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Claiming Victory

Marmara en route to Gaza Photo: Avi Roccah
Marmara en route to Gaza Photo: Avi Roccah
 
Navy raid on flotilla Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office
Navy raid on flotilla Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Office
 
 

Flotilla activists: Violence led to blockade removal

Following Israel's decision to ease Gaza blockade, pro-Palestinian activists celebrate victory, say 'without the deaths onboard Marmara, we might not have witnessed results today'

Boaz Fyler
Published: 06.21.10, 13:40 / Israel News

Organizers of the flotilla to Gaza are celebrating their victory – after the government's decision to ease the blockade, a leading activist who participated in the flotilla told Ynet on Monday that "the decisions of the Israeli government indicate that unfortunately, the pressure and violent outcome of the raid led to results.

 

"Without the deaths of activists on board the Marmara ship we might have not witnessed the results we see today," the activist said.

 

Response
MK Zoabi: Blockade easing proves politics as motivator, not defense / Roee Nahmias
Arab lawmaker who took part in Gaza-bound flotilla says it marked 'beginning of total collapse of Israeli siege.' Adds: I won't be deterred by political persecution, scare campaign
Full story
Israel on Sunday announced it was easing the blockade on Gaza by replacing a list of allowed items with a list of banned goods limited to weapons and materials deemed to have military uses.

 

In an official statement, the government said that unlike the policies of the former government, Israel will " increase the transfer of dual-purpose construction materials for projects approved by the Palestinian Authority, including schools, health institutions, water and sanitation, as well as projects subject to international monitoring and housing units such as the one executed by the UN in Khan Younis.

 

"Israel plans on accelerating the approval of such projects while following the accepted procedures," read the statement.

 

Vangelis Pisias, a Greek activist who participated in the flotilla said, "Israel got the violence like a boomerang, which led it to remove the blockade. The international pressure applied by pro-Palestinian and international organizations will continue until the naval blockade – an important measure of a state's independence – is completely removed."

 

Pisias called on the countries of the world to monitor Israel: "The international community must ensure that the State of Israel's decisions are not suddenly changed again as soon as a Qassam rocket is fired on Israel or any other incident that might give the government a legitimization to tighten the blockade once again.

 

The international pressure applied on Israel by the Western powers and its allies is extremely strong following Israel's actions and the general instability in the Middle Eastern arena," Pisias added.

 

According to Pisias, "The Western powers realize that the price for undermining the stability may be too high. If Turkey continues to take on an independent role in the region, following Israel's actions, it will become a nightmare for the Western powers, since Turkey is will turn to Iran and Russia."

 

'Will struggle until Palestinian independence'

Hussein Orush, a board member of the Turkish IHH organization, presented a similar view: "We will continue to struggle until the blockade is completely removed and Palestine achieves independence. Israel must pay the price for its illegal actions in the international court and be subjected to an international committee that will probe the outcome of the flotilla."

 

Despite the celebrations, some are contemplating whether to continue the flotilla struggle. IHH spokesperson Omar FaruK, who Israel considers as aiding terrorist activity, told Ynet, "This is a victory for the people of Gaza and their joint struggle with the humanitarian organizations."

 

Faruk noted that despite their victory, the aim has yet to be reached. "We are still not entirely pleased and will continue to act toward the complete removal of the blockade on Gaza."

 

The Turkish organization has yet to decide on whether it will send more ships to Gaza. "Numerous humanitarian organizations are repeatedly asking us to participate in more flotillas that are preparing to sail to the Gaza Strip. We haven't decided, because we believe the Israeli and American governments must be given more time to change the restrictions on the blockade," he said.

 

When asked if the events that took place on the Marmara ship helped change the outcome, Faruk replied, "I don't believe that violence was necessary to bring about these results; the IHH does not support violence or violent activity to change the situation – even in the future."

 

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