Updated : Freedom Waves To Gaza Boarded By Israeli Military

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Provocateurs? Freedom Waves activists (Photo: MCT)
Provocateurs? Freedom Waves activists (Photo: MCT)

Freedom Waves to Gaza organizers have been unable to communicate with the ships since soon after the vessels were approached by Israeli warships earlier this afternoon.

 

Canadian and Irish ships sailing with Freedom Waves to Gaza have been illegally boarded by the Israeli military in international waters a short while ago.

 

Exclusive: Video From Gaza Flotilla As Israeli Navy Prepares to Intercept Boat  

 


 

The Israeli military stated that “Upon arrival of the vessels at the Ashdod port, the activists will be transferred to the custody of the Israel Police and immigration authorities in the Ministry of Interior”.

Freedom Waves to Gaza organizers have been unable to communicate with the ships since soon after the vessels were approached by Israeli warships earlier this afternoon.





The Canadian boat ‘Tahrir’ (Liberation) confirmed that the Israeli navy had contacted them asking for their destination at around 13:00 (Gaza time) to which Ehab Lotayef, an activist on board the ship, replied ‘The conscience of humanity’. When the Israelis again demanded to know the destination of the ship Lotayef replied; ‘The betterment of mankind’. ’

Huwaida Arraf ISM Co-Founder

Huwaida Arraf, spokesperson from Freedom Waves to Gaza, said “It’s clear that 27 civilians on two small boats, carrying only medicine, constituted no security threat to the Israeli state, and that the determination to keep them out is only a furtherance of Israel’s policy of collective punishment, a crime against humanity. Despite this Israeli aggression, we will keep coming, wave after wave, by air, sea, and land, to challenge Israel’s illegal policies towards Gaza and all of Palestine. Our movement will not stop or be stopped until Palestine is free.”

The Israeli military reported that the navy has been ordered by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to board the ships after “attempts to contact them failed.” The Israeli military has offered to unload the boats’ supplies at Ashdod, Israel.

Anatolia News Agency, Turkey, has reported that the boats were offered the choice to go to Egypt or return.

At 13:00 both ships were around 51 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza in international waters.

Israeli commandos boarded a previous Gaza Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010, killing nine Turkish activists and wounding many more.

The Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative is a non-violent, civil society movement to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza Earlier this morning, activists aboard both ships were preparing for possible attack by the Israeli navy by training in nonviolent resistance tactics. The two ships, carrying a total of 27 passengers and $30,000 worth of medicine and supplies, set off from Turkey on November 2.

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

Please help us continue our work.

www.freepalestinemovement.org
www.freepalestinemovement.org

 

Latest update on the Freedom Waves to Gaza Boats November 6, 2011

 

 Israeli Navy Boards Gaza Aid Ships

 

The take over of the Tahrir and the Saoirse was violent and dangerous. Despite very clear protests from the occupants of the two boats that they did not want to be taken to Israel, they were forcibly removed from the boats in a violent manner. The whole take over took about 3 hours. Many of those on the Canadian boat were beaten.

It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows. Fintan Lane, on the Saoirse, was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows where smashed and the bridge of that boat nearly caught fire. The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats, the Saoirse and the Tahrir collided with each and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse.  The boats nearly sunk, the method used in the take over was very dangerous.

The Israeli forces initially wanted to leave the boats at sea but the abductees demanded that they not be left to float unmanned at sea, for they would have been lost and possibly sunk. David Heap, a Canadian delegate, was tasered and beaten.  All belongings of the passengers were taken off them and crew and they still do not know if and what they will get back.  6 prisoners were released-both of the Greek Captains, 2 of the journalists and 2 delegates. The passengers remain in Givon detention center and many, including Kit Kittredge of the U.S., have not been able to make phone calls.

Those remaining are being asked to sign deportation papers which state that they came into Israel illegally and that they will not attempt another effort to break the Gaza blockade. If they sign they will not be allowed into Palestine, through Israel, for 10 years.  Obviously their goal was to go to Gaza not Israel, and a signature could validate Israel’s right to blockade Gaza, so they refuse to sign.  This will mean longer detention. Their continued detention is designed to force them to agree to abandon their legal rights and has nothing to do with the security of Israeli civilians – just like the blockade of Gaza’s civilians is clearly punitive and has nothing to do with the security of Israeli civilians.

Our State Department has not been an advocate for its citizens. They would rather join Israel in stating that we are terrorists. Obama on Thursday said the passengers on these boats are defying Israeli and American law. He must have been confused. It’s the other way around.   State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. was renewing its call to Americans “not to involve themselves in this activity,” and warned of possible consequences.
WE NEED ALL OF YOU TO GET ON THE PHONE TODAY AND CALL:

U.S. Emergency Consular Services  202-647-4000

and the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv  011-972-3-519-7575

 

Tell them you want them to insist Israel free the prisoners immediately and end its siege of Gaza.

Just a few phone calls can make a difference.

Thanks for all you do.

Jane Hirschmann and Felice Gelman


 

 

 

Author Details
Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. Her main focus are the US-Mid- East Conflicts. Her writing has been featured in several print and online publications. Her writing reflects the incredible resilience, almost superhuman steadfastness of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians, who are now facing the prospect of a final round of ethnic cleansing. She is committed to exposing Israel Lobbies control of ‘U.S. Middle East Policy. Control’ which amounts to treason by the Zionist lobbies in America and its stooges in Congress, and that guarantees there can never be a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only catastrophe for all, in the region and the world. Her mission is to inform and educate internet viewers seeking unfiltered information about real events on issues of the US/Middle East conflicts that are unreported, underreported, or distorted in the American media. PS: For those of her detractors that think she is being selective and even “one sided,” tough, that is the point of her work, to present an alternative view and interpretation of the US-Israel-Middle East conflict, that has been completely ignored in mainstream discourse. The purpose is to look at the current reality from a different and critical perspective, not to simply rehash the pro-US/Israel perspective, smoke and mirrors that has been allowed to utterly and completely dominate Mainstream discourse.
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