As Toronto-based activist and journalist Justin Podur writes,
Given that exact numbers have not been released of who lived, who is injured, and who has survived, witnesses to the slaughter are in extreme danger of being killed now. This is not simply a murder that happened last night, but an abduction as well, in which the hostages, who are witnesses to an international crime, are in danger for their lives... Israel's strategy towards Palestine and Gaza in particular involves committing atrocities to test the international reaction.
Representatives of the Israeli state are, of course, making ridiculous and completely non-credible statements about the entire thing being "self-defence." Though it seems clear that a handful of activists on board did try to resist using sticks and other items after the Israeli assault -- which involved the use of tear gas, stun grenades, and live ammunition -- had begun, as an analysis from Electronic Intifada puts it,
It is unclear how anyone could credibly adopt an Israeli narrative of "self-defense" when Israel had carried out an unprovoked armed assault on civilian ships in international waters. Surely any right of self-defense would belong to the passengers on the ship. Nevertheless, the Freedom Flotilla organizers had clearly and loudly proclaimed their ships to be unarmed civilian vessels on a humanitarian mission.
Turkey, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and Greece have all taken some sort of formal diplomatic action in condemnation, with at least two of those recalling their ambassadors. Yet Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is still scheduled to publically shake hands with the Israeli Prime Minister in Ottawa later today. As Dammit Janet has written, citing Alison at Creekside, given his behaviour during other Israeli atrocities in recent years, "Those who study the physiological and psychological factors present in subtance abuse and dependance have pointed out the role of the enabler in allowing the problem behaviours to escalate. Harper is the biggest enabler of the state of Israel's violent apartheid policies and practices."
Here is a list of actions being circulated by the Canadian Peace Alliance:
Protest Netanyahu's visit to Ottawa
WAR CRIMINALS UNWELCOME HERE
Monday, May 31, 2010
Human Rights Monument
For more information please see: http://notowarcrimes.blogspot.com/
Monday, May 31, 2010
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Richmond and Central
ISRAËL TUEUR! - ISRAEL MURDERER!
Actions d'urgence à Montréal : Flottille de la paix pour GAZA!!!
Montréal : lundi, 31 mai 2010
à 15h30 coin Atwater et Ste-Catherine
à 15h45 point de presse
à 17h30 vigile de solidarité au Consulat de la Turquie (1134, Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest)
For more information please see: http://sphr.org/v3/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=63:sphr-current-events-and-activities&layout=blog&Itemid=106
EMERGENCY PICKET – MAY 31
5-7PM OUTSIDE ISRAELI CONSUALTE
Israel has used military force on the peaceful flotilla taking humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. Israel has murdered several unarmed civilians (at least 10 confirmed so far). Again we see the Israeli apartheid state acting with full impunity outside the boundaries of international law while the the Harper government welcomes Prime Minister Netanyahu with open arms.
We will be out today to tell Israel and all its supporters it can not get away with its crimes against humanity without worldwide protest.
Date: Today May 31
Time: 5-7 pm
Location: Israeli Consulate (180 Bloor St. West)
Bring noise makers! Bring flags! Tell your family and friends.
For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War
Gaza Freedom March Committee
Carpools are being organized in St Catharines at 3pm today to join the Emergency Rally in Toronto. If you want to come phone Susan at 905-984-6515 or text 905-328-6515.
MORE BLOOD ON ISRAEL’S HANDS – Protest Monday Noon in Vancouver
Monday, May 31, at 12 noon, on the corner of Georgia and Hamilton (in front of the CBC), there will be a gathering to honour the courage of those killed by the Israeli military, to call for the media to report fully, and to demand the government denounce Israel’s blood-letting and blockade of Gaza. There also will be protest in Ottawa on Monday against the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with Prime Minister Harper.
- For global events listings please see the Gaza Freedom March website at: http://ht.ly/1RVWM
If there is something happening in your city, please attend! There must be a strong international reaction in response to these acts.
And just for good measure, here is a link to an open letter written by Jewish Israeli peace activists (before the attack) to their fellow citizens, exhorting them to support the Free Gaza Flotilla. As well, see below for the text of a statement from the president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers urging the Canadian government to take strong action in response to the attack, and a video plea for international solidarity from a Free Gaza activist that was recorded before the flotilla departed:
Statement from Denis Lemelin, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
May 31, 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
I am writing to you on behalf of the 54,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. You will be aware that the Israeli navy, in an act of piracy in international waters, has hijacked the international flotilla of ships which was attempting to deliver essential humanitarian aid to Gaza. The aid includes construction materials which would enable the people of Gaza to rebuild the homes destroyed by Israel in Operation Cast Lead in 2009.
There are nearly 700 people on board the boats, all of whom are civilians from around the world, including Members of Parliament from a number of nations, eminent writers and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. They have undertaken this mission out of concern for the people of Gaza, who are now entering their fourth year under siege, without access to basic necessities. They pose no threat to Israel, and are completely unarmed.
Despite this, the Israeli navy has attacked the flotilla outside of international waters this morning resulting in fatalities estimated by the Israeli military itself as 10 and by news sources at possibly in excess of 20 with another large number injured. Israeli news sources say that hospitals around Ashdod have been told to prepare for many injured people arriving.
I urge you to act swiftly to condemn this attack on the peace flotilla, which was breaking no international laws, and, that you demand to know the fate of those on board the vessels and to ensure that Israel releases the vessels immediately to allow this vital aid to reach its destination. Since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Canada and has profusely praised you for maintaining strong relations with Israel, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers believes that you have an obligation to condemn this brutal attack.
Israel's occupation of Gaza is illegal under international law, and it has been accused in a UN report of committing war crimes in Gaza.
Your obligation must be towards a group of citizens peacefully attempting to deliver humanitarian aid, than to a country which repeatedly violates international treaties. CUPW calls on you to end the government's silence over Israel's aggressive actions against the flotilla, and intervene now to demand its safe passage to Gaza.
CUPW is calling on you to condemn this wanton act of piracy against the peaceful flotilla taking aid to the people of Gaza. Finally, CUPW is calling upon you to take every step possible to bring about an end to the inhuman treatment of the people of Gaza by acting to end the siege and blockade that is taking place against them by the Israeli Government.
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Cc: National Executive Board
Regional Executive Cttee
Israeli Embassy to Canada