News Release

“Freedom Wave to Gaza” Approaching Shore

The group U.S. Boat to Gaza has released a statement: “The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse have successfully reached international waters, initiating the ‘Freedom Wave to Gaza.’ The boats have embarked from Turkey and are on the Mediterranean Sea. In all, the two boats carry 27 passengers from Canada, Ireland, U.S., Palestine, and Australia.” The boats are reportedly close to Gaza, where Israel maintains a blockade, which has effectively shut off outside trade and travel for decades.

Interviews with the individuals on the boat, including those listed below, and more information can be obtained via Felice Gelman, gazafreedomwave at gmail.com

Kit Kittredge on board the Tahrir was previously a passenger on the American ship, The Audacity of Hope, which attempted passage to Gaza last July. Kittredge says, “The only obstacles in our way are Israel’s military and the complicity of the Obama administration but in our sails is the wind of worldwide public opinion which has turned against the illegal blockade.” Another of the Americans on the boat is Bob Naiman, who is with the group Just Foreign Policy and recently wrote the piece “Shalit Is Free. Lift the Siege of Gaza Now.”

Ann Wright, retired U.S. army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat says, “We carry inspiration from the Arab Uprisings and the worldwide ‘Occupy’ movements that are demanding freedom and justice. Where governments fail, civil society must act. As Americans we are fed up with our government’s unquestioning support of Israel no matter how violent, illegal and oppressive its actions. We will not stand by and watch $30 billion of our tax money committed to buying Israel weaponry used to carry out this illegal occupation of Palestine including the blockade of Gaza.”

Jane Hirschmann added, “Our sailing coincides with UN agency UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine as a member state, defying U.S. threats to cut off $80 million of U.S. funding in retaliation. This shows the growing strength of opposition by the international community to U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine. We call on the international community to go further and take effective action to lift the siege of Gaza.” Hirschmann was one of the organizers this past summer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope which is still captive in Greece.

See report from one of the boats from Jihan Hafiz on Democracy Now.

HUSSIEN AMODY, hussien.bassam2011 at gmail.com.
Amody is one of the founder of Witness Gaza, a group of young people in Gaza. Today, they organized a gathering at Gaza’s Haidar Abdel Shafi Square, a march to the nearby United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) building before holding a press conference in the Gaza Seaport. “We support these boats,” said Amody, a 19-year-old computer engineering student at Al-Azhar University. “We want to prevent any Israeli attacks and break this illegal blockade. We demand protection from the UN for these boats.”

AFP reports today”Israeli strike kills two in northern Gaza: medics.