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Israeli navy arrests passengers on Free Gaza Movement boat

July 1, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 30 June 2009

For more information contact: Greta Berlin (English) tel: +357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org

Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish): tel: +357 99 077 820 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk 

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] – Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission
to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of “Cast Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone” said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage,
stated that: “No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”

Arraf continued, “Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO!

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340 fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs tel: +972 2530 3111 fax: +972 2530 3367

CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at: tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354
mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il 

CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!

Red Cross Israel: tel: +972 3524 5286 fax: +972 3527 0370 tel_aviv.tel@icrc.org 

Red Cross Switzerland: tel: +41 22 730 3443 fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA: tel: +1 212 599 6021 fax: +1 212 599 6009

Click here for details of kidnapped passengers from the Spirit of Humanity

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Australians for Tamil Justice permalink*
    July 1, 2009 3:30 pm

    Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
    Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association of Bahrain.

    Othman Abufalah, Jordan
    Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

    Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
    Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

    Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
    Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV

    Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
    Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.

    Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
    Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist

    Huwaida Arraf, US
    Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage

    Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
    Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker andfounder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries focus on international struggles for social justice.

    Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
    Kaltham is a community activist

    Derek Graham, Ireland
    Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard the Spirit of Humanity

    Alex Harrison, UK
    Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

    Denis Healey, UK
    Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth voyage to Gaza.

    Fathi Jaouadi, UK
    Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

    Mairead Maguire, Ireland
    Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist

    Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
    Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.

    Theresa McDermott, Scotland
    Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

    Cynthia McKinney, US
    Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate.

    Adnan Mormesh, UK
    Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

    Adam Qvist, Denmark
    Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

    Adam Shapiro, US
    Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist

    Kathy Sheetz, US
    Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring

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