An urgent open letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs

30 Jul

The lead flotilla boat, the Al Awda. [File photo]

The lead boat in the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, the Al Awda, with New Zealand representative Mike Treen on board, was unlawfully attacked and detained by Israeli forces in international waters about 49 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza late last night. The boat, passengers, crew and cargo, are currently detained against their will in the southern Israeli port of Ashdod.

We call on the NZ Government to immediately alert NZ consular services and urgently demand the Israeli authorities end the inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip, ensure the well-being and immediately release of the boat, Mike and all those detained, and allow the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla to safely continue their humanitarian journey the port of Gaza unimpeded.

Kia Ora Gaza sent an open letter to our NZ Foreign Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters, on 5 July and 23 July, asking him to demand that Israel end the 11-year inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip and the allow ‘safe and unhindered passage’ for the Freedom Flotilla to sail to the besieged port of Gaza. Those pleas remain unanswered.

NZ veteran human rights defender and union leader, Mike Treen was on board the lead flotilla boat, the Al Awda, as our NZ civil society representative on this international humanitarian mission to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade of the two million Palestinians confined in the tiny Gaza Strip.

News on the flotilla can be viewed on our facebook and website: http://www.kiaoragaza.net and the Freedom Flotilla website: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/

Flotilla supporters are welcome to send endorsements of this request to the government. The Foreign Minister’s email address: W.Peters@ministers.govt.nz
The Prime Minister can be contacted at: j.ardern@ministers.govt.nz>

Attached below is a copy of our third letter, sent today to Foreign Minister, Rt Hon Winston Peters:

30 July 2018

Rt Hon Winston Peters,

Minister of Foreign Affairs,
NZ Parliament.

cc: Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern

 

Dear Mr Peters,

 Open letter re: Safe and unhindered passage for the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. Urgent.

In reply to our emails to you on this matter (dated 5 July 2018 and 23 July 2018) we received an email acknowledgement from your office on 13 July 2018 and again on 24 July 2018, that indicated that we would receive a response ‘in due course’. However we have yet to receive a response from you.

Our emails requested you to demand that the Israeli authorities to end their illegal blockade of Gaza, and allow safe and unhindered passage for the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla heading for Gaza.

We have shared our request as an ‘open letter’ as this is an important issue of public concern.

Last night (NZ time) one of the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla boats, the Al Awda, was unlawfully boarded and apprehended by Israeli forces in international waters.

On board was our New Zealand representative, union leader Mike Treen, along with a number of other prominent human rights advocates and crew from around the world.

The flotilla boat also carried a quantity of urgently needed medical supplies to be gifted to Gaza’s over-stretched health services, and the boat itself was intended as a gift to Gaza’s fishers.

As with previous similar humanitarian missions, this flotilla poses no threat whatsoever to Israel.

In light of Israel’s unwarranted and unlawful interception and seizure of this Gaza-bound civilian boat in international waters, we call on the NZ Government to urgently alert our appropriate consular services to ensure the well-being and release of Mike Treen, and urgently demand the Israeli authorities: 

  • ensure the safety and well-being of all those on board, and the speedy delivery of our gifts to the Palestinian people in Gaza,
  • end the inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip,
  • immediately release the Al Awda and its crew and passengers unharmed,
  • and allow the 2018 Freedom Flotilla and it’s medical cargo, safe and unhindered passage to their destination – the port of Gaza.

We look forward to your prompt response.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Fowler QSM,

Chair, Kia Ora Gaza Trust (a partner in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.)

Email: office@kiaoragaza.net   Website: www.kiaoragaza.net

Postal address: PO Box 86022, Mangere East, Auckland 2158.

Endorsed by:

Janfrie Wakim, Spokesperson for the NZ Palestine Human Rights Campaign

Debbie Abbas, National Secretary, NZ Palestine Solidarity Network

Cc: Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.

One Response to “An urgent open letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs”

  1. roysinc August 1, 2018 at 5:29 pm #

    New Zealand Government must stand up for what is legal and morally responsible.

Comments are closed.

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