Palestine Our Destination Humanitarian Aid Our Load flotilla of ships set out in May to break the four-year long Israeli blockade on Gaza and to open a humanitarian aid corridor for the 1.5 million Gazan people, one million of which live in refugee camps. On the 31 May morning, the Israeli military attacked in the Mediterranean Sea in international waters the flotilla that included more than 600 citizens of 36 countries with different languages and ideologies. Nine humanitarian aid volunteers were killed and 54 were injured in the attack.
International law was violated; Gaza embargo is unlawful!
The United Nations released the result of an investigation it launched in August following the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara boat. The UN Human Rights Council Fact-finding Mission stated that Israel violated international law, including international human rights law. The UN described the Israels attack on the flotilla was disproportionate and unacceptably brutal and called the embargo imposed on Gaza unlawful.
Crimes Committed in Israeli Attack
The UN report stated that evidence clearly showed Israel had committed the crimes listed in article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The crimes stated in the Geneva Convention and that were perpetrated by Israel are as follows:
- Willful killing,
- Inhuman treatment,
- Willfully causing suffering to health,
- Causing serious injury.
The report also said Israel repeatedly violated its obligations under international human rights law as per the following articles:
- Right to life (article 6, ICCPR / International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)
- Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (article 7, ICCPR; CAT/ Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment)
- Right to liberty and security of the person and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention (article 9, ICCPR)
- right of detainees to be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person (article 10, ICCPR)
Freedom of expression (article 19, ICCPR)
Some of the points highlighted in the UN report:
- Israel violated international law, including international human rights law.
- Israeli soldiers treatment of the passengers is near brutal.
- The illegal and unlawful embargo on Gaza is unsustainable and should be removed.
- The intervention on the Mavi Marmara is unlawful.
- The punishment of civilian population in Gaza is unlawful no matter on what grounds it is based.
- The Israeli government declined cooperation with the investigation into the incident that involved Israeli soldiers.
- The flotilla members genuinely committed themselves to the spirit of humanitarianism and made an impression that they are imbued with a deep and genuine concern for the welfare of the inhabitants of Gaza.
- Humanitarian organizations wishing to intervene in long-standing humanitarian crisis situations where the international community is unwilling to take constructive action are accused of being terrorist or enemy agents.
- Israel committed another offense by unlawfully confiscating personal property of the passengers.
- Damage inflicted by the attack should be compensated