American professor Norman Finkelstein slams Israel over Gaza blockade

Published 12.05.2015 15:55
Updated 12.05.2015 16:40
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Norman Finkelstein, the American Professor of Political Science and author of numerous books, has harshly criticized Israel's eight-year siege of Gaza and called for international pressure to be brought against the self-declared Jewish state to "achieve a just and reasonable peace in the conflict".

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, said: "The siege of Gaza has been going on since 2007 ... (that is) much too long, there has been too much suffering and it is time now to find a resolution.

"I do not think there should be normal relations between Israel and any country in the world, not just Turkey."

"There should not be normal relations between Israel and any country in the world until they end the illegal, immoral and inhuman blockade of Gaza," he added.

The 1.8 million inhabitants of the tiny coastal enclave of Gaza have been deprived of their most basic needs under the near decade-long blockade.

More than 2,100 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were killed and 11,000 injured, mostly women and children, during Israel's 51-day military onslaught in July and August of 2014.

Commenting on the 2010 fatal Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in which nine Turks were killed, Finkelstein said: "The Turkish government made three conditions for achieving a settlement of the Israeli over the Mavi Marmara.

"One was an apology, the second was financial compensation and the third was the lifting of the siege of the Gaza."

He went on: "Now, Israel has made some kind of apology and probably the issue of financial compensation can be solved but, in my opinion, the most important condition has to be the end of the blockade of Gaza.

"Turkey as well as the rest of the international community has to insist that there is an unconditional Israeli end to the siege of Gaza."

Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin in a raid on May 2010, on the Mavi Marmara, a ship that was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Another died in a Turkish hospital in 2014 after being in a coma for almost four years.

The convoy was established and led by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation and was carrying aid and construction materials for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which was under an Israeli blockade at the time.

Finkelstein's works, which accuse Jews of exploiting the memory of the Holocaust for political gain and criticizing Israel for oppressing the Palestinians, has made him a controversial figure, including within the Jewish community.

He was denied a tenure as a professor at the DePaul University in Chicago, US, in 2007 after a highly publicized feud with fellow academic Alan Dershowitz, an ardent supporter of Israel.

Dershowitz reportedly lobbied the administration of the Roman Catholic university to deny him tenure.

Finkelstein currently teaches at Sakarya University in Turkey.

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