Yesterday afternoon, we heard that the Women’s Boat to Gaza was making good progress on the Mediterranean and the women on board were excited about meeting the people on the shores of Gaza who were waiting for them. Some Palestinians even spent the night at the beach to greet them.
At 15:58 CET, flotilla organizers lost contact with the boat, Zaytouna-Oliva. The US Embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted and Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Zaytouna-Oliva was boarded by members of the Israeli navy. The Israelis took control of the boat and rerouted it – under force – to the Israeli port of Ashdod. We have not had any contact with our board member, Ann Wright, or the rest of the women on board, and we do not know where our friends are.
It is important to know that this happened in international waters. Not only are Israel’s actions illegal, but they set a terrifying precedent, giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli.
Ann Wright is a decorated former US diplomat and long-time activist for justice in Palestine and is on the Board of Free Gaza. With her were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, and Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire, who has been on three of our voyages. One of them successfully sailed into Gaza in Ocober 2008. They were committed to nonviolence as much as they were committed to breaking the blockade
Watch Ann’s video message about this illegal action and then make calls and send emails to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry demanding the release of all the women and their boat!.
Contact President Barack Obama: (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry: firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 647-4000
Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to call on the Israeli government to immediately release the women, and to launch a US investigation into the seizure of the boat. There are a number of troubling circumstances that are clearly against US and international law! And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end!
This is the list of illustrious women on board the Zaytouna. Call your representatives and ask them to demand that Israel release the boat and the women and allow them to sail to Gaza. https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/fr/participants-on-board-messina-to-gaza