Wednesday, October 29, 2008

International Solidarity Activists Sail to Gaza for Humanitarian Relief Effort - Confronting Israeli Blockade & Threats

Palestinian Solidarity from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Inside Israeli Boundaries

Palestinian News Network

Gaza / PNN - Thousands of Palestinians cheered the arrival of the SS Dignity into Gaza City’s harbor Wednesday. Scores of others, including head of the Popular Committee against the Siege and Palestinian Legislative Council member Jamal Al Khudari, were in the sea waiting for the ship.

After rains let up yesterday afternoon the 27 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists set sail from the port of Larnaca despite Israeli threats.

Activist Huwaida Araaf said, "Something had to be done."

Once back on land Al Khudari publicly welcomed the crew and passengers at a press conference in which he thanked them for bringing half a ton of medical aid and international attention to the plight of Gaza Strip residents.

The SS Dignity will remain in port for four days with some of the representatives of 13 countries staying behind when it returns to Cyprus. The Free Gaza movement entered Gaza via sea with two boats in August, both times under Israeli military threat. Signals were jammed and the Israeli administration threatened to send ships to overtake the boat if it entered Israeli waters.

When the SS Dignity leaves Gaza it will take on board 10 Palestinians in need of outside medical treatment and students.

PLC member and Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi arrived with the ship this morning after two years of being denied entry to the Strip. He described passengers on the boat as having “risked their lives in solidarity with the Palestinian people, setting sail in a boat that was not equipped for long journeys.”

Official Mohammad Awad called on the secretaries general of the Arab League and Islamic Conference, and other Arab leaders to “come across on sea and prove that they work with the Palestinian people, not words.”

Dr. Ibrahim Hamami, Palestinian writer and researcher on who arrived via sea said that solidarity was notable among Palestinians who came from inside Israeli boundaries, the West Bank and Jerusalem to break the siege on Gaza.

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