Women's Boat to Gaza: 13 Activists Detained by Israel, Weeks After US Approves $38 Billion in Military Aid
Two journalists from Al Jazeera who were on board Zaytouna-Oliva have been released and have safely reached London and Moscow. The other 11 women of the Women’s Boat to Gaza are still in detention, but we anticipate that they will be deported soon, as they have been moved from Givon Prison to a detention facility at Ben-Gurion airport.
Wendy Goldsmith, a member of the land team working to secure the release of the women stated that, “the deportation is happening much quicker than in previous flotillas. While we had a great legal team assisting the women, we suspect that the reason for the quick release was because of all the negative media attention Israel has been receiving for its illegal interception, including the demand of rock band Pink Floyd.” According to early reports from the women released, the Zaytouna-Oliva was surrounded by two warships along with four to five smaller naval boats. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demanded that the Zaytouna-Oliva stop its course towards Gaza. When the warning was refused, at least seven IOF members, both male and female, boarded our yacht and commandeered it in international waters.
In the course of their capture, the women insisted that Israel’s attack was illegal and that they were being taken against their will to Israel. The Women’s Boat to Gaza campaign asserts that while the captivity of the women on board Zaytouna-Oliva may soon be over, the captivity of 1.9 million Palestinian people in Gaza remains. Whilst the term “peaceful” has been used in some media to describe the attack and capture of our boat, this is inaccurate. Peace is more than merely the absence of physical violence. Oppression, occupation, denial of human rights and taking a boat of unarmed, non-violent women against their will are not peaceful activities. Indeed, as Zaytouna-Oliva approached Palestine, the IOF launched multiple air raids across the Gaza Strip.
The Women’s Boat to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition will continue to sail until Palestine is free.
Statement from Members of European Parliament (5 October 2016)
“Today at 15:58 the Women’s Boat to Gaza, Zaytouna-Oliva, has lost communication, and we can presume that the Israeli Occupation Navy has surrounded it in International Waters (Lat +31.906033 Lon +33.757630). This is inside the self-proclaimed “military exclusion zone” imposed unilaterally and illegally by the Israeli government, in contravention of international law. We call on all governments, public officials and people of conscience to support publically the right of unimpeded passage for peaceful civilian navigation, and the physical integrity of the crew and participants on board, and to support full freedom of movement for all peoples, in particular the Palestinians of Gaza. We demand European authorities to take action now to assure information from the activists and to demand their immediate liberation.”
1. Marina Albiol (GUE/NGL)
2. Malin Björk (GUE/NGL)
3. Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL, Vice-President of the European Parliament)
4. Paloma López (GUE/NGL)
5. Izaskun Bilbao (ALDE)
6. Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL)
7. Pascal Durand (Greens/EFA)
8. Bart Staes (Greens/EFA)
9. Ana Maria Gomes (S&D)
10. Tania González (GUE/NGL)
11. Estefanía Torres (GUE/NGL)
12. Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL)
13. Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL)
14. Josep-Maria Terricabras (Greens/EFA)
15. Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL)
16. Merja Kyllönen (GUE/NGL)
17. Ernest Urtasun (Greens/EFA)
18. Margrete Auken (Greens/EFA)
19. Lola Sánchez (GUE/NGL)
20. Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL)
21. Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL)
22. Liadh Ní Riada (GUE/NGL)
23. Soraya Post (S&D)
24. Eva Joly (Greens/EFA)
25. Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D)
26. Yannick Jadot (Greens/EFA)
27. Jill Evans (Greens/EFA)
28. Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL)
29. Rina Ronja Kari (GUE/NGL)
30. Javier Couso (GUE/NGL)
31. Marita Ulvskog (S&D)
32. Stelios Kouloglou (GUE/NGL)
33. Nessa Childers (S&D)
34. Julie Ward (S&D)
35. Iratxe García Pérez (S&D)
36. Joao Ferreira (GUE/NGL)
37. Joao Pimenta (GUE/NGL)
38. Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL)
39. Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL)
40. Ivo Vajgl (ALDE)
41. Lidia Senra (GUE/NGL)
42. Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA)
43. Karima Delli (Greens/EFA)
44. Josu Juaristi (GUE/NGL)
45. Sergio Cofferati (S&D)
This afternoon at 15:58 (CEST) on 5 October, the Israeli Occupation Navy surrounded the Zaytouna-Oliva in International Waters and kidnapped the 13 human rights activists on their way to Gaza. A list of all the women on board can be found here https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/participants-on-board-messina-to-gaza
The IOF began to intercept the boat around the same time as the IOF were bombing Gaza earlier this afternoon, one of Israel's many breaches of the ceasefire this year.
The Women’s Boat to Gaza is calling for their immediate release as well as the release of our boat, seized in an act of state piracy in international waters about 40 nautical miles from the Port of Gaza.
At 1558 (CEST) on 5 October, we lost contact again with the Zaytouna-Oliva and presume that the Israeli Occupation Navy has now begun to attack it and that it has been surrounded in International Waters (latest position: Lat+31.906033 Lon+33.757630). On board are 13 women, including Mairead Maguire, the Nobel peace laureate from Northern Ireland, Fauziah Hasan, a doctor from Malaysia, and retired US army colonel Ann Wright. Take action to protect them! Details of all of the participants are here: https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/participants-on-board-messina-to-gaza
Pre-recorded video of women onboard here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-l5tZR_gus2Fq8LuaVN24sq_22qGqEhB
Please contact the people listed below asking for the safety of all the 13 women on board of the Women's Boat to Gaza.
They were on a peaceful mission reach the people of Gaza in solidarity and are believed to have been stopped by the Israeli navy.
Tel: (011 972 3) 636-3300
Within Israel (03) 636-3300
Fax: (011 972 3) 636-3380
Within Israel (03) 636-3380
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.,
Rona Ambrose, Conservative Leader
Conservative Party of Canada
1720-130 Albert St.
Tom Mulcair, New Democratic Party Leader
House of Commons
Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament.
154 Laurier Avenue West (Main Office)
His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary-General
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
Federica Mogherini High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200
1049 1049 Brussels
Writers from http://wearenotnumbers.org explain the importance of the sea to every Palestinian from Gaza, and why the flotillas are an important source of hope even if they don’t make it.
The Amal-Hope II, which remained in Messina when the Zaytouna-Oliva left the port of Messina last Tuesday, will not be able to join the journey to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.
According to Gerd von der Lippe, an athlete and professor from Norway who was supposed to participate on the Amal-Hope II: “We are all terribly disappointed that we won’t have an opportunity to meet our Palestinian sisters in Gaza in person this year. But now we must put all our energy towards ensuring that Zaytouna-Oliva is successful in breaking this illegal
blockade. We really need global citizens of goodwill to contact their governments urging them to demand safe passage for that boat.”
Following the breakdown of the first Amal-Hope in Barcelona, we were purchased and brought a replacement boat to Messina. It was ready to sail, and in fact sailed from Messina to Palermo over the weekend, but the delays meant that the crew we had lined up for the last part of the voyage were no longer available. Eva Manly, a retired documentary maker from Canada, who was also due to be on Amal-Hope II, agrees: “It was a Herculean task to get Amal-Hope II this far, but we just weren’t able to make it happen in time.”
In addition to Manly and von der Lippe, the women that were scheduled to be aboard the Amal-Hope II, included Zohar Chamberlain-Regev (Israel-Germany), Wendy Goldsmith (Canada), Ellen Huttu-Hansson (Sweden), Naomi Wallace (US), Cigdem Topcuoglu (Turkey), Orly Noy (Israel) Jaldía Abubakra (Spain), Sofia Kanavle (US), Siri Nylen (Sweden) and Maite Mompó (Spain).
The Zaytouna-Oliva continues to make good progress through the Mediterranean Sea and is on course to arrive in the port of Gaza later this week.
Contact person: Ellen Huttu Hansson, +46 722 883 213