The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned “in strongest possible terms” Israel’s act of aggression against a flotilla of ships attempting to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza
Israeli soldiers raided the flotilla of six vessels carrying 663 activists from 37 countries, which was intending to break Israel’s blockade and deliver aid into Gaza.
Nine people were reported killed aboard the main vessel MV Mavi Marmara during the assault in international waters, while up to 60 activists and 10 Israeli soldiers were injured. Surviving passengers have been detained by Israel.
The Maldives Foreign Ministry said the incident was “a clear act of aggression against civilians, especially civilians engaged in humanitarian work”, and called for an “immediate independent international enquiry so that the facts may be ascertained, accountability established, and justice secured for those who have tragically died, as well as their family and friends.”
“There can be no excuse for such violence, which represents a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law and a step-back from universal humanist values,” the Ministry said, in a statement.
Yesterday the UN Security Council said it “deeply regrets” loss of life and injuries during the military operation, “and condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least ten civilians.”
The Security Council further stressed that “the situation in Gaza is not sustainable”, and Israel to provide “unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.”
“The only viable solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement negotiated between the parties,” it said, claiming “that only a two-State solution, with an independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors, can bring peace to the region.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the attack as “a clear case of self-defense”, reiterating that “Israel cannot allow the free flow of weapons, rockets and missiles to Hamas in Gaza.”
“We have no problems with the people of Gaza. We do have a conflict with the terrorist regime of Hamas, supported by Iran,” he said.
The Maldives Foreign Ministry denounced the blockade as “not only morally wrong as it inflicts unjustifiable harm on innocent civilians, but also short-sighted in that it breeds mistrust, animosity and hatred – exactly the emotions that led to this tragedy and to the perpetuation of the Middle East conflict.”
The Maldives joins many other international voices deploring Israel’s aggressive reaction, including Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia where President Mohamed Nasheed is currently visiting.
“The Australian government condemns any use of violence under the sorts of circumstances that we have seen,” Rudd said.
One Australian citizen was reportedly shot in the leg, while reknown Australian journalist Paul McGeough is among those currently detained by Israel.