June 12, 2011
Regarding statements of government officials in Israel (echoed by officials in other countries) about diplomatic initiatives to impede the “Freedom Flotilla II- Stay Human” mission to Gaza, Palestine, we say:
Proper diplomacy does not exclude humanitarian action; Instead of seeking to prevent an international community of concerned citizens from taking nonviolent action in defense of liberty and human rights, diplomacy must pursue such actions and encourage them.
It is, therefore, a provocation to label the humanitarian action taken by movements supporting human rights to sail to Gaza a “provocation.”
It is a provocation that powerful states and international organizations, such as the US, Israel, the EU and the UN, are asking people to be silent and not react to violations of law and the disdain for universal values.
It is a provocation that international diplomacy is demanding that solidarity action from "people to people" be stopped.
It is a provocation that this international peaceful action is threatened with violence, and the powerful of the earth “wash their hands” of the consequences if Israel attacks us.
It is a provocation that these powerful entities justify, a priori, the murders, wounding, arrests and torture of unarmed human rights activists that took place one year ago on board all six ships of Freedom Flotilla 1.
We are determined to sail to Gaza, and we will. Our cause is just and our means are transparent. International diplomacy must do what it has refused to do for years, to undertake initiatives that it has turned away from for decades. Instead of condoning threats of repeated violence against unarmed civilians sailing in international waters, the global community must legally sanction the perpetrators of such crimes.
Those who seek to uphold and defend freedom, human rights, and justice must do more than denounce belligerent occupation, man-made humanitarian crises, ethnic cleansing, wanton violence against civilians, and the fierce oppression of social movements.
Civil society must be present, direct, and pro-active; it must transcend the political process of handling and resolving crises, which governments and international organizations carry out slowly, indecisively and, above all, with their self-interest at the forefront.
The grossly unjust and unlawful blockade of the Gaza Strip and the ongoing belligerent occupation of the rest of Palestine is a stark case of states sacrificing principle and human rights for power and self-interest.
The Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human mission is a healthy reaction to the apathy of the international political community. We are sailing to confront massive injustice with global nonviolent action. This mission puts on notice all those who, for many years, have passively watched the tragedy of Palestine, as well as those who directly contribute to it.
Therefore, direct action taken by civil society to uphold freedom, human rights, and justice (such as Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human), not only helps to build a different level of conscience, but is, and has to be, a means for the public to become a part of change and a direct challenge to governmental bodies that will not be stopped.