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Rushanara Ali Pleads for Constituents Caught Up in Israeli Incident

Rushanara Ali MP

New Labour MP Rushanara Ali has condemned the actions of Israel against an aid convoy and pleaded for the safe release of her constituents caught up in the international incident.

Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow has written to the Foreign Secretary William Hague MP and the Shadow Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

She said:

“I am particularly concerned about reports that some of my constituents may have been seized, and urge the Israeli authorities to allow all detained civilians to get in touch with their loved ones and diplomatic missions in Israel.”

The flotilla of six ships, including the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, was on its way from Cyprus to Gaza carrying supplies including cement, paper and water purification tablets. As the flotilla, still in international waters, neared Gaza, Israeli commandos intercepted the boats from air and sea. The Israelis say their soldiers were set upon and beaten with bats, chairs and metal poles as soon as they boarded the Mavi Marmara. Activists say the soldiers attacked them first. As the incident escalated, the Israelis used live weapons on the activists, although the exact circumstances are unclear. At the end of the incident at least nine activists were dead. Israel escorted the flotilla to the port of Ashdod and detained the protesters.

Ali, who wrestled the east London back for Labour from the Respect party added her voice to calls for the,

“lifting of the blockade and the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel as the only long term answer to the conflict.”

“I, along with many residents of Bethnal Green and Bow, remain deeply concerned that the people of Gaza continue to suffer as a result of Israeli military action. This latest incident only goes to highlight the damaging effects of the blockade and the increasingly desperate measures people are taking to deliver relief supplies. We must continue to do everything within our power to provide the people of Gaza with the food, medicine, clothing and money they need to help stop the humanitarian crisis.”

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