03 July 2009

LIVE INTERVIEW~Mairead Maguire

This is a recorded live interview from Mairead Maguire of the FREE GAZA MOVEMENT who was aboard the "Spirit of Humanity" boat headed to deliver aid to Gaza. The boat was terrorised and threatened by Israeli Terrorist Pirates, who disabled the boat and boarded it with weapons, then kidnapped all the crew and passengers. This interview was by phone from Ireland this morning from inside her Israeli Jail cell where she has been imprisoned by Israeli terrorist pirates.

We were threatened by the Israeli navy when we were in |international waters and during the night they told us they would shoot if we didnt turn back to Cyprus, she said.

They cut off all our satellite communications and our lives were very much in danger,| because we could have strayed into Israeli waters.

We sailed on and they kept threatening that they would shoot if we didnt turn back.

In the early hours of Tuesday navy boats pulled up to Maireads ship and special forces troops began to board it.

They were fully armed and wore balaclavas, she said.

They took all our equipment off us and handcuffed several people. They took me into a separate place and forcibly took our ship to Israel.

The 21 passengers and crew were taken to a detention centre before being moved to prison in Ramala.

I was taken handcuffed in a military vehicle and Im here in the prison in the clothes I arrived in, said Ms Maguire.

At the moment there are |19 of us still being held here after two Palestinian women were released.

They have said we are going to be deported, but deportation orders arent appropriate for us, as we were taken to Israel against our will. We want to leave Israel, but with our friends and all the belongings that were taken from us.

The contested Gaza territory is currently under blockade from Israel with only limited supplies being allowed in to Palestinians living there.

Physically I am very well, but I think more of the Palestinians who are denied the ability to cross the border and see their loved ones, said Ms Maguire.

It gives us a reflection of how tough it is for the Palestinian people and the way that they are treated.

It is a complete blockade of Gaza and collective punishment of 1.5m people which breaks the Geneva Convention. We have |to highlight how desperate |that is.
Irish Government Demands Release of Activists~Condemn Israeli Actions

Two Irish citizens remain in Israeli custody after a small boat carrying aid for Gaza was seized 24 miles from shore.

Minister for Justice Micheal Martin yesterday called for the immediate release of the two.

Nobel laurest Mairead Maguire (65) and former Irish soldier Derek Graham (40) sailed on a ferry from Cyprus in a bid to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip with a consignment of aid.

The pair were stopped 24 miles from shore and are waiting to be deported. Mr Martin said officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs have been in contact with Israeli authorities through the embassy in Dublin and the Irish Ambassador in Tel Aviv to secure their release.

Consular staff based in Tel Aviv visited Ms Maguire and Mr Graham yesterday after they were brought ashore on board the Greek-flagged The Spirit of Humanity .
Mr Martin said his immediate priority was ensuring their safety and welfare.
I would again renew my call for the release of Ms Maguire and Mr Graham as well as the other nineteen passengers detained, he said.

I would also call upon the Israeli Government to ensure that the humanitarian supplies for the people of Gaza being transported on The Spirit of Humanity are made available as soon as possible to the Palestinian authorities for distribution.Mr Martin repeated calls for border crossings and trade links to be reopened. They were effectively shut down by Israeli authorities after the military offensive in Gaza in December and January.

I do not need to recall my strong views on the completely unacceptable nature of the blockade now being imposed on the people of Gaza, he said.

All border crossings into Gaza should be opened immediately to humanitarian and normal commercial traffic so that the dire humanitarian situation can be adequately addressed and the reconstruction of Gaza begin.

This is the only effective remedy which we should seek to offer to the long-suffering people of Gaza.

IPSC Chair Marie Crawley commented: We welcome Minister Martins intervention and the statement in which he described the ongoing situation in Gaza as completely unacceptable, and his call on Israel to open all border crossings for both humanitarian. and commercial traffic.

In addition, we strongly welcome the call by Senator Terry Leyden to hold a government debate on the issue of Gaza. Irish Times