Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Statement of the Writers for Peace Committee of International PEN Concerning the Tragic Events of May 31, 2010

The Writers for Peace Committee follows the Lugano Declaration in condemning individual terrorism as well as State terrorism; we declare that those who resort to violence, even for a good cause, "annull the missions to which they are dedicated and lose all claims to legitimacy" (quoted from the Statement of the 50th Congress of International PEN in Lugano, Switzerland, May 1987).

We declare that:
1. Nothing justifies the violence and murders that the army of the State of Israel have perpetrated against the people on the ships that brought humanitarian aid to Gaza. The use of firearms was entirely out of proportion and unsuitable as a response to the resistance put up by the people on board. We strongly condemn these murders and regret the deaths.

2. We protest against the grave violation of the right to freedom of expression of the journalists on board.

3. We demand that the government of the State of Israel agree that an international committee investigate and throw light on the events and establish responsibility.

4. To prevent the recurrence of such events, we demand that the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority accept the international monitoring of all ships so that the blockade can be lifted.

5. We ask that the two States, that of Israel which is already in existence, and that of the people of Palestine which has yet to be established as soon as possible, recognise one another. We believe that the only way to achieve the peaceful coexistence of the two States is through dialogue.

6. It is the role of the international community through its institutions to make this political dialogue possible. It must draw on the resources of the respective cultures, particularly the literary ones, of the two peoples whose writers never cease to bear witness, and who are committed to the accomplishment of peace.

June 14, 2010

Dr. Edvard Kovac
President of the Writers for Peace Committee of International PEN

Eugene Schoulgin
Secretary General of International PEN