Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian of Palestinian decent, businessman, and chairman of Lebanese Institute of International Studies heads the international group Free Palestine Movement that is organizing the trip.
American delegation to join international humanitarian effort to break the siege of Gaza
Twenty-two American citizens will be among the more than two hundred persons who will be sailing aboard the Arab flotilla to Gaza, now scheduled for Wednesday, June 30. The flotilla of Arab ships are hoping to break the blockade on Gaza, despite the harsh Israeli reaction to an earlier flotilla from Turkey and other Mediterranean states killing nine peace activists, causing an international incident.
The government of Lebanon has agreed to inspect every item going aboard the three ships sailing on June 30 to make sure that no weapons of any kind are aboard. Sponsors of the flotilla have agreed to all of the terms laid down by the government of Lebanon and are hoping to avoid violent incidents at sea.
One of the boats is to be devoted to women activists from America, Europe and the Middle East.
Two reporters from The Times of London will be accompanying the delegation to document their passage to Gaza. Other journalists will also be on the boats.
The twenty-two Americans include ten members of the Council for the National Interest who have volunteered to take part in the exercise. The closure of Gaza is a violation of international law, in their opinion, and they will be returning to the United States to report back to their various communities.
The American citizens have agreed to interviews or meetings with members of the press upon their return and they will be available on-line to the extent that is possible.
The Arab Boat Brigade aims to not only raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip, but also pressure the international community to end its support for the continued Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Photos: fplamb for the PCRC
The energy and commitment of the courageous women of the Miriam is inspiring to all who seek peace and justice for Palestine. The interest and enthusiasm they have already achieved is a major victory. Join them! Support them! Break the siege of Gaza and liberate Palestine with them!
(Miriam contact: Ms. Mona Kayali (email@example.com).
The group fully expects the vessels to be boarded by the Israelis in international waters, which would be a violation of the Geneva Convention.
> Yasser Kashlak, a Syrian of Palestinian decent, businessman, and chairman of Lebanese Institute of International Studies heads the international group Free Palestine Movement that is organizing the trip. The ships carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza will first be searched at a port in Cyprus. As Kashlak explains, “We will abide by international and marine laws and will be subject to international inspection.” Lebanese authorities have already granted the first ship, named Julia, to sail from Tripoli, Lebanon. Subsequent ships will also leave Tripoli only with the Lebanese government’s approval.
> The ongoing blockade of Gaza constitutes collective punishment against the Palestinian population of Gaza, an act strictly prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Throughout the past three years, the siege has created a deliberately sustained and man-made humanitarian catastrophe. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a clear violation of international humanitarian law.
> Furthermore, the continued occupation of Palestine and expansion of illegal settlements prolongs the abuse, humiliation, and pauperization of the Palestinian people. Israel has established hundreds of blockades and checkpoints to render ordinary life impossible for Palestinians of all ages. Israel has also carried out numerous human rights violations, most undertaken in the name of “security”. For decades, the Palestinian people have suffered this mistreatment while Israel continues to illegally develop its own interests.
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