PRESS STATEMENT - 11 October 2010
Freedom Flotilla Coalition Expands in Geneva
Legal, Political, and Grassroots Action to End Israeli Impunity
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition met in the home of the Geneva Conventions to welcome the Swiss Boat Initiative into the Coalition, as well as to discuss the various levels of our ongoing efforts to break Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza. The Geneva Conventions, a body of law agreed upon by the world community to protect human life and dignity, continues to be violated on a daily basis by Israel with near total impunity.
As members of civil society we are working to end this impunity that our governments have been shamefully silent about. Many of our countries abstained on the vote of the UN Human Rights Council investigation that found Israeli soldiers used “incredible violence”, and committed “grave breaches” of international law to support prosecutions against Israel for “willful killing” and torture. The United States voted against this report that found one of their citizens was “executed” by Israeli forces. We refuse to accept this. We represent the voice of growing worldwide condemnation of Israel’s continued crimes and are working on legal, political and grassroots levels to hold Israel accountable.
In three days, on 14 October, we will be at The Hague to submit our complaint to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In less than two weeks, lawyers from over 20 countries will meet to discuss lawsuits against Israel and ongoing efforts to indict Israeli war criminals. And yes, we are also planning to sail again.
If Israel is not stopped, they will daily continue to kidnap, arrest, demolish, maim and kill Palestinians, and they will use similar violence against those that protest these policies. With all arrogance Israeli leaders have announced they will use snipers and attack dogs against future flotillas of unarmed civilians. Despite these threats, we are not deterred and our numbers are growing. Today, seven new countries have joined our coalition from Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Malaysia, Ireland, Norway, and the United States, each of which is working on sending their own boat to Gaza. Our flotilla will sail again and this time we will not only have more people, more vessels, and more countries participating, but in the spring of 2011 we will be sailing from three continents – Europe, Asia, and Africa.
We continue to call upon our countries to use all available legal and political means to ensure that Israel stops acting above the law so that we do not have to put our lives on the line to do so.