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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Jewish Boat to Gaza boarded by Israeli Pirates

News has just come in of the boarding of the Jewish boat, the Irene (named after Irene Bruegel one of the founders of Jews for Justice for Palestinians). Not content with a UN Human Rights Committee Report that branded the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as illegal, having used brutality, torture as well as deliberately executing 6 passengers, Israel has now compounded this with the boarding of the latest ship.

We hope that there are no casualties and that none of the passengers were subject to the normal ritual violence from the thugs that wear Israeli military uniforms.

All those who took part, including Captain Glyn Secker of JfJP, should feel proud of themselves for standing up as Jews to defy this cruel and immoral blockade of Gaza whose only effect is to hurt the very people they say are terrorised by Hamas. This is the answer to those who oppose sanctions against Israel because of ‘anti-semitism’ and all the other reasons that their friends in Apartheid South Africa gave.

Just as Jews rightly honour what are termed ‘righteous Gentiles’ for having risked their lives to save Jews during the holocaust, so we should honour those who reject Zionism and its barbaric treatment of the Palestinians.

Well done Glyn!

Tony Greenstein

Jewish Boat to Gaza boarded by Israeli forces and taken toward Ashdod port
For immediate release
28 September, 2010

Jewish Boat to Gaza boarded by Israeli forces and taken toward Ashdod port

The Irene, a boat carrying nine passengers and aid for Gaza’s population has been taken over by the Israeli navy and denied access to Gaza.

The boat is flying a British flag and its passengers include citizens of the US, the UK, Germany and Israel. Two journalists are also on board.

Last contact with the boat’s captain, Glyn Secker, was at 0937 GMT, when their path had been cut off by a Destroyer. Recent reports from other news sources indicated that the boat has been surrounded and boarded. At this point they were less than 20 miles from Gaza’s shore. Since then all phones went dead.

The occupied Gaza Strip’s territorial waters end 12 nautical miles from shore, but the Israeli blockade is enforced at 20 miles from shore.

Israeli attorney Smadar Ben Natan who is representing the passengers has asked to see her clients immediately.

Local group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has asked for permission to send an independent doctor to visit the passengers immediately, after hearing from organizers that at least one passenger suffers from serious chronic health problems and is in need of medical care.
Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, has condemned the Israeli army’s apparent action and said that this boat and its fate are a symbol of the chances for peace in the region. The way it is being treated by Israeli authorities indicates that they have no real intentions of reaching peace, he said. He called for worldwide support for the boat and its message of protest against the siege of Gaza and the occupation.

European Jews for a Just Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK), Juedische Stimme fuer einen gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Germany), American Jews for a Just Peace (USA), Jewish Voice for Peace (USA), Jews Against the Occupation Sydney.

Contact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

I have just seen this urgent request to contact the FCO re the crew of the Irene:

There is a link to the FCO’s website, from where you can email a message. There is a letter on the website which can be cut and pasted onto the box on the website. I think it is important to stress that the interception of the boat and her crew is completely illegal and that the UK should be extremely concerned about the unlawful imprisonment of its citizens by a foreign state.

This is the text of a message from Simon Natas, a solicitor to the FCO:

Dear Sirs

I understand that the Jewish Boat to Gaza , the Irene, has been intercepted by the Israeli Navy and diverted to Ashdod . The crew of the boat, two of whom are British, have been detained by the Israeli authorities. I am extremely concerned as to the safety and well being of all the crew, some of whom are elderly.

I note the alarming evidence about mistreatment of crew and passengers of the Mavi Mamara whilst in Israeli detention as contained within the recent UN Human Rights Council report and trust that the UK authorities will do all they can to ensure the release of those detained and to ensure that their human rights are respected whilst in custody.

I should be grateful if the FCO would:

i) confirm as a matter of urgency that contact has been made with the Israeli authorities and that steps are being taken to protect the interests of those in Israeli custody.

ii) confirm that it has expressed to the Israeli authorities in the strongest terms that the interception of the Irene is unlawful and the detention of her crew contrary to Article 9, paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prevents arbitrary arrest or detention.

iii) confirm that it has conveyed to the Israeli authorities its support for the message of the boat, namely that the illegal and inhumane siege of Gaza must end as a first step towards a just solution to the conflict.

Yours faithfully,

Simon Natas

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Deborah Fink said...

Irene Bruegel was THE founder of JfJfP. Ok, there were several there at their founding meeting but JfJfP was initiated by her after she'd come back from the West Bank.

Tony Greenstein said...

Thanks Debbie. I stand corrected. It is even more reason why the Jewish ship (if you can have such a thing!) should be named after her!

Deborah Fink said...

You're welcome. you could change it in the article, (for those who don't read the comments).

Another reason why I think the boat was named Irene, is that it is the Greek word for peace. That might explain the dove logo. So, two reasons to name it Irene, and the latter reason might also explain why it only used her first name.

Lovely idea anyway. She'd have been very proud of the initiative and would have probably insisted on going on it herself!

After what happened to the Mavi Marmara, I reckon the navy dared not shoot, plus what would it have looked like with the passengers being Jewish? The Israelis were treated far worse than the internationals, no doubt as they were more of a threat to the propaganda narrative, and seen as traitors.