Monday 29th December 2008
Dignity Leaves for Gaza: Challenges World to "Stop this Madness!"
For more information, please contact:
(Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +972 598 700 497
firstname.lastname@example.org(Cyprus) Lubna Masarwa +357 99 081 767
email@example.com(U.S.) Greta Berlin, +1 310 422 7242
(Larnaca, Cyprus 29 December 2008) - There is a time when silence iscomplicity and inaction is unacceptable. On Saturday, December 27, Israelbegan Operation "Cast Lead," a military onslaught against the civilianpopulation of the Gaza Strip that has - so far - massacred more thanthree-hundred men, women, and children, and seriously injured over athousand.In response to Israeli butchery, the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, willdepart Larnaca Port at approximately 5pm (UTC), on Monday, December 29,bound for besieged Gaza. The ship is on an emergency mission carrying inphysicians, human rights workers and over three tons of desperately neededmedical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus. Coordinating with theGaza Ministry of Health, the doctors will be immediately posted tooverburdened hospitals and clinics upon their arrival.We are not asking Israel for "permission" to go, and we will not stopuntil the DIGNITY lands in Gaza. We are answering urgent calls fromhospitals and health care workers in Gaza by taking in three physicianswho will stay and work in Gaza for several weeks. We will hold Israelresponsible for the safety of our passengers and our cargo of emergencymedicine.Even before the present Israeli blitzkrieg, Karen Koning Abu Zayd, head ofthe United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), asserted that, "Gazais on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionallyreduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescenceand - some would say - encouragement of the international community."Ewa Jasiewicz, a Free Gaza organizer living in Gaza, agreed with Abu Zayd,saying: "Where is the United Nations? Where is the Arab League? Where isthe outrage against Israeli cruelty and Egyptian complicity? Everyhospital in Gaza is already overwhelmed. Israel is committing war crimeshere in Gaza, and words of condemnation are no longer enough. The worldmust act now to stop this madness."The Free Gaza Movement continues to do what the governments of the worldwill not do - take direct action to defend the health, lives, and dignityof 1.5 million Palestinians under siege in the Gaza Strip.This catastrophe is still unfolding, and humanitarian needs in Gaza arequite literally devastating. The world can no longer stay silent as thePalestinian people are deliberately massacred, starved and humiliated. Wehave to create a new consciousness that turns the practice of human rightsfrom rhetoric into reality. Palestinians have an inalienable right tolive, and the undeniable right to a life with dignity.The passengers on this Free Gaza emergency delegation include:* International humanitarian and human rights workers from Cyprus,Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Tunisia, and the United States.* Doctors going to Gaza to volunteer in local hospitals, including Dr.Elena Theoharous, surgeon and Member of Parliament from Cyprus.* Journalists going to Gaza to report on the massacre, includingAl-Jazeera reporter Sami al-Haj, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay.* The Hon. Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and Green Partypresidential candidate.
The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza inAugust 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the portin 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, takingParliamentarians, human rights workers, physicians, and other dignitariesto witness the effects of Israel's draconian policies on the civilians ofGaza.http://www.FreeGaza.org