Saturday, 17 January 2009

The Spirit of Humanity

Free Gaza Movement

They bought 2 boats.

The Spirit of Humanity and The Dignity

Four women - Bella, Eliza, Greta and Mary.

And one man - Paul.

To break the seige.

From Greece to Gaza in August 2008.

The first to arrive freely in 41 years.

They subsequently made four more voyages.

Since this war started they have sailed again.

This, for some, is totally unacceptable.

On the 30th December Israeli gunboats, without warning,
deliberately and repeatedly rammed the Dignity, almost sinking
the ship, causing significant structural damage and endangering
the lives of its passengers and crew. The ship found safe harbor
in Lebanon, and is currently awaiting repairs.

If you have seen what has been happening in Gaza hospitals
during this atrocious war you will understand why these, brave
and wonderful people were not deterred.

On the 14th of January The Spirit of Humanity left the port of
Larnaca in Cyprus for Gaza.

With 21 passengers: doctors, human rights workers, parliamen-
tarians and journalists. And more than a ton of medical supplies

Thursday 15th January.

"At roughly 3am UST (1am GMT), in international waters 100
miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded
the Spirit of Humanity and began recklessly cutting in front of the
slow-moving civilian craft. The Israeli warships radioed the Spirit,
demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and
"shoot." When asked if the Israeli navy was acknowledging that they
intended to commit a war crime by deliberately firing on unarmed
civilians, the warships replied that they were prepared to use
"any means" to stop the ship.

Israel's reckless and shocking threats against an unarmed ship on
a mission of mercy are a violation of both international maritime
law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that
"the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes."

They were forced to return to Cyprus.

The only small consolation:

Another boat, carrying a new shipment of arms from the US to
Israel was refused permission to sail from the Greek port of Astakos
on Friday morning.

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