In a conversation with the press last night, Mark Regev, the official
spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, made the following
"Free Gaza is a cool idea, but free them from what?" said Regev. "If they
want to free Gaza they should take out women who fear for their lives,
Christians and gays. We want to free Gaza from this terrible Taliban regime.
This terrible Taliban regime is oppressing women, Christians and gays."
This is our response:
Dear Mr. Regev,
Thank you for your recognition of our efforts to break Israel’s inhumane
and illegal siege of Gaza. We also think that "Free Gaza" is a very cool
With respect, Israel’s siege is directly preventing all the people of Gaza
from accessing clean water, electricity, adequate food supplies, and
freedom of movement to seek essential medical care, educational
development, as well as from being able to freely visit with family and
Israel’s siege is indiscriminate, and unjustly affects everyone in Gaza -
including, but not limited to, the women, Christians, and gays that you
speak of. These denials all stem from your government’s policy of
collective punishment, in direct violation of international law and basic
human dignity - both Israel’s and that of the Palestinian people.
All of the people of Gaza have reason to fear for their lives due to the
Israeli army’s reckless use of force, bombing civilian areas, bulldozing
homes, shelling civilian areas using flachette shells, and terrorising
young and old with the frequent use of sonic booms which have resulted in
the permanent deafening of children. The perpetual threat of a ground
invasion and escalation of aerial bombardment is both an immediate and
continuing threat, as well as an ongoing form of psychological torture.
The humiliation of those trying to exit Gaza for medical treatment, the
visitation of loved ones and for the right to pursue education also
creates the fear of never being able to develop, to learn, to survive, to
live, and to love.
We will be leaving Cyprus this evening on our fourth voyage to Gaza, in
order to symbolically break Israel’s siege, in particular drawing
attention to the generation of Palestinians denied the right of self and
national realisation and advancement through education - a right not a
privilege, for the youth of every country in the world. We also aim to
draw attention to the humanitarian catastrophe the siege has caused, and
inspire deeper and more sustained political action across the world to end
the illegal and inhumane Israeli occupation.
Mr. Regev, we urge you and other members of your government to join us in
this vital mission, see first hand the brutal affects of Israeli policies
on the families of Gaza, and work with us to end Israel’s siege of Gaza
and the ongoing Occupation of Palestine. We appeal to your humanity and
once again echo a point of evident agreement between us: Yes, Free Gaza is
a cool idea - now let’s put into practice.
Free Gaza Movement, Cyprus