Archive for Solidarity

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
###

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

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FGM update – Press Conference, Today, Journalist House, Nicosia, 17:00-17:30

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

Update on kidnapped passengers, impounded boat, and the right for EVERYONE to see an attorney

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

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
www.FreeGaza.org

(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.

ISRAEL ATTACKS JUSTICE BOAT; KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS; CONFISCATES MEDICINE, TOYS AND OLIVE TREES

Posted in International community, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege with tags , , , on 30/06/2009 by 3071km

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
30 June 2009

ISRAEL ATTACKS JUSTICE BOAT; KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS; CONFISCATES MEDICINE, TOYS AND OLIVE TREES

For more information contact:
Greta Berlin (English)
tel: +357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org

Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 077 820 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk
www.FreeGaza.org

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] – Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of “Cast Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone” said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: “No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry  medical and reconstruction supplies, and children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”

Arraf continued, “Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release.”
###

WHAT YOU CAN DO!

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367

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

CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!

Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370
tel_aviv.tel@icrc.org

Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009
###

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.
###

“All We Want is to Reach Gaza. We do not Seek a Confrontation.”

Posted in Gaza, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege with tags , , , on 30/06/2009 by 3071km

Updated news from the Spirit of Humanity.

Please help to make pressure on the Israeli authorities not to take action against it and the activists!!!

Thanks!!!

_____

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
30 JUNE 2009

“ALL WE WANT IS TO REACH GAZA. WE DO NOT SEEK A CONFRONTATION.”
Activists aboard Gaza justice boat demand they be allowed to visit their friends & family in besieged Gaza, and deliver their cargo of medical supplies, children’s toys, and reconstruction kits. They invite the world to join them.

(At Sea, 60km off the coast of the Gaza Strip) – Human Rights activists aboard the Free Gaza ship, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, today demanded that the Israeli Navy immediately stop threatening them.

“This aid is desperately needed by the people of Gaza,” said Mairead Maguire, winner of the Noble Peace Prize and Pacem in Terris Award for her work in Northern Ireland. “President Obama has called upon the Palestinians to abandon violence but Israel is denying them the right to non-violently resist the siege of Gaza.”

The unarmed justice ship departed Larnaca Port in Cyprus at 7:30am Monday with its crew of 21 human rights activists, humanitarian workers and journalists from 11 different countries, including Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The boat, a converted ferry, hopes to arrive in Gaza Tuesday afternoon, following a grueling 30 hour sea voyage.

At 1:30am, Israeli warships surrounded the small civilian boat and threatened to open fire if they did not turn around. When the activists refused to be intimidated, Israeli Occupation Forces began jamming their instrumentation, blocking their GPS, radar, and navigation systems. This jamming was in direct violation of international maritime law, threatening the welfare and safety of the civilian ship.

Responding to this intimidation, Congresswoman McKinney declared, “I am extremely angry. We demand that the Israeli government call off their attack dogs. We are unarmed civilians aboard an unarmed boat delivering medical and reconstruction aid to other human beings in Gaza. Why in God’s name would Israel want to attack us?”

Huwaida Arraf, Chairperson of the Free Gaza movement and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage, said, “All we want is to reach Gaza. We want to visit our friends and deliver our cargo of medical supplies, children’s toys, and reconstruction materials. Our ship was searched and received security clearance from the Port Authorities in Cyprus before we departed.”

Arraf continued, “We do not seek a confrontation. We have traveled from Cypriot waters to international waters and will enter Gazan waters. We’ve never gone anywhere near Israel. Israel’s closure of Gaza is an act of collective punishment and a blatant violation of international law. We call upon our governments to take action to uphold their obligations under the Fourth Geneva Conventions. If they won’t or until they do, we will act. We will come to Gaza again and again until this brutal siege is broken. We invite the good people of the world to join us.”

Free Gaza boats are the first international ships in 41 years to sail to the Gaza Strip. Since August 2008, the Free Gaza Movement has organized 8 sea missions, successfully arriving to Gaza on 5 separate occasions. One two earlier occasions, Israeli Occupation Forces used violence to stop the ships, physically ramming and almost sinking the DIGNITY boat in December 2008, and threatening to fire on and kill unarmed passengers in January 2008. The fate of this, the eighth mission to Gaza, is still uncertain.
###

For more information, please contact:
Greta Berlin (English/French) or Caoimhe Butterly (English/Arabic/Spanish) at 00357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org
www.FreeGaza.org

WHAT YOU CAN DO!

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

Free Gaza Movement
357 99 081 767
www.freegaza.org
www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/

FGM update on the “The Spirit of Humanity” on its way to Gaza

Posted in Gaza, International community, Non-violent resistance, Palestine, Siege with tags , , , , on 29/06/2009 by 3071km
After several days waiting in Cyprus’ port of Larnaca, the Free Gaza Movement team has sailed this morning one of its boats, “The Spirit of Humanity”, to the Gaza Strip.

Here’s an update of their current position. We’ll keep updating the details as soon as we get news from them.

We wish them all a peaceful and successful trip!!!

_____

E-mail received

29 / June / 2009 20:38 (GMT+1)

[GazaFriends] UPDATE on the Spirit’s voyage to Gaza

gazafriends.lists.riseup.net

Fes el seguiment del missatge

Dear Friends,

We’ve just heard from everyone on board the Spirit of Humanity. They are almost halfway to Gaza, a little over 100 kilometers off the coast of the Lebanon/Israel border. They’re a bit tired, but everyone is in good spirits and determined to reach Gaza. So far they have not seen any Israeli warships or had any radio contact with the IDF. You can see their latest position by clicking on the link below.

From aboard the Spirit, Free Gaza organizer Lubna Masarwa stated that, “We’re intent and unworried – we’re sailing on. We will go to Gaza, in solidarity with the people. We want to break the Israeli siege in a practical way, and not just with words. Our message to Gaza – from all the Palestinians in ’48 and in the West Bank, and from all the good people in the world is – You are not alone!”

SPOT Check OK.
ESN:0-7490415
Latitude:33.3474
Longitude:33.8294
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:06/29/2009 21:21:47 (Europe/Nicosia)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=33.3474,33.8294&ll=33.3474,33.8294&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1