I am appalled at the seizure of a humanitarian aid shipment by Israeli gunboats in international water and the forcible detention of 21 peace activists, including Nobel Prize winner, Mairead Maguire.
I have recently returned from Gaza where I witnessed at first hand the terrible suffering being inflicted on innocent people by this Israeli-imposed siege and the death and suffering caused by the blockade of medicines and medical equipment.
At the time of my visit I was informed that some 320 patients had died as a direct result of the refusal of Israel to allow either medical equipment into Gaza or patients to leave to receive treatment elsewhere.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has just issued a report in which they state ‘the stringent Israeli military restrictions on movements of persons and goods in and out of Gaza over the last two years is one of the main causes of the crisis’.
It is disgraceful that a whole community is being punished by the Israeli regime because of the choice they made in a free and open election. The international community must speak out now and demand that Israel lifts this blockade immediately and releases these urgently needed medical supplies for innocent men, women and children in the Gaza Strip.
Councillor Gerry MacLochlainn