WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders today called on the US State Department to support the Gaza Aid Flotilla, and to cease defending and assisting Israel's maritime blockade.
"The US should end its shameful complicity in the brutal siege on Gaza and pressure Israel to end its illegal collective punishment which has cost thousands of civilian lives in Gaza. The U.S. State Department should denounce the Israeli Navy's threat to use snipers and attack dogs against the 'Audacity of Hope' and other Freedom Flotilla II aid boats as intimidation tactics which clearly signal Israel's willingness to, once again, violate human rights and humanitarian law," said Muhammed Malik, co-chair of Miami-Dade Green Party (http://miamidadegreenparty.org) and a member of the Green Party's International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl). Mr. Malik recently co-organized a rally near the Israeli Consulate in Miami in support of Palestinian rights and the Freedom Flotilla II.
The Green Party of the United States has supported the Freedom Flotillas to Gaza (http://ustogaza.org), including the May 2010 fleet of humanitarian aid ships that were attacked by Israel in international waters near Cyprus which left 9 human rights activists dead and at least 50 wounded (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=321). In July 2009, Cynthia McKinney, a former US Representative from Georgia and the Green Party's 2008 presidential nominee, was one of 21 human rights activists on board the Free Gaza relief boat seized by the Israeli navy in international waters when it tried to deliver medical and other humanitarian aid to Gaza in June 2009, in the wake of Israel's invasion of Gaza. Ms. McKinney and the other activists were held in an Israeli jail for several days.
The flotilla will begin its next voyage on or around June 24 with approximately 60 passengers, including Alice Walker, author of 'The Color Purple'; Col. Ann Wright, who resigned from the State Dept. in 2003 in protest of President Bush's invasion of Iraq; Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor; many other peace activists and journalists.
"The State Department has called the Gaza aid boats 'provocative' -- and this is entirely correct. By delivering humanitarian aid to Gazans, the Freedom Flotilla is undertaking a nonviolent, courageous, and justifiable act of defiance to provoke international outrage over Israel's actions in Gaza. The aid boats are calling attention to Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, murderous treatment of Palestinian people, displacement of Palestinian families from their homes, and internal apartheid. The US must cut off all military aid to Israel until the Israeli government reverses its current policies," said Justine McCabe, co-chair of the Green Party's International Committee.
The Green Party of the US has called for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and UN directives, ends the occupation of Palestinian lands, and observes full and equal human rights for Palestinians, including the right of return.
Greens leaders have urged support for Palestinian and Israeli peace groups and called for an end to all violence targeted at unarmed civilians, insisting that regional stability and security for all the people of Israel and Palestine are not possible until peaceful negotiation resolves the conflict.
The Green Party has condemned Israel's persecution of Palestinian peace activists, including the 2011 arrest of Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh (http://qumsiyeh.org), former associate professor of genetics at Yale University and member of the Green Party of Connecticut before he moved back to Palestine (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=307).
Greens expressed fear that peaceful resolution may be less likely after Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" (http://www.haaretz.com/news/netanyahu-demands-palestinians-recognize-jewish-state-1.274207), which drew no protest from the White House. Contrary to Mr. Netanyahu's demand and President Obama's uncritical support for it, Israel-Palestine has always been multicultural, with Palestinians currently making up 20-plus percent of the population.
"We're very concerned that Israel will interpret the Obama Administration's refusal to criticize the attacks on peaceful aid boats as permission for even worse attacks on future flotillas. We urge the President to do the right thing -- to defend the Freedom Flotilla and see it as the equivalent of nonviolent civil disobedience by activists during the US Civil Rights struggle. We are embarrassed that Mr. Obama doesn't seem to understand this comparison," said Carl Romanelli, former Green US Senate candidate from Pennsylvania and member of the party's International Committee.