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Palestine | International | Anti-War

Flotilla 2011 Starts: Sailing from Corsica Now
by On the Move
Saturday Jun 25th, 2011 5:16 PM
The 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla has started with the first ship sailing from Corsica to meet the others. We, the freedom loving people of the world, are sailing with them on the Internet, and if need be, on the phones and in the streets. So put on your Flotilla Life Jackets and Let Freedom Ring!
The 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla has started with the first ship sailing from Corsica to meet the others. We, the freedom loving people of the world, are sailing with them on the Internet, and if need be, on the phones and in the streets. So put on your Flotilla Life Jackets and Let Freedom Ring!

Remember, Palestine is 10 hours ahead of San Francisco, and the time zones are north-south, so much of Europe is in the same time zone, or close to it, as Palestine.

From:
http://www.freedomflotilla.eu/en/information/4-members-announcements/132-the-second-ship-for-gaza-has-left-france-the-second-freedom-flotilla-is-kicking-off
June 25, 2011:
The «Dignité - Al Karama[1]» has left this morning from the waters of Ile Rousse in Corsica. It will join the «Louise Michel» in a few days, which is already in Greece.

The 40 French citizens that will board the two ships in eastern Mediterranean are ready. In less than a week they will be heading towards Gaza. Many thousands of euros worth of material will be bought by the campaign "A French Ship to Gaza" and sent on one of the two international cargo boats of the Flotilla.

The two french boats will join the dozen of boats that are prepared for this international initiative. They will bring 5000 tones of material aid into Gaza Strip.

Also, there will be 300 to 400 people coming from the whole world, that will board the ships to claim the urgency of an end to the blockade in Gaza Strip and respect for international law.

In front of this historical civil action, our states have to rise to the occasion. They have to take action ensuring that Israel will let the ships pass through. The International Federation for Human Rights has reaffirmed in a press release the "responsibility of the international community to take all the necessary measures to ensure the access of the humanitarian aid to the civil population inside Gaza Strip."

We are doing what the international community should have done. Our pressure is already giving results. A few days before the departure of the Flotilla, Israel has authorized the UN to import the necessary materials for the construction of 1200 houses and 18 schools in Gaza Strip.

What we want is a complete end of the blockade of Gaza and that, finally, the fundamental rights and dignity of the Palestinians will be respected.
****
For more news, see:
http://gazafreedommarch.org/cms/en/flotilla.aspx
http://savegaza.eu/eng/
http://www.maannews.net/eng/Default.aspx
http://ustogazawest.org



Comments  (Hide Comments)

by On the Move
Saturday Jun 25th, 2011 8:34 PM
All websites have a pop-up or option at the top to translate to English and other languages.
French contingent:
http://unbateaupourgaza.fr/
Greek contingent:
http://www.shiptogaza.gr/
Italian contingent:
http://www.freedomflotilla.it/
Spanish contingent:
http://www.rumboagaza.org/
Turkish contingent:
http://www.ihh.org.tr/filistin/en/
(shows in English, has about 5 language options)
Norwegian contingent:
http://www.shiptogaza.no/
German contingent:
http://www.kopi-online.de/joomla/index.php?
Canadian contingent:
http://www.tahrir.ca/
British contingent:
http://www.britain2gaza.com/
Scottish contingent:
http://freegaza-scotland.org/
Belgium contingent:
http://www.belgiumtogaza.com/
Swedish contingent:
http://shiptogaza.se/
Dutch contingent:
http://www.nederland-gaza.nl/
Asian contingent:
http://www.asiatogaza.org/
All of above may be found at:
http://witnessgaza.com/
by Pat McLaughlin
Sunday Jun 26th, 2011 6:06 AM
Good luck - we will watch what the Freedom Crushers of Israel try to do to you in the name of democracy. Our thoughts are with you. My brother is on a ship leaving from Turkey. Safe journeys, all.
by On the Move
Sunday Jun 26th, 2011 7:38 AM
From the Irish support website:
http://www.derryfriendsofpalestine.org/?p=1515
SUCH AUDACITY, THE US/ISRAEL TARGET “AUDACITY OF HOPE”
June 25th, 2011 | Author: smac
Joseph Dana reports on the trouble in Greece:

ATHENS: Israeli diplomatic and economic pressure is looming large over preparations of the second Gaza aid flotilla, set to sail from a number Greek ports at the end of the month. Israel has clearly stated that it will use every diplomatic and military avenue to maintain its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The events of the past few days in Athens confirm that Israel is making good on its claim. Learning from last year’s botched military operation against the flotilla– which left eight Turkish civilians and one Turkish-American civilian dead– Israel is seemingly applying pressure directly on the Greek government to stop the flotilla boats from setting sail.

Early this morning, I discovered that a ‘private complaint’ had been filed against the US boat to Gaza. The complaint, it is still unclear who filed it, stated that the US boat to Gaza is not ’sea worthy’ and requires a detailed inspection.The harbor master where the boat is in port has declared that until the compliant is resolved the boat is not permitted to leave. Currently, lawyers representing the US boat are looking into the origins of the complaint and weather it was filed as a result of Israeli economic or diplomatic pressure on the Greek government. The boat is US flagged and registered in the United States.

The government of Greece has been on the edge of collapse due to expected European Union austerity measures which are overwhelmingly unpopular among the majority of the population. Demonstrations and riots have been rocking Athens for the past two weeks. Greek officials have confirmed that Israel and Greece have met in recent days to discuss various issues including the flotilla.

Given the fact that the Greek government is fighting for its political survival, it is unlikely that Greece would bend to Israeli diplomatic pressure. However, it is more probable that Greece would bend to direct Israeli economic pressure. Israel and Greece have a strong economic relationship which includes a joint gas pipeline project in the Eastern Mediterranean.

If substantiated, rumors that Israel is threatening the Israeli-Greek trade relationship could have profound effects on the economy of Greece which, in turn, would make implementing upcoming austerity measure much more difficult. Right now, these sentiments are merely rumors and the Greek government is maintaining silence on economic relations with Israel in connection with the Flotilla. What is clear is that Flotilla ships are being targeted in Greek ports and might not sail.

10 ships are expected to sail as part of the Gaza aid flotilla. Currently three ships, including the US boat, have had complaints levied against them. US boat organizers believe that Greece will attempt to delay the ships indefinitely by using a serious of bureaucratic measures such as endless safety checks and cargo inspections. Despite the setbacks, organizers are continuing with their nonviolence and safety training. They are hopeful that the Greek government will allow the ships to sail next week as initially planned.

Posted in FLOTILLA UPDATES, Fellow Travelers, Freedom Flotilla 2, Gaza News, Irish Ship to Gaza | Tags: Audacity of Hope, flotilla, free gaza flotilla, Freedom Flotilla 2, gaza flotilla, Gaza News, irish ship, Irish Ship to Gaza, palestine aid
by On the Move
Sunday Jun 26th, 2011 7:49 AM
From:
http://ustogaza.org/
GREEK OFFICIALS ATTEMPT TO BLOCK U.S. BOAT TO GAZA FROM LEAVING GREEK PORT PASSENGERS SUSPECT ISRAEL/US ECONOMIC PRESSURE ON BELEAGUERED GREEK GOVERNMENT
For Immediate Release:
June 26, 2011

Athens – Passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, are asking Greek government officials to clarify whether the boat they are leasing is being blocked from leaving Greece because of an anonymous request of a private citizen concerning the seaworthiness of the ship or whether a political decision has been made by the Greek government in response to U.S. and Israeli government pressure. They specifically want to know if the U.S. is using its leverage at the International Monetary Fund over the implementation of an ongoing bailout of European banks with massive Greek debts to compel the Greek government to block the U.S. Boat to Gaza from leaving Greece.

On the morning of June 23, the American passengers learned that a “private complaint” had been filed against the U.S. Boat to Gaza, which is part of an international flotilla scheduled to sail to Gaza in the next few days. This complaint, its origin still unknown to the Americans, claimed that the boat is “not seaworthy” and therefore requires a detailed inspection. On June 25 a police order declared that until the complaint is resolved the boat will not be permitted to leave.

The passengers are wondering if Israel, which has extensive economic trade and investments in Greece, is using its clout to pressure the Greek government. “Israel has said openly that it is pressuring governments to try to stop the flotilla, and clearly Greece is a key government since several of the boats plan to leave from Greece,” says passenger Medea Benajmin. “It is unconscionable that Israel would take advantage of the economic hardship the Greek people are experiencing to try to stop our boat or the flotilla.”

Given the very close relationship between Israel and the U.S., and the public efforts by Israel to denounce and try to stop the flotilla, the passengers on the U.S. boat want to know if the Obama Administration is using U.S. leverage at the IMF to compel the Greek authorities to stop the U.S. boat from leaving Greece. Greece’s economic and political crisis is a result of extreme austerity measures imposed by the European Union and the largely U.S.-controlled International Monetary Fund. Past U.S. governments have used their influence at the IMF to impose political conditions on indebted countries that have nothing to do with restoring economic growth.

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, said: “Greece is not going to be able to meet the targets that it is pledging to the IMF and the European authorities. In this situation the IMF and therefore the U.S. government will have enormous leverage because the Fund and EU authorities will decide what will be acceptable benchmarks for Greece to receive future tranches of IMF/EU funding.”

“We are guests here,” said Robert Naiman, a passenger on the U.S. boat. “But we ask the Greek authorities to be honest with us. What is the origin of this complaint? Is the decision to stop our boat from leaving truly due to legitimate technical issues that can be resolved, or is it a sign that our boat will be stopped from leaving no matter what we do? What is the role of the Israeli and U.S. governments in the Greek decision to stop our boat from leaving?”

“We have a right to protest the blockade of Gaza,” said Ann Wright, an organizer and passenger on the U.S. boat. “To its credit, the Greek government, like the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Oxfam, agrees with us that the blockade on Gaza must be lifted. But for years, the only effective international action to challenge the illegal blockade has been freedom flotillas. We call upon the Greek government, which agrees that our cause is just, not to stand in the way of our peaceful protest in pursuit of our shared goal of lifting the blockade. The boat we are leasing for this journey, after its refitting for the voyage to Gaza, was surveyed by a professional surveyor and successfully completed its sea trials. There is no reason for any further delays on this matter, we are ready to sail.

###

For regular updates follow the US Boat to Gaza on Twitter: http://twitter.com/usboattogaza and visit the US Boat to Gaza website.