Anthony (SA) writes to former FM Alexander Downer over his rationalisation of Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla 15Jun10 June 15, 2010

To rationalize what virtually the entire international legal community recognises as an act of war, Alexander Downer has a radically overextended notion of maritime sovereignty.  International maritime law has long recognized that territorial sovereignty extends only 12 miles out to sea so Israeli action 85 miles out was an act of piracy with the people on the ship kidnapped.  The flotilla was sailing directly toward the port of Gaza, not toward any area close to Israeli territorial waters, and no country recognizes the Gaza Strip as part of Israel.  Does Downer think using Australian passports in conducting an act of terrorism is also a moot point?

The Israelis confiscated all recording equipment from those on board, only showing their carefully edited version of events surrounding their assault on the lead vessel in a widely circulated videotape.  The refusal to return any of the recording equipment to the kidnapped activists would normally raise questions as to what the Israeli government might be trying to hide.  They also refuse an independent enquiry.  This point makes Downer’s entire article “moot” before even the valid points of international law he would have us ignore.

In addition Downer is fond of referring to the “International Community” in support of Israel, however, it is the overwhelming majority of nations of the world who have time and time again voted for justice for the Palestinians only to be vetoed by, in some cases, one single country.  A review of the relevant UN resolutions with some  149 – 2 margins shows this desire for fairness.

I would like to ask Alexander Downer: does Palestine have a right to exist and why does he show such depraved indifference to those who are suffering collective punishment and those who have been denied justice for more than 60 years?

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