Skip to comments.Cyprus condemns Israeli actions
Posted on 06/01/2010 12:29:48 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
THE GOVERNMENT, political parties, NGOs and members of the public roundly condemned the killing of the humanitarian activists by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in international waters in the early hours of yesterday.
President Demetris Christofias condemned both the naval blockade of Gaza, which he said violated international law, and the attack. "The killing of people is condemnable for everyone and the killing of non combatants constitutes a criminal act, he said.
No one is happy, first of all with continuing blockade, which followed the attack against Gaza in December 2008 with its catastrophic results on Palestinians.
The continuing of this blockade violates International Law and challenges the human rights of each of us, he added.
The Foreign Ministry instructed the Cypriot ambassador in Tel Aviv to seek information from Israeli authorities as to whether there were any Cypriot nationals aboard the flotilla.
At home, George Loucaides, an MP with ruling AKEL said the party condemns in the strongest possible way this new Israeli atrocity" adding that "Israel is showing zero respect for human life and international law, killing activists in international waters."
Their strong condemnation was echoed by groups around the world, from the Elders to the European Commission and Parliament.
Cypriot MEP Kyriakos Triantafyllides, who was last week one of 40 activists barred from joining the flotilla by the Cyprus government also slammed the IDF's actions. "My first reaction is anger. I would never have imagined such a disproportionate use of violence could happen. The attacks were completely unfounded, and I have issued a statement to Brussels calling for an investigation and the immediate release of the activists."
Another Cypriot who could have been spending today hospitalised or imprisoned in Ashdod port today is Eleni Theocharis, also an MEP.
Theocharis took part in last years flotilla but turned down and invitation this year after learning that Turkish and Israeli intelligence staff had infiltrated the flotilla.
"I strongly contest this piracy as a terrorist act by the IDF in international waters. It is an example of state terrorism, she said.
In many cases the anger and condemnation was mixed with feelings of concern for surviving activists' welfare. Athena Kariati, Youth against Nationalism Spokeswoman said "We were angry about Cyprus' decision to stop people joining the flotilla... but there are people we know who did go, from Greece and the rest of Europe and we are very worried."
The Cyprus Mail has learned that one man from Cyprus, Denis Healy, was captaining one of the flotillas ships, called Challenger. Reports were unavailable, as all satellite communications had been blocked, allegedly by the IDF.
Youth Against Nationalism organised one of two protests in Nicosia last night to protest against the event. Joining the protest were various groups and members of the public: Workers Democracy, KISA, Anthropi Magazine, Palestinian, Kurdish and two Turkish Cypriot groups.
The Israeli Embassy in Nicosia yesterday defended Tel Avivs actions saying that it regretted the loss of life, but reasserted the legitimacy of its lethally enforced blockade by referring to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.
Regarding the shooting of up to 20 activists and injury of many more by IDF commandos, the statement said: "The Israeli Navy was met with violent opposition, and numerous Israeli personnel were injured."
Asked about decision to board the ships in international waters, and within Cyprus' Flight Information Region, Ravit Baer said "This was within the acceptable range of the military blockade, and if the helicopters were flying below 500 feet then it is okay."
Baer denied that there was any humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but conceded that it is a "Miserable situation". "It is a miserable situation in Africa too, but you don't see boats going there."
Several questions remain unanswered about what really happened yesterday, and the EU has called for a full investigation. For example, there is a discrepancy between the reports of activists, who say the IDF commandos came aboard shooting, and the IDF who claim that "demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs."
Greco-Turkish ties moving ahead without Cyprus - May 15, 2010 - "The establishment of the Supreme Council of Co-operation, ....under the joint chairmanship of Erdogan and George Papandreou, would be looking at way of improving co-operation. Turkey has already set up a similar council with Russia and Syria...."
"....Erdogans visit has shown that neither Greece nor Turkey is prepared to wait for the two sides in Cyprus to reach a deal....
Thanks Tailgunner Joe. I appreciate the insight. I don’t know the nitty gritty about those places.