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Archive for June, 2009

 I spoke to derek aboard the spirit of humanity about 40 mins ago. The are all doing well. 2  israeli gunships are now flanking both their pot and starboard side ( was previously 8, thretening to shoot and or board the boat) but have stopped communicating with them and interfering with their radio. They are approximately 20 miles from the international port of gaza, maybe 2 1/2 hours away, insh`allah.

Obviously i am not on board. We had so much pressure from many sides throughout the week, that in the end only one boat was allowed to leave, because of this i stepped aside to allow others in to gaza. Derek is on board but will return with the boat at the end of the week and we will once again make plans to head in in the next 10 or so days. So, on board we have 21 human rights workers, media and activists including 2 irish, derek and ( nobel peace prize winner)  Mairead McGuire from Belfast.

Hopefully , my next update will be the safe arrival of the spirit of   humanity , and 2 irish in gaza.

 

I will also fill you in on exactly what has been happening for the last week but at this stage do not want to jeopardise any ones safety by going in to details,

 

In solidarity ,

 

Jenny

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We Do Not Seek a Confrontation News Tuesday, 30 June 2009

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

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at: Tel  +972 3697 5339  or  +972 50629 8148  mediasar@mod.gov.il

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it — Free Gaza Movement  357 99 081 767  http://www.freegaza.org www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/

 GPS WORKING AGAIN

 News Tuesday, 30 June 2009 05:04

This is a HELP message.

 We have been contacted by the Israelis but are still fine, don’t worry.

ESN:0-7490415 Latitude:32.3741 Longitude:33.6536

 Nearest Location:not known Distance:not known Time:06/30/2009 06:55:58 (Europe/Nicosia) http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=32.3741,33.6536&ll=32.3741,33.6536&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

 UPDATE ON THE SPIRIT

 30 June 2009 03:03

Dear Friends,

 We just spoke again with our people aboard the Spirit of Humanity. The Israeli Navy is continuing to try and intimidate the ship, and is actively jamming its radar, GPS, and navigation systems in direct violation of international maritime law. This jamming is extremely dangerous and directly threatens the welfare and safety of everyone aboard our civilian ship. Because their instrumentation is being jammed, they are using compass & paper to attempt to navigate.

They are in international waters & they believe their location is approximately 110km off of the town of Hadera. Everyone is tired but determined. They are not being deterred by the Israeli aggression & are continuing toward Gaza.

Please help them. Please 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

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at: Tel  +972 3697 5339  or  +972 50629 8148  mediasar@mod.gov.il This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it —–

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

 

CALL OFF YOUR ATTACK DOGS  – Cynthia McKinney Tuesday, 30 June 2009 01:15

We just spoke to the passengers. Everyone is OK, but the situation is still very tense. They continue to be surrounded by Israeli warships which are threatening to open fire. The Israeli Navy is actively jamming all navigation systems in violation of international maritime law, endangering the people on board. Former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, speaking from on board the SPIRIT, stated, “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 and threaten our safety and welfare. I call on President Obama and the international community to intervene now to prevent this situation from escalating with potentially drastic results to the civilians on board.”

 Since the boat’s navigation equipment is being jammed, it has turned westward in order to stay in international waters.The Captain and crew are working from the most ancient of navigation equipment…the compass to stay clear of Israeli waters. Read more…

 URGENT ALERT – Israeli Navy surrounding SPIRIT and threatening to open fire HOPE FLEET Monday, 29 June 2009 23:57

At 1:40 am, the Israeli Navy surrounded the SPIRIT while in international waters off the coast of Israel as 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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at: Tel  +972 3697 5339  or  +972 50629 8148  mediasar@mod.gov.il This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Free Gaza Movement  357 99 081 767  http://www.freegaza.org http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/

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www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9w_zoqXH7o

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[Video Free Gaza]

Getting ready to go,

 

   

News

Thursday, 18 June 2009 00:11 Written by Free Gaza Team

This week’s update is lighter in tone than last week’s update.  It gives you an idea of what we are doing to get the  Free Gaza ready. We are hoping this time to entertain you a bit (OUR FIRST MATE would do well at open-mike night) and to let you know that we have enjoyed fixing the boat. We leave next Thursday, so the update for next week will be interviews of some of the people asking them why they want to go back.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUlcJs7BKBU

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News Thursday, 18 June 2009 Written by Free Gaza Team

 Hedy Epstein, our wonderful 84-year-old Holocaust survivor, the woman who has been determined to come with us to Gaza this year, was attacked yesterday while walking home in her hometown in Missouri. “Someone came up behind me and pushed me with both hands, throwing me to the ground. I cut an artery in my chin, and my knees are black and blue. I’ve got several stitches in my chin right now.

 When I looked up to see him, he was running as fast as he could away from me.” said Hedy this morning. Her friend was with her, and neither woman was robbed of anything.

 When talking to her friend’s husband, he said, “Listen, in St. Louis if someone is going to push you, they are after your purse. This was a targeted attack. And, if anyone else has either been attacked or been threatened, we want to know, because the police here need to know.”

Last year when we were getting ready to go on our first trip to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, many of us were threatened by Israel-firsters, some even bragged that they would blow up our boat, sink it, or kill our children. The sister-in-law of Tony Blair was threatened that her children would be killed. Those of us organizing the project were threatened as well. It didn’t stop us then, and it won’t stop us now.

 In January when Hedy was interviewed on TV about Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, she got several threatening phone calls, “We’re going to come and find you, and we will take care of you.” This message needs to go out far and wide to everyone appalled that pro-Israel thugs would push an 84-year-old woman to the ground in an attempt to hurt her and scare her from coming

. When I hung up today, the last words Hedy said were, “Can I come later? Would you put me on the August trip?’ The answer is a resounding… “YES”

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new video…….

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcWTHkyrZ4g

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Wednesday, 03 June 2009 17:59 Written by Free Gaza Movement

03 June 2009
Dear President Obama,

Tomorrow you travel to Egypt to give one of the most important speeches of your presidency. With the words you deliver you have said that you want to “reset” U.S. relations with the Muslim world and create a fundamental change for the better. We sincerely wish you well. But you have also said that “part of being a good friend is being honest.” Let’s be honest.

Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land and the United States’ unquestioned financial, military and political support for Israel is at the heart of the negative perceptions and bitter anger that many Arabs and Muslims have of the United States. Tomorrow, we hope to hear from you a commitment to aligning U.S. policy in the Middle East with U.N. Resolutions and international law.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives everyone the right to freely enter and exit one’s own country. You will exercise this right when you arrive in Egypt tomorrow and then return to the United States. This is a right that Palestinians–particularly those trapped in Gaza–are routinely denied.

  • Over 200 Palestinian medical patients in Gaza, many critically ill, are unable to seek adequate treatment because Israeli authorities regularly deny Palestinian patients the right to travel abroad to receive the medical treatment that is not available in Gaza; at the same time import of many medicines and medical equipment into Gaza is prevented by Israel.
  • Over 700 Palestinian students in Gaza, many with scholarships, are unable to attend their universities abroad because Israel regularly denies them this right.
  • Thousands of Palestinians abroad are unable to visit their families because Israel will not allow them to re-enter their own country.

When you arrive in Egypt you will travel to your accommodations in a car maintained with spare parts banned to Palestinians, powered by gasoline denied to the people of Gaza. You will use electric lights that do not often work in Gaza, because Israel blocks the fuel needed to run Gaza’s electrical grid. You may enjoy a cup of coffee or tea during your visit – commodities Israel will not allow into Gaza.

The truth is that Israel lets in less than 20% of the ordinary supplies needed in Gaza, and allows no reconstruction materials whatsoever to enter. As a consequence over 95% of all industries have collapsed, creating massive unemployment and poverty. The purpose of the Israeli blockade is to punish and break an entire people. Collective punishment is strictly prohibited under international law, yet it remains Israel’s primary policy in regards to the Palestinian people.

On June 25th, the Free Gaza Movement sets sail on our eighth voyage to challenge the brutal Israeli blockade of Gaza. Though we have been threatened and our ships rammed by the Israeli navy, we will not be deterred. We sail in the spirit of the Freedom Riders who, in the year you were born, risked their lives so that African-Americans could travel freely in the United States. We sail in the spirit of international cooperation that helped create the United Nations, in the spirit of the international civil resistance that overcame Apartheid.

President Obama, you have based your political career on what you call the “audacity of hope” – the faith that each of us, individually and collectively, can change things for the better. But faith without action is dead. We too believe in hope, but from our experience we know that hope alone will not change the world. Like you, we know that the price and promise of our mutual humanity demands that each of us treat one another with dignity and respect, and that all of us strive to insure that our sisters and brothers around the world are free to make of their lives what they will, and pursue their full measure of happiness.

Mister President, you led the fight in the U.S. Senate to insure that aid was actually delivered to people after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. A man-made disaster continues to devastate the people of Gaza; due to Israel’s ongoing hermetic closure of the Gaza Strip over 80% of the population there require food assistance just in order to survive. We hope your speech tomorrow in Egypt is successful but, at a minimum, you must use your privilege to demand and secure open access to Gaza for all international humanitarian, reconstruction, and developmental supplies. Words matter, but words are not enough.

We in the Free Gaza Movement will sail to Gaza again and again and again, in vigorous unarmed resistance, until the Israeli blockade is forever shattered and the Palestinian people have free access to the rest of the world.

Please recognize that the fact that we even have to ask (let alone risk our lives) to be allowed to provide food to the hungry, medicine to the sick, and shelter to the homeless is in itself an obscenity. We look forward to hearing from you an uncompromising commitment for the immediate end of the criminal siege of Gaza, as well as an assurance that respect for the human rights, dignity and equality of the Palestinian people will be at the core of your administration’s policy toward the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Sincerely Yours,
The Free Gaza Movement Board of Directors
Huwaida Arraf, JD
Greta Berlin
Eliza Ernshire
Derek Graham
Fathi Jaouadi
Ramzi Kysia

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