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Archive for May, 2010

19 May 2010

Dearey offers support to the Free Gaza Shipment –

Oireachtas must keep an eye on Irish passport holders

Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Senator Mark Dearey has wished the crew of the ‘Rachel Corrie’ – a ship carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, a safe passage.

The boat left the Irish Sea from Greenore, Co. Louth this morning. Senator Dearey said: “Having seen the cargo myself – it consists of medical supplies, beds, wheelchairs and construction materials. This is purely a humanitarian mission to relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza.”

Speaking in the Seanad this morning, Senator Dearey asserted that is was important that Members of the Oireachtas keep a watching brief on the voyage in the event that Irish people should find themselves in a serious confrontation with the Israeli blockade, as the ship approaches the Gaza coastline.

“It is beholden on Irish parliamentarians to offer what support we can to this legitimate humanitarian exercise, an exercise that John Ging of the UN Relief and Works Agency has called for,” he said.

“I am also joining with our ambassador in Jerusalem in asking that Irish passport holders be treated respectfully and be allowed complete their mission. It is the least we should be insisting on, given the gross abuse of Irish passports by Israeli agents in recent times.”

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LETTER PUBLISHED IN DUNDALK LEADER, WEDNESDAY 20TH MAY 2010.

One day after purchasing at auction, the then named MV Linda, my husband Derek and myself, along with 2 other activists, Fathi and Michael, climbed aboard a cold, dark ship and so began a long, hard, but rewarding journey involving many strangers who were not strangers for very long. Over time activists had to leave and crew arrived but Derek and i remained on board and began to mould into the life of locals on the port.

For over a month we lived a board the cargo ship, which, gradually over time,  became home , and we can now look back with pride and astonishment at what we all together have achieved ….so far. The now named, MV Rachel Corrie, named in honour of a young fellow activists brutally murdered in Gaza in 2003 by the Israeli’s, sailed with dignity , out of Dundalk port on Friday night, to applause, car horns, cheering , clapping and a mixture of emotions.

A lot of hard work went into getting this abandoned ship up to speed again , and was done in  record breaking time.  None of it was possible with out the support and solidarity shown to Derek and i , and indeed to our whole mission, by the people of Ireland , and predominantly by the peole of dundalk.

There are so many people we need to thank and will never be able to personally, there are so many people in the background that we cannot even name, but that we really feel deep appreciation towards. On behalf of the Free Gaza Movement, our coalition of partners and personally, on behalf of both Derek and myself, THANK YOU DUNDALK

There are some people we need to single out, for various reasons.

To Catriona and Roger, who took us under their wing at a very early stage and were there for us all the way. For me, i need to thank Catriona personally for listening to me moan and vent frustrations at times but just let me get it out……

To Paddy and Alan, for the good advice, the physical help on the ship, the apple cakes, the lifts everywhere , the company at night and indeed the chance to relax and laugh at times.

To all media outlets in dundalk, newspapers and radio, for their coverage of us throughout this whole journey and for their promise to keep us alive in the media. Special thanks has to go to Nicholas, who became a friend as well as a journalist along the way, and a painter at times also, along with his fellow thespian, noel……..

To Paul, who came and sorted out all our port holes and in doing so , got us through our inspections.

To the spirit store and all its staff and customers, who always opened their doors and poured the coffee, ( and other beverages) at all times for us, and for becoming our favourite local in dundalk

To Arthur and all local councillors for help, advice and all things political offered to help us on our way.

The tool box, who 5 minutes after a call went out for help with missing tools, got in touch and dropped down a donation of tools that meant we had generators working as soon as possible and our ship/home could become somewhat habitable .

A huge thank you goes out to everyone who made their way down to the port to offer their solidarity, to just shake our hands and wish us well, or to promise to follow our progress and call for our safe passage

Mete and all his student colleagues who offered their help and turned up, as promised, to help ready the ship for sailing. Mete has followed on with this and is now our free Gaza movement liaison in dundalk to dundalk fm, so keep in touch with him.

The wonderful Fiona, who effectively became our Paparazzi for the month and who can now black mail Derek and i with out-takes from video footage, (Latest amazing video from fiona at bottom of this post)

 Jim Corr , for his use of helicopter on Wednesday to take our press guys out for footage.

The many shops and businesses in dundalk town and surrounds that gave us discounts and /or donated us various items we were in need off.

To all the port workers, the guys from the dredger, alan matthews, the fishermen, who all made us feel welcome and safe while living in the port, and for one fisherman in particular, for giving us the use of his boat to help  paint our ship,

TO John, and his  fellow painters for helping the Rachel look so good for her public and all the local tradesmen who helped get her back to her finest,

i am sure i am leaving out some people, and if so , i apologise, tiredness et al is my only excuse and not that your help was not noted and appreciated

The MV Rachel Corrie is now on her way to meet up with a flotilla of ships and boats to attempt once again, to break the siege on Gaza and to transport your generous amounts of aid to the besieged people of Gaza. The Rachel Corrie`s departure from Dundalk is only a chapter of the story, so please dont forget us , keep us in your minds and hearts and call out for our safe passage and our release if we are taken , and most importantly, demand the safe passage of your aid to gaza.

You can follow our progress on www.freegaza.org, or on our facebook page…free gaza-break the siege. Contact numbers for embassies and foreign affairs office will be posted on these in the event of our needing help. Call media outlets, contact councillors, td`s etc, use your web pages, blogs , social networking sites etc etc as we are totally reliant on our fellow supporters if/when we are denied passage.

To personally stay in touch with Derek and i , as we will stay long term in Gaza, unless taken by the Israeli navy again, check out www.irishingaza.wordpress.com.

jennygraham7@gmail.com
We never know , with our lifestyle, if we will ever meet again, but you will always be a part of history , a story that started in dundalk and will , insh`allah (god willing) finish with the breaking of a siege and a liberation of a besieged people,

Be proud……….. we are,

With love, appreciation and solidarity ,

Derek and Jenny ( Graham)

Freegaza movement.

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Written by Free Gaza Team | 15 May 2010
Posted in News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

London – 14 May 2010 – At 22:45 local time tonight, the MV Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, part of the eight-vessel Freedom Flotilla, set sail from Ireland on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. There, ships from Turkey and Greece will join her, then sail to Gaza.

This past week reports from Israel have indicated that the Israeli authorities will not allow the Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza with its cargo of much-needed reconstruction material, medical equipment, and school supplies. According to Israeli news sources, clear orders have been issued to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza, even if this necessitates military violence.
The Free Gaza Movement, which has launched eight other sea missions to Gaza, confirms that Israel has tried these kinds of threats and intimidation tactics before in order to try to stop the missions before they start. “They have not deterred us before and will not deter us now,”  said one of the organizers.

Ship to Gaza — Sweden, a Freedom Flotilla coalition partner, together with parliamentarian Mehmet Kaplan (Green Party) yesterday asked for an audience with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Carl Bildt, to discuss what measures the Swedish government and the European Union will take to protect the Freedom Flotilla’s peaceful, humanitarian voyage. Earlier this week during a meeting with the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza – another coalition partner, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyib Erdogan expressed his support for “breaking the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip…which is at the top of Turkey’s list of priorities.“

Coalition partners, Ship to Gaza – Greece and the Turkish relief organization IHH, stressed that the ships, passengers, and cargo will be checked at each port of departure, making it clear that we constitute no security threat to Israel.

Israel’s threats to attack unarmed civilians aboard vessels carrying reconstruction aid are outrageous and indicative of the cruel and violent nature of Israel’s policies towards Gaza.  The Freedom Flotilla is acting in line with universal principals of human rights and justice in defying a blockade identified as illegal by the UN and other humanitarian organizations. Palestinians in Gaza have a right to the thousands of basic supplies that Israel bans from entering, including cement and schoolbooks, as well as a right to access the outside world. The Freedom Flotilla coalition calls on all signatories to the Fourth Geneva Conventions to pressure Israel to adhere to its obligations under international humanitarian law, to end the lethal blockade on Gaza, and to refrain from attacking this peaceful convoy.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is comprised of: Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, with hundreds of groups and organizations around the world supporting the effort.

www.freegaza.org

www.savegaza.eu

www.ihh.org.tr
www.shiptogaza.gr

www.shiptogaza.se

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DEREK THROWS OFF THE LAST LINE....

Thanks to all who turned up at the quayside to see her off.

sailing away

last looks..........

caoimhe

mixed emotions

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO COULD NOT MAKE IT, IT WAS A REAL EMOTIONAL NIGHT. HAND CLAPPING, CHEERING, WHISTLING AND CARS BLOWING THEIR HORNS…………AMAZING

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PICTURES AND VIDEO COMING SOON………..

FreeGaza– 14 May 2010 – At 22:45 local time tonight, the MV Rachel Corrie, a 1200-ton cargo ship, part of the eight-vessel Freedom Flotilla, set sail from Ireland on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. There, ships from Turkey and Greece will join her, then sail to Gaza.

This past week reports from Israel have indicated that the Israeli authorities will not allow the Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza with its cargo of much-needed reconstruction material, medical equipment, and school supplies. According to Israeli news sources, clear orders have been issued to prevent the ships from reaching Gaza, even if this necessitates military violence.

The Free Gaza Movement, which has launched eight other sea missions to Gaza, confirms that Israel has tried these kinds of threats and intimidation tactics before in order to try to stop the missions before they start. “They have not deterred us before and will not deter us now,” said one of the organizers.

Ship to Gaza — Sweden, a Freedom Flotilla coalition partner, together with parliamentarian Mehmet Kaplan (Green Party) yesterday asked for an audience with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Carl Bildt, to discuss what measures the Swedish government and the European Union will take to protect the Freedom Flotilla’s peaceful, humanitarian voyage. Earlier this week during a meeting with the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza – another coalition partner, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyib Erdogan expressed his support for “breaking the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip…which is at the top of Turkey’s list of priorities.“

Coalition partners, Ship to Gaza – Greece and the Turkish relief organization IHH, stressed that the ships, passengers, and cargo will be checked at each port of departure, making it clear that we constitute no security threat to Israel.

Israel’s threats to attack unarmed civilians aboard vessels carrying reconstruction aid are outrageous and indicative of the cruel and violent nature of Israel’s policies towards Gaza. The Freedom Flotilla is acting in line with universal principals of human rights and justice in defying a blockade identified as illegal by the UN and other humanitarian organizations. Palestinians in Gaza have a right to the thousands of basic supplies that Israel bans from entering, including cement and schoolbooks, as well as a right to access the outside world. The Freedom Flotilla coalition calls on all signatories to the Fourth Geneva Conventions to pressure Israel to adhere to its obligations under international humanitarian law, to end the lethal blockade on Gaza, and to refrain from attacking this peaceful convoy.

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http://www.independent.ie/national-news/tricolour-on-ship-delays-gaza-aid-mission-2179693.html

http://www.afloat.ie/port-shipping-news/item/12851-rechristening-of-arrested-vessel-for-its-new-role-in-mercy-mission-to-gaza/

http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/18552

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/ship-casts-off-grim-history-for-new-gaza-aid-mission-2177980.html

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Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel’s naval forces are allegedly in training to prepare to seize eight boats scheduled to dock in the Gaza Strip on 24 May from Europe, Arabic-language media reported on Wednesday.

“About half of the Israeli naval forces will participate in an operation that was approved by the cabinet. [Israeli] Defense Minister Ehud Barak will supervise the operation,” an Israeli official told the Arabic-language satellite TV station Al-Hurra.

An Israeli security source told Ma’an that authorities will prevent the arrival of the boats “at any price.”

The Freedom Fleet is scheduled to set sail from the UK, Greece and Turkey. The European Free Gaza campaign said Israeli authorities informed them that the flotillas would be prevented from docking in Gaza.

The boats will be loaded with prefabricated homes, cement, and medicine and will be accompanied by 600 individuals in a bid to break the siege on Gaza.

On Sunday, Jamal Al-Khudari, head of Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege, said Israeli threats to open fire at the boats reveal Israel’s weakness.

“Such threats reflect the occupation’s failure and embody state terrorism against peaceful individuals who come to support a people under siege and aggression,” a statement issued by Al-Khudari said.

Under international law, the activists attempting to dock in Gaza have the right to participate in breaking the siege, Al-Khudari added, saying the threats will not deter participants from arriving in Gaza.

The popular committee organizer said the group was coming well-equipped, and would be ready should the Israeli navy surround them for a long period of time.

The Freedom Flotilla announced plans in late April, saying a group of ships would depart from several corners of the Mediterranean and gather in international waters with the intent to deliver some 5,000 tons of building and medical supplies to the population under siege.

According to flotilla organizers, 600 activists will sail three cargo ships and five passenger boats for Gaza in what a statement called the “biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people.”

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