Join Statement on The Interception of the Freedom Flotilla
The Interception of the Freedom Flotilla is an International Crime and an Act of Organized Piracy
As the flotilla of humanitarian assistance initiated by humanitarian associations worldwide was about to reach Gaza City, Israeli Navy preparations were intensified to intercept the flotilla and detain and arrest the peace activists on board and prevent the ships from reaching the Gaza Port at any cost.
We, the undersigned, consider this an act of marine piracy in violation of international laws and humanitarian norms. This is another Israeli attempt to crack down on our people besieged in Gaza for several years, constricting and cutting them off from the outside world, which has become aware of the horror of the siege and the brutality of the occupation.
The planned kidnapping of these activists, whose purpose was purely humanitarian, is an attack on humanity as a whole, and must be opposed by all peoples, governments and organizations active in the field of human rights in Palestine and elsewhere.
The undersigned human rights organizations denounce the way the Israeli establishment with commando units confronted the aid convoys on a noble humanitarian mission who have come to help the people suffering from the siege and oppression. Since the issue is primarily a moral and humanitarian issue and is greater and more important than just a normal case to be discussed in the Israeli courts and subjected to local laws, therefore, we charge the Governments and international community to take their role in putting an end to this clear breach of all international covenants and laws.
We declare that as Israel is the occupying power, it bears full legal and moral responsibility for the siege of Gaza, and that this would not have continued without the complicity of the international community and its inability to fulfill its legal and moral obligations. The undersigned organizations emphasize that in preventing the freedom flotilla from reaching Gaza, Israel is trying to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching our besieged people. Furthermore, it is even trying to "criminalize" the humanitarian assistance of international and humanitarian organizations, which forces the international community (particularly those countries the campaign participants belong to) to face their legal responsibilities to protect the participants, prevent their arrest and condemn any Israeli attempt to harm them. The undersigned human rights organizations warn of the consequences of taking the international solidarity activists to the Israeli courts after their kidnapping.
Since we do not rely on the Israeli military or civil courts and their legal terms of reference, for arbitrary actions for justice or in putting an end to this iniquity, We, the signatories of this statement, declare that we will not legally intervene and will not raise the matter to the Israeli courts for a decision. We will also not petition for the release of the detainees unless the organizers of the freedom convoy ask us to legally intervene and see that this is in the interest of the convoy’s success in lifting the siege on Gaza and serves its just humanitarian objectives or if it is found necessary to do so.
We hold the governments, international community and official international institutions fully responsible for taking their role in halting this clear breach of all covenants and international laws and holding Israel responsible for the act of piracy and attack on an international humanitarian mission.
We call on everyone, particularly human rights organizations to advance this human struggle through local and international public pressure so that the Freedom Flotilla’s mission in reaching our people besieged in Gaza will succeed. Furthermore, to rally to provide any support and assistance the Freedom Flotilla’s organizers may request in the pending critical hours as a result of the Israeli intervention, which constitutes a flagrant violation of international laws and standards and all human values which are based on the duty of providing aid to those afflicted and lifting the siege on a besieged people.
Arab Association for Human Rights
Meezan Center for Human Rights