ACT: flotilla attack “a crime”

Monday, May 31, 2010

ACT Alliance, organising the church-based emergency operations in Gaza, has condemned the Israeli military attacks on the humanitarian convoy of ships and called for an independent international investigation. ACT General Secretary John Nduna says an international independent investigation must be undertaken, and those responsible be made accountable.

“This incident could easily have been avoided. This aggression has been heavily critised and condemned by the worldwide members of ACT Alliance,” John Nduna said.

Dr. Bernard Sabella, head of the ACT Forum in Jerusalem  condemned “in the strongest language possible” the Israeli attack and called the act “a crime by any standard”. At least 10 activists were killed, according to the Israeli army.

Dr. Sabella also called on tbe international community to take action that would see Israel subscribe to international norms by ending the siege on Gaza and by ending its military occupation of the Palestinian Territories. “It is only through ending the unjustifiable ongoing military occupation of another people's land that true peace can emerge. In specific we call for the formation of an independent international investigation on the events that led to the perpetration of this most disturbing crime,” Dr. Sabella said.

Israeli forces this morning stormed a convoy of aid ships, dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, destined for Gaza and opened fire on those on board. The incident occurred in international waters.

The storming of the ships and the killings were “a major transgression against all norms of international behavior. This incident is yet another in a series of infractions that place Israel in a separate category of a state incapable of being responsible and restrained when dealing with peace activists on a humanitarian mission,” Dr. Sabella said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: "What Israel has committed on board the Freedom Flotilla was a massacre." He declared three days of official mourning for the dead. Israel's deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, blamed the activists for the violence and branded them allies of Israel's Islamist enemies Hamas and al Qaeda.

ACT Alliance works through members and partners on Gaza providing health care, food distribution and psychosocial activities for Palestinians. One hospital and three clinics run by ACT were bombed by Israeli forces last year.