Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Press Release

Ref: 112/2011

Date: 03 November 2011

Time: 11:10 GMT

Closure of Gaza Must Be Lifted; PCHR Welcomes the “Freedom Waves” Flotilla

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) welcomes the “Freedom Waves” Flotilla that left Turkey heading to Gaza to be in solidarity with the Palestinian civilians and to end the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. PCHR calls upon the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) to ensure security and safety of the international activists, who carry love messages and humanitarian aids from thousands of Americans from the USA. PCHR praises the courageous decision taken by the flotilla to break the conspiracy of silence and the illegal and inhumane closure imposed on civilians in the Gaza Strip.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, at 10:00 pm, Gaza time, on Wednesday, 02 November 2011, the “Freedom Waves” Flotilla started sailing from Turkey’s regional waters towards Gaza. The Flotilla includes the Irish boat Saoirse and Canadian boat Tahrir, and 27 international activists from nine countries are on board of them. Besides, the Flotilla carries love messages and medical aids from thousands of Americans from the USA to the Gaza Strip. The international activists expressed their determination to reach the Gaza Strip in order to break the illegal closure imposed on Gaza for five years.

Palestinians highly appreciate the international activists’ determination to break the conspiracy, reminding that the closure is still ongoing. These activists are the symbol and core of the international civil society that calls for the need for law enforcement against the law of the jungle and illegal closure imposed on the civilians. PCHR warns IOF against endangering the activists’ safety and security, and reminds of the crime committed by IOF against the Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010, which resulted in killing nine international activists and wounding 60 others.

PCHR believes that the “Freedom Waves” Flotilla, which includes Saoirse and Tahrir boats, is an international message and a form of determination to support freedom, dignity and human rights in order to stop the policy of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians and to end the Israeli-imposed closure.

PCHR reminds that the closure that has been imposed on Gaza since June 2006 was a direct impact of the attack carried out by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza on 25 June 2006 and resulted in the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Following that attack, Israel imposed more restrictions in an unprecedented manner, including closing the border crossings whether both for the movement of persons or commercial purposes. These collective punishment measures have resulted in destructive impacts at all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip. By the end of Shalit’s file, and consequently the end of the pretext made by Israel not to lift the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, PCHR calls for an immediate action to put an end to the closure and collective punishment measures imposed on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. Besides, PCHR calls upon the international community to intervene to end the suffering of civilians and lift the Israeli-imposed closure.