*Gush Shalom calls upon the Government to allow the humanitarian aid boats
to arrive at the coast of Gaza.
“The State of Israel has no interest in
flooding television screens all over the world with footage of its navy
violently assaulting peace activists at sea. It is time to remove the
suffocating siege and allow residents of Gaza to have free contact with the
outside world, freely operate sea and air ports of their own like any
country in the world”*

The Gush Shalom movement calls upon the government to allow the eight-boat
aid flotilla from all over the world to reach the shores of Gaza, where they
are scheduled to arrive next week, and unload the humanitarian cargo which
is urgently needed by the residents of Gaza. In a letter to Defense Minister
Barak, Gush Shalom calls upon him to cancel immediately the instructions
given to Israeli Navy ships off the Gaza shore to intercept the aid
flotilla.

“The whole world is looking. The State of Israel has no interest in flooding
the international television screens with images of Israeli sailors and
naval commandos violently assaulting hundreds of peace activists and
humanitarian aid workers, many of them well-known in their countries. Whose
interest will it serve when hours long dramatic live reports arrive from the
Mediteranean, with the world’s sympathy given to hundreds of non-violent
activists, on board eight boats, assaulted by the strongest military power
in the Middle East?” were the words of a letter to the Defense Minister.

No harm whatsoever will be caused to Israel from the aid flotilla reaching
Gaza Port and unloading a cargo of medical supplies and medicines, school
supplies and construction materials to rebuild the houses destroyed by the
Israeli Air Force a year and half ago and not yet been restored. On the
contrary, it would be in Israel’s best interest to declare without delay
that as a humanitarian gesture, the boats’ way will not be blocked. And in
general, it is time to end once and for all the suffocating siege imposed on
the Gaza Strip and causing terrible suffering to its million and a half
inhabitants.

The siege on Gaza utterly failed in all the goals set for it by the
government of Israel. The siege was supposed to result in toppling the Hamas
government – and on the contrary strengthened this government, which relied
on the support of a significant part of the Palestinian People. The siege
was supposed to help in gaining the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit
– but on the contrary, the siege just delays that release, which could have
been achieved long ago had the government of Israel agreed to the prisoner
exchange deal, on which most of the details have been decided long ago. It’s
time to end this cruel and pointless siege.

The residents of the Gaza Strip, like the citizens of Israel and of any
other country in the world, have the right to maintain direct contacts with
the outside world – to leave their country and return to it, to develop
their economy, to import the products they need and export their own produce
to anyone who wants to buy it, without asking or needing for permission from
Israel, Egypt or any other country. Just as Israel needs no permit from any
other country to operate daily the sea ports of Ashdod and Haifa and Eilat
and the Ben Gurion International Airport, so are the Palestinians and their
state to be entitled to run their own sea port and airport in the Gaza
Strip. Let the flotilla of humanitarian aid from all over the world be given
the honour of inaugurating the sovereign Palestinian Port of Gaza!.

Contact:

Uri Avnery +972-505-306440