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Mission to break up israel's Gaza seige
Finally - someone plans to do something to stop israel's genocidal seige on Gaza...
Seventy men and women, young and old, from across the world are planning to sail to Gaza from the island country of Cyprus this August “to break the siege of Gaza” and jolt the world to see the plight of the Gazans.
Defying all odds, these Palestinians, Americans, Israelis, Europeans, Africans, Australians, Canadians and other nationals, including a Holocaust survivor, all aged between 24 and 85 years, intend to sail on three hovercrafts, travelling for 20 hours.
One of the key activists is in Dubai to raise money for the hovercrafts.
Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Los Angeles-based American, Greta Berlin, said, “The Israelis are committing a slow-motion genocide in Gaza and the world doesn’t care. We are not going to let the world turn away from the genocide of 1.5 million people. Israel says Gaza is no more occupied and if that is true, we do not need their permission to motor in to Gaza.”
The activists, mostly professionals and students, have managed to raise US$60,000 and need another US$190,000 to buy the boats and have to raise the money to embark on their Herculean mission.
About 15- 20 journalists would also accompany the group. Greta, 67, who visits Palestine every two years, is hoping that people in the UAE would come forward to support their cause so that they could leave as planned.
“Palestine is the sacrificial lamb for the guilty conscience of Europe and the Jews are taking advantage of it. What we are doing is very daring and we are at risk of being killed. Everyone who has asked to be onboard clearly knows that. We won’t consider ourselves martyrs (if we die in the process) but activists,” she says.
The president of an American-based company and mother of two Palestinian-American children adds, “You can either spend the end of your life watching television or do something valuable. This is our passion and all of us are connected to Palestine in some way.”
She said that almost all of the activists who had visited Gaza had been shot, teargassed or beaten.
Berlin and the group had tried to sail even last summer. However, after the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, they had to abandon their attempt. Nevertheless, they have renewed their passion to go to Gaza this fall and hope to set sail by August.
Once they manage to get to Gaza, some people will get off and fish with the fishermen, who often face Israeli naval restrictions and suffer virtual destitution, while many would live with the Palestinians and take their children to school everyday.
“When we get to Gaza, everyone will make individual decisions on what we want to do and how long we plan to stay,” she says, adding that they might even start a regular ferry service between Cyprus and Gaza.
The second option would be to turn in the boats over to the Palestinians so that they can use it as fishing boats. Before leaving, they would all be given training on non-violence, sea emergencies and first aid.
It's not clear that they're going to pull this off, but if they do - israelis could have a major PR disaster on their hands.