Israel: The Coalition of Women for Peace stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine
Early Monday morning, we woke up to the horrible news of the Israeli raid on the peace activists of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which killed more than 10 people and injured dozens. Many of the hundreds of activists, who were on the boats, are still imprisoned by Israeli security forces, awaiting their deportation. The flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other supplies to Gaza, which has been placed under siege by Israel since 2005 (with harsher restrictions since June 2007).
The siege, intended to isolate and debilitate Gaza, is a collective punishment of a civilian population of 1.5 million people. Since the siege was placed, CWP has been publicly denouncing it and calling for its immediate removal. The international community can no longer stand by – it must use any diplomatic and civilian means to pressure Israel to end the siege of Gaza, punish Israeli officials responsible for war crimes and end the occupation.
This Friday, the Coalition of Organizations against the Occupation and the Palestinian Popular Committees will hold a joint action to mark 43 years to the June 1967 occupation of Palestinian lands. 43 years of domination, oppression, segregation, settlement enterprise, theft of water and lands, military regime, restrictions on movement, house demolitions, political arrests, torture, war crimes and colonial expansion. In this action, we will call for Israel to remove the siege of Gaza, to end the occupation and to stop the separation between Palestinians and Israelis and between Palestinians and their lands. We call on our friends in the international community to hold solidarity vigils around the world – protesting the siege of Gaza, the ongoing occupation of Palestine and the deadly assault on innocent civilians, who tried to break the siege.
Solidarity in Israel with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
The Coalition of Women for Peace stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine and with heroic members of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Despite attempts by Israeli media and public officials to present a unanimous support for the illegal assault on international peace activists, thousands of Israelis have been protesting in the past few days against it.
Spontaneous demonstrations were held immediately after news of the brutal assault on the flotilla – in Haifa, Nazareth, Shefa-'Amr and other cities in Israel. At the same time, 250 Israeli activists arrived at the Port of Ashdod, in an action organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace and other Israeli organizations, to protest the brutal killing and to voice their solidarity with the Flotilla and with the Palestinian people. On Monday evening, mass demonstrations were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Um-El-Fahem. The demonstrators called for international involvement to lift the siege of Gaza. More demonstrations are being held throughout this week across Palestine and Israel.
Prior to the deadly raid CWP published a public declaration in support of the flotilla:
We would like to share with you some of the voices of CWP members following the raid:
In a personal account of the Israeli resistance to the attack on the flotilla, Inna Michaeli, CWP's Resource and Development Coordinator, writes: “Despite this attempt to silence criticism, there are many Israeli citizens that object to this massacre and demand accountability from those responsible. The official version of the military and government has very little credibility, especially after imposing an electronic blockade on attempts to document the raid. The international community has done so little to bring to trial those accountable for war crimes committed against the Palestinian people. Will other countries make more of an effort to intervene after crimes have been committed against their own citizens?”
You can read the rest of her account here: http://www.gaza-eng.coalitionofwomen.org/?p=220
Eilat Maoz, the General Coordinator of the Coalition of Women for Peace, said: "The killing of more than 10 activists is exclusively the responsibility of the State of Israel, and it was fully within Israel's power to avoid the wasteful spilling of blood. The siege of Gaza and the pirate takeover by the Israeli Military of the Flotilla vessels – these are the real provocations. This atrocity must open the eyes of the international community to the crimes perpetrated by Israel.”
Areen Hawari, Balad activist, member of the Coalition of Women for Peace and a close person to MK Hanin Zoabi, who was on one of the vessels, said: "If this is what the State of Israel is capable of doing to peace activists, human rights defenders and members of parliament, then what is it capable of doing to civilians under military occupation? Now is the time to wake up the international struggle against the siege of Gaza and the occupation.”
Some interviews with CWP members in the international media:
The National – Israelis are Shocked but not Surprised
Maan News Agency – Israeli Activists Call for Ships to Enter Gaza
Christian Science Monitor – After Israeli raid, Freedom Flotilla aid starts to flow to Gaza
Photos from the demonstrations around Israel, by Activestills.org:
The Coalition of Women for Peace is currently working on additional local and international actions. Please contact us with your ideas, suggestions and information on actions you organize: firstname.lastname@example.org