Over the past weekend, the two dozen initiatives who are working on sending boats met to discuss their strategy for sailing into Gaza. Of utmost importance to everyone were Israel's ongoing threats to attack the flotilla, a civil society attempt to do what governments refuse to do...hold Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity. Countries that are included continue to grow as they either buy boats or raise the money to partner with others. At the last count, more than 25 countries are now involved. Yet Israel continues to saber rattle, saying that it is we who have no right to sail to Gaza. It is Israel that has no right to illegally blockade Gaza. Instead of asking the world bodies to stop us, they should be lifting the siege on the 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in this small enclave.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Athens, April 11 2011
FREEDOM FLOTILLA 2 Press Release
Athens – The Freedom Flotilla 2 Steering Committee met in Athens 9 and 10 April to continue preparations for the upcoming flotilla. Since our last meeting in Amsterdam, Israel has launched an international campaign of incitement against the Flotilla and its coalition members who are participating in this next voyage and come from around the world.
The Greek Ship to Gaza hosted this international meeting and emphasized that the Greek government has failed until now to pressure Israel to release the two Greek boats hijacked from international waters and held in Israel since 31st May 2010. The Greek Ship to Gaza has complied with all of the roadblocks put into place by Israel in order to bring back its ships, but our efforts have been to no avail. The Greek government should have pressured Israel to release immediately the ships, as Israel did for the Turkish ships in August, 2010.
Now, on the eve of the second Freedom Flotilla 2 voyage, the Israeli government is threatening to attack us again. As occurred last year before the first Freedom Flotilla, Israeli leaders are busy developing an atmosphere of hostility that should leave no doubt as to their intentions if and when they illegally attack this civilian flotilla.
Therefore, we are calling on all our governments, the international community and the United Nations not to succumb to Israel's intimidation. Governments need to fulfill their ‘responsibility to protect’ their own citizens. The threats against the Flotilla are not just at sea, but also in our home countries, as Israeli agencies are targeting individual groups and personalities. Flotilla partners insist that their governments take preemptive action to assure that Israel will not use force to interfere with this peaceful international effort to secure Palestinian human rights, human dignity and humanitarian assistance. It is Israel that is acting illegally and not us.
On May 10, Freedom Flotilla 2 partners will go to the European Parliament for meetings with MEPs as well as the United Nations and other international bodies, and to present Freedom Flotilla 2 and its goals. In addition to the partner organizations, there will also be participants from more than 50 countries on board the ships. This past week the European Jews for a Just Peace announced that they will join the Flotilla as a delegation and in sending humanitarian assistance to Gaza.
We are putting Israel on notice...
We are coming
We are unarmed
We are civilians
You have no right to threaten us
We expect to reach Gaza without any Interference.
Contact: Dimitris Pilonis, Greek Ship to Gaza +30 6977664737
Greta Berlin, Free Gaza movement +33 607 374 512