Announcement from the Free Gaza movement
27th January 2009
After talking to our partners in Gaza, many of our donors and discussing the situation in Gaza, we are announcing our next trip to Gaza during the week of March 2, 2009. We hope to bring in a cargo ship loaded with building supplies and medical equipment plus take a passenger boat as well. Over the next month, the organizers will be busy raising the funds to purchase both boats and are also going to put out a plea for building materials, especially cement, wood and PVC piping.
Derek Graham, first mate on many of the trips stated, “We need to do more this time than just send in a symbolic delegation. We need to bring in practical supplies that can be used to rebuild the Gaza infrastructure that Israel has destroyed.” Derek plans on taking the project ideas to Northern Ireland at the end of January to talk to Irish sympathizers and donors.
"The Free Gaza Movement has always seen itself as a human rights organization, but we also recognize that we can bring in more than just observers. And that's why we are making sure we have the time and the money to carry in as much as we can." said Huwaida Arraf, delegation leader on many of the trips.
The Free Gaza boat, the DIGNITY, was rammed three times by the Israeli navy on December 30 while it was clearly in international waters. The movement organizers are pursuing legal actions against the government of Israel for piracy on the high seas as well as damages to the boat. Estimates range from 100 to 150 thousand euros and will take five months to repair.
"Israel rammed us, hoping to sink us. There is no other way to look at it, and those of us on the boat clearly knew it was no accident. They didn't realize how sturdy the DIGNITY is and how courageous our captain, Denis Healy was." remarked Eliza Ernshire, one of the passengers on board the crippled boat.
We now have the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY as one possibility to accompany the cargo boat, but we are also looking for a larger boat that can carry 50-75 people into Gaza. Several high-profile people have asked to go with us when the trip is ready, and we are currently collecting names if any of you have suggestions to pass on to us.