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LET THE AID BOATS THROUGH TO GAZA! END THE SIEGE!
Press release - May 22, 2010
The Gush Shalom movement calls upon the government to allow the eight-boat aid flotilla from all over the world to reach the shores of Gaza, where they are scheduled to arrive next week, and unload the humanitarian cargo which is urgently needed by the residents of Gaza. In a letter to Defense Minister Barak, Gush Shalom calls upon him to cancel immediately the instructions given to Israeli Navy ships off the Gaza shore to intercept the aid flotilla.
`The whole world is looking. The State of Israel has no interest in flooding the international television screens with images of Israeli sailors and naval commandos violently assaulting hundreds of peace activists and humanitarian aid workers, many of them well-known in their countries. Whose interest will it serve when hours long dramatic live reports arrive from the Mediteranean, with the world`s sympathy given to hundreds of non-violent activists, on board eight boats, assaulted by the strongest military power in the Middle East?` were the words of a letter to the Defense Minister.
No harm whatsoever will be caused to Israel from the aid flotilla reaching Gaza Port and unloading a cargo of medical supplies and medicines, school supplies and construction materials to rebuild the houses destroyed by the Israeli Air Force a year and half ago and not yet been restored. On the contrary, it would be in Israel`s best interest to declare without delay that as a humanitarian gesture, the boats` way will not be blocked. And in general, it is time to end once and for all the suffocating siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and causing terrible suffering to its million and a half inhabitants.
The siege on Gaza utterly failed in all the goals set for it by the government of Israel. The siege was supposed to result in toppling the Hamas government – and on the contrary strengthened this government, which relied on the support of a significant part of the Palestinian People. The siege was supposed to help in gaining the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit - but on the contrary, the siege just delays that release, which could have been achieved long ago had the government of Israel agreed to the prisoner exchange deal, on which most of the details have been decided long ago. It`s time to end this cruel and pointless siege.
The residents of the Gaza Strip, like the citizens of Israel and of any other country in the world, have the right to maintain direct contacts with the outside world - to leave their country and return to it, to develop their economy, to import the products they need and export their own produce to anyone who wants to buy it, without asking or needing for permission from Israel, Egypt or any other country.
Just as Israel needs no permit from any other country to operate daily the sea ports of Ashdod and Haifa and Eilat and the Ben Gurion International Airport, so are the Palestinians and their state to be entitled to run their own sea port and airport in the Gaza Strip. Let the flotilla of humanitarian aid from all over the world be given the honour of inaugurating the sovereign Palestinian Port of Gaza!.
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