Response to Israel’s Threats: “Not a step back!”
While Israel has been making statements aiming at increasing the tension in order to stop the flotilla campaign that will carry humanitarian aid to Palestine, the organizers of the flotilla held a pre
Palestine, Middle East, Turkey 26.05.2010

While Israel has been making statements aiming at increasing the tension in order to stop the flotilla campaign that will carry humanitarian aid to Palestine, the organizers of the flotilla held a press conference to respond these statements. Bulent Yildirim, President of IHH (The Foundation For Human Rights And Freedoms And Humanitarian Relief) said “We will not step back. These ships will embark on their journey and arrive in Gaza” on behalf of the organizers.

Haneenn Zuabi, Israel Democratic Party MP, Capucci, Archbishop of Vatican who is of Palestinian origin, Lubna Masaova, representative of England-based Free Gaza Movement, Dimitris, representative of Ship to Gaza from Greece, Mattias, representative of Ship to Gaza Sweden, Ahmet Faruk Unsal, Head of Mazlumder (The Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People) attended the press conference which was held in Kepez Sports Hall. A number of national and international press members were also present at the press meeting. Turkish and international passengers of Gaza flotilla have also demonstrated their determination by attending the press conference.

Bulent Yildirim, President of IHH, in his speech at the press meeting, said “We have announced two months ago that we would launch this campaign. Allah helped us and we are on our way now. Soon, we will be reaching our destination. People from all over the world have been supporting this campaign, as this flotilla will take the common aid given by all people with conscience. This convoy is a humanitarian aid convoy and it has no other agenda. Israel threatens of carrying out a military operation. This is ridiculous. 9 ships carrying women, children and the elderly will be besieged by all Israeli navy. This would be a big mistake. Some Israelis that have wisdom are well aware of this fact.”

Yildirim, noting that 35 MPs will also be onboard the ships, said “These MPs are sailing from the European and the Middle Eastern countries. Israel claims that the government of Turkey is backing this organization. No, this is an organization run by NGOs only. This flotilla goes beyond governmental level. The organizers of this campaign are all independent institutions. Israel has now waged a psychological war on us. Apparently, they have established detention centers. However, we are not scared off. We will continue our campaign.”

Israel is not sincere

Bulent Yildirim also stated that they do not see Israel’s offer of transferring the aid cargo as a sincere proposal, mentioning they have experienced similar situations in the past. Yildirim, showing the document to the press members, added “Israel, had made a statement saying that anyone could deliver aid to Gaza. Then, we launched an application stating that we would bring 100 truckloads of aid cargo which weighed 700 tons. We made that application to Israeli Foreign Ministry. Israel has not responded to our application. However, Israel gave no response to our request. This document here is the prove to that.”

Palestinians are like birds in a cage

Yildirim noted that there is a canary bird onboard the flotilla, went on to say “This bird is in a cage. Israel has been keeping the people of Palestine locked in a cage like this one. We will free this canary bird in Gaza.”

Israeli MP spoke harshly

Haneen Zuabi, Israel National Democratic Party MP, who shows her support by joining the flotilla, in her speech, said that Israel is acting against international laws and invited world leaders to support this ship convoy. Zuabi said “Gaza desperately needs this humanitarian aid. We are talking about a region where the 75% of infrastructure has been destroyed by Israel. We are talking about 1,500,000 people in Gaza who have no electricity or access to clean water. In fact, Israel attracts negative reactions from the whole world by standing against this campaign. Earlier, Goldstone Report was declared. Goldstone is neither an Arab nor a Palestinian, he is a Jew. Goldstone has made it clear that there are human rights violations in Gaza. Israel has to allow these ships into Gaza. Israel’s reaction to the campaign is neither reasonable nor humane. Israel wants the siege and the embargo to silently continue to exist. This convoy aims at breaking this silence. These convoys ignited a debate among the people of Israel as well. People of Israel started to make their voices heard against this embargo.

We, in the parliament, continue our opposition. Of course, the government does not remain neutral to this and calls us ‘traitors’, they started legal action against us. Once again I stress that this convoy has a completely humanitarian agenda.”

Archbishop: “I have been away from my homeland for 32 years.”

Vatican Archbishop Capucci said “I have been deprived off my right to live in my home country for 32 years. After all these years, I am so happy to be visiting my homeland. In order to arrive in our homeland, we will be resisting Israel no matter how harsh or destructive it may get.” 

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