The Nobel Women’s Initiative is deeply concerned by the detention of Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and other human rights activists on the Free Gaza Movement mission to deliver aid to the people of Gaza by boat. Israeli naval forces forcibly boarded the Free Gaza boat and detained the human rights workers late this afternoon, 23 miles off the coast of Gaza. Earlier in the day, the Israeli Naval Forces ordered the boat—at gun-point—to turn back.
Maguire is traveling on the Free Gaza fishing boat, accompanied by a sister boat called the Spirit of Humanity. The boats are carrying construction materials, three tons of medical supplies, and suitcases full of children’s toys—all items banned by the Israeli government.
The approximately 30 activists on board include a former Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, as well as envoys from Gulf nations. This is the eighth mission of the Free Gaza Movement, an international human rights group formed in 2006 to bring attention to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Past mission participants have included parliamentarians, human rights workers, and other dignitaries./p>
Before embarking on the journey, Maguire said: “We sail to Gaza to break this cruel siege of Gaza by the Israeli Government,and to show the people of Gaza that the world does care what is happening to them.”
“It is appalling that in this the 2lst century, the Israeli government is allowed to carry out its policy of collective punishment of an entire people [by continuing] to keep borders closed and refuse the people of Gaza basic necessities for living – food, medicines, cement, and building materials.”
June 30, 2009