Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson released a statement yesterday condemning the Israeli attack on ships carrying aid supplies to the Gaza Strip. He supports the demand of the EU and the UN that the raid be investigated in detail.
Furthermore, the Icelandic government demands that Israel lift their siege in Gaza immediately. “It is a despicable crime,” Skarphédinsson told Fréttabladid of the attack on the convoy. “People who couldn’t defend themselves were attacked with weapons.”
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said yesterday’s events must prompt the international community to “no longer look away as it has done for far too long in the matters of Israel. This is bound to lead to a turning point in relations with Israel. This is just too shocking.”
Skarphédinsson attended a meeting with the Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, which was assembled because of the attack on the convoy. “There was a strong emphasis on us trying to reach as wide a solidarity on our position as possible.”
“Various ideas were mentioned on how we can express our position, which the committee is looking into,” the minister added. He wouldn’t say whether these ideas include terminating diplomatic relations with Israel. The committee’s decision will be announced shortly.
Nine people were killed in the attack. The convoy was headed for Gaza with aid supplies and 700 people on board, among them many known pacifists and authors.
“Israel didn’t have any right to do this,” commented Susan Abulhawa, a Palestinian writer who was in Iceland yesterday promoting her book Mornings in Jenin. “I blame the international community for the situation. It has permitted Israel to do what they please without the slightest consequences.”
The raid has provoked harsh reactions all around the world. In Iceland, more than 100 people gathered to protest against the attack outside the Icelandic Foreign Ministry.
The Iceland-Palestine Association is demanding an immediate termination of diplomatic relations with the Israeli government.