Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Six-person Kiwi Team to join Gaza aid convoy

Kia Ora Gaza media release
3 August 2010

The UN inquiry into Israel’s military seizure of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has been greeted cautiously by Kia Ora Gaza, the New Zealand coalition now fund-raising for a Kiwi Team that will join an international aid convoy setting off for Gaza in several months time.

“We cannot know in advance exactly what might come out of the UN inquiry being headed by former NZ prime minister Geoffrey Palmer,” said Grant Morgan, co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza.

“There are, however, two things that we do know for sure. First, Israel has reluctantly agreed to cooperate with the UN inquiry only because of a tipping point in world public opinion following the killing of nine civilians on a humanitarian aid ship.”

“And second, land and sea convoys will soon set off in a coordinated campaign to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and break the Israeli siege which continues to this day.”

Kia Ora Gaza has selected a six-person Kiwi Team to join the land convoy leaving London on 18 September and joining two other convoys from Casablanca and Doha in a 500-vehicle column.

“Kia Ora Gaza will announce the names of our six courageous Kiwis in a few days time, along with our team song and logo,” said Grant Morgan.

“Our fund-raising drive has got off to a good start. Counting cash and pledges, we’re over one-third of the way towards our target of $100,000 since our public launch on 7 July. Yet we still need a lot of donations over the next month so we can finance our full Kiwi Team on their gutsy mission.”

People wanting to know how to donate towards Kiwi aid to Gaza are being directed towards the website kiaoragaza.net.

For more information, contact:

Grant Morgan

Co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza
021 2544 515


David said...

On the Gaza inquiry, and new twists in the Carter affair

August 3rd, 2010

It may seem ‘too late’ to announce the appointment of a UN inquiry panel into the Gaza flotilla raid. Whether it is also ‘too little’ will depend on how broadly the international panel to be chaired by Sir Geoffrey Palmer chooses to cast its net. A narrow, legalistic verdict on the legality under international maritime law of the use of force to defend a blockade will do nothing to address the human rights outrages in Gaza that inspired the flotilla in the first place.

Gaza may not, in fact, be the focus of this exercise at all. In announcing the inquiry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon voiced the hope that this process would improve relations between Israel and Turkey – no mention of what, if anything, the proceedings will mean to the people of Gaza. If the goals are merely diplomatic ones – lets ease the tensions between the regional powers, Israel and Turkey – it will fall far short of international expectations.

Even a narrow legalistic approach – ie, on the legal niceties of an interception on the high seas in defence of a blockade – should have to consider whether the force used by the Israeli commandos was proportionate to the threat. (On the evidence so far, it clearly wasn’t.) Moreover, if it is deemed legitimate to use force to defend a blockade so surely must be the flipside of that coin – that it is legitimate to use force to break a blockade that is a humanitarian outrage.

The real test of whether this is just a ‘kiss and make up’ opportunity for the Israelis and the Turks will rest on whether the Palmer panel can and will interrogate the Israeli commandos themselves and the Israeli military and political figures who gave the green light for the attack on the flotilla. ( Plus the aid organisation that launched the flotilla, and its supporters in the Turkish government.)

The signs are not good that anything thorough is being contemplated. The preliminary report is expected by September and the inquiry will quite possibly be carried out entirely in New York, according to what Palmer told RNZ’s Morning Report this morning. As Palmer also said, the process may not necessarily require him to go to the Middle East at all – so a wide ranging investigation is almost certainly not on the cards.

Inevitably, the selection of Palmer raises the possibility that Helen Clark may have played a behind the scenes role – especially if it is to be an inquiry carried out in a room at the United Nations building. That’s depressing. Surely, if Palmer wanted to know if the Israeli commandos were defending a valid blockade he might need – at the very least – to go and have a look at the conditions behind the blockade wall ?


David said...

Watch TV1 & TV3 News tonight for Kia Ora Gaza.

Also tune into Radio NZ news broadcasts.