Tuesday, July 07, 2009

State Piracy: captives released but blockade remains - and so does news silence

SIX human rights campaigners illegally taken captive on the high seas by Israeli forces have been released. No thanks, so far as we know, to the British and US governments, nor to the corporate news media such as the BBC, which did not even report what had happened even though British citizens were on the boat that was seized.

The Free Gaza Movement vessel Spirit of Humanity was carrying medical supplies and children's toys when it was seized 23 miles off the coast of Gaza, on June 30. Among the 21 people on board, from 11 nationalities, were Irish Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire and former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

The Israeli state is maintaining a blockade on the Gaza strip, in breach of international law, and there are reports now of Israeli forces preventing Palestinians in the West Bank taking food and drink through military checkpoints. But it appears there is another blockade trying to prevent the public here knowing any of this is happening.

The news statement issued below is from Italian MEP Luisa Morgantini, who is a member of Rifondazione Comunista, and vice president of the European Parliament:.


Luisa Morgantini and a delegation from the End the Siege in Gaza campaign will be in Brussels next Wednesday, 8th July, and meet EU HR Solana to present their protests

Rome, 7th July 2009

Finally Israel released yesterday the Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, the former U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and all the human rights activists of the Free Gaza Movement arrested on 30th June while they were trying to taking medicines and toys to Gaza by boat, forcibly boarded by the Israeli Navy, who threatened to fire and confiscated the ship.

A Delegation of members of European Parliaments and activists from the End the Siege Campaign will meet on Wednesday 8th July at 11 a.m. the HR for EU Foreign Affairs Javier Solana in order to reiterate the request -arriving from many NGOs and human rights organizations in the world, as well as from European Parliament’s resolutions - to break the siege of Gaza and to compel Israel to open the borders for people and goods. The delegation will also denounce the case of SPIRIT OF HUMANITY - the ship aimed to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza- and protest against the takeover by Israel's navy of the boat and of its 21-member crew in violation of the international law.

The delegation will accuse once again the lack of legality and Humanity shown by the Israeli Authorities preventing medicines and toys to enter in Gaza, arresting and abducting human rights defenders and journalists, and also denying the right for Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire –arriving today in Ireland- to access her medicine: the same or probably worse happens for about 11000 Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli jails -many without trial- and the worst of course happens with the collective punishment of Gaza population, prevented to basic needs through the siege as Mairead Maguire denounced in an interview from an Israeli prison.

“We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza; how can I be in prison for collecting crayons to kids?” asked in a letter written from her cell in Ramle prison a former U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.

Legality and human dignity must always and everywhere be respected: Israel must stop its illegal policies. The inhuman siege of the Strip must immediately end, as well as all settlements activity in the West Bank and the Israeli military occupation, the only way to achieve a peaceful and just solution in the region. The delegation, who will meet the HR for EU Foreign Affairs Javier Solana, will be very adamant in its request.


A fwq questions

Mairead Maguire was able to speak from her prison cell on the US Democracy Now radio.


Why not on RTE and BBC?

Luisa Morgantini has been to Gaza (and to Sderot) and is raising human rights and the Palestinian people's plight in the European parliament. What are other MEPs doing? And what is the point of supposed Left alternatives standing if all they can say is "No to EU" and promise they won't even take their seats?

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