has not yet managed to break the Israel-imposed siege of Gaza. While women, children and senior men are allowed to leave and enter the open air prison camp now (only by the Egyptian border, not towards their homes in Palestine, aka Israel), men between 18 and 49 and any kind of merchandise are not allowed to cross the border. This way the Egyptian Junta guarantees Israel the full control of the economic siege, a sadistic process of collective torture by allowing just the calories they consider necessary, by impeding the reconstruction of the homes, by blockading toys for children, replacements for the industry, an a long etc. of systematic torture against the refugees from what is now Israel dumped in this concentration camp.
For that reason and many more, the campaign to break the blockade against Gaza, which turns now its fourth year, is still too necessary.
For that reason the Audacity of Hope is ready to sail, it has just been announced:
“WE ARE UNARMED AND WE ARE SAILING”
For Immediate Release: May 31, 2011
On Anniversary of Mavi Marmara Killings, U.S. Boat to Gaza Announces Passenger List
New York, NY – May 31, 2011. Organizers of the U.S. Boat to Gaza announced today that they expect some 50 people will be aboard The Audacity of Hope when it joins the second “freedom flotilla” in late June to break the siege of Gaza.
The announcement came on the year’s anniversary of the 2010 Israeli attack on unarmed passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, killing nine, including an 18-year old U.S. citizen of Turkish descent.
Leslie Cagan, coordinator of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, said, “We are sailing-despite threats by the Israeli armed forces to use attack dogs and snipers against us-and despite frantic diplomatic pressure by the Israeli government to prevent other countries from allowing the flotilla to sail.” She commented that while Egypt has just opened the Rafah border to Gaza, the maritime blockade and the Israeli siege of Gaza still exist.
So far, 34 passengers and four crewmembers have confirmed that they will be sailing on The Audacity of Hope. They range in age from 22 to 87 years old and live in 14 states in every region of the U.S. All are committed to non-violence. Members of the press will also be on the boat.
Varied occupations are represented by the passengers, including retired film producer, construction worker, retired teacher and engineer, student, author, nurse, EMT, firefighter, activist, jazz musician, retired military personnel, professor social worker and lawyer. More than half the participants are women.
Passengers and crew will gather in Athens on June 21, 2011 in advance of the anticipated sailing date, which will depend on weather conditions and logistics.
The Audacity of Hope will carry as its cargo thousands of letters of friendship and solidarity with the people of Gaza from people throughout our country. Cagan said that inspections of the boat and its passengers prior to departure will prove the non-violent nature of the mission.
Richard Levy, attorney and passenger on The Audacity of Hope, explained that “Because Israel occupies Gaza, and accordingly has obligations under the Geneva Conventions, it cannot legally blockade Gaza.” Therefore, he continued, “attempts by the Israeli government to prevent ships from going to Gaza are equally illegal.”
A list of confirmed passengers with short biographical statements can be found here.
Found via Uruknet.
Uruknet also informs us of how Zionist troops invaded yesterday the city of Hebron and the areas around it and kidnapped three children, bringing them to an unknown destination in yet another terrorist act by the neonazi genocidal organization known as Israel.
See also the interview (in Spanish) to journalist David Segarra, who was arrested last year in the Mavi Marmara, at LINYM[es]. This year's solidarity flotilla will be even bigger than the previous ones, with 15 ships and some 1500 activist aboard (in Turkey alone more than 10,000 wanted to take part). There is a large number of Israeli citizens among the participants, including a Holocaust survivor: Hedy Epstein.