At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza. One boat, the Saoirse from Ireland, includes parliamentarians among its passengers. The other, the Tahrir, carries representatives from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine. The U.S. Representative on the Tahrir, Kit Kittredge, was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope mission in Athens in July. A journalist from Democracy Now is on the Tahrir also. Civil society organizations in Gaza await their arrival, and look forward to the delivery of letters collected from thousands of U.S. supporters in the To Gaza With Love campaign.
We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately.
1. Check these websites for updates: US to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza, watch or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir.. Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves.
2. Spread the word far and wide – send this alert to your contacts.
3. Call the State Department and the White House- demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.
Call the State Department:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro 011-972-3-519-7575
Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs Paul Sutphin 202-647-3672
Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter 202-647-8308
and the White House: 202-456-1414
email President Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Here are some talking points or suggested messaging:
Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights. Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians. Civil society has had to act where governments would not. Two ships with 27 passengers from 5 countries are sailing to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support.
As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel insures the ships’ safe passage and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local press to cover this story. Up-to-date information will be available at www.ustogaza.org, www.irishshiptogaza.org and www.tahrir.ca
FreedomWaves to Gaza!
In the latest attempt to challenge Israel’s heinous, inhumane, and unjustified blockade over the Palestinian Gaza strip, two boats carrying Palestinian and international activists and journalists have set sail towards Gaza. Israel has used filthy tactics to foil last summer’s Gaza-bound flotilla. Israel has blackmailed activists, subdued a government, and sabotaged the ships which were meant to head to Gaza for a humanitarian mission, this is the reason FreedomWaves hasn’t been publicized beforehand and organizers remained quiet in order to avoid a repeat of Flotilla2’s unfortunate events.
The Ships are now sailing in International Waters, the press release is below:
2 November 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Palestinian youth join boats set to challenge Israel’s siege of Gaza
- Irish and Canadian boats in international waters on their way to challenge illegal siege policy
- Palestinian activists call for end to international complicity in Israel’s crimes
- Support actions taking place throughout the West Bank and inside Israel
[Ramallah] Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom), carrying 27 people from nine countries (including journalists and crew), are currently in international waters making their way to the beleaguered Gaza Strip to challenge Israel’s ongoing criminal blockade of the territory. A Palestinian youth activist from Haifa has joined this renewed international mission to challenge Israel’s unrelenting stranglehold on Gaza via the sea. The message they carry is one of unity, defiance, and hope, in spite of Israel’s policies that have physically separated Palestinians from each other. The “Freedom Waves to Gaza” organizers chose not to publicize the effort in advance given Israel’s efforts to block and sabotage Freedom Flotilla II last July. The boats, which set sail from Fethiye, Turkey, are expected to arrive in Gaza on Friday afternoon, sailing from international waters straight into Gaza’s territorial waters without entering Israel’s waters. The boats carry symbolic cargo - $30,000 in medicines, along with a diverse group of passengers, all committed to nonviolent defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights.
“Israel has caged Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, prohibiting physical contact between us. We want to break the siege Israel has imposed on our people,” said Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian philosophy student from Haifa on board the Tahrir. Kayyal added, “The fact that we’re in international waters is already a victory for the movement. Israel’s siege of Gaza is untenable and it’s a moral responsibility to put an end to this injustice.”
Meanwhile, a statement signed by Palestinian youth urged the international community and the U.N. in particular “to take urgent action to protect this mission as well as to end its compliance with Israel’s criminal blockade of Gaza.” They condemned the U.N. Secretary General’s previous declarations calling for aid to Gaza to go through “legitimate crossings and established channels,” despite the U.N.’s own admission that Israel’s failure to own up to its responsibilities has created an unprecedented crisis of human dignity.
Throughout the week Palestinian activists in the West Bank and inside Israel are organizing solidarity actions with the Freedom Waves mission, including a presence outside the UN compound (Tokyo Street, Ramallah) and rallies across West Bank towns.
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 and the remaining violently intercepted by Israel. On May 2010, Israel attacked passengers of the 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 foiled by the government of Greece last July following pressure by Israel and Western governments, as well as by acts of Israeli sabotage.
Israel has intensified in the past days its aerial bombardments on Gaza, underlining the need for international initiatives of deterrence similar to this one.
For more information contact:
For up to the minute information on the Freedom Waves flotilla: http://witnessgaza.com/
Twitter: @PalWaves #FreedomWaves