The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Greta Berlin (English/French) or
Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish)
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Free Gaza Boat "Spirit of Humanity" Departs Cyprus


The Free Gaza boat the "Spirit of Humanity"
departed Cyprus at 7:30am on Monday, 29 July. Twenty-one human rights
and solidarity workers representing eleven different countries were
aboard. The passengers include Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire and
former U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The ship also carries three
tons of medical aid, children's toys, and rehabilitation and
reconstruction kits for twenty family homes.

Over 2,400 homes were destroyed in Gaza during
the Israeli massacre in December/January, 490 of them by F-16
airstrikes, as well as 30 mosques, 29 educational institutions, 29
medical centers, 10 charitable organizations, and 5 cement factories.

Each kit carries a small amount of supplies for a
single family, representing sectors of civil society currently being
blockaded by Israel: Agriculture, Building & Reconstruction,
Education, Electricity, Health, and Water & Sanitation. Although
over 4 billion dollars in aid was promised to Gaza in the aftermath of
the Israeli onslaught, little humanitarian aid and no reconstruction
supplies have been allowed in.

Photos of leaving this morning:


Mairead Maguire, co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Peace prize for her work in Northern Ireland:

"[The Palestinians of Gaza] must know that we have not and will not forget them."

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney:

"[T]he U.S. should send a message to Israel
reiterating the reported White House position that the blockade of Gaza
should be eased, and that medical supplies and building materials,
including cement, should be allowed in ... Will [President Obama] stand
by his own words and allow us to provide relief for Gaza or will he
back down?"

Huwaida Arraf, Chairperson of the Free Gaza Movement:

"Israel's closure policy is a blatant violation
of international law. We call upon our governments to take action to
uphold their obligations under the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Until
they do, we will act.

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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