Yes, they are going again-
Doctors and lawyers are going to Gaza at the request of the people of Gaza to assess the medical tragedy there and to talk to the people. We are also delivering six cubic meters of badly-needed medical supplies for the children of Gaza.
The passengers on board include:
– 5 physicians from 4 countries
– human rights lawyers and monitors
– Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset
– Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council
– Mairead Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in Belfast
Tonight via email-
I was sitting in the hotel lobby talking to some of the new passengers who are leaving for Gaza sometime in the next few days, when my Cyprus phone rang. “There is a bomb on the boat.” The caller said. “There are two bombs on the boat, and the boat will blow up when you leave.” Then he started to laugh. If I’d had the presence of mind to answer, I would have asked him how he knew which boat we were taking since WE don’t know, but, like most obscene phone calls, the caller catches you off-guard, and the only answers seen to be after the fact.
The 35-mile coast of Gaza is the only piece of the Mediterranean under occupation by a foreign military force except for the Northern coast of Cyrpus, which has been occupied by Turkey since 1974. It’s why the Cypriots are so helpful for this project, and it could never have been accommplished without them. They understand military occupation. On a hillside overlooking Nicosia is a huge sign that says, “Isn’t it great to be a Turk!” You can see the sign for miles, larger than the Hollywood sign.
Like the sickening sign on the checkpoint outside Bethlehem that says, “Peace be with you” in three languages, these signs are finger-in-your-eye jeers from an occupier. And so, like any occupier, the thugs that follow them decide to threaten the people who challenge. The phone call today will be one of many. We got them the last time, threatening to kill us, telling us that mines were planted outside of Gaza, saying that the boats would be sabotaged.
But, like the last time, we will still go. And we will put Israel on notice that any harm that comes to the 22 people who are on this boat, the boat itself, or the people waiting for us will be because Israel doesn’t know how to confront peaceful protest with anything except intimidation.