The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

(Gaza) Caoimhe Butterly, +972 598 273 960 (Cyprus/Gaza) Lubna Masarwa, +972 505 633 044 (Cyprus) Ramzi Kysia , +357 99 081 767

'Free Gaza' Ship to Break Through Israeli Blockade for the Fourth Time


Free Gaza Movement announced today that it would send a delegation from
Cyprus to Gaza aboard their blockade-busting ship, the Dignity, at
11pm, Monday, 8 December. The Free Gaza Movement has successfully
challenged the siege on three previous occasions this year, landing
missions in Gaza in August, October, and November. Free Gaza ships are
the first to dock in Gaza Port in over 41 years.

maintains absolute control over Gaza's borders and airspace, and has
imposed an increasingly brutal blockade on its 1.5 million civilians
for over two years, drastically increasing poverty and malnutrition
rates. Over 700 students are currently trapped in Gaza, while Israel
denies their right to attend universities abroad.

a statement released by Drs. Jonathan Rosenhead Mike Cushman, of the
London School of Economics, the academics stated that they were pleased
to be traveling to Gaza aboard the Dignity, and that, "This siege is an
affront to any idea of academic freedom or human rights. We, working
for a British university, have the freedom to teach and study, this
must be a universal right, not at the discretion of an occupying power.
How can anyone justify preventing young people from fulfilling their
potential and learning how to serve their community more fully?"

addition to the British academics, this fourth voyage will include a
British surgeon traveling to Gaza to volunteer in local hospitals for
the next several weeks, as well as international human rights workers
and journalists. The ship will also be carrying in one ton of medical
supplies and high-protein baby formula. In recent days, Israel has
forcibly intervened to prevent other such missions from reaching Gaza.

Masarwa, one of the Free Gaza organizers, stated that, "Gaza doesn't
need charity. What Gaza needs is sustained political action aimed at
overcoming this vicious siege. We have no intention of turning around,
and so we're confident that we will reach Gaza. We are unarmed
civilians carrying desperately needed supplies to other unarmed
civilians. It would be obscene for Israel to use violence to stop us."

The passengers on board the Dignity this Saturday will include:

  • British
    academics on a fact-finding mission to document the devastating affects
    Israel's siege has had on the educational sector in Gaza
  • A British surgeon traveling to Gaza to volunteer in local hospitals for the next several weeks
  • A Palestinian man who has been denied the right to return to his family in Gaza
  • International human rights workers
  • International journalists from Al-Jazeera TV and McClatchy Newspapers

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 Israel claims it no longer occupies