14 January, 2009
Larnaca, 14 January 2009 – At 10:30 Wednesday morning, under bright blue Mediterranean skies, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY sailed from the port of Larnaca. Undeterred by Israeli threats of interception at sea, 21 passengers and crew waved to friends and press on shore, committed to our mission of delivering doctors, journalists, human rights observers and a shipment of medical supplies to assist the civilian population of Gaza during this emergency. The unarmed mercy ship is expected to arrive in Gaza early Thursday morning.
An earlier attempt to reach Gaza on Monday, 12 January had to be postponed when the ship experienced mechanical difficulties at sea. The ship returned to Cyprus for repairs before departing again for Gaza this morning.
“Israel has an obligation to protect the civilian population that it occupies” stated Free Gaza delegation leader Huwaida Arraf. “Since Israel continues to violate this obligation, we will continue to do whatever we can to deliver badly needed medical supplies, food, and to transport
medical personnel, journalists and human rights workers to help and to witness the devastation Israel has wrought.”
The physicians on board include a reconstructive plastic surgeon and an orthopedic surgeon and another physician. All three doctors will bring crucial assistance to the exhausted and overwhelmed hospital staff in Gaza where emergency resources don’t begin to meet the need.
Contact: Mary Hughes, Cyprus +357 99 08 17 67
Karin Pally, Cyprus +357 96 48 80 15
Huwaida Arraf, Gaza +972 599 130 426
Angela Godfrey Goldstein, Jerusalem: +972 547 366 393