Archive for Free Gaza Movement

To shoot an elephant

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege, Videos, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , on 06/02/2010 by 3071km

Source : To Shoot An Elephant

To download click here.

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Sinopsis

 

“…afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if it’s owner fails to control it”.

George Orwell defined a way of witnessing Asia that still remains valid. “To shoot an elephant” is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians.

George Orwell: “Shooting an elephant” was originally published in New Writing in 1948.

Context

 

Gaza Strip has been under siege since June 2007, when Israel declared it an “enemy entity”. A group of international activists organized a siege-breaking movement, the Free Gaza movement. Thanks to their efforts, and despite the Israeli ban on foreign correspondents and humanitarian aid workers to cover and witness operation “Cast Lead” on the ground, a group of international volunteers: self organised members of the International Solidarity Movement were present in Gaza when the bombing started on December, 27th 2009. Together with two international correspondents from Al Jazeera International (Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros), they were the only foreigners who managed to write, film and report for several radio stations what was happening inside the besieged Palestinian strip.

Were they journalists? Were they activists? Who cares!. They became witnesses. Being a journalist or being whatsoever depends on how you feel. It is an ethical responsibility that you manage to share with a wider audience what you and those who are around you are going through. It will be the result of your work that will lead you to a professional career as a journalist or not, rather than pre-assumptions and labels. Make them know. Make those who you want to: listen and be aware of what you are aware of. That is a journalist. Having a card, with “press” written on it, or getting a regular salary is not necessary to be a witness with a camera or a pen. Forget about neutrality. Forget about objectivity. We are not Palestinians. We are not Israelis. We are not impartial. We only try to be honest and report what we see and what we know. I am a journalist. If somebody listens, I am a journalist. In Gaza´s case, no “official journalists” were authorized to enter Gaza (apart from those who were already inside) so we became witnesses. With a whole set of responsibilities as regarding to it.

I have always understood journalism as “a hand turning the lights on inside the dark room”. A journalist is a curious person, an unpleasant interrogator, a rebel camera and a pen making those in power feel uncomfortable. And that is the concept of my work in Gaza: To fulfil a duty in the most narrated conflict on earth, where the story of the siege and the collective punishment that is being imposed by Israel on the whole population of the territory in retaliation for rockets sent by Hamas will never be told with enough accuracy. For this it has to be lived. I sneaked inside Gaza despite Israeli attempts not to allow us to enter and I was “politely” asked to leave by those in power in Gaza. That is my idea of journalism. Every government on earth should feel nervous about somebody going around with a camera or a pen ready to publish what he or she manages to understand. For the sake of information, one of the biggest pillars of democracy.

This is an embedded film. We decided to be “embedded within the ambulances” opening an imaginary dialogue with those journalists who embed themselves within armies. Everyone is free to choose the side where they want to report from. But decisions are often not unbiased. We decided that civilians working for the rescue of the injured would give us a far more honest perspective of the situation than those whose job is to shoot, to injure and to kill. We prefer medics rather than soldiers. We prefer the bravery of those unarmed rescuers than those with -also interesting, but morally rejectable experiences who enlist to kill. It is a matter of focus. I am not interested in the fears, traumas and contradictions of those who have a choice: the choice of staying home and saying no to war.

Crew

 

Directors: Alberto Arce/ Mohammad Rujailah

Script: Alberto Arce/ Miquel Marti Freixas

Editing: Alberto Arce/ Miquel marti Freixas

Sound: Francesc Gosalves

Posproduction: Jorge Fernández Mayoral

Co-production/distribution: Eguzki Bideoak.

Translation: Mohammad Rujailah/ Alberto Arce

Design Team: Mr. Brown and Mabrilan

Duration:112´

FREE GAZA IRELAND TO SEND “IRISH BOAT” TO GAZA

Posted in Activism, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, International community, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , on 13/10/2009 by 3071km

E-mail received: Monday 12th October 2009

Source: Free Gaza Movement

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The crisis in Gaza is unacceptable. For nearly four years, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly cruel blockade, leading to severe increases in unemployment, poverty, and childhood malnutrition. Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza last December & January killed over 1400 civilians and destroyed thousands of homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. It’s been almost a year since these attacks and thousands of Gaza’s Palestinians are still living in rubble. Maintaining the Gaza siege and denying Palestinians the right to rebuild their lives is unconscionable.

Free Gaza Ireland is working closely with the international Free Gaza Movement to acquire an “Irish boat” to sail to Gaza as part of an international flotilla challenging Israel’s brutal siege.  Since August 2008, international volunteers in the Free Gaza Movement have been sailing to Gaza, suceeding 5 times to break the siege. Ours remain the only ships to reach Gaza since 1967.  More than simple charity, the Palestinian people need our solidarity and political action. They need us to challenge the policies that leave them in need of humanitarian aid.

Caoimhe Butterly, renowned Irish human rights campaigner and Gaza Project Co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement stated that:  “Our delegations  have been deeply shocked by the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza. Israel’s ongoing occupation and the severity of the siege on Gaza is designed to isolate people as well as devastate the infrastructure of Gaza. Free Gaza’s mission is a reminder of not only the efficacy of using non-violent direct action to confront injustice, but also of the deafening silence of the international community.”


With Ireland’s help, the Free Gaza Movement hopes to sail to Gaza before winter sets in with ships carrying badly needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies. On board will be Irish TD’s, journalists, human rights activists & Irish musicans who will perform in Gaza with local artists as part of a series of cultural events linking up with Ireland.  We urge everyone to join us in concretely asserting the right of the Palestinian people to have access to the outside world. We will not stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately starved and humiliated. Like all peoples in the world – Palestinians have a right to life with dignity.

www.freegaza.org


Niamh Moloughney
Irish Free Gaza Coordinator

niamh@freegaza.org
091 472279/085 7747257

Gaza we are coming

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Palestine, Siege, Videos with tags , , , , on 11/09/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 11th September 2009

Source: Aljazeera English

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In August 2008, two wooden Greek ships laden with 44 activists from 17 different countries managed something no other vessel had in 41 years and broke the marine blockade that Israel has unilaterally imposed in Gaza, in contravention of  international law.

The mission was the brainchild of the Free Gaza Movement, founded in 2006, who realised that the only realistic way of breaking through the blockade was via the sea.

However the project was fraught with delays and risks from the outset and in the words of Paul Larudee from the group: “This project died a thousand deaths and every time it was about to die someone, somebody new, stepped forward to save the project.”

The last such person was Vangelis Pissias, a Greek who was touched by the Palestinian issue during his youth in Egypt and provided the boats for the group to undertake the mission to Gaza.

All involved were aware of the perilous nature of the mission. Previous attempts have been thwarted and boats even exploded. Activists have also been found dead in suspicious circumstances.

It explores the motives of those involved including the ordinary Greeks who volunteered to participate in this dangerous but successful operation.

It also recounts how the boats were built secretly in Greek shipyards, the logistics involved, the attempts to thwart the mission and why it was laden with such historical importance and pressure to succeed.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

Israel slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Palestine, Siege, War crimes with tags , , , , , on 10/09/2009 by 3071km

Written by Greta Berlin

E-mail received: 10th September 2009

Source: GazaFriends

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As Israel continues to commit slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians of Gaza, saying they let in 150 trucks a day of food and medical aid (when they people of Gaza need 500-600 trucks a day), and B’tselem, the Israeli Human Rights group writes that more than 50% of the people of Gaza Israel killed were civilians, the world stands silent.

No building supplies are allowed into Gaza. Not one penny of the $4.5 billion to rebuild Gaza has been spent to rebuild.

Israel continues to occupy 1.5 million people, crushing them beneath their boots and their tanks. Farmers cannot farm, fishermen cannot fish.

Israel says they have ‘allowed’ some humanitarian supplies into Gaza, as though they have the right to control the destinies of the population. And now children are going back to school with no crayons, no paper, no books and no windows.

The Free Gaza movement is determined to deliver a cargo ship of building supplies and educational supplies this year. Israel can ram our boats, hijack them and kidnap our passengers and throw them into prison, but they cannot stop our determination to sail to Gaza. Palestinians do not need hand-outs from the world. They are perfectly capable of determining their own destinies. They need their civil rights.

Coming in by sea is the only possible way to begin to break Israel’s stranglehold on this small sliver of land.

And this struggle for justice is not just in Gaza, but in all of Palestine, as children begin to go back to schools, faced with either the racist regime in Israel or the draconian Israeli rule in the occupied territories and Gaza.

30th July Video Free Gaza news Is Israel guilty of piracy

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, IDF, Israel, Israeli occupation, Siege, Videos with tags , , , , , on 30/07/2009 by 3071km

Source: Free Gaza Movement

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Watch the video and decide for yourself how many international and maritime laws Israel has broken. The Israeli navy hijacked the Spirit of Humanity in international waters. The Israeli government hijacks Palestinian fishing boats, in Palestinian territorial waters, kidnaps the fishermen, and sends its military out to shoot to wound and kill them as they struggle to make a living. After watching this video, you will be convinced that Israel has committed acts of piracy against Palestinians and against internationals. No other country would be allowed to do what Israel does on a daily basis.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers were accompanying fishermen to document attacks on them by the Israeli Navy, and to provide a deterrence to these attacks. (www.palsolidarity.org) For more information and current reports about Gaza fishermen: fishinunderfire.blogspot.com

Please distribute this video to all of your lists. Thank you.

Free Gaza Movement

“Where are our governments?”

Posted in Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Siege, Videos with tags , , on 11/07/2009 by 3071km

Gaza aid boat crew detained, threatened with deportation

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Siege with tags on 02/07/2009 by 3071km

Written by Mel Frykberg

Date published: 2nd July 2009

Source: The Electronic Intifada

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This is a very clear and worth reading article on the issue.


Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire Speaks from Israeli Jail Cell After Arrest on Boat Delivering Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

Posted in Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, International community, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege, USA foreign policy with tags , , , , , , , on 02/07/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 2nd july 2009

Source: Democracy Now!

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Freegazaboat-web

Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire speaks to us from her jail cell in Israel. She was taken into custody along with twenty others, including former US Congress member Cynthia McKinney, when the Israeli military boarded their ship in international waters as it tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. [includes rush transcript]

JUAN GONZALEZ: We begin today with the latest news of the ship that was seized by the Israeli military Tuesday as it tried to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. Israeli forces boarded the ship and towed it to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The twenty-one activists on board include former Congress member and presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and the Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. Huwaida Arraf and Lubna Masarwa were released, while the other nineteen remain in detention.

AMY GOODMAN: Huwaida Arraf is the founder of the Free Gaza movement. She joins us now on the phone from Israel.

Huwaida, welcome to Democracy Now! Explain why you took this boat trying to get to Gaza and then what happened to you on board.

HUWAIDA ARRAF: [inaudible] Hello to you all.

The purpose of our mission was to highlight to the international community that what Israel is doing to Gaza is blatantly illegal, and our government isn’t doing anything about it. Israel constantly claims that their policies are based on security, but what they’re doing—imposing collective punishment on an entire civilian population.

We were carrying on our very, very small boat some medical aid, some rebuilding supplies, because after the January—December-January assault on Gaza, thousands of homes have been destroyed, tens of hospitals and schools all demolished. And, you know, the donor community supposedly pledged [inaudible] Gaza, but no one is saying anything. Not one country is saying anything about the fact [inaudible] the entire Gaza Strip, and not one bag of cement [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: Huwaida, we’re going to interrupt for a minute, because, Juan, it sounds like we have someone else from a jail cell in Israel.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, it sounds like we have Mairead Maguire, the Nobel Prize winner, on the phone from her jail cell.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

MAIREAD MAGUIRE: Thank you very much, indeed. Thank you.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Could you tell us what is going on right now with you and the others who are being detained?

MAIREAD MAGUIRE: Yes. We have just been locked into our cells now for a couple of hours. We are currently going through their process. We are being charged with entering illegally into Israeli—near Israeli shores. We are going, it looks like, to be deported from Israel. We did not choose to come to Israel. Our little boat was boarded by the navy combat soldiers, and they came in in full riot gear onto our boat when we were just twenty-five miles off the shore of Gaza. We were under gunpoint, forcibly taken to Ashdod, held in the detention center overnight. And then I was removed from Ashdod detention center, handcuffed in a military vehicle, and brought here to the prison, where we’re currently being held. All of us, all nineteen—there were twenty-one, but Huwaida and Lubna are out—but the rest of us are being held here in detention in this prison.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your response, Mairead Maguire, to Mark Regev, the Israeli spokesperson, who said aid is free to pass into Gaza?

MAIREAD MAGUIRE: No, that is wrong. I mean, we know it is not free. I mean, Gaza is like a huge prison, but—because its borders are closed. The sea pass into Gaza, which has been closed for over forty years by the Israeli government—we are only the seventh ship to get in to the port of Gaza that tried to break the siege.

And as we do that, it’s very interesting, we pass the gas fields of Gaza. You know, Gaza has huge gas deposits, which Israel is now beginning to use. So it’s very important that there is the issue of who owns the gas in the Gazan Strip. And also farmers—fishermen, who try to go out without—in about twelve miles to fish for their families, are shot up and have been killed by the Israeli navy in that area.

So, Gaza is a huge occupied territory of one-and-a-half million people who have been subjected to collective punishment by the Israeli government. That breaks the Geneva Convention, every international law in the book. And the tragedy is that the American government, the UN and Europe, they remain silent in the face of the abuse of Palestinian human rights, like the freedom, and it’s really tragic.

And it is also tragic that out of ten million Palestinians of a population, almost seven million are currently refugees out in other countries or displaced within their own country, particularly after the horrific massacre by Israeli jet fighters after just earlier this year. Twenty-two days Israel bombarded Gaza, Gazan people, civilians. And we’re not sure what kind of weapons were dropped. We need the scientists. We need people to go in to see: is it depleted uranium in the very soil of the Gazan fields now? Unfortunately, Israel does not want human rights activists in there to see what they’ve done and what they’re doing. Even the representative of [inaudible]—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Mairead Maguire—

MAIREAD MAGUIRE: —is not allowed in.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Mairead Maguire, I’d like to ask you, to your knowledge, has your government or the government of the United States, in the case of Cynthia McKinney or some of the others, attempted to visit with the detainees or to lodge protest with the Israeli government?

MAIREAD MAGUIRE: Yes, we have had [inaudible] our consulates in the different governments come here to see us. And we are concerned about the five people who came from Bahrain, and—because they don’t have—their government doesn’t have the same links with Israel, and we are concerned for their safety. We have asked that all those who were—who were hijacked—we were hijacked on the seas of Gaza—that they be all given freedom and their goods returned, because we have got to look out for each other.

AMY GOODMAN: Mairead Maguire, what will happen now? And we understand that some people were injured.

MAIREAD MAGUIRE: Yes, indeed. I mean, when as were the combat troops in masks and fully armed came on board our small boat, some people were injured. And even during—that happened during the day. But our life was put at risk even more, because the previous night, during the night, when we were in international waters, we were—a couple of Israeli naval ships came up around us. Over the radio, they told us if we did not turn back into Cyprus, they would shoot at our boat. They cut off our communications, including our satellite communications. So we were in grave danger of actually being killed at that point.

The second thing was, when actually the navy combat forces came on board our boat, they wouldn’t allow the captain to take the boat to Ashdod; instead, they took over. And, you know, I really thought that we were all going to drown, because when we got near, when we were sailing to Ashdod, there was heavy winds, there was water coming in, and it was—really we were in a very, very dangerous position. So we were literally hijacked, taken at gunpoint by the Israeli military. And now we are here in prison, and they are threatening to deport us. We were brought here against our will. We didn’t come here by choice, and we are not here by choice.

AMY GOODMAN: Mairead Maguire, what jail cell are—what jail are you in now?

MAIREAD MAGUIRE: We’re in Giv’on Prison, and we’re—the women here are on one side, and the men are on the other side.

AMY GOODMAN: Mairead Maguire, I want to thank you for being with us, Irish peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, speaking to us from her jail cell, redefining the cell phone. Huwaida Arraf before her, founder of the Free Gaza movement. Mairead is one of nineteen people who remain in jail. Huwaida just got out.

Activists vow to keep up Gaza trips despite Israel

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Hamas, International community, Israel, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Siege with tags , on 01/07/2009 by 3071km

Written by Michele Kambas, edited by Richard Balmforth

Date published: 1st July 2009

Source: Reuters AlertNet

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NICOSIA, July 1 (Reuters) – Pro-Palestinian activists vowed on Wednesday to continue to defy an Israeli navy blockade around Gaza, a day after Israel seized their boat and detained 21 people taking aid to the territory. Israel boarded a small ferry carrying activists to Gaza on Tuesday, intercepting the vessel in Gaza’s Israeli-controlled coastal waters. Those detained included an Irish peace laureate, a former member of the U.S. Congress and charity workers from Bahrain. The activists, called the Free Gaza Movement, first started sending aid directly into Gaza in August 2008, but had been intercepted by the Israeli navy on two previous occasions. The group would continue regardless of interceptions, said spokeswoman Greta Berlin. “We are definitely going to go (back) even if we have to paddle across,” she told journalists in Cyprus. The activists had set off from Cyprus with humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, a territory ruled by Hamas Islamists. Israel tightened controls over Gaza, a sliver of territory of 1.5 million people, after Hamas took control there in 2007. International calls for an end to the blockade have mounted after a 22 day Israeli offensive last December and January deepened hardship in the territory. Israel launched the military operation with the declared aim of ending cross-border rocket attacks. Activists said they would continue to try to get aid directly to Gaza for as long as Israeli restrictions were in place. Israel says it is allowing aid to get through. The International Committee of the Red Cross this week said stringent restrictions imposed by Israel are crippling reconstruction efforts. “It is absolutely appalling how our small ships and a rag-tag band of activists has become the international conscience of what is happening there,” said activist Ramzi Kyzia. “We are going to go, again and again.”

We are NOT the “Story” – It’s Not Just Our 21 Kidnapped Passengers

Posted in Gaza, International community, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege with tags , , , on 01/07/2009 by 3071km

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 July 2009

We are NOT the “Story”
It’s Not Just Our 21 Kidnapped Passengers

On June 30th 2009 Israeli Occupation Forces forcibly boarded the Free Gaza boat, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, and kidnapped 21 human rights workers and journalists who were on their way to deliver much needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to besieged Gaza. Those abducted by Israel include Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

Since their kidnapping, tens-of-thousands of people around the world have mobilized to demand their immediate and unconditional release. The Free Gaza Movement would like to thank everyone who has made a phone call, sent a fax or email, written a letter, or organized a demonstration on behalf of our 21 imprisoned friends.

With respect, it is not enough. We are not the story. Since its founding in 1948 the State of Israel has regularly kidnapped and tortured Palestinians, throwing them into forgotten prisons where they can languish for years. Today, over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners without benefit of due process, some never even charged – men, women, and children – endure torture and isolation in Israeli jails, outdoor prison camps, and secret black sites. They come from all walks of life: doctors, journalists, parliamentarians, workers, resistance fighters, homemakers, students and others. They are our sisters and brothers.

The 21 passengers aboard the Spirit of Humanity have been illegally incarcerated for their solidarity work with Palestine. 11,000 other members of our common human family are already imprisoned simply for being Palestinian.

The Siege of Palestine is not simply the physical blockade against Gaza. The Siege includes the hundreds of checkpoints throughout the West Bank that separate families and communities and shatter any prospect for a viable Palestinian state. The Siege includes the millions of Palestinians in Diaspora, many of them dumped in squalid refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere. The Siege is ever-present throughout all aspects of Palestinian life.

This Siege is only strengthened when we pay more attention to the injustice done to 21 international solidarity workers than we do to the much greater injustices already being committed against millions of Palestinians.

We in the Free Gaza Movement implore all the good people around the world who have working so hard to secure the release of our friends to “adopt” a Palestinian prisoner. We ask you to learn about the crisis and take on the cause of an individual prisoner as your own.

Break the Siege! Reach out to Palestine!

For more information, please visit http://www.FreeGaza.org, as well as the following prisoner information websites:

http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=7209&CategoryId=4
http://sumoud.tao.ca/?q=node/view/76
http://palestinianprisoners.blogspot.com/2009/04/palestinian-prisoners-families-protest_27.html
http://www.btselem.org/english/statistics/Detainees_and_Prisoners.asp
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For More Information, Please Contact:
Greta Berlin (English)
tel: +357 99 28 41 02 / friends@freegaza.org

Ramzi Kysia (English)
Tel: + 357 99 08 17 67 / rrkysia@yahoo.com

Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 80 96 37 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk