London, UK, August 23, 2012 Four years ago, 44 bedraggled passengers on two rickety boats sailed into the port of Gaza. They were the first international passengers to enter this tiny port in 41 years. Members of the Free Gaza movement, these sailors had spent two years, over $700,000 and untold hardships to land that day, met by over 40,000 cheering Palestinians standing on every piece of rock, sand and grass that dotted the coast near Gaza City.
Cynics said they would never make it. The Israeli military had been threatening their organizers for weeks, stating they would never let the two fishing boats enter the port of Gaza. The group had raised money from around the world; women on social security sending their checks, sailors from the USS Liberty donating their pension checks, a swelling grassroots movement determined to break Israel’s illegal siege on 1.5 million Palestinians.
Now the book, Freedom Sailors (www.freedomsailors.com), has been published; a love story to the people of Gaza and a confirmation they will not be forgotten. The story is told by 24 people who were either passengers or were waiting in Gaza for the boats to arrive. Proceeds from the book will go to Gaza’s Ark http://gazaark.org/, a new project where Palestinians will build the boat in Gaza and sail out to Europe loaded with products from the people there. Other proceeds with go to the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme,http://www.gcmhp.net/en/
Mahfouz Kabariti, head of the Palestine Association for Fishing and Marine Sports and project manager for Gaza’s Ark stated, “Really it was the nicest dream for us to receive these two ships coming into Gaza without having to ask permission from Israel occupation force. For the first time since 1967, boats appeared on the horizon, a signal to us that we were not forgotten. Now we will build a boat to sail out of Gaza.”
Greta Berlin, +33 607 374 512 Freedom4Sailors@gmail.com
Bill Dienst, MD, +1 509 322-2595, Freedom4Sailors@gmail.com
Mahfouz Kabariti +970599745666, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ehab Lotayef, Gaza's Ark & Canadian organizer +1.514.941.9792, email@example.com