Thursday, April 8, 2010

Flotilla to be launched in May

Flotilla to be launched in May

Flotilla to be launched in May
Activists with different religions and languages gathered at the IHH head office to discuss the forthcoming humanitarian flotilla to Gaza. They will be sailing to Gaza in ships this May. IHH President spoke resolutely: “We can sleep in the ships for mon

The IHH-led campaign “Palestine Our Destination, Freedom Our Load” was launched with a meeting at the foundation’s headquarters. Bülent Yıldırım, chairman of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, a number of activists from Greece, Britain, the United States and Indonesia, Cihat Gökdemir, head of Mazlum-Der Istanbul Branch, TGTV Chairman Necati Ceylan, Erol Erdoğan, Istanbul provincial head of Saadet Party, Bayram Karacan, Istanbul provincial head of BBP, two Palestinians being treated in Turkey and scores of people were present at the press conference.

These medicines and dialysis machines not available in Gaza

Showing medicines and dialysis machine in front of him, Yıldırım said “These medicines used by cancer patients and this dialysis machine used by people suffering from kidney failure are not available in Gaza. These are just two simple examples. Even basic humanitarian stuff is not allowed into Gaza under the embargo. This embargo is sanctioned neither by the international law nor human conscience. Unfortunately, it has been in effect for four years. We will sail in May to break the embargo.”

Yıldırım noted they had been campaigning in various countries to promote the flotilla initiative and they were receiving new participants each day.

Yıldırım: We can sleep in the ships for months if needed

Yıldırım stated the IHH had purchased a passenger ship with the capacity of 1,080 persons and a cargo ship that can carry 3,500 tons of cargo. “The last time we travelled to Palestine overland we said we could even sleep in the desert. And now we are saying we can sleep in the ships for months. If Israel keeps us at the sea, it will be the losing side. This will lead to more reporting about the embargo. Israel has become very isolated at the international level. If Israel has a humane side as it claims, it has to let us enter Gaza. Then the world will say ‘Israel also has a humane side.’ This flotilla will serve as a test of sincerity for Israel. If it fires at our ships, it will be interpreted as declaration of war on our countries. Israel and Egypt should permit this international movement,” he added.

We are doing what our states should be doing

Another participant Huwaida Arraf, spokeswoman of the Free Gaza Movement, is a Ramallah-born Palestinian Christian married to a Jew. Arraf recalled they had sailed for Palestine in ships three times in the past.

She expressed pride for being part of the initiative and said: “A humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Gaza and governments of world countries are remaining silent to it. We are doing now what our governments should be doing. We know it well that the power of humanity fighting for human rights is much stronger than arms. We managed to deliver aid to Gaza before and we were given a hero’s welcome. The truth is the real heroes are the people of Gaza, who are resisting. We had promised them we would return in a bigger movement and we are going to keep our promise with this organization.”

Israel fired at our ships in earlier attempts, Arraf said and added “Israel fired and sank our ship. But we were not discouraged. We organized three flotillas of aid ships and achieved to reach Gaza at the third attempt. And we are now sailing with the IHH to make the embargo meaningless.”

‘We are ashamed of our governments’ silence’

Representing Greece’s Ship to Gaza organization at the press conference, Vangelios Pissias said they were ashamed of their governments’ silence on the issue. The Palestinian question is unifying and lessons should be learnt from the resistance of Gaza, he indicated. The Greek activist said irrelevant problems between regional countries should be made history and urged Mediterranean countries to unite against the Israeli aggression.

700 died from embargo

Mazen Kehil, representative of the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, recalled 700 Palestinians had died because of the embargo and called for unity of world countries on the Gaza issue. The ships will not be carrying arms but only humanitarian supplies, Kehil noted and urged all countries to support the flotilla. Indonesian activist Nur Fitri said they were taking part in the organization to prove the Indonesian people are standing by the Palestinian people and added they were planning to found a hospital in Gaza.

Palestine Our Destination, Humanitarian Aid Our Load

The campaign with the slogan “Palestine Our Destination, Humanitarian Aid Our Load” includes seven ships in total, two from Turkey, two from Britain, one from Greece and one from Ireland. The goal of the campaign is to support the Palestinian people, to show that arbitrary Israeli blockade is not recognized, to prove that the embargo can be legally broken, to put pressure on Egypt to open Rafah border, and to deliver humanitarian supplies.

The ships will be carrying tons of medication, medical equipment, cement and iron. Houses, hospitals and schools that were damaged in the last Israeli offensive have not been repaired yet, because Israel and Egypt do not let construction materials into Gaza under the embargo.

The flotilla of passenger and cargo vessels is expected to set sail in May. The vessels will be carrying over 1,000 passengers to Palestine including human rights advocates, activists, representatives of civil society, journalists and artists.

IHH president stated that ship-owners were refusing to rent their vessels for security concerns and they, therefore, decided to purchase vessels for the organization. He said: “The IHH has so far purchased two vessels, one passenger boat and one cargo ship. They were financed by donations to the Palestine fund. Mavi Marmara passenger ship was purchased at TRY 1,800,000 and the cargo ship at TRY 850,000. Mavi Marmara has the capacity to carry 200 tons and 1,080 passengers. And the cargo ship has a capacity of 3,500 tons. The flotilla will also be joined by three vessels from Britain, one from Greece and one from Ireland. There will be seven vessels in total.”

Responding to the question “What will be done with the ships after the organization?” Yıldırım said “The ships will be used in future aid flotillas. And after the removal of the embargo they will be donated to the Palestinian people.”

Route of flotilla

Passenger ships will depart from Istanbul and sail for Gaza in international waters, calling at the ports of Antalya, Kyrenia and Famagusta. The ships laden with relief supplies, however, will call at Istanbul and Mersin ports. Some of relief supplies will be loaded to ships in Istanbul, while those collected in Anatolian cities will be loaded in Mersin. The journey will take between 10 to 15 days depending on weather condition and possible Israeli hurdles.

What supplies will be carried in ships?

Many relief supplies that are not allowed into Gaza because of embargo will be carried in ships, including construction materials such as cement, iron, etc., generators (over 100 KW), MR devices (preferably new or less than two years old), ultrasound machines, dentist chairs and equipment, CBC blood testing and devices (preferably new or less than three years old), and electric wheelchairs. The participants will return to Turkey in the same ships after delivering relief supplies to Gaza.


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The Freedom Flotilla Sails to Gaza in May

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(London, UK) On May 24, 2010, the Freedom Flotilla sets sail for Gaza determined to, once again, challenge Israel’s blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in an open-air prison. Under the coordination of the Free Gaza Movement, numerous human rights organizations, including the Turkish Relief Foundation (IHH), the Perdana Global Peace Organization from Malaysia, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, and the Swedish and Greek Boat to Gaza initiatives will send three cargo ships loaded with reconstruction, medical and educational supplies. At least five passenger boats with over 600 people on board will accompany the cargo ships.

These passengers include members of Parliament from around the world, U.N., human rights and trade union activists, as well as journalists who will document the largest coordinated effort to directly confront Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza and take in basic supplies.

Said Mary Hughes Thompson, one of Free Gaza’s co-founders, “Although we were happy with the first trips, it was bitter-sweet, knowing that our small boats and symbolic amounts of relief paled in comparison to what was really needed in Gaza. Now, we finally feel we are helping to organize a powerful action, one with the potential to translate into a sustained campaign of much more effective challenges to Israel's brutal siege.”

In the past three months, Israel has limited fuel to run the power station. Much of Gaza is often in darkness. There are just enough trucks coming in to barely prevent total starvation, and Egypt, complicit with the Israeli-US policy of blockading Palestinians, is building an underground steel wall to prevent people in Gaza from bringing in vitally needed supplies through tunnels.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Contact: Greta Berlin, +33 63 142 7577, http://mc/compose?

Huwaida Arraf, +970-598-336-215, +972-542-635-936, http://mc/compose?

Caoimhe Butterly, +353 876 114 553, http://mc/compose?

A cargo ship sponsored by the people of Malaysia and loaded with cargo donated from citizens of Ireland, Scotland, and Britain as well as thousands around the world, will depart from Ireland the second week of May. When it reaches the Mediterranean, she will be joined by the other boats and begin the journey to Gaza.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Deputy Director of the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza was pleased to hear we are coming back. “When the two boats from Free Gaza entered the harbor in 2008, it was like a dream, it was historic. And all great things start with some dreamers who made it true. For us in Gaza, the dream of freedom will not be lost, and we welcome this next voyage with open hearts.”

The Free Gaza Movement along with the partners listed above, are the organizers of this flotilla. However, dozens of organizations and tens of thousands of people around the world are taking part to make this voyage a success.

Greta Berlin


10 Produk yang Memiliki Link dengan Israel, Diboikot!

Jumat, 18/12/2009 23:48 WIB

KNRP - Aktivis anti-apartheid telah menamai sejumlah merek komersial sebagai sponsor Israel, dan mendesak negara-negara dunia untuk berpikir dua kali sebelum membeli produk-produk tersebut menjelang Natal.

Kampanye AS untuk Boikot Akademik dan Budaya Israel (USACBI) merilis daftar 10 perusahaan multi-nasional yang terikat dengan Israel, serta mengatakan bahwa perusahaan tersebut mendapatkan keuntungan salah satunya dari pembangunan dinding apartheid Tepi Barat.

USACBI menuduh kelompok-kelompok komersial ini memiliki peran langsung dalam penderitaan rakyat Palestina, dengan memanfaatkan kekuatan pekerja Palestina dan mendukung militer Israel untuk membangun proyek-proyek pemukiman ilegal di wilayah-wilayah Palestina yang diduduki.

Lebih lanjt mereka mengatakan bahwa perusahaan-perusahaan tersebut juga telah menjadi ancaman serius terhadap lingkungan dan melanggar undang-undang ketenagakerjaan internasional. Dengan adanya catatan ini, maka upaya untuk memboikot produk-produk mereka menjadi sangat penting.

Perusahaan yang terdaftar untuk diboikot itu antara lain AHAVA cosmeceutical, industri tekstil Galil, Produk Bawang Putih dan Herbal Dorot, yang semuanya memiliki basis di Israel.

Perusahaan telekomunikasi Motorola, Intel Corporation - terbesar di dunia semi konduktor pembuat chip -, perusahaan Estee Lauder kosmetik dan perawatan kulit, perusahaan Sabra, yang menghasilkan produk makanan bergaya Mediterania, dan perususahaan barang-barang konsumen global Sara Lee juga termasuk perusahaan yang terdapat dalam daftar.

Sementara itu perusahaan kosmetik raksasa yang berbasis di Paris L'Oreal dan pengecer pakaian wanita asal Amerika Victoria's Secret, juga berada di antara perusahaan-perusahaan yang akan diboikot oleh USACBI.

Para penggerak Pro-Palestina ini semakin memiliki banyak pendukung di seluruh Eropa setelah Tel Aviv melakukan serangan ofensif di Jalur Gaza bulan Desember 2008-Januari 2009. Dan kali ini tampaknya sasaran para penggerak Pro-palestina ini mengarah pada rezim sektor perdagangan Israel.

Sementara itu di lain pihak, pada hari Kamis kemarin (17/12) para anggota parlemen Israel mengancam akan memboikot produk-produk Inggris sebagai tanggapan atas dikeluarkannya sebuah kebijakan oleh Departemen Inggris untuk urusan Lingkungan Hidup, Food and Rural Affairs, yang mengharuskan para penjual menyatakan apakah produk Tepi Barat yang tercantum dalam label-label produk dagang, benar-benar di buat oleh warga Palestina atau hanya manipulasi dan dibuat oleh Israel.

Empat puluh anggota parlemen dari Israel serta 120 anggota parlemen Knesset, menandatangani petisi tersebut untuk dikirim ke parlemen Inggris, demikian menurup penuturan seorang pembantu anggota dewan bernama Ronit Tirosh, yang akan memimpin pergerakan ini.

Kini masyarakat internasional semakin banyak yang menganggap bhawa permukiman Israel di Tepi Barat tidak sah dan serta menjadi rintangan utama dalam upaya perdamaian. Untuk itulah semakin banyaak lahir gerakan-gerakan pro-Palestina dan anti-apartheid Israel. (mirzah/presstv)

Australia Terima Puluhan Pengungsi Palestina

Sabtu, 05/12/2009 22:47 WIB

KNRP – Pada Rabu (2/12) sore lalu tercatat 42 pengungsi Palestina yang tinggal di kamp padang pasir, Al-Haul di Kota Hasakah, 700 km timur laut Damaskus, telah bertolak meninggalkan tempat padang pasir itu sejak selama lebih dari tiga tahun mereka hidup di tengah kondisi yang memburuk.

Para pengungsi itu telah meninggalkan kamp padang pasir Al-Haul melalui Bandar Udara Internasional Damaskus, menyusul pengumuman yang diberikan Australia ihwal persetujuan untuk menjadikan Australia sebagai rumah mereka.

Asosiasi Palestina di Irak yang dipimpin oleh Thamer Misheen telah memberikan para pengungsi Palestina itu sebuah tas 'Dia Palestina yang Pulang' dan berfoto bersama sebagai keang-kenangan. Asosiasi juga mendesak mereka untuk berpegang kepada identitas Islam dan nasionalisme serta komitmen terhadap masalah Palestina.

Jumlah pengungsi di kamp Al-Haul sendiri melampaui 600 orang, yang sebelumnya berjumlah 331 yang kemudian datang ratusan pengungsi dari dari kamp-kamp pengungsi Palestina di Suriah. Namun ratusan pengungsi itu menyampaikan keluhannya atas kondisi mereka. Karena itu, mereka mendesak Komisaris Tinggi untuk Pengungsi Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa untuk menerbitkan KTP kepada mereka dan membangun rumah untuk berteduh serta menghimbau kepada semua badan dan organisasi-organisasi kemanusiaan dan media untuk memberikan bantuan kemanusiaan.

Menarik diungkap, sejumlah pengungsi kamp Al-Haul telah didistribusikan ke Swedia, Kanada, Perancis dan Denmark. Sementara itu, seperti disebutkan paltimes, kamp Al-Haul merupakan kamp pengungsi padang pasir paling awal di Irak, dimana kamp itu didirikan pada Mei 2006 setelah Suriah menyetujui untuk menerima para pengungsi itu di wilayah Trebil di perbatasan Yordania di Irak.(milyas/pt)

Putus Sekolah, 50% Anak Palestina di Kamp Pengungsi Lebanon

Senin, 23/11/2009 17:04 WIB

KNRP - Angka putus sekolah di kalangan anak-anak pengungsi Palestina di Libanon sudah sampai ke tingkat mencemaskan, yaitu hampir 50 persen dari siswa yang berusia 17 tahun dan 40 persen dari yang berusia 16. Demikian seperti diingatkan oleh para pejabat PBB pada Jumat pekan lalu.

"Kami sedang membunyikan alarm bahwa tingkat putus sekolah itu terlalu tinggi di kalangan anak-anak usia sekolah dari perantara untuk tingkat sekolah tinggi," kata Ray Virgilio Torres, Kepala Dana untuk Anak-anak di PBB (UNICEF) di Beirut, dalam kaitan laporannya dalam masalah tersebut, seperti dilansir situs palestinechronicle.

Laporan itu sendiri dirilis bertepatan dengan ulang tahun ke-20 terkait konvensi internasional mengenai hak-hak anak. Di dalam laporan itu Torres mengatakan bahwa secara keseluruhan, hampir 15 persen anak-anak yang berusia antara 7 dan 17 tahun bertempat tinggal di Libanon yang berasal 12 kamp-kamp pengungsi dan dalam pertemuan warga Palestina di sana diketahui banyak dari mereka yang putus sekolah.

Menurut UNICEF, sepertiga dari anak-anak itu buta huruf. "Angka ini sangat mengkhawatirkan jika Anda mempertimbangkan bahwa separuh dari usia 17 tahun anak-anak itu putus sekolah dibandingkan dengan 40 persen ketika mereka sampai pada usia 16 tahun," imbuh Torres.

"Ini adalah usia yang sensitif dan jika Anda menambahkan bahwa risiko lain akan terkena mereka di kamp-kamp, inilah alasan untuk khawatir," tegas dia sembari menambahkan bahwa sebagian besar anak-anak yang putus sekolah itu karena kemiskinan, kurangnya pendidikan sesuai program dan kurangnya perspektif untuk masa depan.

"Para pemuda mengatakan, mengapa harus sekolah ketika saya tidak bisa bekerja setelah itu'," kata Torres menirukan salah sebab alasan putus sekolah mereka itu. Untuk diketahui, Hukum Libanon mencegah pengungsi Palestina untuk melakoni sebuah profesi atau memiliki properti.

Torres juga mengungkapkan faktor lain yang mengkhawatirkan yaitu pekerja anak anak-anak di kalangan pengungsi Palestina yang mencapai 6,1 persen, sebagian besar dari mereka adalah anak laki-laki. "Ini terlalu tinggi bila Anda membandingkannya dengan angka di negara-negara maju di mana tenaga kerja anak praktis menghilang," kata Torres.

Terdapat sekitar 250.000 sampai 270.000 pengungsi Palestina hidup di Libanon. Sebagian besar berasal dari keluarga yang tiba pada tahun 1948 setelah pembentukan negara Israel secara paksa.(milyas/ palestinechronicle)

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