News Release

Israel Seizes Gaza Flotilla Boat, Another on the Way

DAVID HEAP, david.heap@gmail.com@GazaFFlotilla
ANN WRIGHT, annw1946@gmail.com@AnnWright46
Heap and Wright are with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which has organized a number of boats to get relief to Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled Gaza strip. Wright is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, a 29-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves, and one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in protest of the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The Coalition said in a statement Monday: “Two people from Al Awda (The Return) have been released, but most of the crew and participants are still in unlawful detention at Givon prison in Israel. We are still gravely concerned for their safety and well-being as we had no contact with most of them as of 14:00 CEST today. We continue to demand that our boat and the medical supplies on board reach their rightful recipients, Palestinian civil society in Gaza.

“Although the Israeli [military] claim that the capture of our vessel happened ‘without exceptional incident’, eye-witness Zohar Chamberlain Regev reports that at the time of boarding: ‘People on board were tasered and hit by masked [Israeli] soldiers. We did not get our passports or belongings before we got off the boat. Do not believe reports of peaceful interception.’ We urgently need to know the details of who was injured and how seriously, and what treatment they are receiving, if any. A military attack on a civilian vessel is a violent act and a violation of international law. Taking 22 people from international waters to a country which is not their destination constitutes an act of kidnapping, which is also unlawful under the international Convention of the Law of Sea.”

The group stated Sunday that another boat is on the way. “Al Awda is being followed by the Swedish-flagged yacht Freedom, which is also carrying medical supplies along with people from a number of nations. We anticipate that it will reach a similar area where the [Israeli military] attacked Al Awda within the next two days. Two smaller sailing boats that traveled from Scandinavia and sailed through the canal system in Netherlands, Belgium and France visiting inland ports, participated in the mission until Palermo.”

See: “USS Liberty Survivor Joe Meadors on 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla.”