IPSC Statement on Launch of ‘Irish Ship To Gaza’ Campaign
Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Press Release, Monday 30th August, 6pm
Speaking this morning at the official launch of the ‘Irish Ship To Gaza’ Campaign in the Gresham Hotel, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) National Chairperson Freda Hughes welcomed the initiative to send an Irish boat to take part in the Second Gaza Freedom Flotilla in October. Ms Hughes pledged the support of the IPSC, and encouraged all supporters of Palestinian human rights to assist in this campaign to bring much-needed aid and supplies to the besieged Gaza strip.
Addressing the media in the Gresham Hotel, Ms. Hughes said: “The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign fully supports this initiative to send another Irish ship to Gaza, just as we have supported all previous siege breaking efforts on both sea and land. It is important for Irish people to remember the sheer brutality of the ongoing siege of Gaza which has decimated the lives of the people of the region, and to take a stand against it. This is a civil society to civil society project and we call on people from all sectors of the Irish public to get involved and support this important act of solidarity.”
Speaking about the conditions faced by the people of Gaza, Ms Hughes stated: “The ongoing siege of Gaza has turned the region into an “open air prison”, to use the words of Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin. It has placed a stranglehold upon the 1.5 million people who live there. Israel’s stated aim of the blockaded is to apply “pressure and sanctions” to weaken the economy of Gaza and to “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger” - this can only be seen as unjust and inhumane. It is a clear violation of human rights, and the terms of this blockade breach international law. Gaza has no autonomous sea or air ports and thus has no independent access to the international community. Furthermore Gazans are not allowed to import or export on their own their own terms, and thus are unable rebuild their society and break the cycle of aid dependency.”
Ms Hughes concluded: "The IPSC sees the Second Freedom Flotilla and our participation in it as an important strand in our ongoing work to end Israel's Apartheid regime which denies Palestinians their human, civil, political and national rights. Another essential strand in achieving this goal is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that aims to force Israel to comply fully with its obligations under international law, and this is a campaign that all Irish people can and should get actively involved in at home."
Note: The following organisations have come together to form the Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign: the Free Gaza Movement, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Irish Anti-War Movement, Derry Friends of Palestine, Ireland to Gaza, the Palestinian Rights Institute and the Trade Union Friends of Palestine. The Second Gaza Freedom Flotilla, of between 12 – 15 ships, is due set sail in October 2010.