The Avaaz Team
Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world.
Israel, like any other state, has the right to self-defence, but this was an outrageous use of lethal force to defend an outrageous and lethal policy -- Israel's blockade of Gaza, where two thirds of families don't know where they'll find their next meal.
The UN, EU, and nearly every other government and multilateral organization have called on Israel to lift the blockade and, now, launch a full investigation of the flotilla raid. But without massive pressure from their citizens, world leaders might limit their response to mere words -- as they have so many times before.
Let's make the world's outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza -- click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:
The petition will be delivered to the UN and world leaders, as soon as it reaches 200,000 names -- and again at every opportunity as it grows and leaders choose their responses. A massive petition at a moment of crisis like this one can demonstrate to those in power that sound bites and press releases aren't enough -- that citizens are paying attention and demanding action.
As the EU decides whether to expand its special trade relationship with Israel, as Obama and the US Congress set next year's budget for Israeli military aid, and as neighbours like Turkey and Egypt decide their next diplomatic steps -- let's make the world's voice unignorable: it's time for truth and accountability on the flotilla raid, and it's time for Israel to comply with international law and end the siege of Gaza. Sign now and pass this message along:
Most people everywhere still share the same dream: for two free and viable states, Israel and Palestine, to live side by side. But the blockade, and the violence used to defend it, poisons that dream. As a columnist wrote to his fellow Israelis today in the newspaper Ha'aretz, "We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel's Vietnam."
Thousands of pro-peace activists in Israel today protested the raid and the blockade in demonstrations from Haifa, to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem -- joining demonstrations around the world. Regardless of which side threw the first punch or fired the first shot (the Israeli military claims it did not initiate the violence), Israel's leaders sent helicopters of armed storm-troopers to raid a convoy of ships in international waters bringing medicine and supplies to Gaza, and some now lay dead.
Their lives cannot be brought back. But perhaps, together, we can make this dark moment a turning point -- if we arise with an unshakable call for justice, and an unbreakable dream of peace.
With hope, Ricken, Alice, Raluca, Paul, and the rest of the Avaaz team
Live coverage from Al Jazeera:
Live coverage from the Guardian:
"The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea" - Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz
Analysis of violence from IDF's perspective from Debka, reporters with ties to Israeli intelligence:
70% of Gazans suffer from food insecurity - 2008 ICRC report, cited by al Jazeera:
Analysis of possible political consequences of the flotilla attack: