Skip to content or view screen version

Israeli forces take over 'Spirit of Humanity' ship on it's way to Gaza

mark | 30.06.2009 14:12 | Palestine | Social Struggles

The latest update from:
(Look in the left hand column, which has live updates).

According to FreeGaza twitter site, Israeli Navy officials have boarded the 'Spirit of Humanity' ship on it's way to the Gazan coast, saying Israel officials have released a statement saying they've taken over the boat.

For the latest updates on the situation, go to:
(Look in the left hand column, which has live updates).

Register your outrage over kidnapping our people. telephone UK Israeli Embassy on: +44 20 79579500

On June 29th, the Fee Gaza Aid 'Spirit of Humanity' ship left Cyprus, heading for Gaza with supplies of medical aid and cement on board.

As of this morning (Tuesday 30th June), at 10am, 23 miles from the coast of Gaza, 2 Israeli ships were trailing the 'Spirit of Humanity', with a further 4 Israeli navy vessels in the immediate vicinity of the ship, threatening to fire at it.

Passengers aboard the Spirit of Humanity include:

Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association
of Bahrain.
Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.
Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.
Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.
Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.
Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.
Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-
coordinator for this voyage.
Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and
founder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries
focus on international struggles for social justice.
Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.
Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate
aboard the Spirit of Humanity.
Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to
do long-term human rights monitoring.
Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth
voyage to Gaza.
Fathi Jaouadi, UK/Tunisia
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-
coordinator for this voyage.
Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.
Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.
Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza
to do long-term human rights monitoring.
Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social
justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and
presidential candidate.
Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to
do long-term human rights monitoring.
Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to
do human rights monitoring.
Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.
Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights

The Free Gaza Movement are a human rights group that in August 2008 sent the first international boats to land in the port of Gaza in 41 years. They exist to break the siege of Gaza through direct non-violent, non confrontational inteventions through the use of the direct shipment of much-needed aid. They seek to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and to pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation.

Since August 2008, the Free Gaza Movement has sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip on several successful voyages, bringing in international witnesses to see first hand the devastating effects of Israeli violence against the Palestinian people.
Ref (Main Website address): (latest press release on the homepage)




30.06.2009 15:38

[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30pm] - Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey."

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair." Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel's disruption of medical supplies.

"The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast Lead". Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters."

Arraf continued, "Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release."

- Homepage: