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Free Gaza! Free the Gaza 21, including Cynthia McKinney, from Israeli jail!

July 2, 2009

by George and Candy Gonzalez

Wherever the battle for freedom is joined, expect Cynthia McKinney to be on the front lines.
Wherever the battle for freedom is joined, expect Cynthia McKinney to be on the front lines.
“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate, as she and 20 human rights workers and journalists from 11 countries on a boat attempting to break the blockade of Gaza were abducted and being dragged by an Israeli gunship to jail in Israel.

“President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.” Noble laureate Mairead Maguire was also aboard, and all 21 are now in Israeli jail cells.

We urge people to take immediate action to have the Israeli government release Cynthia McKinney and the others on the Free Gaza vessel, the Spirit of Humanity, when it was boarded by Israeli Occupation Forces and forcibly hauled to Israel. (The people to contact are listed below.)

If any other country did this, it would be called “piracy.”

The Spirit of Humanity was not even in Israeli waters and posed no military threat to Israel. The 21 people aboard were on a human rights mission to bring desperately needed supplies to the thousands of Palestinians living in Gaza who have lost many loved ones, their homes and possessions due to Israel’s attacks in December and January.

The boat was seized in international waters by Israeli navy gunboats blockading Gaza. Tons of medicine – as well as toys, crayons and olive trees – destined for the besieged people of Gaza were confiscated.

According to a newly released report from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed during Israel’s December-January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of ‘Cast Lead.’ Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone,” said Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

“Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters,” stated Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage. “Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release.”

We stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza, desperately trying to survive and those trying to bring a token of hope to them.

We demand that the vessel and all those on board are immediately released and allowed to continue their voyage to Gaza. We admire their backbone and determination to work for justice, to take action rather than “mouth off” safely from afar.

This is neither the first nor the last of Cynthia McKinney’s attempts to break the blockade of Gaza

On Cynthia McKinney’s first trip with Free Gaza to break the blockade, their boat, sailing in international waters, was rammed and nearly sunk by Israeli gunboats during a terrifying night on Dec. 30, just as Israel was launching its attack on Gaza. The boat, loaded with three tons of medical supplies intended for Gaza, was able to reach port in Lebanon.

McKinney is also one of the main participants in another heroic campaign, along with New York City Councilmember Charles Barron and British Member of Parliament George Galloway, sending medical supplies to Gaza.

Half of Gaza’s hospitals were destroyed, exacerbating the medical emergency for many civilians wounded in the attacks. None of this horror even takes into account the many people yet to fall victim to leukemia and other illnesses resulting from the 75 tons of depleted uranium left by Israel during its illegal war. (AlJazeera.net, June 27)

Viva Palestina USA will leave July 4 from New York City, with hundreds of people taking a convoy of trucks through Egypt to the border of Gaza to deliver much-needed medical supplies to the besieged people of Gaza.

June 6 was the 42nd anniversary of the Israeli seizure of Gaza from the Palestinian people. Yet, like the U.S. attempts at re-colonizing Iraq, none of Israel’s U.S.-supplied weapons of mass destruction has been capable of destroying the Palestinian people’s will to continue fighting the illegal occupation.

It is this spirit of resistance that will continue to inspire many more Spirit of Humanity trips and Viva Palestina convoys loaded with medical supplies and various other forms of international solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Appeal from the Free Gaza Movement

The Spirit of Humanity prepares to set sail for Gaza, carrying tons of supplies and 21 human rights workers and journalists. – Photo: FreeGaza.org
The Spirit of Humanity prepares to set sail for Gaza, carrying tons of supplies and 21 human rights workers and journalists. – Photo: FreeGaza.org
Since the kidnapping of the Gaza 21, tens of thousands of people around the world have mobilized to demand their immediate and unconditional release. The Free Gaza Movement, www.freegaza.org, thanks everyone who has made a phone call, sent a fax or email, written a letter or organized a demonstration on behalf of our 21 imprisoned friends.

To maintain the pressure until they are released, readers are urged to contact the following:

Israeli Ministry of Justice: phone +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340, fax +972 2646 6357

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: phone +972 2530 3111, fax +972 2530 3367

Mark Regev in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354, email mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il

“With respect, freeing the Gaza 21 is not enough. We are not the story,” declares the Free Gaza Movement. Since its founding in 1948 the State of Israel has regularly kidnapped and tortured Palestinians, throwing them into forgotten prisons where they can languish for years. Today, over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners without benefit of due process, some never even charged – men, women and children – endure torture and isolation in Israeli jails, outdoor prison camps and secret sites. They come from all walks of life: doctors, journalists, parliamentarians, workers, resistance fighters, homemakers, students and others. They are our sisters and brothers, imprisoned simply for being Palestinian.

The Free Gaza Movement implores all the good people around the world who have working so hard to secure the release of the Gaza 21 to “adopt” a Palestinian prisoner. For more information, visit http://www.FreeGaza.org or contact Donna Wallach, cats4jazz@gmail.com.

Former San Franciscans George and Candy Gonzalez live in Belize, where they are leaders in movements for human rights and environmental justice and many of the other worthy causes they championed in the U.S. They can be reached at geocanbz@gmail.com. Bay View staff contributed to this story from several sources, including Workers World, www.workers.org, and the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples (ILC), ilcinfo@earthlink.net.

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43 thoughts on “Free Gaza! Free the Gaza 21, including Cynthia McKinney, from Israeli jail!

  1. Gary Rumor

    Cynthia McKinney and the others are trying to bring attention to the plight of the people in the Gaza strip. In the process they are bringing to world attention the Israeli and Egyptian government blockades of Gaza. These blockades are inhumane and should not be tolerated.

    Even if you disagree with Hamas and their goal of removing the Zionist state of Israel from the Palestine, there is no reason to make the people of the Gaza suffer. Hamas will moderate their views if they are engaged politically. Simply by blockading Gaza the Israeli government is helping them gain sympathy from the Palestinian people and their supporters. A more intelligent path is the one Obama has presented in Cairo, with America engaging in a dialogue with the peoples in the middle east and presenting an alternative that does not include invasion and conquest by America although he has demonstrated in Afghanistan that he will not rule it out.

    Hamas is aligned with Iran because Iran offers an alternative to submitting to Israel and Israel's supporters.

    But we must remember that Hamas was originally supported by Israel as an alternative to Fatah and the PLO. When the PLO became a state entity and began to negotiate with the Israeli power, the radical islamic movement took advantage of the failure of the PLO in their negotiations to achieve a viable Palestinian state and gained the support of the masses of disappointed Palestinians in Gaza in particular. Meanwhile Israel had severed its own links with Hamas and now is treating them as the enemy when in reality all they are doing is attempting to gain for the Palestinians the equal rights that were supposed to have come out of the negotiations that have been going on since the Camp David Summit under Carter so many years ago.

    This problem should have been resolved years ago and it is only the intransigence of the Israeli government and it backers in the USA that has led to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Former President Carter recognises this and it is why he condemns Israel now. Cynthia McKinney is simply joining the majority of the world in opposing the blockade of Gaza.

    Reply
  2. Sheila Leiws

    Keep her militant ass in the Israeli Jail then maybe she might get a clue of just how good she has on US soil instead of thinking that everyone owes her something. Could not have happened to a nicer person. Maybe this will teach her a leason.

    Reply
  3. Wayne E. Houser, Jr. (Foreign Service Officer, Ret.)

    Rep. Cynthia:

    SO SORRY YOU CAN’T ATTEND THE MJ MEMORIAL – `cause you’re WHERE YOU SHOULD BE in ISRAEL JAIL!!!
    HOPE YOU STAY THERE FOR MANY, MANY “MOONS”!
    (Heard a rumor you wanted to become a man… To do this you’ll have to transfer to a Nigerial jail…)

    Your (pretend) admirer,
    Wonderful Wayne

    Reply
  4. Sheila Again

    I’m sorry for my hateful stupidity. I really have no idea what I am talking about. I am just angry and bitter with my life. I don’t even know who Cynthia Mckinney is and I don’t wish militant regime to torture and hold anyone, not even Israel.

    Reply
  5. Roscoe

    She is exactly where she belongs!!! it’s simply amazing how a former US Congresswoman can think she is above the law and has the right to break immigration and customs laws! This is nothing more than a publicity stunt which attracted little—-if no publicity !!!! Great news!!! 21 peace activists for 3 tons of supplies—-what a joke!!!! Israel delivered 300 tons of aid to Gaza on the day the boat was confiscated for attempting circumvent the law. And she thinks since ” “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies”—– she has the authority to violate the border controls established by the Oslo Accords ??

    What an arrogant POS !!! Israel should keep her for being a repeat offender !

    Reply
  6. Sheila Again

    Yeah. Right on Wayne. Those innocent Palestinians don’t deserve basic human rights. That’s what we smug, ignorant, rascists believe, isn’t it? You are Wonderful! And smart!!

    Reply
  7. Joe Kelsall

    I believe Miss Leiws ( does she mean Lewis?) has got the wrong end of the stick. Cynthia McKinney is in Israel precisely because she appreciates the lifestyle she leads in the USA and wants that to be reflected in Palestine. It is called selflessness, a quality Miss Lewis seems to have little of. Come to Palestine , Miss Lewis, I’ll show you Israeli democracy in action at the gate of the City of Bethlehem. Or , Jericho, Nablus and Hebron. McKinney is asking nobody for anything. What exactly are you suggesting she ‘thinks’ everyone owes her. Please be more specific.

    Reply
  8. Sheila Again

    Roscoe. I wonder if you would change your mind if you could walk in anyone else’s shoes.

    You’re the ugly American, even if you are not.

    Way To Go!

    Reply
  9. The Ugly American

    Finally someone rational speaks.

    Learn from Joe and maybe you can make a meaningful difference in the world, even if killing and imprisoning is your M.O.

    Reply
  10. Sheila Leiws

    Don’t know who this person is called sheila again but I do now what McKinney stands for and that is a racist militant who is a disgrace to the planet I hope they feed that bitch to the sharks.

    Reply
  11. Roscoe

    Sheila Again,

    No I’m not an American—– but I do in fact understand the rule of law—-something that Cynthia Mckinney knows absolutely nothing about !!!! Because she is a Privileged Person !!!

    She’s nothing more than a hateful, spiteful, arrogant, POS that can’t seem to understand the difference between following the rules and purposefully breaking them.

    Her agenda is for no other purpose than to promote her sense of self importance!

    21 people on a boat for 3 tons of supplies—- that’s a whopping 3 pick-up tuck loads !!!! What a nutcase !!!

    Here is the true Cynthia McKinney—http://www.slate.com/?id=2064530

    Reply
  12. Thoughful

    Sheila Leiws,

    On what do you base your statement “rascist militant”. No reflection on the Israeli citizens, but don’t you think the regime that occupies that state is as rascist as they come? Do you know the history of Israel?

    Regardless, innocent people are not allowed to leave and cannot get enough food and medical supplies. And by Proxy of your statement, you are saying that is not important here. Instead, your disdain for Cynthia Mckinney as a character is seemingly what you care most about.

    Rascist Militant might best describe the israeli regime that is blockading humanitarian aid, which UN laws do mandate.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  13. Roscoe

    So,

    Sheila again is not Sheila Lewis ??????

    Wow—I was confused there for a moment—thought maybe Sheila was schizo !!

    Reply