Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 12 - The Gaza Journey

The Gaza Journey

By the time you read this our two boats, the Free Gaza and SS Liberty should be sailing from Chania's old port in Crete despite a gloomy forecast of storms ahead.

Our captains have decided it is time to quit our dock for security reasons and so we are heading along the Crete coastline on our way to pick up the rest of our passengers who have been waiting patiently in Cyprus.

We could be in for a rough ride, but without going into too much detail, we probably are more at risk by not moving.

Israel has a history of using Mossad and Kidon to sabotage and destroy peaceful operations designed to help or show solidarity towards Palestinians.

From Crete we will head towards larnaca, Cyprus to pick up the rest of our group and then we are bound for Gaza to break the medieval siege imposed by Israel.

Media interest is once again gathering momentum and there are those who want to join us on board while others are considering hiring their own boats ... the more the merrier. Wouldn't it be great if we had a huge flotilla?

However, there are concerns from the media because Israel has a history of shooting, killing, and arresting journalists who try to report the truth about the brutal occupation of Palestine.

I was reminded of this only this morning as I read a release a few minutes ago from Reporters Without Borders. The human rights group was condemning today's announcement by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) to detain Ibrahim Hamad, a soundman employed by the Palestinian news agency Ramattan, for six months without bringing charges and without taking him before any court.

Hamad was arrested by Israeli soldiers at his home in Qalandiyah, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 15. “The Israeli military may not under any circumstances arrest journalists or media assistants without giving a reason,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“If they think a journalist has done something wrong, they must say what it is and they must explain why they are arresting him. We call for Hamad's immediate release.”

When reached by Reporters Without Borders, the management of Ramattan firmly condemned his arrest and called for his release.

They also called on the Israeli authorities to explain why they are holding him. “This is not the first time that one of our employees has been arrested by the Israeli military,” the agency said.

Israeli boasts it is a democracy ... these are not the actions of a democratic state. These are the actions of a brutal state which tries to crush those dedicated to telling the truth about the full horrors of the Zionist regime and its determination to see through its deliberate and slow genocide of the Palestinian people.

We will be able to see in a few days time exactly how the Israelis react to a group of peaceful activists who want to sail into Gaza armed with nothing more than love and support for their Palestinian brothers and sisters.

If Israel is really a free and open democracy then its Navy will let us past, Mossad will stop trying to sabotage our journey and all of the journalists on board, including myself, will be able to report the truth about what is happening in the world's largest open air prison called Gaza.
In the meantime, I would urge the IOF to release our brother Ibrahim Hamad and allow him to continue his media work.

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