For Immediate Release: May 31st, 2010
Contact:  For interviews, contact Medea Benjamin, , 415-235-6517;
Gael Murphy,, 202-412-6700.
Both have traveled many times to Gaza and helped organized the Gaza Freedom March.

CODEPINK Condemns Israeli Attack on Gaza Flotilla

Calls on US Govt to Condemn Attack and Cut Aid to Israel

We are outraged, stunned and broken-hearted that the Israeli Navy has not only intercepted 6 ships that were carrying humanitarian aid to the 1.5 million people in Gaza who are living under an Israeli-imposed siege, but has actually killed and wounded dozens of these brave humanitarian activists. While Israel has refused to release precise details, news reports are saying that at least nine people were killed, many more wounded, and that remaining 700 passengers have been sent to Israel for arrest and/or deportation. The storming of civilian ships in international waters by Israeli commandos is a terrorist act that is a blatant violation of international law.

This must be a turning point for U.S. policy toward Israel. The reaction of the Obama Administration to Israel's attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla, which included U.S. citizens, has been totally unacceptable. A White House spokesperson stated that President Obama "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained." We need to hear from our President and our Congress a STRONG CONDEMNATION of this abominable attack, and it must be accompanied by action: an immediate cut off of all aid to Israel and sustained pressure on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza.

The U.S. government has been complicit in arming Israel and enabling its human rights abuses, including the ongoing siege of Gaza that has kept 1.5. million people living in the world's largest open-air prison. In July 2008, the United States signed a contract worth $1.9 billion to transfer the latest-generation of naval combat vessels to Israel at U.S. taxpayer expense. Currently, Congress is in the process of appropriating a record $3.2 billion in military aid to Israel this budget year. This aid must be stopped.

Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza since 2007, and then the brutal Israeli invasion of Gaza in December 2009 left over 1,400 Palestinians dead. CODEPINK has been sending delegations of humanitarian aid to Gaza via Egypt and pressuring the U.S. government to call on Israel to lift the siege. In light of this present massacre of humanitarian workers, we vow to redouble our efforts to lift the inhumane siege of Gaza and change U.S. policy to support the rights of all people in the region.

“We need our leaders to show their commitment to peace by condemning this act, launching an immediate inquiry, calling on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza, and supporting an immediate halt to arms supplies for Israel,” said Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, who has travelled four times to Gaza.

We are calling on peace-loving people everywhere to:
1. Organize protests in your communities against Israel's attack on the humanitarian flotilla. Call for the aid workers to be released and allowed to complete their humanitarian mission. Find events near you and post your event details by clicking here.

2. For people in the U.S., contact the White House, your Congressperson and Senators. Demand that they condemn Israel, cut off all U.S. aid (to learn more about the deadly impact of U.S. military aid to Israel by clicking here), and demand that Israel lift the siege of Gaza.