Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Palestinian fishermen still being held by Israeli authorities, three internationals fighting deportation with at least one engaging in a hunger-strike

Posted on the ISM webpage on: November 18, 2008

18th November - British politicians, MP Clare Short and Baronness Jenny Tonge, both issue statements regarding the arrests made by Israeli forces today

The fifteen Palestinian fishermen abducted from Palestinian waters this morning (10am 18th November) are still being held by Israeli authorities in Ashdod, while their boats have been confiscated. Legal proceedings were initiated today that petition for their immediate release.

The three international Human Rights Observers who were arrested while accompanying the fishermen have been taken to Ben Gurion detention facility as Israeli authorities starting deportation proceedings. Andrew Muncie, a British citizen who was one of the three internationals arrested has made it clear that he will non-violently resist any attempt to deport him and that he is engaging a hunger-strike until all fifteen of the Palestinian fishermen are released.

The status and plans of the other two international Human Rights Observers arrested, American citizen Darlene Wallach and Italian citizen Vittorio Arrigoni, are not yet known.

This action comes after international journalists have been denied access into Gaza due to the current siege.

British MP Clare Short has made this statement in regards to today:

” If there is to be any hope of peace in the Middle East, international law must be upheld. This means that the siege of Gaza must be lifted and the constant attacks by the Israeli navy on Gazan fishermen halted. Those who have been arrested must be released and the UK must insist that these illegal attacks on Gazans, fishing peacefully within their own water must cease”

Baroness Jenny Tonge said:

“The time has come for the international community, and especially the European Union to take action against Israel’s consistent breaking of international law. The EU-Israel Association Agreement should be suspended until Israel complies with this law.

It was only last week that I personally met with the fishermen whose boats are illegally water-cannoned and fired upon by Israeli gunboats as they peacefully fish in Gaza waters. The fishermen and human rights observers who were today taken unlawfully by Israel should be released immediately.”