BREAKING NEWS: Israeli forces hijack 2nd flotilla boat

4 Aug

FREEDOM FLOTILLA RELEASE  4 August, 2018

‘Freedom’ under attack as it carries medical supplies to Gaza

At 20:06 (CEST) we lost contact with the yacht Freedom, sailing under a Swedish flag, which is on a mission to break the illegal Israeli blockade of the Palestinian people of Gaza. We have reason to presume that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has now begun to attack it and that it has been surrounded in International Waters. The latest reported position was approximately 40 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.

Based on what happened on Sunday, we anticipate that the IOF has now cut all communications with Freedom, so it can begin an undocumented attack.

Freedom is a gift for the Palestinian fishers of Gaza and is carrying a cargo of medical supplies , including #Gauze4Gaza. On board are 10 participants and two journalists from five countries. Details of all of the participants are here.  The last news that we had from Freedom was that she was maintaining her course towards Gaza and the ‘conscience of humanity’.

The IOF claims that our civilian boats – including our 100% wind-powered boat – are breaking international law and threatens that they will use ‘any measures necessary’ to stop us. We assert the right of ‘innocent passage’ guaranteed under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 and call upon international authorities to protect our small yacht. The only ‘necessary measures’ are to end the illegal blockade of Gaza and to restore freedom of movement for all Palestinians.

Last Sunday, the IOF cut all communications and then violently attacked our lead boat (‘Al Awda) in international waters, pulled down its Norwegian flag and trampled upon it. According to many testimonies that we have, including Yonatan Shapira, a former Israeli Air Force officer who was a participant aboard ‘Al Awda’, they then beat up and tasered several people and stole most of the participants’ property.

Four boats left Scandinavia in mid-May and have since stopped in 28 ports building support for a ‘Just Future for Palestine’. We demand that Israel ends its ongoing breaches of international law, including the collective punishment of a twelve-year blockade of Gaza, thereby enabling the only closed port in the Mediterranean to open and that people have their universal right to freedom of movement.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on the Swedish Government, the national governments of those aboard Freedom, other national governments, and relevant international organizations to act immediately.” said Dror Feiler of Ship to Gaza Sweden, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. “We demand that the IOF not interfere with our unarmed yacht, as we continue our voyage to Gaza to deliver our gift of much-needed medical supplies”.

-Ends-

More information about the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ flotilla and the FFC:
Web: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition
Twitter: @gazafflotilla

To arrange an interview or for more information, contact: jfp.freedomflotilla.org/media-room-2

Current participants on the Swedish-flagged ‘Freedom’:

  1. John Turnbull, Captain – Canada
  2. Francisco Canales, 1:a mate – Spain
  3. Pascal Maurieras, 2:a mate – France
  4. Tobbe Larsson, Sweden
  5. Ferry Sarpooshan, Sweden
  6. Carl Robert Staiger, Sweden
  7. Karin Sandfridsson, Sweden
  8. Ellen Hansson, Sweden
  9. My Rut Leffler, Sweden
  10. Anna Dressler, Sweden – Germany
  11. Ian Diaz Young, Press TV, England – Spain
  12. Richard Sudan, Press TV, England

PressTV demands release of crew and journalists on hijacked Flotilla boat, and detained by Israel.
NOTE FROM KIA ORA GAZA: No New Zealanders are currently on the Freedom. NZ/Palestinian Youssef Sammour was part of the crew on earlier legs from Amsterdam to Sicily. NZ union leader Mike Treen was on the Al Awda which was attacked last Sunday. He will speak about his experiences at a public meeting on Sunday 5 August from 7pm at the Freemans Bay Community Centre, Hepburn St. Free entry – donations welcome.                                                                                                                                                             Flotilla sailing boat, the Freedom in calmer waters
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