A group of Israeli human rights organisations have signed a letter supporting the Freedom Flotilla 2 and calling on the Greek and Israeli governments to allow it safe passage to Gaza. The letter has been signed by prominent organisations such as Rabbis for Human Rights, Gush Shalom, the Israeli Committe Against Housing Demolitions and the Alternative Information Centre.A public appeal denouncing Israel’s media campaign against the Freedom Flotilla 2, the Israeli siege on Gaza and the Greek refusal to let the flotilla sail while praising the courage of the flotilla participants, has been signed by several Israeli Jewish and Palestinian human rights organisations.

The letter slams the Israeli media campaigns against the flotilla as lies and slander and expresses concerns that ‘such lies might be designed by the government as a pretext and justification in advance for further acts of violence against activists taking part in a legitimate political act of protest’.

Critisizing the Israeli siege on Gaza, which the letter refered to as ‘ a giant open air prison’, the groups called on Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians to freedom of movement and called for the end of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

‘The state of Israel is obliged, under International Law, to put an end to its control over the Gaza Strip – indirect as well as direct – which is part of Israel’s wider obligations to out an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory and facilitate the independence of Palestine,’ the letter states.

Greece also came under criticism for caving in to Israeli pressure to prevent the ship’s departure. The appeal states that the Greek government’s blocking flotilla ships is denying participants rights to Freedom of the Seas as set out under International Law.

The group praised the courgae of flotilla participants describing the convoy as ‘an expression of worldwide solidarity with the Palestinian people and rejection of Israeli practices of oppressive occupation’.

The Freedom Flotilla 2 aims to sail to Gaza despite delays caused by physical damage to ships and bureaucratic red tape in the coming days. The flotilla aims to break the Israeli siege on Gaza which has been condemned as illegal by the UN and the International Criminal Court.

The signatories to the letter include; Alternative Information Center (AIC) * Coalition of Women for Peace * Combatants for Peace * Gush Shalom * Hithabrut-Tarabut * Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD) * New Profile * Rabbis for Human Rights * Ta’ayush: Arab-Jewish Partnership * Yesh Gvul * Ma’avak Socialisti