USLAW Condemns Israeli Attack on the Gaza Aid Flotilla
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JUNE 4, 2010Contact: Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator (510) 693-7314 email@example.com
U.S. Labor Against the War is alarmed and distressed at the tragic loss of life and injuries inflicted by the Israeli military on 700 passengers of unarmed vessels carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, who have lived under Israeli siege and blockade since 2007.
To the families of the victims of this senseless violence, we extend our heartfelt condolences, and to all who were injured, our hope for their speedy recovery.
The military assault was carried out in the dead of night in international waters in violation of the International Law of the Sea and accepted norms of state conduct regarding use of the open ocean for non-military purposes. The blockade of Gaza itself is a violation of international law which forbids collective punishment of civilian populations, and holds an occupying power responsible for the welfare of civilians in occupied territories.
Israel must fully account for and affect the immediate release of all those who it has detained, return to them all personal property that has been confiscated, release the vessels and their cargo without damage, and permit them to deliver that cargo directly, or Israel itself should expeditiously transport all of the cargo to Gaza.
Israel must cease interference with all vessels including those now en route to Gaza that seek to deliver non-military humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Israels concern about the transfer of arms and military supplies can be addressed by having UN inspections performed on all vessels seeking to deliver supplies to Gaza to verify that they contain no such cargo.
Israel must lift the blockade and permit the people of Gaza to have normal communication, travel and commerce with the rest of the world.
There should be a truly independent, transparent comprehensive investigation of the incident by the United Nations, and all those who participated in the planning and execution of this assault and subsequent illegal commandeering of the vessels and kidnapping of their passengers and crew must be held to account.
Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid. During the last ten years, the U.S. has given Israel nearly $21 billion in direct military assistance and weapons. Over the course of the next ten years, the U.S. has already committed to give another $30 billion. The Arms Export Control Act stipulates that countries purchasing or receiving U.S. weapons cannot use them against civilians and must restrict their use to internal security and legitimate self-defense. There was nothing legitimate about the deadly attack on the aid flotilla. The U.S. government has a right and responsibility to hold Israel to account and should do so.
On January 1, 2009, in response to the Israeli siege of Gaza that claimed the lives of more than 1400 Palestinians, USLAW issued a statement that included the following:
USLAW was founded on the principle of international solidarity, opposition to militarism and respect for international law. We reject the use of military means to resolve international conflicts. The road to peace and security can never be paved with war.
We are guided by the belief that international working class solidarity offers a path to mutual understanding and peace.
That remains as true today as it was then, for working people throughout the Middle East, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and here in the United States.
U.S. Labor Against the War
1718 M Street, NW #153, Washington, DC 20036