Toronto — A newly released UN fact-finding mission has concluded Israel’s lethal attack on a humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza earlier this year violated international law. Organizers of the Canadian Boat to Gaza say the report makes the case for why more flotillas to break the siege of Gaza are necessary, in the face of government inaction.

“Given these findings, Prime Minister Harper has an obligation to condemn Israel’s attack on the flotilla, which included Canadian passengers, and to call for an immediate end to the siege of Gaza,” says David Heap, with the Canadian Boat to Gaza.

The UN Flotilla Report, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, has found that Israel engaged in “unacceptable levels of brutality” in its attack on the flotilla and committed “grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.” The report, which is based on interviews with 100 witnesses, concludes that there is  “clear evidence to support prosecutions.”

“The humanitarian crisis continues, and this is why it is crucial to send a Canadian boat to Gaza to break the siege,” says Ehab Lotayef, with the Canadian Boat to Gaza. “We plan to set sail for Gaza later this year.”

The fact-finding mission was established by the UN Human Rights Council on June 2 of this year and its report will be debated at the HRC on Monday, September 27. The full report is available at:

The Canadian Boat to Gaza is a growing cross-country effort to send a Canadian ship with the next international flotilla challenging the blockade of Gaza, which restricts entry of materials into Gaza and does not allow any exports to leave.

Canada’s largest river showboat, the Jubilee Queen, has been chartered for a Saturday September 25 sunset cruise on Lake Ontario to raise funds for the Canadian Boat to Gaza. Boarding passes, including dinner and entertainment, are $75, available from Beit Zatoun (647-726-9500) and the Women’s Bookstore (416-922-8744). Proceeds will go to the Canada Boat to Gaza Committee, a partner of the Free Gaza Movement.