Archive for May, 2010

EU supports Freedom Flotilla

May 28, 2010

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Demonstration in Support of the Break the Siege Flotilla

May 28, 2010
Saturday, 29.5.10

Leaving from Tel Aviv, Lewinsky Park, at 17:00

Tomorrow, Saturday, hundreds of international activists will try to arrive at the Gaza Port, as part of an effort to break the siege and convey humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

Israel has already declared that it would use its navy to stop the boats from arriving to Gaza and detain the activists.

Come support the international campaign against the siege, protest Israeli policy and show solidarity with the detainees.

For further information: Ya`acov 050-5733276, Sebastian 050-6846056

Response to the proposition of Noam Shalid

May 28, 2010

International Waters, May 26 2010

  1. We are happy that we have support for our humanitarian mission from countries all over the world and from within Israel itself, from Gush Shalom, the Coalition of Women for Peace, and now from Noam Shalid
  1. We fell deeply for the family of Gilad Shalid and for the families of the around 8000 Palestinian prisoners suffocating in Israeli prisons, and we hope that they all will be reunited with their families. Obviously, we also feel strongly for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the largest open air prison known to the history of man – the Gaza Strip
  1. We are a coalition of non-governmental organizations and have no links with any government. That said, we are going to a territory ruled by a government that you refuse to talk to, and we are willing to deliver your message to the authorities of Gaza.
  1. We expect Israel to behave according to the standards of every civilized, law-abiding nation and refrain from interfering when our Freedom Flotilla sails to Gaza to deliver reconstruction material and humanitarian aid to the besieged population of Gaza

Signed by the Coalition Partners of the Freedom Flotilla

IHH

Free Gaza

Ship to Gaza, Greece

Ship to Gaza, Sweden

European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza

Appell för Sveriges stöd till sina medborgare på internationellt vatten

May 22, 2010

Vi oroas över att vår regering underlåter att uttala sig när Israel hotar att attackera de svenska medborgare som färdas med Ship to Gaza på internationellt vatten. Ship to Gaza är en ideell och partipolitiskt obunden förening, som sänder humanitärt bistånd till den utsatta befolkningen på Gazaremsan, och som färdas helt obeväpnad i fredlig solidaritet – från människa till människa. Vi, som svenska medborgare, uppmanar därför vår regering att:

1. Klargöra för Israel, på diplomatisk väg, att israelisk lag inte gäller på internationellt vatten, att våldsanvändning mot skepp som fredligt färdas långt ifrån deras territoriella vatten, strider mot gällande internationell rätt och att Sverige står på den internationella rättens sida i denna fråga.

2. Offentligt erkänna sin lojalitet med svenska medborgare, vilka den svenska staten representerar, samt tillkännage sin intention att i enlighet med detta verka för att medborgarnas rättigheter respekteras och deras säkerhet garanteras.

Skriv under här.

Gush Shalom press release re Gaza boats

May 22, 2010

http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/he/events/1274528110

Press Release May 20, 2010

Gush Shalom calls upon the Government to allow the humanitarian aid boats to arrive at the coast of Gaza. “The State of Israel has no interest in flooding television screens all over the world with footage of its navy violently assaulting peace activists at sea. It is time to remove the suffocating siege and allow residents of Gaza to have free contact with the outside world, freely operate sea and air ports of their own like any country in the world”

The Gush Shalom movement calls upon the government to allow the eight-boat aid flotilla from all over the world to reach the shores of Gaza, where they are scheduled to arrive next week, and unload the humanitarian cargo which is urgently needed by the residents of Gaza. In a letter to Defense Minister Barak, Gush Shalom calls upon him to cancel immediately the instructions given to Israeli  Navy ships off the Gaza shore to intercept the aid flotilla.

“The whole world is looking. The State of Israel has no interest in flooding the international television screens with images of Israeli sailors and naval commandos violently assaulting hundreds of peace activists and humanitarian aid workers, many of them well-known in their countries. Whose interest will it serve when hours long dramatic live reports arrive from the Mediteranean, with the world’s sympathy given to hundreds of non-violent activists, on board eight boats, assaulted by the strongest military power in the Middle East?”  were the words of a letter to the Defense Minister.

No harm whatsoever will be caused to Israel from the aid flotilla reaching Gaza Port and unloading a cargo of medical supplies and medicines, school supplies and construction materials to rebuild the  houses destroyed by the Israeli Air Force a year and half ago and not yet been restored. On the contrary, it would be in Israel’s best interest to declare without delay that as a humanitarian gesture, the boats’ way will not be blocked. And in general, it is time to end once and for all the suffocating siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and causing terrible suffering to its million and a half inhabitants.

The siege on Gaza utterly failed in all the goals set for it by the government of Israel. The siege was supposed to result in toppling the Hamas government – and on the contrary strengthened this  government, which relied on the support of a significant part of the Palestinian People. The siege was supposed to help in gaining the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit – but on the contrary, the siege just delays that release, which could have been achieved long ago had the government of Israel agreed to the prisoner exchange deal, on which most of the details have been decided long ago. It’s time to end this cruel and pointless siege.

The residents of the Gaza Strip, like the citizens of Israel and of any other country in the world, have the right to maintain direct contacts with the outside world – to leave their country and return to it, to develop their economy, to import the products they need and export their own produce to anyone who wants to buy it, without asking or needing for permission from Israel, Egypt or any other country. Just as Israel needs no permit from any other country to operate daily the sea ports of Ashdod and Haifa and Eilat and the Ben Gurion International Airport, so are the Palestinians and their state to be  entitled to run their own sea port and airport in the Gaza Strip. Let the flotilla of humanitarian aid from all over the world be given the honour of inaugurating the sovereign Palestinian Port of Gaza!.

Contact:

Uri Avnery +972-505-306440

Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson +972-3-5565804 or +972-54-2340749

הודעה לעיתונות            20.5.2010

גוש שלום קורא לממשלה לאפשר הגעת ספינות הסיוע ההומניטארי לחופי עזה

“אין למדינת ישראל שום אינטרס להציף את מסכי הטלויזיה בכל העולם בתמונות של חיל הים מפעיל אלימות נגד פעילי שלום בלב ים.  הגיע הזמן להסיר את המצור החונק ולאפשר לתושבי עזה קשר חופשי עם העולם החיצוני, בנמלי ים ואויר משלהם כמו כל מקום אחר בעולם”

תנועת גוש שלום קוראת לממשלה לאפשר לשייטת שמונה אוניות הסיוע מכל רחבי העולם להגיע לחופי עזה בשבוע הבא ולפרוק את המטען ההומניטארי שעל סיפונן, הדרוש בדחיפות לתושבי הרצועה. במכתב אל שר הביטחון ברק קוראת לו התנועה לבטל מיד את ההנחיה שניתנה לחיל הים לעצור בכוח את השייטת.

“העולם כולו מתבונן בנו. אין למדינת ישראל שום אינטרס להציף את מסכי הטלוויזיה הבינלאומיים בתמונות של מלחים וחיילי קומנדו ישראלים נאבקים בפעילי שלום ואנשי סיוע הומניטארי, רבים מהם ידועים מאד בארצותיהם. את מי זה ישרת כאשר במשך שעות רבות יזרמו דיווחים דרמטיים בשידור חי מלב הים התיכון ואהדת העולם כולו תינתן למאות פעילים בלתי אלימים על סיפונן של שמונה ספינות, המותקפים בידי הכוח הצבאי החזק ביותר במזרח התיכון?” נאמר במכתב אל שר הביטחון.

לא יגרם למדינת ישראל שום נזק מכך שהשייטת תגיע לחוף עזה ותפרוק מטען של תרופות וציוד רפואי, חומרי לימוד לבתי הספר וחומרי בניה לשיקום הבתים שנהרסו בידי חיל האוויר לפני שנת וחצי וטרם שוקמו. להיפך, לטובתה של ישראל עדיף בהרבה להודיע ללא דיחוי כי כמחווה הומניטארית היא לא תחסום את דרכן של הספינות. יותר מכך, הגיע הזמן לסיים אחת ולתמיד את המצור החונק על רצועת עזה, הגורם סבל נורא למיליון וחצי תושבים. .

כל המטרות שהציבה ממשלת ישראל בהטלת המצור הזה נכשלו כשלון חרוץ. הייתה מטרה להפיל את ממשלת החמאס – והסתבר כי המצור אך מחזק ממשלה זאת, הנסמכת על תמיכת חלק משמעותי מן העם הפלסטיני. הייתה מטרה לקדם את שחרורו של החייל גלעד שליט – והסתבר כי המצור אך מעכב את השחרור הזה, שיכול היה להתבצע כבר מזמן אילו הסכימה ממשלת ישראל לעסקת חילופי השבויים שעל מרבית פרטיה הוסכם כבר מזמן. הגיע הזמן לשים קץ למצור הזה, האכזרי והחסר כל טעם.

לתושבי רצועת עזה, כמו לתושבי מדינת ישראל וכל מדינה אחרת בעולם, יש מלוא הזכות לקיים קשר ישיר עם העולם החיצוני, לצאת מארצם ולחזור אליה, לפתח את כלכלתם, לייבא מוצרים הנחוצים להם ולייצא את תוצרתם לכל מי שמעוניין לרכוש אותה, בלי לבקש אישור מישראל, ממצרים או מכל מדינה אחרת. כשם שמדינת ישראל אינה זקוקה לשום אישור ממדינה אחרת כדי להפעיל יום יום את נמלי הים באשדוד וחיפה ואת נמל התעופה בן גוריון, כך זכאים הפלסטינים בעזה ומדינתם שתקום  להפעיל נמל ים ונמל אויר משלהם. תהא שייטת הסיוע ההומניטארי מכל רחבי העולם השייטת החונכת את נמל עזה הפלסטיני הריבוני!

לפרטים:

אורי אבנרי 0505-306440

אדם קלר 03-5565804 או 054-2340749

Members of Swedish Parliament demand security for Ship to Gaza

May 21, 2010

On Wednesday, Helén Pettersson, Social Democratic member of the Swedish Parliament, submitted a written inquiry to Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, asking what measures the government intends to take in order to protect Ship to Gaza’s peaceful, lawful, humanitarian initiative. The reason for the inquiry is that Ship to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla—the coalition in which the Swedish initiative will be included— has been threatened with military resistance from Israeli authorities and private individuals. The following is Petterson’s inquiry in its entirety:

“One and a half million Palestinians are living in isolation on the Gaza Strip, in pure misery. There is a shortage of food, medicine and other necessities, such as building materials to repair homes, schools and other buildings which were destroyed by the bombings during the war around Christmas in 2008. In order to address the situation, Ship to Gaza is planning to take the sea route to Gaza, bringing medicine, desalination plants, cement, etc. in order to help the people in need. Ship to Gaza is a politically and religiously independent, non-profit organization that is working to promote increased respect for human rights and general international law. Israel’s government has now threatened to stop Ship to Gaza and to use force if necessary. Does the Foreign Minister intend to protect this humanitarian initiative?”

As early as last week, Mehmet Kaplan of the Green Party of Sweden requested a meeting with the Foreign Minister, along with Ship to Gaza spokespersons Dror Feiler and Mattias Gardell, in order to discuss which security measures the Swedish government plans to take. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has still not responded to any of the questions. As the convoy is setting sail this weekend, Ship to Gaza-Sweden wishes to emphasize how important a response from the government is regarding this matter. Especially since the Israeli media is reporting that the Swedish Ambassador to Israel has informed the Israeli government that she and the Swedish government intend to discourage Swedish citizens from participating in the Freedom Flotilla’s peaceful, lawful, humanitarian convoy. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and several other human rights organizations have all condemned the blockade. Furthermore, the director of U.N. relief operations in Gaza, John Ging, welcomes initiatives such as Ship to Gaza, in order to break the blockade.

Contact Information

Ship to Gaza – Sweden

Dror Feiler, +46 70 285 57 77

Mattias Gardell, +46 70 303 66 66

info@shiptogaza.se

http://www.shiptogaza.se

shiptogazasweden.wordpress.com

Ship to Gaza threatened by Israel – and supported by Turkey’s prime minister. How will Sweden and the EU act

May 14, 2010

According to several Israeli and Palestinian media, Israel will not hesitate to use violence to prevent the solidarity convoy Freedom Flotilla to reach Gaza. Ship to Gaza – Sweden has asked for a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Carl Bildt, and see how Sweden and the EU intend to protect the humanitarian, peaceful and completely legal action.

According to Israeli TV2 the Israeli government and military will not allow Ship to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla convoy to get to Gaza as planned, reaching the coast at the end of this month with its cargo of much needed material for reconstruction. According to a news article posted on their webpage, the Israeli have been given clear orders to prevent the solidarity convoy to reach Gaza, even it would take military violence. The Israeli Air Force have been given similar instructions: the convoy have to be stopped, with violence if needed, and the participants sent back to their respective countries.

During a meeting between the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza – Ship to Gaza’s coalition partner, Mr. Erdogan expressed his support for “breaking the oppressive blockade of Gaza”, which is a top priority for Turkey.

Ship to Gaza’s spokespersons Dror Feiler and Mattias Gardell, together with parliamentarian Mehmet Kaplan (Green Party) asked for an audience with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Carl Bildt. to discuss what measures the Swedish government and European Union will take to protect Ship to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla humanitarian, peaceful and entirely legal voyage.

Contact Information

Ship to Gaza – Sweden

Dror Feiler, +46 70 285 57 77

Mattias Gardell, +46 70 303 66 66

info@shiptogaza.se

http://www.shiptogaza.se

shiptogazasweden.wordpress.com

A “Freedom Flotilla” is planning to sail for Gaza by the end of the month.

May 7, 2010

It will be the ninth expedition to try to reach Gaza by sea. According to the coordinators of the “Freedom Flotilla”, this time it will be bigger and better than ever.

This time, there will be Turkish involvement.

The organisers of the “Freedom Flotilla” are calling it “the biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people”.

The last attempt to reach Gaza by sea was in June 2009 — then, Free Gaza ships were intercepted by the Israeli Navy off Gaza, and forced to proceed to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, where the cargo was impounded (some of it was later transferred by land to Israeli crossings and sent into Gaza). The activists aboard were jailed before deportation.

The Government of Bahrain, which does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, sent a delegation to receive its arrested activists.

Now, a Turkish relief organization, IHH (Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, or Insani Yardim Vakfi), is making major preparations to participate in the coming “Freedom Flotilla”. The aim is to reach Gaza’s fishermens’ wharf by late May.

According to the organizers’ plans, the Freedom Flotilla will include several cargo ships, and perhaps five passenger ships with up to 600 high-profile international personalities, activists, and journalists aboard.

Some of the ships will reportedly be flying the Turkish flag.

This means that any Israeli attack on those ships would be considered tantamount to an attack upon Turkey.

Another one of the cargo ships, refurbished and outfitted in Ireland, has been re-named the MV Rachel Corrie, after the American solidarity activist who died while trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in southern Gaza. She was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer.

Free Gaza organizer Mary Hughes Thompson said, “Although we were happy with the first trips, it was bitter-sweet, knowing that our small boats and symbolic amounts of relief paled in comparison to what was really needed in Gaza. Now, we finally feel we are helping to organize a powerful action, one with the potential to translate into a sustained campaign of much more effective challenges to Israel’s brutal siege.”

Israeli activist Jeff Halper, head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) said that “It seems like it’s a bigger expedition, with more people … and part of the idea is to keep trying … to rachet it up, in a PR sense”. Halper was on the first Free Gaza expedition into Gaza. He said in an interview with this reporter shortly after his return that he was received very warmly, and that many Gazans came up and spoke to him in Hebrew — a result of their long years of working in Israel, where they can no longer go, due to Israel’s policy of near-complete closure of the densely-populated Gaza Strip. Halper was arrested upon his return to Israel via the Erez border crossing from Gaza, but was freed on bail, and has not been summoned to court. (Israel has since declared that no visitors can exit Gaza from Erez if they entered Gaza from Rafah…)

Halper said he will not be going this month with the Freedom Flotilla, he said today. “I was told that ‘We know you, we love you, but it’s still a little too soon for Israelis to come to Gaza” — too soon, that is, after Operation Cast Lead.

The Free Gaza website says that “The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is comprised of: Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, with hundreds of groups and organizations around the world supporting the effort”.

The formation of this coalition was announced in early April in Istanbul.

IHH, the Turkish NGO, was founded in 1995, and has worked in Bosnia, Chechenya, Haiti. It is also, apparently, functioning in the West Bank. It was reportedly very supportive of the efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah crossing at the beginning of this year.

IHH says its basic objective is to assist those who are “distressed, victimized by war, disaster, etc, wounded, disabled, homeless and subjected to famine, oppressed”, and “to deliver humanitarian aid to all people and take necessary steps to prevent any violations against their basic rights and liberties”. See their website here.

IHH is calling this attempt “Noah’s Ark”.

What they are up against is a formally-declared Israeli naval blockade of Gaza’s maritime space (as defined in the map attached to the Oslo Accords, which is posted on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs here):

Gaza maritime space map attached to the Oslo Accords

The Israeli naval blockade was announced on 3-4 January 2009, as Israel began the ground offensive phase of its unprecedented military operation, Operation Cast Lead (27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009).

There has been no announcement that the naval blockade has been cancelled. Attempts today to seek clarification from Israeli Ministry of Defense spokespersons went unanswered.

The Freedom Flotilla organizers say that “In the wake of ongoing inaction by our governments to make Israel abide by international law, we – the citizens of the world – are taking action to stand up for justice”.

They report that they have received support from John Qing, Director of UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip, who said: “We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible.”

One international commented: “Everyone — certainly everyone in the UN — says that the blockade against Gaza is illegal collective punishment”.

Nevertheless, Qing’s comment that “the sea is open” is puzzling, in light of the declared Israeli naval blockade.

“There’s more to this than meets the eye”, said the international.

The Free Gaza organizers issued a statement quoting Denis Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary General who resigned from a position in Iraq to protest the effects of UN Security Council sanctions on the Iraqi population, as saying: “We welcome Mr. Ging’s statement, which recognizes the responsibility of the international community to oppose the illegal blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza”.

Denis Halliday is also, apparently, planning to be a participant in the Freedom Flotilla.

“There is a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza”, explains UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness, “and the blockade is disrupting education for thousands of five- and six-year olds in Gaza, while UNRWA has been forced to turn away 39,000 students”.

He said, however, that the UN “doesn’t currently have plans to use the sea route” to try to get supplies into Gaza.

The first Free Gaza expedition was in August 2008, and did arrive safely in Gaza — much to the chagrin of the Israeli military, who were ordered not to provide the activists with a “propaganda victory”. Then, Israel used progressively tougher tactics, ramming one ship which had to limp into a Lebanese port for repairs, and forcefully discouraging other Free Gaza expeditions.

Five Free Gaza expeditions sailed before the launch of Israel’s massive military operation, Operation Cast Lead. A boat in the sixth Free Gaza expedition was rammed by Israeli naval vessels — organizers say it was nearly sunk. The next two expeditions were also prevented from reaching Gaza.

Last June, it was nearly a fiasco. Cypriot authorities tried hard to discourage the Free Gaza organizers from setting sail, in light of the formal Israeli naval blockade, and Israeli warnings conveyed to the Free Gaza participants via various channels.

See our earlier reports here, and here, and here.

All previous Free Gaza expeditions took off from, and returned to, Cyprus.

Given the current division of Cyprus, the massive Turkish participation adds another diplomatic complication for is the upcoming “Freedom Flotilla”.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel, a monitoring organization, has posted a map that it says it got from the IHH website, showing a planned boat route from Turkey to Cyprus — and the map seems to suggest that a landing was planned in Cyprus — perhaps in the northern (Turkish-occupied) èart of the island:

Freedom Flotilla route map from IHH website according to  Terrorism-info.org

A Cypriot diplomat in the region said today that “They wanted to stop at Famagusta, but we said no”.

(Jeff Halper said this was “a huge issue”, and now thinks there will now be no stops anywhere in Cyprus — the ships will try to sail directly from Turkey to Gaza.)

The Cypriot diplomat added that “We didn’t stop them, but we don’t encourage them to go — because of what happened last time. We don’t want to see people killed…”

The preparations for the Freedom Flotilla are, of course, being closely tracked in Israel.  The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel is reporting here that “In the Gaza Strip, the Hamas administration prepares to receive the international flotilla, including deepening and cleaning the local fishing port. The works are carried out jointly by the Hamas administration Labor Ministry and elements in Turkey. The first phase is now nearing completion and works have begun on the second phase (savegaza.eu, the ECESG website, April 28)”.

According to a bulletin issued in early April, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said, here, that “the possibility that Israel will try to prevent the arrival of the flotilla has been taken into account. In response, numerous actions have been planned in order to make it difficult for Israel…It appears that the parties involved in the flotilla (‘the ship intifada’, as Jamal al-Khudari said) are taking into consideration the possibility of confrontations with the Israeli navy, creating a provocation that will be used by Hamas and its partners for propaganda and political gains”.

The bulletin added: “We believe that Hamas thinks that the presence of Turkish ships and activists will thwart Israel’s attempts to prevent the arrival of the flotilla, and can be used to (further) compromise Israel-Turkey relations”.

The Turkish government’s regional cooperation with Israel has come under severe strain as a result of the Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. There was a public row over the Israeli military operation in early 2009 at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Earlier this year, the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon arranged media recording of petty humiliations he arranged when he summoned the Turkish Ambassador to Israel for a rebuke.

And, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center bulletin noted, the Turkish relief organization IHH “is banned in Israel”. It also said, without further detail, that “When some IHH activists landed in Ben Gurion Airport, they were denied entry”.

Meanwhile, blogs are reporting here that “Israeli authorities have taken Izzet Sahin, the representative and founder of IHH’s Office in West Bank, into custody on the 27th of April. Izzet Sahin has been taken into custody by the Israeli military while he was passing through the checkpoint in Bethlehem. Sahin was transferred to Ashkelon prison following his stay in the detention center of Israel Security Agency (ISA). Nobody has heard from him since the day he was arrested. No reason has been declared by the Israeli officials for Sahin’s arrest, who has been studying Hebrew in the Hebrew University … Israeli police raided Sahin’s home after the arrest and took some of his personal belongings including his computer”.

IHH reports on its website that “Bulent Yildirim, President of IHH, stated that the reason behind Izzet Sahin’s arrest might be to stop the flotilla campaign to Gaza in the end of May. Yildirim said ‘If Israel wants us to give up on the campaign by doing things like this, they are wrong. We will be taking the humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine by the end of May. We are not doing anything out of legal boundaries’. He went on to say, “Israel has been keeping our friend in custody for 8 days. He is now being interrogated. Israel’s previous actions make us concerned. There are people who lost their lives under Israeli custody, there are those who were subject to torture. The first two days we were not informed of our friend’s location. Apparently, Sahin had two receipts of aid with him when he got arrested, one from IHH, one from another aid organization in Palestine. He supposedly had videos of Sheikh Raed Salah’s [a leader of the Islamic movement in northern Israel] in his house. Israel declares these as their evidence for the crime … It is claimed that Sahin is harmful for Israel’s security. How come a person who studies at Hebrew University and coordinates aid work over there is thought to harm Israel’s security? How could this be the truth? …

Yildirim also mentioned that the Foundation wanted to send 3 lawyers to defend Izzet Sahin, however no response has been received from the Israeli side, ‘This is an insult to Turkey. Turkish state is now obliged to solve this by sending out a diplomatic warning of the highest degree’ he continued. Visa applications have been launched for the lawyers”. This is posted here. Sahin’s first court appearance is expected in the coming days.

Posted on May 6th, 2010 by Marian Houk

Diakonia och Mankell reser med Ship to Gaza

May 6, 2010

Presskonferens i Erlanderrummet, ABF-huset, Sveavägen 41, 1 trappa på måndag 10 maj kl 11.

Efter femton månader av engagerat folkrörelsearbete och intensivt nätverkande är Ship to Gaza framme vid vårt första delmål: att skicka ett fartyg lastat med förnödenheter och solidaritet till den belägrade befolkningen i Gaza. På drygt ett år har vi samlat in över en miljon svenska kronor.

Tillsammans med vår grekiska systerorganisation har vi förvärvat ”Sofia”, en vackert blåmålad lastbåt på 67 meter och med en lastkapacitet på 1 500 ton, som om två veckor kommer att avsegla mot Gaza.

Lasten har bestämts av vår motpart i Gaza, en politiskt och religiöst obunden samorganisation för Gazas civilsamhälle, och ska bidra till Gazas återuppbyggnad: avsaltningsanläggningar, generatorer, svetsaggregat och cement.

Vi stävar mot Gaza i en konvoj – The Freedom Flotilla – bestående av åtta fartyg, av vilka tre är lastfartyg. Våra koalitionspartners är, förutom grekiska Ship to Gaza, den turkiska människorättsorganisationen IHH, Europa-kampanjen för att häva blockaden mot Gaza och den internationella Free Gaza-rörelsen.

Ombord kommer att finnas över 500 passagerare från fler än 50 länder, däribland parlamentsledamöter, fackföreningsledare, företrädare för folkrörelser, församlingar, solidaritetsrörelser, liksom representanter för den israeliska fredsrörelsen och internationell media. Från Sverige reser bland andra Bo Forsberg från den kristna biståndsorganisationen Diakonia, riksdagsledamot Mehmet Kaplan (mp) och en av Israels mest populära författare, Henning Mankell.

Träffa dem och Ship to Gazas språkrör Dror Feiler och Mattias Gardell i samband med presskonferensen. Intervjuer bokas direkt med något av språkrören.

Välkomna!

Ship to Gaza – Sverige

Ship to Gaza stöds av

Ship to Gaza-Sverige stöds av: Arbetarkonvojen, Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund (ABF), European Jews for a Just Peace, Emmaus Björkå, Emmaus Stockholm, Folkhögskolan i Angered, Free Gaza Movement (England), Broderskapsrörelsen, Ibn Rushd, Islamic Relief, Islamiska Förbundet, Judar för israelisk-palestinsk Fred, Kommunistiska Partiet, Kristna Freds Göteborg, Kulturföreningen Tellus, Miljöpartiet Jönköping, Olof Palmes Internationella Center, Palestinagrupperna i Sverige, Riksteatern, SAC – Syndikalisterna, Sensus studieförbund, Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan – Stockholm, Svenska Muslimer för Fred och Rättvisa, SUM – Sveriges Unga Muslimer, Vänsterpartiet, m.fl.

Kontaktuppgifter

Ship to Gaza – Sweden

Dror Feiler, +46 702 855 777

Mattias Gardell, +46 70 303 66 66

info@shiptogaza.se

www.shiptogaza.se

shiptogazasweden.wordpress.com

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition Welcomes UNRWA Gaza Director’s Call to Send Ships to Gaza

May 6, 2010

This month the Freedom Flotilla plans to do just that and we call upon others to join us.

Later this month the Freedom Flotilla, consisting of three cargo ships and five passenger boats, will set sail to Gaza, in the biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people. The ships are being readied in Greece, Ireland and Turkey to carry 5000 tons of reconstruction materials, school supplies, and medical equipment, as well as 600 passengers from over 40 countries.

“We welcome Mr. Ging’s statement, which recognizes the responsibility of the international community to oppose the illegal blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza,” said Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General and participant in the flotilla.

In the wake of ongoing inaction by our governments to make Israel abide by international law, we – the citizens of the world – are taking action to stand up for justice.

For more information:
Free Gaza Movement – Greta Berlin – +33 607374512

ECESG – Mazen Kahel – +33 1 46 81 12 92

IHH – Ahmet Emin Dag – +90 530 341 1934

Ship to Gaza / Greece – Vangelis Pissias – +30 697 200 9339

Ship to Gaza / Sweden – Dror Feiler – +46702855777

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The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is comprised of: Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, with hundreds of groups and organizations around the world supporting the effort.

www.freegaza.org, www.savegaza.eu, www.ihh.org.tr
www.shiptogaza.gr, www.shiptogaza.se