Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Israel's image in shambles after attack on aid flotilla

While most Western countries have been muted in their criticism of Israel until recently, the recent raid on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip has had a real impact. A ship that was supposed to have participated in the mission, but was delayed due to sabotage by person or persons unknown, is now on its way, with the full support of the Irish government:

Earlier today, Taoiseach Brian Cowen warned there would be “most serious consequences” should any harm come to Irish citizens involved with an aid flotilla destined for Gaza.

Both Mr Cowen and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin called on Israel to allow Irish humanitarian ship, the MV Rachel Corrie , pass through its military blockade of Gaza.

The cargo vessel is ploughing ahead with its attempt to deliver aid to Gaza despite yesterday’s deadly attack by the Israeli navy on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Mr Cowen called today called for the immediate establishment of "a full, independent international inquiry into yesterday’s events, preferably under UN auspices”.

He called on Israel to release "unconditionally" Irish citizens who he said had been taken to Gaza by the Israeli authorities and asked to sign papers allowing for their deportation.

Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders' Questions, the Taoiseach said said the presence of Irish diplomatic personnel in Israel provided "better prospects" that the citizens would be released "sooner rather than later"

"But I will make this point. If any harm comes to any of our citizens, it will have the most serious consequences.”

From the Irish Times, via davincicomplex at ontd_political. It seems Israel is finally starting to lose ground in their PR war (funny how committing an act of piracy on the high seas can do that).

Edited to add: It's been brought to my attention that I'm slightly out of line in calling this piracy. From Craig Murray (h/t skdadl at Bread 'n' Roses):
A word on the legal position, which is very plain. To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.
My apologies for this error.

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