January 7, 2009
We Are Coming Back, And We Are Putting Israel On Notice
[Larnaca, Cyprus] Today the Free Gaza Movement put Israel on notice that we are sending another emergency boat to Gaza. We will announce our exact departure date, time and route in the next few days. We will travel from Cypriot waters, into international waters, then directly into Gaza territorial waters, never nearing Israeli waters.
The ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have killed over 640 Palestinians, including many children and women, and injured thousands. These acts by Israel are severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined by the Geneva Conventions, both in regards to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.
The United Nations has failed to protect the Palestinian civilian population from Israel's massive violations of international humanitarian law. Therefore, we concerned citizens from Belgium, Columbia, France, Canada, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Kuwait, Scotland, Spain, and the United States, feel that it is our moral duty to try to do just that.
The Israeli military violently attacked an earlier attempt by the Free Gaza Movement to send an emergency boat filled with doctors and medical supplies to Gaza. In the early hours of Tuesday, December 30, the Israeli Navy rammed our boat, the DIGNITY, in international waters. Neither the DIGNITY, nor its passengers and crew constituted any kind of threat to Israel, and the Israeli government had been alerted to the boat's mission, the previous day. Yet we were violently rammed three times on the side without any warning from the Israeli Navy, in an obvious attempt to disable the vessel, jeopardizing the lives of the 16 passengers on board.
We are not deterred by the violence of the Israeli military and intend to sail to Gaza again and again. We are physicians, journalists, members of parliament, and human rights observers who intend to reach the people of Gaza to deliver much needed medical aid and witness the atrocities being committed against the Palestinians there.
We are willing to put our bodies on the line to stop Israel's unlawful massacres of the Palestinian people (we have received death threats warning us not to repeat our attempt) and bring the attention of the world to the war crimes happening in Gaza against 1.5 million Palestinians.