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UPDATE. Israel warships intercept Gaza aid boat. Jewish peace activists set sail for Gaza from Cyprus. 20 artikelen. VIDEO

Reageer (0)

Just wondering if a boat with Jews will be allowed into Israeli occupied territory. All Jews are supposed to be able to travel to Israel (H.)


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Ship to Gaza Sweden

Yonatan and Itamar Shapira tells what really happened on The “Jewish boat to Gaza”

By shiptogazasweden

30-9-2010
Yonatan and Itamar Shapira were two of the Israelis on-board the Jewish boat to Gaza, the Irene. They above all were subjected to violence from the Israeli forces who intercepted the boat.
These are their words an hour after they returned to their family in Israel:

“The Israeli media is being dominated by army propaganda. They’re claiming that the take over of the boat was non-violet and quiet on both sides – but what actually happened was that the boat passengers were non-violent, but the Israeli Navy was very violent.

At sunrise we stopped about 35 miles from shore and put up all the flags and banners from the organisation – the boat looked so, so pretty! We then turned south-east and headed towards the port in Gaza. Film maker Vish and journalist Eli took the dinghy and took stills and video of the boat. Everyone felt a sense of excitement as we stood on deck waving goodbye to the quiet journey we had been on. We knew that soon we would be intercepted, so we used the time for briefings. Holding each other’s hands, we talked about the principles of the boat and decided on strategies of how to deal with the Navy.

When we were approximately 20 miles outside of Gaza, a big Navy warship was spotted to the north of us. At that point it was still quite far away, so we held course.As the warship drew closer they hailed us and spoke to Glyn, the captain. The Navy said that we were entering a closed area by an oil rig, so the Irene altered course slightly in response. We then saw another smaller ship in front of them. As the warship approached and drew parallel to the Irene the smaller ship remained stationary. A number of smaller vessels were spotted coming from the east. The Navy again called us demanding to know our intention – we replied that we were headed for Gaza.

The Navy responded with the exact declaration they made before attacking the Mavi Marmara :

“You are entering an area which is under military blockade and is closed under international law.”

Itamar was in charge of communicating with the Navy, and responded by reading our own declaration in English and Hebrew:

“We are a boat of the European organisation Jews For Justice For Palestinians. We are unarmed and non-violent and determined to proceed to the port of Gaza. You are enforcing an illegal blockade and we do not recognise your right to do this. On this Jews For Justice for Palestinians boat are peace activists of all ages among us holocaust survivors, bereaved parents and Israelis who refuse to collaborate with the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

We waited for them to confirm that they had heard.

The Navy repeated their message in Hebrew – then the boats started coming from all sides. Eight army vessels surrounded us – three or four of the ships had cannons.

We called the soldiers to refuse their orders:

“We call on you IDF soldiers and officers to disobey the illegal orders of your superior officers. For your information, the occupation of Gaza and the Palestinian Territories are illegal under international law; therefore your risk being tried in the international courts. The blockade as well as the occupation is inhumane and contradicts universal and Jewish moral values. Use your conscience. Remember our own painful history. Refuse to enforce the blockade. Refuse to occupy Palestine.”

Itamar read this in Hebrew and English on radio a few times as the boats came towards us. Everyone was getting ready and holding hands on the Irene, getting ready for interception. Vish was in the front taking photos and filming the whole thing.

There were more than 100 soldiers on all the military boats around our boat. Two small boats with cannons drew up on both sides, shouting and threatening us with megaphones and constantly moving closer towards us. Glynn the captain stayed calm and behaved exactly to principles of boat, staying on course and challenging the Navy.

The military spoke to Itamar directly and stated that he was responsible for the harm that would come to us and the risk that we were taking by not changing course. We understood very quickly that we were about to be boarded at any moment. The small boats came right up close and then the north side jumped on board.

ITAMAR: As i was talking to the army boat cruising alongside us with some 20 armed, and muscled navy soldiers i was amazed for the thousandth time in my life at how the army portrays the reality to themselves and to us. They insisted that it is me personally who is responsible for the violence that may happen if we do not obey and they will be “forced” to board our little boat. I cynically tried to show them how ridiculous it seems to have so many armed, strong and trained soldiers boarding a boat with 9 un-armed people, most of whom remember the second world war and civil right movement in the 60′s, who declare non-violence. How can they portray the violence as our responsibility. I reminded them of the holocaust survivor and bereaved parent on board and that we do not want any confrontation with them. I think it made them angry but reduced their possible violence to most passengers apart from Yonatan and I. It is very important to remember that the Israeli army had killed two Gazan fishermen in the passing week with minimum media attention for getting “too close” to what the IDF has decided the blockade border is. Therefore their violence toward us must be put in proportion to this.

During all the military action I was talking to Al Jazeera but I’m not sure what they have of it or what was broadcast as he was about to go on air when the phone was grabbed.

They attacked Itamar and took him to their boat. The other soldiers viciously pushed Glynn from the helm. The rest were holding hands singing “We Shall Overcome.” I think Reuven may have been playing his harmonica!

ITAMAR: At least 2 soldiers, to what i understood, were assigned to getting all recording devices. The Israeli Ch 10 reporter stood next to me and one of the soldiers just took his camera from his hand. I took the camera back without touching the soldier and put it behind my back and refused to give it to the soldiers. The soldier called another one and together tried to make me move with twisting arms and shouting and trying to reach for the camera. when they did not succeed they asked for a permission from their commander to arrest me. 4 of them dragged me to the military boat and forced me down to the boat’s floor in order to handcuff me. i did not give up until one of them pushed his fingers deep onto the artery in my neck, and then i heard Yonatan’s dreadful scream and saw him losing control of his body because of the electric shock he got. I shouted to Rami to throw the camera into the boat’s engine-room and Yonatan was brought to the military boat that i was on and we were both handcuffed and taken to a large ship.
While we were holding hands singing the soldiers started taking over everything. At that point I was sitting on the floor of the boat hugging Glynn and Reuven, trying to decrease the risk to them, then moved to sit with Rami. On each side one of the passengers turned off the engines so as not to make it possible for the navy to steer the boat to a different place.

Soldiers on boat approached me and Rami, they seemed to want to take me to a Navy boat. Me and Rami hugged each other – the strongest hug I have ever given to anyone!

The officer came towards us, pulling out his taser ordered us to stop holding on to each other. The soldier threatened if I did not let go they would hurt me, then tasered me on my right shoulder and shot twice – it was very painful – but not as painful as the next shot where he pulled aside my life jacket, put gun on my chest and fired.My whole body lost control and I convulsed like a fit, I let out a high pitched scream. Then they took me to one of their boats.

And that was the “non-violent” take over of the Jewish boat to Gaza. Of course if we were Palestinians or Muslims they would have shot with live ammo, but because we were Jews and Israelis and had world attention they did not want to do what they did to the Mavi Marmara. Of course later they took all evidence filmed by Eli and Vish and the only evidence which now exists is with the military and the military film itself. It would be amazing if somehow there was pressure for the army to release the media materials we shot – there’s no reason for them to keep it. It’s amazing footage of all 48 hours of the voyage and the messages we wrote on the masts and flags from everyone who had sent wishes. Probably the most powerful images are of the actual seconds when the Navy boarded the ship.

All our banners and flags were pulled down by the army and the boat was pulled with the rest of passengers on-board to Ashdod.

Itamar and I went to Ashdod in the big warship which took several hours. We saw the boat being towed to the port. We saw the protesters, friends, family and supporters waiting for us on the beach since the morning, and a boat of film makers with cameras that were trying to reach us but was intercepted and forced to turn back to the port.

Each one of us had an intimate body search – they touched me quite intimately but no internal search. Eventually we were taken to a police station in Ashdod and saw more demonstrators waiting for us outside.

The police station took several hours, they interrogated Rami, Itamal (ITAMAR), Reuven, Eli and I and we were all accused of trying to enter an illegal closed zone, while Rami, Itamal and I were also accused of threatening, insulting and attacking the soldiers.We were all released around eight in the evening. It was shocking to be attacked so brutally whilst hugging and singing – the soldiers shouted at us, shook and pushed us. We were shocked to hear the army say the takeover was peaceful.

There was a big group of Israeli media and also people from Reuters and a few others waiting for us outside station. We answered their questions, then Reuven took out his harmonica and played a beautiful Jewish songs abut people who pursued peace. Everyone joined in around us, as we sang together some people who were passing by shouted things like “death to the Arabs”.

If we weren’t Jews and Israelis we would have much less chance to make it out alive. I send my love and thanks to everyone for all of their support, love and efforts to help us.”

NOTE:

Yonatan was not given or offered any medical attention at any point after he was shot with the taser.
They were released on 5000 N.I.S bail to return for additional interrogation or court discussion.
It is unclear as to whether they will be charged.

Source

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Occupation Magazine

Journal of a voyage

By Yonatan Shapira

26-9-2010
The course is 120. Another 200 miles to the port in Cyprus and the automatic pilot in the boat, which is supposed to maintain the course, refuses to work and leaves me with the unending task of maintaining the course on a turbulent sea with no sign of land from horizon to horizon.
In another half hour, Itamar, my brother, who is also a “refusnik,” will relieve me at the wheel, after him Bruce and then Glyn will take their shifts. If everything goes according to plan, we will reach Famagusta at midday on Saturday, and there we will pick up the rest of the passengers, who together with us, as strange as it may seem, will try to break the blockade of Gaza.

For some weeks already we have been making our way east, from the Greek island on which the yacht was bought, from north of the Peloponnese through the Corinthian Canal, the Cycladic islands. Already we have experienced just about every kind of mishap in the book: the engines overheated on us and died, the wheel suddenly became detached, the anchor got stuck, the sail tore, a storm, and more. What we have not yet experienced is the uniqueness, the wondrousness and the strong arm of the IDF - the most moral army in the world, for those who forgot.

Warships have not yet intercepted us, they have not lowered commandos on us from helicopters and snipers have not yet shot at us. Those challenges are still before us and we will experience them together with the passengers, among them Holocaust survivors, a bereaved father [1] and others.

The southwest wind is getting a little stronger and the compass is vacillating between 120 and 130. I glance at the GPS and see that I am veering slightly to the left. Well, if the automatic pilot were working I could simply sit, watch the waves and write undisturbed.

Seven years ago on the eve of Rosh Hashana we published what the media called “the pilots’ letter.” In that declaration we announced to the whole nation (yes, we wore flight-suits and were interviewed in the press and on television) that we would refuse to take part in the crimes of the Occupation.

Ten days after that, on the eve of Yom Kippur, we were invited for a talk with the Commander of the Air Force. After he outlined to me his racial theory (in the form of a scale of value of blood, from the Israelis on the top down to the Palestinians at the bottom) he informed me that I was dismissed and that I was no longer a pilot in the Israeli Air Force. Many things have happened since then. Many boats have crossed the Corinthian Canal, many demonstrations and arrests, but mainly, many children have been murdered in Gaza. I remember Arik, a close childhood friend and a combat pilot, who hesitated over whether to sign and to refuse but in the end sincerely informed me that he did not want to give up his wonderful toy, the F-16. At first he still had a little shame about the comfortable choice he had made. Secretly he supported me and admitted that he did not have courage. Seven years passed and today he is still an operational pilot in the reserves, a leader of attack formations in his combat wing and on his hands or wings is the boiling blood of tens of innocent Palestinians and Lebanese, maybe more. The traces of morality that he had are gone now and today Arik will bomb any place at any time, wherever they tell him. That is the beauty of routine. In the end everything looks normal to you: an ordinary man, kind and polite and a good father to his daughters, turns into a mass murderer. I was not a bomber pilot. I flew Blackhawks that are used mainly for rescue missions and to transport personnel. One argument we heard from those who disagreed with us, and especially people from my wing, three members of which signed the letter, was that none of us was asked personally to shoot or to bomb or to assassinate. We replied to that argument by saying that it was not necessary to commit murder in order to say that it is forbidden to commit murder, and that it is easy to say “I just held the stick while the other pilot launched the missile.”

Years passed and the events of the flotilla and the murderous attack on the Mavi Marmara came and proved that the connection between my wing and the murder of civilians is in fact a lot more direct. It was the unit in which I served and the helicopters that I flew that carried out the pirate operation and lowered the commandos onto the deck. It is quite likely that the very people who flew on that night had been pupils of mine or pilots who flew with me in the past.

What does a Blackhawk pilot think and feel when he is hovering over a civilian ship far from the Israel’s territorial waters? What is he thinking when he instructs the soldiers to descend in the middle of the night onto a ship that is transporting supplies of humanitarian aid, bags of cement and dozens of journalists?

Mainly he is thinking about how to maintain a stable hover and not to lose visual contact with the other helicopters and the ship below him. He listens and gives orders on the helicopter’s internal communication system and maybe he also feels a little fear; after all, hovering over a vessel on the open sea, and at night, is no simple task of aviation.

And maybe he thinks about a few other things. Maybe he has a certain political outlook and maybe not, but what is certain is what he is not thinking about … a pilot who is hovering over a civilian aid ship on the open sea is not thinking that somebody among the people below him is intending to shoot him or that they are in possession of firearms – otherwise he would not have approached the spot! If he is not conducting a necessary rescue operation, it is absolutely counter to army regulations; that means that they knew beyond any doubt that nobody on the Mavi Marmara was armed. He knows that they are civilians who were set on expressing protest and identification with the million and a half civilians of besieged Gaza; but he apparently does not think about the fact that when masked armed pirates pounce on you in the middle of the night it is legitimate for you to resist the hijacking (even if it is tactically and strategically pointless).

To all who have doubts about the issue, I warmly recommend that you try to imagine that you are in the middle of the sea on a dark night and suddenly giant black helicopters are hovering low over you with a deafening noise and from them, like masked burglars wearing black, descend armed hoodlums, and warships are approaching you from every direction, and they are all shooting stun grenades at you and other things that you cannot identify, due to the noise and the darkness.

The sun has just set on the horizon. It is 18:52 hours.

I am trying to think about what will happen to us in a few more days near the coast of Gaza, within or outside the territorial waters. It apparently makes no difference when you are above the law and can shoot, hijack, rob, occupy and humiliate without anyone imposing any limits.

We are in the small boat of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

We do not intend to fight the IDF, even though we have every right to do so. We chose non-violence as a tactic and as a strategy but we do not intend to give up easily until the moment they arrest and handcuff a Holocaust survivor and the bereaved father, right down to the last passenger on the boat.

The colours of the sunset are getting more and more dark and deep. Gold, pink and orange with light-blue stripes between the burning clouds. Now Bruce, on the wheel, is continuing to maintain a course of 120 with the two engines along with the mainsail and the foresail which add another half-knot to the speed. Itamar is practicing his guitar and Glyn is preparing supper. It seems like the clouds of fried onion are not only filling the yacht (and making it a little hard to breathe) but the whole Mediterranean Sea. Looks like I’ll skip supper.

Chief of Staff Ashkenazi told the Israeli commission of inquiry that investigated the flotilla events, that his conclusion from the events is – “more snipers” … yes – yes, that’s his conclusion from the murder on the Mavi Marmara, more snipers!

My conclusion was a bit different from that of a person who in the foreseeable future will be put on trial at the international court for war crimes. My conclusion was I had to join the next boat that set out for Gaza, and what could be more fitting than a Jewish organization from Europe that is struggling for human rights and peace.

I contacted the organizers and offered my services as skipper. Apparently seamanship was the most fitting of all the trades I learned in high school, and now I have the opportunity to implement what I learned, not only for pleasure but for an important and symbolic action with an organization that decided to invest a great deal of money, hours of deliberation, planning and endless preparations for one objective, to break the blockade of Gaza.

Yesterday evening on the island of Kastelorizo, during last-minute preparation of the boat, we opened the foresail on a large space near the pier and wrote on it in black in Arabic and Hebrew: “Yahud min ajl al-‘adala lil-filastiniyin” – the name of the organization – Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

The Arabic course I took in the summer helped me not get confused in writing the curved letters and Itamar, who stood above me and by the light by the public pier guided me up, down, left and right, so that the writing will look good and clear when we raise the sail upon our departure from Cyprus and as we approach the shores of Gaza.

Another long night-watch on the wheel followed. The sea was relatively calm, but a moderate tailwind insisted on bringing the exhaust from the engines directly to the cockpit, which strengthened my determination to skip supper and to contend with the feeling of light nausea by watching the horizon, maintaining a course of 125 and mainly by singing, again and again, the songs that sound most beautiful when one is on a boat in the middle of the sea: “if the darkness has fallen and I have no star … light a rose of fire on the mast of my boat, mother …” [2]

At 6:12 in the morning, as we approach Cyprus, with the first rays of light, Itamar at the wheel, Bruce and Glyn are sleeping and I am on the prow trying to breathe air clean of the smoke of the engines and trying to snooze, suddenly a medium-sized boat passes us. It passed quite close to us and looked strange. It circled us from the north and moved off to the west and looked like a small warship. Maybe we are already a little paranoid and maybe not and maybe it was just a vessel of the Turkish coast guard; in any case, we began to think and to imagine to ourselves what our encounter with the Israeli navy will be like when we approach the coast of Gaza, what each of us will do, how we will take care of the passengers and how we will react if the navy’s Dabur patrol boat (as in previous incidents) attacks us and rams our little boat. We decided to write in Hebrew and English a declaration that we will read on the radio on the nautical emergency channel when elements of the navy or the air force approach us. This is what we wrote:

We are a boat of the European Jewish organization Jews for Justice for Palestinians

We are on our way to Gaza

We are not armed and we believe in non-violence

And we are determined to proceed to the port of Gaza

You are imposing an illegal blockade on occupied Gaza

These are international waters and we do not recognize your authority here

There are activists of all ages on this boat

Among us are Holocaust survivors, bereaved parents and Israelis who refuse to reconcile themselves to the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories

We are unarmed peace activists who believe in non-violence and we are determined to proceed on our way to the port of Gaza

We appeal to you, officers and soldiers of the IDF, to refuse and not to obey your commanders’ illegal orders

For your information, the blockade of Gaza is illegal under international law and therefore you are running the risk of being put on trial at the international court for war crimes

The blockade and the occupation are inhumane and counter to universal morality and the values of Judaism

Use your consciences!

Do not say “I was only following orders”!

Remember the painful history of our people!

Refuse to enforce the blockade!

Refuse the Occupation!

1. In this context, “bereaved” is understood to refer to an Israeli who has lost a loved one as a result of war or terrorism in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict – trans.

2. From the Israeli song “Zemer ahava la-yam” – “Love song for the sea.” Lyrics: Raphael Eliaz, music: Sasha Argov – trans.

Translated from Hebrew by George Malent

Source

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Gush Shalom

Jewish Boat to Gaza captured - peace activists converge to Ashdod Port in protest
Welcoming the peace sailors out of Ashdod police station

 28-9-2010
Dozens of peace activists gathered on the beach near Ashdod port, to which the Jewish Peace Ship is being towed by the Israeli Navy, to protest the capture of the ship and the continued blockade of Gaza, which has turned it into a huge prison with no entry or exit.
The activists held signs with the captions: "Medicines – A Security Risk?", "Let Gaza Live," The blockade and the construction on settlements destroy us all," "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies." Later the demonstrators moved to the Ashdod Police where they currently remain.

The government does not miss any opportunity to present to the world the ugly, aggressive and brutal face of Israel. Israel's security would not have been damaged in the least – quite the contrary – if the peace activists on the ship had been allowed to reach Gaza as the respected guests of its Palestinian residents. The sailors who are now shackled and led to detention for their support for peace, save a small measure of the dignity of the State of Israel and of Judaism, whose name Binyamin Netanyahu bears in vain.

Phone numbers for contact at Ashdod Port:

Nurit Peled-Elhanan (wife of Rami Elhanan who sailed on the ship and is now in detention): 054-757 8703

Zvia Shapira (mother of Yonatan and Itamar Shapira who were on the ship and are now detained): 054-747 4994

Adam Keller, Gush Shalom spokesperson): 054-234 9750

Source


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Independent


Israel holds Gaza blockade Britons


29-9-2010
Israeli authorities boarded a British yacht, took down its flag and "almost strip searched" its crew as they attempted to break the blockade to Gaza, a Briton on board said today.

Vish Vishvanath was one of nine people travelling on the British-flagged catamaran Irene when it was intercepted.

The freelance photo-journalist from Twickenham, south west London, said the vessel had been "hijacked" in international waters and surrounded by about eight boats whose crew trained machine guns on them.

The armed Israeli authorities who came on board took down the boat's British flag, he said, "which is something you're not supposed to do".

The 36-year-old was one of two Britons on board the yacht. The other was Irene's captain, Glyn Secker.

Both men were detained in Israel prior to deportation.

Arriving at Luton Airport this morning, Mr Vishvanath said he had been "almost strip-searched" and that the Israeli authorities had confiscated all his camera gear and his phone.

The group set sail earlier this week from Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus, with a consignment of medicines, toys and water purifiers.

But the catamaran was seized yesterday around 20 miles from Gaza by Israeli naval forces, with nine people and aid for the territory on board.

Mr Vishvanath said: "We had some intelligence that we wouldn't be intercepted until we got to the edge of the Israeli territorial waters, which would have been yesterday around noon.

"We had a decent night's sleep but at about 9am or 10am we saw a frigate and a gun ship.

"The frigate followed us for quite a way. Then about another four speedboats appeared and another gun ship. In total there were about eight boats."

The boats approached the British yacht and told it to stop, he said.

"They said if we acted calmly no one would get hurt," he added.

But the captain ignored their warnings to turn back.

One of two former Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) members on board Irene repeatedly read out a statement telling the naval forces that "the occupation is illegal", Mr Vishvanath said.

He went on: "All the passengers and crew were in agreement it would be positive resistance. We weren't going to do what they told us, they would have to do it themselves.

"The captain didn't give up the helm easily."

Men who he believed were special forces commandos then boarded the boat and Tasered one of the ex-IDF men, who was putting up a struggle, he said.

"I saw both men get dragged into a support boat and taken away," the photo-journalist said.

"About three commandos ambushed me and took all my camera gear. They confiscated my cell phone because it had a camera on it.

"There was a lot of resistance - people just weren't going to play ball - but there was no violence," he added.

The captain then cut the fuel lines so the Israeli authorities had to tow the boat for two to three hours to the Israeli port of Ashdod, he said.

They removed the yacht's satellite phones and shut down all its communications, he added.

According to a spokeswoman for the activists, the non-Israelis on board were transported to an immigration centre in Israel, where they were temporarily detained.

Five Israelis, one US and one German citizen were also on the boat.

Mr Vishvanath said he was not an activist but was there to document events.

He said he was the only non-Jew on board and that all had been prepared to be intercepted by the Israeli authorities.

"The others were pointing out that it's not in their name," he said. "That all Zionists are Jews but not all Jews are Zionists."

A Holocaust survivor among the group lectured the commandos at length for about four hours, he added.

"They were engaging in conversation. They were friendly enough," he said.

Israeli military officials said Irene was taken over after the captain ignored two warnings to turn back.

"No violence of any kind was used," they said.

London-based activist group Jews for Justice for Palestinians organised the mission - called Jewish Boat To Gaza - and said its last contact with Mr Secker was at 10.37am British time yesterday.

The incident comes four months after a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish-led international flotilla aiming to break the blockade. Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists sparking a major international incident.

Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza three years ago in a bid to stop Islamic militant Hamas from building up an arsenal of weapons, but the move has proved inflammatory ever since.

Pro-Palestinian activists have sailed a string of blockade-busting boats to the coastal strip over the past two years, although few have reached Gaza.

Source

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Ha'aretz

Jewish Gaza-bound activists: IDF used excessive force in naval raid

Activists aboard Gaza-bound ship 'Irene' counter IDF version that the vessel was taken over in a peaceful manner.

By Yanir Yagna


28-9-2010
Israel Defense Forces soldiers used excessive force while taking over a Gaza-bound aid ship organized by Jewish and Israeli activists, the boat's passengers said Tuesday, countering the military's official version claiming that the takeover had been uneventful.

Earlier Tuesday the IDF reported that Israeli naval commandos peacefully boarded the Jewish aid boat attempting to break a naval blockade on Gaza, saying "IDF naval forces recently boarded the yacht 'Irene', and it is currently being led to the Ashdod seaport along with its passengers."

However, testimonies by passengers who were released from police questioning later in the day seemed to counter the IDF's claims, with Israeli activist and former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira saying that there were "no words to describe what we went through during the takeover."

Shapira said the activists, who he said displayed no violence, were met with extreme IDF brutality, adding that the soldiers "just jumped us, and hit us. I was hit with a taser gun."

"Some of the soldiers treated us atrociously," Shapira said, adding that he felt there was a "huge gap between what the IDF spokesman is saying happened and what really happened."

The former IAF pilot said he and his fellow activists were "proud of the mission," saying it was organized "for the sake of a statement – that the siege on Gaza is a crime, that it's immoral, un-Jewish, and we have a moral obligation to speak out. Anyone who stays silent as this crime is being committed is an accessory to a crime."

Eli Usharov, a reporter for Israel's Channel 10 affirmed Shapira's version of the events, telling Haaretz that the takeover was executed with unnecessary brutality.

"They used a taser gun against Yonatan. He screamed and was dragged to the military boat," Usharov said, adding that both Yonatan and his brother Itamar were handcuffed.

The Channel 10 reporter also said that the activists managed to have a serious heart-to-heart conversation with the troops once they were all placed on board the military vessel, and that "overall the atmosphere was good."

Reuben Moscowitz, a Holocaust survivor who took part in the mission, expressed his disbelief that "Israeli soldiers would treat nine Jews this way. They just hit people."

"I as a Holocaust survivor cannot live with the fact that the State of Israel is imprisoning an entire people behind fences," Moscowitz said, adding that "it's just immoral."

"What happened to me in the Holocaust wakes me up every night and I hope we don't do the same thing to our neighbors," Moscowitz said, adding that he was comparing "what I went through during the Holocaust to what the besieged Palestinian children are going through."

Source


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HLN, Belgie

Israëlische commando's enteren boot met speelgoed

28-9-2010
Israëlische commando's hebben "op vreedzame wijze" de boot met activisten geënterd die op weg was naar de Gazastrook. De boot wordt naar de Israëlische stad Ashdod gesleept.
Kort voordat de commando's aan boord gingen, riep de Israëlische marine de boot op om terug te keren. Toen de boot niet wilde wijken, sneed een Israëlisch oorlogsschip de catamaran van de activisten de pas af en enterden enkele commando's het schip.

De activisten willen protesteren tegen de Israëlische blokkade van de Gazastrook. De boot is gevuld met speelgoed, schoolboeken en prothesen. In mei bestormde het Israëlische leger ook een boot met activisten. Negen opvarenden kwamen toen om.
(anp/mvl)
28/09/10 12u35


1 reactie

Jeffrey Van den Broeck, Gentbrugge

En gelijk hadden ze. Voor je het weet gooien palestijnen met boeken naar Israelische tanks, in plaats van stenen en dat is een onverantwoord risico

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Wel jammer dat bij de joodse activisten geen geweld gebruikt wordt en bij de andere schepen wel!

Sonja van den Ende


Nu.nl

Israëlische commando's enteren activistenboot


28-9-2010
AFP -- JERUZALEM - Israëlische commando's hebben dinsdag 'op vreedzame wijze' de boot met Joodse activisten geënterd die op weg was naar de Gazastrook.

Dat meldde een woordvoerder van het Israëlische leger. Volgens de zegsman wordt de boot naar de Israëlische stad Ashdod gesleept.

Kort voordat de commando's aan boord gingen, riep de Israëlische marine de boot op om terug te keren. Toen de boot niet wilde wijken, sneed een Israëlisch oorlogsschip de catamaran van de activisten de pas af en enterden enkele commando's het schip.

De Joodse activisten willen protesteren tegen de Israëlische blokkade van de Gazastrook. De boot is gevuld met speelgoed, schoolboeken en prothesen. In mei bestormde het Israëlische leger ook een boot met activisten. Negen opvarenden kwamen toen om.

Bron


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Mondoweiss

Jewish passengers to Gaza said to be detained in Ashdod, shaken but OK

by Philip Weiss

28-9-2010
Update: We just got word that Lillian Rosengarten and other passengers on the Jewish boat to Gaza are being held in Ashdod, Israel. "Shaken but OK."

Various sources are reporting that the "Irene," the catamaran carrying seven Jews to Gaza from Cyprus, was intercepted this morning by several boats in the Israeli navy, apparently in international waters, and forced to make course for Ashdod, in Israel. Reuters has an Israeli gov't spokesman complaining about the "surreal" mission to which Israeli forces were assigned today and noting the presence on the boat of a former uniformed Israeli officer, Yonatan Shapira.

The press release from the boat organizers:

    Last contact with the boat's captain, Glyn Secker, was at 0937 GMT, when their path had been cut off by a Destroyer. Recent reports from other news sources indicated that the boat has been surrounded and boarded.

    At this point they were less than 20 miles from Gaza's shore. Since then all phones went dead. The occupied Gaza Strip's territorial waters end 12 nautical miles from shore, but the Israeli blockade is enforced at 20 miles from shore. Israeli attorney Smadar Ben Natan who is representing the passengers has asked to see her clients immediately. Local group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has asked for permission to send an independent doctor to visit the passengers immediately, after hearing from organizers that at least one passenger suffers from serious chronic health problems and is in need of medical care.

    Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, has condemned the Israeli army's apparent action and said that this boat and its fate are a symbol of the chances for peace in the region. The way it is being treated by Israeli authorities indicates that they have no real intentions of reaching peace, he said. He called for worldwide support for the boat and its message of protest against the siege of Gaza and the occupation.

Source

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Gush Shalom


Peace Activists Demonstrating at Ashdod Port to Protest Capture of Ship

28-9-2010
Dozens of peace activists gathered on the beach near Ashdod port, to which the Jewish Peace Ship is being towed by the Israeli Navy, to protest the capture of the ship and the continued blockade of Gaza, which has turned it into a huge prison with no entry or exit.
The activists held signs with the captions: "Medicines – A Security Risk?", "Let Gaza Live," The blockade and the construction on settlements destroy us all," "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies." Later the demonstrators moved to the gates of Ashdod Port where they currently remain.

The government does not miss any opportunity to present to the world the ugly, aggressive and brutal face of Israel. Israel's security would not have been damaged in the least – quite the contrary – if the peace activists on the ship had been allowed to reach Gaza as the respected guests of its Palestinian residents. The sailors who are now shackled and led to detention for their support for peace, save a small measure of the dignity of the State of Israel and of Judaism, whose name Binyamin Netanyahu bears in vain.

Phone numbers for contact at Ashdod Port:


Nurit Peled-Elhanan (wife of Rami Elhanan who sailed on the ship and is now in detention): 054-757 8703

Zvia Shapira (mother of Yonatan and Itamar Shapira who were on the ship and are now detained): 054-747 4994

Adam Keller, Gush Shalom spokesperson): 054-234 9750

Source

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Abu Pessoptimist

Israelische marine brengt de 'Irene' op
 
28-9-2010
De Israelische marine is aan boord gegaan van het Joodse hulpscheepje Irene dat op weg was naar Gaza. Schip en bemanning zijn opgebracht naar de haven van Ashdod.
Dat heeft de Israelische militaire woordvoerder dinsdag aan het eind van de morgen bekendgemaakt. Hij voegde eraan toe dat zich geen incidenten hadden voorgedaan en dat er geen gebruik was gemaakt van geweld. Voorafgaande aan het enteren van de boot waren waarschuwingen geuit dat de de Irene weten overtrad, maar daar had het scheepje zich niets van aangetrokken, aldus de IDF-woordvoerder.

Vervolgens sloot de woordvoerder het bericht af met de volgende prachtige zin: The IDF regrets that it must divert the Israel Navy’s attention from its regular operational activity defending Israel and its citizens because of acts of provocation such as this.




Oftwel: het leger betreurt het dat het de zich moet laten afleiden van zijn gebruikelijke taak, het beschermen van Israel en zijn burgers, door provocerende daden zoals deze. Nee, dan de blokkade van Gaza. Die dient inderdaad de bescherming van Israel en zijn burgers. Of de bezetting van de Westoever..... 

Bron

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Ma'an

Group: Sane government won't hinder Jewish boat

27-9-2010
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli peace groups on Monday applauded Jewish activists on board an aid ship sailing to Gaza.

In a statement, Gush Shalom applauded the courage of activists on board the Jewish Peace Boat who were "working to end the Gaza Siege and get for its inhabitants the natural right to come and go, like everywhere else in the world."

The boat was "a reminder of the isolation which we in Israel bring upon ourselves," the group said, adding that Israel was "increasingly losing the support of world Jewry."

A "sane Israeli government" would not hinder the boat's passage, as "Nobody could possibly argue that the arrival of ten peace activists in Gaza could in any way endanger Israel's security," the statement continued.

A raid on a Turkish-flagged aid boat on 31 May became the subject of a UN investigation, after Israeli forces killed nine civilians on board as the boat approached Gaza.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions wished activists "safe sailing," and said the boat would attempt to unload its cargo at a port in Gaza as "a non-violent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest."

Cargo would include "symbolic aid," including children's toys, text books, and prosthetic limbs, ICAHD said, and the boat would fly multicolored peace flags carrying the names of dozens of Jews worldwide who expressed support for the initiative.

Richard Kuper of organizing group Jews for Justice for Palestinians told ICAHD that passengers would not engage in any physical confrontation with Israeli forces, and "will not present the Israelis with any reason or excuse to use physical force."

Passenger Reuven Moskovitz, 82, said turning enemies into friends had been his life's mission, adding "We are two peoples, but we have one future."

The boat, named Irene, left Cyprus at 13.32 local time on Monday and is carrying 10 passengers including Jews from the US, UK, Germany and Israel under a British flag, ICHAD said.

Source

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PressTV

Israel warships intercept Gaza aid boat

28-9-2010
Israeli warships have intercepted a Jewish aid boat heading for the Gaza Strip to break the crippling blockade of the impoverished territory.

"Ten Israeli warships forced the boat to head for (the Israeli port) of Ashdod by force, but without raiding the ship," Amjad al-Shawa, a Gaza-based organiser, told AFP.

"They surrendered because they were surrounded. They had no choice," he further explained.

On May 31, Israeli navy commandos killed nine Turkish activists onboard a civilian aid convoy while it was in international waters.

A report by the UN Human Rights Council said the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla "constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law."

The UN probe also termed as 'unlawful' the continuation of the blockade that has caused great physical and mental harm to the Gaza residents.

Source

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Huffington Post

By Ben Hubbard

27-9-2010
JERUSALEM — A small boat carrying Jewish activists is on course to arrive in the blockaded Gaza Strip late Tuesday morning, though they consider it likely the Israeli navy will stop them, an activist on board told The Associated Press Monday.

"We know that they stopped all the other boats, so there is probably a good chance that they will try" to stop this one, activist Yonatan Shapira said by phone from the 33-foot (10-meter) catamaran Irene.

In May, Israeli commandos stopped a Turkish-led flotilla of six Gaza-bound ships, killing nine pro-Palestinian activists. Both sides said they were acting in self defense in the bloody confrontation.

That clash set off an uproar and turned a spotlight on Israel's three-year blockade of Gaza, which targets the territory's Hamas rulers. As a result, Israel significantly eased the restrictions, allowing many consumer products in but still banning most exports and maintaining its sea blockade, saying it is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching the radical Hamas regime.

The Irene set sail from Cyprus on Sunday, carrying nine Jewish activists from Israel and other countries. They said they are trying to draw attention to Israel's blockade of Gaza and will not resist if they are stopped.

Organizers have said they expect the Israeli navy to overtake the boat as it gets closer to Gaza, possibly as early at Monday evening.

The Israeli military declined to comment.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David called the activists' claim to be bringing aid to Gaza "ridiculous" and labeled the voyage "a politically motivated provocation."

The activists behind the convoy involved in May's deadly raid say they will send a new flotilla of at least eight ships to try to break the blockade by the end of this year. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition, an umbrella group of pro-Palestinian activists, said no date has been set.

Spokesman Vangelis Pissias said the group of European activists is expected to include some who were on board the ship boarded by Israeli forces in May.

Source


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Abu Pessoptimist

De 'Irene' op weg naar Gaza


 
27-9-2010
De Irene, uitgerust door de European Jews for a Just Peace en andere Joodse organisaties, is met 10 passagiers en symbolische hulpgoederen zoals speelgoed, studieboeken, muziekinstrumenten en kunstledematen, sinds zondagmiddag vanuit Noord-Cyprus op weg naar Gaza.
Onder de passagiers bevinden zich Rami Elhanan, vader van een dochter die 9in 1997 werd gedood bij een bomaanslag in Jeruzalem, Jonathan Shapira, ex-piloot die dienst weigerde in de bezette gebieden, en Reuven Moskovitz (foto) een 82-jarige holocaust-overlevende. De tocht is te volgen op twitter @jewishboat2gaza en hier via de website  www.jewishboattogaza.org
Het scheepje maakt de overtocht in ongeveer 36 uur.

Bron

-----------------------------------

Ha'aretz

'Jews for Justice' aid boat sets sail for Gaza


Organizer says goal of boat which left from Cyprus on Sunday is to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

By Nir Hasson , AP

26-9-2010
A boat carrying Jewish activists from Israel, Germany, the U.S. and Britain set sail on Sunday for Gaza, hoping to breach Israel's blockade there and deliver aid.

Richard Kuper, an organizer with the U.K. group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said one goal is to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

Kuper said the boat, which set sail from northern Cyprus flying a British flag, won't resist if Israeli authorities try to stop it.

The trip came nearly four months after Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships. Nine activists were killed in the ensuing clashes. The voyage also came as Israelis, Palestinians and U.S. mediators sought a compromise that would allow Mideast talks to continue after an Israeli settlement slowdown expires at midnight.

Boat passenger Rami Elhanan, an Israeli whose daughter Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in Jerusalem in 1997, said it was his moral duty to act in support of Palestinians in Gaza because reconciliation was the surest path to peace.

"Those 1.5 million people in Gaza are victims exactly as I am," Elhanan, 60, said in an interview.

Other voyage organizers included the group European Jews for a Just Peace and the U.S.-based Jewish Voice for Peace.

Refusnik Israel Air Force pilot Jonathan Shapira, another passenger aboard the ship, told Haaretz that "we hope that the soldiers and officers of the Israeli navy will think twice before they obey orders to stop us."

"Let them remember the history of our people, and those who followed orders and later said 'we were only following orders.' We do not pose any kind of security threat to Israel's citizens. We intend to continue forward with our crew and our cargo to the port in Gaza, where we are expected."

The ship's cargo includes toys, textbooks, musical instruments, fishing gear as well as prosthetic limbs for orthopedic treatments.

The organizers admit that they are a bringing "symbolic" amount of aid. "The ship will try to reach the Gaza shore in order to unload the supplies within the framework of a non-violent symbolic act of solidarity and protest, aimed at calling for the lifting of the siege and the free passage of supplies and people to and from Gaza," the organizers said in a statement.

Shapira said that "I believe that the navy won't want us to pass, but on the other hand, there has never before been a Jewish aid ship, manned by determined people including a Holocaust survivor, trying to reach Gaza. This may prevent them from shooting at us, like they did in the Turkish flotilla."

The 33-foot catamaran Irene, carrying a total of nine passengers and crew members, set sail from the Turkish Cypriot north of the island because the Greek Cypriot south imposed a ban on all-Gaza-bound vessels in May, citing vital interests.

Prior to the ban, international activists had used south Cyprus to launch eight boat trips to Gaza, a coastal strip seized by the Islamic militant group Hamas three years ago.

On May 31, eight pro-Palestinian Turkish activists and a Turkish American died when Israeli naval commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships.

The Irene boat planned to deliver children's toys, medical equipment, outboard motors for fishing boats and books to Gaza residents.

Kuper said the voyage intended to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians and to underscore what he called Israel's illegal, unnecessary and inhumane blockade of Gaza.

"Jewish communities around the world are not united in support of Israel," Kuper said in a telephone interview from London. "Israel's future peace is coming to terms quickly with the Palestinians."

Organizer Alison Prager said from the boat before it left Cyprus that although many Jews have been on previous blockade-busting trips to Gaza, this was the first time Jewish groups have banded together to send a boat of their own.

Kuper said the trip was funded entirely by supporters' donations.

Source

-----------------------------------

Jewish Boat to Gaza

Jewish Boat to Gaza sets sail from Cyprus

At crisis point in peace talks, Jews, Israelis call to lift the siege on Gaza, end the occupation.

26-9-2010
A boat carrying aid for Gaza’s population and organized by Jewish groups worldwide has set sail from Cyprus today at 13:32 local time

The boat, Irene, is sailing under a British flag and is carrying ten passengers and crew, including Jews from the US, the UK, Germany and Israel as well as an Israeli journalist.



Passengers on the Jewish Boat to Gaza gather for a group photograph before their departure. Photo by Vish Vishvanath/Metro


The boat’s cargo includes symbolic aid in the form of children’s toys and musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets for Gaza’s fishing communities and prosthetic limbs for orthopaedic medical care in Gaza’s hospitals.

The receiving organization in Gaza is The Palestinian International Campaign to end the siege on Gaza, directed by  Dr. Eyad Sarraj and Amjad Shawa, Director of PNGO

The boat will attempt to reach the coast of Gaza and unload its aid cargo in a nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest – and call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip.



The boat sets sail. Photos by Vish Vishvanath/Metro

The boat will fly multicolored peace flags carrying the names of dozens of Jews who have expressed their support for this action, as a symbol of the widespread support for the boat by Jews worldwide.

Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said today that the Jewish Boat to Gaza is a symbolic act of protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the siege of Gaza, and a message of solidarity to Palestinians and Israelis who seek peace and justice.

‘Israeli government policies are not supported by all Jews,’ said Kuper. ‘We call on all governments and people around the world to speak and act against the occupation and the siege.’

Regarding the threat of interception by the Israeli navy, Kuper said ‘This is a nonviolent action. We aim to reach Gaza, but our activists will not engage in any physical confrontation and will therefore not present the Israelis with any reason or excuse to use physical force or assault them.’



Passenger Reuven Moskovitz. Photo by Vish Vishvanath

Passenger Reuven Moskovitz, 82, said that his life’s mission has been to turn foes into friends. “We are two peoples, but we have one future”, he said.

Passengers aboard the boat

Reuven Moskovitz, from Israel, is a founding member of the Jewish-Arab village Neve Shalom (Oasis of Peace) and a holocaust survivor. Speaks German, Hebrew and English.

Rami Elhanan, from Israel, lost his daughter Smadar to a suicide bombing in 1997 and is a founding member of the Bereaved Families Circle of Israelis and Palestinians who lost their loved ones to the conflict. Speaks Hebrew and English.

Lilian Rosengarten
, from the US, is a peace activist and psychotherapist. She was a refugee from Nazi Germany. Speaks English and German.

Yonatan Shapira
, from Israel, is an ex-IDF pilot and now an activist for Combatants for Peace. Speaks Hebrew and English.

Carole Angier, from the UK, is the biographer of the renowned author, Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi. Speaks English, French, Italian and German.

Glyn Secker, from the UK, is the boat’s captain and a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Speaks English.

Dr. Edith Lutz, from Germany, is a peace activist and a nurse. She was on the first boat to Gaza in 2008. Speaks German and English.

Alison Prager, from the UK, is a teacher and peace activist. She is media coordinator for the boat. Speaks English.

Itamar Shapira, from Israel, is Yonatan’s brother, and a member of the boat’s crew. Speaks Hebrew, Spanish and English.

Eli Osherov,  Israeli reporter from Israel Channel 10 News.

Supporters: Jewish organizations and individuals from UK, Holland, Germany, US, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Austria, Australia and Israel.

Organizers and sponsors: European Jews for a Just Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK), Juedische Stimme fuer einen gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Germany), American Jews for a Just Peace (USA), Jewish Voice for Peace (USA), Jews Against the Occupation Sydney.

Source

-----------------------------------

CNN

Jewish boat sets sail to Gaza with aid

The Irene leaves Cyprus on Sunday carrying Jewish activists bound for Gaza.

The Irene leaves Cyprus on Sunday carrying Jewish activists bound for Gaza.


26-9-2010
(CNN) -- An aid ship sponsored by Jewish organizations around the world set sail Sunday from Cyprus to Gaza, despite a blockade to the occupied territory.

The boat, named Irene, was carrying 10 passengers and crew, including Jews from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Israel.

"The boat will attempt to reach the coast of Gaza and unload its aid cargo in a nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest -- and call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip," organizers said in a statement.

The captain of the boat, Glyn Secker, said that they left Cyprus at 1 p.m. and expect to arrive in Gaza in 36 hours.

The boat's cargo includes children's toys, musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets and prosthetic limbs, the organizers said.

They plan to deliver the goods to the Gaza Mental Health Program.

"Israeli government policies are not supported by all Jews," said Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, one of the organizers. "We call on all governments and people around the world to speak and act against the occupation and the siege."

Police in Cyprus said they were not aware of the ship's departure, spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said.

Cyprus has a ban on vessels leaving the southern part of the island for Gaza. It was unclear from what part of the island the boat departed.

Source

-----------------------------------
By Menelaos Hadjicostis

26-9-2010
AP -- FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus — A boat carrying Jewish activists from Israel, Germany, the U.S. and Britain set sail on Sunday for Gaza, hoping to breach Israel's blockade there and deliver aid.

Richard Kuper, an organizer with the U.K. group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said one goal is to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians.

Kuper said the boat, which set sail from northern Cyprus flying a British flag, won't resist if Israeli authorities try to stop it.

The trip came nearly four months after Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships, killing nine activists. The voyage also came as Israelis, Palestinians and U.S. mediators sought a compromise that would allow Mideast talks to continue after an Israeli settlement slowdown expires at midnight.

Boat passenger Rami Elhanan, an Israeli whose daughter Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in Jerusalem in 1997, said it was his "moral duty" to act in support of Palestinians in Gaza because reconciliation was the surest path to peace.

"Those 1.5 million people in Gaza are victims exactly as I am," Elhanan, 60, said in an interview.

Other voyage organizers included the group European Jews for a Just Peace and the U.S.-based Jewish Voice for Peace.

The 33-foot (10-meter) catamaran Irene, carrying a total of nine passengers and crew members, set sail from the Turkish Cypriot north of the island because the Greek Cypriot south imposed a ban on all-Gaza-bound vessels in May, citing "vital interests."

Prior to the ban, international activists had used south Cyprus to launch eight boat trips to Gaza, a coastal strip seized by the Islamic militant group Hamas three years ago.

On May 31, eight pro-Palestinian Turkish activists and a Turkish American died when Israeli naval commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships.

The Irene boat planned to deliver children's toys, medical equipment, outboard motors for fishing boats and books to Gaza residents.

Kuper said the voyage is a "symbolic statement" intended to show that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians and to underscore what he called Israel's "illegal, unnecessary and inhumane" blockade of Gaza.

"Jewish communities around the world are not united in support of Israel," Kuper said in a telephone interview from London. "Israel's future peace is coming to terms quickly with the Palestinians."

Organizer Alison Prager said from the boat before it left Cyprus that although many Jews have been on previous "blockade-busting trips" to Gaza, this was the first time Jewish groups have banded together to send a boat of their own.

Kuper said the trip was funded entirely by supporters' donations.

Source
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