28 September, immediate release:
The Irene, a boat carrying nine passengers and aid for Gaza’s population has been boarded by the Israeli navy and denied access to Gaza.
The boat is flying a British flag and its passengers include citizens of the US, the UK, Germany and Israel. Two journalists are also on board.
Last contact with the boat’s captain, Glyn Secker, was at 0937 GMT, when their path had been cut off by an Israeli Destroyer. Reports from news sources indicate that the boat has been surrounded and boarded and members of the crew have been handcuffed and had their phones taken. At this point they were less than 20 miles from Gaza’s shore. Since then there has been radio silence
The occupied Gaza Strip’s territorial waters end 12 nautical miles from shore, but the Israeli blockade is enforced at 20 miles from shore.
Israeli attorney Smadar Ben Natan who is representing the passengers has asked to see her clients immediately.
Local group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has asked for permission to send an independent doctor to visit the passengers immediately, after hearing from organizers that at least one passenger suffers from serious chronic health problems and is in need of medical care.
Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, has condemned the Israeli army’s apparent action and said that this boat and its fate are a symbol of the chances for peace in the region. The way it is being treated by Israeli authorities indicates that they have no real intentions of reaching peace, he said. He called for worldwide support for the boat and its message of protest against the siege of Gaza and the occupation.
Media Contacts in London: Yosh, 0044 7816 448307/ 00447921517741 firstname.lastname@example.org
Martine: 00447903 010019 Lydia: 00447904 934 992
European Jews for a Just Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK), Juedische Stimme fuer einen gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Germany), American Jews for a Just Peace (USA), Jewish Voice for Peace (USA), Jews Against the Occupation Sydney. Visit www.jewishboattogaza.org and join us on Facebook and Twitter – #jewishboat2gaza
See also Amos Harel’s report in Ha’aretz 28 September 2010 Israel commandos ‘peacefully’ board Jewish Gaza-bound aid boat
Earlier report, 26 September
At crisis point in peace talks, Jews, Israelis call to lift the siege on Gaza, end the occupation.
Palestinian International Campaign to end the siege on Gaza welcomes the launch of Jewish breaking siege ship “Irene”
A boat carrying aid for Gaza’s population and organized by Jewish groups worldwide has set sail from Cyprus today at 13:32 local time
The boat, Irene, is sailing under a British flag and is carrying nine passengers and crew, including Jews from the US, the UK, Germany and Israel as well as an Israeli journalist.
The boat’s cargo includes symbolic aid in the form of children’s toys and musical instruments, textbooks, fishing nets for Gaza’s fishing communities and prosthetic limbs for orthopaedic medical care in Gaza’s hospitals.
The receiving organization in Gaza is The Palestinian International Campaign to end the siege on Gaza, directed by Dr. Eyad Sarraj and Amjad Shawa, Director of PNGO
The boat will attempt to reach the coast of Gaza and unload its aid cargo in a nonviolent, symbolic act of solidarity and protest – and call for the siege to be lifted to enable free passage of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip.
The boat will fly multicolored peace flags carrying the names of dozens of Jews who have expressed their support for this action, as a symbol of the widespread support for the boat by Jews worldwide.
Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said today that the Jewish Boat to Gaza is a symbolic act of protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the siege of Gaza, and a message of solidarity to Palestinians and Israelis who seek peace and justice.
‘Israeli government policies are not supported by all Jews,’ said Kuper. ‘We call on all governments and people around the world to speak and act against the occupation and the siege.’
Regarding the threat of interception by the Israeli navy, Kuper said ‘This is a nonviolent action. We aim to reach Gaza, but our activists will not engage in any physical confrontation and will therefore not present the Israelis with any reason or excuse to use physical force or assault them.’
Passenger Reuven Moskovitz, 82, said that his life’s mission has been to turn foes into friends. “We are two peoples, but we have one future”, he said.
Palestinian International Campaign to end the siege on Gaza welcomes the launch of Jewish breaking siege ship “Irene” (translation from Arabic)
Palestinian International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza welcomes Irene Ship which launched with ten of American, British, and Israeli Jewish Passengers.
The Campaign also declares that this British flagged ship started its way to Gaza shores in order to participate in the efforts aimed to break the unjust siege on Gaza which was imposed by the Israeli occupation, and to support the besieged people of Gaza, the Campaign declares that this ship confirms the solidarity of so many races all over the world including Jews who reject occupation and believe in the justice of our cause.
The Campaign affirms that Irene is showing up the fake claims of occupation for what so-called; easing the blockade initiative which is basically meant to absorb the world’s anger towards the crime of the freedom flotilla attack, and is meant to escalate the humanitarian crises in the Strip.
The Campaign also declares that Irene is delivering simple assistance’s of toys, books, medical materials, hunting nets, and musical instruments.
The campaign is also holding the Israeli occupation the whole responsible for the passengers’ safe arrival to Gaza, demanding the international community and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to take their part in protecting Irene and secure its way to Gaza.
Amjad Shawa PNGO director Gaza