The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Hilary Smith, England: +447818040982
Greta Berlin, Cyprus: +357 99 08 17 67
Ramzi Kysia, Cyprus +357 96 47 12 63
Angela Godfrey Goldstein, Jerusalem: +972 547 366 393

'Free Gaza: Brick by Brick'


On June 25th, the Free Gaza movement will set sail on its eighth mission to break Israel's horrific siege and collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"The Israelis violated international law by ramming my boat carrying medical supplies to Gaza. Therefore, I never got to Gaza. Especially after Operation Cast Lead, I want to go to Gaza, and if I'm lucky, one day, I'll also get to visit a free Palestine," said former Representative Cynthia McKinney, one of the passengers coming back.

Along with McKinney, 36 others will board the FREE GAZA , a fishing boat, and the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, a small ferry loaded with building supplies such as cement, only a token of what is needed in Gaza, but a prelude to larger shipments the Free Gaza movement expects to take throughout the summer.

Mairead Maguire, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Ireland is also going back, "I am going to Gaza to show my love and support for the people of Gaza who continue to suffer under Israeli siege and occupation, yet whose spirit of nonviolent resistance inspires all who believe in equality, freedom and justice," she stated.

"It is crucial that we continue sending boats to Gaza to challenge Israel's criminal closure on the Strip," said Huwaida Arraf, delegation leader of the June 25th voyage. "Gaza does not need our charity but needs us to stand up against the forces that continue to deliberately deny an entire people their human rights. International donors pledged over $4 billion to rebuild Gaza, and yet none of them are doing anything about the fact that Israel is not allowing any building supplies into Gaza, not to mention thousands of other items such as anaesthetic, oxygen and cancer treatments, chlorine to treat the water supply, even paper, books, toys for children as well as tea and coffee."

This voyage will be the first attempt to challenge Israel's naval blockade on the Gaza Strip since an Israeli gunship brutally rammed the DIGNITY in December, and nearly sank the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY with all on board in January. This 8th trip will also be the first of a series of boats we intend to send to Gaza as part of our Summer of Hope campaign.

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