Free Gaza’s investigation has shown the following….

11 October, 2010 — Free Gaza

Regarding the attack on the flotilla, below is what we have found out. In addition, we are providing a link to the attack on the Irene from the ‘most moral army in the world.’

Please distribute to your lists and, if in the US, write to your representatives asking them why we Americans support murder on the high seas. Greta Berlin

  • The military units are “Shayetet 13” (the navy commando unit).
  • The helicopters that were used to drop them on the ship (according to the media and to the army spokesperson as well) are from The IAF’s Black Hawk squadron. All the helicopters of the IAF, including the Black Hawk squadron, were given to Israel as part of the US military aid.
  • The new black hawks given to Israel in 2002 (of the Lima model) are most likely the ones that were used in the attack on the Maramara.
  • Almost all of the weapons used by the IDF are US made, and it is 100% clear that some was used to kill the passengers on the Mavi Marmara.

Letter to Israel

12 September, 2010

Journalist Lauren Booth was on the first Free Gaza voyage and stayed to work in Gaza after the boats left. Her heartfelt letter to the people of Israel should be read by everyone who hopes for peace in the Middle East. This stunning video tribute to her words was designed and produced by the Free Gaza movement.

http://widgets.vodpod.com/w/video_embed/Video.4426787

Letter to Israel
, posted with vodpod

GazaFriends] In celebration…and anticipation

28 August, 2010 — Gaza Friends

When we wrote the text for Happy Birthday, Free Gaza, our wonderful video producer, Paola, asked if she could design a video tribute to Free Gaza. It is here.

Many of you have also sent birthday wishes to us as we get ready to sail again in the fall. To all of you… thank you. None of this could have been done without the support from around the world. Below are just some of the birthday wishes.

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GazaFriends: First Murder, then Theft and Lies from the “World’s Most Moral Army”

21 August, 2010, London — witnessgaza.comwww.freegaza.org

An investigation revealed by Israeli news sources confirms that an Israeli military officer and soldiers stole and sold laptops belonging to passengers on board the Freedom Flotilla, which was illegally boarded by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010.

The Israeli military now claims that “[t]he IDF did not receive complaints of stolen computers after the Navy raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla,” and is suggesting that “the civilians who were on the ships chose not to complain in light of the complicated incident they had gone through.”

Continue reading

GazaFriends: All Aboard the Mavi Marmara

6 August, 2010 — witnessgaza.com

David Rovics has written an evocative song called “All Aboard the Mavi Marmara.” The Free Gaza team has added images in tribute to the nine brave men on board who gave their lives in pursuit of justice for the Palestinians.

This is our tribute to the men. They had names and families and children. They dreamed their dreams just as the Palestinians do.

Israeli commandos took all of that away from them by murdering them… 31 shots, most through the head and the back. The world needs to remember them. The world needs to remember the Palestinians who Israel kills every day. “All Aboard the Mavi Marmara” will be a song you will sing in your head for days. The images, we hope, you will never forget.

We sail again in the fall. Help us make that happen.


Greta Berlin, Co-Founder, The Free Gaza movement
+33 607 374 512
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

Life Must Go On- Jazza Festival for Free Gaza

1 June, 2010 — Gilad Atzmon

Following Israel’s maritime slaughter of defenceless and heroic humanitarian activists, Sarah Gillespie and myself will be donating our earnings from this week’s concerts at Pizza Express Jazz Club (3-5/6), to the Free Gaza organisation.

The victims of the massacre will not be the last to spill their blood for Palestine, but they will never be forgotten.

I also use this opportunity to announce that Sarah and myself together with Free GAZA are putting together a massive music festival  in support of Free Palestine. The ‘Jazza Festival’ will take place in London in October. Some major artists are already lined up.

In case the Israelis do not understand it yet. Humanism  will prevail!!!

To book a seat for Sarah’s  concert (3rd June)  or my concerts (4th-5th June) call the following number:  0845 6027 017

A short documentary about Gilad Atzmon and the OHE at the time of the 2009 massacre in Gaza. A film by Yiorgos Vondiklaris

GazaFriends: Flotilla Welcomed by Israeli War Ships

31 May, 2010 — witnessgaza.comwww.freegaza.org

Cyprus – At 11:00 pm Cyprus time and in international waters off the coast of Israel, the boats were contacted by the Israeli navy. “Who are you and where are you going?” Our reply was that we were part of a flotilla and we were going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian supplies.

On the radar, the boats could see three Israeli war ships shadowing us, and 15 minutes later, a silent aircraft hovered over the flotilla. One of our Hebrew speakers had found Israel’s strategy and posted it to us. It stated, “You will be boarded by highly trained, very efficient and very SILENT commandos. They will use silent inflatable boats to get to our boats and both try to board our boats directly from the inflatables and by dropping divers into the water to climb onto the boats,” so people were preparing for them to come up and over the sides of the ships.

Our SPOT locator has sent out several HELP messages at http://www.witnessgaza.com.

Lubna Marsawa, Free Gaza’s organizer on the Turkish passenger boat said in outrage,

“Very few times in history has a flotilla delivering humanitarian goods been welcomed by military war ships.”

This is a call to the world from the people on the boats. “We are a civilian people doing what our governments have refused to do, challenge Israel’s right to collectively punish 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza by blockading their right to their own sea. This flotilla is bringing construction and educational supplies the people of Gaza and are being met by Israeli warships.”

Contact: Huwaida Arraf on board the Challenger 0088 216 5207 2093
Ewa Jasciewica on board the Challenger 0088 163 184 7926
Fatima Mohammed on board the IHH ship 8821636619168
Greta Berlin 00 357 99 18 72 75
Mary Hughes 00 357 96 38 38 09

Check out this site, find the Israeli embassy nearest you and let them know how you feel.

http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Israel


Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

GazaFriends: From the Hebrew media… here’s what they say they will do

30 May, 2010 — Free Gaza

From someone with contacts in the Israeli military, the following message has been translated.

Commando units that will be used to stop the boats. He says they are highly trained, very efficient and very SILENT.

They will use silent inflatable boats to get to our boats and both try to board our boats directly from the inflatables and by dropping divers into the water to clime onto the boats.

He said that no matter the circumstances, the boats must NOT travel by night or with little light. They must keep in formation at all times, with the smaller boats in the inside and the larger boats on the outside. They must not allow any israeli boats to penetrate the formation.

But we are traveling at night, so everyone out there needs to be aware of what the Israeli military is planning. If this does happen, we have been forewarned. The boats have also. Lubna has just reported that some kind of plane came over the ships, perhaps trying to block the satellite and it looks suspiciously like a drone.. which would make sense.


Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

Latest from Free Gaza, approached by Israeli vessel

30 May, 2010 — www.freegaza.org

Lubna: greta urgent we have threat from israel (check out the HELP button on www.witnessgaza.com)

me [Greta]: Lubna. What is happening?

lubna: two israeli ships coming toward us me: So glad to see you here

Me: Please try to stay on this so I can tweet it

lubna: they contact the ship asked who we are and dissappeared now they getting close to the ship we can see them stay here 3 boats are coming not two 3 israeli boats we are 78 mile from israel

me: I’ll keep writing

lubna: people here put their life jackets every body preppering here

me: OK. You are the lifeline to our TWITTER account

lubna: we may loose the wirless, we didnt expect them now, we thought they will arrive at the morning, please stay in touch with the other boats

Sent at 10:50 PM on Sunday

me: We can’t reach anyone

Sent at 10:52 PM on Sunday

me: where are you? Are you there?


Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

KEVIN OVENDON REPORT’S LIVE FROM THE GAZA FLOTILLA!

30 May, 2010, 10pm — vivapalestina

At 22:41pm tonight, preparations aboard the Mavi Marmara are extensive. We are 90 miles away from land – 22 miles further than the Israeli decided 68 mile exclusion zone – but are being approached by an Israeli vessel.

Triage is set up and various strategies implemented to resist seizure. The Israeli media is reporting that Israel will deploy a very large naval force. Far from minimising violence, this is an illegal aggressive move which will make it more likely.

We are broadcasting live from the ship. Calm and organisation overcome the fear that Israel is trying to instill.

Viva Palestina and all aboard are prepared.

We are calling on everyone to contact various political leaders to ask them to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of these brave people, and to stand up and add their voice in support of this humanitarian flotilla.

Full details of how they can contact these political figures can be found through following link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gaza-TV-News/119275738102852?v=app_2347471856#!/pages/Gaza-TV-News/119275738102852?v=app_2347471856

There you will find email addresses, and template letters to use. Full instructions are provided, and we ask that you follow these and show your support for everyone involved.

This is a very serious situation, and we are calling on everyone to play their part in helping ensure their safety, and that the aid reaches Gaza without difficulty.

END
———————
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK
Tel: +447889726777
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/
Sign up to the Viva Palestina Mailing List http://www.vivapalestina.org/alert.htm
Viva Palestina, helping to make the positive steps in breaking the siege of Gaza!

GazaFriends: From the Hebrew media… here’s what they say they will do

30 May, 2010 — Free Gaza

From someone with contacts in the Israeli military, the following message has been translated.

Commando units that will be used to stop the boats. He says they are highly trained, very efficient and very SILENT.

They will use silent inflatable boats to get to our boats and both try to board our boats directly from the inflatables and by dropping divers into the water to clime onto the boats.

He said that no matter the circumstances, the boats must NOT travel by night or with little light. They must keep in formation at all times, with the smaller boats in the inside and the larger boats on the outside. They must not allow any israeli boats to penetrate the formation.

But we are traveling at night, so everyone out there needs to be aware of what the Israeli military is planning. If this does happen, we have been forewarned. The boats have also. Lubna has just reported that some kind of plane came over the ships, perhaps trying to block the satellite and it looks suspiciously like a drone.. which would make sense.


Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

Latest from Free Gaza, approached by Israeli vessel

30 May, 2010 — www.freegaza.org

lubna: greta urgent we have threat from israel (check out the HELP button on www.witnessgaza.com)

me[Greta]: Lubna. What is happening?

lubna: two israeli ships coming toward us me: So glad to see you here

Me: Please try to stay on this so I can tweet it

lubna: they contact the ship asked who we are and dissappeared now they getting close to the ship we can see them stay here 3 boats are coming not two 3 israeli boats we are 78 mile from israel

me: I’ll keep writing

lubna: people here put their life jackets every body preppering here

me: OK. You are the lifeline to our TWITTER account

lubna: we may loose the wirless, we didnt expect them now, we thought they will arrive at the morning, please stay in touch with the other boats

Sent at 10:50 PM on Sunday

me: We can’t reach anyone

Sent at 10:52 PM on Sunday

me: where are you? Are you there?


Greta Berlin, Co-Founder
+357 99 18 72 75
witnessgaza.com
www.freegaza.org
http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

Israel to World: Screw You, We will Continue to Block Gaza

30 May, 2010 — The Only Democracy?

It all happened before.

A ship sailing to Palestine. Its organizers care not so much about the ship’s arrival. They want to bring world attention to the injustices in Palestine. Live broadcasts from aboard the ship excite and inspire supporters on the shores.

The power controlling Palestine in a non-democratic manner, responds in form. It sends soldiers to storm the ship at sea some 20 miles out of Gaza. Passengers fight back using non-lethal means. Troops open fire killing 3, then force the ship to another port, arrest the passengers and deport them. The battle is won, but the campaign is lost. World opinion, and other world powers, turn against the controlling power. Within a few months it decides to cede control of Palestine.

The ship’s name was “Europe Exodus 1947”, or in short, “Exodus”.

Now, 63 years later, the tables have fully turned, and Israel’s leaders seem determined to act every bit as brutally and stupidly as their British predecessors.

Continue reading

ANCHORED IN THE MEDITERRANEAN By Fatima Mohammadi

30 May, 2010 — Free Gaza MovementWitness Gaza

If allowed in, this will be my third humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza. Each convoy has had its difficulties and its joys. The difficulty of this current convoy is that nearly 800 volunteers aboard 6 ships are attempting to enter the besieged strip through International waters – a completely legal activity – despite constant threats by the Israeli government to block, arrest and deport the entire convoy. These threats have two effects in my opinion: 1) they highlight the severity and depth of the siege that Israel has imposed on Gaza for nearly four years, showing Israel to be the vicious occupier and instigator of hostility in the region that we know them to be and 2) they strengthen the resolve of volunteers around the world, on this convoy and beyond, who are aware of the plight of the Palestinians and who actively seek a resolution to the unjust occupation and continued colonization of Palestine. Of course, the joy of this convoy is the real potential it has to finally end the siege on Gaza if it gains enough international support and attention in the upcoming hours.

Currently, we are anchored in the Mediterranean Sea about a 6 hour sail from Cyprus, where we have been awaiting two final ships. A Greek ship carrying members of Parliament from half a dozen European countries has just arrived, and the Irish boat, the MV Rachel Corrie follows shortly. We will soon set sail towards Gaza, straight towards the threats of Israel to stop us at all costs, including by use of force. Rest assured, however, regardless of their tactics to stop us – force or delay – we will not turn back nor will we allow Israel to board our ships. (The ships are now on their way.)

It is imperative to reiterate that this is an unarmed humanitarian aid convoy carrying the better part of one thousand volunteers from 1? years of age to 88 years of age, from more than 30 countries. We have the official support of the governments of France, Mexico, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Italy and the European Union. Unfortunately, my own country is not on that list…the United States. As they are a stall-worth supporter of Israel, that is hardly surprising.

What is surprising, however, is that although I was the only American on board as an IHH participant, I have been joined by a few US citizens from the Free Gaza movement and discovered that we are 11 in all – including ex-military and government personnel, dual citizens, activists and medical volunteers. Most have been to Gaza at least once and are “used to” dealing with the threats of oppressive regimes and direct conflict with their police and military forces. And most of us still hope and expect the United States to take an openly supportive role of this convoy and to pressure Israel to allow our convoy into Gaza to deliver aid.

In sum, we, the Americans on board the ships, and the collective “we,” volunteers and people of conscious from around the world, are relying upon the support of our fellow citizens and our respective governments to pressure Israel to 1) allow this humanitarian aid convoy into Gaza and 2) once and for all end this crippling and unjust siege of Gaza.


Contact: Free Gaza movement: Greta Berlin, Co-Founder – +357 99 18 72 75, irishtulip@gmail.com Audrey Bomse, Board member +357 96 48 98 05 Audreybomse@hotmail.com Local Free Gaza movement contacts: Darlene Wallach – 408-294-5781, darlene@freegaza.org Donna Wallach – 408-569-6608, donna@freegaza.org

— Greta Berlin, Co-Founder +357 99 18 72 75 witnessgaza.com www.freegaza.org http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

‘A battle for the high seas. And the high ground’ By Lauren Booth*

29 May, 2010 — Gilad Atzmon – Writings

gaza-mv.jpg

If you’re hoping to see news about the extraordinary events taking place in the Med sea around Cyprus on either the BBC or Sky this weekend. Forget it. For now. Despite the fact that almost three dozen Brits are amongst the 700 brave souls heading to Gaza on a fleet of ships laden with essential aid. Or the incredible military and political manoeverings surrounding Israels response to the peaceful attempt, major news channels in the West remain silent. This despite the fact their news editors have the direct numbers of spokespeople on board and access to the live news feed.

After calls to newsrooms across the UK it is clear to me that the first ever sea bound fleet of international aid to Palestine is not of itself a big enough story for our media – until if fails. On Israel’s terms. The BBC has been taking some 200 calls in an hour from viewers wanting news of the mission – to no avail. So what’s going on?

Continue reading

Gaza Friends: One last plea before we sail

9 April, 2010 — Free Gaza Movement

Please Donate Now: http://www.freegaza.org/de/donate

Our four boats are purchased or refurbished, flagged and registered. The cargo ship is now named the MV Rachel Corrie with the blessing of the Corrie family. Children in Gaza and the occupied West Bank will name the other two boats, and we will let you know what they chose.

We are hard at work collecting the cargo… cement, books for children and universities, paper for printing books, water filtration equipment, and medical equipment, all being denied the people of Gaza by Israel’s brutal blockade.

So we ask one last time for a $25.00-$100.00 donation from each of you, a donation that will be used for our operating costs. It is not enough to buy, register and insure the boats. We need fuel for all vessles, crew expenses, supplies for all four boats, a crane to add to the cargo ship to offload the cargo, and miscellaneous expenses that always appear at the last minute.

Please go to http://www.freegaza.org/de/donate and help us raise the final 20%. You can donate in the U.S. by writing a tax-deductible check to our fiscal sponsor in DC, donate through our two PayPal accounts, one in Cyprus and one in the U.S. or wire an amount into our Free Gaza account in Cyprus. The website provides all of the detail for you.
 
With your help, our final $100,000 can be raised in the next month as we get ready to leave Europe on May 3 and begin our voyage to Gaza. More than 5000 of you now follow our voyages; you have signed up for our TWITTER account, you have joined our newsletter, and you are members of many Free Gaza lists. Please donate, send our plea to your own lists, then watch our journey as we make our way across the sea to Gaza.

Thank you from all of us at Free Gaza. Every one of you has made this flotilla a reality.

Today is the Anniversary of the Maiden Voyage of THE DIGNITY By Greta Berlin

22 October, 2009

ssdignity-2.jpgA year ago, our boat, the DIGNITY, made her first voyage to Gaza. She was a beautiful white and silver yacht, donated by people who believed in the Free Gaza movement after our first successful voyage in August. On board were dignitaries such as Mairead Maquire, the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner from Ireland and Mustafa Barghouti, President of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (MP).

It was to be our second trip to Gaza, one postponed for a month, because we didn’t have the proper vessel to go in the fall until the week before we were leaving. The DIGNITY shined in the autumn sun as we got ready to go at dusk that day. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/sets/72157608508618185/

Four physicians were also on board to access the medical situation in Gaza.

We had made a decision after the first voyage to ask Al Jazeera to come with us on every trip, and they were there with cameras, a reporter and a camerman. They have been on board reporting through storms, sea sickness, and dangers from Israel for every trip since.

As usual, we were frantically working on passenger lists, supplies and media work until the very last minute. Osama Q. and I (we were the designated land team) watched piles of boxes loaded on board, taking up most of the cabin space below. Although we took medicine and medical equipment with us, we knew they were only token supplies. Our mission was about breaking Israel’s siege of the sea. Our mission was about telling the world that Palestinians didn’t need hand-outs, they needed their civil and human rights. We have always been a human rights organization, not a humanitarian organization, but we took what we could.

As the vessel steamed out past the breakwall in Larnaca, then took a right turn and headed to sea, I cried. Twenty-seven passengers and crew were going at last. We had promised the people of Gaza that we would return, and we were keeping our promise. Israel, as they did the first time, continued to threaten us, but decided at the last minute they would ignore this voyage as they did the first one, hoping we might be satisfied and go away. They didn’t realize a year ago, that we would not stop coming to Gaza.

Three more voyages were successful, taking parliamentarians, physicians, activists and Palestinians to Gaza. Former Representative Cynthia McKinney named her American initiative “The DIGNITY” in honor of our boat. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/sets/72157608814881165/

When the Israeli navy deliberately and viciously attacked the DIGNITY on December 30, 2008, ramming her three times in her side, the boat was so sturdy and the captain so expert, she didn’t sink with all lost at sea. She struggled into port in Lebanon but was never the same. Like a wounded racehorse that ultimately dies of its injuries, she sank in a storm off the coast of Cyprus in May 2009. http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/sets/72157612017624425/

http://www.youtube.com/gazafriends#p/f/47/BcWTHkyrZ4g

So today, on the anniversary of her maiden voyage, the Free Gaza movement wants to assure those of you who have supported us for over three years, that we will return to Gaza We will not stop returning until the 1.5 million people there have the right to their own sea lanes without interference from Israel.

Stay tuned for our next voyage. We are coming back.

[See the interview with Cynthia McKinney onboard the Dignity]

On Board with Free Gaza…

29 September, 2009 —Free Gaza Movement

Dear friends of Free Gaza,

A little over a year ago, two small fishing boats from the Free Gaza Movement landed in the port of Gaza challenging Israel’s siege on 1.5 million Palestinians. Since then, people from around the world have joined us in affirming the importance and indeed the necessity of nonviolent direct action to challenge injustice. Recently, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed launched a fund to help support the efforts of the Free Gaza Movement to break Israel’s illegal blockade. First Lady of Malaysia, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor also pledged her support.

From Nobel laureates to parliamentarians and UN officials, thousands are hearing our message: when our governments are impotent in the face of massive human rights abuses, we, the citizens of the world must act!

We would like to introduce to you to some of the amazing people that have joined our voluntary Board of Advisors, representing an impressive diversity of background and experience. The list also includes some of the people on our Gaza Advisory Council (which is still growing).

Continue reading

On the Right of Resistance By Ramzi Kysia

27 July, 2009 – www.FreeGaza.org

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

We live in an era defined by its brutality. Our challenge is whether to accept this – or to take the risks necessary to transform our world commons in beloved community.

A year ago this August, forty-four ordinary people from seventeen different countries sailed to Gaza in two, small wooden boats. We did what the world would not do – we broke through the siege of Gaza. Over the last year the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven more voyages, successfully arriving to Gaza on five separate occasions. Ours remain the only international ships to reach the Gaza Strip in over forty-two years.

In the Middle-East, the struggle for justice is an uncertain endeavour in the best of times. On all sides human rights workers are beset with difficulties and distress. The Arab states are tyrannies, their peoples subject to secret police, arbitrary arrest, torture, and oppression. Within their societies, the Arab world is equally fractured by ethnic and class tensions, poverty, and political stagnation. From the outside, from the West, the Middle-East faces both open and covert acts of intimidation, intervention, economic destabilization, and even war, invasion, and mass killings.

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