Falk is professor of international law emeritus, Princeton University and Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories for the United Nations Human Rights Council. He said today: “The Israeli naval and helicopter lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla bringing needed humanitarian relief to the civilian population of Gaza is a shocking crime against humanity. Some of the facts are contested, but an Israeli military attack on the high seas is an act of aggression, and those on board the ships had a legal right to act in self-defense.
“In any event, Israel’s use of force was grossly disproportionate and excessive given the circumstances, and should be investigated and those responsible held criminally accountable. This incident should serve as a wake-up call for a complicit international community. There are three political imperatives that need to emerge with a sense of urgency: condemnation of the Israeli attack and an accompanying demand for the immediate end of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, appropriately by a decision in the UN Security Council; an authoritative launching of an investigation of war crimes allegations against Israel by the International Criminal Court; the widest possible endorsement and strengthening of the already growing worldwide boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign directed at Israel’s occupation policies in Palestinian Territories.”
Shapiro is on the board of the Free Gaza Movement. He said today: “CNN is looping footage of mayhem on one of the ships, but is not giving the context that the Israelis had killed someone already at that point. The ship was in international waters, there was no plausible rationale to take it over by the Israelis. The ships were not going to Israel, they were going to Gaza, they had no plans to enter Israeli waters. All this could have been avoided if Israel had let the ships deliver their aid to Gaza.”
AMJAD SHAWA, http://www.pngo.net
Shawa is Coordinator of PNGO, the Palestinian NGO Network.
For video from various outlets:
Live coverage on Al Jazeera English: http://www.livestation.com/channels/3-al_jazeera_english
Backgrond: Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said today that it was an “armada of hate and violence” that was engaging in “outrageous provocation” and the “organizers are well known for their ties to global terror,” adding that “Israel did everything to avoid this outcome.”
Those aboard the ships include parliamentarians from various countries and Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, Nazi Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, former U.S. diplomats Amb. Edward Peck and Colonel Ann Wright and USS Liberty veteran and survivor Joe Meadors.
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167