June 17 2010
A top UN official has bristled at Israel’s “failed policy” toward Gaza-bound aid convoys and said the UN is ready to take responsibility for the safety and distribution of humanitarian assistance.
In an open briefing, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry told the UN Security Council that “the flotilla crisis is the latest symptom of a failed policy” and the “closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip needs to come to an end,” the Ma’an news agency reported.
Serry also said the UN is ready to accept responsibility on an exceptional basis to ensure the safety and distribution of aid cargoes of the three Turkish-registered ships.
The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the M.V. Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.
Israel also arrested and later released nearly 700 activists from 42 countries who were on board the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory.
The attack sparked widespread criticism across the globe and calls for Israel to lift its crippling blockade on Gaza.
Serry said there is international consensus on Gaza, adding that it is fully agreed by the diplomatic Quartet (the UN, the European Union, Russia, and the United States) that there must be a fundamental change to the situation. Source