A New Zealand union official has been detained in Israel with 21 other activists after he took part in an illegal aid convoy to the Gaza Strip in Israel. This is the latest incident in a career of left-wing activism.
Far-Left Auckland-based “Unite Union” leader Mike Treen was arrested alongside other international campaigners on the ship Al Awda, which sailed under the Norwegian flag, on Monday, July 30. The union claims Treen was there on a peaceful mission and is working on his behalf to convince the New Zealand Government to intervene.
“Mike was taking part in a peaceful mission to deliver aid to Gaza and was in international waters when attacked and detained. We understand he has been taken, kidnapped in reality, to the southern Israeli port of Ashod,” says Unite Union’s National Secretary Gerard Hehir.
The Gaza Strip, a small parcel of land about twice the size of the District of Columbia, straddles Israel’s Southern border with Egypt. The territory has been ruled since 2007 by U.S. designated terrorist organization HAMAS. Israel has imposed a naval blockade on the Strip since 2007 after repeated rocket and terrorist attacks on Israel originating from Gaza.
The Embassy of Israel in New Zealand said in a statement regarding the arrests that the flotilla is a violation of international law and is “a cynical publicity stunt designed to divert the attention from the fact that HAMAS, with its brutal ruling of Gaza since 2007, invested in terror instead of the welfare of its people.” The Israeli military has explained that “[T]he naval blockade is a necessary and legal security blockade that has been repeatedly recognized by the world.”