January 16, 2009
As you may know, The Spirit of Humanity was surrounded by Israeli warships in international waters. The Israeli navy threated to shoot these unarmed civillians unless they returned to port. This of course is against international law, but that never stops Israel.
The boat has since returned to Cyprus.
If you want to see how far it got or track any future sailings, use this link http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0T9vIzDuqKd7Vz8WiSrZ73HnzaASECQS1
The list of people onboard were as follows:
Trip # 7: Departure from Cyprus Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Klontzas, George – Captain (Greece)
Cpt. Klontzas is an experienced sailor and human rights activist. This will be his fifth trip to Gaza.
Stylianakis, Zacharias – Captain (Greece)
Greek Captain, qualified to captain cargo ships up to 2500 tons.
Bolos, Nikolaos – Crew (Greece)
Born in Pireas. Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, University of Patray. Graduated Gemologist from Gemological Institute of America. Qualified skipper since 1989 (Panellenic offshore club). Runned personal enterprise in electroplating as an industrial chemist the last 12 years. In solidarity with Palestinian people human rights worker and member of Free Gaza.
Karipidis, Yiannis – Crew (Greece)
Arraf, Huwaida – Crew (Palestine/USA)
Huwaida is a Palestinian-American, and also a citizen of Israel. She is a human rights activist and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement. In 2007 she received her Juris Doctor from American University in Washington D.C. She was present on most of the Free Gaza voyages.
Pissias, Vangelis, University Professor – Crew (Greece)
Greek origin, citizenship and culture. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1947, living in the Greek milieu, in a large Greek community within a much larger International community.
Muncie, Andrew, human rights worker and crew (Scotland)
Andrew Muncie volunteered with ISM Gaza Strip from August until mid-November 2008. He arrived to Gaza onboard the SS Liberty, one of the boats that made the first voyage of the Free Gaza movement. During his brief time in Gaza he accompanied fishermen on their trawling vessels and witnessed firsthand the Israeli occupation force Navy violate the cease-fire. He filmed the soldiers shooting at the trawling vessels and also blasting the boats with high-powered water cannons, causing severe damage to the vessels and sometimes injuries to the fishermen and ISM volunteers. He is returning to Gaza Strip to witness and document the current situation.
Caruso, Francesco, former Member of Parliament (Italy)
Activist of social centers on the south of Italy. Has been spokesman of anti-globalization movement in Italy. Member of Italian Parliament until April 2008.
Gezelius, Mats, Journalist (Sweden/Finland)
Mats Gezelius is a freelance reporter based in Jerusalem. He has for the last 10 years covered the Middle East for Nordic Media. Gezelius is the Middle East correspondent for Hufuudstadsbladet and a stringer for the leading Swedish newspapers Alfonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet. He is a contributing editor to Finlands Radio & TV (YLE).
Giannopoulos, Nikos, human rights worker (Greece)
working in the Institute “Nikos Poulentzas” in the port of editions and member of the Network for the social and political rights.
Kampani, Chalent, Orthopedic Surgeon (Greece)
Palestinian orthopaedic surgeon and traumatologist.
Kanellakis, Yiannis, Journalist with Greek Mega TV (Greece)
As a reporter he has covered a lot of stories about the wars all over the world. Would like to believe that this war is the last one on this planet. Believes the International Community will do that very soon and will have peace and solidarity on the whole world. Hopes the democracies will help the stabilities of this peace. Freedom for the Palestinians and every people under occupation.
Nuet I Pujaus, Joan Josep, Member of Parliament (Spain)
Break the siege that Israel imposes on the Gaza Strip and Palestine. To facilitate the arrival of medicines and food. No government can stop the humanitarian help for a country under war. Food and medicines are indispensable and above any war and conflict.
Papachristopoulos, Athanasios, Surgeon (Greece)
Member of Humanistic Hellenic organization. Doctor of peace. Directs the dermatological department of Public Hospital Evaggelismos. Hase visited the following countries during WAR: 1999 Serbia, 2001 Afghanistan, 2003 Iraq, 2006 Puget Island (Thailand) (Kailac), 2006 Lebanon.
Perukis, Petros (Greece)
Architect living in Greece.
Prieto, Monica, Journalist with El Mundo (Spain)
Reporter working for EL MUNDO, the Spanish newspaper, since 1996. Was working in Russia, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, and Lebanon, among other countries. Currently correspondent for Middle East based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Robbins, Sonia, Dr., Surgeon (UK)
Consultant reconstructive and hand surgeon working in Middle East last four years. On the boat because of refusal by Israel for entry into Gaza for humanitarian medical work.
Spartiatis, Theo (Greece)
Synodinoo, Xaritatoo Melina, Journalist with Ethnos (Greece)
Journalist for the Greek daily newspaper “Ethios”, covering International news – war zones.
Tsatsis, Angelos, Journalist with MEGA TV (Greece)
Yvon, Xavier, Journalist with RTL Radio (France)
The only thing that is dangerous about these people is the idea they bring. That people acting together can make a difference.
January 15, 2009
Thursday, 15 January 2009 09:26
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, please contact:
(Cyprus) Lubna Masarwa, +357 97 625 828
(Cyprus) Mary Hughes, +357 99 081 767
(Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +972 598 700 497
(Mediterranean Sea, 15 January 2009) – The Israeli navy today threatened to kill unarmed civilians aboard a mercy ship on its way to deliver medical supplies and doctors to besieged Gaza.
The Free Gaza Movement ship, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, left Cyprus Wednesday morning carrying doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and parliamentarians. The ship also carried over a ton of desperately needed medicines donated by the European Campaign to Break the Siege, and intended for overwhelmed hospitals in the Gaza Strip. At the request of the ship’s organizers the passenger list and manifest were publicly released, and Cypriot authorities searched the boat prior to its departure in order to certify that it only carried humanitarian items. The organizers also sent an official notification to the Israeli government of their intent to break through the blockade of Gaza.
At roughly 3am UST (1am GMT), in international waters 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY and began recklessly cutting in front of the slow-moving civilian craft. The Israeli warships radioed the SPIRIT, demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and “shoot.” When asked if the Israeli navy was acknowledging that they intended to commit a war crime by deliberately firing on unarmed civilians, the warships replied that they were prepared to use “any means” to stop the ship.
An earlier attempt by Free Gaza to deliver doctors and medical supplies ended on 30 December when Israeli gunboats deliberately and repeatedly rammed the DIGNITY, almost sinking that ship. Rather than endanger the lives of its passengers, the SPIRIT is now returning to Cyprus.
Israel’s reckless and shocking threats against an unarmed ship on a mission of mercy are a violation of both international maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that “the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes.”
CALL the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking the civilian population of Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.
Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office:
+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264
Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence:
+972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148
The Israeli Navy Spokesperson:
+ 972 5 781 86248
The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza in August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the port in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, taking Parliamentarians, human rights workers, and other dignitaries to witness the effects of Israel’s draconian policies on the civilians of Gaza.
Sailing for Humanity
At 10:30 this morning, under bright blue Mediterranean skies, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY sailed from the port of Larnaca.
Undeterred by Israeli threats of interception at sea, 21 passengers and crew waved to friends and press on shore, committed to our mission of delivering doctors, journalists, human rights observers and a shipment of medical supplies to assist the civilian population of Gaza during this emergency.
Israel has an obligation to protect the civilian population that it occupies” stated Free Gaza delegation leader Huwaida Arraf. “Since
Israel continues to violate this obligation, we will continue to do whatever we can to deliver badly needed medical supplies, food, and to
transport medical personnel, journalists and human rights workers to help and to witness the devastation Israel has wrought.”
The physicians on board include a reconstructive plastic surgeon and an orthopaedic surgeon and another physician. All three doctors will
bring crucial assistance to the exhausted and overwhelmed hospital staff in Gaza where emergency resources don’t begin to meet the need.
You can keep up to date with the progress of the crew of the Spirit of Humanity by clicking on any of the following links over the next few days.
January 9, 2009