GUEST BLOG: Roger Fowler – Sweden issues demands – but will Peters say anything?

By   /   August 13, 2018  /   20 Comments

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The stark contrast of two governments to the illegal hijacking of flotilla boats & their citizens

The stark contrast of two governments to the illegal hijacking of flotilla boats & their citizens

Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström

Kia Ora Gaza wrote an open letter to our Foreign Affairs minister, Winston Peters, on 31 July, calling on him to demand that Israel immediately release the flotilla boat and people they unlawfully hijacked and detained in international waters (including New Zealander Mike Treen), end their inhumane blockade, and allow the flotilla safe and unhindered passage to Gaza. Since then, all those illegally detained have been deported home, but the boats remain confiscated in an Israeli port and the fate of the cargo of medical supplies intended to be gifted to Gaza’s health service, is unknown.

To date no reply has been received to our open letter.

See our open letter to Winston Peters here – https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/minister-of-foreign-affairs-fails-to-address-the-issues/

In stark contrast to the total silence of our New Zealand government, the Swedish Foreign Affairs minister, Margot Wallstrom, has written to the Israeli authorities, in response to a similar open letter penned by our flotilla partners, the Ship to Gaza Sweden campaign.

Wallstrom’s letter correctly declared that Israel’s capture of the Swedish-flagged flotilla boat, the Freedom, “constitutes a breach of international law” and her letter also “demanded that the ship, its cargo and the persons who were aboard be released.”

The Swedish Ship to Gaza campaign now wants to know what their government is doing to enforce these demands and steps to end the blockade of Gaza. Kia Ora Gaza wants to know when our government is going to make a stand over Israel’s flagrant breaches of international laws.

Press release, Ship to Gaza Sweden, 9 August 2018

Ship to Gaza [Sweden] has now received an answer to the open letter that we, through our chairman Jeanette Escanilla, sent to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström on 5 August.

The Minister writes:
“Sweden upholds the principle of freedom of the seas and freedom of navigation. The government has been in contact with the Israeli authorities regarding Ship to Gaza, and has expressed that the actions of the Israeli authorities in relation to the Swedish-flagged vessel Freedom and the persons onboard constitutes a breach of international law. The government has also demanded that the ship, its cargo and the persons who were aboard be released.” (Translated by Ship to Gaza)

Wallström’s full reply can be read below. Ship to Gaza wishes to emphasize that the wording in the cited paragraph in principle corresponds with our own demands that the crew, cargo and boat should be returned to the place where they were boarded and be allowed to continue their journey to Gaza. We are now being notified that the activists and crew is being deported from Israel. This is not in agreement with our demands or with the requests of the Swedish government.

We also want to know what the Swedish government is doing now to enforce the demands regarding our ships, cargo and crew, but even more importantly, also with regards to the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallstrom’s full reply:

Thank you for your letter dated 5th of August 2018. 

The situation in Gaza is very critical. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the situation as a humanitarian crisis. Furthermore, as you wrote, the lack of medical supplies is disastrous, not least since so many people have been injured as Israeli military has been deployed in connection with demonstrations along Gaza’s border in recent months.

Sweden upholds the principle of freedom of the seas and freedom of navigation. The government has been in contact with the Israeli authorities regarding Ship to Gaza, and has expressed that the actions of the Israeli authorities in relation to the Swedish-flagged vessel Freedom and the persons onboard constitutes a breach of international law. The government has also demanded that the ship, its cargo and the persons who were aboard be released. The Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv is monitoring the imprisoned Swedish citizens’ consular rights and visited all of them on Sunday, August the 5th. 

The Swedish government will continue to work towards an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and towards a fair and sustainable two-state solution in which the two states can co-exist, peacefully, side by side. Ending the isolation of Gaza and providing humanitarian aid to its people are two critical, urgent steps towards that end. 

(Translated by Ship to Gaza)

 

Roger Fowler is a Human Rights Activist and leads Kia Ora Gaza against Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine. 

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20 Comments

  1. Lois Griffiths says:

    A few comments.
    1)..” actions of the Israeli authorities in relation to the Swedish-flagged vessel Freedom and the persons on board constitutes a breach of international law.” yes, breach of international law..not unprecedented for the Israelis..but shouldn’t breaches of international law be punished, ie, Sweden should impose sanctions..
    2) “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”..There is no conflict, there is no Palestinian army, air force, navy..Noam Chomsky has described Israel’s action in Gaza as sadistic..in Israel itself Bedouin villages are being destroyed to be replaced by Jewish only ones , in the West Bank Palestinians are being squeezed into tinier and tinier isolated ghettos
    3) “two-state solution”..has been an impossibility for decades, what should be demanded by the outside world is a State with equal rights for all

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      I don’t know about Gaza, or any of the other areas around Israel , or whether a token ‘peace’ will occur , – but there was a reason why the USA moved its embassy to Jerusalem ,… but I suspect one reason is that this is coming to fruition,… and when it does, – much of the antagonism between Israel and the Muslim world will have the ‘sting ‘ removed…

      There will be a seven year peace treaty after that when the blood sacrifices start up again ,… but midway through that?… all hell breaks loose.

      THE COMING TEMPLE – YouTube
      Video for THE COMING TEMPLE you tube▶ 48:14
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90XSXEfeIjI

  2. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    Balls and initiative from Kiwis?

    You can’t be serious. We’re far too comfortable and smugly complacent to want to do anything for someone else…

    • Mjolnir says:

      +1

    • countryboy says:

      @ JS BARK.
      No, were not. But speak for yourself, if you must.
      We’re an extraordinary collaboration of humans and we do plenty for others.
      Don’t let the spectre of a tiny majority if narcissistic egotist apples spoil the barrel full of good people.

      I could be entirely wrong. I sincerely hope so. But I think, as bizarre as it will sound, that Israel, or at least an elite zionist faction has NZ / AO in their sights. Our politicians are tip toeing around the israeli’s like little fairy princesses. Why?

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        I spy with my little eye something akin to 5 eyes….

      • Wensleydale says:

        Probably because they’re concerned Israel will go crying to Mad Uncle Donald, who will give us a slap on the wrist for our impertinence. Or threaten to nuke us. It’s hard to tell with that swivel-eyed loon these days.

        • Mjolnir says:

          Israel, USA, and Saudi Arabia – the REAL Axis Of Evil? You couldn’t get a nastier clique of violence-prone terrorist states together.

      • J S Bark J S Bark says:

        Well money is the usual suspect in these shonky affairs…

        • Mjolnir says:

          I thought the “swivel-eyed loon” was broke? Hence why he’s in the pay of a certain Russian bank? (Golden showers hookers being an “incentive” to switch accounts.)

  3. Tiger Mountain says:

    I sent an email to Winston Peters while Mike Treen was still imprisoned, got a reply within hours, but it was worse than ineffectual, written by some minion at the ministry who was obviously an Israeli govt. supporter!

    it was unbelievable to get a response in an urgent situation like Mike’s, that included the line “we (NZ Govt.) support the right of Israel to defend its borders”…

    keep up the good work Roger and Kia ora Gaza

    • J S Bark J S Bark says:

      I did the same thing myself, sending the email as I was reading the blog.

      I got the same stupid answer as you did.

      But what annoyed me the most was that I only found out what had happened to the protestors and Mike Treen from TDB.

      The MSM (including white middle class RNZ) did not mention the news at all for at least three or four days.

      Too busy broadcasting bullshit propaganda…

    • savenz says:

      … F+*K worse than I thought if they are sending that out!

      “we (NZ Govt.) support the right of Israel to defend its borders”…

  4. Rickoshay says:

    Hey next time you guys send a shipment of medical supplies to a war zone try sending WARSHIPS as well, peace and love is all very well in a perfect world, but we dont live in one.
    Israel only understands military force, so they better be great warships not those tin can frigates which wouldn’t even make good target practice for their American supplied weapons.
    Better ask the Chinese and Russians for help, cant see the IDF attacking a Chinese or Russian warship in International Waters, they would end up changing that country’s name again, whats the Arabic for “The hole that glows in the dark”.
    Religious fundamentalism of all descriptions is the real enemy of civilization

  5. Beer baron says:

    Good for Israel. Send those terrorist sympathizers back to where they came from.

  6. savenz says:

    Sadly our government has become gutless for the preservation of our citizens rights, money seems to be everything now, such as you can buy citizenship here with fake financials/chequebook or become a permanent resident after 2 years and be able to come and go as you please, – NZ seems to be very much for sale, including becoming a NZ’er.

    Hence probably our government has little interest in annoying Israel over hijacking and tasering citizens on their own vessels.

    Why worry about Palestine/culture land rights when Rogernomics ideology believes land should be sold globally and competition between people for resources is essential to drive up prices, might is right and a few winners and a lot of losers is the natural order of things.

    • Rickoshay says:

      for sure, Maybe they should ask the Romans what money was worth when the Huns crossed the Horizon

  7. Greg Mait says:

    I would not call Saudi Arabia an ally of the US and Israel . The 5000 Saudi princes maybe . but the people no way. Israel dictates to the US as they are the US’s henchmen that intends with the US , Britain , France and all their Allies to steal the biggest oil lake in the world ( IRAN ) and they will use any means necessary , The US is akin to a heroin addict on oil as are we. How often do we hear about these terrorists , To fear them. If a tally was done of those killed by the US coalitions in the middle east, to those killed by terrorists . Sickening.
    Just consider one small engagement by the US when they routed there one time friend Saddam from Kuwait, who with their help had previously invaded Iran killing hundreds of thousands, including the use of chemical weapons supplied by the US. During the rout of the Iraqi army from Kuwait the US conducted bombing raids for 38 days and nights in that time a total of 80,000 tons of explosives were rained upon the Iraqi’s . That is more than the total tonnage of all the conventional bombing of Europe in World war two. Clearly many lives have no value when it comes to oil