Gaza Action Ireland
PRESS RELEASE, 24/3/13, 13:00
Reacting to Israel’s apparent rapprochement with Turkey on Friday – and the much-publicised ‘apology’ issued for the murders of nine human rights activists on the Mavi Marmara on 31 May 2010 – Gaza Action Ireland national coordinator FINTAN LANE has described himself as “disappointed and unimpressed by Israel’s faux-apology. This is cynical geopolitics rather than a genuine act of contrition. It is about power politics and getting Turkey back on side.”
Fintan Lane was one of a handful of Irish citizens who participated in the Freedom Flotilla and was on board the vessel Challenger 1 when the six-ship aid convoy was attacked by Israeli forces while on its way to Gaza. Lane subsequently took part in Freedom Flotilla 2 and Freedom Waves to Gaza flotilla, both of which tried to reach Gaza in 2011. He is National Coordinator of Gaza Action Ireland (formerly known as Irish Ship to Gaza).
Commenting on Israel’s apparent apology for the killings on the Mavi Marmara, Lane said: “This so-called apology has been issued simply to mend relations with Turkey, but the Turkish state had nothing to do with the Freedom Flotilla, which was organised by civil society organisations from across the globe. An apology needs to be issued to all those on board all of the ships that were attacked and, most importantly, the root issue needs to be addressed – Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. The choice of words is revealing in that Israel speaks of possible ‘errors’ and ‘mistakes’ in their assault on the Mavi Marmara, but what happened was no mistake. I was alongside the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked and saw the ferocity of the Israeli operation – it was very deliberate and it was inevitable that people would die. They also attacked our vessel using a great deal of violence and several people were injured. Let’s be frank, the violence used against the Freedom Flotilla was designed to intimidate and dissuade international human rights activists from launching further flotillas. It was a calculated act of international terrorism.”
(Monument to the nine people murdered on the Mavi Marmara by Israel in Gaza seaport. Zoë Lawlor)
He continued: “Since this so-called apology was made, Israel has made it clear that the siege of Gaza will continue. That is what people should focus on. Our nine colleagues were killed in international waters by heavily armed Israeli commandos while non-violently attempting to undermine Israel’s blockade. We must ensure that this is never forgotten. The illegal blockade of Gaza should be completely ended. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip must be allowed to rebuild their lives and their local economy – that necessitates an ability to import and export, which is being denied them by Israel.”
There were four Irish on board Challenger 1 (including Irish-Australian journalist Paul McGeogh). Two of those – Fintan Lane and Shane Dillon – are now active with Gaza Action Ireland.
*’Gaza Action Ireland’ was formerly known as ‘Irish Ship to Gaza’.