Violence Even Against Emergency Boat

The Newsletter of the Free Gaza Movement 1/2009, Jan. 5

Death and destruction is Israel's current Gaza policy. More than 500
have been killed since the massacre started, and a ground offensive
began, while countries like Germany officially justify the
slaughtering by saying that the Zionist state is defending itself and
that Hamas is the only one to blame. The Free Gaza Movement takes a
stand for occupied Palestine and does not believe that the war on Gaza
is a defense or in any way constructive or justified. The Gaza
Community Mental Health Programme, for example, one of the three civil
society organisations which were the first to offcially invite the
Free Gaza Movement to Gaza, was largely destroyed by Israeli F16
airplanes. GCMH is an internationally renowned organisation which has
done extrordinary work throughout the Gaza Strip for many years.
Israel uses violence against civilians and even the Free Gaza
emergency boat was brutally attacked and damaged in international
waters last Tuesday. See CNN video at
(8:36) and the press photo of the damaged boat by Hassan Bahsoun
(download - 2336x3504
pixel, 72 dpi) as well as more photos at
Now the boat is in Tyre, Lebanon. We have located an alternate ship,
which we're currently working on procuring. It's probably not the
perfect boat for the Free Gaza Movement, but the most suitable and
affordable one we could find in the short amount of time. Our new ship
will carry about 30 passengers and 10-15 tons of cargo. We intend to
leave for Gaza sometime within the next two weeks. Also in this issue:
what you can do to support the movement, passengers for the next boat,
news from internationals in Gaza, who broke the ceasefire agreement,
the Free Gaza Art Festival, a calendar date and the quote of the week.

(Picture follows, see link above)

"Dignity after Israeli attack", copyright Hassan Bahsoun

Israeli Gunboats Rammed Dignity Three Times
The Dignity, on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, was attacked and
received serious structural damage by Israeli Navy on Dec. 30 at
approximately 6am (UST) in international waters, roughly 90 miles off
the coast of Gaza. Several Israeli warships surrounded the small,
human rights boat, firing live ammunition around it, then
intentionally ramming it three times. According to ship's captain,
Denis Healy, the Israeli attack came, "without any warning, or any
provocation." Caoimhe Butterly, an organizer with the Free Gaza
Movement, stated that, "they kept yelling that if we didn't turn back
they would shoot us." According to Cynthia McKinney, former U.S.
congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, "the Israelis
indicated that [they felt] we were involved in terrorist activities."
Israel's deplorable attack on the unarmed Dignity is 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." Delivering doctors and urgently needed medical
supplies to civilians is a just such a "peaceful purpose."
Deliberately ramming a mercy ship and endangering its passengers is an
act of terrorism. - Contact info:

What You Can Do

Israel has closed off Gaza from the international community and told
all foreigners to leave. We are saying NO! We are coming in. We will
not leave the Palestinian people to be slaughtered by Israel. Israel's
actions amount to war crimes and the international community must take
concrete action to end this catastrophe. When states and the
international bodies responsible for taking action to stop such
atrocities chose to be impotent, then we--the citizens of the world--
must act. We are willing to risk our lives in witness and to try to
end this madness. We need your help to make it difficult for Israel to
stop us even before our boat hits the water. Please help by: planning
a vigil at the Israeli Embassy in your country or any other public
place, from the moment the boat departs (we will inform you of this
ahead of time) until the boat's safe arrival in Gaza; by contacting
your local media and asking them to cover our mission; by asking your
elected representatives to issue statements supporting our boat
mission; by writing letters to your local media about the importance
of this kind of direct-action resistance. Once we set sail, we do not
plan on turning back. We will stay at sea, insisting on access to
Gaza, until we succeed or Israel gravely attacks or arrests us.
Through all of this, we know and will insist that we are not the
story. The story is the tragedy that is happening to the civilians of
Gaza and why Israel is being allowed to commit these crimes with

Passengers for the Next Boats
We will give priority for places on the boat to doctors, journalists
(preference going to major media outlets), and political figures or
other high profile people. We will try to take two or three long-term
human rights workers in on this voyage as well. If we successfully
enter, we plan to make continuous, back to back trips for so long as
funds are available. If you know doctors, journalists or politicians
that would be willing to go with us please contact Karin at: kpally at or call Huwaida at +357-96-723-999 immediately. We are
now putting together the list of passengers that we can accommodate on
the first boat. However, we will also want to have a list of people
ready to go on the second and third trips, if the first one makes it
in, so do continue to direct people to us. Also: we have received
lists of urgently needed medical supplies from the Palestinian
Ministry of Health and from hospitals in Gaza. If you know of groups
in your country that would like to donate medical supplies or make a
contribution towards the purchase of medical supplies, please put them
in contact with Lubna immediately at lubnna at or

News from Internationals in Gaza
There are several international human rights observers from the Free
Gaza Movement and other groups currently in Gaza. See, for example,
Vittorio Arrigoni's quote of the week below and his Italian blog at, Sharon's blog at
and Eva's at Video interviews with the
prolific journalist Ewa Jasiewicz, Jenny Linnel, Fida Qishta and more
can be seen at Also visit
the new blogs and
Since an air raid by the Israeli Air Force led to the injury of one
and the death of another Palestinian doctor on December 31th and five
more Palestinian medics on January 4, International Solidarity
Movement and Free Gaza Movement volunteers will be accompanying
medical teams throughout the Gaza Strip. In an effort to ******** the
war crimes being committed by the Israeli military operation in Gaza,
the internationals will be joining Gazan medical teams in shifts, both
governmental and NGO hospitals. Volunteers expressed their concerns
about the violation of Articles 19 and 21 of the Geneva Convention,
which state that medical facilities and vehicles are to be protected
from warfare. See

Who broke the ceasefire agreement?
The date Israel broke the ceasefire agreement was November 4th, when
it killed six Palestinian fighters. On November 5th, another Israeli
attack killed seven Palestinian fighters while on November 1st, yet
again the Israeli army killed a Palestinian farmer. All of the Israeli
killings were carried out in the Gaza Strip and on November 5th,
Hamas' military declared the ceasefire to be broken and thus no longer
valid. Attacks against civilians are always illegal. But consider that
Israel has killed 380 men, women, and children and injured 1,720 in
just four days, using U.S. supplied F-16 fighter jets, Apache
helicopters, and naval gunboats against a mostly unarmed
population ... and the onslaught continues. American taxpayers give
Israel $7 million per day, see
And consider that part of the ceasefire agreement was the lifting of
the siege which simply did not happen and that the democratically
elected Hamas recently proposed to continue the ceasefire without the
siege which was ignored. Consider that the ceasefire has also been
broken by Israeli naval ships patrolling Palestinian waters and
consider that Hamas has recognized Israel in the borders of 1967 three
years ago. And: there is no one in the Israeli government who has
presented a scenario for peace.

Winners of the Free Gaza Song Contest
Ofer Golany and Angelika Wagener (Cello) won the Free Gaza Song
Contest with Ofer's easy, Caribbean-like version of the Free Gaza
Song. You can hear it in the webcam version at, but it is
hoped he will record his version with a good mike. Ofer Golany is an
Israeli songwriter and peace activist, active for the right of
conscientious objection. His websites are and Right now he is recording an anti-
militarist project called "Your Sister":
- And now sharpen your pencils and tune your instruments for the Free
Gaza Art Festival:
Every kind of art can be submitted: paintings, drawings, sculptures,
videos, photos, collages, poetry, literature, music, dance, land art,
anything that is clearly related to Free Gaza and that can be shown
online. Next to artistic contributions, the Free Gaza Art Festival
will present special features about artists in Gaza and Palestine. See
you there!
Calendar January 8: The musical group Helm (
is part of the group 14 Friends of Palestine and plays a benefit
concert for the Free Gaza Movement in London in the Darbucka World
Music Bar,

Quote of the Week
"Let's get this straight: as a pacifist and non-violent person I
totally abhor any form of Palestinian attack against Israel, but out
here we're sick of hearing that tired old adage according to which
this massacre of civilians was Israel's answer to the Palestinians
launching their modest, homemade 'rockets'. For precision's sake, from
2002 to the present day the qassam rockets against Israel have
produced 18 dead, while only last Saturday, in just a couple of hours
we counted more than 250 civilians dead in the hospitals." - Vittorio
Arrigoni in Gaza, "The Unnatural Catastrophe of Gaza", Jan. 1,
The Newsletter of the Free Gaza Movement and the website
present news and background info on the nonviolent Free Gaza Movement
and their action to break the siege of Gaza and Palestine. This issue
was edited by Anis Hamadeh in Mainz, anis at - German
translation at
; Sub******ion over the "Friends of Gaza" Newslist at, contact to Free
Gaza: friendsofgaza at Updated Free Gaza media clippings at For
general Palestine daily news visit

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