The following press release was sent out by The Women’s Boat to Gaza, an initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition which is composed of civil society organizations and campaigns from more than a dozen countries. For more information, visit www.womensboattogaza.org.
Thirteen women including several parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, Nobel Laureate, Mairead Maguire and former US Diplomat, Ann Wright are days away from breaking the Israeli blockade by reaching Gaza shores. Sources indicate that the Israel navy has been given orders to intercept the boat.
According to Wright “we are sailing to remind the world of the brutal, illegal Israeli naval blockade that has trapped the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and made Gaza a prison for them. As a citizen of the United States, I am sailing to remind my nation’s leaders of their complicity with Israel in maintaining this prison, as well as the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the apartheid walls and the inhumane checkpoints for Palestinians.” Maguire adds “we are not a threat to Israel. We are a threat to this blockade.” The boat is not carrying any humanitarian aid as Israel have attacked boats claiming that they are carrying contraband. “The only cargo we are carrying is nonviolence and hope. These should not be considered contraband by any nation.”
Since the launch of the boat in Europe, several prominent US women, including author Alice Walker and Sister Mary Wendeln, an original member of Nuns on a Bus sent a letter to Secretary John Kerry requesting that he take action to ensure safe passage of the boat. In addition, a Greek ship went out to international waters to successfully repair a broken mast rigging that was damaged in a storm.
A list of participants can be found here. Interviews on board the boat can be arranged by contacting Susan Kerin at the contact information above. The Women’s Boat to Gaza has also developed an infographic entitled “We are not a Threat to Israel.”