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Eye On The World, Gaza: With Selwyn Manning & Glenn Williams

Radio Wammo: Eye On The World – With Glenn Williams & Selwyn Manning

Glenn Williams hosts Eye On The World, a weekly look at foreign affairs with Scoop's Selwyn Manning. This week: Two Kiwis leave Auckland to take part in Freedom Flotilla-2.

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Run-Sheet For Eye on the World June 21 2011

The Israel Government's blockade of Gaza has been enforced for five years. Since the Government of Israel established the policy, no vessels - apart from those the IDF permits - have been able to enter the waters off Gaza.

Despite this, two New Zealand citizens - Harmeet Sooden and Vivienne Porzsolt - are now in transit to the Mediterranean region intent on being on board a Canadian vessel that will be a part of the Freedom Flotilla-2 aid mission to Gaza.

With up to 45 percent of people in Gaza being unemployed, and with the territory being unable to create opportunities for its people, humanitarian aid organisations and peace activists have been attempting to breach the blockade and deliver food, clothing, and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip.

In May 2010 Freedom Flotilla (1) attempted to do just this. It resulted in Israel Defense Force commandos boarding the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, killing nine aid workers in their attempt to stop the vessel from breaching the blockade.

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Like anything relating to military or intelligence matters, the Government of Israel commits considerable resource and force to such operations. The killings led to international outrage over the IDF's methods, and attracted considerable evaluation of whether Israel had breached international law when enforcing the blockade.

Noam Chomsky on the blockade being illegal:
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Since Flotilla-1, the situation for innocent civilians in Gaza has not improved.

Gaza is the sixth most densely populated place on earth. There, 1.6 million Palestinians live – most live in poverty. And 70% rely on humanitarian aid to survive.

Some land-based humanitarian projects have been able to get into Gaza. On Sunday the Miles Of Smiles aid convoy made it across the border into Gaza delivering 30 tonnes of medicine and supplies.

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But because of the naval blockade, getting assistance to Gaza's people via the sea is most difficult.

Over the weekend, rallies have taken place in Europe with participants showing support for those preparing to take part in Freedom Flotilla-2.

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SO TO RE-CAP: The Freedom Flotilla-2 initiative will comprise of 12 vessels carrying citizens from all over the world, including New Zealand's Harmeet Sooden and Vivienne Porzsolt who left Auckland International Airport last night for Greece where they will board the Canadian ship, Tahrir.

Last week I emailed Israel's Embassy in Wellington seeking a response from its Ambassador to New Zealand on whether Israel would block the Freedom Flotilla-2 from entering Gaza's waters and why it may consider the aid convoy's mission a risk to Israel's security.

I understand from the Embassy, that statement will be issued to us this morning (see following link for Israel's response).


Eye On The World broadcasts on KiwiFM and Radio Wammo at 7:40am on Tuesdays. Video on demand episodes also webcast on


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