Statement from Cynthia McKinney; Israel holds 'Free Gaza 21' in a prison in Ramla, Israel
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Cynthia McKinney calls WBAIX from Israeli prison:
Texas Greens will participate in a press conference on the Free Gaza 21 in San Antonio on Friday, July 3
WASHINGTON, DC -- Former US Representative and 2008 Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has issued a statement on the seizure of the Free Gaza Movement's 'Spirit of Humanity' relief boat by Israeli gunboats in international waters on Monday.
Ms. McKinney and 18 other members of the 'Free Gaza 21' are currently being held in Givon prison in Ramla, Israel. Two of the Free Gaza 21 have been released.
Cynthia McKinney delivered the following statement by phone:
"We were in international waters on a boat delivering humanitarian aid to people in Gaza when the Israeli Navy ships surrounded us and illegally threatened us, dismantled our navigation equipment, boarded and confiscated the ship. All of us on board were then taken off the ship and into custody, and brought into Israel and imprisoned. Immigration officials in Israel said they did not want to keep us, but we remain imprisoned. State Department and White House officials have not effected our release or taken a strong public stance to condemn the illegal actions of the Israeli Navy of enforcing a blockade of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians of Gaza, a blockade that has been condemned by President Obama."
Ms. McKinney and other Free Gaza 21 members have refused to sign a self-incriminating 'deportation form' stating that the Spirit of Humanity was violating the Israeli blockade and trespassing Israeli territorial waters by attempting to deliver supplies to Gaza. In fact, the Spirit of Humanity was in international waters when it was illegally seized by the Israeli navy in an act of piracy. The imprisonment of the Free Gaza 21 and the Israeli navy's jamming the boat's navigation system are further violations of international lawas are Israel's blockade of Gaza, occupation of Palestinian territories, and violations of Palestinians' human rights.
The boat was on a voyage to deliver medical supplies, cement, and children's toys to Gaza following an appeal by President Obama for supplies to be sent to Gaza. Because of their refusal to sign the form, Israeli authorities will reportedly hold Ms. McKinney and other Free Gaza 21 members in the prison for three more days before the Israeli Government can either choose to release them or continue to detain them.
In a phone call with WBAIX from the prison (listen at http://www.WBAIX.org), Cynthia McKinney said, "It is incumbent upon President Obama to stand by his reported policy of easing the Gazan blockade and of allowing building supplies, medical supplies, and school supplies to go through," adding "we call upon President Obama to use the highest level of his authority to transmit this message to the Israelis."
Along with Ms. McKinney, Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire is among the Free Gaza 21's international list of human rights activists. (Democracy Now! interview with Ms. Maguire from her prison cell: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/2/nobel_peace_laureate_mairead_maguire_speaks)
The Green Party of the United States has called for the immediate release of the Free Gaza 21 and for permission for the Spirit of Humanity to resume its delivery of urgently needed medical and other supplies to Gaza, which is suffering the effects of a brutal invasion by Israel last December and January (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=230).
Green leaders have urged party members and other concerned about the situation to call the White House, the US State Department, and members of Congress.
Texas Greens (http://www.bexargreens.org / http://txgreens.org/drupal), in coalition with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (San Antonio), Muslim Public Affairs Council, Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, and Fellowship of Reconciliation, will hold a press conference on the Free Gaza 21 on Friday, July 3, noon at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center (http://www.esperanzacenter.org), 922 San Pedro Avenue in San Antonio. The contact for the press conference is Kat Swift, who ran for the Green presidential nomination in 2008. Ms. Swift can be reached at 210-471-1791 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information and updates, see the Free Gaza Movement web site (http://www.freegaza.org). For more communications and updates from Cynthia McKinney, visit her Green Party page (http://www.gp.org/cynthia/index.php) and blog (http://dignity.ning.com).
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
Green candidate database for 2008 and other campaign information:
Green Party News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
Green Party Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
Green Party ballot access page http://www.gp.org/2008-elections
International Committee of the Green Party: http://www.gp.org/committees/intl
Green Party releases:
"Breaking news: Cynthia McKinney aboard detained Free Gaza Movement relief boat," June 25, 2009
"Greens join Global Day of Action for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions on March 30 to end the Israeli occupation," March 26, 2009
"Green Party: Israel-Palestine truce must include end of Israeli occupation and observance of international law or violence is likely to resume," January 19, 2009
2009 Annual National Meeting of the Green Party, Durham, NC, July 23-26 http://www.gp.org/2009-ANM
North Carolina page http://ncgreenparty.org/2009-ANM.html
Media credentialing page http://www.gp.org/forms/media
Green Pages, Vol. 13, No. 1
The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
~ END ~