Israel says:

31 May 2010

As I write this opinion piece, it is still not clear how many people have died as a result of the Israeli commando raid on the Free Gaza flotilla carrying aid supplies for blockaded Palestinians. Whatever the final number, which may still rise further as some of the wounded are in critical situation, it's pretty clear that Israel decided to implement the naval equivalent of the Dahiya Doctrine (Lebanon) on a group of largely unarmed activists carrying aid to a people who have suffered through three years of sanctions that have been endorsed by the international community.

The news on online newswires & TV stations came as follows: “Israeli warships attacked at least one of six ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists and aid for the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing at least 16 and wounding an unknown number of people on board.”

 Israeli press release came as follows: The Israeli military spokesman's office denied that its forces attacked the boats but said they would enforce the decision to keep them away from Gaza.

The al-Jazeera broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, "Everybody shut up!" Well, we, as human rights activists and I will not say Arab activists only since the cause is here is pure humanitarian and it hurts lives of Israeli people themselves those who are against Massacres done by Israel, have to move from their offices, stop writing project proposal for peace-building and human rights violations reports in secure cities, start true on ground demonstrations and actions to urge the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-Moon , to shoulder his responsibilities to protect humanity in a more serious way than just funding millions of projects for peace and human rights respect. If we stop our bureaucratic perspective of working with human rights causes, then probably we could support humanitarian cause, at least then we will be making public opinion aware of the truth, as much as possible. We do not claim full objectivity.

An important part in making the flotilla effort mean something, after Israeli attacked it, will be to render it ineffective and bring back attention to the cold-blooded murders that took place in the international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean in the morning of 31 May 2010. Hopefully we will see democratic governments, in the so called “Middle East”, take swift and decisive diplomatic action to counter what amounts to an attack on humanity. There is an opportunity here to bring pressure onto Arab governments, European Commission, UN, international human rights NGOs, Israeli true peace activists (which we exist but we hope to see their voices come high), and simply but most importantly worldwide public opinion.

From Deir Yassin in 1948 to Khan Yunis in 1956, to Sabra and Shatilla camps Massacre all the way to Qana in 1996, Lebanon Summer War in 2006 and Gaza Massacres in 2009, there has been effort for accountability against all odds. The flotilla murders are an occasion to bring attention to other even greater crimes, starting by making sure the international investigation by the Goldstone Commission actually goes somewhere.

Rowaida Mroue Director of Youth & Dialogue Programs, LYDS Organization Founder & coordinator of Lebanese Interfaith Initiative CC, URI MENA