Kiwi detained by Israel named
Tuesday 1 Jun 2010 5:11 p.m.
Nicola Enchmarch was detained by Israeli troops who stormed the flotilla heading to the Gaza strip
By James Murray and Chris Whitworth
The Kiwi woman detained after Israeli troops boarded an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza strip has been named as Nicola Leslie Enchmarch.
She is believed to be a former Aucklander working for a British aid organisation - Viva Palestina.
The names of the people in the aid organisation who were detained were released by former UK MP and activist George Galloway.
Ms Enchmarch was one of twelve people detained from the Viva Palestina group.
Ms Enchmarch is to be released soon, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully.
In his release Mr Galloway, who lost his independent seat in the 2010 UK elections, condemned the Israeli's actions.
"Israel has massacred unarmed peace activists aboard a flotilla taking emergency aid to the besieged Palestinian people in Gaza. This is a watershed that will change the perception of the world, as Sharpeville and Soweto did to the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
"It unmasks Israel which no-one can now consider a member of the 'international community' but is rather a rogue state, a pariah state.
"The embargo and blockade of Gaza must be brought to an end. This has been underwritten by the United States, by Britain and the European Union, but this has got to end now."
Earlier today, Murray McCully spoke to Israeli ambassador Shemi Tzur and was informed Ms Enchmarch is to undergo a formal deportation process after refusing a chance to immediately leave the country.
“I took the opportunity to inquire into the position of the New Zealand citizen who is in Israeli custody,” Mr McCully said.
“I took their assurances that she was safe and we would be given full consular access.”
He said he had not had to demand her release as the Israeli authorities had already offered this to her and other protesters.
“Some people elected to be deported on the spot. Others elected the slower process and the New Zealand citizen is in the slower group. I am led to believe that this is still a short process.”
Mr McCully was unable to say where she was being held.
During the meeting with the Israeli ambassador Mr McCully said he had “left him in no doubt as to the seriousness of the Government’s concerns in relation to the incident in Gaza”.
He said that Mr Tzur replied – speaking of the difficulties the Israeli Government faced in Gaza.
“This was an answer I had heard before,” said Mr McCully.
Mr McCully did not speak with the ambassador regarding the legality of the Israeli troop’s actions, which took place in international waters, as he was still seeking advice on complicated legal matters in this situation.
Israeli naval commandos stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip on Monday, killing nine passengers in a botched raid that provoked international outrage and a diplomatic crisis.