Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 12:27 PMIsraelis kidnap Cynthia McKinney!
1. URGENT ACTION NEEDED!
[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, at 15:30pm today][30 Jun 2009] - Israeli
Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the
"Spirit of Humanity," abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries,
including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The
passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.
"This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat
was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the
Gaza Strip," said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and
presidential candidate. "President Obama just told Israel to let in
humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that's exactly what we tried
to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so
we can resume our journey."
According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released
yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are "trapped in despair."
Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel's
December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of
almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and
other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that
hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to
Israel's disruption of medical supplies.
"The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope
that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to
transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools,
hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast
Lead". Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by
them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire,
winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.
Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement
chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: "No
one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of
threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and
children's toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a
former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security
clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time
did we ever approach Israeli waters."
Arraf continued, "Israel's deliberate and premeditated attack on our
unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our
immediate and unconditional release."
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Call, Email, Fax, and/or Text the contacts below to demand the release of
Ask them what crime is being committed by delivering toys, medicine, and
olive trees to be the people of Gaza?
Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367
Israeli Prime Minister's Office
Mr. Mark Regev
tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the Red Cross (below) to ask for their assistance in establishing
the well-being of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing
their immediate release!
Red Cross - Tel Aviv
Ms. Yael Segev-Eytan
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 email@example.com
Send a TEXT to +972 52 275 75 17
Red Cross - Jerusalem
Ms. Anne Sophie Bonefeld
tel: +972 259 17 900
fax: +972 259 17 firstname.lastname@example.org
Send a TEXT to +972 52 601 91 50
Red Cross - Geneva, Main
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 email@example.com
Red Cross - Geneva, Middle East Section
Ms. Dorothea Krimitsas
tel: +41 22 730 25 firstname.lastname@example.org
Send a TEXT to +41 79 251 93 18
Red Cross - Geneva, Media
Mr. Florian Westphal
tel: +41 22 730 22 email@example.com
Send a TEXT to +41 79 217 32 80
Red Cross - USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009
For a list of the 21 kidnapped passengers from the Spirit of Humanity and
for more information, visit: http://www.FreeGaza.org
Free Gaza Media Team:
Cyprus: Greta Berlin (English)
tel: +357 99 081 767 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyprus: Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish):
tel: +357 99 077 820 / email@example.com
2. AAPER has launched the Gaza Human Rights Campaign (GHRC) calling on our
elected officials to:
a. Call for a State Department investigation into Israel's use of
U.S.-supplied and financed weapons during its offensive against Gaza, and
b. Urge Israel to lift the blockade against Gaza and resume unfettered
humanitarian aid to the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza
Contact your representatives at:http://www.gazahumanrights.org/c.irLOK3PDLmF/b.5148051/k.B19F/EmailFax_Your_
Join the CHRC Facebook Group athttp://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45082128316
and invite your friends
to join too!
3. For anyone who didn't see the follow-up posted in early February on my
blog about Barbara Lubin's story from Gaza, here it is below:
When I first received Barbara Lubin's story from Gaza, I wrote her to ask
how she, I, or someone on the ground could research the story to get all
the facts. The MECA office informed me that Barbara had told the story to
someone on the phone who wrote the letter, but in the confusion and
bad/intermittent phone connection there were several misunderstandings.
One of MECA's contacts in Gaza investigated the story to get all the
facts. Here is what he found:
"The story happened in Bourij Camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The
Israelis [army] called the woman, Manal Albatran, and told her that they
wouldn't kill her or her husband Hussein Albatran, instead they would make
them die of sadness because they would kill her children. The next day
they shot her house with a rocket killing her and 5 of her children.
Manal Albatran 30 years old
Walaa Albatran 12 years old
Islam Albatran 11 years old
Belal Albatran 10 years old
Ezz Albatran 8 years old
Ehsan Albatran 7 years old
"The father who is an employee at an UNRWA school and the youngest child
were saved. This is the real story and I hope the amount of victims will
convince others to believe the crimes we face. Thanks a lot for your
appreciated visit and I hope to see you again soon.
"Regards, Talal Abushawish"
The information uncovered by Mr. Abushawish is clearly different from the
story initially reported by Barbara. I am sorry to have relayed something
that had been miscommunicated. In contrast, the reality of hundreds of
mothers and children killed and families destroyed in the massacre is no
legend. Let's hope that professional reporters and investigators are
permitted (not denied entry) to follow-up on this family's tragedy--and
all the others--to bring the facts to light and eventually to an
international court of justice. We owe it to the victims to report every
incident as accurately as possible. Thank you to everyone who encouraged
me to seek the details of the story.