Archive for November, 2011


Fri, 4 November 2011, 18:00 The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1


Emergency Demonstration – Support the #FreedomWaves ships to Gaza – End the Siege of Gaza

Friday 4th November
6pm, The Spire
O’Connell Street
Dublin 1

At 7.30pm tonight (Thursday) the Irish Ship To Gaza shore team were informed that 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.

The Irish Ship To Gaza campaign calls on people to mobilise to call for an end to the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza and to support the #FreedomWaves ships by attending this demo tomorrow at 6pm at the Spire in O’Connell Street Dublin 1.

Organised by the Irish Ship To Gaza campaign – http://www.irishshiptogaza.org

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‘MAY THE WALLS OF APARTHEID COME TUMBLING DOWN’. (Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate) (l5.ll.2011).

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, On 5-7th November, 20ll. The International Jury, consists of Lawyers, writers, human rights activists, etc., The Tribunal will be opened by Archbishop Tutu. During the two day hearings, the Jury will receive many presentations, including: ‘The Law and Practice of Apartheid in South Africa and Palestine’ and ‘The Palestinian Right to Self-determination’. It is particularly important that this, the third Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (previous sessions were held in London and Barcelona) be held in South Africa. South Africa, a country which suffered racism and apartheid until the People, under the Leadership of President Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, with many others, organized mass movements and civil disobedience, demanding an end to the Apartheid system. The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign, organized in South Africa, and supported by many around the world, helped bring down the Apartheid System. The Russell Tribunal on Palestine have, in its previous Sessions, and in response to the call from the Palestinian people, supported the BDS campaign and their visit to South Africa will be to show solidarity with the South African people and particularly support Palestinian people in their campaign to end their occupation, and persecution under the Israeli Government, and support the Palestinians desire for freedom and peace. The first step to peace is believing it is possible, having the political will to choose peace, and taking genuine steps to create it. The Israeli Government, (supported by US Government) to date, has not shown a genuine commitment to peace, as it continues to choose land, building Israeli settlements, demolishing Palestinian home, and ignoring International Law. It is important therefore that International pressure be brought to bear and the ‘Russell Tribunal on Palestine’ will help to do this. As we learned in Northern Ireland, outside Pressure can help bring about political change. In Northern Ireland in August l976 after 7 years of horrific violence, we found ourselves on the brink of Civil War. The cycle of violence kept turning and there seemed no way to break it. However, in August, the death toll rose to such an extent (Following the deaths of four young people) that people were fearful and fed up. Some stood up and cried ‘enough enough’ violence is getting up nowhere, lets try another way. It seems that in violent conflict there comes a breaking point when enough people rise up, join in solidarity, and decide they will have peace, because violence is wrong, and the price too high. This was a turning point for N.Ireland. When the massive Peoples’ movement (mostly women) choose nonviolence and rejected the bomb and the bullet, things began to change. It took sometime before the Paramilitaries and Politicians acknowledged also that in violent ethnic conflicts (and war!) militarism and paramilitarism don’t solve problems; indeed they are part of the problem. It is only through all inclusive dialogue (especially talking to ones enemy and getting to ceasefires) that the underlying problems can be identified and addressed, and peace processes be entered into. Through dialogue, and in time, trust can be built up, and peace can begin to blossom. In Northern Ireland we can come a long way, but we are not foolish enough to believe we have arrived at a perfect peace. Indeed we recognize that building a nonkilling, nonviolent truly democratic Northern Irish Society will take the rest of our lives, but we have learned many lessons. We have learned that the fear of ethnic annihilation can lead to the unleashing of destructive forces and blind us to our common humanity. We have also learned that when one lets go of the fear and anger, and choose to ‘talk to our enemies’, and build trust and community, we can reach inner freedom and communal peace. Only then can the personal and social ‘body pain’ begin to be healed and we humans recognize we truly need each other in this challenging, joyful, journey into true humanity. Although there are many differences between Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine, we have a great deal in common. Like Northern Ireland, Israel knows all about a heavy body pain, (carrying as it does its memories of the holocaust). Israel knows all about fear of ethnic annihilation hence its pre-occupation with National (in)security and its security blankets of nuclear weapons and militarism. But the truth is, as it is for Northern Ireland, these things will not bring real human security, to Israeli society only humans can do that for each other. Like the people of Northern Ireland, the People of Israel, will have to reach out to the Palestinian people, their longest and nearest neighbours, and work out how they are going to live together for the rest of their short lives. Only the Israeli and Palestinian people together can do that now, and it must be done for the sake of their children and their children’s’ children. The International Community can help, as they did for Northern Ireland, insisting that Human Rights and International Laws be upheld, but in the final analysis, Israel can choose peace and do the right thing by its own and the Palestinian people. In the last 10 years I have often visited Israel/Palestine and have made many good Friends in the process. (Unfortunately I am currently under Deportation orders having tried to get into Gaza on the ‘Rachel Corrie’ boat but taken by force to Israel and deported). I have been very inspired by the work of the Palestinian and Israeli Peace activists – particularly the Nonviolent Movements in Palestinian villages, such as Bilin and Nilin, in the West Bank of Occupied Palestine, and in besieged Gaza, where in spite of such tremendous suffering and persecution by Israel military, people continue to have hope for the future. My journeys have led me to I believe that it is from the beautiful souls of the Palestinian people that their freedom will blossom. At the moment, for some of them, it might sometimes feel like the power of military might of Israel (and the USA who pay for the Israeli military occupation) will go on forever, and the World will remain silent in the face of ‘war crimes’ being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, but in the end I pray they will keep hope alive knowing that truth will win through. Believing peace and freedom is possible and working to bring it about is the duty, and joy, of every Palestinian and Israeli person no matter where they live. Solidarity, and nonviolent action, with all those Palestinians, who suffer the painful memories of their Nakba, and ongoing daily humiliation of poverty, occupation, imprisonment, displacement, deportation, etc., is part of all our responsibility as human beings. It is for this reason that the work of the ‘Russell Tribunal on Palestine’ is important as it by its presence in South Africa and from there reaching out in solidarity to Palestinians, they are choosing to break the complicity of silence, and raise the worlds chorus of shouts for ‘Palestinian freedom’so that the walls of ‘Apartheid’ will come tumbling down.

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dear Jenny,
I hope you and Derek are well.  Where are you now?
I hope also the MV Saoirse and Canadian boat are safe and
get to gaza.
I would be grateful if you would please put on your website a
greeting from me:
‘I wish all those sailing on the boats, the Irish boat MV Saoirse
and Canadian boat safe journey and hope you get into Gaza.
With you all in love and spirit.
Mairead Maguire

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Irish Ship to Gaza Press Release – Nov 2nd

Posted by smac

Irish Ship to Gaza

Press Release – Nov 2nd

Irish and Canadian ships challenge Israel’s illegal blockade with Freedom Waves to Gaza

Responding to an urgent call for international solidarity from 46 civil society organisations in Gaza, an Irish ship MV Saoirse and a Canadian ship Tahrir have successfully reached international waters in the Mediterranean Sea on a mission dubbed Freedom Waves to Gaza. The boats, two civilian vessels carrying 27 passengers from nine countries, are currently en route to Gaza, Palestine. They will sail from international waters directly to Gaza, and will not pass through Israeli territorial waters.

This is the 11th attempt to break the siege of Gaza via the sea, with five missions arriving safely in Gaza between August and December 2008. The remaining six were violently intercepted by Israel. In May 2010, Israel attacked passengers participating in the first Freedom Flotilla in international waters, killing nine civilians and injuring over 50. Israel’s actions were widely condemned and led to protests around the world. Efforts to bring a second flotilla to Gaza were thwarted by the government of Greece last July following pressure by Israel and Western governments. The Irish vessel, MV Saoirse, was sabotaged while in port in Turkey when its propeller shaft was gouged in a manner almost identical to damage suffered by the Swedish ship. The Irish ship has since been repaired, with funds raised via small donations from Irish citizens in all of the 32 counties. In total, the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign has raised over €140,000 for its mission, a clear sign of the depth of support among ordinary Irish people for the beleaguered people of Gaza.

Throughout the week Palestinian activists in the West Bank and inside Israel will be organizing solidarity actions with the Freedom Waves to Gaza, including a presence outside the UN compound and rallies across West Bank towns. Israel has intensified its aerial bombardments on Gaza in the last few days, killing at least nine people, underlining the need for international solidarity initiatives such as this one.

“The Freedom Waves to Gaza emerged from the Freedom Flotilla initiatives,” says Irish Ship to Gaza organiser Fintan Lane from on board the MV Saoirse. “While the Freedom Waves to Gaza will be delivering some much-needed medicines, our primary goal is to help free Palestinians from their inhumane isolation in what is in effect an open air prison.”

Also on board in this civil society to civil society initiative are delegates from Canada, Australia, the US, Greece, Palestine, Poland and Egypt. “We have just entered international waters and hope to reach the shores of Gaza in a couple of days. The only obstacles in our way are Israel’s military, but international public opinion is behind this effort, and so is civil society in Gaza.”

“The Palestinians living in Gaza want solidarity – not charity. They have made it clear to the world that their primary demand is for freedom. While humanitarian aid is helpful, Palestinians are still prisoners with no freedom of movement,” adds Ehab Lotayef, the Canadian boat organizer. “Israel’s illegal blockade prevents not only imports into Gaza, but exports as well. And the blockade prevents Palestinians from moving freely between Gaza and the West Bank, in violation of fundamental human rights.”

The Freedom Waves to Gaza Initiative is a non-violent, civil society movement the primary aim of which is to end the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Bios of delegates are available at http://irishshiptogaza.org/

There will also be various media outlets reporting on developments aboard the Tahrir, including Al Jazeera and Democracy Now.

A press conference will be held in Dublin on November 3rd at 11.30am. Details to follow.


Irish Ship to Gaza media contacts:

Laurence Davis 086 360 5053
outside Ireland 00 353 086 360 5053

Claudia Saba at 086 393 8821
outside Ireland 00 353 086 393 8821

Aoife McLaughlin local 0788 652 4999
outside Ireland 00 44 788 652 4999


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Derek and Jenny wish all those on board all the ships a safe, successful mission and will be proud  to share their updates….


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