New Gaza flotilla: 'We are not scared of Israeli brutality'

Israeli forces approach a naval vessel in the Mediterranean Sea May 31, 2010. . (Reuters / Uriel Sinai)
A new flotilla with humanitarian aid on board is going to help people in Gaza; the mission is beyond political polarization and in full compliance with international law, Osama Qashoo, member of the first flotilla to Gaza, told RT’s In The Now.

A flotilla carrying humanitarian aid has set out from Sweden on its way to Gaza which is under and Israeli maritime blockade. The ships are carrying pro-Palestinian activists aiming to break the blockade. Two other vessels are expected to join them later. The Foreign Ministry of Israel has described it an unnecessary provocation, saying the boats will be denied entry, and if you want to send aid to Gaza - do it via Israel.

Up to 10 people were killed 5 years ago when Israel tried to block the first flotilla bound for Gaza.

For more on that RT asked Osama Qashoo, filmmaker and activist, member of the first flotilla to Gaza.

RT:Were you aware of the danger when you decided to take this trip?

Osama Qashoo: Of course everybody who is taking actions and doing any kind of solidarity and humanitarian aid for Palestine is aware of the ugliness of the Israeli machine and the brutal and bloody heavy handed way of the Israeli Army and the Israeli government in general. We were all aware of that.

RT:Why did you take the risk then?

OQ: Somebody has to take the risk. I think we have a responsibility. We, as a civil society and as international society, must act if the governments are not acting and not doing well. We constantly watch the screens and see people being killed and butchered on a daily basis without saying anything. It’s our responsibility as human beings to stand side by side and try to communicate what we feel very strongly as wrong.

RT:Israel said that is was a self-defense from its side, that the flotilla attacked the Israeli commandos. How can you comment on that?

OQ: We said this millions of times - we were in the international water, we were absolute civilians. We had more than 700 cameras filming on board of that ship. None of these pictures were released to the public to make the public judge what happened on the ship. I can’t just understand how you can attack a ship in the middle of international waters by naval vessels and by the army that is the forth strongest army in the world, and also with helicopters and assume that they were attacked. That just doesn’t make sense. The definition doesn’t really get a fit in this kind of description. We were on the boat, we were cruising towards Gaza with aid and they landed on top of the ship shooting live ammunition and they killed ten of us. I don’t see how people can just have the cheek of saying that we attacked them.

Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza in the Mediterranean Sea May 31, 2010. (Reuters)

RT:Israel says the flotilla 1 activists were closely linked to Hamas. Is it true? Were any Hamas-linked people on board of the ship?

OQ: Let’s just look at a bigger picture here. According to the Israeli laws every two Palestinians together are breaking the law are terrorists. The head of the Palestinian authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is in fact a terrorist under the Israeli definition. So I wouldn’t like to refer and to relate to the Israeli way of analyzing things. The Palestinian people who have been suffering the longest occupation, who have been scattered all over the world, who have been suffering injustices. We are the real victims…Palestinian people have different political factions … We are not affiliated with any political groups, that is not what we do as international society. We were basically going to Gaza to help people who are in serious need. The aid that we were taking with us was for the use of the people. I don’t think it’s a kind of a matter of who is going to benefit out of these things. We are taking them for children. I don’t think children have any political kind of vision, any political color there. We are beyond color, the religion and this political polarization. We were going there for a very simple reason – breaking and ending the siege that was imposed illegally by the international definition on the Palestinian people. And what we did, what’s completely complacent with the international law Israel violated that, they attacked us as an act of piracy. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) basically declared that what happened in the sea was a war crime but yet they won’t do anything about it…

RT:Is it the best way to get aid to Gaza if you know that Israel will take actions?

OQ: Let me just tell you something. When the Israeli ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak with his gangs went to Tunisia and they killed the Palestinian leader Khalil al-Wazir and after their vicious techniques of killing Palestinian activists and Palestinian supporters all over the world, in Germany and in the UK, here and there, all over the world… He said in his diaries that the fact that Israel is not just going to kill but it’s the way they kill. So they are using the terror to scare the others. What happened in the middle of the sea in 2010 to us was to terrorize other people and prevent them from doing the same thing. I think the activists, my friends and comrades, who are now on their way to Gaza; they are not the last ones. They are all fully aware of the danger. We are not scared of the Israeli brutality and its terror machine. I think that if the international community would allow another massacre to happen, the international community is to be responsible…We know what is happening in Palestine and we should interfere, everybody has to put the foot down and say “enough is enough” because blood is not a product that we have to trade with. And that’s what Israel is definitely doing.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.