugur Suleyman 46 years old is still in a coma from the gunshots from Israeli commandos.

Despite widespread condemnation and an UN-commissioned investigation that found Israel’s acts unlawful, possibly amounting to war crimes, Israel has yet to be held accountable. Families of the victims killed on the Mavi Marmara await justice and millions of Palestinians continue to demand their human rights respected.

In the wake of continued government inaction to stop Israel’s human rights abuses, we, members of global civil society representing dozens of national coalitions and international organizations will launch next month Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human.

While we wholeheartedly welcome the decision of the Egyptian government to regularly operate the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and the occupied Gaza Strip, Israel’s unlawful blockade remains in effect. Israel still prevents Palestinians from using their sea and controls and severely restricts all goods entering and exiting Gaza. As such, we must continue to challenge this blockade. We call on all states, the United Nations, and international organizations to support our action and demand that Israel refrain from attacking our vessels. We reject calls for supplies to Gaza to be delivered through established Israeli-controlled channels, as this is tantamount to accepting a brutal and unlawful regime. Would we have called on the Tunisian and Egyptian people to address their grievances through the established channels of Mubarak and Ben Ali?

In feeble attempts to downplay the international nature of this mission, and the thousands around the world that are part of organizing it, Israel has tried to portray this as a Turkish flotilla, even sponsored by the Turkish government. Our coalition is heartened by the principled position that the Turkish government has taken, defending the rights of its citizens and standing up for the rule of law. We are also proud to work with IHH and the tens of thousands of Turkish citizens supporting our nonviolent action. But the Freedom Flotilla initiative is an international, non-governmental, effort. IHH represents one of 22 national networks that comprise our Coalition. We represent citizens from all over the world who refuse to stay silent as Israel continues to abuse the Palestinian people, and we refuse to let Israel’s violence deter us.

As we gather in Istanbul today to remember our nine murdered colleagues (eight Turkish and one American citizen), we renew our call to our governments to do their utmost to ensure that Israel does not repeat its attack on us. We welcome the martyrs’ families joining our flotilla to carry on the mission of their loved ones; we are strengthened by their spirit and that of people across this region rising up against violence and tyranny to demand freedom and human rights, and that of people around the world supporting them. We call on our governments to do the same.

The International Coalition for Gaza Freedom Flotilla II

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:: Article nr. 78215 sent on 31-may-2011 18:02 ECT

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