Gaza, Here We Come to Break the Siege

I
am honored to be a part of the latest international citizen effort to
break the Israeli and Egyptian governments' siege of Gaza. This week, hundreds of persons from 20 countries will challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in an eight ship flotilla.

I
am honored to be a part of the latest international citizen effort to
break the Israeli and Egyptian governments' siege of Gaza. This week, hundreds of persons from 20 countries will challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in an eight ship flotilla.

An
international coalition composed of Free Gaza Movement, European
Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, the Malaysian humanitarian
organization Perdana and the Turkish non-governmental
organization Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) is sending three cargo
ships and five passenger vessels to Gaza from Ireland, Greece and
Turkey.

While the citizens mobilize, their governments are receiving intense diplomatic pressure from the Israeli government. On
Monday, May 17, 2010, Naor Gilon, the Israeli Foreign Ministry deputy
director general, told the ambassadors of Greece, Ireland, Turkey, and
Sweden that the attempt to break Israel's blockage Gaza " is a
provocation and a breach of Israeli law," and that "Israel has no
intention of allowing the flotilla to enter Gaza," according to a
ministry statement.

Arabic-language
news station Al-Hurra reported that "about half of the Israeli naval
forces will participate in an operation that was approved by the
cabinet" and that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will supervise
the operation. Israel will prevent the boats from reaching Gaza "at any price," an Israeli security source told the Ma'an news agency.

Three
ships are leaving Turkey, including a 600 person passenger ship and two
cargo ships filled with humanitarian supplies such as medical
equipment, pre-fabricated homes and construction supplies to rebuild
housing for 50,000 persons destroyed in the 22 day Israeli attack on
Gaza in December, 2008 and January, 2009. The passenger ship left Istanbul on May 22 to a tremendous send-off from thousands of supporters!

Two ships will depart the Athens, Greece port of Piraeus and two more ships will depart from the Greek island of Crete. The
cargo ship Rachel Corrie, purchased by Perdana, the Malaysian
humanitarian organization, loaded with medical supplies and cement, is
on its way from Ireland and will meet up with the flotilla off the
coast of Gaza. The ship is named for activist Rachel Corrie who was run
over and killed by the Israeli military driver of a huge Caterpillar
bulldozer that was knocking down homes of Palestinian families in
Rafah, Gaza in March, 2003.

I
am in Athens, Greece to assist in the briefings for passengers and crew
on the two ships departing from Piraeus and then will fly to Crete to
board a Free Gaza ship to sail to Gaza.

Free Gaza has attempted to sail 8 ships into the Gaza port in the past two years. Five
ships have gotten into Gaza and three have been forced back by the
Israeli navy including one ship that was rammed and almost sunk by an
Israeli patrol boat.

An
incredible amount of work is taking place in the port of Gaza. Workers
are digging out the area along the pier in anticipation of the arrival
of the cargo ships. No cargo ships have been unloaded in Gaza in 43 years since the port was closed by the Israelis after the 1967 war.

As
the flotilla leaves Greece and heads across the Mediterranean to Gaza,
please follow the historic flotilla by a live-feed link  that will broadcast live footage of this historic voyage.

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