Sunday, 30 May 2010

Israeli Navy forces Gaza flotilla to halt at its illegal exclusion zone

Challenger 2 was contacted by the Israeli Navy about an hour ago. An appeal has just been issued as the full might of the Israeli military attempts to stop the aid mission. Israel is now brazenly enacting piracy on the high seas - where are the protests from western governments?

Twitter feed at http://mobile.twitter.com/freegazaorg

about 1 minute ago
Call to the world from the people on the boats. This flotilla is bringing supplies the people of Gaza and are being met by military force

Appeal to UK foreign secretary Hague over Israel's threat to flotilla

UK citizens - or should that be subjects - send emergency protest emails to the Foreign Office now. Details below:
Subject: Israeli threats to humanitarian "Freedom Flotilla".
To: haguew@parliament.uk
Cc: private.office@fco.gov.uk, AINAGCorrespondence@fco.gov.uk
Date: Sunday, 30 May, 2010, 10:06

Dear Mr. Hague


I draw your attention to the situation of the 750 volunteers presently assembling on the “Freedom Flotilla”, bound for Gaza with humanitarian supplies. Whatever differences of opinion we may have regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict, the safety of the volunteers some of whom are British citizens, is paramount. In this regard I am concerned about threats being made by the Israeli military.

Apparently an “Operation Sky wind” is being planned by the Israelis which will include the seizing of the “Freedom Flotilla” and the arrest of the people on it. As Israel has carried out similar acts of piracy in the past, this can’t be regarded as an empty threat.

I trust you will remind Israel of the legitimate restraints on all states, with regard to the freedom of shipping in international waters, and the waters of other countries.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Freedom Flotilla is on it's way to break Gaza siege

Sixth ship joins as Freedom Flotilla nears Gaza

From the Free Gaza Movement Twitter feed
Free Gaza Movement
30 MINUTES AGO
Challenger 1 joined the flotilla. Boat is OK. Some passengers loaded onto other boats. We now have six boats to challenge the siege

Live from the Gaza flotilla - Kevin Ovenden reports for Viva Palestina

KEVIN OVENDEN REPORTING LIVE FROM THE GAZA FLOTILLA!!!
 
At 17.30 this evening the European Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza arrived at the staging point south of Cyprus, joining the Greek cargo ship and the three Turkish vessels in international waters. We are now waiting the arrival of five European parliamentarians from Cyprus, who have had to travel from the Greek south to the Turkish north in order to board a vessel to join us. It is an embarrassing episode for the Greek Cypriot government of President Christofias. Cyprus had previously been accommodating of efforts to break the siege on Gaza, but not this time.

The level of support for the international flotilla is growing by the day. There are now expressions of either support for allowing the ships in or calling for Israel to be restrained in its actions from Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Russia and from the EU foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton. At the same time, Israel has remained bellicose and truculent in its responses.

The atmosphere on board the lead passenger vessel, the Mavri Marmara, is calm and determined - thanks in large part to the drive and discipline of the Turkish delegation led by the indomitable IHH.

The Viva Palestina delegation, drawing on our experience of the three land convoys, is contributing to maintaining the resolve, which is hardening, despite the loss of two European vessels which have had to break off from joining the flotilla due to mechanical problems.

It is clear to us that Israel has already lost in this confrontation, which is entirely of its own making. First, the flotilla is generating unprecedented publicity, and it is overwhelmingly critical of Israel's stance. I was interviewed on Fox News, for example, and even the interviewer seemed to run through the moderately hostile questions as a matter of course rather than with any conviction. Second, it has openly declared that it is prepared to use physical force against a peaceful, humanitarian mission. Despite efforts by hostile media to claim that this is merely a propaganda or political mission, the message that this flotilla is bringing vital humanitarian aid is getting through. The political dimension is a result purely of the illegal and immoral siege imposed on the people of Gaza. It is Israel and governments which support the embargo which have made concrete, glass, educational supplies and medicines and incendiary political issue.

As with every confrontation Israel has engaged in over the last few years it is drawing down its already reduced political stock. So, the threats to seize the ships and intern 600 people in the Israeli port of Ashdod are having the effect neither of intimidating people onboard nor of generating awe elsewhere. Perhaps among some people they may create fear. But creating fear is never the way to being loved. In fact, the bellicosity coming from Israel is more likely to lead some of those who continue to support it to fall out of love with it.

We await the shuttle boat from Cyprus and setting course for Gaza tomorrow.

Kevin Ovenden
Viva Palestina, on board the Mavri Marmara
 
 
 
END
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Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK
Tel: +447889726777
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/
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Viva Palestina, helping to make the positive steps in breaking the siege of Gaza!