Dora McPhee (VIC) writes to Prime Minister re Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla 7Jun10 June 7, 2010

Dear Prime Minister,

I write because I am deeply disturbed at Israel’s latest assault on the flotilla of aid ships attempting to break the illegal siege of Gaza and which left nine activists dead and many more injured. Twenty-eight children lost their fathers as a result of these nine deaths when Israeli soldiers illegally boarded and attacked the Turkish vessel M.V. Mavi Marmara in international waters as it attempted to break Israel’s illegally imposed blockade on Gaza. It is simply outrageous that Israel once again acts with such impunity and then justifies such violence while controlling all the means of establishing the truth of how events unfolded by withholding and destroying independent records from eye witnesses, many of whom were professional journalists. Subsequent testimonies from those activists that have now emerged are in stark variance to Israel’s self-serving version of events.

It is quite clear that the human rights activists of the Free Gaza Flotilla were acting because world governments and the United Nations are incapable of preventing the ongoing war crime of collective punishment of the Palestinian people living in Gaza’s open-air prison. The siege and blockade cannot be allowed to continue and it is my understanding the much of the aid pledged by governments around the world, including our own, after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead is still not reaching the people in need. It is simply unconscionable that a people already largely refugees from Israel’s establishment and further made destitute by Israel’s repeated assaults and belligerent occupation were unable to flee to safety in the twenty-two days of carnage from Dec 27 2008 to Jan 17 2009. The terrible devastation of that operation has been exacerbated by the Israeli imposed siege and blockade now in its fourth year, which has meant people are still living in tents and their needs and their children’s needs are not being adequately met by any stretch of the imagination. Numerous reports have been written documenting the dire situation and even the call of  UNRWA’s aid chief in Gaza, John Ging, to allow these Free Gaza Flotilla boats to bring this much needed aid to Gaza has fallen on deaf ears in the corridors of power that could and should facilitate their safe passage.

I urge our government to call for Israel to be made accountable for what it is doing to the people of Gaza. And it is absolutely imperative that an independent and transparent investigation is held into the Israel Navy’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Israel has already shown it is incapable of conducting such a probe given its failure to do so regarding Operation Cast Lead and its own interests in covering up what when on as its damage control propaganda already paraded in the media and on the internet have shown. I urge our government to condemn Israel for its actions, which are that of a pariah state that acts above the law with little or no concern for the devastating effects on human lives this has.

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