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Monday, September 27, 2010

Jewish boat to attempt to breach the siege of Gaza

A small (10 m long) catamaran with pro-Palestinian activists of Jewish ethnicity has set sail from Cyprus in yet another attempt to breach the siege of the macro-camp for displaced persons in South Palestine. The boat, named Irene, carries fishing nets in a nonviolent act of defiance against Zionist apartheid, 8 crew members and two journalists.

Reuven Moskovitz, an Holocaust survivor, 82, declared:

It is a sacred duty for me, as a survivor, to protest against the persecution, the oppression and the imprisonment of so many people in Gaza, including more than 800,000 children.

He also said: we are two peoples but we have one future

The crew of the Irene

The crew members are:

  • Reuven Moskowitz, Israeli citizen. Founder of unsegregated village Neve Shalom – Wahat al Salaam (Oasis of Peace). He is an Holocaust survivor.
  • Rami Elhanan, Israeli citizen. Lost his daughter Smadar in a suicide bombing in 1997 and is founding member of Bereaved Families Circle of Israelis and Palestinians (association of victims of the conflict).
  • Lilian Rosengarten, US citizen. Peace activist and psychotherapost. She is a refugee from Nazi persecution.
  • Yonatan Shapira, Israeli citizen. Former military pilot and member of Combatants for Peace. 
  • Glyn Secker, British citizen. He is the boat captain and a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians Executive Commitee.
  • Edith Lutz, German citizen. She is peace activist and a nurse. She was in the first boat to Gaza in 2008. 
  • Itamar Shapira, Israeli citizen. Yonatan's brother. 
The two journalists are Eli Osherov, from Israeli Channel 10 News, and Vish Vishvanath, freelance photographer and reporter.

More information at Jewish Boat to Gaza and also at the support organizations:
See also news items at Al Jazeera and BBC.

Update: somewhat anecdotally, Jews sans frontieres mentions today that Marion Kozak, mother of the two confronted Labor party leaders Ed and David Miliband, is among the 1600 signatories supporting the boat, whose names will be displayed in colorful banners by the crew, as member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. She is a veteran left wing and Labor Party militant.

Update (Sep 28): Israel has taken the boat today. Not yet known whether in international or Gaza waters, in another illegal action in any case. The boat flies British flag so this is technically an act of war against the United Kingdom.

Physicians for Human Rights has asked for access to the kidnapped crew, as at least one of them is known to have a chronic illness and needs medical care.

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