Update V: From the Free Gaza Movement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 July 2009
We are NOT the 'Story'
It’s Not Just Our 21 Kidnapped Passengers
On June 30th 2009 Israeli Occupation Forces forcibly boarded the Free Gaza boat, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, and kidnapped 21 human rights workers and journalists who were on their way to deliver much needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to besieged Gaza.
Those abducted by Israel include Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Since their kidnapping, tens-of-thousands of people around the world have mobilized to demand their immediate and unconditional release. The Free Gaza Movement would like to thank everyone who has made a phone call, sent a fax or email, written a letter, or organized a demonstration on behalf of our 21 imprisoned friends.
With respect, it is not enough. We are not the story. Since its founding in 1948 the State of Israel has regularly kidnapped and tortured Palestinians, throwing them into forgotten prisons where they can languish for years.
Today, over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners without benefit of due process, some never even charged - men, women, and children – endure torture and isolation in Israeli jails, outdoor prison camps, and secret black sites. They come from all walks of life: doctors, journalists, parliamentarians, workers, resistance fighters, homemakers, students and others.
They are our sisters and brothers.
The 21 passengers aboard the Spirit of Humanity have been illegally incarcerated for their solidarity work with Palestine. 11,000 other members of our common human family are already imprisoned simply for being Palestinian.
The Siege of Palestine is not simply the physical blockade against Gaza. The Siege includes the hundreds of checkpoints throughout the West Bank that separate families and communities and shatter any prospect for a viable Palestinian state. The Siege includes the millions of Palestinians in Diaspora, many of them dumped in squalid refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere.
The Siege is ever-present throughout all aspects of Palestinian life. This Siege is only strengthened when we pay more attention to the injustice done to 21 international solidarity workers than we do to the much greater injustices already being committed against millions of Palestinians.
We in the Free Gaza Movement implore all the good people around the world who have working so hard to secure the release of our friends to "adopt" a Palestinian prisoner. We ask you to learn about the crisis and take on the cause of an individual prisoner as your own.
Break the Siege! Reach out to Palestine!
For more information, please visit
http://www.freegaza.org/, as well as the following prisoner information websites:
Update IV: From the Free Gaza Movement: "My contact at the U.S. State Department returned my call 40 minutes ago to say that they are in touch with the Israeli government and have been since the boat was surrounded some 6 hours ago. Overall, our State Department seeks to assure the safety of all on board and would like to see the boat get through as it is carrying humanitarian relief and cement to the people of Gaza, specifically aiding non-governmental organizations."
Update III: Free Gaza Movement: "So far we have not been able to contact any of our people, but we do have a team of attorneys working for their immediate and unconditional release."
Update II: Breaking - Israeli Occupation Forces have kidnapped 21 Human Rights workers aboard the Free Gaza boat, Spirit of Humanity, including Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire & former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Update: To get an idea of the character of the current Israeli government, think George W. Bush and multiply by order of magnitude the qualities of religiosity, violence and duplicity. See
Israel: Rise of the Right by Ilan Mizrahi for more information.
News that the Spirit of Humanity, a unarmed ship on a humanitarian mission bringing supplies and casting light on the Israeli siege of Gaza, has now been "stopped and boarded."
The Israeli Occupying Forces do not like news of their human rights violations getting out and has harassed the Free Gaza Movement at virtually every step of its mission.
From the Free Gaza Movement:
We've just received word from the Spirit of Humanity. They are 24 miles off the coast of Gaza, and are still surrounded by Israeli warships. Israeli Occupying Forces have threatened to take violent action against the small boat unless it turns around.
They will not turn around.
Our people on the boat have slowed their speed significantly and are telling the Israelis that they must not fire on unarmed human rights workers and journalists, including Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Regardless of Israeli threats, they will not turn around. They continue, slowly, sailing toward Gaza.
The Free Gaza mission is asking Americans to contact Israeli authorities to condemn the unlawful boarding and demand that people on the Spirit not be attacked or harmed in any way.
CALL & FAX the Israeli Navy at:
tel: +972 3737 7777 or +972 3737 6242
fax: +972 3737 6123 or +972 3737 7175
CALL Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
CALL Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence at:
+972 33697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
The Free Gaza Movement is a human rights group that in August 2008 sent the first international boats to land in the port of Gaza in 41 years. They want to break the siege of Gaza, and raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation.