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Archive for November, 2011

Posted by Kev

The seven Irish human rights activists due home in Ireland this afternoon at 2:25 pm were at the last minute prevented from boarding their flight out of Ben Gurion airport by Israeli armed guards. They had been taken last night to a holding cell and were ready to board their 7:40 am flight to London this morning when at the last minute they were prevented from doing so by Israeli security forces and returned to Givon prison. All seven are now being detained indefinitely, with no further news available from Israeli authorities or the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs about when they will be released.

An Irish Ship to Gaza shore team coordinator spoke briefly on the phone with Fintan Lane before communication was abruptly cut off. Lane said: “This is a deliberate and calculated attempt by the Israelis to break our spirit. It won’t succeed.”

Lane also reported that the seven had been subject to “continuous harassment and repeated, humiliating body searches” and were shackled and “denied sleep”.

Gay Lawlor, Zoe Lawlor’s brother, spoke briefly with Zoe, who described what was happening as “sheer malice” on the part of the Israelis.

The families of the detainees are phoning member of the Irish Ship to Gaza shore team this morning in great distress.

Laurence Davis, Irish Ship to Gaza spokesperson, commented: “We are outraged by this latest attempt by the Israeli authorities to break the morale of the human rights activists, their families and their supporters, all of whom had been looking forward to the homecoming this afternoon in Dublin. This is yet another example of the cruelty and arrogance that the Palestinians face every day.”

Irish Ship to Gaza spokesperson Claudia Saba added: “It is particularly distressing for the families to learn that their loved ones won’t be coming home as they had expected, and distressing that they have no update as to what exactly is happening or when they will be finally freed.”

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Irish Ship to Gaza

Press Release, Monday 7 November 2011, 3:45 pm


21 still detained and refusing to sign false statements


Of the 27 human rights defenders captured during Israel’s illegal takeover of the Freedom Waves to Gaza vessels on Friday, 4 November, 20 remain in Givon prison and the whereabouts of one is unknown.

Israeli officials have been claiming that all 27 people aboard the MV Saoirse and the MV Tahrir have been released or are awaiting deportation. This is not true. Irish Ship to Gaza can confirm that six people have been released or deported. These are Majd Kayyal (Palestinian from Haifa), Lina Attalah (Journalist from Egypt), Casey James (Journalist from the US), Aimane Zoubir (Journalist from Morocco), Captain George Klontzas (Greece) and Captain Zacharias Stylianakis. No Irish citizens have been released or deported.

The whereabouts of British journalist, Hassan Ghani of PressTV is unknown. On Saturday prison authorities told lawyers that Hassan was not at the prison, yet we know that he has not yet been released. Freedom Waves organisers demand that the Israeli authorities reveal where Hassan Ghani is being held, and that he be allowed access to a lawyer.

The Israeli authorities have tried to pressure the human rights defenders that remain in Israeli prison to sign a voluntary deportation agreement (waiver of right to see a judge) in order to be deported immediately. All of the Irish abductees refused to sign, not because they want to come before an Israeli judge, but rather because the waiver states that they came to Israel voluntarily and entered the country illegally, which is patently untrue in light of the fact that Israeli naval ships violently seized the Saoirse and Tahrir, and forcibly transported them and all on board to Ashdod. Israeli authorities have ignored requests by the group’s lawyer to deport the activists immediately without having to sign a form that contains falsities meant to absolve Israel of responsibility for illegal abduction of foreign nationals in international waters.

Because they have refused to sign the waiver, they will according to Israeli law be detained for 72 hours and then brought before an immigration judge, who will rubberstamp the deportation order. After this mock legal process, deportation will commence. For the first 24 hours of their abduction, none of the activists, crew, or journalists, were allowed to call a lawyer or family members. On Sunday, a few were able to make one one-minute phone call.

NOTE: Various accounts from prisoners have come out contradicting Israel’s claim of a peaceful takeover of the boats. Some activists were tasered and beaten, and at least one of the captains abused during interrogation. For some of the accounts that we have been able to obtain, please see: www.tahrir.ca andwww.irishshiptogaza.org.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Laurence Davis 086 360 5053

Claudia Saba 086 393 8821

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6Nov2011

– call received directly from Israeli prison

Posted by Kev.

Irish Ship to Gaza National Coordinator Fintan Lane was able to make a phone call this afternoon from the Israeli prison in which he and 13 other Irish citizens are being held. He communicated the following to the Irish Ship to Gaza team in Dublin:

The takeover of the MV Saoirse was violent and dangerous. Despite very clear protests from the occupants of the two boats that they did not want to be taken to Israel, they were forcibly removed from the boats in a violent manner. The whole takeover took about three hours. It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows. I was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows were smashed and the bridge of the boat nearly caught fire. The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats, the Saoirse and the Tahrir, collided with each other and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse.  The boats nearly sank. The method used in the takeover was dangerous to human life. The Israeli forces initially wanted to leave the boats at sea, but the abductees demanded that they not be left to float at sea, for they would have been lost and possibly sunk. All belongings of the passengers and crew were taken from them and they still do not know if and what they will get back.  The 14 Irish citizens remain in Givon prison.

The phone call was very rushed and ended abruptly with Fintan saying, “I have to go.”

Claudia Saba, spokesperson for Irish Ship to Gaza, who received the call from Lane, said:

“The account received from Fintan Lane flatly contradicts the Israeli narrative that Israel ‘took every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the activists on board the vessels’. It is a small miracle that no one was seriously injured during this obviously very violent boarding of the Freedom Waves boats.”

Irish Ship to Gaza spokesperson Laurence Davis added:

“This account confirms our fear that the hijacking of the boats was very violent, and explains the time lag between the point at which we lost contact with the boats on Wednesday at 11:12 am (Irish time) and news of the passengers’ arrival at Ashdod not before 5pm.”

In an interview he gave to www.Omniatv.com, Greek captain of the Tahrir Giorgos Klontzas has confirmed the use of violence on him by Israeli soldiers during his interrogation.

The Canadian boat lawyers are today being denied access to the detainees by the prison authorities. We were informed by the Canadian land team: “They kicked the lawyers out at 5pm yesterday, after only three hours, and today they have not been responding to any calls (either on the main line or the cell number of one of the prison officials) to coordinate a visit or arrange phone contact with the detainees.”

We also have reports that at least one of the Canadian boat participants was electrically tased and beaten. Canadian David Heap is now limping as a result.

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Captured in international waters en route to Gaza: An eyewitness account.

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Ronan O’Dowd:

News from embassy officals in Tel Aviv. The Irish passengers are dissappointed but not surprised at Israel’s actions and are in good spirits. An Irish embassy offical visited them last night at the port and today (Saturday) at the immigration dentention centre in Ramle. They are refusing to sign the deportation waiver so there is a stay on their dentention for the standard 72 hours. The embassy expects them to be released early on Tuesday morning, possibly around 3am/4am, when the deportation order will come into effect. As Saturday is Sabbat, there are no immigration officals at work so it will be Sunday before they begin to book flights. It is unlikely that they will return on same flight. There is no issues or delays with access for consular officials during normal visiting hours. The officals will visit them on Sunday and also on Monday. They are expected to be in tranist from the detention centre to the airport on Monday There was no violence by the Israelis this time towards the passangers when the ship was boarded. They refused to leave the ship when it docked at Ashdod until the Irish embassy rep. I spoke to was there.

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Posted by Kev. No Comments

URGENT: At 10.58 am (Irish time) we received an urgent call from Dr. Fintan Lane, National Coordinator of Irish Ship to Gaza aboard the MV Saoirse, to say that two Israeli ships are rapidly approaching the Irish and Canadian boats. The MV Saoirseand Tahrir are 48 nautical miles (88km) from Gaza’s shores.

We have since received news (at 11:12 am Irish time) that Israeli forces have made radio contact with the Tahrir and are requesting their final destination.

The situation is developing rapidly.

Irish Ship to Gaza calls on the Irish government to issue an urgent statement to the Israeli government warning against any harm to the passengers aboard the MV Saoirse.

Photos of the MV Saoirse before it left Turkey on Wednesday may be downloaded here:

https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1275036230/b9150058383b043200e82aaa38e959e9

ENDS

CONFIRMATION : Both ships have now been boarded, will update as soon as possible, 

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EMERGENCY DEMO IN SUPPORT OF THE MV SAOIRSE AND THE TAHIR BOATS TO GAZA

Share · Public event
Time
04 November · 17:00 – 18:00

Location
OLD ANDYTOWN BARRACK SITE…( opposite milltown and bus station falls road)


Created by:

More info
The Irish Friends Of Palestine Béal Feirste are holding a vigil on friday at 5pm at ANDYTOWN BARRACKS SITE, FALLS ROAD BELFAST in solidarity with our friends and comrades who are now onboard the MV SAOIRSE.
Tonight we have seen israeli imtimidation tactics as Israeli warships were seen 6 miles from the Irish (MV Saoirse) and Canadian (Tahrir) ships attempting to break the siege of Gaza. The ships are currently in international waters around 200 miles from Gaza. Israeli spotter planes were also observed flying overhead according to Fintan Lane, who is on board the Irish ship Saoirse. Crew and passengers on the boats fear being boarded tonight.

WE ASK YOU TO COME OUT AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR ALL WHO SAIL ON THE FREEDOM WAVE TO GAZA…… WE CANNOT ALLOW ISRAELI PIRACY IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS!!!!!!!!!!! WE CALL UPON YOU ALL TO COME ALONG AND BRING BANNERS , FLAGS ETC ETC AND DEMAND THAT IRISH MEN AND WOMEN BE ALLOWED SAFE PASSAGE TO GAZA….

ALSO HERES THE INFO FOR THE ISRAELI EMBASSY AND CONTACT DETAILS
Israeli Embassy , Dublin. Ireland.
Carrisbrook House
122 Pembroke Road.
Dublin 4. Ireland.
Tel: ( +353 )1 230 9400
Fax : ( +353 ) 1 230 9446
Email : info@dublin.mfa.gov.il
Office hours : 10.00 – 13.00
Head of Mission: Mr Daniel Megiddo, Ambassador..

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