Libby Davies speaks out on attack on humanitarian aid ships

I wish to express my sympathy and outrage for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and those who were injured in the horrendous attack today by Israeli Defence Forces against the Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

This deadly assault on peace activists, who only wanted the people of Gaza to receive the basic necessities of life, is shocking and unconscionable and demands an immediate investigation and response by the International Community. The illegal siege on Gaza, now in its 3rd year, must be ended.

The Government of Canada must speak out and make it clear that Canada condemns all such actions against innocent people who are peace activists. The hundreds of participants in the Freedom Flotilla who have now been detained by Israel must be released.

As someone who has visited Gaza twice, mostly recently in August 2009, I have witnessed first-hand the devastation of the siege on Gaza and its 1.6 million inhabitants.

Like Rachael Corrie and other internationals who have given their life for peace and justice for Palestinians, we honour their life’s work and will continue to work for peace and justice in the Middle East.

This Update from Libby was posted on May 31, 2010

12 Comments

Thank you

Libby,

I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful that we have you as a strong voice for peace and justice on this issue. Statements like this make me believe that politicians are not all the same.

Cheers,

Joel French

Not Impressed

I would just like to say that with the determination you have to deal with matters, I truly think you do not have all the facts and you are no doubt in my mind racist. You do not seem to have all the facts and your comments are one sided, yes Gaza is a mess but this is souly due to the terrorist cells in the middle east, not Israel. Israel gave this land to the Palestinians and when they did the land was green and the trees bared fruit and there were food crops everywhere, the houses were not like they are today, they had running water, pluming and glass for windows, within the time the land was given back and when you visited they the Palestinians destroyed it. I know this for a fact because I was there when it was being handed back.

Suzanne

Thanks Libby for defending the victims! Ignore the racist haters

Israeli terrorists tried to confiscate all video and photos equipment but some people managed to transmit or smuggle videos and photo cards secretly.

Turkey's charity IHH has released photos that show Israeli commandos being treated for first aid in IHH's captivity. Israeli lies have been exposed, there was no attempted "lynching" of its commandos. If anyone had the right of self-defense, it were the people on the Flotilla, Israel was the aggressor that invaded their ships in International waters.

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/turkish-doctor-describes-tre...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7807067/IHH-...

American filmmaker and activist Iara Lee was also on the Flotilla, she has released video that shows Israelis coming in the middle of the night to attack, it also shows how the activists continuously announced on megaphones for the Israelis to stop attacking and that they were unarmed and posed no resistance.
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/10/exclusive_journalist_smuggles_out_...

Suzanne,
You have no idea what you are talking about. Jews were 11% of Palestine's population in 1922, and 33% of population in 1947. Jews owned only 7% of the land in 1947 and occupied 78% of it, kicked 750,000 native Arabs (Christians and Muslims) out and declared Israel. Israeli terrorists took the rest of the 22% land (West Bank and Gaza) in 1967 and they continue to occupy the remaining 22% with apartheid laws, Jewish-only roads and Jewish-only settlements.

Hamas is a result of decades of brutal military occupation of Israel. Before that, Israel used to blame PLO for all the problems, in 1980s Israel supported Hamas because PLO was too popular amongst Palestinians. Now Hamas is popular and Israel supports Fatah because Fatah is willing to play as puppet dictator as long as they continue to get their share of money from Israel.

Israeli pirates committed a war crime based on the International Law (UN) on which 200+ countries of the world agree.
article 87(a) provides for “freedom of navigation.”
article 88, states, "The high seas shall be reserved for peaceful purposes."
arrticle 89 states, "No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty."
article 90 states, "Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas"

Israeli pirates confiscated all video from the the people on the Flotilla including journalists. Israeli pirates are using edited clips of illegally captured video. If Israel is telling the truth why don't they give the video cameras to their owners so that they can reveal who started killing? Somali pirates are better, at least they do it for money. Israeli terrorists do it to prevent medical supplies, reconstruction material from reaching 1.5 million besieged people, half of whom are children.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129197&sectionid=351020202

Flotilla activist plans to sue Israel
Sun, 06 Jun 2010 02:20:27 GMT
Israeli-Swedish peace activist and artist Dror Feiler says he will file a lawsuit against Israel for assaulting and falsely imprisoning him.
On Saturday, Feiler said that he had tried to talk with the Israeli soldiers on board the ship but was beaten up. He was later detained, after the boat was diverted to Ashdod, on the grounds that he had illegally entered Israel, the Maan news agency reported.
Contrary to Israeli statements, the passengers did not possess any arms and were only trying to defend themselves when they were attacked, he added.
Another Swedish activist, Ida Manga, told Arab News that the Turkish group IHH, which helped organize the Freedom Flotilla, "works in the field of humanitarian aid in 143 countries around the world. The Israeli assault was illogical and I cannot fathom the reasons behind it."

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/suffocating-gaza-israeli-bloc...
"Mass unemployment, extreme poverty and food price rises caused by shortages have left four in five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. As a form of collective punishment, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law."
"The blockade prohibits most exports and restricts the entry of basic goods, including food and fuel. Much of the available food is provided by the UN and other aid agencies, or smuggled in through tunnels running under the Egypt-Gaza border and then sold on at exorbitantly high prices to Gaza’s beleaguered residents."
"Rather than targeting armed groups, the blockade mainly hits the most vulnerable, such as children (who make up more than half of the population in Gaza), the elderly, the sick and the Gaza Strip's large refugee population."
"World Health Organization (WHO) trucks of medical equipment bound for Gazan hospitals have repeatedly been turned away, without explanation, by Israeli border officials."

May 23, 2010 Israeli YNET News.com
“UN says Gaza blockade hinders reconstruction aid”
“Most of the property and infrastructure damaged in Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip was still unrepaired 12 months later and aid efforts have been largely ineffective, a UN report said Sunday.”

The article goes on to quote from a UN report that says "In view of the scale of the needs, international assistance in Gaza is tantamount to tinkering at the edges."

January 20, 2010 World Health Organization fact sheet
“The lack of building materials is affecting essential health facilities: the new surgical wing in Gaza’s main Shifa hospital has remained unfinished since 2006. Hospitals and primary care facilities, damaged during operation ‘Cast Lead’, have not been rebuilt because construction materials are not allowed into Gaza.”

Thank you

I read in the Globe & Mail that you were essentially the only one to demand that "Canada condemn Israel’s 'deadly assault on peace activists.' " and immediately searched for your site for further comment.

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-backs-us-opposition-...)

Thank you for showing courage in standing up for what's right. The silence from Canada is embarrassing and heartbreaking.

If we don't condemn, it means we condone these continuing horrific acts on innocent civilians, men, women and children, many of which have family and loved ones here in Canada.

As Desmond Tutu said "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."

Canada has long ignored the injustice to the people of Gaza and it has to stop. We have to stop supporting collect punishment that is illegal under Article 33 of International Humanitarian Law, which is exactly what we are doing – supporting it by ignoring it.

The MV Rachel Corrie will make its attempt to reach the people of Gaza in the next couple of days and - as Israel has announced - it should expect even more force than the Mavi Marmara and its dead and injured. I hope by then our country can grow a backbone and stand up for freedom like what we enjoy and take for granted. But sadly, I have a feeling we will continue to kowtow and turn a blind eye.

I also find it appalling for any person to even think that Israel could do an objective and legitimate investigation that is not by independent means. Persons accused of any crime large or small don’t get that luxury of investigating themselves because they will find themselves not guilty. Why would a government of any country act differently, especially one with so much to lose in a self-imposed guilty verdict and with a record of injustices and denial and victim-blaming we see here?

Were any of the political scandals here in Canada investigated by the same people accused? I think not. And they were not even a thousandth as horrific as the actions we witnessed the other day.

Susan

Attack on humanitarian aid ships

Thank you Libby, for showing the courage to speak out on this issue. As someone who has seen first hand the lives of millions of Palestinians living under the occupation, it is very encouraging to finally see one of our MP's breaking the silence.
Speaking out for human rights should be a no-brainer, but in this case, Libby, the ramifications of your comments may be harsh. You will be attacked both personally and projessionally. Please be aware that you are part of a growing movement that seeks peace and human rights for ALL those living in Israel/Palestine, and part of a movement that can no longer tolerate our government's one-sided and un-dying support for Israel, a nation that broke international law in this latest attack on civilians in the Mediterranean.

Remember you are suported by thousands of Canadians, and that number is growing.

Randy Janzen

Gaza

Thanks, Libby, for your principled and consistent and courageous voice in speaking up for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine. I was there recently and learned how few civil and human rights Palestinians have whether they live in Israel or the Occupied Territorie. A member of the Knesset told us he would have a great celebration if a month went by without the passing of a new racist law by the Knesset. What is happening in Gaza is much worse than what is happening in other parts that Israel controls. Palestinians do not have freedom of movement or security of possession of their homes. That doesn't sound like a democracy to me - at least not one that applies equally to all. Marianna Harris

praising freedom flotilla

Hey, Libby, what's your stand on the fact that Hamas won't let in any of the aid on any of the ships that got pulled into Ahsdod? Hamas said that if it comes from Israel they don't want it. So much for helping the poor palistinians. What other nation helps their enemies? Gaza gets plenty of help. This last excercise was meant to break the blockade. Israel has every right to protect herself from the do-gooders of the world who are being used as cannon fodder by the very people who are trying to insist on murdering an antire country. And so far, the only Israeli presence in Gaza, is Gilad Shalit. So much for humanitarian aid - where's the aid for this kidnapped individual?

Your advocacy for the poor in the Downtown Eastside is commendable, Libby, but as far as your support of the terrorist group Hamas, you're a traitor to MY Canadian Values. Long live Steven Harper and his protection of Israel and HER values.

Supporters of Terror

It has already been proven that many of the so-called activists on board these ships are tied to radical groups including terrorists. The leadership of Gaza has been involved in murdering civilians in buses, markets, cinemas, pizzerias, universities and Passover dinners for years. Never mind firing thousands of rockets at Civilians.

They of course, also took the time to murder their own Fatah brothers and are imposing sharia in Gaza. You know what that is, where women are treated worse than garbage.

Bravo IDF, shame on you Libby Davies.

Supporters of Terror/James Chant

Those who insist on portraying the situation in the Gaza Strip as simply a matter of Israel's right to protect itself agaist terrorists are completely blind to the fact that the palestinian population of Gaza and the West Bank have faced the longest and most brutal seige and repression of their lands in modern times. Since 1948 Israel with the financial and military support of the United States and Great Britain have unilaterally imposed their hegemony on the region.There was never a consensus between Israel and her surrounding neighbors on the borders of a Israeli state. Therefore everything that has happened since 1948 is a direct consequence of such action on the part of those who had good intensions. The impact of the Cold War has played an integral part in the decision to give unquestioned support to the creation of Israel at the expense of all others. The US government used to boast that a foreign government can be a "son of a bitch, so long as their our son of a bitch".Therefore with the view in mind to defend and promote democracy against the godless,and evil institution of communism, the US made the creation of Israel not only possible but it did so with great haste. So after 20 years of shoring up a quasi satelite state in Israel the War of 1967 convinced the Israeli government that the time was right to expand. Rather than attempt any kind of peace and reconcilliation, the wheels of war were ratched up to move into the West Bank and take command and possion of the natural resorces,particularly, the water and high lands of the West Bank. Consequently, the forces of resistance, such as the Palestinian Liberation Organization and later Hamas, responded to the threat this power play made to the very survival of their people and their homeland. Therefore the legacy of violence and hatred that has continued to this day is the product of the decisions made years before.Israel repeatedly states it's obligation to defend itself and has done so with the blessing of the West. Yet it has to be expected that the Palestinians have an obligation to their own rights to peace and security. It is imperative that the US take the lead role to reverse the monumental shift in the balance of power in the region and see to it that the worst refugee crisis in modern times comes to a immediate halt.

Facts or feelings?

Dear Ms. Davis,

Your concern for loss of life is praiseworthy. I'm curious though if you would have expressed equal concern if the violent faction of shipboard protesters had succeeded in killing Israeli soldiers. If the answer is yes, then you a sensitive person who is appalled by killing. If not, then you are engaging in selective compassion based on your perception of who are the "good guys" and "bad guys".

If you are going to do that, then you need to examine the whole can of worms, including how progressives have ended up supporting a clerical-Fascist regime like Hamas. Left support for Hamas and Hezbollah today is the equivilent of members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the International Brigades having supporting Franco's Facists in the Spanish Civil War. Progressives had more sense then.

David Olesker
Jerusalem, Israel

Facts or feelings?

Dear Ms. Davis,

Your concern for loss of life is praiseworthy. I'm curious though if you would have expressed equal concern if the violent faction of shipboard protesters had succeeded in killing Israeli soldiers? If the answer is yes, then you a sensitive person who is appalled by killing. If not, then you are engaging in selective compassion based on your perception of who are the "good guys" and "bad guys".

If you are going to do that, then you need to examine the whole can of worms, including how progressives have ended up supporting a clerical-Fascist regime like Hamas. Left support for Hamas and Hezbollah today is the equivalent of members of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the International Brigades having supported Franco's Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. Progressives had more sense enough not to do that then. Why are they so terminally confused now?

David Olesker
Jerusalem, Israel

position

I just wanted to say thank you for speaking up on what you believe in. Thank you for showing us that politicians can do what they think is right - regardless of what their "party" expects them to say. If we speak the truth from our hearts, we cannot go wrong.