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Media statement by Charles Santiago in Klang on Monday, 31st May 2010:

Global intervention required to stop Israeli massacre

The Israeli forces' attack on an aid flotilla heading towards the blockaded Gaza is a flagrant violation of human rights, countering any form of internationally recognized norms.

More than 10 pro-Palestinian activists have been killed during the raid by the naval commandos while scores remain missing.

The Al-Jazeera TV reported by telephone from the Turkish ship leading the flotilla that Israeli forces fired at the ship and boarded it, wounding the captain. The broadcast ended with a voice shouting in Hebrew, "Everybody shut up!"

Turkey's NTV network reported that at least 30 activists were wounded.

This is clearly a massacre.

More than 700 peace activists are on the boats and they include Malaysians, Australian journalists, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and an elderly holocaust survivor.

The six-ship flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of Cyprus on Sunday afternoon after two days of delays. It had expected to reach Gaza, about 250 miles away, this afternoon amid threats from the Israeli government which had declared it would not allow the ships to reach Gaza.

The freedom flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of aid to the besieged people of Gaza. The Gaza strip is smaller than the Isle of Wright but crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave.

Israel announced that it was blockading Gaza to pressure the entire civilian population to reverse the democratic process, allowing only a small trickle of food, medicine and fuel.

Journalists have reported about hospitals turning away the sick because they were running out of medicine and hungry children scavenging for food on the streets.

Despite the derogatory conditions under which Israel has subjected the people of Gaza by keeping them under siege and through violent military occupation of the West Bank, world leaders have remained either silent or non-committal.

Apart from a wimpy statement from the United Nations stating that poverty in Gaza has reached unprecedented level, we have not seen as forceful action. Neither has the Malaysian government said a word.

It is reported that the fate of the two local journalists who were in the ship attacked by the Israeli army is still unknown. However, Dr Rani Osman, the PAS/PR ADUN for Meru is said to be safe.

The Pakatan leaders, on Tuesday, should make a declaration condemning the violent aggression by the Israeli navy against the peace activists on board the flotilla.

In line with that, I call on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to lobby the Organisations of Islamic Conference (OIC) and ASEAN to call for a halt to the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and lobby for a sustained and unconditional opening of the crossing for the free flow of humanitarian aid, essential goods and persons to and from Gaza.

After years of malign neglect by the US towards the Palestine-Israel peace talks, it would be an image-cleansing exercise for the President, Barack Obama, to abandon the theatrics and make a stand against these attacks.

I urge fellow Malaysian's to offer special prayer for the safety of all those who have come under attack, including our two journalists.

* Charles Santiago, MP for Klang



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