August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Freedom Waves Flotilla enroute to break siege of Gaza

Photo copyright Lina Attalah
BOATS SAILING NOW TO GAZA!
SPREAD THE WORD.

First story from boat by Lina Attalah
Click here: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/511291

Israel and the U.S. outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing 8 boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring world-wide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Our efforts in Greece only fueled our determination to challenge the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We said we would continue to sail and so we are!!!

At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza.  One boat, the Saoirse from Ireland, includes parliamentarians among its passengers.  The other, the Tahrir, carries representatives from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine.  The U.S. Representative on the Tahrir, Kit Kittredge, was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope mission in Athens in July.  A journalist from Democracy Now is on the Tahrir also. Civil society organizations in Gaza await their arrival, and look forward to the delivery of letters collected from thousands of U.S. supporters in the To Gaza With Love campaign.

We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately.

1. Check these websites for updates:  U.S. to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza,  watch or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir. Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves.

2. Spread the word far and wide - send this alert to your contacts.

3. Call the State Department  and the White House- demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.

Call the State Department: 

Here are some talking points or suggested messaging: 

Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights.  Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians.  Civil society has had to act where governments would not.  Two ships with 27 passengers from 5 countries are sailing to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support.

As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel insures the ships' safe passage and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local press to cover this story.  Up-to-date information will be available at www.ustogaza.orgwww.irishshiptogaza.org and www.tahrir.ca
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Palestinian youth join boats set to
challenge Israel's siege of Gaza

Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom), carrying 27 people from nine countries, are currently in international waters making their way to the beleaguered Gaza Strip to challenge Israel’s ongoing criminal blockade of the territory. A Palestinian youth activist from Haifa has joined this renewed international mission to challenge Israel's unrelenting stranglehold on Gaza via the sea. The message they carry is one of unity, defiance, and hope, in spite of Israel's policies that have physically separated Palestinians from each other. The "Freedom Waves to Gaza" organizers chose not to publicize the effort in advance given Israel's efforts to block and sabotage Freedom Flotilla II last July. The boats, which set sail from Fethiye, Turkey, are expected to arrive in Gaza on Friday afternoon, sailing from international waters straight into Gaza's territorial waters without entering Israel's waters. The boats carry symbolic cargo - $30,000 in medicines, along with a diverse group of passengers, all committed to nonviolent defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights.

"Israel has caged Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, prohibiting physical contact between us. We want to break the siege Israel has imposed on our people," said Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian philosophy student from Haifa on board the Tahrir. Kayyal added, "The fact that we're in international waters is already a victory for the movement. Israel's siege of Gaza is untenable and it's a moral responsibility to put an end to this injustice.”

Meanwhile, a statement signed by Palestinian youth urged the international community and the U.N. in particular "to take urgent action to protect this mission as well as to end its compliance with Israel’s criminal blockade of Gaza.” They condemned the U.N. Secretary General's previous declarations calling for aid to Gaza to go through "legitimate crossings and established channels," despite the U.N.'s own admission that Israel's failure to own up to its responsibilities has created an unprecedented crisis of human dignity.

Throughout the week Palestinian activists in the West Bank and inside Israel are organizing solidarity actions with the Freedom Waves mission, including a presence outside the UN compound (Tokyo Street, Ramallah) and rallies across West Bank towns.

This is the 11th attempt to break the siege of Gaza via the sea, with five missions arriving safely in Gaza between August and December 2008 and the remaining violently intercepted by Israel. On May 2010, Israel attacked passengers of the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, killing nine civilians and injuring over 50. Israel's actions were widely condemned and led to protests around the world. Efforts to bring a second flotilla to Gaza were foiled by the government of Greece last July following pressure by Israel and Western governments, as well as by acts of Israeli sabotage.

Israel has intensified in the past days its aerial bombardments on Gaza, underlining the need for international initiatives of deterrence similar to this one.

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‘Freedom Waves to Gaza’ flotilla leaves Turkey headed to Gaza; Organizers: ‘It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free.’


BREAKING NEWS

For immediate release, November 2, 2011
Contact:
In New York: Felice Gelman, 917-912-2597, 917 679 8343
At sea: phone numbers will be released when you call the above press contact

TWO BOATS WITH PASSENGERS FROM 5 COUNTRIES (INCLUDING THE U.S.)  HAVE SET SAIL TO GAZA

Organizers say: "It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free."

The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse have successfully reached international waters, initiating the "Freedom Wave to Gaza." The boats have embarked from Turkey and are on the Mediterranean Sea.  In all, the 2 boats carry 27 passengers  from  Canada, Ireland, U.S., Palestine, and Australia.

Kit Kittredge on board the Tahrir was previously a passenger on the American ship, The Audacity of Hope, which attempted passage to Gaza last July.  Kittredge says, " The only obstacles in our way are Israel's military and the complicity of the Obama administration but in our sails is the wind of worldwide public opinion which has turned against the illegal blockade." 

Ann Wright retired US army Colonel and former US Diplomat says, "We carry inspiration from the Arab Spring and the worldwide "Occupy" movements that are demanding freedom and justice. Where governments fail, civil society must act. As Americans we are fed up with our government's unquestioning support of Israel no matter how violent, illegal and  oppressive its actions.  We will not stand by and watch $30 billion of our tax money committed to buying Israel weaponry used to carry out this illegal occupation of Palestine including the blockade of Gaza."

Jane Hirschmann added, "Our sailing coincides with UN agency UNESCO's recognition of Palestine as a member state, defying US threats to cut off $80 million of US funding in retaliation. This shows the growing strength of opposition by the international community to U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine. We call on the international community to go further and take effective action to lift the siege of Gaza. Hirschmann was one of the organizers this past summer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope which is still captive in Greece.

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GET ON BOARD THE U.S. TO GAZA CAMPAIGN

VISIT WWW.USTOGAZA.ORG

TO ENDORSE AND CONTRIBUTE

Thank you for your support

Please distribute widely


by Ben Lorber on November 2, 2011
On Wednesday, November 2, two international ships left the Turkish harbor to carry humanitarian aid through the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
The event, called ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’,  unites 27 activists from 9 countries, including America, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Australia, alongside Palestinians from Bethlehem and Haifa, in a broad-based international movement to break Israel’s illegal and immoral suffocation of the 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. The Irish yacht Saoirse (Freedom), which carries 15 activists, and the Canadian boat Tahrir (Liberation), which holds 12, will attempt to carry $30,000 in medical supplies beyond the Israeli blockade later this week. ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’ is the 11th attempt by international activists to deliver humanitarian aid through the Israeli blockade of Gaza since 2008.
As the boats navigate international waters, Palestinian youth activists will parade a large wooden effigy of the aid boats through the streets of Ramallah, while distributing white armbands and ribbons emblazoned ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’. In addition, they will hold a demonstration outside of the UN office in Ramallah on Thursday, demanding that the UN end its compliance with the Israeli blockade and protect the humanitarian mission.
READ MORE:
http://mondoweiss.net/2011/11/freedom-waves-to-gaza-flotilla-leaves-turkey-headed-to-gaza-organizers-it-is-time-to-lift-the-siege-of-gaza-which-deprives-1-6-million-civilians-of-their-rights-to-travel-work-study-develop.html

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