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.

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Here is another article related to the subject with further evidence of the on going assault against Palestinian and Isreali supporters of Palestine
A boat carrying aid to pro-Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip was surrounded and boarded by Israeli forces off the coast of the Gaza Strip Tuesday. Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was one of the 21 people on board who were taken into Israeli custody and held at the port of Ashrod in Israel.

McKinney is quoted as saying that the confrontation was "an outrageous violation of international law," and she claimed the boat was on a humanitarian mission and was not in Israeli waters.

The Israeli military said the boat tried to violate Israel's security blockade and enter Gaza illegally.

The 21 passengers and crew on the Greek-registered ship "Arion" was working for the U.S.-based "Free Gaza Movement." Among them, besides McKinney, was 1977 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mairead Maguire.

Israeli forces have maintained a blockade on the Palestinian territory since 2007, partly to prevent smugglers from delivering weapons and munitions to Gaza.

It's a farce to claim that Israel's withdrawal from Gaza resulted in some semblance of sovereignty when its military controls Gaza's airspace, waterways and land routes, and Israeli forces continue to strike targets within the canton.

Israeli forces in the West Bank have long reacted violently to Palestinian protests, even peaceful ones. But recently, they used similar tactics on Israeli protesters -- an unusual occurrence ...

I am reporting the testimony of Dr. Amiel Vardi, and many other supporting testimonies. There is graphic photographic documentation, including a live video clip, which can be seen here. The pictures seen here are part of a series that can be viewed at this Flickr site...

The activists arrived in the morning at al-Safa to accompany Palestinian farmers to their fields, since it is nearly impossible for these farmers to work their land without the physical protection of Israelis: violent settlers from nearby Bat 'Ayin invariably attack the farmers and chase them away. This time, however, the army and Border Police were waiting, in force—dozens of soldiers (the Border Police are part of the army), including two Brigade Commanders. As usual, they declared the area a Closed Military Zone.

But they also immediately arrested the activists and then attacked several of them brutally with fists, rifle butts, and other weapons.

They rammed their heads repeatedly against the sides of the military jeeps (you can see this clearly on the Walla video). They severely beat the detainees while the latter were hand-cuffed and defenseless. Even worse, they continued to beat them while transporting them to the police station—stopping the jeeps on the way and attacking their helpless prisoners with clubs. One Palestinian activist, Yusuf Abu-Maria, suffered a broken leg. An Israeli activist, Sahar, had her armed savagely twisted, though fortunately not broken. Many were injured.

Incidentally, while this was going on, settlers from Bat 'Ayin set fire to Palestinian olive trees only a few hundred yards away; but of course the soldiers saw no reason to interfere.



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