South and East Belfast Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

de Brún slams Greek ban on Flotilla II

Published: 5 July, 2011

Sinn Féin MEP, Bairbre de Brún has called on the Greek government to overturn its decision to detain Freedom Flotilla II ships bound for Gaza. The flotilla plans to take much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade.

"It is appalling that Greek authorities have bowed to pressure from Israel to 'outsource' this illegitimate blockade which has had far-reaching negative consequences for the 1.5 million Palestinians, half of whom are children, living in the Gaza strip. The stiff restrictions placed on movement and commerce by the Israeli government have resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis for the people of Gaza. Given that the majority of the population (80%) depend so heavily on humanitarian aid, it is completely unacceptable that the flotilla should have been halted by Greece.

"I call on the Greek authorities to reconsider their ban on the flotilla setting sail from its ports and allow the activists to continue with their essential work, bringing desperately-needed aid to those who have been cut off from the outside world by this blockade.

"As the Israeli authorities are intent on placing a stranglehold on the economy of Gaza, I would be sceptical about assurances that the much-needed humanitarian aid will reach the Gaza strip through what they call 'existing channels'. If enough aid was getting through these channels then people of goodwill throughout the world would not be organising ships to bring the aid themselves."