Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to SMH “Protesters bound for Gaza” 30May10 May 30, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald: “Protesters bound for Gaza”, 30 May 2010

As important as getting humanitarian aid to Gaza is the whole point of the Free Gaza Flotilla is to highlight to the world the war crime that is being committed through collectively punishing 1.5 million Palestinians who are effectively living in an open air-prison. It is shameful that it is left to people of conscience in civil society from 50 different countries to come together and take on this dangerous mission of confronting the Israeli government by entering Gaza in the only means left – that is by sea.

Israel is acting outside of international law in attempting to stop this flotilla from entering Gaza’s waters and it makes a mockery of its claim that it is no longer occupying Gaza. This draconian siege and blockade collectively punishes people who are already suffering dispossession (80 per cent are refugees who were ethnically cleansed from what is now Israel), and the after effects of numerous Israeli military offensives that have left the strip decimated (Operation Cast Lead, the last and most severe, literally massacring 1400 and injuring 5000). Over half the population are children who are the most vulnerable to this siege now in its fourth year.

This attempt to break the blockade and siege should emphasise the complicity of governments who are allowing this crime to continue unchallenged, the impotent hand wringing of the United Nations that fails to adequately protect Palestinians’ human rights and the politicisation of official humanitarian aid efforts that succumb to Israeli dictates on how and what aid can be drip fed through to prevent outright starvation but allows the continuing deterioration of a society.

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