Israeli warships attacked at least one of the six ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists and aid for blockaded Gaza, killing at least two and wounding an unknown number of people on board, an Arabic satellite service and a Turkish TV network reported early May 31, according to the Associated Press.
The Israeli government had previously announced that it would send ships to intercept the cargo and passenger ships attempting to bring humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Some 750 activists are on the boats, as well as Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, European legislators and a Holocaust survivor.
The convoy, which left for Gaza May 30, is carrying desperately needed medical equipment, construction materials and school supplies that have become increasingly scarce in the face of the Israeli blockade.
The inhumane blockade has been in place since 2007.
“Israel destroyed 165 schools and more than 100 factories and destroyed tens of thousands of houses without enabling the Palestinians to rebuild their homes and their lives,” said Hanin Zoabi, who is a member of the Israeli parliament and a participant in the humanitarian mission.
Israel has said that it will detain those on board the boats in the port of Ashdod.
Members of the Israeli government have rationalized impeding the humanitarian mission, stating that due to their ongoing conflict with Hamas, which is the democratically elected government in Gaza, the blockade and seizure of supplies is justified. Officials also stated that they have offered to reroute the aid through official Israeli channels. The flotilla organizers, however, described Israel’s suggestion as “both ridiculous and offensive.
Resistance forces in Gaza, such as Hamas, are struggling for Palestinian self-determination. Though they have fought for peaceful measures to be taken to gain liberation from Zionist oppression, the resistance groups are painted as “terrorists” for fighting back against Israeli rockets, tanks and targeted assassinations.
Along with members of the Israeli government, leaders of Israel’s military have even gone so far as to claim that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Despite these claims, a United Nations Development Program report published May 23 revealed that 75 percent of the damage caused by Israel’s military offensive in the winter of 2008-2009 has not yet been repaired. A report by the United Nations humanitarian coordinator said the blockade is “suffocating” the agricultural sector in Gaza and that more than 60 percent of households have insufficient food.
“I think the side that is breaking the law, international law, and breaking the human values is Israel and not anyone else,” Zoabi said.
The hypocrisy and criminality of Zionism grows larger every day, as even humanitarian aid sent to assist the people of Gaza is restricted by the government of Israel and boats carrying the aid are brutally attacked. The criminal blockade of Gaza must be lifted, and Israel’s pursuit of inhumane policies towards the Palestinian people must end