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Flotilla News

Request for Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to support Australian delegate and condemn Israel’s threats

We emailed this letter to Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday 3 November:

Dear Mr Rudd

We are writing to ask that you to make direct and immediate representation to Israeli authorities on behalf of the Australian government supporting Australian citizen and Sydney-based youth worker, Michael Coleman who is currently on board the the vessel Tahrir in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Tahrir is headed toward Gaza as part of the Freedom Waves to Gaza flotilla initiative which seeks to challenge the blockade of Gaza and highlight the plight of the Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the region. There are 12 people in total travelling on the Tahrir. Also part of the Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative is a second boat, the MV Saoirse.

We also call on you as Foreign Minister to denounce Israel for its intention to “take any necessary action” to prevent the Tahrir and Saoirse from reaching their intended destination. The participants of this flotilla are unarmed peaceful activists and journalists.

We ask that you urge the Israeli government and military to desist from intervening, boarding or towing the boats to Israel, or redirecting the boats to any other location away from Gaza. We ask that you insist Israel does not board the vessels and does not use force or violence against any of the unarmed peaceful activists or journalists on board these vessels, and that they not be detained or interrogated by Israeli authorities.

We note that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has indicated it will provide consular support to our Australian delegate if necessary.

DFAT has however noted that it “strongly advises against travelling by sea to the coast of the Gaza Strip”.

Noting Australia’s recent decision at the United Nations to vote against admission of Palestine to UNESCO, we ask that the Australian Government use this opportunity to take a stand on the key issue of justice for Palestinians. We call on the Australian Government to condemn Israel’s ongoing illegal blockade of Gaza and the consequent collective punishment of the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in the region.

We appreciate your consideration and anticipate your prompt response to our concerns.

You can get in contact with Kevin Rudd too:
Email: kevin.rudd@dfat.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6277 7500
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/KRuddMP

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Flotilla News

Letter requesting official government support for Australian “Freedom Waves to Gaza” delegate

We wrote this following email to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade asking what official consular support would be extended to Michael if necessary, and requesting represention be made to Israeli authorities urging no interference with the boats currently on course for Gaza.

We are writing to request the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on behalf of the Australian Government make representation to Israeli authorities to allow the boats currently travelling through the Mediterranean Sea reach their destination without Israeli intervention.

The ‘Tahrir’ is carrying 12 people including Australian youth worker Michael Coleman. There is a second boat MV Saoirse also currently on route to Gaza.

We call on DFAT to implore Israel to not intervene or use force or violence against the unarmed peaceful activists and journalists on board these boats.

We request a statement of position from DFAT outlining how DFAT will assist and support Australian citizen Michael Coleman in the event of intervention and/or detention by Israeli authorities.

We also noted the following:
The Israeli military officials have this morning said they will block the two boats from reaching Gaza and a military spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich, told Reuters that Israel considered these boats a “provocation”.

We have confirmation that DFAT has received our letter and we are now awaiting their response.

Please consider phoning or writing a short email to the Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd asking him to support Michael and the efforts of the Freedom Waves to Gaza boats and denounce plans by Israel to militarily intervene. Contact details:

Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

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