Thursday, June 03, 2010

Minnesota Peace Project Letter to Senator Amy Klobuchar on Israeli Sea Actions

Dear Senator Klobuchar:

The Minnesota Peace Project (MPP) calls on you to speak out in condemnation of the attack by Israeli forces on the humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza.   As Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur said “Israel is guilty of shocking behavior by using deadly weapons against unarmed civilians on ships that were situated in the high seas where freedom of navigation exists, according to the law of the seas.”
Despite the fact that the Israeli military seized all cameras and imprisoned all reporters on the ship we do know:
·         Under article 3 of the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation of 1988, it is an international crime for any person to seize or exercise control over a ship by force, and  also a crime to injure or kill any person in the process,
·         One cannot attack a ship and then claim self-defense if the people on board resist the unlawful use of violence,
·         Israel’s attempt to execute a full-scale public relations battle to spin this commando attack on an unarmed civilian ship filled with humanitarian aid into an action of self defense lacks all credibility.
We join others in the international community in calling for an immediate end to the Gaza blockade, a massive form of collective punishment of innocent civilians.    Our continued tolerance of this situation makes us complicit in criminal practices that are threatening the survival of an entire beleaguered community.  Israel’s continued used of disproportionate force has proven to be disastrous for both Israelis and Palestinians and has caused severe set-backs for the peace process.
We urge you to heed the advice of Nobel Peace Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter who collectively released a statement Monday morning condemning the Israeli attack and calling for a full investigation into the incident with a view to mandating action to end the closure of the Gaza Strip.

Peace-loving people in Minnesota and around the world want an end to the blockade, an end to the illegal settlements and an end to the occupation of Palestine.   We urge you to call for a suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel until the blockade is ended and the Israeli government demonstrates a serious commitment to the peace process.


Roxanne Abbas and Omid Mohseni
For the Minnesota Peace Project