Posts Tagged ‘Free Gaza Movement’

Thank you, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed

August 17, 2009

Written by Free Gaza Team, The Free Gaza Movement, Aug 16, 2009

The Free Gaza Movement is proud to announce strong support from the people of Malaysia for its efforts to break the siege on Gaza. On Wednesday, August 12, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation announced the establishment of the Gaza Fund, which will raise money for the Free Gaza Movement’s efforts to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade and collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza. He asked other Malaysians to join with him in raising the money for this endeavor.

Continued >>

International Movements Breaking the Siege on Gaza

July 29, 2009
by Suzanne Morrison | CommonDreams.org, July 28, 2009

Since June 2007 the Israeli government has imposed almost complete closure over the Gaza Strip. The siege prevents nearly all movement of people or goods to and from the coastal region with only minimal amounts of humanitarian provisions inconsistently allowed in. With the exception of a small amount of carnations allowed out earlier this year, there has been a virtual ban on all exports from Gaza since 2007. [1] A quick socio-economic glimpse of Gaza includes agricultural losses totaling US $30 million and more than 40,000 jobs for the 2007/2008 season, the suspension of 98% of industrial operations, and more than 80% of Gaza’s population is now dependent on humanitarian aid from international aid providing agencies. [2]

Closure of Gaza and the West Bank has intermittently been imposed since 1991. While Israel prevents movement and access in the name of temporary security measures, the regularity and extent of these mechanisms, particularly since the Oslo process, represents an institutionalized policy of closure. Israel’s current siege on Gaza reflects an unprecedented and severe application of the closure policy. In the past year internationals have tried to break the siege on Gaza by bringing critical medical supplies and other humanitarian goods into Gaza.

Continues >>

Israel Abducts Nobel Laureate, Former U.S. Congresswoman

July 2, 2009
by Jeremy R. Hammond

The 'Spirit of Humanity' sets sail for Gaza (Free Gaza Movement)The ‘Spirit of Humanity’ sets sail for Gaza (Free Gaza Movement)

The Free Gaza Movement announced in a press release on Tuesday that its boat The Spirit of Humanity had been intercepted by the Israeli navy while en route from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Palestinian people.

The people of Gaza have suffered under an Israeli siege and a three-week military assault code-named Operation Cast Lead that began on December 27 last year.

Israel has been heavily criticized by human rights groups for its actions during that campaign, which included indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets and the use of white phosphorus as a weapon, forbidden under international law.

The Israeli navy intercepted the boat, named the Arion but dubbed The Spirit of Humanity by its passengers, boarded it, and then forcibly directed it to Ashdod, Israel.

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Standing Up for Justice in the Middle East

August 18, 2008

by Ramzi Kysia

“Come, my friends
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset…”
—from Tennyson’s “Ulysses”

Limassol, Cyprus – In a few, short days, the Free Gaza Movement, a diverse group of international human rights activists from seventeen different countries, will set sail from Cyprus to Gaza in order to shatter the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. I’m proud to stand with them. Over 170 prominent individuals and organizations have endorsed our efforts, including the Carter Center, former British Cabinet member Clare Short, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates Mairead Maguire and Desmond Tutu.

Adam Qvist, a 22 year old student and filmmaker from Copenhagen, Denmark, is one of the human rights workers sailing to Gaza. He explains his participation in the project in this way:

“I’m interested in telling narratives and advocating people’s existent feelings. The idea of sailing to Gaza is kind of crazy, but it’s also very straight-forward. The whole idea of having just one Palestinian who’s been forced off their land and who is able to return to Palestine – this is something that could demolish the whole Zionist venture. And it just has to be one person. If one person can do it, then others can do it. This project, this boat, is about giving people the freedom to take responsibility. You shouldn’t expect something from others if you can’t do it yourself, and this is true both on a very personal but also on a political level.

“This mission is an amazing opportunity to have a huge impact on this hard-locked, heart-locked, crisis. I’ve never been to Gaza, myself, but I know that Gaza is the forgotten little brother of the Middle East, or at least of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Everything about this crisis is clearer in Gaza. The Israeli occupation strategy is much clearer in Gaza, because it’s not specifically about taking more land. It’s mostly about completely destroying a people.”

Over two years ago, in an election process advocated by the United States, the party of Hamas was elected to power in Occupied Palestine. In response, Israel and the United States imposed a near total blockade on the people of Gaza in an illegal act of collective punishment.

For more than two years, Israel has blocked Gaza’s access to tax revenues, humanitarian aid, and even family remittances from Palestinians living abroad. Predictably, Gaza’s economy has completely collapsed, and malnutrition rates have skyrocketed. Today, because of the blockade, eighty percent of the people of Gaza are dependent on United Nations’ food aid just to be able to eat.

This is intolerable.

U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama often speaks about the “audacity of hope.” But hope can never be a passive emotion. Centuries ago, St. Augustine wrote that Hope has two, beautiful daughters: Anger and Courage. To hope for a better world is to be angry at the injustices that prevent that world from emerging, and it requires the courage to stand up and create newer worlds for ourselves.

Tom Nelson, a lawyer from Welches, Oregon, is sailing to Gaza to seek that newer world. According to Tom:

“Americans are terribly ignorant of the human effects of what they support. I think this boat is one of the most effective means of raising consciousness – particularly American consciousness – about the problems caused by American foreign policy. Americans have to know the consequences of these policies … I’m sixty-four years old, my children are grown, and my affairs are in order. I think about Rachel Corrie, and about what Israel may do to us. I know it’s risky, but I take a risk when I ride a motorcycle, and I think that if we’re really going to change things then somebody has to begin putting something on the line for that change to happen.”

Eliza Ernshire is a thirty-two year old schoolteacher from London. Her reasons for sailing to Gaza are much the same:

“For years and years – seeing place in the world that were being totally destroyed, and people that were being totally destroyed by other people and governments – I thought there’s nothing that I could do. But I realized that we can change things in small ways, and we have a responsibility to do this.

“No one is paying attention to what’s happening in Gaza. No one is listening to Palestinians. They are slowly being strangulated by Israel, and no one is even listening. I can’t sit outside of this and just let it happen … We as human beings have an obligation to stand up, and I can’t be passive about it. You can’t stand up in London and just say that you don’t agree. We need to find ways to connect people in the Middle East, particularly young people, to people and groups in wealthier countries. Together we can inspire each other, and together we can be much more than we are alone.”

Eliza speaks a powerful truth. Politicians and pundits often complain that the conflicts in the Middle East are complex and intractable, but two things are absolutely clear: One is that the use of violence – and, in Israel’s case, overwhelming violence – has not helped any side to achieve peace or security. And the other is that our governments, across our entire world, have completely failed to do anything productive to address this crisis.

It’s time we the people stand up for ourselves against unjust laws, wanton violence, criminal blockades, and the hardness of heart that makes these thing possible. It’s time we stand against fear-mongering and war-mongering, and build connections, for ourselves, with our sisters and brothers in the Middle East. Our politicians have long since failed us. Now it’s our turn to stand up and seek a newer world for ourselves.

Ramzi Kysia is an Arab-American writer and activist, and a member of the Free Gaza Movement. You can receive regular updates on their efforts to break the siege of Gaza by signing up for their newsletter. If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to donate to their efforts, please visit their website at FreeGaza.org
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