For Immediate Release
Free Gaza Boats Leave For Cyprus With Palestinians On Board
After having shattered the Israeli blockade of Gaza earlier this week, the Free Gaza and Liberty will depart Gaza for Cyprus at 2pm today. Several Palestinians who have previously been denied exit visas by Israel will join international human rights workers on the journey. Among the Palestinians leaving are Saed Mosleh, age 10, of Beit Hanoun, Gaza. Saed lost his leg due to an Israeli tank shell and is leaving Gaza with his father to seek medical treatment. Also on board are the Darwish family, who will finally be reunited with their relatives in Cyprus.
"I can't believe we're finally able to leave for medical treatment," said Khaled Mosleh, Saed's father. "This is a miracle of God."
Nine international human rights workers will remain in Gaza to do longer-term monitoring and accompaniment, and one, Dr. Bill Dienst of Omak, Washington, will attempt to cross over into Israel later today via the Erez crossing.
By freely traveling to Gaza, on Saturday, August 23rd, in two, small, wooden boats, the Free Gaza Movement forced the Israeli government to issue a fundamental policy change regarding their military and economic blockade of Gaza. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign affairs publicly announced that humanitarian and human rights missions to Gaza will no longer be stopped or threatened by Israel. With the end of the Israeli siege of Gaza, Palestinians should be free to exercise their rights without fear of being stopped or killed by the Israeli military.
Yvonne Ridley, a journalist and member for the Free Gaza Movement, summed up her experience in Gaza by saying, "I missed the start of the Berlin Wall coming down by just a few days, but now I know how people felt when they tore down those first few bricks. This has been a huge victory of people over power."
Since the organizers of the Free Gaza Movement will not be entering Israeli territorial waters, and since they will request an inspection from both the Gaza Port Authority when they depart, and the Cypriot authorities upon their return, they expect no interference on the part of the Israeli authorities when they leave Gaza. By Israel's own admission, it has no authority to inspect the boats or the passengers when they leave Gaza.
With the collapse of the Israeli blockade, the Free Gaza Movement will quickly return to Gaza with another delegation, and they would like to encourage the United Nations, Arab League and international community to organize similar human rights and humanitarian efforts. The Free Gaza Movement will continue to work to ensure that safe passage between Gaza and the outside world will remain free and open.
Please note: Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former Prime Minister Tony Blair has remained in Gaza until Saturday. She is available for interviews on +970 598 830 136.
PALESTINIANS LEAVING GAZA ON THE FREE GAZA & LIBERTY
Maha M.S. Darwish, mother
Omar Darwish, age 5
Sami M.J. Darwish, age 14
Ayman M.J. Darwish, age 17
Tawfiq M.J. Darwish, age 18
Khaled Mosleh, father
Saed Mosleh, age 10
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS LEAVING GAZA
Greta Berlin, Los Angeles, USA
Nikolaos Bolos, Athens, Greece
Maria del Mar, Vilanova i La Geltru, Spain
Musheir El Farra, Sheffield, UK
Eliza Ernshire, London, UK
Petros Giotis, Athens, Greece
Christos Giouanopoulos, Athens, Greece
Derek Graham, Ballina, Ireland
Mary Thompson-Hughes, Los Angeles & London
Fathi Jaoudi, Jendouba, Tunisia & London
Yiannis Karipidis, Komothnh, Greece
Giorgios Klontzas, St. Nicolaos, Greece
John Klusmire, Monterey, CA, USA
The Hon. Anastasios Kourakis, MP (representing Thessaloniki, Greece)
Dr. Paul Larudee, El Cerrito, CA, USA
Dr. Edith Lutz, Cologne, Germany
Theresa McDermott, Edinburgh, Scotland
Sr. Anne Montgomery, New York, USA
Aki Nawaz, Bradford, UK
Thomas Nelson, Welches, OR, USA
Peter Philips, New York, USA
Dr. Vaggelis Pissias, Athens, Greece
Panagiotis Politis, Volos, Greece
Yvonne Ridley, London, UK
David Schermerhorn, Deer Harbor, WA, USA
Huwaida Arraf Shapiro, Ramallah, Palestine
Courtney Sheetz, New York, USA
Kathy Sheetz, Woods Hole, MA, USA
Ren Tawil, Minneapolis, MN
Kathleen Wang, Diamond Bar, CA, USA
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS REMAINING IN GAZA
Vittorio Arrigoni, Bulciago, Italy
Georgios Karatzas, Pireas, Greece
Jenny Linnell, Totnes, UK
Andrew Muncie, Spean Bridge, Scotland
Ken O'Keefe, London, UK
Adam Qvist, Copenhagen, Denmark
Darlene Wallach, San Jose, CA, USA
Donna Wallach, San Jose, CA, USA
Free Gaza is a human rights group founded in 2006. Our mission is to break the Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza’s 1.8 million civilians, since it inflicts collective punishment on the Palestinians who live there and has destroyed its economy. Free Gaza believes in direct action in confronting Israel’s abuse of Palestinians using non-violent means and has found these voyages to be one of the most effective ways to alert the world to the prison-like conditions of Gaza. Ultimately, there is no better example of direct action than Free Gaza’s sustained attempts to break the siege on Gaza which...