from: " Our Mission "
May 2008 marks the 60-year anniversary of the Nakba, "the catastrophe", when the overwhelming majority of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their ancestral homeland to create the state of Israel. In contravention of International law, human rights, and basic principles of morality, Israel continues to deny these refugees and their descendants their right to return home. Israel has neither acknowledged nor attempted to amend this historic injustice that gave birth to the Jewish state. Instead, more than 5 million Palestinian refugees languish in refugee camps, while their homes, farms, and properties are inhabited by Jewish immigrants who arrived in Palestine from around the globe.
The historic illegal appropriation of Palestinian land, home and heritage is at the heart of the Middle East conflict. It has given rise to the largest ongoing refugee population in the world. It paved the way for subsequent land theft in 1967, and the ongoing ethnic cleansing that has squeezed Palestinians in the West Bank into ghettos and bantustans surrounded by 27-foot walls, sniper towers, and military guards. It has created the open-air prison of Gaza with an impoverished and overcrowded population of 1.4 million inhabitants.
This tragic event has dispossessed and disinherited Palestinians all over the world; and a destitute population of refugees with only their memories of Palestine, crumbling property deeds, and an undaunted will to return.
We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine's right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise.
Who are we?
We are these human rights observers, aid workers, and journalists. We have years of experience volunteering in Gaza and the West Bank at the invitation of Palestinians. But now, because of the increasing stranglehold of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine, many of us find it almost impossible to enter Gaza, and an increasing number have been refused entry to Israel and the West Bank as well. Despite the great need for our work, the Israeli Government will not allow us in to do it.
We are of all ages and backgrounds. Back home, we are teachers, medics, musicians, secretaries, parents, grandparents, lawyers, students, activists, actors, playwrights, politicians, singer-songwriters, web designers, international training consultants, and even a former Hollywood film industry worker and an aviator. We are South African, Australian, American, English, Israeli, Palestinian, and more.
What are we going to do?
We've tried to enter Palestine by land. We've tried to arrive by air. Now we're getting serious. We're taking a ship.
For Immediate Release:
Can unarmed seaborne civilians break the siege of Gaza?
A press conference at 13:00H, Tuesday, July 29
International Press Center
Zapion Exhibition and Congress Hall
Inaugurating The Free Gaza Movement Sailing to Gaza
In August, unarmed Palestinians, Israelis and internationals will sail directly to Gaza without going through Israeli territory and without seeking permission from Israeli authorities. They include an 81-year-old Catholic nun, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor, Palestinians from Gaza, 16 nationalities, at least four major religions and the international press.
On Tuesday, July 29, 2008, the Free Gaza Movement publicly introduces its international team along with the Greek vessels that will take volunteers from Cyprus to Gaza in popular solidarity with Palestinian human rights. From that day, any attempt to damage the project will be considered an act of aggression against a nonviolent international human rights mission.
The boats will stop at Greek ports to receive supporters and there will be opportunities for the press and public figures to travel part of the way on board and to broadcast from aboard ship with the latest high-speed satellite data systems.
Join us on our trip by adding your name to https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/gazafriends. Receive email reports as we go, get our updates and our announcements and watch streaming video once we are on the sea.