(Updated June 10, 2010)
- The following 35 “civil society” and “human rights groups” responses examined by NGO Monitor ignore video evidence of violent activists attacking Israeli soldiers with knives and clubs. In this context, B’Tselem’s claim that “information [about extreme violence against soldiers] is based solely on statements of soldiers” is entirely misleading.
- A number of NGOs accuse Israel of “piracy” for intercepting the boats in the flotilla. Gaza is a source of attacks against Israelis. As noted by Prof. Robbie Sabel, Israel can enforce its blockade of Gaza, and ships in international waters are subject to inspection if attempting to violate the embargo.
- References to “human rights activists” obscure the role of radical Islamic Turkish group IHH, which has extensive ties to Hamas and other terror organizations, in leading the flotilla. NGO statements also omit the involvement of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a co-organizer of the flotilla and known for its strategy of provoking violent confrontations with the Israeli military.
- NGO statements erase the activists’ refusal to deliver the “humanitarian aid” via Israeli authorities and to bring letters to kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, or further campaign on his behalf.
- Prior to the flotilla launch, activists sang “intifada” and antisemitic chants. NGOs failed to note this element, as well.
- NGOs continue to make the false claim that Israel’s response in Gaza is “illegal” and “collective punishment.” As NGO Monitor’s analysis demonstrates, restrictions on the flow of goods in armed conflict is neither “collective punishment” nor a violation of international law.
HRW: Israel: Full, Impartial Investigation of Flotilla Killings Essential (May 31, 2010) “Human Rights Watch has not yet been able to conduct its own investigation to determine which account is accurate…The blockade, which amounts to the unlawful collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian poulation, has severely damaged the economy.”
PCHR (funded by European governments): PCHR Condemns Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla (May 31, 2010) “Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) used excessive and lethal force in its attack on the ships… Today’s crime is hideous, and it is a shame for the international community to remain silent while IOF commits systematic war crimes against civilians… Today’s attack is characteristic of a long series of war crimes and grave violations carried out by IOF against civilians…attempts have been ongoing to foil the report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict (i.e. the Goldstone Report), which provided for the first time practical mechanisms to prosecute Israeli war crimes”
War on Want (UK): Israeli killing of human rights activists condemned (May 31, 2010) “For too long the international community has ignored international law over Israel’s crimes against Palestinians and allowed its government to act with complete impunity. Now Israel has turned its fire on international human rights activists, the world must finally say enough is enough.”
Call on the UK government to hold Israel to account for the Gaza Freedom Flotilla attack “This form sends a letter to both William Hague MP, Foreign Secretary, and Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister, to demand the UK government hold Israel to account for this brutal attack…I call on the UK government to: Immediately withdraw the British Ambassador from Tel Aviv…Press for the immediate suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement on human rights grounds; Institute an immediate two-way arms embargo between the UK and Israel. Such an embargo would send a clear message to Israel that its actions are unacceptable.”
Amnesty International: ISRAELI KILLINGS OF GAZA SHIP ACTIVISTS MUST BE INVESTIGATED (May 31, 2010) “Amnesty International has called for Israel to launch an immediate, credible and independent investigation into the killing by its armed forces… “The activists on the ships made it clear that their primary purpose was to protest against the continuing Israeli blockade, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and so a breach of international law,” said Malcolm Smart.”
Israeli authorities urged to commission international inquiry (June 1, 2010) “Beyond this tragedy, however, it is imperative that Israel lifts the blockade of Gaza without delay, as it is a form of collective punishment in contravention of international law and primarily affects the most vulnerable among the population.”
Gaza: International investigation of flotilla deaths needed (June 4, 2010)
Amnesty welcomes Assembly debate on Gaza blockade (June 4, 2010)
Statement from “Gaza covil society” including Arab Cultural Forum, International Solidarity Movement, Palestinian Network of Non-Governmental Organisations, Gaza Community Mental Health Program, Red Crescent Society Gaza Strip: Call from Gaza for global response to killings on the Freedom Flotilla (May 31, 2010) “…begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza… the flotilla is exercising international law and upholding article 33 of the Geneva Convention which clearly states that collective punishment is a crime against humanity… We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the International protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.”
B’Tselem: Open an immediate investigation into the action to gain control of the flotilla to Gaza (May 31, 2010) “B’Tselem demands that an immediate, independent and effective investigation be made into the circumstances of the military action taken to gain control of the ships, which led to the death and injury of dozens of activists… information [about extreme violence against soldiers] is based solely on statements of soldiers.”
Adalah, PCATI and PHR-I: Adalah, PCATI and PHR-I Submit an Extraordinary Petition for Habeas Corpus and Demand for Information on Gaza Freedom Flotilla Passengers to the Israeli Supreme Court (May 31, 2010)
Gisha: Gisha Response to the Interception of Ships Bound for Gaza (May 31, 2010) “This incident is proof that despite claims to the contrary, Israel never ‘disengaged’ from the Gaza Strip but rather continues to control its borders – land, air and sea.”
ACRI: ACRI Calls on Israel to Enable Protests, following Flotilla Crisis (May 31, 2010) “The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) sent an urgent appeal today to Israel’s Prime Minister urging him to allow demonstrations and to avoid exerting disproportionate force in dealing with the protests expected to follow the reported killings on the international flotilla to Gaza. ACRI calls on the security forces to act with restraint and in accordance with the conclusions of the Or Commission (see below) on the events of October 2000, which urged them to refrain from using inordinate force and to allow demonstrations to take place peacefully and according to law.”
ACRI Admonishes Flotilla Takeover and Outcome, Calls for Investigation (May 31, 2010) “It is unfathomable that a Flotilla whose purpose was to protest the siege imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip, ended with ten dead and many more injured… The Association for Civil Rights in Israel repeats its call to the government of Israel to end the illegal and immoral siege which gravely damages civil society in Gaza.”
NIF: “In light of the violent events that occurred on Sunday when the IDF forces took control of the flotilla boats on their way to Gaza, and in light of past experience, the New Israel Fund calls for Israel’s government authorities to act responsibly and with restraint and to to allow legitimate and legal protest of citizens across the country. The events at sea were serious and tragic enough, and it is important that they not escalate to further violence.” (Hebrew)
Al Dameer: A Brutal Israeli Crime “Sky Winds Operation” ; Al Dameer Demands to Investigate Israel’s Attack on Freedom Fleet and Bring Those Who Ordered or Committed Violations to Justice (May 31, 2010) “Al Dameer calls on states around the world to uphold their legal and moral obligations and to prosecute Israeli war criminals who commit war crimes.”
Al Mezan: Israel Violently Attacks the Freedom Fleet in International Waters; Al Mezan Calls on International Community to Investigate and Protect Solidarity Activists (May 31, 2010) “Al Mezan emphasizes that the Israeli excessive use of force against the fleet constitutes a grave violation of international law and international human rights law… the illegality of Israel’s collective punishment on the Gaza Strip’s population….”
Global BDS Movement: Violent attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla – Israel cannot be allowed to act with impunity (May 31, 2010) “The Israeli violent attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla this morning is an act of international piracy…We reaffirm our unwavering determination to build support for and continue to grow the worldwide BDS campaign until Israel ends its occupation, its system of apartheid and its denial of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees.”
Oxfam: Oxfam response to Gaza flotilla interception [and Oxfam UK] (May 31, 2010) “While Oxfam has no connection to the Gaza flotilla, as an international humanitarian and development organization, we condemn any use of violence and the loss of civilian life which occurred when the Israeli navy intercepted it at sea… The blockade of Gaza has widely been condemned as collective punishment, which is illegal under international law.”
Monday’s tragedy is a direct result of the Israeli blockade on Gaza (June 2, 2010) “‘The Israeli operation appears to have violated a number of basic rules of International Law. This comes on top of the blockade that inflicts collective punishment on the population, which is illegal under International Humanitarian Law.’ said Hobbs.”
Center for Constitutional Rights: CCR Condemns Israel Killing of Freedom Flotilla Participants (May 31, 2010) “The Center for Constitutional Rights strongly condemns the killings of human rights activists aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla… Since its inception nearly three years ago, CCR has condemned the blockade as a form of collective punishment.”
AIC: AIC: Israel Commits Massacre, Piracy in International Waters against Freedom Flotilla (May 31, 2010) “This morning, 31 May 2010, the Israeli navy perpetrated a new crime against humanity when it attacked the Freedom Flotilla, bound for Gaza, sailing in international waters… This is a crime and an act of piracy in international waters. It is a clear breach of international laws and agreements… At the very moment Israel created a blood bath against civilian ships carrying hundreds of internationals from many countries, Netanyahu is welcome in the White House.”
International Crisis Group (ICG): OPT: Flotilla Attack the Deadly Symptom of a Failed Policy (May 31, 2010) “The International Crisis Group condemns Israel’s assault on a flotilla of humanitarian aid bound for Gaza, which resulted in a tragic loss of life. At the same time, the incident is an indictment of a much broader policy toward Gaza for which Israel does not bear sole responsibility.”
Adalah: Adalah: The Israeli military attack amounts to a war crime under international humanitarian law as it targeted civilians and civilian targets, and involved the use of disproportionate force (May 31, 2010) “Adalah urges that an independent, international investigation be immediately opened into the Israeli naval attack on the civilian passengers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which resulted in dozens of killings and injuries.”
Coalition of Palestinian NGOs: Palestinian Human Rights Council condemns attack on Freedom flotilla (June 1, 2010) List of Signatories: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights – Gaza, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Jerusalem Legal Aid Center, Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies, Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling
FIDH and others: NGOs gathered in Kampala Call for End to Impunity Crisis Following Israeli Attack on Aid Convoy (June 1, 2010) “We, the undersigned organisations gathered in Kampala at the International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference, are shocked by Israel’s killing and injury of civilians carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza… The entire population of the Gaza Strip is subjected to an illegal closure imposed by Israel as a form of collective punishment.”
FIDH and PCHR: UNHRC debate on Israeli raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza (June 2, 2010) “…The tragedy was the result of the prolonged impunity granted to Israel, despite Israel’s documented and persistent disregard for international and humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
MADRE: MADRE Condemns Israel’s Killing of Activists Bringing Humanitarian Aid to Gaza (May 31, 2010) “MADRE strongly condemns Israel’s killing of as many as 19 international activists early this morning and the wounding of dozens of others aboard the ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla,’ a convoy of ships attempting to deliver urgently-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza… Today’s deadly attack is part of a pattern of Israeli war crimes and other grave human rights abuses against civilians, including a mounting crackdown on peaceful activists opposing Israel’s siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank.”
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD): An Open Letter to the Israeli Jewish Public: Support the Gaza Flotilla!, Jeff Halper, Canadian Dimension (May 31, 2010) “… how the ‘light unto the nations’ has become one of the most oppressive states on earth, subject to international protests like this one… civilians cannot be the object of military and political attacks, as is the case in Gaza (which the Goldstone Report roundly criticized), nor can they be collectively punished for the policies of their political leaders… The Palestinians are not our enemies; our own political leaders are. The very fact that I, an Israeli Jew, was welcomed by the people of Gaza makes that very point, and it is the message they asked me to convey to you.”
ICAHD-USA condemns Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla (May 31, 2010)
Sabeel: Palestinian Christians urge protests after Israeli assault on flotilla (May 31, 2010) “Palestinian Christian organizations have urged protests by church groups around the world against an Israeli assault on ships bringing aid to Gaza, which Israel says has led to the deaths of at least 10 activists on board the convoy… ‘Our prayer very clearly is for all checkpoints and the wall to be eliminated. That’s the focus of our prayer,’ said the Rev. Naim Ateek, a retired Anglican cleric and founder of Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.”
KAIROS: KAIROS condemns the assault and killing of people aboard the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza (June 2, 2010) “KAIROS joins churches and concerned people from around world in condemning the assault and killing of innocent people aboard the humanitarian convoy headed to the Gaza Strip.”
BADIL: Independent Catholic News (June 2, 2010) “Referring to the highjacking of the aid convoy on Monday, in which ten people were killed, Jamjoun, communications officer of the BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, said: ‘Why can Israel get away with committing murder, as it did this morning?’”
Christian Aid: Gaza flotilla raid – partners respond “Christian Aid condemns this attack, which has resulted in tragic loss of life, and while it was not involved in the aid convoy, our partner organisation Adalah has been providing legal counsel to detainees and has been trying to gain access to the wounded. Together with our partner Physicians for Human Rights Israel, they submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court for information on those detained and on casualties.”
EMHRN: EMHRN condemns the Israeli naval attack against “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” (May 31, 2010) “The Israeli military intercepted it in international waters; it acted illegally by violently and unjustifiably targeting civilians… It is especially evident that the blockade of the Gaza Strip, in place since 2007, constitutes the collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and therefore must be lifted immediately.”
Pax Christi: Call for Prayer and Solidarity for Peace in Palestine/Israel (June 1, 2010) “This current tragedy reflects the lack of rigourous political action towards the Israeli Government for the on-going siege of Gaza, for the lack of accountability following the war on Gaza in 2008/9 and for the continued illegal occupation by Israel of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
North-South XXI: UNHRC debate on Israeli raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza (June 2, 2010) “Israel’s premeditated murder of unarmed civilians, human rights defenders, who were attempting to deliver humanitarian relief to the Palestinian people of Gaza, who had been subjected to conditions of life that appeared intended to destroy them in whole or in part as a people… Israel’s acts threatened the peace and security of the entire international community… The international community must take urgent action in response to this flagrant flouting of international law and insist on the end of the blockade of Gaza.”