It is ten years since a dwell broadcast from the Mediterranean on Aljazeera TV got here to an abrupt finish. On 31 May 2010 I used to be watching human rights activists on the MV Mavi Marmara laden with humanitarian provides for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip describing their fears as the Israeli navy circled the ship ordering its Captain to vary course. Moments later, the transmission was ended. I feared the worst. With no information in any respect coming by I slept, unaware of the destiny of the Mavi Marmara and the 5 different ships in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

I woke to the stunning information that the Israeli navy had not solely hijacked the flotilla but in addition killed 9 human rights activists in the course of. A tenth individual died from his wounds later. There have been no Israeli commandos killed by the civilians on board the ships, though a small quantity have been injured after they boarded the flotilla’s flagship.

As Palestinians, we are solely too conscious of Israeli brutality, however for 9 humanitarians making an attempt to ship help to needy folks in Gaza to be killed for his or her endeavours was stunning. By all accounts, the Israeli navy attacked the flotilla in worldwide waters — piracy, absolutely — demonstrating that Israel felt that it might act with impunity; it nonetheless does. It merely has to scream “self-defence” and “security” and the so-called worldwide group that claims to uphold democratic values and human rights will do and say nothing, besides to reaffirm the occupation state’s proper to self-defence. The actuality is that no state whose military is occupying neighbouring or different territory has a authorized proper to say self-defence.

READ: Does the ICC choice about Israel-Palestine actually imply a black day for reality and justice?

On board the Mavi Marmara was my pal and colleague Sarah Colborne, the then Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain. She was one of the final passengers on the ship to enchantment to the world on Aljazeera’s dwell broadcast. Her message to the Israeli navy was clear: “Stop threatening us.” It fell on deaf ears. Sarah later described the flotilla as a response to the UN name for ships to be despatched with humanitarian help to interrupt the Israeli-led blockade on Gaza.

Israel imposed a merciless, immoral siege on the tiny enclave in 2007 after Hamas took management of Gaza months after forming the authorities following its Palestinian Legislative Council win in 2006 and the appointment of Ismail Haniyeh as Prime Minister. The Israelis had pulled their military and settlers out of the Gaza Strip unilaterally in 2005 however had maintained their occupation at arm’s-length by controlling Gaza’s border crossings, territorial waters and airspace. The solely entry to the world for the 1.eight million Palestinians residing in the Strip was by the Rafah Crossing into Egypt, managed by Cairo.

Palestinians protest in opposition to the closure of the Rafah crossing level between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip and the Israeli blockade on the territory, on 24 January 2019 in Rafah [SAID KHATIB / AFP / Getty]

The first try to interrupt the siege by sea befell in 2008. On 23 August, 44 odd folks from 17 completely different nations sailed from Cyprus to Gaza on two small picket boats, the Free Gaza and the Liberty. After a tough 30-hour voyage from Cyprus, by which they have been tracked by the Israeli navy, the boats made it to Gaza and have been greeted by tens of 1000’s of Palestinians in the small port.

Palestinian Musheir El-Farra was on board; a human rights activist born and raised in Khan Younis he was residing in Sheffield at the time. “For the first time in my life,” he wrote, “I went to Gaza without being humiliated, without having to ask Israel for permission. We did it. We finally did it. And now others must join us and do it as well.” Little did he know {that a} couple of years later, human rights activists making an attempt to do precisely that might be killed for making an attempt to copy the peaceable endeavours of those on board the Free Gaza and the Liberty.

READ: Turkey appears torn between appeasing Israel and serving to Palestine throughout this pandemic

Sarah Colborne instructed Guardian readers what happened on board the Mavi Marmara on that fateful evening in 2010. “It felt a bit surreal. I couldn’t quite believe they were doing what they were doing. There was live ammunition flying around and I could hear the sounds of the bullets flying and the whirr of the helicopter blades as people were dropped down onto the roof. What I saw was guns being used by the Israelis on unarmed civilians.”

The six ships have been compelled to vary course and head for Ashdod. After returning to Britain, Colborne defined: “We were kidnapped, we were deprived of our liberty and our belongings. People were illegally held against their will, taken to Israel from international waters. In terms of treatment, in terms of our basic rights they were completely and totally violated.” She expressed her hope that “the deaths, the horrific deaths, of the people will not be in vain.”

Mavi Marmara Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Mavi Marmara – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

My former colleague mentioned one thing then that, ten years down the line, we say once more: “We can’t sit by and watch Israel violate international law every day. We want the British government to take action, ensure there are no future attacks on humanitarian aid convoys.”

However, not solely have successive British governments not taken any motion to sanction Israel for its crimes or insist that the siege on Gaza is lifted, however the relaxation of the world has additionally allowed Israel to get away, actually, with the homicide of ten unarmed activists who have been killed merely for making an attempt to achieve the Gaza Strip and ship much-needed humanitarian help.

READ: UK charity calls for probe after Gaza-bound help cash seized

Turkey began the course of of prosecuting and searching for life sentences for the alleged involvement of former Israel Defence Forces chief of workers Gabi Ashkenazi, former navy chief Eliezer Marom, former navy intelligence head Amos Yadlin and former air drive intelligence chief Avishai Levy, who have been all placed on trial in absentia in 2012. However, the prices have been ultimately dropped following diplomatic reconciliation between Turkey and Israel in 2016. Ashkenazi is now Israel’s Foreign Minister in the newly-formed authorities.

Israel continues to keep away from being held to account because of the diplomatic, political and financial cowl offered by its allies. And the killing of unarmed protesters and activists has continued.

In March 2018, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip established the weekly Great March of Return protests alongside the fence that separates greater than 80 per cent of them from their unique properties in what’s now known as Israel, demanding their authentic proper to return to their land. In response, Israeli snipers opened fireplace, as they’ve completed ever since. To date, greater than 200 Palestinian civilians have been killed by the Israeli troopers, together with journalists and medics; tens of 1000’s extra have been wounded, many with life-changing accidents, Yet once more, the west has stood with the aggressor, backing Israel in opposition to the victims of its brutal navy occupation.

The cumulative impunity and lack of accountability that Israel enjoys didn’t begin with the Mavi Marmara piracy, hijacking and killings, and has not ended with the Great March of Return shootings. The Palestinian folks and their supporters proceed to build up anniversaries to mark, only a few of which they will mark with any diploma of happiness. Whether it is the 1948 Nakba itself and the massacres that the Zionists and nascent Israeli state carried out then, together with Deir Yassin; the 30 September 2000 killing of 12-year-old Muhammad Al-Durrah; or the killing of 21-year-old volunteer medic Razan Al-Najjar on 1 June 2018, it is inexplicable in a world which proclaims “universal human rights” that Israel has and continues to get pleasure from full immunity from sanctions and prosecution.

READ: Biden urged to ‘leverage’ US help in opposition to Israel’s rogue behaviour 

We should not permit the reminiscence of the ten who misplaced their lives on the Mavi Marmara to fade, for they’re symbolic of everybody else who has misplaced their life in the trigger of Palestinian freedom. We must also thank and keep in mind the many others who took half in the Freedom Flotilla and survived to maintain their colleagues’ recollections alive as they proceed to help the Palestinian battle.

Israel’s prison actions in 2010, and those in the a long time earlier than and since must not ever be forgotten. We have an obligation to maintain them in the public area in order that those shameless people and governments which declare that Israel upholds western values of democracy and human rights see it for the rogue, pariah state that it really is.

Let us, subsequently, keep in mind Ibrahim Bilgen, Çetin Topçuoğlu, Furkan Doğan, Cengiz Akyüz, Ali Heyder Bengi, Cevdet Kılıçlar, Cengiz Songür, Fahri Yaldız, Necdet Yıldırım and Ugur Suleyman Soylemez. They paid the final worth making an attempt to assist a besieged folks. We should neither forget them and their sacrifice, nor forgive those concerned in bringing their lives to a untimely and brutal finish.

The views expressed on this article belong to the writer and don’t essentially mirror the editorial coverage of Middle East Monitor.



Source link