In the early morning of June 29th, armed Israeli commandos raided the Swedish fishing trawler, ‘Marianne’, part of a 4-ship flotilla on its way to Gaza. These well-armed commandos attacked 100 nautical miles from Gaza in international waters, a violation of international maritime law. It was the 15th attempt to sail into the blockaded port, the first 5 successful.
The Israeli PR mouthpieces in Tel Aviv said the boarding was ‘uneventful.’ That is a lie.
Bob Lovelace, former Chief of the Ardock Algonquin First nation in Canada and a passengers on board the fishing boats stated:
“We were in international waters and had no obligation to obey Israeli orders to stop our engines. The Israeli defense forces came aboard and tasered Charley, Gustav and me, then dragged us down the stairs before kidnapping us and hauling us into Givon prison in Israel against our will.”
According to Bob, they stole cameras and electronic gear, making sure they took all evidence of the violence against them.
The 18 freedom sailors included the Palestinian Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas, the Tunisian ex-president Moncef Marzouki. They have all been deported. However, the boat is still being held, stolen along with passenger possessions. The Swedish embassy has lodged a complaint against the Israeli pirates, but only two of the ten hijacked boats stolen since 2009 have been returned, one in such bad shape that it had to be towed to Greece, then scrapped.
“When I saw the shores of Gaza in August, 2008, I realized that our dream has come true; we were about to break the illegal, illegitimate and criminal siege of the Gaza Strip. It was one of the most significant moments of my life. It’s tragic that Israel is now brutally and illegitimately stopping the boats, especially this one, with the world turning a blind eye.” said Musheir AlFarra, the only passenger on board our first trip who came from Gaza.” The fishermen of Gaza, who suffered for long decades the brutality of the Israeli navy, would have welcomed the solidarity gift, the Marianne; the people of Gaza were denied yet another shred of hope.”
Ironically, Kevin Niesh, another freedom sailor on the “Marianne,’ wrote to us and said,
“As it happens when we were in Givon detention prison, I saw Mairead Maguire’s and Cynthia McKinney’s autographs and messages from 2009, written under the top bunk in cell #8. We added our names and messages to the myriad of other messages from deportees from around the world.”
The first boat that had been hijacked and illegally hauled into Israel was the Free Gaza “Spirit of Humanity,” in July of 2009. It was the major impetus for us to cofound the flotilla movement, realizing that more than one boat would need to sail to Gaza to bring attention to the Palestinians trapped in the concentration camp called Gaza.
We made a promise to the people of Gaza that we would sail until Palestine was free. We intend to keep that promise.
Sign and share the petition demanding the UN take action https://www.change.org/p/we-call-on-the-president-of-the-un-security-council-to-pass-a-resolution-urging-all-members-to-impose-economic-and-political-sanctions-on-israel-until-it-lifts-the-siege
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