The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve (retired) and former U.S. diplomat, 808-741-1141
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 415-235-6517

CODEPINK Condemns Israeli Abduction of US Congresswoman, 21 Others from Gaza Aid Ship


After this morning's Israel's abduction of 21 human rights workers,
including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney, from their aid ship to Gaza while in international
waters, the women's peace group CODEPINK
calls on the Israeli government to immediately release the passengers
on the ship, the Spirit of Humanity, part of the "Free Gaza" movement,
as well as for release of the boat and its humanitarian cargo.
CODEPINK also calls on the Obama administration to condemn the Israeli
action in the strongest terms.

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us," said
Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential
candidate. "Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human
rights mission to the Gaza Strip. President Obama just told Israel to
let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly
what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand
our release so we can resume our journey."

CODEPINK has coordinated five delegations into Gaza in the past two
months, bringing nearly 200 activists from around the world to witness
the destruction caused by the two-year border blockade of Gaza and
Israel's 22-day military attack in December and January that killed
over 1,440 Palestinians and wounded over 5,000.

McKinney and the other "Free Gaza" activists were carrying aid to
Gaza, viewing it as a symbol of hope and that they could open a sea
route for Palestinians that would allow them to transport materials
into Gaza so they could rebuild schools, hospitals and homes.

"Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by
them and that they are not alone," said fellow passenger Mairead
Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

U.S. Army Reserve (retired) and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright said
that the Israeli Navy's actions are in violation of international law
as the boat was in international waters and was not jeopardizing the
security of Israel.

"The abduction of the passengers and crew from the vessel is an
outrage and I call on the Obama administration to make a formal protest
to the Israeli government concerning the abduction of U.S. citizens,
including a former U.S. Presidential candidate," Wright said. "The
Obama administration should withhold the $3 billion the U.S. gives
Israel each year."

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

(818) 275-7232