NEW MISSION FROM CAIRO TO GAZA: FROM 25 DECEMBER 2012 TO 2 JANUARY 2013!

 

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The whole of Palestine has become a vast prison. Therefore, we shall continue to say NO to the isolation of the Palestinians until they are free: Free to move, free to work, study, look after themselves, live in peace in their own territory and to return after being expelled.

By now in the Gaza Strip, the blockade has strangled the population for six long years, with the well-known dramatic consequences on women, men and children, regarding sanitary, economic and educational conditions and the permanent anxiety caused by the air raids which have never ceased since the terrible winter 2008-2009 massacres.

The world tends to forget about it: Time goes by and the media fall silent. Our governments contribute to perpetuating this inhuman situation endured by nearly two million human beings deprived of electricity, drinking water, formula milk and future prospects.

And what about us? There is no question of our making this barbarity seem ordinary.

We had wanted to go to Gaza in December 2009. We took part in the march for Gaza but we were blocked in Cairo by Mubarak. At a price! The whole world was called to witness to the collaboration between this tyrant and the Israeli occupier. Moreover, the Egyptians remembered this, when the time came… as told by the writer Alaa Al Aswany (http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article4667).

Since then, three years have passed: Very long years for the Gazans. However, important events took place in Egypt, when the population succeeded in ousting Mubarak during a tremendous uprising.

So the time is long overdue to lift this shameful blockade, whether or not the Israelis like it.

To better concretize our intentions, we have decided to go and meet the Gazan population on 27 December, the sad anniversary of the first Israeli bomb attacks on the civilian population. The bombing started on a Saturday at lunchtime, when children were coming out of school.

That was precisely, on a Saturday, which shows how unimportant the Jewish religion is for the Jewish state!

Indeed, the schools were targeted and nearly 400 Palestinian children were killed during these three weeks of bombing – not to mention thousands of others who were wounded or mutilated, who lost their parents, brothers or sisters.

We have not forgotten them.

We do think that it is important to remind the world how intolerable this bombing and this blockade are, how deeply upset we are as human beings.

We have planned to meet with admirable women and men who courageously struggle for survival, from 27 to 31 December included: Of course, we want to spend New Year’s Eve with our Gazan friends.

However, before we do this, we shall stop at Cairo, to say hello to our Egyptian friends and congratulate them for the amazing camaraderie and intelligence they showed to free themselves from tyranny!

Please take time to look at the other items on this site, in order to get more information on this mission.

Furthermore, if, after reading this, you would like to take part in the mission, you can contact us @http://bienvenuepalestine.com/

(airflotilla2.wordpress.com / 05.10.2012)

Gazan Prime Minister Haniyeh: Mavi Marmara won a victory for Palestine

Gaza’s Prime Minister İsmail Haniyeh who on Monday visited the Mavi Marmara ship, which was the target of a deadly Israeli attack in 2010 on its way to Gaza, said the “Palestinian cause won a victory with Mavi Marmara.”

Gazan Prime Minister Haniyeh: Mavi Marmara won a victory for Palestine02.01.2012 – Gazan Prime Minister Haniyeh: Mavi Marmara won a victory for Palestine

Haniyeh who is on an official visit to Turkey visited the Mavi Marmara ship, which was the part of a six-ship humanitarian aid flotilla for Gaza, docked in İstanbul along with IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation President Bülent Yıldırım. At a news conference before the visit, Haniyeh offered his thanks to the Turkish people, the IHH, which organized the flotilla and all the activists on board the flotilla for their support for Palestine.

IHH President Yıldırım: We will never give up until blockade is lifted

At the news conference, IHH President Yıldırım said that the struggle of Palestine is a just struggle for freedom as he explained: “The entire humanity is with Palestine. When children and women are killed in Palestine every day, we have been killed and attacked together with them but we have never given up supporting them and we will never do so. The second Mavi Marmara voyage had to be postponed. I would actually would like to give you a good news here. I would very much like to say, ‘We will now board the Mavi Marmara with Mr. Haniyeh and go to Gaza.’ But there is need for time to do this. The blockade on Gaza will be removed; never have any doubts about this. And we will not give up from our struggle until the blockade on Gaza is lifted. Now, the Mavi Marmara continues its mission on the land. Allah willing, after we complete our march in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and in some several other countries, we will set sail again and reunite with our sisters and brothers in Palestine.”

Haniyeh: Gazans reached Mavi Marmara

Haniyeh began his remarks by greeting the Turkish nation on behalf of the Palestinians.

“Muslim and noble Turkish nation, we came to you from Masjid al-Aqsa, from the besieged land of Gaza. I brought you the greetings of millions of Palestinians around the world and in Palestine. I greet you all before the memory of Palestinian martyrs and Mavi Marmara martyrs,” he said.

Regarding the nine Turkish peace activists who were killed by Israel on the Mavi Marmara, Haniyeh said: “The blood of your victims beat the blockade, your victims are our victims and your wounded are our wounded,” and explained the situation in Gaza before and after the flotilla. “After we won the elections as Hamas, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza. They wanted to change our political attitude and break the resistance of the mujahedeen Palestinian people. They wanted to cut off the ties of Palestinian cause with other Muslims. They waged a war against Gaza, imposed a blockade on it. They martyred our brothers on Mavi Marmara. We have faced with a kind of piracy which is unprecedented in the history but we got rid of the blockade thanks to Mavi Marmara. We won a victory against Israeli blockade. The blood of Mavi Marmara victims reached Gaza and surrounded the people of Gaza with love. The martyrs of Mavi Marmara have made Turkey return to its historical path and mission. We tell this to the world: Mavi Marmara may not have reached Gaza but Gazans have reached Mavi Marmara.”

Haniyeh thanks Prime Minister Erdoğan

Recalling a meeting he had with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the first day of his visit to Turkey on Sunday, he said: “I offer my special thanks to the Prime Minister of Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for the support he gives to Gaza. At our meeting, I have seen that he thinks the same with us for Palestinian cause.”

Haniyeh also thanked Turkey for welcoming some of the Palestinians who were released from Israeli prisons as part of a prisoner swap deal with Israel last year.

“I thank Turkey for opening its arms to these brothers. They had been jailed for decades. Now, these brothers who are with you now are the brothers who will keep the Palestinian cause alive,” added Haniyeh.

The Gazan leader said the Arab Spring will be beneficial for the cause of Palestine and they will never take a backward step in the wake of the Israeli blockade.

“The Palestinian cause won a victory with Mavi Marmara. Thanks to Mavi Marmara, all the plots made on us were foiled. I greet all of our martyrs, I commemorate them with prayers. I hope to see you in Jerusalem, I say I hope to see you in Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine. I greet you all on behalf of Hamas and Ezzedeen Al-Qassam. Allah willing, we will win a victory. If you ask ‘when,’ my answer will be ‘as soon as possible.’”

Haniyeh was greeted joyfully with slogans and takbeers as he was coming to the news conference in front of the Mavi Marmara ship which is docked at Haliç Shipyard. He joined slogans saying, “May my life and blood be sacrificed for you, al-Aqsa.”

The Gazan prime minister also met with families of the Mavi Marmara martyrs, saw the deckhouse of the Mavi Marmara ship and received information about the moments on the ship during Israel’s attack.

(www.ihh.org.tr / 02.01.2012)

Bill in Congress seeks to investigate US Boat to Gaza for “terrorist” ties

A bill introduced in the United States Congress last month would require the State Department to investigate “The sources of any logistical, technical, or financial support for the Gaza flotilla ships, including the Audacity of Hope, that were set to set sail from Greece on July 1, 2011.”

The Audacity of Hope is the name of the ship, operated by US Boat to Gaza, on which Alice Walker, Hedy Epstein and dozens of others attempted to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza before being stopped by Greece last summer.

The bill, which contains numerous inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims from an Israeli “anti-terrorism” organization, would further criminalize American citizens’ solidarity with Palestinians.

House Resolution 3131 is sponsored by Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and is co-sponsored by 12 other members of Congress from both parties including notorious anti-Palestinian campaigners, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Eliot Engel (D-NY).

Defamation and falsehoods

The bill asserts, turning reality on its head, that “Recent past history has suggested that the sole intent of the flotillas is to provoke an Israeli military response in the international waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.”

It also claims, amid a laundry list of other dubious recitations, that “Since the beginning of 2010, Israel has provided over 100,000 tons of aid to the people living in Gaza.”

In fact, Israel does not provide any “aid” to Palestinians. Rather, Israel allows limited quantities of aid supplied by the United Nations and other countries into Gaza according to arbitrary restrictions as part of its siege.

Israel has deliberately restricted food supplies to the 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza using “mathematical formulas” designed to keep the population on the edge of hunger without attracting too much international attention, as the Israeli human rights organization Gisha discovered from an examination of Israeli defense ministry documents.

Claims of “terrorist ties” based on Israeli propaganda outfit

Reproducing unsubstianted Israeli propaganda and allegations, the bill accuses the Turkish humanitarian organization IHH, which was involved in earlier flotillas, of ties to terrorism:

The Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of the Treasury have determined that flotilla organizers Free Gaza and the Insan Hak ve Hurriyetleri ve Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), an Islamic nongovernmental organization (known in English as the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief), have known terrorist ties.

In 2010, IHH organized a flotilla that included the ship Mavi Marmara carrying 40 IHH members, including Fatima Mahmadi, Ken O’Keefe, Hassan Iynasi, Hussein Urosh, Ahmad Umimon, and others with known links to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations who were armed with 100 metal rods, 200 knives, 150 military self-defense vests, 50 wooden clubs, gas masks, and a telescopic sight for a gun.

But the bill provides no evidence to back up these sensational and propagandistic claims. IHH is in fact not designated as a “terrorist” organization by any US government agencies. The claims in the bill are not based on US government or intelligence reports, but appear to come directly from unsubstantiated claims published by an Israeli propaganda and advocacy outfit calling itself the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. This group is closely connected with Israel’s military and intelligence establishments, the main sources for sometimes laughable anti-flotilla incitement and propaganda.

Laying grounds to prosecute Americans

The bill appears to be a transparent attempt to criminalize solidarity with Palestinians and opposition to US policy supporting Israel’s siege of Gaza. It would effectively further erode First Amendment rights in order to intimidate and suppress criticism of Israel. It demands,

Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189).

No concern for Americans

HR 3131 reads like a manifesto of the most extremist pro-Israel organizations. Fair enough, if that’s how members of Congress think they should be spending their time. But in addition to the bill’s utter disregard for facts and its dehumanizing contempt for Palestinians is the notable lack of any concern for US citizens and their lives, especially Furkan Dogan an American teenager who was murdered execution-style by Israeli soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

The bill is currently in committee.

(electronicintifada.net / 12.11.2011)

Detained Canadians coming home after Gaza arrest: protest group

All three Canadians who were detained by authorities after taking part in a  flotilla that tried to breach an Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip are coming  home, supporters say.

Two are to arrive back in Canada on Thursday, and another one next week,  according to Canadian Boat to Gaza, which helped organize the mission, which was  meant to bring attention to the controversial blockade.

The news comes after the same organization said all three had been warned by  the Israelis they could be held in prison without trial and charges for two  months unless they signed a document admitting they voluntarily entered Israel  illegally.

It’s a claim the group says is false, saying those who were travelling on the  Canadian ship Tahrir and Ireland’s Saoirse were “violently kidnapped from  international waters and taken to Israel against their will while trying to  reach Gaza.”

The group has said those on the mission were beaten and intimidated by  Israeli authorities, a claim government sources say has not been verified by  consular officials who saw them in custody.

David Heap of London, Ont., and Ehab Lotayef of Montreal are to arrive at  Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport on Thursday morning. They’ve scheduled a  news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa early in the afternoon.

Karen DeVito is to return home to Vancouver next week, the group said.

(www.montrealgazette.com / 10.11.2011)

Hackers threaten cyber attack against Israel; Mossad, IDF websites down

International hacker group says will disable government computer systems after Israel Navy interception of 2 Gaza-bound vessels on Friday; calls interception ‘an act of war.’

The international cabal of hackers known as Anonymous is threatening a cyber-attack on the Israeli government’s computers in response to its interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla on Friday.

In a video that was uploaded to YouTube, the groups warns that if the siege on Gaza is maintained, it will have no choice but to go on the attack.

On Sunday, the websites of the IDF, Mossad and the Shin Bet security services were down. It is still not clear whether this was linked to threat of “Anonymous.”

In the video, the group accused the Israeli government of breaching international law and of piracy, because IDF naval commandos boarded the boats 35 nautical miles from the coast, in international waters.

“We do not tolerate this kind of repeated offensive behavior against unarmed civilians,” the group said in the video message.

“We along with 127 countries recognize Palestine as a state for the people of Palestine and such acts by you and your military are acts of war against a sovereign nation,” they added.

Anonymous said that if the siege continues and Israeli forces intercept additional flotillas, or if they conduct additional operations such as the commandeering of the Mavi Marmara, it will have no alternative but to launch repeated cyber-attacks on Israeli computer systems until the siege ends.

Anonymous has succeeded in the past in bringing about the temporary disabling of many websites, including credit card companies that refused to transfer donations to the WikiLeaks organization.

Several months ago, Anonymous announced that they have the code for Stuxnet, which was distributed on the internet. Security experts usually do not see them as a strategic threat, as they do programmers who are responsible for this type of malicious software.

Anonymous threatened to disable the Knesset website a few months ago, but even if hacking did occur then, the website continued to function and did not suffer any apparent damage.

(www.haaretz.com / 06.11.2011)

I write to you from cell 9 of the Apartheid State of Israel

Dear sisters and brothers, friends and loved ones,

I write to you from cell 9, block 59 Givon Prison near Ramla in Occupied Palestine.  Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir, and bruised during forcible removal dockside (I am limping slightly as a result) I am basically ok.  We, Ehab, Michael, Karen from Tahrir, as well as Karen, Kit (US) and Jihan who we saw briefly this morning.  We are most concerned about our Tahrir shipmate, Palestinian Majd Kayyal from Haifa, last seen by us at Ashdod being photographed and put in a police car.*

Although Michael and I (among others) were transported in handcuffs and leg shackles, let me stress that we are neither criminals nor illegal immigrants but rather political prisoners of the apartheid state of Israel.  Four from the Tahrir are imprisoned with 12 Irish comrades from the Saoirse, who have more experience with such issues.  The four of us, Ehab and I (Cdn), Michael (Aus) and Hassan (UK) have joined with the Irish in their political prisoners’ committee in order to press our collective demands:

  • association in the block – i.e. open cells
  • adequate writing and reading material
  • free communication with outside world – i.e. regular phone calls
  • information about shipmate women held at same prison

We add one Tahrir-specific demand: that Israeli state recognize the professional status of Democracy Now journalist Jihan Hafiz in accordance with her credentials from the US government.  All political incarceration is unjust but let me stress that in duration and conditions, our situation pales in comparison to the plight of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners and to the open air prison of Gaza.

If you have energy to devote to solidarity actions in the coming days, please concentrate on them.  We must get Tahrir back and hope Freedom Waves continue.
Free Majd Kayyal!  Free all political prisoners!  Free Gaza!  Free Palestine!

Anishnabe-debuewin, restons humaine, stay human, in love and struggle,

David

* Majd Kayyal was released, but it appears David the other political prisoners weren’t told where he was taken.

(www.tahrir.ca / 06.11.2011)

Canadian activist ‘roughed up’ when ship to Gaza taken over by Israeli troops

JERUSALEM – Organizers say some activists were beaten when Israeli troops took over a Canadian ship trying to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza strip.

The Tahrir was carrying medical aid and activists from nine countries, including three Canadians, when it was intercepted by Israeli forces yesterday.

Israel has said the takeover was peaceful and no one was hurt in the process. The Tahrir and an Irish ship it was sailing with were towed to a port north of Gaza.

But Canadian Boat to Gaza organizer Dylan Penner says he’s been told some activists — including a man from London, Ont. — were “roughed up” when they refused to voluntarily leave their vessel.

He says organizers are also very concerned that those being held haven’t been able to contact family, lawyers or supporters back home.

Israeli officials say deportation procedures are underway for 22 activists who were taken in yesterday and they should be sent home within 72 hours.

Israel says its naval blockade of the Palestinian territory is vital to stop weapons reaching the Iran-backed Hamas militants who control Gaza. Critics say it amounts to collective punishment.

(BREAKING NEWS:  / www.winnipegfreepress.com / 05.11.2011)

Israel begins deporting Gaza boat activists

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli authorities on Saturday began deporting pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the Jewish state’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli navy on Friday intercepted a Canadian vessel and an Irish boat carrying 27 activists and medical supplies which had set sail from Turkey toward the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli Immigration Authority spokeswoman said two Greek citizens were flown home on Saturday and two journalists, one American and one Spanish, were to board flights on Sunday.

One Israeli citizen was released, as was an Egyptian woman who had crossed back to neighboring Egypt overnight, the spokeswoman said. Twenty one other activists were being held in custody in Israel and were awaiting deportation.

In May 2010, Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish aid vessel to enforce the naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave, and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists, some of them armed with clubs and knives.

There were no injuries in the interception of the two boats on Friday.

Israel has blockaded Gaza since the Islamist group Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, citing the need to prevent weapons smuggling.

A U.N. report on Israel’s interception of the Turkish aid ship said the  blockade was a “legitimate security measure,” but added that Israel had used unreasonable force in its raid on the ship. Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy and  froze military cooperation with Israel over the Jewish state’s refusal to apologize for the killings.

Pro-Palestinian groups behind the latest attempt to reach Gaza by sea condemn the blockade as illegal and inhumane. A spokeswoman for the Irish Ship to Gaza group said on Friday they would continue to send boats until the blockade is  lifted.

(www.reuters.com / 05.11.2011)

Keeping the Canadian Boat to Gaza’s promise: Freedom Waves are just beginning

November 4, 2011

By David Heap and Ehab Lotayef

A few months ago, the Greek government acted at the behest of Israel to help enforce its illegal and unjust blockade of Gaza. Freedom Flotilla II was blocked, and the closure of Gaza was extended all the way to the shores of Europe.

We promised then to look for other means and new opportunities to sail to Gaza. We promised not to be deterred by the heavy-handed ways that Israel maintains its blockade of Gaza. We promised to keep working, in memory of those who were massacred on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010, and in solidarity with the Palestinians who suffer brutality and deprivation every single day.

This week we have kept our promise, beginning the Freedom Waves to Gaza with a ‘surprise flotilla’ consisting of the Tahrir, a Canadian boat with international partners, and the Saoirse from Ireland. To keep our promise we had to remain silent about our specific plans, to avoid Israeli sabotage and political interference.

Whatever the Israeli Occupation Forces do to us, this flotilla marks the launching of the Freedom Waves. It is the continuation of many efforts over the years to bring the plight of Gaza and Palestine to the world’s attention. We will keep coming again and again, until the closure of Gaza is ended and Palestinians have been able to achieve liberation and justice.

No amount of violence, oppression and bullying can kill an idea and a cause whose time has come. And it is long past time already for liberation to come to Gaza and all of Palestine.

Everything we have done, since the very beginning of the flotilla movement, has been in response to the wishes and calls for solidarity by the Palestinian people.

Earlier this year, a number of civil society and popular organizations issued a statement to the world: “We the Palestinians of the besieged Gaza Strip, are calling on the world: enough inaction, enough discussion, enough waiting – the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip must end. While attention is focused on the Palestinian bid for statehood in the UN, do not forget that the blockade and the suffering continue in Gaza.”

We, as the Canadian Boat to Gaza, are determined to continue our solidarity efforts with the people suffering under blockade and occupation. Our own governments and the so-called ‘international community’ have failed Gaza and all of Palestine, and that is why we feel that we must act.

We are not the first flotilla, and we will not be the last. No matter the massacres, the threats, the harassments and the propaganda that Israel deploys, Freedom Waves will continue until the blockade of Gaza is lifted.

Whatever nonsensical lies Israel tries to tell, the whole world knows that this is a non-violent, people to people act of solidarity. Israel and its apologists fear us precisely because they know we are unarmed, or rather that we are armed only with medicine and letters of support.

There can be no justification for the way our boats were boarded and we were detained. The Tahrir was intercepted in international waters – this amounts to state piracy. Massive military might was deployed to attack our right to safe passage, denying the people of Palestine’s right to control their own borders.

We are now forcibly being held in Israel. What we are enduring – detention and the denial of our right to freely travel – is just a small taste of what Palestinians endure every day living under the blockade and occupation.

Expect us. Again and again. The Freedom Waves are just beginning.

David Heap and Ehab Lotayef are steering committee members of the Canadian Boat to Gaza, and are among the dozen delegates and journalists on board the Tahrir currently detained by Israel. Rallies are taking place across Canada today demanding their immediate safe release.

(www.straight.com / 04.11.2011)

An open letter from Anonymous to the Government of Israel.

  • Greetings government of Israel,
  • As the world has witnessed today your Navy soldiers boarded the vessels which were en-route to the Gaza Strip, attempting to break the illegal maritime security blockade placed by you to hurt the people of Gaza in the name of counter terrorism.
  • Two Irish-Canadian flotilla ships – Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom) – with 27 passengers from nine countries on board were approaching Gaza in a peaceful and humanitarian mission. They were not inside Israeli territories, and are not carrying any weapons. These boats were captured by your navy exactly at 15:59 Gaza Time; the vessels were about 35 NM outside Gaza, which is INTERNATIONAL WATERS at the time of capture. This is a clear sign of piracy on the high seas. Furthermore, UN resolution 3005 states, that all resources (so also the sea) and natural wealth falls under the control of residents of Gaza.
  • Your actions are illegal, against democracy, human rights, international, and maritime laws. Justifying war, murder, illegal interception, and pirate-like activities under an illegal cover of defense will not go unnoticed by us or the people of the world.
  • We do not tolerate this kind of repeated offensive behavior against unarmed civilians. We along with 127 countries recognize Palestine as a state for people of Palestine and such acts by you and your military are acts of war against another sovereign nation.
  • If you continue blocking humanitarian vessels to Gaza or repeat the dreadful actions of May 31st, 2010 against any Gaza Freedom Flotillas then you will leave us no choice but to strike back. Again and again, until you stop.
  • We are Anonymous,
  • We are legion,
  • We do not forget,
  • We do not forgive,
  • Expect us.

(pastebin.com / 04.11.2011)