Maguire was brave and upbeat, and she remained calm and hopeful they would successfully complete their mission, which unfortunately was not to be. From then on, they had only intermittent contact with the outside world, as Israel attempted to seal them off from the world, first by jamming their communications, then by taking control of their ship, towing it to Ashdod, and holding them incommunicado.
Israel did not want us to hear their stories, but those stories will come out. Despite horrific bloodshed, despite the fact that activists are still missing and injured, despite a massive and poorly implemented propaganda campaign complete with doctored video and audiotapes, the mission has already succeeded.
It was not about that one delivery of aid, but inspiring people everywhere to oppose the siege of Gaza. Now the whole world is watching Gaza, and speaking out.
9000 of you have sent 25,000 letters to Obama and Congress telling them to condemn the immoral and illegal May 31 attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, demand a full and independent international investigation, and withhold military aid to Israel until it abides by international law.
Sign the letter now so we can turn that 25,000 into 100,000. For the first time ever, world opinion is turning against the siege, and we have an opportunity to influence President Obama and Congress.
The U.S. National Security Council spokesman said, “The current arrangements are unsustainable and must be changed,” and we at Jewish Voice for Peace couldn’t agree more. However, we want to see real change, and not small adjustments.
There is no morally acceptable or legal way for Israel to blockade Gaza. Israel has an obligation to protect its citizens, but the fact remains that this blockade is mostly harming 1.5 million Gazans while arms are still getting in. Israel has endangered its own citizens by rejecting repeated offers for a truce and is blockading humanitarian items necessary for survival. 8 of 10 Gazans are dependent on food aid and 95% of the water fails to meet World Health Organization standards.
Ending the siege will finally allow Gazans to begin rebuilding from the war. It could reduce Israel’s isolation. And it will be a small but significant step to a just and sustainable peace based on human rights and equality.
Jesse Bacon, Jewish Voice For Peace
P.S. You can listen to interviews with with Gaza Flotilla Passengers Mairead Maguire, Denis Halliday, and Huwaida Arraf at Jewish Voice for Peace’s The Only Democracy? blog.