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SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty Have Arrived in Larnaca, Cyprus PDF Print E-mail
Aug 20, 2008 at 05:56 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

At 8:30 am Cyprus time, the Free Gaza and the Liberty rounded the last corner
of this lovely island, escorted by the Cypriot Coast Guard, and pulled into on
the Northern side of the commercial port in Larnaca.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to unify our group, which has been split
between Cyprus and Crete . We are excited to combine both groups who have worked
so hard on this project and are so enthusiastic about setting out for Gaza . On
the way in today, we had the Cypriot authorities escorting us. Now, it’s time
for the world to escort us to Gaza .” Said Paul Larudee, one of the
organizers.

After a thorough inspection of both boats, the port authority will let the 20
passengers from Cyprus on board to make final preparations, including a
memorial service for the more than 5000 Palestinians who have lost their lives
since September 2000 as well as the 34 sailors aboard the USS Liberty who were
assassinated by Israel in 1967. They, like the Palestinians, will not be
forgotten. That service should be on Thursday, August 21 just before the boats
begin their final journey to Gaza .

“It was exhilarating to watch the boats come in after waiting so patiently
over the past two weeks. Seeing the sail on the Free Gaza followed to port by
the Liberty has been worth the wait. Now we will get the boats ready to sail to
Gaza , because that is our final destination. We are looking forward to going as
soon as possible. ” Said a delighted Fathi Jaouadi, one of the passengers on
board.

The boats will be in port for the next two days for media to photograph. The
human rights workers on board will also be available for interviews.


In UK :    The Free Gaza Movement:        +447818040982
       Palestinian Solidarity Campaign:    +442077006313         
On Board Ship:   Paul Larudee:         +306 981 234829  (larudee@pacbell.net)
          Osama Qashoo:         +44 7833381660
In Cyprus :      Ramzi Kysia: Greta Berlin    +357-990 81767     (iristulip@gmail.com)
          Angela Godfrey-Goldstein:    +972 547 366 393 (angela@icahd.org)

In California :   Karin Pally            310-399-1921      (kpally@earthlink.net)

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Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy

Final Statement of the Palestinian Civil Society Conference,
Cyprus, 16–18 October 2007

As part of the effort by the Palestinian civil society organizations to overcome the state of forced Palestinian fragmentation and consolidate the national role of the Palestinian NGOs in all their places of residence, a conference titled "Toward the Establishment of a Palestinian Civil Society Defragmentation Strategy" was held in Agros, Cyprus, between 16 and 18 October 2007 at the initiative of Ittijah-The Union of Arab Community Based Associations. Forty-four participants representing a broad sector of Palestinian civil society networks, coalitions, and associations in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Kuwait, in addition to a number of international partner organizations supporting Palestinian rights, attended the conference. The Israeli occupation authorities banned the travel of a delegation representing civil society organizations in Gaza.

The conference discussed a number of issues, notably: The Palestinian situation and Palestinian, regional, and international developments, including the Annapolis conference; the collective Palestinian strategy against the forced fragmentation; the endeavors to rebuild terms of reference and assert the constant Palestinian principles; the strategy of collective Palestinian advocacy; Palestinian media strategies; and local and international coordination on the Palestinian question.

The participants in the conference set bases that would help strengthen the overall Palestinian struggle for liberation in all its contexts: the occupation, the displacement and uprooting, and the assault on Palestinian existence in the 1948 areas.

A draft of a collective organizational structure and an action plan were also devised, and a follow-up committee to implement this plan and lead the agreed process was set up.

Read more...