Below is a letter sent from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs to Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis (Greek Embassy in Washington) andAmbassador Anastassis Mitsialis (Greek Permanent Mission to the United Nation):
Dear Ambassadors Kaskarelis and Mitsialis,
On behalf of the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, we would like to thank the Greek government for its decision to prohibit the departure of ships to the maritime area of Gaza. By taking this course of action your government not only displayed great leadership, but a genuine commitment towards achieving a peaceful solution that meets the needs of Palestinians and Israelis alike.
The JCPA is the American Jewish community’s umbrella agency for multi-issue organizations engaged in public policy and community relations. Our membership includes 14 national organizations and 125 local affiliates. We work with government representatives, the media, and a wide array of religious, ethnic, and civic organizations to address a broad range of public policy concerns and share the Jewish community’s consensus perspectives. We are deeply committed to a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: one that establishes two prosperous and secure states for two peoples.
Your government has demonstrated, as has also been recently stated by the Quartet, that flotillas are not helpful for resolving the situation and will only escalate tensions. Indeed, the Israeli government has repeatedly said it is willing to transport all genuine humanitarian aid to Gaza, but the flotilla organizers refuse to cooperate.
We commend you for recognizing that Israel’s effort to examine the cargoes on these ships is legal under international law and necessitated by legitimate security concerns over the continuing transportation of weapons to the Gaza Strip. Your offer to transport humanitarian aid from these boats through legitimate channels also testifies to your willingness to be a friend to all the parties involved.
Thank you again for your courageous decision.
Dr. Conrad Giles
Chair, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Rabbi Steve Gutow
President, Jewish Council for Public Affairs