Far from consolidating the country’s security, Israel’s flotilla attack has only succeeded in heightening global awareness and condemnation of its illegal Gaza blockade. Countless world leaders, international organizations and global citizens are now calling for an end to the blockade and a full and free inquiry into Israel’s attack in international waters.
At the same time, grassroots solidarity groups are seeing a huge uptick in energy, attention and people looking for ways to express their fury over Israel’s latest outrage. Yesterday, I posted about the increasing calls for boycotts, divestment drives and economic sanctions against Israel. There have been a range of other responses from a wide array of groups and organizations.
The Rachel Corrie Foundation, named after a young American activist killed by Israeli troops in 2003, issued a statement yesterday:
"First, the well-being of all the flotilla passengers still in Israel must be secured, and the identities of those killed and injured must be released immediately. Second, governments around the world must demand an independent investigation into the attack upon the flotilla and the killings that occurred. An Israeli-led investigation into an international incident of this magnitude is unacceptable. Our family’s own experience has made it all too painfully clear that the Israeli military is unable or unwilling to adequately investigate itself. Third, the US and other governments can and must insist that other boats from the flotilla, including the MV Rachel Corrie, named for our daughter, be permitted to sail through international waters to Gaza unobstructed. Finally, we demand that the governments of the world act as courageously as did the activists on the Free Gaza flotilla and, themselves, break the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza."
The American group J Street, organized as a liberal counter-weight to AIPAC, is asking people to sign an open letter supporting an immediate end to the blockade of civilian and humanitarian items from entering Gaza.
Americans for Peace Now is urging people to support a statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein asking the Obama administration to urgently work to restart peace talks, and to start flooding local newspapers and talk radio programs with the message that we must change course in the Middle East.
In Israel, the long-standing peace group Gush Shalom sensibly declared: "Not only was this operation immoral, but it is also turning against us the last of our sympathizers in the world and adding strength to those who call for a boycott on Israel," and is calling for the immediate appointment of an international board of inquiry to investigate the event and the immediate lifting of the Gaza blockade.
This video from the International Solidarity Movement calls for emergency protests at Israeli embassies, consulates and visa offices and asks concerned citizens of the US to contact the White House, the State Department and your Congressional reps imploring them to demand a thorough investigation of the attack by a credible third party.
Since June, 2009, the Free Gaza movement has been writing to governments and non-governmental agencies around the world expressing opposition to Israel’s continued blockade of the people of Gaza. Now, the group is calling for a massive letter-writing campaign. There are three templates you use to base your own missives on. One is a call to governments and non-governmental agencies. The second one is to UN officials (in this case, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), and the third one is tailored to send to specific government officials.