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Archive for July, 2009

 

Ramle Immigration Prison, IsraelI am from Nigeria. I came to Israel in October 1995, and was married in 2000 to a woman from Ukraine. My wife, Alina, and I had our first baby child on 11 May 2001 in Israel. our second child was born on 12 December 2002, and our third child was born on 17 August 2005. The Israeli government refused our children’s birth certificates – refused to grant them their citizenship. Now Israel is trying to separate me, their father, from my beloved children.

 

When they arrested me, Israeli immigration police confiscated my personal “business” bag, which contained all of my documents and money. At first, the refused to return these items. Later they claimed they had lost it. I reported this loss to the Nigerian embassy in Tel Aviv, but Nigeria supports Israel and the embassy has not shown any concern for my plight. I am still pleading to the Israeli government not to separate me from my family, and to consider my children.

My name is Calistus Uwa Ibeh. My passport number, A1216397. My first child is named Benson Chigozie Ibeh. My second son is Michael Chinedu Ibeh. My third son is Fortune Chidi Ibeh. I will be grateful for any help that anyone can give us.

Yours Faithfully,
Calistus Uwa Ibeh

If you would like to Calistus and his family, please contact Derek or Jenny Graham at jennygraham7@gmail.com

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Deportation of the Irish ‘Gaza Two’

Welcoming committee & press conference

http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/ipsc/displayRelease.php?releaseID=135

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poem by diarmuid,

The New Wailing Wall 

There’s a new Wailing Wall:

It’s in Gaza, and here mothers and fathers wail

at the bloody bodies of their children;

children wail at the bloody bodies of parents;

all wail over the bodies of friends and neighbours;

the wailing rises and the tears fall. 

At this Wailing Wall,

we wail the mendacity of Israel and the West,

we wail the complicity of the media in the West;

while rockets, shells and bombs rained down upon us

the lies fell faster and thicker than rain,

a torrent of lies that never stopped.

To surge in flood over the bodies of our slain.

    

You come now with your flag of peace

tramping along the bloodstained road

and up the mountain of our bones

and the rubble of our homes

and offer us business as before

or – bombardment once more. 

Now that the bombs have stopped,

we too stop and look around us:

our schools gutted and bloodstained,

mosques and hospitals in ruins,

so many of our buildings rubble,

or with gaping shell-holes,

in the hell-hole

you have made of Gaza. 

We had so little and you destroyed so much. 

In the days to come, more will sicken and die,

of wounds on flesh and wounds on soul,

of lack of medicine, fuel or food

as even in pause you take your toll. 

Many are numb, some try to forget,

some try to live without forgetting,

but there is a begetting,

for in many hearts too,

your phosphorus flakes are snowing,

the embers of hate are glowing,

their machine guns and bombs are mowing

you and your children for generations to come. 

Against your Goliath

our slingshots were of no use;

yes, God was with you  – 

he’s no longer Hebrew or English – 

He’s American now;

you shot us down like fish

in the shooting barrel

you made of Gaza. 

You wish us to recognise you?

Of course we recognise  you – 

the imprint of your boots are upon our necks;

we carry them from cradle to the grave.

But we will never agree to accept

or agree that you should keep

what you have stolen and plundered

the land you have sundered

or that you can make us second-class

citizens in our own land. 

While we struggle to endure

and to ensure

that you never defeat us

let it be that we do not learn to treat others

as you now treat us.

What did you learn from your oppressors?

If all you learned was how to also

do so much of what they did,

then truly have the six million died in vain

and you mock their memory by invoking them. 

Diarmuid, Feabhra 2009

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www.pathwaystopalestine.com

Pathways to Palestine / Slí Phalaistín

are a team of Irish cyclists that aim to cycle 4000 miles to Gaza raising funds for medical aid and public awareness of the two year seige affecting the civilian population trapped there. It is anticipated that the journey will take approximately 40 days and the cyclists can be tracked live via GPS on this website. 

All monies will go directly to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) a charity set up by healthcare professionals with operations that continue during the ongoing blockade of Gaza.

Please support us and the work of MAP by visiting our online donation page where even the smallest contribution can make a difference.

 

They are an amazing bunch of ( irish) people and wellworth supporting, i am hoping to meet up with them this week in beirut,……….

please check out their website and give them as much support as possible

jenny

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by Mairead Maguire

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Cont`d

JUNE 29th

Early!!!!, Permission granted for one boat, spirit of humanity to leave. No cement, half our passengers. Spirit is decked out with flags of all nations. Luggage taken off Free Gaza Boat and she is taken back to her mooring. 21 passengers, activists, journalists and crew clamber on board, all determined, some upset at leaving others behind, all of us wondering what our next fight would be, pretty sure there would be one.

Early mondaymorning, the spirit of humanity leaves larnaca port for gazaport….still hoping

JUNE 30th….

Derek`s Story

As we waved goodbye to passengers, we all knew this was going to be our hardest mission yet. We head towards Gaza. No problems at first except the usual dreaded sea sickness afflicting some passengers.

JULY 1st

Approx. 1 a.m., we have radio contact from Israeli navy. We are 60 miles due west of Haifa. First comes the usual questions, name of boat, number of passengers. number of crew, last port of call, next port of call. Once we announced that our next port is Gaza port, we are asked to wait for a response. They tell us, “;this is a military zone and you are not allowed to enter, if you continue on this course we will take all necessary steps t stop you with all responsibility on your captainand crew” Next , all our navigation equipment was jammed so we reverted to compass and chart and continued on our way to Gaza. Radio contact continued till 2.00 a.m. with continuous threats including we had 10 minutes to  turn around or they would open fire. We have at this stage one patrol boat shining a high beam spotlight in to the wheel house anda second larger vessel with jamming equipment shadowing us. 2.00 a.m. all goes quiet and dark, but they are still shadowing us.

6.06, radio communication starts again with threats to open fire or use any method to stop us. 7.00 a.m. navigation equipment back working and we proudly realised that after 6 hours of charts and compass we are only  miles of course and still in international waters.

7.00 a.m. number of military vessels increase, 8 large naval vessels, 2 small high speed gun boats, 4 high speed zodiacs and 1 f16( all for one little boat doing 8 knot’s!!) This continued until 3.30 approx, we were now 20 miles from  .  zodiacs now approached our boat, one of them threw 2 grappling hooks on to our boat and attached and climbed on board. They were quick but nottoo sure footed on our swaying litte boat.

Everybody is put into the main cabin apart from CaptainDenis who is still in the wheel house. 4 of us are handcuffed. CaptainDenis not amused when one commando got sick on the floor of the wheel house. Taken to ashdod.

On reaching ashdod , we are paraded as terrorists in front of military cameras and then taken to a warehouse to be searched. Were then moved to Ben Gurion detention centre, searched again and bedded down for the night.

JULY 2nd

Israelis tried to get Nobel peace prize winner, mairead to leave the country but she bravely refused, so she was handcuffed and put in to paddy wagon. She told them she would refuse to get on the plane. Change of plan, Everybody now taken in stages , to Ramle, Givon detention centre, and searched again!

By now, we knew land crew were in overdrive and i personally had no worries that jenny was moving heaven and earth to secure our release. Jenny had contacted Alan who in turn contacted IPSC, and these amazing people also went into over drive and bombarded Israeli and Irishembassy as well as foreign office with phone-calls and emails. Because of this, the irish consulate wwasthe first consulate to visit the prison, and Connor did an amazing job.

next  few days

The next fewdays were spent in Givon Detention centre meeting lawyers, judges and consulates. Also we got to meet some wonderful people but hear their horrific stories of how long they have been kept in detention and why.

july 5th

Sunday evening we are moved back to ben gurion , first to airport and searched and then to detention centre and searched again. ( for those of you who read the article in the star, you will understand the amusement they had every time they searched my bags!!)

Before we had all left Cyprus, we had agreed no one would be left behind in Israel, our fear being that if the westerners left the Arabs may have been detained much longerwith no exit. One problem being, the al jazeera camera man was from Yemen, and because there is no diplomatic relations between Israel and Yemen, he coud not be deported home. Once we knew the had safe passage from israel to jordan we all agreed to deportation.

Mairead and i sat in ben gurion detention centre and watched through the window every body being sent to their respective countries, the last two to leave israelwere of course’ the irish!!!!!!!!!!!

JULY 7TH

Arrived back in dublin airport to wonderful reception arranged by IPSC., followed by press confrence and television interviews. I would really like to thank all who came to the airport to meet us , especially those who travelled long distances and of course a huge thank you to my in-laws for driving all the way from tyrone, ( xx eva and damien) . One funny side note, we were deported on an el-al flight so all other passengers were israeli, travelling to ireland for summer holidays, only to be greeted by 100 people waving irish and palestinian flags andchanting free. free palestinmne.  4000 miles and they still cant get away from it. All media finished, couple of pint` s and a bag of tayto( thanks freda!!)

JULY 8TH

Meeting in dail with td`s and senators, gave report on Gaza situation as well as our own story, left dail and went to foreign affairs office to thank them for all their work, more pints, more tayto!!!

JULY 9TH

Hopped on plane back to larnaca and finally back to jenny……….took next day off and we all went back to work on saturday to arrange next mission, and get a boat!!!!!!!!!!!

Shukran,

Derek…..

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JUNE24th

All packed up and ready to go, 32 people , 14 nationalities, one mission, go to Gaza., some long term , some for a few days. Rumours abound that we will have a fight on our hands. Cement arrives at port. Some Palestinian friends arrive to help us load it on, crew are doing last minute checks on the boat, passengers going through training and safety talks etc, embassies informed, bags loaded on to truck, cameras charged, goodbye calls made……..still the rumours……

JUNE 25th

7.00 a.m.,lobby local hotel larnaca, Passengers, crew, activists, journalists, land crew gather for meeting.

8.00 a.m.luggage goes down to port, we all walk together to port, passports in hand, hoping but slightly pessimistic. Immigration , police and our agent are waiting for us. Passports handed in , bags loaded on boats and we sit and wait, one hour, two, four. five……Stories begin to filter through. Some how 2 little boats and a small group of like minded people have become the conscience of the world. “OUTSIDE GOVERNMENTS” are scared of us and what noise we might make. Phone calls are made to the Cypriot government to stop us leaving, pressure put on them. Suddenly, the Cypriot government, always our ally, have their hands tied. 6 hours after arriving at the port, hot and tired, passports are handed back to us and we are back in the hotel lobby for another meeting and agree to do it all again tomorrow. Deals and negotiations go on onto the night…

JUNE 26TH

Back in lobby. One activist had to leave to find alternative way in to see his family in Gaza. Phone calls start coming in to all our phones. We are impounded, we can go, we can not go, one boat can, two boats can , no boat can, no cement, some cement  etc etc etc…….

Quick shopping trip arranged. 20 tool kits one for each of 20 families in Gaza, educational kits, toys and a symbolic gesture of 20 olive saplings. Our cargo is always only a part of our missions, we want to continue to break the siege on Gaza.

Back down to port. Denied entry, back to lobby, more meetings, more phonecalls, more pressure. Greek friends arrive, negotiations continue, pressure still being mounted from outside on cypriot government. no voyage today……..

JUNE 27th

 

Hoping to at least get permission for one boat to travel. Need to cut down numbers on boat. Derek will go as crew and return, i will stay as land crew so as to allow journalists and others to travel. Phone calls continue , laptops being charged up as stories being written are updated with changes constantly.Frustration very high but so is determination. We have quite obviously ruffled some very big feathers and we wont stop now. No mission today. Another long day goes in to another long night.

JUNE 28TH

Port closed, meetings and negotiations continue…….

 

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