Ann deserves our support
|Ann has traveled thousands of miles and made a great sacrifice for human rights. We can help her with a few small efforts:
Contact President Barack Obama (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry firstname.lastname@example.org or
Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends. Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don’t forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end
As if this wasn’t expected …..
Image by Carlos Latuff
A message from the passengers ….
The Zaytouna-Oliva has departed Messina and is now halfway to Gaza. She should arrive on the shores later this week.
We have a landing page where you follow the mission by twitter, facebook and GPS tracking.
The women on the boat represent 13 countries spanning 5 continents. The participants include a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, journalists and a physician. The US representative is former State Department diplomat (and beloved peace activist) Ann Wright. Bios of all the women can be found here.
Letter to Secretary John Kerry
Dear Secretary Kerry,
In September 2016, several boats with the Women’s Boats to Gaza will sail in a nonviolent effort to break the illegal and immoral Israeli blockade of Gaza. Comprised entirely of women, passengers will include international parliamentarians, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and several American citizens. The Captains and crew of the boats are women. One passenger, former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq, is the recipient of the U.S. State Department’s Award for Heroism.
The women on the boats to Gaza are responding to an invitation by Palestinian civil society. They have committed themselves to nonviolence and in no way pose a violent threat to Israel. They will be sailing in international waters, not within Israeli territorial waters .
As you are aware, earlier this year, Senator Patrick Leahy, along with ten other members of Congress, wrote to you with specific concerns about “disturbing reports” regarding Israel’s “gross violations” against civilians. As Israel is a direct recipient of U.S. military assistance, these human rights abuses violate the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and the Leahy Law. These same laws protect the women on these boats.
In your role as U.S. Secretary of State, you are in the unique position of ensuring that military aid to Israel is not used against civilians, including fellow Americans. Simply put, you not only have the leverage to prevent a potential tragedy and clear violation of international and human rights laws from occurring if the Israeli defense forces use violence against the women on these boats, you have an obligation to do so. Given that Israel has taken violent measures in the past, we ask that our concerns be taken with the utmost seriousness.
Throughout history, non-violent peace activists and human rights advocates have relied on third parties of goodwill for protection and security to violent attacks against their efforts. While many organizations and individuals have already committed to providing such support to the Women’s boats, you are in a position of having one of the most tangible impacts on the safety of these passengers. We remain hopeful that you will take to heart your role in this and will do everything in your power to ensure their safety.
Zohar Chamberlain Regev, Women’s Boat to Gaza
Alice Walker, Author
Marie Dennis, Executive Director, Pax Christi International
Rachel Kushner, Author
Sr. Mary Wendeln, C. PP.S., Original member, Nuns on the Bus
Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director, Pax Christi, USA
Linda Sarsour, Executive Director Arab American Association of New York
Look at our Greeting Party in Gaza
And here is Israel’s response ….
15 women to try to break Gaza blockade
The Zaytouna-Oliva, which set sail from Barcelona earlier this month, will try to reach the strip, as the Israeli Navy prepares to stop it and escort it to the Ashdod Port; Northern Ireland activist and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire is among those on board.
The Israeli Navy is preparing to stop a group of women who will try to reach the Gaza Strip on board a boat on Wednesday in a bid to break a decade-long blockade by Israel.
Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006 but it was tightened in 2007 after the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas seized control in the tiny enclave.
Israel’s maritime, land and sea blockade of Gaza is aimed at preventing Hamas from receiving supplies which could be used for military purposes.
Fifteen women will try to breach the blockade aboard the Zaytouna-Oliva boat early on Wednesday, said spokeswoman Claude Leotic.”But we fear there will be an Israeli attack” to prevent the boat from reaching Gaza’s shores, she told AFP Tuesday in a telephone interview.
Much like other similar instances since the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, the Navy will not allow the boat to arrive in Gaza and it will likely be escorted to the port of Ashdod.
The Zaytouna-Oliva is one of two vessels that set sail from Barcelona in September.
The flotilla dubbed “Women’s Boat to Gaza,” is part of the wider Freedom Flotilla Coalition that consists of pro-Palestinian boats that regularly go to Gaza from all over the world to try to break the blockade.
None have yet managed to get through, and Israeli authorities have made several arrests.
One such operation turned to tragedy in 2010 when Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists in a raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The incident strained ties between Turkey and Israel, with the crisis only resolved earlier this year with the signing of a reconciliation agreement.
Among the women of different nationalities on board the Zaytouna-Oliva is Northern Ireland activist and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire.
A South African passenger, Leigh-Ann Naidoo, told AFP she expected the boat to be 100 nautical miles off the shores of Gaza by 3am GMT.
“Our goal is to reach Gaza. We are not worried about what Israel plans on doing,” she added.
In early July, a week after Israel and Turkey signed their reconciliation agreement, a Turkish aid ship arrived at the Ashdod Port with food, medicine and toys that were checked and then transported into the Gaza Strip. On board were 22 crewmen, journalists and Red Crescent personnel. All were approved entry to Israel by the Interior Ministry.
Source and video HERE