MV Rachel Corrie Sets Sail

FreeGaza- 14 May 2010 – At 22:45 local time tonight, the MV Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, part of the eight-vessel Freedom Flotilla, set sail from Ireland on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. There, ships from Turkey and Greece will join her, then sail to Gaza.

This past week reports from Israel have indicated that the Israeli authorities will not allow the Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza with its cargo of much-needed reconstruction material, medical equipment, and school supplies. According to Israeli news sources, clear orders have been issued to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza, even if this necessitates military violence.

The Free Gaza Movement, which has launched eight other sea missions to Gaza, confirms that Israel has tried these kinds of threats and intimidation tactics before in order to try to stop the missions before they start. “They have not deterred us before and will not deter us now,” said one of the organizers.

Ship to Gaza — Sweden, a Freedom Flotilla coalition partner, together with parliamentarian Mehmet Kaplan (Green Party) yesterday asked for an audience with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Carl Bildt, to discuss what measures the Swedish government and the European Union will take to protect the Freedom Flotilla’s peaceful, humanitarian voyage. Earlier this week during a meeting with the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza – another coalition partner, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyib Erdogan expressed his support for “breaking the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip…which is at the top of Turkey’s list of priorities.“

Coalition partners, Ship to Gaza – Greece and the Turkish relief organization IHH, stressed that the ships, passengers, and cargo will be checked at each port of departure, making it clear that we constitute no security threat to Israel.

Israel’s threats to attack unarmed civilians aboard vessels carrying reconstruction aid are outrageous and indicative of the cruel and violent nature of Israel’s policies towards Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla is acting in line with universal principals of human rights and justice in defying a blockade identified as illegal by the UN and other humanitarian organizations. Palestinians in Gaza have a right to the thousands of basic supplies that Israel bans from entering, including cement and schoolbooks, as well as a right to access the outside world. The Freedom Flotilla coalition calls on all signatories to the Fourth Geneva Conventions to pressure Israel to adhere to its obligations under international humanitarian law, to end the lethal blockade on Gaza, and to refrain from attacking this peaceful convoy.

Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla Announces Aid Mission For 24th May

Buy Cement To Be Sent On The Freighters

Or Donate Here

(London, UK) On May 24, 2010, the Freedom Flotilla sets sail for Gaza determined to, once again, challenge Israel’s blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in an open-air prison. Under the coordination of the Free Gaza Movement, numerous human rights organizations, including the Turkish Relief Foundation (IHH), the Perdana Global Peace Organization from Malaysia, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, and the Swedish and Greek Boat to Gaza initiatives will send three cargo ships loaded with reconstruction, medical and educational supplies. At least five passenger boats with over 600 people on board will accompany the cargo ships.

These passengers include members of Parliament from around the world, U.N., human rights and trade union activists, as well as journalists who will document the largest coordinated effort to directly confront Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza and take in basic supplies.

Said Mary Hughes Thompson, one of Free Gaza’s co-founders, “Although we were happy with the first trips, it was bitter-sweet, knowing that our small boats and symbolic amounts of relief paled in comparison to what was really needed in Gaza. Now, we finally feel we are helping to organize a powerful action, one with the potential to translate into a sustained campaign of much more effective challenges to Israel’s brutal siege.”

In the past three months, Israel has limited fuel to run the power station. Much of Gaza is often in darkness. There are just enough trucks coming in to barely prevent total starvation, and Egypt, complicit with the Israeli-US policy of blockading Palestinians, is building an underground steel wall to prevent people in Gaza from bringing in vitally needed supplies through tunnels.

A cargo ship sponsored by the people of Malaysia and loaded with cargo donated from citizens of Ireland, Scotland, and Britain as well as thousands around the world, will depart from Ireland the second week of May. When it reaches the Mediterranean, she will be joined by the other boats and begin the journey to Gaza.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Deputy Director of the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza was pleased to hear we are coming back. “When the two boats from Free Gaza entered the harbor in 2008, it was like a dream, it was historic. And all great things start with some dreamers who made it true. For us in Gaza, the dream of freedom will not be lost, and we welcome this next voyage with open hearts.”

The Free Gaza Movement along with the partners listed above, are the organizers of this flotilla. However, dozens of organizations and tens of thousands of people around the world are taking part to make this voyage a success. www.freegaza.org

Buy Cement To Be Sent On The Freighters

Or Donate Here

Pirate Movie

FreeGaza shows what state piracy is like-

Free Gaza Hostages Return

FreeGaza.org- Many of you have been asking us what has happened to the kidnapped passengers and our boat, The SPIRIT OF HUMANITY. Here then is our current update.

All 21 passengers have now left. Huwaida and Lubna were freed right away, because they hold Israeli citizenship.

Many passengers did not get all of their belongings back, many computers were stolen, some that were returned had their hard drives completely erased. Many of the pieces of camera equipment were not given back as well, and, of course, none of the tapes of the boarding, roughing up or incarceration of the 21 people who have been returned.

However, all passengers are already in their country or origin or are returning tonight. The London 6 had a press conference last night, the Bahraini 5 had a press conference in Bahrain over the weekend, and the Irish 2 are being feted tonight with a massive rally at Dublin airport. There will be a big reception and press conference there.

The two men from Al Jazeera have both been returned to Jordan through the Allenby bridge.

That leaves the three Americans… Cynthia McKinney, Kathy Sheetz and Adam Shapiro. We hear little from the American media about these three brave passengers, and it will be up to the Americans to express their outrage over their treatment. If they had been kidnapped by the military from Irah or Venezuela, their stories would have been all over the media. Because they were kidnapped by a ‘friendly’ nation, few in the U.S. have opened their mouths.

As far as Israel is concerned, we will demand that our boat be returned, that our equipment and tapes be returned, and they cease and desist their interference with our human rights trips to Gaza. Because we are going back. Israel can ram our boat, threaten us with bodily harm, shoot at us, board and confiscate the boat, shuttle us off to prison, and we will still return.

The outrage in many countries over what happened is muted by the fact that 11,000 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails, many without benefit of trial, many languishing for years without being able to see their families.

And this fact is something we must all remember. We came from countries around the world. We attempted to break Israel’s draconian siege of 1.5 million Palestinians. Even when arrested, the Israelis treated us with kid gloves, afraid of the consequences from governments, activists and human rights organizations. Who will stand up for the Palestinians and do the same thing?

Please go and watch, if you have not already, our video of our incarceration and the incarceration of Palestinian men, woman and children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ri8jWj_KbY

With grateful thanks from all of us to all of you.

Posted in Israel-Palestine. Tags: , . Comments Off

Free Gaza-Press Conference, Today, Journalist House, Nicosia, 17:00-17:30

Journalists’ House
12 CyBC (RIK) Avenue
Aglantzia, Nicosia 2120, Cyprus

(Larnaca, 1 July 2009) Yesterday, the Israeli Navy boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY and kidnapped the 21 human rights activists, humanitarian workers and activists on their way to Gaza. As of today, none of them have had the right to see an attorney even though they came to the detention center to see them.

The Free Gaza Movement is calling for their release and the release of our boat, seized in international waters off the coast of Gaza as our SPOT locator clearly shows.

But more importantly, twenty-one internationals can get headlines. What about the 11,000 Palestinians who languish in jail, many of them tortured. We will update you on the status of our kidnapped passengers and our impounded boat, but who will do the same for the Palestinians and their boats?

We will insist that Israel stop interfering with our voyages to Gaza, since they do not have the right; legal or moral, to enforce a siege that collectively punishes 1.5 million Palestinians.

Our demand is that our passengers re-board the boat and continue on to the port in Gaza, so we can deliver the building supplies and the humanitarian supplies that we loaded and inspected by the Cypriot authorities.

Kidnapped Passengers from the Spirit of Humanity include

Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association of Bahrain.

Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.

Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.

Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.

Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and founder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries focus on international struggles for social justice.

Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.

Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard the Spirit of Humanity.

Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth voyage to Gaza.

Fathi Jaouadi, UK
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.

Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.

Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate.

Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.

Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

FreeGaza

They’re about to come on board, they’re about to come on board. Then the line went dead. If true, Israel illegally boarded Spirit.

Then-

IOF released a statement saying they’ve taken over the boat. Call the Israeli officials. Register your outrage over kidnapping our people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Human Rights, Israel-Palestine. Tags: . Comments Off

Free Gaza Surrounded and Threatened By Israeli Navy

At 1:40 am, [local] the Israeli Navy surrounded the SPIRIT while it is on its way to the Gaza Strip. We got a call from the boat saying that they were being threatened, told to turn back or they would be fired on.

Huwaida Arraf, one of the delegation leaders, was on the phone with the Israeli gunboats, and we could hear her saying, “You Cannot Open Fire on Unarmed Civilians” several times. At this writing, they are surrounded by several ships shining bright lights into the SPIRIT.

CALL or FAX Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy at:
Tel + 972 5 781 86248 or +972 3737 7777 or +972 3737 6242
Fax +972 3737 6123 or +972 3737 7175

CALL Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
Tel +972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il

CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
Tel +972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
mediasar@mod.gov.il

Update: We just heard from the people on board the boat. The Israeli navy is jamming the radio and preventing navigation systems from working. This action is in direct violation of International and Maritime law.

If anything happens to the boat or its passengers, it will be the direct result of Israel’s aggressive response to a civilian boat taking unarmed passengers to Gaza. The Free Gaza Movement holds the government of Israel responsible for the safety and security of the passengers on board the SPIRIT.

We would like to emphasize that the boat is in international waters, and, as such, falls under the protection of international law.

FreeGaza on Twitter

FreeGaza Live

YouTube Channel

www.freegaza.org

Free Gaza Boat “Spirit of Humanity” Sets Off

3670613321_6dfb982e83

(LARNACA, 29 June 2009) – The Free Gaza boat the “Spirit of Humanity” departed Cyprus at 7:30am on Monday, 29 July. Twenty-one human rights and solidarity workers representing eleven different countries were aboard. The passengers include Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The ship also carries three tons of medical aid, children’s toys, and rehabilitation and reconstruction kits for twenty family homes. Over 2,400 homes were destroyed in Gaza during the Israeli massacre in December/January, 490 of them by F-16 airstrikes, as well as 30 mosques, 29 educational institutions, 29 medical centers, 10 charitable organizations, and 5 cement factories. Each kit carries a small amount of supplies for a single family, representing sectors of civil society currently being blockaded by Israel: Agriculture, Building & Reconstruction, Education, Electricity, Health, and Water & Sanitation. Although over 4 billion dollars in aid was promised to Gaza in the aftermath of the Israeli onslaught, little humanitarian aid and no reconstruction supplies have been allowed in.

FreeGaza on Twitter

FreeGaza Live

YouTube Channel

Update: The SPIRIT has left over 9 hours ago. They are on their way to Gaza and will be there tomorrow afternoon. We ask that you follow their progress by going to our website at http://www.freegaza.org and clicking on LIVE in the upper left hand side. You will be able to see where they are from the SPOT beacon on board.

If you also would like to make yourselves heard, you can call or fax the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and demand that Israel not harm the boat, the passengers or the cargo. Their numbers are listed below. The more of you who do that, the safer our mission.

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tel +972-2-530-3111
Fax +972-2-530-3367

Posted in Media. Tags: . 1 Comment »

US Delivers Israel’s Threat to Free Gaza

freegaza.org (25 June 2009, LARNACA) – This is not the statement we in the Free Gaza Movement intended to release today. We had hoped to announce that our two ships, the Free Gaza and the Spirit of Humanity, departed from Larnaca Port on a 30-hour voyage to besieged Gaza, carrying human rights activists who have travelled to Cyprus from all across the world for this journey, 3 tons of medical supplies, and 15 tons of badly needed concrete and reconstruction supplies.

Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, returning for her second trip to Gaza aboard one of our ships, said “[The people of Gaza] must know that we have not and will not forget them.”

That was our hope, but that is not what happened.

Instead, our ships were not given permission to leave today due to concerns about our welfare and safety. Our friends in Cyprus tell us that the voyage to Gaza is too dangerous, and they are worried we will be harmed at sea.

Cyprus has been a wonderful home for the Free Gaza Movement over these last 10 months. Cypriots know first hand the terrible consequences of occupation. They too know what it is to suffer from violence, injustice, and exile. Since our first voyage to break through the siege of Gaza, the Cypriot authorities have been extremely helpful and understanding of our goals and intentions.

The journey to Gaza is dangerous. The Israeli navy rammed our flagship, the Dignity, when we attempted to deliver medical supplies to Gaza during their vicious assault in December/January. Israel has previously threatened to open fire on our unarmed ships, rather than allow us to deliver humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to the people of Gaza.

The risks we take on these trips are tiny compared to the risks imposed every day upon the people of Gaza.

The purpose of nonviolent direct action and civil resistance is to take risks – to put ourselves “in the way” of injustice. We take these risks well aware of what the possible consequences may be. We do so because the consequences of doing nothing are so much worse. Anytime we allow ourselves to be bullied, every time we pass by an evil and ignore it – we lower our standards and allow our world to be made that much harsher and unjust for us all.

In addition to the concerns expressed by our Cypriot friends today, the American consulate in Nicosia warned us not to go to Gaza, stating that:

“…[T]he Israeli Foreign Ministry informed U.S. officials at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv that Israel still considers Gaza an area of conflict and that any Free Gaza boats attempting to sail to the Gaza Strip will “not be permitted” to reach its destination.”

Former U.S. Congresswoman & presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney responded to this warning by pointing out that, “The White House says that cement and medical supplies should get into Gaza and that’s exactly what we are attempting to take to Gaza.”

“Instead of quoting Israel policy to us,” McKinney continued, “…the U.S. should send a message to Israel reiterating the reported White House position that the blockade of Gaza should be eased, that medical supplies and building materials, including cement, should be allowed in. The Free Gaza boats should be allowed to reach their destination, traveling from Cyprus territorial waters, through international waters, and straight into Gaza territorial waters.”

“The State Department has chosen to advise us to take the Israeli notification seriously. Our question is, ‘Can we take President Obama seriously?’ Will he stand by his own words and allow us to provide relief for Gaza or will he back down?”

Tomorrow we will deliver a waiver, signed by all going to Gaza, that we absolve Cyprus of all responsibility for our safety. We would like to tell our friends here in Cyprus that though we understand and appreciate their concerns, we will not back down to Israel’s threats and intimidation.

Posted in Israel-Palestine. Tags: , . Comments Off

Free Gaza Tells Israel They’re Coming

To: The Israeli Ministry of Defense, Fax: 972-3-697-6717
To: The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fax: 972-2-5303367
From: The Free Gaza Movement
This letter serves as a formal notification to you, as the Occupying Power and belligerent force in the Gaza Strip, that on Thursday, June 25, 2009 we are navigating the motor vessel Spirit of Humanity, and the motor vessel Free Gaza from the Port of Larnaca to the port of Gaza City. Our vessels will be flying the Greek flags, and, as such, fall under the jurisdiction Greece. We will be sailing from Cypriot waters into international waters, then directly into the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip without entering or nearing Israeli territorial waters. We will be carrying medical supplies in sealed boxes, as well as crayons, coloring books and toys for children, cleared by customs at the Larnaca International Airport and the Port of Larnaca. We will also be carrying 300 bags of cement delivered directly from the supplier to the Port of Larnaca. There will be passengers and crew on board from 14 different countries.

Our boats and cargo will have received security clearance from the Port Authorities in Cyprus before we depart. As it will be confirmed that neither we, the cargo, any of the boats’ contents, nor the boats themselves constitute any threat to the security of Israel or its armed forces, we do not expect any interference with our voyage by Israel’s authorities. On Tuesday, December 30, an Israeli Navy vessel violently, and without warning, attacked our motor vessel Dignity, disabling the vessel and endangering the lives of the 16 civilians on board. This notice serves as clear notification to you of our approach. Any attack on the motor vessels, Spirit of Humanity and/or Free Gaza will be premeditated and any harm inflicted on the people on board will be considered the result of a deliberate attack on unarmed civilians. A copy of this notification has been sent to the embassies of the civilians who will be on board.

Posted in Human Rights. Tags: , . Comments Off

FreeGaza Prepares Eighth Mission

(Doha, 22 June 2009) In three days, the Free Gaza movement sails 240 miles from Cyprus to Gaza, its eighth mission to break Israel’s draconian siege on 1.5 million Palestinians there. In the holds of the FREE GAZA and the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY will be tons of cement, and suitcases full of toys, crayons and coloring books for the children, all items banned by Israel’s government.

 Two of the organizers, Huwaida Arraf and Greta Berlin, as well as the Honorable Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, held a press conference yesterday in Doha, Qatar. All three called on the world to recognize Palestinian human and civil rights…rights that have been denied for 61 years.

“People in Gaza are being made to live in subhuman conditions. Children are dying, and governments are silent. It is important to continue sending boats to Gaza to challenge the criminal blockade enforced by the Israeli military,” said Ms. Arraf.

The group emphasized that what they are taking is only a token of what the people of Gaza need. They are hoping to buy a cargo boat , to bring in larger amounts of building supplies via the sea route they aim to open. They ask for the financial support of people around the world to purchase this ship.

Speaking to Al Jazeera and eight other news organizations, Ms Arraf emphasized, “International donors pledged over $4bn to rebuild Gaza, yet none of them are doing a thing about the fact that Israel allows no building supplies into the territory. So 36 of us from 16 countries are leaving on Thursday to tell the world to do something.”

When asked what guarantees the group has received from the Israeli government, both Berlin and Arraf frowned. “We do not seek permission from or coordinate with the Israeli authorities. Israel has grossly abused its authority as an occupying power, daily violating the human rights of Palestinians, and imposing collective punishment on them. It is past time for the international community to stop abetting Israel’s illegal closure policy.” stated Ms. Arraf.

 The group intends to go at least three times over the summer; June 25th, July 14th, and August 16th, near the anniversary of the first successful voyage.

Posted in Israel-Palestine, Media. Tags: , . Comments Off

Israel Commits More Piracy

Via FreeGaza who helped with this aid shipment-

The Israeli navy has captured and diverted a ship from Lebanon carrying more than 60 tonnes of aid to the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent aboard the Al-Ikhwa (The Brotherhood) ship said the navy first opened fire, then five Israeli soldiers boarded the ship, beating and threatening the passengers.

“They are pointing guns against us – they are kicking us and beating us. They are threatening our lives,” Al Jazeera’s Salam Khoder said.

Communications with the ship broke off shortly thereafter.

According to the owner of the vessel, the Israelis destroyed its communication equipment and confiscated the phones of those on board.

The Israeli military told Al Jazeera it had captured the Lebanese vessel and taken it to Ashdod, where authorities were examining its cargo. The passengers and crew, meanwhile, were being questioned by police.

In a statement, the Israeli military said it had warned the ship on Wednesday night against entering Gaza’s coastal waters.

“During today’s morning hours, the cargo ship changed its bearing, and began heading towards the Gaza Strip …. disregarding all warnings made,” it said.

Maan Bashour, an aid co-ordinator for the group End the Blockade of Gaza, said the ship was carrying medical equipment, food supplies and books, toys and milk for small children.

“This ship was searched in Cyprus and in Lebanon,” Bashour told Al Jazeera in Beirut, Lebanon. “And we were very eager to let it be searched by Lebanese and Cypriot authorities in order that there be no reason for the Israelis to prevent it from going to Gaza.”

Foud Siniora, Lebanon’s president, condemned the attack on Al-Ikhwa, emphasising that it was on a humanitarian mission to Gaza.

“It is no surprise for Israel to perpetrate such an action as it has been accustomed to ignoring all international resolutions and values,” he said during a speech in Beirut.

“I made a number of necessary phone calls with international parties in order to exert pressures on Israel which is violating laws. I hold Israel responsible for the safety of the ship and passengers. “

Also note Israel is effectively banning Al Jazeera-

Danny Schechter: Everyone in the media world praised AlJazeera’s coverage of Gaza as fair and multi-sided with frequent appearances by Israeli officials. This is Israel’s response, a clear sign that they want to dominate the media with their perspective or else. This is consistent with a refusal to allow journalists from other media into Gaza. It shows contempt for a free media even as Israel mobilizes campaigns against media “bias.”

IMEMC: The Israeli Foreign Ministry decided to place restrictions on the Qatari based Al Jazeera Channel office staff in areas controlled by Israel, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

The decision by Israeli is part of a government response to closing the Israeli trade office by the Qatari government in Doha last month.

Qatar closed the office to protest the Israeli offensive on Gaza which started on December 27th, and lasted for 22 days. 1,340 Palestinian were killed by the Israeli air, sea, and ground bombardment.

According to the sources, the restriction will be implemented in three steps and will be carried out in Israeli areas and Palestinian Authority controlled areas. First, Israel will not renew the visas of Al Jazeera staff that do not hold Israeli documents.

Second, the reporters of Al Jazeera will not be allowed to speak to Israeli MP’s, and will only be given access to three government spokespeople that will include the Israeli PM’s office, the Israeli Army and the Foreign Ministry.

Third, Al Jazeera reporters will have reduced accessibility to government and military bodies, and will not be allowed into briefings or press conferences.

Al Jazeera is the largest Arab satellite News Channel, and the only Arab channel that has an English TV and web service.  The Jerusalem office of Al Jazeera told IMEMC that their office has not received an official notice by the Israeli government regarding the new restrictions.

Not something the BBC will have to worry about, is it?

By Sea to Gaza

The arms shipment has been rumbled, the US are now looking at other options to supply Israel. But a different -good- shipment is on, the FreeGaza boat had to turn back on the 12th due to engine trouble. That is fixed, they are now en route to Gaza, follow them on the map here, the Israeli military have threatened them as usual, the last boat was rammed. By drawing attention to this voyage before they are attacked it increases their chances of survival and success.

At 10:30 this morning, under bright blue Mediterranean skies, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY sailed from the port of Larnaca. Undeterred by Israeli threats of  interception at sea, 21 passengers and crew waved to friends and press on shore, committed to our mission of delivering doctors, journalists, human rights observers and a shipment of medical supplies to assist the civilian population of Gaza during this emergency.

“Israel has an obligation to protect the civilian population that it occupies” stated Free Gaza delegation leader Huwaida Arraf.  “Since Israel continues to violate this obligation, we will continue to do whatever we can to deliver badly needed medical supplies, food, and to transport medical personnel, journalists and human rights workers to help and to witness the devastation Israel has wrought.” The physicians on board include a reconstructive plastic surgeron and an orthopedic surgeron and another physician.  All three doctors will bring crucial assistance to the exhausted and overwhelmed hospital staff in Gaza where emergency resouces don’t begin to meet the need.

Take Action! CALL the Israeli Government and let them know that the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY is coming to Gaza. DEMAND that Israel immediately STOP slaughtering civilians in Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

CALL

Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il

Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence:
+972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
mediasar@mod.gov.il

Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy:
+ 972 5 781 86248

Posted in Israel-Palestine. Tags: . Comments Off

Free Gaza’s New Ship Leaves Today

The Free Gaza Movement ship, “Spirit of Humanity”, will leave Larnaca Port at 12:00 noon, Monday, 12 January, on an emergency mission to besieged Gaza. The media is invited to the Larnaca Port at 10:00am for final preparations and a press conference before departure. The ship will carry desperately needed doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and members of several European parliaments as well as medical supplies. This voyage marks Free Gaza’s second attempt to break through the blockade since Israel began attacking the Gaza Strip on 27 December. Between August and December 2008, the Free Gaza Movement successfully challenged the Israeli blockade five times, landing the first international ships in the port of Gaza since 1967. The Israeli military violently attacked an earlier attempt by the Free Gaza Movement to send an emergency boat filled with doctors and medical supplies to Gaza. In the early hours of Tuesday, 30 December, the Israeli navy deliberately, repeatedly, and without warning rammed the unarmed ship, the “Dignity”, causing significant structural damage and endangering the lives of its passengers and crew. The ship found safe harbor in Lebanon, and is currently awaiting repairs.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Take Action! CALL the Israeli Government and let them know that the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY is coming to Gaza. DEMAND that Israel immediately STOP slaughtering civilians in Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

CALL

Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il

Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence:
+972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
mediasar@mod.gov.il

Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy:
+ 972 5 781 86248

Posted in Israel-Palestine. Tags: . Comments Off

Cynthia McKinney on Being Attacked By The IDF

“There were no other ships or boats around us and night descended upon us all rather quickly. It was the darkest black and suddenly, out of nowhere, came searchlights disturbing our peace. The searchlights stayed with us for about half an hour or so. We knew they were Israeli ships. Who else would they be?

They were fast, and they would come close and then drop back. And then, they’d come close again. And then, all of a sudden there was complete blackness once again and all seemed right. The cat and mouse game went on for at least one half hour. What were they doing? And why?

Calm again. Black sky, black sea. Peace. And then, at that very moment, when all seemed right, out of nowhere we were rammed and rammed again and rammed again the last one throwing me off the couch, sending all our food up in the air; and all the plastic bags and tubs–evidence of sea sicknesses among the crew and passengers–flew all over the cabin and all over us. We’d been rammed by the Israelis. How did we know? Because they called us on the phone afterwards to tell us that we were engaging in subversive, terroristic activity. And if that if we didn’t turn around right then and return to Larnaca, Cyprus, we would be fired upon. We quickly grabbed our lifevests and put them on. Then the captain announced that the boat was taking on water. We might have to evacuate. One of my mates told me to prepare to die. And I reflected that I have lived a good and full life. I have tasted freedom and know what it is. I was right with myself and my decision to join the Free Gaza movement.

I remembered my father’s parting words, “You all will be sitting ducks.” Just like the U.S.S. Liberty. We were engaged in peaceful activity, a harmless pleasure boat, carrying a load of hospital supplies for the people of Gaza, who, too are sitting ducks, currently being bombarded in aerial assault by the Israeli military.

It’s been a long day for us. The captain was outstanding. Throughout it all, he remained stoic and calm, effective in every way. I didn’t know how to put my life jacket on. One of the passengers kindly assisted me. Another of the passengers pointed out that the Israeli motors for those huge, fast boats was U.S. made–a gift to them from the U.S. And now they were using those motors to damage a pleasure boat outfitted with three tons of hospital supplies, one pediatrician, and two surgeons.

I have called for President-elect Obama to say something. The Palestinian people in the Gaza strip are seeing the worst violence in 60 years, it is being reported. To date, President-elect Obama has remained silent. The Israelis are using weapons supplied to them by the U.S. government. Strict enforcement of U.S. law would require the cessation of all weapons transfers to Israel. Adherence to international law would require the same. As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, let us remember that he said:

1. The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, and
2. Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.

I implore the President-elect to not send Congress a budget that contains more weapons for Israel. We have so much more to offer. And I implore the Congress to vote “no” on any budget and appropriation bills that provide more weapons transfers, period.

Israel is able to carry out these intense military maneuvers because taxpayers in the U.S. give their hard-earned money to our Representatives in Congress and our Congress chooses to spend that money in this way. Let’s stop it and stop it now. There’s been too much blood shed. And while we still walk among the living, let us not remain silent about the things that matter.

We really can promote peace and have it if we demand it of our leaders.

Posted in Israel-Palestine. Tags: . Comments Off
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers