War Resisters’ International – an international pacifist network with more than 80 affiliates in more than 40 countries – condemns the murderous Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza and calls for an immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza.
The Israeli state has been responsible for many outrages in its history, especially against the population of Gaza. To put it at its mildest, as reported last week by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, after a thousand days of the Israeli blockade, 61 per cent of the households of Gaza are “food insecure”.
The international nonviolent activists killed in the attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla did not regard their lives as more important than those of Palestinians – not more important, but nevertheless more visible. The ruthless criminality of this attack on an unarmed flotilla of nonviolent activists bearing humanitarian aid demonstrates for those who did not know before just to what extent the state of Israel regards itself as immune from international norms.
In view of the involvement of some of our own members in organising this, we also know full well that this flotilla is not a tool of Hamas, let alone of Al Qaeda or any other spectre the Israeli propaganda machine seeks to raise. Knowing the nonviolent preparations undertaken for this flotilla, and knowing a number of the activists involved and their principled commitment to nonviolent forms of action, we suggest that only those who want to excuse Israel can believe that Israeli commandos who boarded the ships were then attacked.
This is a state that has acquired nuclear weapons illicitly and offered them to at least one other racist state, apartheid South Africa. This is a state whose secret services have carried out acts of assassination, kidnapping, sabotage and espionage throughout the world. This is a state which day after day has committed violence against Palestinians, indeed whose own sense of security depends on subjection and expropriation of Palestinians.
War Resisters’ International works in support of those Israelis who speak out against or refuse to cooperate with the criminality of their government. Our affiliates pressure their own governments and also particular corporations to withdraw support from the Israeli government and its politics of paranoia and persecution. We work too alongside Palestinians to develop nonviolent strategies that offer hope for justice and ultimately peace – strategies including the nonviolent Free Gaza Flotilla.
War Resisters’ International now calls once more
* for disinvestment from companies supporting the state of Israel,
* for a boycott of products marketed by institutions identified with the Israeli state and support for the fair trade products of Palestinian cooperatives.
* for support for the war resisters in Israel itself
* for support for Palestinians in persevering with nonviolent strategies for justice and freedom
It is clear that the state of Israel is not the rightful inheritor of the millions of innocent Jews killed in the Nazi holocaust, but rather is based on violence, denial of human rights and the violation of international norms of human decency.