Meeting in Johannesburg, the independent group of eminent global leaders repeated their call for an end to the blockade on Gaza. They called for a full investigation of last night’s incident and urged the UN Security Council to debate the situation with a view to mandating action to end the closure of the Gaza Strip.
Overnight, Israeli troops stormed at least one ship in a flotilla of vessels carrying 10,000 tonnes of relief supplies to Gaza. Around 600 people are on board the six cargo and passenger boats.
The Elders described Israel’s attack on the aid shipment and the resulting killings and injuries as completely inexcusable. They said this tragic incident should draw the world’s attention to the terrible suffering of Gaza’s 1.5 million people, half of whom are children under the age of 18.
The Elders reminded the world that under international law, the three-year blockade of Gaza by Israel is illegal collective punishment of its inhabitants. They said that the treatment of the people of Gaza is one of the world’s greatest human rights violations and that the blockade is not only illegal, it is counterproductive. This is because it creates unacceptable suffering, in the process empowering extremists and undermining moderate forces in Gaza.