2 Released from Prison: Grave Concern for Safety and For Cargo

Freedom Flotilla Coalition News Statement
For Immediate Release, Monday July 30, 2018 15:00 CEST.

Two people from Al Awda (The Return) have been released, but most of the crew and participants are still in unlawful detention at Givon prison in Israel. We are still gravely concerned for their safety and well-being as we had no contact with most of them as of 14:00 CEST today. We continue to demand that our boat and the medical supplies on board reach their rightful recipients, Palestinian civil society in Gaza.

Although the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) claim that the capture of our vessel happened ‘without exceptional incident’, eye-witness Zohar Chamberlain Regev reports that at the time of boarding: “People on board were tasered and hit by masked IOF soldiers. We did not get our passports or belongings before we got off the boat. Do not believe reports of peaceful interception.” We urgently need to know the details of who was injured and how seriously, and what treatment they are receiving, if any. A military attack on a civilian vessel is a violent act and a violation of international law. Taking 22 people from international waters to a country which is not their destination constitutes an act of kidnapping, which is also unlawful under the international Convention of the Law of Sea.

From the time we lost contact around 13:15 local time on Sunday, we know that the IOF blocked all communication signals, including satellite phones. We are very concerned about this violation of journalists’ right to report freely and we remain gravely concerned about their ability to keep their professional equipment and their storage media. As Australian journalist Chris Graham recently observed “Bad things happen when good people stay silent, as history well records. But horrendous things happen when media are prevented from scrutinizing the actions of a state.”

Two of our participants who are Israeli citizens have been charged with attempting to enter Gaza and conspiracy to commit a crime, and were released on bail last night. One of them, boat leader Zohar Chamberlain Regev, reports seeing blood on the deck of the Al Awda as the last participants were being dragged off the ship.

In comparison with the violence routinely directed at Palestinian civilians, including at fishers from Gaza, and the violent capture of Palestinian fishing boats, yesterday’s seizure and kidnapping may not be the most serious of Israeli crimes. What these violents acts have in common is that there is no accountability demanded by other governments and Israel continues to enjoy total impunity.

We call on national governments, civil society and international organizations to demand that Israeli authorities immediately release our boat so that we can deliver our much-needed medical supplies on Al Awda and the fishing boat itself to the rightful recipients in Gaza. Detailed specification of our exact cargo on board are available on request.

Israel’s capture of the lead boat in this Gaza-bound flotilla may seem like a predictable outcome to some, but that doesn’t make it any less violent nor any less illegal. Our second boat Freedom will follow Al Awda within a day or two, and the Freedom Flotilla will continue until the blockade ends and Palestinians of Gaza regain their full freedom of movement.

Details about detainees still in prison, including their last videos and personal statements, can be found on our website and Facebook pages.

For more information, contact media spokespeople: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/media-room-2

Letter to Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

Dear Ms. Freeland,
 

Re: Safe and unhindered passage for the 2018 International Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

The 2018 international Freedom Flotilla departed Sicily earlier this week and is now heading across the Mediterranean Sea towards Gaza and is due to arrive within the next several days.

 

On board are two Canadian citizens: John Turnbull, and Larry Commodore of the Sto:lo Nation, Canada who have bravely joined a number of other prominent human rights advocates from around the world to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza.

The flotilla also carries approximately 13,000 Euros worth of urgently needed medical supplies (including gauze) to be gifted to Gaza’s over-stretched health services. The boats will be gifted to Gaza’s fishers, who are in desperate need of support in order to feed their families.

Like our many previous missions, this flotilla poses no threat whatsoever to the Israeli Government. However, in light of Israel’s unlawful attacks on, and seizure of previous Gaza-bound civilian boats in international waters, we once again call on the Canadian Government to urgently demand the Israeli authorities end their inhumane and illegal blockade of the Palestinian people of Gaza and allow the 2018 Freedom Flotilla safe and unhindered passage to their destination – the port of Gaza.

 

We look forward to your prompt response. 

Sincerely, 

Canada Boat to Gaza Steering Committee

 

In Support of the Freedom Flotilla and activist Larry Commodore

Cedar George Parker is a 1st Nations activist on unceded Coast Salish Territory. He spoke at the Freedom Flotilla fundraiser held for Larry Commodore.

 

Sobhi al-Zobaidi speaks at the Freedom Flotilla fundraiser for 1st Nations activist, Larry Commodore.  

 

Hanna Kawas, from Voice of Palestine, speaks at the fundraiser for 1st Nations activist, Larry Commodore

réalisatrice canadienne Kathy Wazana rejoint Flottille de la Liberté

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE 

La réalisatrice canadienne Kathy Wazana a rejoint jeudi la Flottille de la Liberté lors de son escale à Ajaccio (Corse).

Madame Wazana fait partie de la délégation de la société civile canadienne qui se relaie sur le chalutier norvégien Al Awda (“Le Retour”) depuis son départ de Norvège fin avril, avec pour mission de briser le blocus israélien imposé à Gaza depuis plus de 10 ans.

Née à Casablanca, au Maroc, Kathy Wazana a réalisé le documentaire They Were Promised the Sea // Pour une Nouvelle Séville, une enquête sur l’identité de Juif-Arabe qui lui a valu le Prix de la meilleure production indépendante de l’Office national du Film en 2014.

Concernant sa participation dans cette mission, Kathy dit: « S’il est vrai que la souffrance obligequelle rend responsable ses témoins, j’ai la double responsabilité, en tant en tant que témoin directe des crimes perpétrés par l’État d’Israël contre la population Palestinienne de Gaza, et en tant que juive, de défendre le droit d’un avenir juste pour la Palestine. »

La Flottille de la Liberté navigue vers Gaza en 2018 pour le droit à un avenir juste pour la Palestine. Nous défions le blocus de Gaza et nous exigeons une fin à la complicité de nos gouvernements avec ce blocus, la cause d'une crise humanitaire grave qui prive la population civile d'eau potable, d'électricité et de soins médicaux. Pour plus d'information au sujet de notre mission et du blocus de Gaza par Israël, voir le site.

Al Awda prend la mer avec Mme Wazana et autres participant.e.s internationaux dimanche 8 juillet à 20h (heure française) pour la prochaine escale européenne, Naples.

Pour contacter / interviewer Mme Wazana en France : 
+33 753 305 623 (français, English)

Contact en Europe pour la Flottille de la Liberté : David Heap
Phone +33 767 223 164  OU +1 519 859 3579 mediawbg@gmail.com (français, English, español)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palestinian doctor from St. John’s joins Freedom Flotilla Coalition to Gaza

'People everywhere have the right to live in dignity and … without fear of being shot'

Dr. Majed Khraishi has lived in Newfoundland for 30 years, but still has family in Jordan and the West Bank.(NLMA/Facebook)

The family connections of a St. John's doctor — and a desire to inspire change  — have motivated him to join a team sailing to the Gaza Strip.

"The most important thing is really to raise awareness of the horrible situation and the siege of Gaza, this has been going on for many years," says Dr. Majed Khraishi, a rheumatologist and a clinical professor in the medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland. 

"There are two million people who are living in a space not much larger than the size of greater St. John's in some unbelievable conditions," Khraishi said.

He has been living in Newfoundland for 30 years, but still has family in Jordan and the West Bank.

LISTEN: St John's Morning Show: Feedom Flotilla Coalition

A Newfoundland doctor is part of a team sailing to the Gaza Strip. Dr. Majed Khraishi drops by the studio to talk about his personal connection to Palestine… and the dangers that come with the journey. 7:59

Khraishi, who is Palestinian, will serve as an onboard doctor with the Freedom Flotilla Coaltion (FFC), an international organization that aims to challenge the Isreali blockade of Gaza.

He said he has two reasons for joining the fleet of boats.

"Bring some supplies, some humanitarian supplies. But more importantly to raise awareness of our governments — of people around the world — that there is something inhumane going on here," he said.

'Is that all we can do?'

Israel and Egypt argue that they must maintain the blockade of Gaza to contain Hamas and other militant groups, which have built up arsenals over the years, including short-range rockets.

Hardships linked to the blockade, including daily power cuts and rising poverty, have driven turnout at protests.

Khraishi says for him, it's a humanitarian issue first, not a political one. 

"The fact that people everywhere have the right to live in dignity and … without fear of being shot, or not even having their children taken care of," he said.

"It makes you feel like you have to do something … I thought the least I can do is be part of this flotilla, part of this mission and make my voice heard and do something about it."

Al Awda (The Return) in Bergen, Norway

Al Awda (The Return) in Bergen, Norway. This is the boat Khraishi will travel on, serving as the onboard doctor. 

The FFC fleet of four boats will stop in ports throughout Europe, running public outreach and awareness campaigns.

Khraishi is meeting the group in Lisbon Wednesday, and will sail for about a week on one of the boats, although he expects to disembark before the final leg as the group tries to reach Gaza in mid-July.

"What I really feel is some sense of fulfilment, some sense of apprehension and sometimes [I wonder] is that all that we can do?" 

"I did a very small part eventually that will help others to do bigger parts and eventually maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

Orignally published by CBC News, Newfoundland and Labrador
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/mun-professor-onboard-doctor-freedom-flotilla-1.4713736
 

Canadian Boat to Gaza participant Heather Milton-Lightening on board Freedom Flotilla boat Al Awda (The Return) in Germany

The Freedom Flotilla boat Al Awda (The Return) spent two days in Copenhagen (Denmark) last weekend, and on Tuesday-Wednesday traveled to Kiel in Germany, where she was greeted by Reiner Braun, co-president of the International Peace Bureau, among other well-wishers.

The first Canadian Boat to Gaza participant, Heather Milton-Lightening from Treaty 4 Territory (Saskatchewan) is currently on board Al Awda (The Return) — you can read more about her here: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/news/heather-milton-lightening. Before leaving Copenhagen, Heather and Israeli participant Yudit Ilany did a great interview with Dimitri Lascaris on The Real News Network, listen and watch here: https://therealnews.com/stories/freedom-flotilla-sets-sail-for-gaza-after-the-great-march-of-return

Along with three other Freedom Flotilla boats (Freedom, Mairead and Falestine), Al Awda left Kiel (Germany) this morning and is heading for Wilhemshafen, where they should arrive Saturday pm: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/news/freedom-flotilla-to-gaza-in-wilhelmshafen-germany-may-26-28. Together they will continue their 75 day voyage to Gaza, to challenge and break the illegal Israeli blockade.

Our Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign is committed to paying our share of the international Freedom Flotilla budget this year is $30 000, including the costs of acquiring this hard-working former fishing boat. Donors like you have helped us raise amounts much larger than that in the past. Will you help us fund our contribution now? You can donate by e-transfer (Interac, from Canada accounts only), mailing cheques or money orders, or online, see : http://canadaboatgaza.org/donate/

Israel has maintained an illegal, inhumane and destructive blockade on Gaza for over a decade. The United Nations now says that Gaza will become uninhabitable by the year 2020 because of the Israeli blockade. In response to the brutal Israeli blockade, for seven years the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has carried out non-violent direct actions aimed at raising international awareness and putting pressure on the international community to end the blockade.

We sail this year for the right to a just future for Palestine. Children and minors, who make up more than half of the Gaza population of over 2 million, are victims of the ongoing blockade, which has robbed them of their childhood; their rights to safety, education, and health; and their prospects for a decent future. We will continue to put pressure on our governments and protest their complicity with Israel's crimes against humanity.  We sail again to stand with the Palestinians of Gaza, as they demand their freedom of movement and their right to a just future in their land. But we can only do it with your generous support. Our campaign needs your support in our to pay our share of the boat that the Freedom Flotilla is sailing against the blockade of Gaza and for a the Right to a Just Future for Palestine. Make out cheques or money orders to Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid and send them to:

Canadian Boat to Gaza

PO Box 1950, London Stn. B

London, Ontario N6A 5J4

CANADA

(Note: like many of our sister organizations, we would prefer to move away from dependence on PayPal for online donations. At this point, we are pleased to accept e-Interac transfers from Canadian bank accounts, and we hope to announce other electronic payment methods soon. Please e-mail us if you have questions about this). Some (especially those who can benefit from a charitable tax receipt in the US) may wish to donate through the US Boat to Gaza page:

https://2018boatstogaza-nonviolenceinternational.nationbuilder.com/contribute In other parts of the world, please consider donating through one our other partner campaigns in the Freedom Flotilla:  https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/donate

Whether you can donate financially or not, please help us spread the word about our campaign:

  • share our messages with your family, friends and/or work colleagues and encourage them to join our mailing list; 
  • send an endorsement message from your association, union, congregation or political party;
  • organize and attend events to raise funds and awareness for our campaign;
  • join a Freedom Flotilla campaign near you and encourage others to do so;
  • follow us on the web, Facebook, Twitter (see below), and (new!) Instagram, and share our posts widely.

Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla

www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza        
www.facebook.com/BateauCanadienGaza 
www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition  

Together, we can help end the blockade!

On Nakba Day, join Libby Davies & Ann Wright online, as we introduce CBG Freedom Flotilla participants!

On Tuesday May 15 at 7 pm, join Libby Davies and Ann Wright, as we introduce CBG Freedom Flotilla participants online!

The Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign is hosting its very first livestream videocast to mark Nakba Day (May 15), the commemoration of The Catastrophe, as the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine is called in Arabic. For this online event starting at 7 pm EDT (LIVE UPDATE, now archived on RabbleTV :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOfgeSLcs5E ), we are delighted to be joined by peace activist and retired U.S. Colonel Ann Wright, as well as by former NDP MP and longtime supporter of Palestinian hurman rights, Libby Davies. With Ann and Libby, we will be discussing recent events in Gaza and the current Freedom Flotilla mission to challenge and break the illegal blockade of Gaza. We are also introducing some of the participants from Canada who will be getting on board the Freedom Flotilla mission this year, sailing for the Right to a Just future for Palestine.

A retired U.S. Army Colonel and career diplomat Ann Wright resigned her State Department post in protest of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and has devoted herself to grassroots peace initiatives ever since. She has been part in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition since the beginning, including being leader on the Women’s Boat to Gaza in 2016 and she is also active in advocating for Rohingya refugees and in the women-led movement for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Former NDP Member of Parliament and former Vancouver City Councillor Libby Davies visited Gaza in 2009 as part of a Canadian parliamentary delegation, and she is a long-time supporter of Palestinian human rights.

The 2018 Freedom Flotilla participants from Canada are:

Dr. Majed Khraishi, a professor of medicine and practicing medical specialist based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, who was born in the town of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank and was forced out of Palestine, along with his family, in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War.

Kathy Wazana, a filmmaker, a grandmother, and a student at York University in Toronto. Born in Casablanca, she came to Canada with her family as part of the mass migration that virtually emptied Morocco of its Jewish population.

Ron Rousseau, a postal worker, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Whitehorse local, Indigenous Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress, father and grandfather, who lives in the Traditional Territory of the Carcross Tagish First Nation in Yukon.

Heather Milton-Lightening, who has over twenty years of organizing experience from local to international campaigns. She originates from the great plains region of Turtle Island, (North America) and Treaty 4 Territory. She is Nehiyaw, (Cree), Anishinaabe (Saulteaux), Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Lakota/Dakota and Welsh. Heather is a founder of Native Youth Movement and Aboriginal Youth with Initiative, Inc., an organization based on the Anishinaabe clan system.

Larry Commodore from Soowahlie, Ts'elxweyeqw Tribe, Sto:lo Nation, also known as Cultus Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Born and bred in his ancestral homeland, he's been a strong advocate for his people, their land and their rights. His solidarity with Palestinians has grown over the years as he has come to understand the common struggle against Settler-Colonial regimes.

During our livestream discussion, we hope to hear from each participant, and we will be taking questions and comments from the online audience, as well as recorded messages from some well-known Flotilla supporters. Join us by going to RabbleTV ( http://youtube.com/user/rabbletv/live) at 7 pm EDT on Tuesday May 15 (UPDATE: now available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOfgeSLcs5E)  to learn how you too can "get on board" the Freedom Flotilla as a “passenger on land” (if you arrive early, you should reload your page at 7 pm for the start).

We sail again in 2018 to stand with the Palestinians of Gaza, as they demand their freedom of movement and their right to a just future in their land. But we can only do it with your generous support. Our campaign needs your support in our to pay our share of the boat that the Freedom Flotilla is sailing against the blockade of Gaza and for a the Right to a Just Future for Palestine. Make out cheques or money orders to Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid and send them to:

Canadian Boat to Gaza
PO Box 1950, London Stn. B
London, Ontario N6A 5J4
CANADA

(Note: like many of our sister organizations, we would prefer to move away from dependence on PayPal for online donations. At this point, we are pleased to accept e-Interac transfers from Canadian bank accounts, and we hope to announce other electronic payment methods soon. Please e-mail us if you have questions about this). Some donors, especially those who can benefit from a charitable tax receipt in the US, may wish to donate through the US Boat to Gaza page, here.

In other parts of the world, please consider donating through one our other partner campaigns in the Freedom Flotilla.

Whether you can donate financially or not, please help us spread the word about our campaign:

share our messages with your family, friends and/or work colleagues and encourage them to join our mailing list;
send an endorsement message from your association, union, congregation or political party;
organize and attend events to raise funds and awareness for our campaign;
join a Freedom Flotilla campaign near you and encourage others to do so;
follow us on the web, Facebook, Twitter (see below), and (new!) Instagram, and share our posts widely.
Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla

www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza
www.facebook.com/BateauCanadienGaza
www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition

Together, we can help end the blockade!


Canadian Boat to Gaza: www.canadaboatgaza.org email: canadaboatgaza@gmail.com

Bateau canadien pour GAZA: www.canadaboatgaza.org courriel: canadaboatgaza@gmail.com