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Jun 12, 2011 at 11:50 AM

The Free Gaza movement (http://www.freegaza.org/) is a human rights group that, since August 2008, has traveled nine times to Gaza by sea to break Israel's illegal stranglehold on1.5 million Palestinian civilians. We entered Gaza successfully five times in 2008; however, we have been violently intercepted on the past four voyages, including Israel's MAY 31, 2010 lethal attack on our Freedom Flotilla,when nine of our colleagues were killed and many more injured by Israeli commandos.

The Free Gaza movement and its coalition partners, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza; IHH -- the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief; the International Committee to End the Siege on Gaza; Ship to Gaza Sweden and Ship to Gaza Greece are the only organizations that have sent boats directly to Gaza in defiance of Israel's criminal closure of the Gaza Strip. We sail as an expression of citizen nonviolent, direct action, confronting Israel's ongoing abuses of Palestinian human and political rights.

Dear Israel: It is you who is the provocateur, not us


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ANNOUNCEMENT

June 12, 2011

Regarding statements of government officials in Israel (echoed by officials in other countries) about diplomatic initiatives to impede the “Freedom Flotilla II- Stay Human” mission to Gaza, Palestine, we say:

Proper diplomacy does not exclude humanitarian action; Instead of seeking to prevent an international community of concerned citizens from taking nonviolent action in defense of liberty and human rights, diplomacy must pursue such actions and encourage them.

It is, therefore, a provocation to label the humanitarian action taken by movements supporting human rights to sail to Gaza a “provocation.”

It is a provocation that powerful states and international organizations, such as the US, Israel, the EU and the UN, are asking people to be silent and not react to violations of law and the disdain for universal values.

It is a provocation that international diplomacy is demanding that solidarity action from "people to people" be stopped.

It is a provocation that this international peaceful action is threatened with violence, and the powerful of the earth “wash their hands” of the consequences if Israel attacks us.

It is a provocation that these powerful entities justify, a priori, the murders, wounding, arrests and torture of unarmed human rights activists that took place one year ago on board all six ships of Freedom Flotilla 1.

We are determined to sail to Gaza, and we will. Our cause is just and our means are transparent. International diplomacy must do what it has refused to do for years, to undertake initiatives that it has turned away from for decades. Instead of condoning threats of repeated violence against unarmed civilians sailing in international waters, the global community must legally sanction the perpetrators of such crimes.

Those who seek to uphold and defend freedom, human rights, and justice must do more than denounce belligerent occupation, man-made humanitarian crises, ethnic cleansing, wanton violence against civilians, and the fierce oppression of social movements.

Civil society must be present, direct, and pro-active; it must transcend the political process of handling and resolving crises, which governments and international organizations carry out slowly, indecisively and, above all, with their self-interest at the forefront.

The grossly unjust and unlawful blockade of the Gaza Strip and the ongoing belligerent occupation of the rest of Palestine is a stark case of states sacrificing principle and human rights for power and self-interest.

The Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human mission is a healthy reaction to the apathy of the international political community. We are sailing to confront massive injustice with global nonviolent action. This mission puts on notice all those who, for many years, have passively watched the tragedy of Palestine, as well as those who directly contribute to it.

Therefore, direct action taken by civil society to uphold freedom, human rights, and justice (such as Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human), not only helps to build a different level of conscience, but is, and has to be, a means for the public to become a part of change and a direct challenge to governmental bodies that will not be stopped.

Israel Responds to Flotilla Pressure by “Allowing More Crumbs” into Gaza


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Aid Does Not Equal Freedom

June 5, 2011

For Immediate Release

Contact: Adam Shapiro, +30-694-781-5798, adamsop@gmail.com

Huwaida Arraf, +30-694-781-5798, huwaida.arraf@gmail.com

Greta Berlin, +33 607 374 512, Iristulip@gmail.com

Israel’s announcement today that it is “allowing between 210 and 220” trucks into Gaza with humanitarian aid is a direct response to the pressure that the upcoming Freedom Flotilla II is creating.  Since July 2007, Israel has kept the number of allowed trucks at 25% of what the pre-blockade numbers were and of what is required by Gaza residents. To date, Israel has not responded to calls by human rights organizations or the UN to increase the numbers.  Only as a result of the mounting pressure from the Freedom Flotilla has Israel altered its policy. However, today’s allowance still falls 35% short of what is needed in Gaza.

Letting in more trucks is not enough.  More trucks with food and medicine are only meant to give the appearance of an open Gaza.  More trucks does not mean freedom; more trucks does not mean rebuilding the hundreds of homes and buildings that the Israeli military destroyed during Operation Cast Lead (only 12 of the trucks being allowed in contain construction material for UN projects); more trucks does not mean Gaza is not occupied and its residents subjected to collective punishment; more trucks does not mean that Israel has ended its cruel blockade; more trucks does not mean that Palestinians are any less imprisoned.

More trucks do, however, mean that Israeli farmers and merchants make money off the occupation. as most international agencies bringing aid into Gaza are forced to buy their supplies from Israel.

Freedom Flotilla II will sail at the end of June to press Israel and the international community to end the occupation of Palestine and to ensure freedom for Palestinians – just as any other people in the world have the right to be free.  Instead of pressuring countries to stand in our way, or coming up with ways to bribe governments to stop our ships, the UN, the United States and the rest of the international community should recognize the power of this non-violent civilian effort to pressure Israel to change its policy.  With Israel’s change in policy after Freedom Flotilla I, and now these moves to pre-empt our flotilla, it seems we are succeeding where the international community continues to fail.

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Israeli court: American protester Rachel Corrie's death an accident

Haifa, Israel (CNN) -- Nine years after an American activist was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer, an Israeli civil court ruled Tuesday that Rachel Corrie's death was an accident.

Corrie, 23, was killed in 2003 while trying to block the bulldozer from razing Palestinian homes.

Her parents filed suit against Israel's Ministry of Defense in a quest for accountability and sought just $1 in damages. But Judge Oded Gershon ruled Tuesday that the family has no right to damages, backing an earlier Israeli investigation that cleared any soldier of wrongdoing.

"I believe this was a bad day not only for our family, but a bad day for human rights, for humanity, for the rule of law and also for the country of Israel," her mother, Cindy Corrie, said after the verdict.\

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