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    Comment & analysis

    Africa’s continued response to Gaza flotilla attack

    Dana Wagner

    2010-06-10, Issue 485

    http://pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/65099

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    Ten days after the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine activists dead, the response from African governments and civil society groups is unrelenting. Organisation continues around the effort to condemn the 31 May attack, and to dismantle the Gaza blockade. Pambazuka News provides an update of last week’s summary of statements and movements condemning the violence against both the aid workers and the Palestinians of Gaza.

    Ten days after the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine activists dead, the response from African governments and civil society groups is unrelenting. Organisation continues around the effort to condemn the 31 May attack, and to dismantle the Gaza blockade.

    On board the flotilla were aid workers from more than 30 countries accompanying more than 10,000 tonnes of aid supplies intended for the occupied Gazan Palestinians. The blockade encircling Gaza has been enforced by Israel, including along the Egyptian border, since 2004. Last week in response to Israel’s naval attack Egypt opened its only unilaterally controlled entry point at Rafah, to remain open indefinitely.

    Last week Pambazuka News published a summary of statements and movements condemning the violence against both the aid workers and the Palestinians of Gaza. Below is an update of the continued response to Israeli aggression.

    SUDAN

    Hundreds of protestors gathered on 3 June to support Gazan Palestinians and condemn the Israeli attack. The demonstration, at the UN headquarters in Khartoum, was organised by the Sudanese Council of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA). Protestors also gave a memorandum of ‘Admiration and Respect’ to Sudan’s Turkish ambassador.[1]

    MOROCCO

    An estimated 50,000 filled the streets of Rabat on 7 June in support of the Palestinian people of Gaza after the flotilla attack. Rally participants included activists, trade unionists and politicians.[2]

    EGYPT

    In Alexandria a protest organised by the Muslim Brotherhood condemning Israeli violence against Gaza was attended by hundreds. Held 4 June, it was a rare event as protests by this opposition group are seldom left untouched.[3]

    Another protest organised by the Brotherhood took place in Fayhoum, south of Cairo, and attracted 10,000.[4]

    The Egyptian government has opened its border crossing with Gaza at Rafah, but a spokesperson for the foreign ministry said the president did not specify permanence. ‘It’s going to be until further notice’, said Hossam Zaki. People have been permitted to cross, but only medical aid supplies and not building have been allowed into the occupied territory.[5]

    SENEGAL

    The Islamic Brotherhoods of Senegal called on the Senegalese government to imitate South Africa and recall its ambassador to Israel. A statement signed by dozens of civil society organizations reads ‘We must set an example, close the Israeli embassy in Dakar and expel the ambassador’.[6]

    SOUTH AFRICA

    Having recalled its ambassador to Israel, Ismael Coovadia, on 3 June, the South African government is unsure when diplomatic relations will resume. Coovadia was recalled to brief the government on the flotilla attack.[7]

    ALGERIA

    Released nationals from Algeria allege gross violations at the hands of their Israeli captors.

    ‘We were deprived of basic rights. They handcuffed us after the raid and kept us waiting under the sun for many hours. It was inhuman,’ said Algerian activist Najwa Sultan. ‘I think we have achieved our goal and broke the blockade despite all what happened.’[8]

    UGANDA

    The Sunday Vision printed an opinion piece 10 June calling for the ‘Israel massacre’ to be submitted for review at the ongoing International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference in Kampala. The author asks ‘if the ongoing ICC … fails to tackle the recent Flotilla incident, then of what relevance is the ICC in combating violation of international law and stopping impunity’?[9]

    Last week at the Kampala conference 33 groups in attendance issued a joint statement to condemn Israeli violence against Palestinians in Gaza after the attack on the aid flotilla.

    PAN-AFRICAN

    The Organisation of the Islamic Congress, whose member states include Algeria, Uganda, Togo and Sierra Leone, among others, condemns Israeli violence against the flotilla and the Palestinian people. The group asked its member states to review their ties with Israel, and called for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to establish an independent international commission to investigate the attack, termed an ‘act of state terrorism’.[10]

    BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

    * Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.

    NOTES

    [1] People’s Daily Online, 10 June 2010, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90855/7011758.html
    [2] Afrik.com, 10 June 2010, http://en.afrik.com/article17751.html
    [3] Reuters, 10 June 2010, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37510331
    [4] Reuters, 10 June 2010, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37510331
    [5] The Christian Science Monitor, 10 June 2010, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0602/Egypt-eases-own-Gaza-blockade-after-Israel-Freedom-Flotilla-raid/(page)/2
    [6] YNetNews, 10 June 2010, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3898727,00.html
    [7] Eyewitness News, 10 June 2010, http://www.eyewitnessnews.co.za/articleprog.aspx?id=41213
    [8] Agence France Presse, 10 June 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gHeHJJlE23Vrk3e8OFI3wgh_UiLQ
    [9] Sunday Vision, 10 June 2010, http://www.sundayvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=7&newsCategoryId=131&newsId=721866
    [10] Agence France Presse, 10 June 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hilwEK7tmNW-RkZWCUJtZucDxFtw


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