For Immediate Release
Free Gaza Cyprus: Greta Berlin or Mary Hughes
tel: +357 99 187275 or +357 96 383 809, @freegaza.org>
Free Gaza Ireland: Niamh Moloughney
tel: +353 (0)85 7747257 or +353 (0)91 472279, @gmail.com>
Perdana Global Peace Organisation, Malaysia: Ram Karthigasu
tel: +60 1222 70159, @gmail.com>
Israeli Military Forcibly Stops Aid Boat to Gaza - Again
OFF THE GAZA COAST - Just before
9am this morning, the Israeli military forcibly siezed the Irish-owned
humanitarian relief ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, from delivering over 1000 tons
of medical and construction supplies to besieged Gaza. For the second time in
less than a week, Israeli naval commandos stormed an unarmed aid ship, brutally
taking its passengers hostage and towing the ship toward Ashdod port in
Southern Israel. It is not yet known
whether any of the Rachel Corrie's passengers were killed or injured during the
attack, but they are believed to be unharmed.
The Corrie carried 11 passengers and 9 crew
from 5 different countires, mostly Ireland and Malaysia. The passengers
included Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, Parit Member of the
Malaysian Parliament Mohd Nizar Zakaria, and former UN Assistant Secretary
General, Denis Halliday. Nine
international human rights workers were killed on Monday when Israeli commandos
violently stormed the Turkish aid ship, Mavi Marmara and five other unarmed boats
taking supplies to Gaza. Prior to being taken hostage by Israeli forces, Derek
Graham, an Irish coordinator with the Free Gaza Movement, stated that:
"Despite what happened on the Mavi Marmara earlier this week, we are not
The 1200-ton cargo ship was purchased
through a special fund set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister and Perdana
Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. The ship
was named after an American human rights worker, killed in 2003 when she was
crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. Its cargo included
hundreds of tons of medical equipment and cement, as well as paper from the
people of Norway, donated to UN-run schools in Gaza.
According to Denis Halliday: "We are
the only Gaza-bound aid ship left out here. We're determined to deliver our
cargo." The Rachel Corrie had been part of the Freedom Flotilla, a 40-nation
effort to break through Israel's illegal blockade, before being forced to drop
off late last week due to suspicious mechanical problems.
The attack on the Rachel Corrie may spell
trouble for Israel's relationship with Ireland. The Irish government had
formally requested Israel allow the ship to reach Gaza. On 1 June, the Irish
parliament also passed an all-party motion condemning Israel's use of military
force against civilian aid ships, and demanding "an end to the illegal
Israeli blockade of Gaza."
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Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire summed up
the hopes of this joint Irish-Malaysian effort to overcome Israel's cruel
blockade by saying: "We are inspired by the people of Gaza whose courage,
love and joy in welcoming us, even in the midst of such suffering gives us all
hope. They represent the very best of humanity, and we are all privileged to be
given the opportunity to support them in their nonviolent struggle for human dignity,
and freedom. This trip will again highlight Israel's criminal blockade and
illegal occupation. In a demonstration of the power of global citizen action,
we hope to awaken the conscience of all."
aboard the Rachel Corrie include:
Ahmed Faizal bin Azumu, human rights
Matthias Chang, attorney, author &
human rights worker, Malaysia
Derek Graham, Free Gaza Ireland
Jenny Graham, Free Gaza Ireland
Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant
Secretary General, Ireland
Mohd Jufri Bin Mohd Judin, journalist,
Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal, PGPO
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize
Abdul Halim Bin Mohamed, journalist,
Fiona Thompson, film-maker, Ireland
The Hon. Mohd Nizar Zakaria, Parit Member
of Parliament, Malaysia
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