Why Subscribe ?

Popularise CC

Join News Letter


Face Book

Editor's Picks

Press Releases

Action Alert

Feed Burner

Read CC In Your
Own Language

India Burning

Mumbai Terror

Financial Crisis


AfPak War

Peak Oil

Alternative Energy

Climate Change

US Imperialism

US Elections


Latin America










Book Review

Gujarat Pogrom



India Elections



Submission Policy

About CC


Fair Use Notice

Contact Us

Search Our Archive


Our Site


Subscribe To Our
News Letter

Name: E-mail:

Printer Friendly Version

Take Action : Protest Killing of Peace Activists
and Illegal Gaza Blockade

By United-church.ca

11 June, 2010

Ask the Canadian government to
a) press for an end to the 3-year blockade of Gaza by the State of Israel;
b) support a UN-mandated independent inquiry on the attack on the Freedom

On May 31, the Israeli navy attacked a passenger ship bound for Gaza with
humanitarian supplies, leaving nine human rights activists dead and dozens
more injured.

Background The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was made up of eight ships from various
European countries, including Ireland, Turkey, and Greece. The ships were
carrying construction materials, and medical and educational supplies. The
people on board the ships included members of various world parliaments, UN
staff, human rights and trade union activists, and journalists. The flotilla
was the largest contingent of ships that had attempted to deliver
humanitarian aid to Gaza since Israel began its siege of the occupied
Palestinian territories in 2007.

Prior humanitarian efforts to deliver aid to Gaza by ship were met with
resistance by the Israeli Navy. While aid boats have been rammed and shot at
in the past, this is the first time Israel has acted with such extreme
violence. This Israeli commando attack on a passenger ship carrying as many
as 600 peace activists was unnecessarily dangerous and provocative. It has
resulted in tragic loss of life and condemnation from around the world.

The attack in international waters on the humanitarian convoy constitutes a
breach of International Law and the Law of the Sea. This peaceful, symbolic
mission was carrying food and medicines for the Gazan population, 80 percent
of which is totally reliant on humanitarian assistance due to the illegal
enforcement of the Israeli blockade.

The United Church of Canada has received an urgent request from Dr. Bernard
Sabella, the Executive Secretary of the Department of Service to Palestinian
Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches stating in part:

.We, Church Related Organizations, condemn in the strongest language
possible the irresponsible actions perpetrated by the Israeli forces against
civilian participants of the Freedom Flotilla and call on all to take action
that would see Israel subscribe to international norms by ending the siege
on Gaza and by ending its military occupation of the Palestinian
Territories. It is only through ending the unjustifiable ongoing military
occupation of another people's land that true peace can emerge.

In specific we call for the formation of an independent international
investigation on the events that led to the perpetration of this most

On May 31, 2010, the Security Council of the United Nations issued a
Presidential Statement condemning the attack on a humanitarian aid convoy.
Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs
and the chief foreign policy official of the UN, called on Israel to end its
"counterproductive" and "unacceptable" three-year blockade of Gaza.

On June 1, at the meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Deputy
High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang expressed shock "that
humanitarian aid would be met with such violence, and we unequivocally
condemn what appears to be a disproportionate use of force." She again
appealed for an end to the blockade, "an affront to human dignity," which
causes the suffering of 1.5 million Gazans. Ms Kang expressed hope that "the
Israeli Government will take the necessary decisive actions to demonstrate
to the international community a clear commitment to abide by international
law." The 47-member Human Rights Council is expected to adopt a resolution
at the end of its session.

Many international leaders have reacted strongly to the attack. UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon said he was "shocked" by the attack. Middle East peace
envoy Tony Blair talked of "deep regret and shock" at the deaths. Turkey
recalled its ambassador from Israel. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said
he "deplores the loss of life" and called for limits on aid for Gaza to be

A statement distributed by the Jerusalem Interchurch Centre said that
Palestinian Christian church and community leaders "condemn in the strongest
language possible the irresponsible actions perpetrated by the Israeli
forces against civilian participants of the Freedom Flotilla." It urged
action to ensure that Israel ended its "siege of Gaza and...its military
occupation of the Palestinian Territories."

The United Church of Canada, which has long advocated for an end to Israel's
illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, acknowledges the
significance of international humanitarian law, and expresses its faith in
God's coming justice and peace for the people of this long-suffering land.
We pray for all those affected, especially bereaved families and urge you to

Take Action We urge you to write to Prime Minister Harper and the Minister
of Foreign Affairs, with copies to your own Member of Parliament and leaders
and foreign affairs critics of the opposition parties, calling on Canada to:

support the UN Security Council Presidential Statement, strongly requesting
that Israel immediately begin to respect and abide by international law and
end the three-year blockade of Gaza by the State of Israel, and support the
formation of a United Nations Security Council-mandated independent inquiry
on the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. You can use this sample letter
[RTF: 1 p/16 KB] as a starting point.

Canadian Officials

The House of Commons website --
MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E -
-has a complete list of MPs' fax and phone numbers. Surface mail letters can
be sent to: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Prime Minister Stephen Harper E-mail: Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs E-mail: Hon. Lawrence
Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Party Leader E-mail: Michael Ignatieff
Hon. Jack Layton, NDP Leader E-mail: Hon. Jack Layton
Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Québécois Leader E-mail: Gilles Duceppe
Hon. Bob Rae, Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic E-mail: Hon. Bob Rae
Paul Dewar, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic E-mail: Paul Dewar
Francine Lalonde, Bloc Québécois Foreign Affairs Critic E-mail: Francine

Send a copy to

Barbara Lloyd
Program Coordinator, Public Witness Justice,
Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit
The United Church of Canada
E-mail: Barbara Lloyd

For more information please contact

Lee Holland
Acting Regional Coordinator, East and Central Africa/The Middle East
Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 4038
Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4038 Fax: 416-231-3103 E-mail: Lee Holland