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Call the U.S. State Department and White House at the numbers provided and demand they act for justice for passengers on the flotillas and an end to the disastrous blockade of Gaza.
Freedom Waves, the most recent international flotilla organized to break Israel’s siege of Gaza, left unannounced from Turkey en route to Gaza on November 2. The illegal blockade constitutes collective punishment prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, and has caused excessive and disproportionate harm to the civilian population as it has led to a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, widespread failure of public infrastructure, and chronic unemployment due to the blockade’s systemic undermining of Gaza’s economy.
The flotilla was violently intercepted by Israeli forces on November 5 in international waters. Three warships, four Zodiacs, four water cannon boats, as well as four gunboats intercepted the two boats in the flotilla at gunpoint, and nearly sunk one of the boats with water cannons while the flotilla passengers were still on board. Passengers—who included two U.S. citizens—were threatened with machine guns, assaulted, forcibly removed, had their property taken, and were detained by Israel.
Despite the fact that U.S. citizens were involved the U.S. government has made no public comments about the flotilla seizure and the detention of U.S. citizens. Indeed, even when Israeli forces executed U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan aboard the Mavi Marmara during the May 2010 flotilla the U.S. State Department said nothing—there has been no demand for an investigation or for accountability. A UN report about the incident confirmed that Furkan Doğan received “five gunshot wounds in the back of his head, nose, left leg, left ankle and in the back, all from close range” and that his “motionless, wounded body was kicked and shot upon, execution-style by two Israeli soldiers.” The State Department failed to even mention the killing of a U.S. citizen in their 2010 human rights report on Israel.
Call the State Department and demand that they:
• Call on Israel to end the disastrous and illegal blockade of Gaza.
• Publically denounce the illegal interception of the Freedom Waves flotilla and the detention and mistreatment of passengers, and ensure their safety on future flotillas.
• Investigate and demand accountability for the killing of U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan and the other passengers killed by Israeli forces on board the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.
• Get back the U.S. passengers’ property from this and past flotillas that was stolen by Israel, which may contain video and photographic evidence of Israel’s illegal conduct.
• Enforce the Leahy Law which prohibits funding foreign security units that commit gross human rights violations. The U.S. provides Israel with $3 billion in military aid annually.
These are the State Department phone numbers:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: 202-647-5291
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro: 011-972-3-519-7575
Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs, Paul Sutphin: 202-647-3672
Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter: 202-647-8308
Please also leave a comment with the White House: 202-456-1414
Thank you for standing up for human rights.
For background on CCR's work regarding the Free Gaza Flotilla, please click here.