28 May 2010


Brussels, May 28, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), which is based in Brussels, has strongly condemned the Israeli Government’s decision to seize the eight vessels making up the “Freedom Flotilla” that is heading for Gaza Strip and to arrest all the more than 750 supporters onboard. ECESG views the decision as an escalation that will have grave consequences.

Anouar Gharbi, member of the campaign and president of the Swiss Rights for All Association, a member of the Freedom Flotilla coalition, said, “The Israeli party acts as if it is waging a military war against another army, particularly after orders have been issued from the political leadership to the military to intercept the Freedom Flotilla, and use force against it in order to prevent its arrival to the shores of Gaza. He invited the international community to take action to protect the humanitarian international flotilla.

Gharbi, in response to new Israeli threats, stressed that foreign supporters, including European parliamentarians taking part in the flotilla, “have declared their determination to resist any piracy attempt that they may face at the hands of the Israeli occupation, affirming that all scenarios have been taken into account and that plans have been made to confront it.”

The president of the Swiss Rights for All Association pointed out that in case the Israeli side seized the flotilla ships and arrested supporters on their board, it would be taken to European and Swiss courts. According to him, “ECESG will assist in this process.”

He explains that the plans developed to confront an interception of the flotilla include, inter alia, the organization of demonstrations in major European capitals in front of Israeli embassies, in coordination with civil society organizations supporting the Palestinian cause, in addition to a series of protest sit-ins and other actions in many Western countries, particularly those participating in the Freedom Flotilla.

He went on to say that “organizers of the Freedom Flotilla have developed plans of action to use in the light of the scenarios expected to take place, particularly in view of the Israeli threat to use force so as to prevent the flotilla from achieving its humanitarian objective, i.e. the delivery of the more than 10,000 tons of aid to the population of Gaza who have been besieged for the fourth consecutive year.”

The Freedom Flotilla consists of eight ships: a Turkish- and Kuwaiti-flagged cargo ship funded by Kuwait, a cargo ship funded by Algeria, a cargo ship funded by Sweden and Greece and a fourth Irish cargo ship belonging to the “Free Gaza” movement, in addition to 4 passenger ships, including one called Boat 8000, in reference to the number of Palestinian detainees in prisons of the Israeli occupation and the Turkish passenger ship which is the largest.

The flotilla had to accept no more than 750 participants from more than 40 countries although it had received many more applications. Participants will include 44 European and Arab political officials and parliamentarians, including 10 Algerians members of parliament.

Vessels of the flotilla carry more than 10,000 tons of aid material, including medical supplies, building materials, wood, 100 prefabricated houses to help accommodate the tens of thousands of Gaza population whose homes have been destroyed in the Israeli war against Gaza in early 2009. It also carries 500 electric wheelchairs for physically-handicapped persons, given the fact that the last war has caused the incapacitation of some 600 people. source