Wed, 13 Aug 2008 11:51:02 GMT
By Yvonne Ridley, Press TV
By the time you read this, our two boats, the Free Gaza and SS Liberty should
be sailing from Chania’s old port in Crete despite a gloomy forecast of storms
Our captains have decided it is time to quit our dock for security reasons and
so we are heading along the Crete coastline on our way to pick up the rest of
our passengers who have been waiting patiently in Cyprus.
We could be in for a rough ride, but without going into too much detail, we
probably are more at risk by not moving.
Israel has a history of using Mossad and Kidon to sabotage and destroy peaceful
operations designed to help or show solidarity towards Palestinians.
From Crete we will head towards larnaca, Cyprus to pick up the rest of our
group and then we are bound for Gaza to break the medieval siege imposed by
Media interest is once again gathering momentum and there are those who want to
join us on board while others are considering hiring their own boats … the
more the merrier. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a huge flotilla?
However, there are concerns from the media because Israel has a history of
shooting, killing, and arresting journalists who try to report the truth about
the brutal occupation of Palestine.
I was reminded of this only this morning as I read a release a few minutes ago
from Reporters Without Borders. The human rights group was condemning today’s
announcement by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) to detain Ibrahim Hamad, a
soundman employed by the Palestinian news agency Ramattan, for six months
without bringing charges and without taking him before any court.
Hamad was arrested by Israeli soldiers at his home in Qalandiyah, near the West
Bank city of Ramallah, on July 15. “The Israeli military may not under any
circumstances arrest journalists or media assistants without giving a
reason,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“If they think a journalist has done something wrong, they must say what it
is and they must explain why they are arresting him. We call for Hamad’s
When reached by Reporters Without Borders, the management of Ramattan firmly
condemned his arrest and called for his release.
They also called on the Israeli authorities to explain why they are holding
him. “This is not the first time that one of our employees has been arrested
by the Israeli military,” the agency said.
Israeli boasts it is a democracy … these are not the actions of a democratic
state. These are the actions of a brutal state which tries to crush those
dedicated to telling the truth about the full horrors of the Zionist regime and
its determination to see through its deliberate and slow genocide of the
We will be able to see in a few days time exactly how the Israelis react to a
group of peaceful activists who want to sail into Gaza armed with nothing more
than love and support for their Palestinian brothers and sisters.
If Israel is really a free and open democracy then its Navy will let us past,
Mossad will stop trying to sabotage our journey and all of the journalists on
board, including myself, will be able to report the truth about what is
happening in the world’s largest open air prison called Gaza.
In the meantime, I would urge the IOF to release our brother Ibrahim Hamad and
allow him to continue his media work.