30 June 2009
GREEN EURO-MP URGES ISRAELI AUTHORITIES TO ALLOW SAFE PASSAGE FOR ‘FREE GAZA’ BOAT
Green Party leader and MEP for the South East Caroline Lucas today responded angrily to the news that Israeli soldiers have boarded a Free Gaza boat 24 miles off the shore of Gaza and cut all of its official communication.
In an email to the Israeli embassy, Dr Lucas MEP called on the Israeli authorities to guarantee the safety of the human rights campaigners onboard and to prevent violence being used against the Free Gaza boat or any individuals sailing upon it.
The boat was on its way to deliver urgently needed supplies to the people of Gaza when the Israeli Navy boarded and told the Free Gaza activists to return to international waters, warning that they “will not be allowed to proceed to Gaza”. The boat’s navigational equipment was electronically jammed overnight by the navy.
Dr Lucas MEP, who is a member of the European Parliament’s permanent delegation to Palestine, said:
“I am deeply concerned that the Israeli military has deemed it necessary to storm the Free Gaza ‘Spirit of Humanity’ boat, which is carrying only unarmed human rights workers and journalists – including Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
“The boat is now completely unable to communicate with the outside world, even via its emergency radio designed for safety purposes. Free Gaza is a humanitarian peace organisation and I am seeking guarantees from the Israeli embassy for the safety of those on board.”