PRESS RELEASE, 2 June 2010
Afri has expressed outrage and revulsion at the latest Israeli war crime, the attack by commandos on an unarmed aid vessel resulting in the deaths of at least nine people and the wounding of many more. Afri calls on the international community to ensure that those responsible and their political masters are held accountable for these murders of innocent civilians, which were executed in international waters. Afri expresses its strong solidarity with the peace activists on board the Rachel Corrie, including our patron Denis Halliday, and calls on the Irish government to use its influence with the United States (Israel’s main backer) to ensure that the vessel is allowed to complete its humanitarian mission to the besieged people of Gaza.
‘The Israeli regime must not be allowed to get away with this aggressive action’, said Afri Coordinator Joe Murray, ‘and the deaths of nine humanitarians and the injury of many others must not be allowed to pass as just yet another statistic in Israel’s catalogue of abuses in the Middle East’. ‘The Irish Government’, Mr Murray said, ‘must expel the Israeli ambassador and lead a campaign of sanctions against Israel; Irish citizens and all others concerned about human rights worldwide should boycott Israeli goods and encourage companies to disinvest in Israel until they lift the siege of Gaza and allow freedom and dignity to the Palestinian people.’ To this end, Afri is urging the Irish government to lobby its EU partners to end the EU’s favourable trade relationship with Israel and to reverse the recent decision to admit Israel into the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Afri also argues that if there is any glimmer of hope in this latest Israeli atrocity it is the fact that it may have wakened the world up to Israel’s brutality towards Gaza, which they have turned into a virtual concentration camp for its occupants. Afri is calling for real, tangible action rather than the issuing of the usual pious platitudes that have followed previous Israeli crimes.
Afri calls for
• the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie and all other humanitarian vessels to Gaza, and an end to Israeli piracy;
• the immediate and unconditional release of all humanitarian activists illegally detained by Israel;
• the investigation of the recent deaths and injuries at sea, and the punishment of those responsible;
• the lifting of the siege of Gaza;
• the dismantling of the so-called ‘security wall’, which further advances Israel’s apartheid policies, and the cessation and reversal of all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories;
• the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to a free and independent State;
• all countries, particularly the US, to stop arming Israel; all countries, starting with Ireland, to boycott all Israeli goods and to sever all other linkages with Israel (including investment, academic and cultural links);
• the EU to terminate its special trade relationship with Israel, and the OECD to revoke Israel’s membership.