In one of my blogs this summer, I expressed gratitude for the flotilla of ships from Turkey carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged citizens of Gaza deprived of basic human rights due to the Israeli government and military blockade.
I strongly criticised the unlawful raid on the main ship by Israeli commandos who shot and killed nine passengers, some of whom were using metal bars and wooden sticks.
Last week, the United Nations issued a very damning report on this attack. Here is a summary from the Internet.
“A UN-appointed panel said today that Israeli forces violated international law, “including international humanitarian and human rights law”, during and after their lethal attack on a flotilla of ships attempting to break the blockade of Gaza in May.
The report said: “The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality. Such conduct cannot be justified or condoned on security or any other grounds. It constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.”
The panel concluded that there was “clear evidence” of wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment and wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health – all crimes under the Geneva Convention.
The panel expressed the hope that there would be “swift action” by the Israeli government to help victims achieve effective remedies. “The mission sincerely hopes that no impediment will be put in the way of those who suffered loss as a result of the unlawful actions of the Israeli military to be compensated adequately and promptly,” it said. It described the blockade of Gaza as “totally intolerable and unacceptable in the 21st century”.
The Israeli government has fiercely resisted demands for an independent international inquiry into the flotilla attacks, establishing three internal investigations to avert pressure from the UN, Europe and Turkey.”
Yesterday, I received this heart warming message on Facebook from an Israeli friend.
“A boat carrying members of Jews for Justice for Palestine set sail from Cyprus this morning (26/09/2010), with a cargo of aid and a message of solidarity for the people of Gaza. This action is being taken on the day that the freeze on building Jewish settlements in the Palestinian Territories is lifted.
Jews For Justice For Palestine believes that any peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authorities will fail unless the settlement program is halted and the 1.5 million people of Gaza are given a voice in talks about their own future.”
I totally agree.
There is no stopping the power of love and compassion to travel across to the further shore.