09 August 2010


ECESG Response to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s testimony to the Turkel
Commission: Statement is a “pointless pantomime of political propaganda.”

For Immediate Release

Date: 09-08-2010, 15:30 GMT

London, UK: The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza today describes the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as a “pointless pantomime of political propaganda.”

In light of PM Netanyahu’s statement that “Israel is a liberal, democratic country governed by the rule of law, with independent courts, a bona fide parliament, and a free press,” we wish to highlight a number of issues, including:

-Why the footage, cameras and electronic devices of the civilians onboard the humanitarian “Freedom Flotilla” were illegally taken by Israeli authorities and have yet to be returned/or were instantly wiped. All footage should be immediately released and private property returned.

-Why the Mavi Marmara was not preserved as a potential crime scene. Under international law, as the Mavi Marmara was a Turkish flagged vessel, Turkey is responsible for conducting any investigation into any violence which took place on the boat.

-While he legitimately calls for the Third Geneva Convention rights of Gilad Shalit to be observed why does he continue to enact a policy violating the Fourth Geneva Convention rights of 1.5 million civilians in Gaza – which the International Red Cross described on the 14/06/10 as constituting “a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law”SOURCE HERE

-Why his desire to continue “the previous government’s policy of preventing the entry of weapons and war materiel into the Gaza Strip,” meant he should also continue the policy of allowing (according to the UN OCHA) only a “weekly average of 553 truckloads” of goods into Gaza before the “Freedom Flotilla” took place. This is 19.7% of the “weekly average of truckloads that entered Gaza during the first five months of 2007 (2,807).” SOURCE HERE

-Why, though he claims “there was no hunger in Gaza,” UNWRA has stated that “80 per cent of Gazan households are dependent on food aid” and that “207,000 pupils at UNRWA schools receive basic nutrition” in school as they cannot be guaranteed to receive this at home. Thus he has abjectly failed to ensure that implementation of the “the fourth principle of [Israel government] policy [which] was to avoid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” SOURCE HERE

-Why, even since the Israeli government has been embarrassed into taking some small-scale actions after the “Freedom Flotilla” it only allowed “979 truckloads” of goods into Gaza between the 18th to 24th of July 2010 or 34.8% of the 2007 level. Moreover, it is still banning virtually all exports from Gaza at a time when unemployment rates are above 50%. SOURCE HERE


The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) is an umbrella group of 34 European human rights and humanitarian organisations who have come together to collectively pressure the international community and Israel to end the siege on Gaza’s civilian population.

The “Freedom Flotilla” comprised boats from the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG), Free Gaza Movement (FG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza