Wednesday, August 20, 2008

At 8:30 am Cyprus time, the Free Gaza and the Liberty rounded the last corner
of this lovely island, escorted by the Cypriot Coast Guard, and pulled into on
the Northern side of the commercial port in Larnaca.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to unify our group, which has been split
between Cyprus and Crete. We are excited to combine both groups who have worked
so hard on this project and are so enthusiastic about setting out for Gaza. On
the way in today, we had the Cypriot authorities escorting us. Now, it’s time
for the world to escort us to Gaza.” Said Paul Larudee, one of the
organizers.

After a thorough inspection of both boats, the port authority will let the 20
passengers from Cyprus on board to make final preparations, including a
memorial service for the more than 5000 Palestinians who have lost their lives
since September 2000 as well as the 34 sailors aboard the USS Liberty who were
assassinated by Israel in 1967. They, like the Palestinians, will not be
forgotten. That service should be on Thursday, August 21 just before the boats
begin their final journey to Gaza.

“It was exhilarating to watch the boats come in after waiting so patiently
over the past two weeks. Seeing the sail on the Free Gaza followed to port by
the Liberty has been worth the wait. Now we will get the boats ready to sail to
Gaza, because that is our final destination. We are looking forward to going as
soon as possible. ” Said a delighted Fathi Jaouadi, one of the passengers on
board.

The boats will be in port for the next two days for media to photograph. The
human rights workers on board will also be available for interviews.

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