The United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution on Wednesday to send an independent fact—finding mission to investigate the Israeli raid on a flotilla of activists with aid bound for the Gaza Strip.
The motion, which also condemned the pre—dawn raid on Monday and called for a lifting of the blockade on Gaza, passed with 32 votes in favour to 3 against. There were nine abstentions.
The United States voted against, while European Union states on the 47 member council either abstained or opposed.
Gerry Adams says only dialogue will solve Mideast conflict
Gerry Adams, whose Republican Sinn Fein party was instrumental in ending decades of bloody conflict in Northern Ireland, said on Wednesday that only political dialogue and the renunciation of violence could lead to peace in the Middle East.
Commenting on the Gaza aid flotilla incident, Mr. Adams said in a BBC interview that tragedy could only be averted through dialogue between politicians while violence would not succeed.
In the decades leading up to the 1998 Northern Ireland Peace Agreement, Sinn Fein was the political wing of the former Irish Republican Army (IRA), the paramilitary organization responsible for numerous deadly attacks which, however, laid down its arms as a result of the peace dialogue.
Ireland's appeal to Israel
Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin repeated his call on Israel to allow an Irish—owned aid boat, the MV Rachel Corrie, through its military blockade of Gaza. “I again repeat my urgent call to the Israeli government to allow safe passage of the Irish—owned vessel, the MV Rachel Corrie, which is still sailing towards Gaza to deliver its consignment of humanitarian aid,” Mr. Martin said in Dublin.
“It is imperative that there should be no further confrontation or bloodshed arising from what has been all along a purely humanitarian mission by those involved in the Gaza flotilla.” The crew of the MV Rachel Corrie, which includes Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, former United Nations diplomat Denis Halliday and three other Irish people, was expected to hit the exclusion zone around Gaza on Friday or Saturday.
Meanwhile in Scotland, a peace activist who returned to Britain gave his account of the attack of the Israeli storming of the flotilla.
“Cat and mouse games”
Hasan Nowarah of the Justice for Palestine Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, said the Israeli ships surrounded the convoy on Saturday night before the attack, playing “cat and mouse games” with the Mavi Marmara ship.
“The warships ... were approaching us slowly, slowly, but no confrontation. They were communicating with our captains through the radios, warning us to turn back,” he told BBC Scotland. He described watching the attack on the Mavi Marmara from a neighbouring ship.
“At 4 o’clock local time it was prayer time and as we finish our prayer all we can hear is people screaming. We looked at the Marmara ship, we can see the Israeli helicopters dropping soldiers and screaming and shouting, bullets firing all over the place.” Within second he heard ‘tick tick tick’ around our ship. “It turned out they were using paintballing guns they were shooting at us,” he said.
"Ambassador pushed by Israeli soldiers"
“I had an ambassador sitting beside me, he was pushed by Israeli soldiers, I went and I stood between them and he pushed me with his M16, he smacked me in the back of my back and I fall down. He hit me with his rifle to my ligament.” Mr. Nowarah said he suffered a ligament injury to his leg, and believes that is why he was deported so quickly.
The British Foreign Office said on Tuesday that 31 British citizens were on board the ships and 11 holding dual British nationality.