Israeli Pirates Capture Spirit of Humanity Aid
Boat Destined to Besieged Gaza, with World Silence
ISRAEL ATTACKS JUSTICE BOAT; KIDNAPS HUMAN RIGHTS
WORKERS; CONFISCATES MEDICINE, TOYS AND OLIVE TREES
[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] -
Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza
Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers
from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former
U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of
passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward
There are six British citizens on board the boat, including
the captain, Dennis Healey.
“This is an outrageous violation of
international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we
were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia
McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate.
“President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and
reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We're
asking the international community to demand our release so we can
resume our journey.”
According to an International Committee of
the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza
are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed
earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without
shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel
refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip.
The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of
their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.
“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza,
hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to
transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools,
hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast
Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by
them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire,
winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.
Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement
chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that:
“No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort
of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies,
and children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate
and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a
security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and
at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”
“Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a
clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and
Kidnapped Passengers from the Spirit of Humanity include:
Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity.
This will be his fifth voyage to Gaza.
Alex Harrison, UK
is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do
long-term human rights monitoring.
Fathi Jaouadi, UK
a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-coordinator
for this voyage.
Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity
worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human
Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a
Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and founder of the Rice
& Peas film production company. His documentaries focus on international
struggles for social justice.
Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza
to do long-term human rights monitoring.
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable
Association of Bahrain.
Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a
world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.
Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.
Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community
activist from Bahrain.
Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a
journalist & human rights activist.
Huwaida Arraf, US
is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-coordinator for
Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a
Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an
electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard the Spirit of
Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel
laureate and renowned peace activist.
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and
Free Gaza organizer.
Cynthia McKinney, US
is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice issues, as
well as a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate.
Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He
is traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human
Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film
maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.
WHAT YOU CAN DO!
CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972
fax: +972 2646 6357
CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367
CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
tel: +972 5
0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354
CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for
their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human
rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370
Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280
Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009
For more information contact (in Cyprus):
tel: +357 99 081 767 /
Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 077 820 /
Hamas criticizes world’s 'silence' at capture of Gaza aid
Date: 01 / 07 / 2009 Time: 12:59
Gaza – Ma’an –
The Hamas movement criticized on Wednesday what it said was
international indifference to Israel’s capture of a civilian ship
carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Israeli’s navy intercepted,
then took control of the Spirit of Humanity ship on Tuesday, towing it
to the Israeli port of Ashdod and arresting the crew and passengers. The
voyage was organized by the Free Gaza Movement, which has already staged
three successful journeys in defiance of an Israeli blockade.
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said, “The abduction of a ship carrying
solidarity activists from 22 [sic] countries indicates that Israel is
going too far with its criminal acts, and widening its range of
Barhoum asserted that the Gaza Strip badly needed
the efforts of all international activists and human rights groups to
help women, children, the elderly as well as victims of the recent
Israeli military offensive.
Barghouthi condemns Israeli attack on Free Gaza ship
Date: 30 / 06 / 2009 Time: 21:06
Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Dr Mustafa Al-Barghouthi
condemned Israeli decision to abduct the crew of the siege-breaking Free
Gaza ship and bring the boat and its cargo to Ashdod against their will.
Speaking following the incident Barghouthi called it a “pirate
attack” where internationals were illegally captured in international
waters and prevented from showing solidarity with Gazans. He expressed
shock that Israeli forces would treat crew members which included a
former US Congresswoman and Nobel Peace Prize winner as criminals.
He said he hoped the mission would not be deterred from continuing
their mission, which is scheduled to run two more missions to Gaza this
Int’l Palestinian campaign slams Israel for hijacking spirit
of humanity boat
[ 30/06/2009 - 06:00 PM ]
The international Palestinian campaign against the siege on Tuesday
strongly denounced the IOF troops for attacking the spirit of humanity
boat and towing it to an Israeli port as it was trying to enter the
territorial waters of Gaza, describing this behavior as an act of
In a statement, the campaign noted that the boat was carrying
humanitarian aid and multinational activists including Nobel prize
laureate Mairead Maguire and former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
The campaign said such act was not alien to Israel which violated all
international conventions, killed civilians and children and bombed
medical crews and civil institutions.
The campaign held Israel fully responsible for the lives and safety
of the Free Gaza activists aboard the boat, appealing to the
international community to intervene to get the activists released and
enable them to return safely to their homes or allow them to reach the
besieged Gaza Strip to pursue their humanitarian mission.
In another statement, the campaign reported it received this morning
a telephone call from Free Gaza organizer Huwaida Arraf saying the boat
was 24 miles off the coast of Gaza when it was intercepted and hijacked
by Israeli gunboats.
In a press statement to the PIC, spokesman for the Palestinian
government in Gaza Taher Al-Nunu held Israel fully responsible for the
lives of the Free Gaza activists, condemning what happened as a cowardly
act of piracy.
Spokesman Nunu said that this incident reflected the barbarism of
Israel and its violation of all international laws and conventions,
highlighting that such Israeli practices would not succeed in
discouraging growing international attempts to break the unjust siege on
In the same context, the Free Gaza team in Cyprus reported receiving
a cellphone call from boat passengers saying that the Israeli navy had
surrounded the boat and was pointing guns at all the passengers. In the
background, they reported hearing organizer Huwaida Arraf shouting at
Israeli naval soldiers, "You cannot open fire on unarmed civilians", and
repeating this statement a number of times.
Former US Green party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, who is
a passenger on the boat, stated, "I am extremely angry. We demand that
the Israeli government call off their attack dogs. We are unarmed
civilians aboard an unarmed boat delivering medical and reconstruction
aid to other human beings in Gaza. Why in God's name would Israel want
to attack us and threaten our safety and welfare? I call on president
Obama and the international community to intervene now to prevent this
situation from escalating with potentially drastic results to the
civilians on board."