COSATU and PSG/PSC statement on flotilla to Gaza

27 June 2011

 

PRESS RELEASE

ALL PALESTINIAN SOLIDARITY ORGANISATIONS  CALL UPON THE SOUTH AFRICAN

GOVERNMENT TO RESPOND IMMEDIATELY AND DECISIVELY TO
ISRAEL’S CAMPAIGN OF INTIMIDATION AND VIOLENCE TO BE CARRIED OUT AGAINST THE
GAZA FLOTILLA CURRENTLY UNDERWAY (WITH HUMANITARIAN AID FOR THE BESIEGED
POPULATION OF GAZA.

In particular, we note the following
reports with great concern:

1.
Israeli authorities have prepared prisons to hold the
participants of the flotilla.

2.
The Israeli government is putting pressure on other
Mediterranean countries from which the ships may sail late this month.

3.
Israel has warned foreign diplomats in Tel Aviv to get
ready to “face the consequences”.

4.
The Israeli daily Haaretz revealed that the Israeli
military held a large drill for special commandos and snipers to prepare to
intercept the flotilla.

5.
Israel Navy commander Admiral Eliezer Marom said on 19
June that “The Navy has prevented and will continue to prevent the arrival
of the ‘hate flotilla’ whose only goals are to clash with [Israeli] soldiers,
create media provocation and delegitimize the State of Israel.”

6.
Israel argues the blockade is necessary for security
reasons, while human rights groups counter that the siege amounts to collective
punishment of Gaza’s 1.6 million residents for democratically electing their
Hamas government and that it is illegal under international law.

7.
Last year, in the early hours of the morning on 31 May
2010, Israeli commandos firing machine guns air-dropped from helicopters onto
the first Freedom Flotilla’s flagship Mavi Marmara, killing nine and injuring
more than fifty of the civilians on board.

8.
According to international law there is no legal basis
for Israel to intercept ships and prevent them from delivering humanitarian
supplies.

9.
No UN resolution authorizes the Gaza blockade. On the
contrary, it is an illegal, unilateral measure imposed by force by Israel in
the context of an equally illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

10. UN Security Council Resolution 1860, adopted on 8 January 2009, calls
for “the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of
humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment.”

But reports from the international
humanitarian organizations working on the ground there confirm that this point
is not being fulfilled.

11. The 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid carried by the first Freedom
Flotilla was confiscated by Israel along with the personal effects of the
passengers and the reporters’ equipment.

12. International support for the second flotilla has only grown, with
backing from thousands of personalities from around the world, such as Nobel
Peace Prize-winners Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala, Mairead Maguire of Northern
Ireland, Jody Williams of the United States and Shirin Ebadi of Iran. The four
prominent peace and human rights activists called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
to urge the governments of the countries concerned to take the necessary
measures to guarantee the safety of those taking part in the mission.

THUS,WE CALL ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN
GOVERNMENT, IN THE SPIRIT OF ITS COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF
THE ISRAEL/PALESTINE CONFLICT, TO TAKE UP THIS ABOVE-MENTIONED CALL FOR ISRAEL TO BACK OFF FROM CONFRONTATION WITH THE
FLOTILLA AND TO ALLOW IT TO PROCEED UNHINDERED AS IS ITS RIGHT ACCORDING TO
INTERNATIONAL LAW.

WE ALSO CALL ON THE SOUTH AFRICAN MEDIA TO
EXPOSE THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS, AN
OPPRESSIVE APARTHEID COLONISER OF THE PALESTINIANS AND THEIR LAND. IN THE
CONTEXT OF THE NATIONAL DEBATE ABOUT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND FAIR COVERAGE
THE MEDIA MUST REFRAIN FROM ITS BIASED REPORTING FAVOURING ISRAEL AND/OR NOT
ALLOW ITSELF TO BE CENSORED BY THE FLAK OF ZIONIST INTEREST GROUPS,
PARTICULARLY THE JEWISH BOARD OF DEPUTIES AND THE ZIONIST FEDERATION AS WELL AS
THOSE IN BIG BUSINESS.

Contacts:

PSG (Cape Town) Mercia Andrews 0823683429,
Martin Jansen 0828702025

Cosatu International Secretary: Bongani
Masuku 0794996419

PSC (Johannesburg) Salim Vally 0828025936

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