No excuse for violence

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No excuse for violence

The world’s eyes are on the Middle East.

An attack by Israeli forces on civilian vessels braving an Israel-enforced embargo to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians on the besieged Gaza Strip has left some 10 activists dead.

Accounts differ on what led to the raid, depending on whether you believe the activists aboard or the Israeli military.

But what is irrefutable is that the Israeli military fired at a vessel still at sea with civilians on board.

Even if the flotilla had breached the country’s embargo, the Israeli military’s air raid against civilians cannot be excused.

The United Nations should investigate the event fairly and severely and decide on appropriate action.

Israel has been carrying out aggressive military campaigns and blockades against the Gaza Strip ever since the militant Hamas organization, which has sworn to destroy Israel, gained control over the area of the Palestinian territories in June 2007.

The country eventually closed off all sea and land routes to the area, isolating 1.5 million Palestinians in the region, resulting in extreme devastation. In December 2008, the Israeli government carried out sweeping air raids to wipe out Hamas’ military, killing an estimated 1,400 civilians.

The violent interception and attack on a civilian vessel is also a part of Israel’s unwavering campaign to enforce the blockade until Hamas surrenders.

The recent attack brought Israel’s embargo into the limelight as it grows into more than just an Israel-Palestine problem. Some 600 activists from 40 countries were on the six ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Of the dead, most were Turkish citizens. The United Nations Security Council called for an emergency meeting because of the international repercussions.

The outrage in the Muslim world could rekindle violence in the Middle East. All the countries involved must remain calm to prevent further violence.

What’s most important now is to carry out an unbiased and accurate investigation into the attack. Israel insists the attack was an act of self-defense. If that’s true, it must cooperate fully with the international probe and prove its point.

The only fundamental solution to the problem would be a peaceful pact between Israel and Palestine to establish perpetual peace on the Gaza Strip. At this juncture, Israel should nurture a mood for talks by easing its blockade. The Israeli government must take heed to mounting international criticism.
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