For Immediate Release
Boat by Boat
Donna Wallach San Jose, CA
Darlene Wallach San Jose, CA
Greta Berlin, Cyprus
Angela Godfrey Goldstein, Jerusalem
(Doha, 22 June 2009) In three days, the Free Gaza movement sails 240
miles from Cyprus to Gaza, its eighth mission to break Israel's
draconian siege on 1.5 million Palestinians there. In the holds of the
FREE GAZA and the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY will be tons of cement, and
suitcases full of toys, crayons and coloring books for the children,
all items banned by Israel's government.
Two of the organizers, Huwaida Arraf and Greta Berlin, as well as the
Honorable Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia,
held a press conference yesterday in Doha, Qatar, calling on the world
to recognize the Palestinians' human and civil rights, rights that
have been denied for 61 years.
"People in Gaza are being made to live in subhuman conditions.
Children are dying, and governments are silent. It is important to
continue sending boats to Gaza to challenge the criminal blockade
enforced by the Israeli military," said Ms. Arraf.
The group emphasized that what they are taking is only a token of what
the people of Gaza need. They are hoping to buy a cargo boat , to
bring in larger amounts of building supplies via the sea route they
aim to open. They ask for the financial support of people around the
world to purchase this ship.
Speaking to Al Jazeera and eight other news organizations, Ms Arraf
emphasized, "International donors pledged over $4bn to rebuild Gaza,
yet none of them are doing a thing about the fact that Israel allows
no building supplies into the territory. So 36 of us from 16 countries
are leaving on Thursday to tell the world to do something."
When asked what guarantees the group has received from the Israeli
government, both Berlin and Arraf frowned. "We do not seek permission
from or coordinate with the Israeli authorities. Israel has grossly
abused its authority as an occupying power, daily violating the human
rights of Palestinians, and imposing collective punishment on them. It
is past time for the international community to stop abetting Israel's
illegal closure policy." stated Ms. Arraf.
The group intends to go at least three times over the summer, June
25th, July 14th and August 16th, near the anniversary of the first
The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza
in August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in
the port in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful,
taking Parliamentarians, human rights workers, and other dignitaries
to witness the effects of Israel's draconian policies on the civilians
of Gaza. On December 30, their boat, the DIGNITY was rammed three
times while 90 nautical miles out, in international waters, on its way
to deliver emergency medical supplies to the people of Gaza, while
they were under the infamous attack by Israel. Contact them as