Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to “Australian held after Israel navy intercepts protesters” 7Nov11 November 10, 2011

Response to The Age – 7 November 2011

In reporting that an Australian, Michael Coleman, is still being detained in Israel after two ships were intercepted trying to run Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the report dutifully points out Israel’s justification for the blockade – to prevent arms.

Yet nowhere is it stated that the blockade is in fact an illegal collective punishment of the people of Gaza. This is the reason why Coleman felt compelled to symbolically break the illegal blockade and highlight to the world how we are all condoning the systematic violation of  Palestinian human rights.

We are not told that a UN report and a statement issued by the International Red Cross have both called the blockade a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. Nor that such a sustained collective punishment is in fact a war crime.

For how long are the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza to be kept in this open-air prison cut-off from the rest of the world? Even President Obama questioned the sustainability of the siege and blockade of Gaza suggesting there should be ways of focusing narrowly on arms shipments. How does blocking Palestinian exports from Gaza to Europe or keeping people from getting medical treatment abroad have anything to do with arms shipments?


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