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Sunday, November 6, 2011

“Freedom Waves to Gaza” Update

Reports edited by Carolyn Bennett
Pro-Palestinian protesters
outside the Israeli embassy
in London

 (AFP/Carl de Souza)
Their boats were intercepted Friday afternoon in international waters. Some of the activists and journalists who were on board the Freedom Waves boats to Gaza are reportedly still being held by Israeli officials.

Jane Hirschmann, the U.S. coordinator said in a UStoGaza press release that Israeli warships forced the Canadian boat Tahrir and the Irish boat Saoirse to crash into each other thereby crippling both ships.

Palestinian lawyer Huwaida Arraf, who is providing legal assistance to the detainees, said today, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm, that 20 out of the 27 people on board both ships remain in Israeli custody.

Flag on Tahrir
Photo by Lina Attalah
Activist and Canadian university professor David Heap said in a message smuggled out of the Givon prison near Ramla —

“Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir and bruised during forcible removal dockside, I am basically okay. … All political incarceration is unjust but … in duration and conditions, our situation pales in comparison to the plight of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners and the open-air prison that is Gaza.

“We must get Tahrir back and hope Freedom Waves continue.”

Al Jazeera reported on Saturday, “Israeli authorities detained pro-Palestinian activists on board two ‘Freedom Waves to Gaza’ vessels, foiling the latest attempt to break the four-year Israeli blockade of the territory.

“The ships were forced to sail into the Israeli port of Ashdod, where all 27 passengers were handed over to the authorities and taken to an Israeli detention facility near Tel Aviv.

“Al Jazeera’s Casey Kauffman [later released] was among a group of journalists arrested late Friday when the Israeli navy boarded two ships sailing toward Gaza.

Kauffman reported —

The first two or three [Israeli navy personnel] that came on board were very aggressive. There were taser guns and water cannons used but once they were on board they realized there were non-violent activists and they had the ship under control. At that point everything calmed down.

 Pro-Palestinian protesters
outside the Israeli embassy
in London

 (AFP/Carl de Souza)
The interception occurred when “The Canadian vessel Tahrir and the Irish boat MV Saoirse were in international waters, between 64km to 96km off the Gaza coast.” The boats were forced to change course and “head toward the southern city of Ashdod.”


“Freedom Waves activists remain in Israeli custody” (Lina Attalah Sun, 06/11/2011 - 16:40
All rights reserved. Al-Masry Al-Youm), http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/512406


Israeli Navy warships intercept #FreedomWaves to #Gaza in Int'l Water

“Activists on Gaza-bound vessels detained — Pro-Palestinian activists on board two boats intercepted by Israeli navy held in detention center near Tel Aviv” November 5, 2011,

Protestors demonstrate outside the Israeli Embassy in London. More than a thousand pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside the Israeli embassyin London Monday to denounce Israel's storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla which left at least nine people dead. (AFP/Carl de Souza)


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