Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/678/12361
Sabotage on ship to Gaza
Irish Socialist Party MEP condemns attack
The Irish ship to Gaza in Palestine, part of the Freedom Flotilla 2, has been sabotaged whilst sitting in Dublin harbour preparing to sail. The damage is so serious that the ship will not be able to sail, but fortunately some of those on board can move to the Italian ship that is also part of the flotilla.
Meanwhile, eight of the nine ships in the Gaza Flotilla have been prevented from sailing from Greek ports by the country's government. The passports of passengers and crew have been seized by the authorities, while John Klusmire, captain of the US boat, Audacity of Hope, was arrested on 2 July and detained in a jail cell.
Here one of those on the flotilla, Socialist Party MEP for Dublin, Paul Murphy, responds to this latest development.
"The revelation that terrorist-style sabotage of the Saoirse ship caused severe damage is extremely serious. The evidence pointing towards the Israeli state being guilty is overwhelming. It cannot be a coincidence that two of the boats destined to sail to Gaza have now been sabotaged in the same way, with their propeller shafts damaged.
These attacks match with the Israeli government rhetoric that they would do everything they could to prevent the flotilla from sailing. Those, like US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who gave an implicit green light to Israeli Defence Forces aggression against the flotilla, share responsibility for this sabotage.
The sabotage not only caused tens of thousands of euros of damage to these ships but also threatened the lives of all the participants aboard. If we had been travelling to Gaza at full speed, an explosion could have been caused that would have sunk the boat and threatened all our lives. An international independent investigation should be launched to fully investigate the sabotage of the ships.
I demand a statement of condemnation of these terror attacks from the Israeli state. If such a statement is not forthcoming, I call on the Irish government to expel the Israeli ambassador from Ireland.
Although I am very disappointed at not being able to sail on the MV Saoirse due to the damage to the ship, this sabotage will not deter me from sailing to Gaza to protest at the continuing siege and virtual imprisonment of the 1.6 million Palestinians living there. I will be participating on the Italian boat as part of the Flotilla and will be setting sail in a few days."
Break the seige
In an earlier interview with socialistworld.net Paul talked about the blockade of Gaza (now in its fifth year) by the Israeli state.
"My decision to join the 'Freedom Flotilla' is based on the conditions faced by the people in Gaza and an attempt to alleviate their suffering. The Israeli state does not allow essential medicine and construction materials into Gaza, with devastating impacts on living conditions.
The aims of the Flotilla are to break that siege and to highlight the ongoing blockade and its impact on the population.
The Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 1.6 million people crammed into an area of 360 square kilometres. Conditions there are horrific and have worsened dramatically as a result of the Israeli blockade.
According to the UN, the unemployment rate in Gaza reached 45.2% in late 2010. The number of people living on less than $1 a day has tripled to 300,000 as a result of the blockade and wages have dropped by one-third during the blockade."
To read the full interview, see www.socialistworld.net
In The Socialist 6 July 2011:
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