Statements of Radical Socialist

ATTACK OF ISRAEL ON THE JOINT FLOTILLA - A premeditated crime that challenges the human conscience

Published on Sunday, 04 July 2010 02:42
Written by Radical Socialist

It is not the first time that the Israeli State has launched such violent assaults on the inalienable rights of Palestinians to live in peace in their own land. For decades it has been ignoring the decisions of the international community which attempted to install a peace with justice in West Asia. Despite several UN resolutions to the contrary, Israel is building an ‘apartheid wall’ inside the Palestinian territory of West Bank making everyday lives difficult for the inhabitants. The Operation "Cast Lead" and the resultant slaughter unleashed by the Israeli armed forces at Gaza, eighteen months back,  have  established a permanent and inhuman blockade depriving people of essential elements for life and preventing them from rebuilding their homes destroyed during the military operation.

The latest in this series is an attack on the flotilla by a brigade of the elite Israeli Navy. It is utter shame that Israel could commit such an act of war against unarmed and unguarded civilians who, moved by feelings of solidarity and camaraderie came forward to assist the people of Gaza.  They were carrying with them 10 tons of food, medical equipments, construction materials and other inputs that had taken months to gather. Among the 750 in six boats, there were citizens of 30 countries, women with children, volunteers from various religions and nationalities, more than twenty MEPs, a former U.S. congressman, an Israeli intellectual committed to human causes, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and even a survivor of the Holocaust as well as leaders of organizations of solidarity and peace groups. It is a matter of complete disgrace that these people and their unarmed ships (earlier reviewed by relevant authorities at different ports of departure) were attacked in international waters, from warships, helicopters and boats using pump smoke, tear gas, batons and guns with lead bullets, leaving 16 dead and dozens of injuries, and the rest taken as prisoners by the Israelis. The Flotilla, which was attacked in international waters in violation of international law, was carrying relief supplies that Israel has persistently prevented from entering Gaza, including medical supplies, cement and food. Israel’s siege is considered a form of collective punishment, a war crime under Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.  All of the relief workers and activists on board the Gaza Flotilla ships were unarmed. In legal terms, Israel’s military assault against the Flotilla is an act of aggression against the countries whose flags the ships were carrying; politically, it is an assault against human politesse and all people of conscience around the world who support freedom and justice.

Over the days and the arrival of witnesses and new information, the initial shock gave way to deep limitless pain, outrage and, the need to reflect on what happened. How does the State of Israel audaciously challenge human conscience, flagrantly violating international law and basic norms of coexistence among nations? This is due to their positions of strength that is directly derived from the support they receive from Big Powers and in particular, to the US military aid. It is worth emphasizing that the State of Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid allowing it to be heavily armed and to have the most sophisticated military technology, including nuclear weapons. Diplomatically, the US aids Israel by its interventions. The US State Department nudges hostile countries to mitigate their opposition and unfriendly ones to reexamine their policies toward the Jewish state.

Under such unjustifiable use of force and violations of international and humanitarian laws, the protests from major powers that matter to the Israeli State have been feeble and meager. The UN Security Council condemned the fact but not the perpetrators, the European Union expressed concern and requested an investigation which is highly insufficient, it is not enough for President Obama and the US State Department to simply mourn the loss of human lives in what they call an "incident" while avoiding any condemnation of what was not an incident but an atrocious attack.

Israel’s impunity is the direct result of the international community’s failure to hold it accountable for its ongoing occupation, colonization and apartheid against the Palestinian people. Israel’s most recent war crimes committed in Gaza and documented in the Goldstone report as well as crimes committed in 2006 against the Lebanese people did not trigger any UN or official sanctions, entrenching Israel’s feeling of being above the law. In fact, Israel’s grave violation of international law was recently rewarded when the OECD voted unanimously to accept its membership.

Our stand in this issue can be summed up as follows:

 

It is lamentable that the Government of India which for decades was a supporter of the Palestinian cause is currently sparing no efforts to woo Israel.  Post Cold-War the Indian government was brought in the US-axis. The Washington factor played a key role in Indian government’s decision in January 1992 decision to normalize relations with Israel. India announced the decision to establish full diplomatic relations, a few hours before the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao left for the US to attend the summit meeting of the U.N. Security Council where he was slated to meet President George H.W. Bush. After the normalization of ties with Israel, India is an important market for Israel’s military-security exports and is currently part of a larger, ongoing “strategic dialogue” with Israel on topics ranging from Afghan terrorism to Iranian missile development. In the past decade, India has acquired Israeli weapons systems to the tune of $8 million. This relationship is spurred by a growing consensus on emerging ‘threats’ and an expanding agenda of shared regional interests; Israel and India have drifted closer together. The implications of this growing convergence are profound, both for the countries themselves and for the US, whose West Asian policy plays a major role in bringing these forces together. During the last decade, not only has Israel become the second largest exporter of defense hardware to India, extensive Israeli cooperation in non-defense sectors are on a rise—such as agriculture as Tel Aviv is a world leader in drip irrigation.

Arms sales form the backbone of the Israeli economy and massive Indian orders not only helped resuscitate its military industrial complex but also contributed to the perpetuation of Israel’s occupation. India not only purchases arms from the Israel but also engages Israeli military officers to train its army to counter insurgency in Indian administered Kashmir and the seven sister states in the Northeast – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

We demand that India should cut off all its relations, diplomatic, trade or otherwise, with Israel and a case must be registered against it in the International court of justice. The Government of India must do an overhaul of its foreign policy and play an active role in demanding action against Israel for human rights violation and war crimes. The Government of India must take sincere efforts in ensuring that Israel immediately ends the unlawful blockade of the Gaza Strip and pressure Israel to guarantee unrestricted humanitarian access and freedom of movement of people and products into and out of the Gaza Strip. It should also raise the demand for bringing to justice all Israeli officials and military personnel who took the decision and/or implemented this latest massacre as well as earlier war crimes;

We express our deep appreciation to the volunteers who staged the bold joint initiative aimed at breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza’s population, at the same time accompany the pain of relatives and colleagues of victims of the attack; We reiterate our firm solidarity with the Palestinian people claiming their  inalienable national rights based on respect for international law, including the right to the setting up of an independent Palestinian state that can live in peace with other people of the region; 
We also express our respect and solidarity with groups and individuals who, within the State of Israel, working for peace with justice and dignity for their own community and for all people of West Asia.

Finally, for the younger generations who have grown up knowning only the story narrated by the cictors of the Cold War, this attack by Israel should come as an eye opener. With this attack Israel has proved that it cares nothing for international legality, even if it is the legality of United Nations, the one that led to the creation of this colonial-settler state.At the same time, if only te legality of the UN is relied upon, then any struggle for the rehabilitation of the millions driven to the camps in Palestine will be restricted to palliatives, for the creation of a Zionist state implies creating Palestinians as a permanent underclass.  

This massacre has also evidenced that theZionist state of Israel is willing to ruthlessly murder not only the Palestinian people but also those who dare to help them out of the east of humanitarian motives. Nor is this a one off occurrence, as this was what happened to the American Jewish activist, Rachel Corrie, who peacefully opposed the destruction of Palestinian houses and was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer seven years ago.

Finally, this new massacre proves that there is no peaceful solution for Israel. They responded to the peaceful activists of the flotilla with killings. The hypocritical US comments, and those by other capitalist powers, do not mean anything. It is only through international solidarity struggles by ordinary people that any positive development can happen.