Talking Worked Here Not Armed Campaigns and Conflicts. You Must Talk to Your Enemies; NOBEL LAUREATE ON HER MISSION TO BRING PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST

Article excerpt

Byline: COLIN O'CARROLL

MAIREAD Corrigan and fellow activists on the MV Rachel Corrie were more determined to break the Gaza blockade after the Israelis' deadly attack on another aid ship.

Nine activists, mostly Turkish, died when commandos launched a nighttime assault on a converted Turkish ferry - one of six ships trying to break the blockade.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mirror, the 66-year-old Nobel Laureate said she would return to help the Palestinian people again in October, despite her recent arrest.

She is also bitterly disappointed that none of the aid on board the seized ships made it to Gaza, but insisted that she and others would continue to try to help the 1.5 million people there.

The 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner was one of the most high-profile activists on board the ships which attempted to break the two-year blockade on the area.

She is now urging an international boycott, similar to that against South Africa during the apartheid era, to be mounted against Israel.

She said: "Israel talks about peace but their Government is not really serious about peace, if they were they wouldn't adopt these policies.

"Their executive is all ex-military and they can't seem to think beyond 'Let's send the army in,' and they need to change that mindset.

"The only thing that changed South Africa was when the international community stood up and supported boycott, divestment and sanctions against apartheid, so I support the BDS campaigns.

"Unless there is a political and economic cost to Israel, it won't change.

"What we need to see is action from governments, especially the US, which is Israel's main guarantor."

She claimed that in the wake of the ship killings, the Israelis mounted a campaign of disinformation to blacken the names of those killed and the organisations which they represented.

"The world community has to take action - there must be a full inquiry into what actually happened on board that ship.

"The Irish Government has a responsibility also for the fact its citizens' human rights were abused.

RIGHTS

"In international waters, we were boarded and kidnapped by the Israeli Navy, forcefully at the point of a gun, kept incommunicado for two days, and not allowed to talk to our families or the outside world.

"The Irish Government and other governments have a legal responsibility to see that Israel is held accountable for breaking and abusing human rights."

Mairead said it was very tense in the lead-up to the Israeli boarding of the MV Rachel Corrie, which also took place in international waters.

She added: "We were in radio contact with the Israelis and told them repeatedly that we would offer no physical resistance if boarded.

"We told them that we would all assemble on the upper mid-deck of the ship and would all sit down in a group. …