U.S. Boat to Sail to Gaza Despite Israeli Threats
US boat to Gaza issued a press release confirming and insisting on sailing to Gaza despite Israeli threats of intercepting the boats or attacking them. Here is the press release:
US human rights advocates who are planning to sail their boat - The Audacity of Hope - this spring as part of an international flotilla in solidarity with the people of Gaza will not be deterred by implied threats of violence by the Israeli government, say the boat's organizers.
The Israeli media recently reported that that country's UN ambassador, Meron Reuben, asked the international organization to stop the flotilla, which is expected to include some 12 boats carrying a thousand nonviolent civilians from dozens of countries. Reuben characterized the activists as "terrorists" with ties to Hamas, the Islamist party that rules Gaza, who are "willing to become martyrs."
Jane Hirschmann of the US Boat to Gaza, which is organizing the US participation in the flotilla, said that the Israeli charges "are absurd and would be laughable if it were not for the fact that last year, the Israeli military boarded a Turkish boat with aid for Gaza and killed nine unarmed civilians, including an American."
The use of "the language of anti-terror", retired US Col. Ann Wright, one of the people who will be on the boat and who was on the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was attacked by the Israeli military, said, is a "not very subtle threat against the nonviolent human rights activists who will be aboard The Audacity of Hope and our partner ships. We have no ties to Hamas or any political party. We are sailing in peace, we are sailing unarmed, but be assured that, despite these threats, we are definitely sailing."
Press contact: Felice Gelman