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The board of the Stockholm-based Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JIPF) has issued a statement supporting the people who will attempt to break the blockade on Gaza. The statement also includes appeals to, and hopes for, both the Israeli and the Palestinian governments.
Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JIPF) wholeheartedly supports the Freedom Flotilla 2, of which Ship to Gaza Sweden is a part. Two JIPF members, Henry Ascher and Chairman Dror Feiler, will be on board, as they were on the last fleet.
The Freedom Flotilla is a humanitarian action, which aims to break Israel's now over four-year-old economic and political blockade of Gaza. The blockade violates international law by subjecting an entire population to collective punishment, and depriving Gaza’s population of any possibility of:
- self-sufficiency – most people can now only survive through international aid;
- reconstruction of infrastructure and homes following Israel's brutal assault on Gaza in 2009; and
- full medical care - Gazans die due to lack of medicine and medical equipment and because they are not allowed to travel outside of Gaza despite significant, and often acute, needs for medical care.
As the international community, led on by the U.S. and Europe, continues to allow the Israeli blockade and the occupation of the West Bank to continue in silence, civil society is going back to work with an even larger solidarity fleet bringing necessities to the people of Gaza.
We support this relief action - not only for humanitarian reasons, but also in order to uphold international law. We hope that the Freedom Flotilla will bring the blockade and the Israeli occupation to the top of the global political agenda.
We expect that the Israeli government will come to its senses this time and allow the vessels to call at Gaza's port and unload their humanitarian goods under international supervision and public media coverage. Any use of military force against this peaceful action would only cause further harm to Israel's reputation around the world.
We call on the Hamas regime in Gaza to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, as a humanitarian gesture, while we also demand that the Israeli Government simultaneously release all Palestinian political prisoners, among which there are many children. Furthermore, we demand that the Israeli government immediately stop the expansion of all settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem and begin negotiations with the new Palestinian unity government in order to establish a Palestinian state, alongside the state of Israel, based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Board of JIPF - June 8, 2011