Kidnapped victim reports:
From Code PInk: The Women's Boat to Gaza was making good progress on the Mediterranean and the women on board were excited about meeting the people on the shores of Gaza who were waiting for them. Some Palestinians even spent the night at the beach to greet them.
At 9:58am EDT, flotilla organizers lost contact with the boat, Zaytouna-Oliva. The US Embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted and Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Zaytouna-Oliva was boarded by members of the Israeli navy. The Israelis took control of the boat and rerouted it – under force – to the Israeli port of Ashdod. We have not had any contact with Ann Wright or the rest of the women on board, and we do not know where our friends are.
It is important to know that this happened in international waters. Not only are Israel’s actions illegal, but they set a terrifying precedent, giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli.
Ann Wright is a decorated former US diplomat and long-time CODEPINK activist. On board with her were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, and Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. They were committed to nonviolence as much as they were committed to breaking the blockade.
Watch Ann’s video message about this illegal action and then make calls and send emails to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry demanding the release of all the women and their boat!.
Contact President Barack Obama: (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry: email@example.com or (202) 647-4000
Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to call on the Israeli government to immediately release the women, and to launch a US investigation into the seizure of the boat. There are a number of troubling circumstances that are clearly against US and international law! And don't forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end!
Israeli Navy Intercepts Women's Flotilla on Way to Break Gaza Blockade
Troops encounter no resistance, reroute boat to port city Ashdod. Among the boat's 13 passengers are several parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, a retired U.S. army colonel and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Gili Cohen , Jack Khoury and Judy Maltz Oct 05, 2016 6:56 PM
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Palestinians show their solidarity with a Gaza-bound flotilla of international activists attempting to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, on October 5, 2016 at the Gaza port.AFP / Mohammed Abbed
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The Israeli navy intercepted a flotilla aiming to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, about 35 nautical miles from the Israeli coast.
According to a high-ranking officer, passengers on board the Zaytouna-Olivia offered no resistance when the troops took over the boat. The boat was redirected to the Israeli port city of Ashdod.
The Women’s Boat to Gaza, an initiative of the International Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which had set out from Barcelona, was scheduled to arrive at the port of Gaza on Wednesday night, according to its website.
Among the Zaytouna-Olivia's 13 passengers are several parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, a retired U.S. army colonel and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland.
Another boat, the Amal 2, was forced to turn back to Barcelona due to a technical malfunction. However, organizers have voiced suspicions that the boat was sabotaged.
According to reports and photos on social media, women and children were gathering on the beaches of Gaza ahead of the boat’s expected arrival.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat strongly condemned the takeover, calling on Israel to immediately release the boat's passengers. "The Palestinian cause for freedom and independence is a universal quest for justice embraced by millions worldwide. The flotilla is a humble yet significant reminder that it is time to turn statements into concrete actions," the statement read.
In January, Israeli forces intercepted the Gaza-bound boat Marianne, in what the Israeli Defense Forces said was a short operation, free of any casualties. The boat was rerouted to the Ashdod port, arriving there Monday evening.
The Swedish boat was carrying 20 activists, among them Israeli lawmaker Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) and former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki.
In 2010, Israeli troops boarded the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which was attempting to break the blockade of the Strip. Nine passengers were killed during the operation. Another person died in a Turkish hospital in 2014 after being in a coma for almost four years.
The convoy organized by the Turkish aid agency Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH), and was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The incident caused a deep rift between Israel and Turkey, which was bridged this year in a reconciliation deal that required Israel to pay compensation to the families of the Turkish victims.
Also on Wednesday, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the Israeli border city of Sderot on Wednesday after sirens sounded in communities near the Gaza border. No injuries were reported.
The Salafist group Ahfad al-Sahaba claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. The IDF responded to the rocket fire by firing tank shells at Hamas targets in Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza, nearly an hour later. According to Palestinian media, no injuries were reported. Israeli jets launched at least four airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza City and Khan Younis later Wednesday.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.745909