Irish Nobel peace prize winner, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, whose ship was blocked from delivering aid supplies to Gaza has accused the Israeli government of committing “slow genocide” against the Palestinian people.
The Nobel Laureate was deported with fellow campaigners from the MV Rachel Corrie after the vessel was seized by the Israelis as it attempted to break the blockade of Gaza.
After landing in Dublin with four other Irish crew members, Mrs Corrigan Maguire pledged to return to the war-torn territory and renew her efforts to help those who live there.
“Gaza has been cut off from the world for over three years. The people of Gaza don't have enough basic things for their needs,” she said.
“It's Israeli policies that are causing this — there is a slow genocide of the Palestinian people.”
There were emotional scenes at Dublin Airport as the group were reunited with family and friends. Mrs Maguire said efforts to end the blockade must now be stepped up.
“US President Barack Obama has the power to say to the Israeli government, ‘enough is enough, your policy is not acceptable and you must choose peace'.”
Also returning home were former UN assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday, the ship’s captain Derek Graham, his wife Jenny, and Dundalk film-maker Fiona Thompson.
Mr Graham claimed the vessel's navigation equipment was jammed before Israeli soldiers boarded.
Fellow crew member Ms Thompson revealed she managed to save several tapes containing footage of the moments prior to the vessel being boarded on Saturday morning — despite having her camera confiscated.
Meanwhile, activists said another aid flotilla could be making its way to Gaza within weeks.
Rory Byrne, of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, said the umbrella group — representing around 34 human rights organisations — had received a massive response from volunteers and donors in the wake of last week's attack on a Turkish aid ship, during which nine peace activists were shot dead by Israeli soldiers