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ACRI Newsletter June 2010
Hagai El-Ad
ACRI`s Executive Director
June 2010


Dear friends,

ACRI has been closely following the events surrounding the flotilla takeover earlier this week and the ensuing deaths - and we can only react with horror and dismay. Though I have much to report about our ongoing work, I felt it only appropriate to update you first on our response to these appalling events.

Immediately following confirmation of the deaths, ACRI strongly condemned Israel`s takeover of the flotilla and the killing of nine civilians. It is simply unfathomable to us that a mission whose stated purpose was to protest the siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip, ended with nine dead and many more injured. We believe that the same unfortunate guiding principles of military force that have put one and a half million people under siege in Gaza for close to four years is what also led to this tragedy.

ACRI, as part of a coalition of human rights organizations, has requested detailed information from the IDF about the location and well-being of the flotilla detainees as well as the circumstances of the deaths. We sent the appeal with the intention of obtaining information to help us contact the detainees as well as to determine which steps – legal and other – the human rights community in Israel can take to respond to this appalling situation.

Given Israel`s experience with demonstrations at times of extreme tension, ACRI urged Israel`s leaders to facilitate the planned demonstrations in Israel and the OPT according to the law, and to refrain from using disproportionate force. We did this especially in light of the events of October 2000, wherein 13 individuals, all except one Arab citizens of Israel, were killed by security forces during demonstrations in Israel`s North. We also pointed to the illegal suppression of demonstrations and widespread arrest of protesters, most of them Arab, during Operation Cast Lead.

On a more optimistic note, I am pleased to announce that Libby Lenkinski Friedlander joined ACRI in March as Director of International Relations. Ms. Lenkinski brings to ACRI extensive experience in the fields of development and communications, having managed the international media department at Ben-Or Consulting, where she also served as the Director of International Outreach for Yesh Din. She holds a bachelor`s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and English literature from McGill University and a master`s degree in Education from Bank Street College. Libby replaces Gila Orkin, who served as the Director of International Relations since 2004 and who contributed immensely to the expansion and development of this department and to our whole organization. I trust that we all join together in wishing Gila much success in her future endeavors, and promising Libby all our support for successfully leading ACRI`s international and development work during these challenging times.

As always, you are welcome to send any feedback or questions you may have about our work to mail@acri.org.il.

With warm wishes,
Hagai El-Ad
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