Many people from around the world have spent the last two days writing letters and calling elected officials, demanding that Israel release the 'Spirit of Humanity' humanitarian aid boat, its cargo, and crew. But we must do more. Over the next several days, US Congress will be on holiday recess, a new humanitarian aid convoy led by Viva Palestina will attempt to enter Gaza, and the fate of the 21 civilians being held in Israel remains uncertain. Let's keep the media focused on this matter.
Members of the Free Gaza Movement, a group of civilians from 10 countries who launched this initiative, include Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire and former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The 'Spirit of Humanity' was taken, illegally, from international waters.
The aid was being delivered in the wake of a 22-day military assault against the Gaza Strip last winter, in which Amnesty International has charged the Israeli military with "reckless conduct, disregard for civilian lives and property, and a consistent failure to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects."
The Gaza Strip has also been subjected to a crippling blockade for two years, in which the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza have been at the whim of the Israeli military. The people of Gaza face severe shortages of medicine, food, and materials that are necessary for rebuilding homes after the war.
The human rights activists who are being held in Israel need our support. We can build the pressure necessary to secure their release and prevent such seizures in the future. We can support the Free Gaza Movement by making sure the press covers this incident and people are aware of it.