Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Flotilla To Sail Despite Pressure, Threats Of Violence


KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 (Bernama) -- Some 10 boats are set to sail over the next few days carrying nearly 3,000 tonnes of aid for Palestinians in Gaza in defiance of the Israeli blockade.

Dignity/Karama, a French boat, left the port of Corsica on June 25 to meet up with at least nine other vessels of the International Freedom Flotilla II to proceed to Gaza, according to a statement from the flotilla.

The statement said Israel's best efforts to stop the boats at port, including pressure on governments, threats against insurance and communications companies, intimidation of human rights defenders and other underhand tactics, had failed.

"In the coming days, the rest of the vessels in the flotilla, two cargo ships and seven other passenger boats, will leave from various ports to a meeting point in international waters from which the boats will sail all together to Gaza.

"We will carry nearly 3,000 tonnes of aid and hundreds of civilians from dozens of countries, including members of parliaments, politicians, writers, artists, journalists and sports figures as well as representatives of indigenous peoples and various faith groups.

"Unfortunately, some of our vessels are facing delays admittedly prompted by frivolous complaints from the Israel Law Centre, attempted sabotage of some boats as well as administrative obstacles created by the Greek government in response to Israeli pressure," it said.

The statement said International Freedom Flotilla II called on the Greek government not to become complicit in Israel's illegal actions by succumbing to this pressure.

"This has been affirmed again and again by numerous international human rights bodies, including the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross.

"There is no question that Israel's closure policy has had a divesting effect on the occupied people of Gaza and the question is why does the international community of states allow Israel to keep violating the law and rights of the Palestinian people with impunity," it said.

The statement stressed that despite intimidation, pressure and threats of violence from the Israeli government, the ships would sail.

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