Chairwoman Hautala expressed today her grave distress over the Israeli raid on a flotilla of ships carrying aid for Gaza and strongly deplored the loss of civilian life.[:] “There must be a full independent inquiry into the events into the deaths of the people on board the flotilla as serious concerns remain over the apparent unlawful and excessive use of force aboard the ships by the Israeli commandos.” There are different options of how the inquiry could be arranged for example by Israel or by Israel and Turkey together. Most important thing is however that all concerned have faith in the mechanism.
The attack raises also important yet difficult questions of the Gaza embargo. While it is evident that the embargo is counter-effective and has led to a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza-strip, also its legitimacy in international law is in serious question. “The incident merits a hard look on the Israeli policy of the Gaza embargo. We cannot avoid recognizing that this incident would have never happened should this blockade be not in place. This is only most recent tragedy to stem from this ill-fated policy. The time is high to abolish it,” Ms Hautala added.
Chairwoman Hautala reminds all concerned of the urgent need to make progress in the peace talks. “If anything, the attack should give new impetus to the talks”, she stressed.
Moreover, as the International Criminal Court has begun its review conference in Kampala on Monday this week, Chairwoman Hautala joined the words of UN Secretary General who, when addressing the conference, strongly condemned Israel’s attack. Hautala admitted that in light of these events the need to combat impunity for grave international crimes remains as grave than ever: “Kampala offers a rare opportunity to ensure accountability for such violations. It must not be missed”.