On October 28, 2008 as the sun was setting, 27 passengers on board the SS DIGNITY left for Gaza. It was the second attempt by the Free Gaza Movement to break Israel's stranglehold on the 1.5 million civilians of Gaza. Although Israel threatened to stop the boat, arrest its passengers and tow the boat to Israel, they backed off at the last minute, perhaps fearing an international incident with a vessel, flying the flag of Gibraltar.
Yesterday, eleven human rights watchers went with the fishermen of Gaza to witness how the Israeli navy attacks them. After more than six hours of being machine gunned, sprayed with water cannons and watching the Israelis drop bombs into the water less than a meter away from many of the fishing boats, these passengers have come back to report on the brutality against the fishing industry in Gaza. They have both audio and video recordings of the attacks.
Now the DIGNITY is heading back to Cyprus and will arrive at sunrise (6:00 am) at the port in Larnaca on Sunday, November 2, 2008. We are bringing back a student who had been denied the right to study medicine in Belgium plus 23 of the original passengers, including Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mairead Maguire and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti.
Standing outside the gates of the port waiting to greet them will be dozens of Palestinian refugees from Iraq holding olive branches and signs. They stand there in support of this mission and to also tell the world that they want to go home… to Palestine. Many of them will be displaying the names of the villages and towns that were taken by the Israelis over the past 60 years.
All of the passengers, plus the Palestinians from Iraq will be available for interviews.
Contact: Greta Berlin, Cyprus: +357 99 08 17 67
Angela Godfrey Goldstein, Jerusalem: +972 547 366 393
Huwaida Arraf (on boat): +357 96 723 999 /SS Dignity: +357 967 80 329
Osama Qashoo, +447833381660
Mary Hughes, Cyprus +357 96 75 00 59