Friday, June 26, 2009

Cynthia McKinney Report From Cyprus on Delayed Trip to Palestine

via: Sis. Cynthia McKinney

The Israelis are hopping mad. And they're flexing their muscles in all the ugly places. They can't ram us again without sparking an international uproar, so they're trying to stop us from leaving the port at all. The Limasol, Cyprus Port Authority which controls the port of Larnaca also, sent their inspector to Larnaca with a letter saying that the boat failed inspection, only thing, the letter was written BEFORE he even arrived in Larnaca to do the inspection!

Reuters is doing the story at this very moment saying that we were prevented from leaving due to Cypriot authorities. We just learned from a Cyprus government source that pressure is being applied by Israel to deny us departure credentials.

It appears, then, that Israel is putting us into contortions because they don't want us to take cement into Gaza. After white phosphorus, depleted uranium, DIME, cluster bombs, F16s, death, destruction, and mayhem. All of *this* over a few bags of cement. Can you believe?

1. Read the Haaretz article here, showing Israeli concern about us taking cement to Gaza

2. Read the Reuters article here (interesting that the story broke in Israel and not Cyprus!!)

3. Individuals have already started to contact the Cyprus UN Mission and their DC Embassy to inquire why they are arbitrarily not allowing the Spirit of Humanity and the Free Gaza to set sail.

1. Here is the Ha'aretz article:

Last update - 17:00 18/06/2009

Activists plan to send Gaza cement, in violation of Israel blockade

By Reuters and Haaretz Service

Activists campaigning for an end to Gaza's blockade by Israel will sail to the Hamas-run enclave from Cyprus despite the presence of the Israeli navy, they said on Thursday.

Two boats, including one carrying cement and building supplies -- materials not permitted in by Israel over fears that they could be used for military purposes -- will sail from Cyprus on June 25, the multi-national Free Gaza Movement said.

"We are taking 15 tons of cement, which is just a token of how much the Palestinians need, because the Israelis won't allow building supplies into Gaza," said Greta Berlin, a representative of the group.

The group started regular shuttles to Gaza from Cyprus in August 2008, but was turned back by the Israeli navy on its last journey in mid-January of this year.

Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza in 2007 after the Islamist Hamas took control of the enclave, a strip of land that is home to 1.5 million people.

Israeli forces bombed and then invaded Gaza in late December 2008 in a bid to rout out militants lobbing rockets into Israel, badly battering its already decrepit infrastructure.

12:54 25 Jun 09

Cyprus halts aid boats bound for Gaza Strip

LARNACA, Cyprus, June 25 (Reuters) - Cyprus stopped two
boats planning to carry aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of an
Israeli blockade from leaving port on Thursday, officials said.

The U.S.-based Free Gaza Movement had been planning to take
33 activists to Gaza with medical supplies and cement, a
material that Israel does not allow into the Palestinian
territory devastated by a short war that ended early this year.

The Free Gaza Movement started sending regular aid voyages
from Cyprus to Gaza in August 2008, but one of its boats was
involved in a collision with an Israeli vessel in December, and
was turned back on another mission in January.

Cypriot shipping officials cited inspection requirements for
stopping the two vessels, a small ferry and a sailing boat, from
leaving port two hours before their scheduled departure.

Both vessels had travelled to Gaza before.

"One of the ships was only recently registered in Cyprus and
under Cyprus law it has to undergo inspection before being given
permission to sail," said Serghios Serghiou, head of Cyprus's
Department of Merchant Shipping. "(The second) ... did not apply
for any inspections before sailing."

Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza in 2007 after the
Islamist group Hamas took control of the enclave, a tiny sliver
of territory home to some 1.5 million people.

Israel bans imports of cement, steel or other building
supplies to Gaza, saying militants could use them for military
purposes. One of the vessels was to carry 15 tonnes of cement.

Israeli forces bombed then invaded Gaza in late December
2008 with a declared aim of ending cross-border rocket attacks
from the Hamas-ruled territory.

The war damaged infrastructure and hurt an economy already
hobbled by years of isolation.

(Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Lin Noueihed)
(; 357 22469607; Reuters

We are determined to depart, if not today, then tomorrow.

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