Hikmat Ajjuri: Global community now morally obligated to condemn this piracy
YESTERDAY, Israel military, under the cover of darkness, stormed a ship in international waters. Of 600 humanitarian activists on board, 45 were parliamentarians from several countries.
Nineteen people, mostly Turkish, have been killed so far and 50 are injured, one of them Irish.
This ship, one of a flotilla of six, was carrying about 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including wheelchairs, medicines and construction materials, to the besieged 1.5 million people in Gaza.
The people of Gaza have been subjected to the worst kind of siege in modern history, which has been imposed on them by the Israeli occupying authorities for the past three years.
This inhuman siege is solely responsible for the current humanitarian crisis and the death of 373 patients in Gaza since the siege was imposed.
In the aftermath of the Israeli offensive against Gaza last year, Judge Goldstone categorically stated in his report that Israel had engaged in "collective punishment" on the people of Gaza before, during and after Operation Cast Lead.
To a large extent, the shameful and unacceptable silence of world leaders in response to Israel's outrageous wrongdoings and crimes, as well as this latest piracy, contributes to the continued injustice perpetuated against the Palestinian people.
It is the conviction of the Israel state that whatever Israel does it will never face the danger of international isolation and/or punishment, especially by the major world powers.
The Israelis are also sure that their interests will always occupy a top-level place in the strategic considerations of these powers.
This Israeli raid against a humanitarian vessel is a blatant act of piracy and the culmination of the aforementioned scenario.
In this context, I would like to emphasise that there is not the slightest doubt that Israel has continually failed to live up to its obligations toward international law.
This act of piracy is yet another grave breach of international law conducted by the Israeli authorities.
Israel, the occupying power, hoped with this act to deter -- once and for all -- any international activist who would dare to challenge any of its illegal actions in the region.
Since it has come into being as a state, Israel maintains deterrence as the cornerstone of its structure and its survival.
This is in spite of the recent Arab initiative that was endorsed by all the Arab countries at their summit in Beirut 2002 -- and is still on the table.
This initiative calls for the normalisation of relations with Israel in return for its withdrawal from the Arab territories that it conquered by force in 1967.
Finally, it is worth reminding everyone that the Israeli government has been trying to deny even that Gaza is under its occupation.
But the fact that the Israeli state is preventing humanitarian aid from being given free access to the besieged Gaza strip clearly shows that the territory in question is still occupied.
In this regard, Israel should be held accountable for all its actions against the Palestinian people who are under its occupation. It should also be requested accordingly to abide by international law.
The international community has a moral and political obligation to condemn this piracy and take appropriate action so that this kind of outrage will never happen again.
Hikmat Ajjuri is ambassador of the general delegation of Palestine to Ireland