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international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report Wednesday June 02, 2010 00:21 by Kev - IPSC
Irish Parliament passes unanimous motion calling for safe passage of MV Rachel Corrie to Gaza
The Israeli state is to release all 680 detained members of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla immediately - although the process is expected to take up to 48 hours. This number includes, according to official Israeli sources, 9 Irish people. It has also been reported by the Irish Embassy in Israel that Irishman Dr Fintan Lane was "roughed up" during interrogation by Israeli officials, but that he is in good spirits - the news came in a conversation with Dr. Lane's father Jim. The Freedom Flotilla was hijacked by Israeli commandos on Monday morning in an attack that left at least 9 passengers dead.
It is not yet known when the Irish passengers will be able to return home. 120 people, Jordanians and those from countries that have no diplomatic ties with Israel, are reportedly currently being bussed to Jordan though at the time of writing have yet to arrive. Meanwhile, those internationals that have already been deported have spoken today of being attacked with stun-guns and being beaten by their Israeli captors. Eyewitness accounts are here: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/2010/06/2010619354678....html
* Note: The IPSC is currently only aware of 7 Irish passport holders in captivity - they are Shane Dillion and Isam Bin Ali (both due to be deported yesterday), Dr Fintan Lane, Fiachra O Luain, Al Mahdi Al Harati, a Polish-Irish citizen and an Australian-Irish journalist. The names and status of the latter two remain unknown to us - if and when we find out more information about who the full 9 are, and when they will be return, a press release will be issued immediately.
Meanwhile, in Dublin this evening, the Dail (Irish Parliament) passed a unanimous motion condemning the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla, calling for the immediate release of all Irish prisoners, the end of the "illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza" and for the Irish-owned vessel the MV Rachel Corrie to continue unhindered its voyage to Gaza, and allow it to deliver its humanitarian cargo there. The motion also threatens "further diplomatic actions if such calls are ignored". The Israeli Ambassador, Dr Zion Evrony, is also scheduled to appear before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday to face questioning. The full motion can be read on the Oireachtas website here: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=DAL20100601...1#H11
The MV Rachel Corrie continues en route Gaza with its humanitarian supplies, despite Israel's threat that it "will also be ready for the Rachel Corrie". Speaking from Cyprus, Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement who own the ship today said: "We are an initiative to break Israel's blockade of 1.5 million people in Gaza. Our mission has not changed and this is not going to be the last flotilla." On board the Rachel Corrie are 15 people, including 5 Irish people and 5 Malaysians. The Irish on board are Denis Halliday, Mariead Maguire, Fiona Hamilton, Derek and Jenny Graham (bios below)
Speaking about the day's events, the IPSC Chairperson Dr David Landy said: "We are glad to hear that everyone will be released soon, but of course they should never have been kidnapped in the first place. We are also concerned at the news coming out about beatings, but frankly, such tactics come as no surprise coming as they do from the rogue state of Israel, indeed, for Palestinians these actions, and worse, are a daily occurrence. Just witness today's largely unreported killing of five Palestinians in Gaza."
Dr Landy continued: "We are pleased to see Irish parliamentarians passing such a strong motion condemning the unacceptable Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla. We hope that the government will be as good as its word when it says it will take further diplomatic action against Israel if the MV Rachel Corrie is confronted by the Israeli military. The IPSC sees this a step in the right direction for the government as regards Israel, however we argue that Israel's constant breaches of international law and human rights abuses against Palestinian merit much stronger action - such as the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador, the suspension of Israel from the Euro-Med Agreement and an immediate end to Irish defence contracts with Israeli companies."
Bios for Irish on Board Rachel Corrie
Mairead Maguire (66) [Belfast, Ireland]
A Nobel Peace Laureate (l976) and Co-founder of Peace People, Northern Ireland, She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace and a nonviolent solution to the Ethnic/political conflict in Northern Ireland. Mairead has travelled many times to the occupied territories of Palestine to support the nonviolent peoplesí movement for Human Rights, International Law, and Self Determination of the Palestinian people. Maguire was shot with a plastic bullet whilst participating with Palestinians/Israelis/Internationals in a peaceful protest March to the Wall in Bilin, in April, 2007. Mairead went on the maiden Voyage of Dignity in October, 2008, the second successful voyage for the Free Gaza Movement. She was also on Board ĎSpirití when Israel hijacked the Boat in International Waters, taking all 2l humanitarian passengers to Israel, where they were arrested, detained for a week in an Israeli prison and then deported.
Denis Halliday [Manhattan, NYC and Connemara, Ireland]
UN Assistant Secretary-General from 1994-98. Appointed by SG Boutros Ghali, he served as ASG UN Human Resources Management in New York and in mid 1997 to end 1998 as Head, Humanitarian Programme in Iraq to support the Iraqi people struggling under the genocidal impact of UN Sanctions. Prior to that, as a development manager, Halliday served UNDP from 1964-94 in Iran, New York Hqts, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Samoa, New York again and finally as head of the UNDP Regional Office in Thailand. Since resigning from the UN in 1998, Halliday has delivered numerous parliamentary briefings, provided extensive media inputs and has given public/university lectures on Iraq, human rights, and the UN, in particular its reform. He was a visiting professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and teaches/speaks at universities in Ireland, Canada, UK and USA. Halliday is a graduate of TCD, has an honorary PhD, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded the UK Gandhi Peace Prize.
Derek Graham [Ballina, County Mayo]
Derek has been a qualified electrician for 20 years. He was a member of the reserve defence forces in Ireland for 21 years and was the first member of the reserves to make the Army sailing team. He has been sailing all of his life and is a crew member on the MV Rachel Corrie. He has participated in many previous Free Gaza boat trips to Gaza and has been on four of the five voyages that landed in Gaza. He is married to Jenny, who is also on the MV Rachel Corrie.
Jenny Graham [County Mayo]
A member of the Free Gaza Movement, Jenny has participated in previous boat trips to Gaza and is a member of the crew of the MV Rachel Corrie. She is married to Derek Graham.
Fiona Thompson [Dundalk]