Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 2

I hate filling out forms at the best of times but the one I was given today really concentrated my mind about all the "what if" scenarios we have been trying to address during the intensive training sessions in our land-locked HQ in Cyprus.

The 'we' in question is an assortment of peace activists aged between 22 and 83 years drawn from nearly 15 countries across the world representing people of all faith and no faith ... although as I was once told, "There are no atheists aboard a sinking ship!" (Insh'Allah, there will be no need to verify of corroborate that statement at a later date).

In the next few days no less than TWO ships currently berthed in a top-secret location, will come sailing in to the holiday resort of Larnaca to take us on our peace mission.

It is obvious from checking the Zionist websites and chatrooms, there are those who do not want to see our boats float, and the plan to sail a coupe of them into Gaza, breaking the Israeli siege, has caused outrage among some hardliners in the Zionist State.

The obvious question to ask is "Why?" After all, the Free Gaza Campaigners do not want to sail into an Israeli Port. The mission is bound for Gaza which is in Palestinian waters according to any map of the region.

How can delivering a goodwill message and some hearing aids for kids deafened by bombs threaten Israel and the fourth largest army in the world?

But of course logic does not apply and even ordinary Israeli citizens are becoming embarrassed by the hysteria of some Zionists who continue to promote the ill-conceived and medieval siege of the Gaza Strip.

According to a recent poll, the Jewish public there does not believe Israel's policy in Gaza is achieving its goals, and that most of the public even believe this policy is harming their interests.
In fact, the survey revealed that 83 percent felt the siege had made Hamas stronger than ever.
Now if the politicians do decide to pay attention to the people who voted them into power they should tell the Defense Minister to instruct the Navy to give us a wide berth and let our boats pass through so we can get on with our humanitarian mission.

Sadly commonsense does not prevail in the Knesset, and in fact, some pretty nasty decisions have been taken by brutal, uncaring, emotionally damaged people who care not one jot for their fellow man. And it will be this mentality which will be the eventual undoing of the Zionist State.
Fellow traveler Mary Hughes reinforced this view as we sat and drank a strong cup of English tea in our communal kitchen today. You see Mary has witnessed firsthand the brutality of those who say the land of Palestine is theirs.

Mary, who is flying the flag for Canada, although she was born in Bolton, Lancashire, went on an olive-picking adventure Itamar near Nablus in October 2002 to try and persuade under-fire Palestinian farmers to remain on their land.

She and other peace activists headed to the village after they were told that a bunch of particularly nasty, violent settlers were trying to drive the Palestinians from the lands they and their ancestors had farmed for thousands of years.

And for those of you not familiar with the term settlers - it refers to a group of people who are illegally occupying Palestinian lands. Settlers are thieving, land grabbers and all of them without exception refuse to recognize the 1967 borders issued under international law.

Mary believed that if she helped the farmers pick their olives then no one would stop them. She was wrong. She was jumped on by eight young Israeli settlers who then kicked and punched her to the ground before robbing her. She received injuries that needed hospital treatment.
Mary was traumatized. Some of her fellow activists were also beaten up by the same gang and received broken ribs and fractured bones.

Did I tell you Mary was 67 years old when these thugs attacked her?

Well she is now older and wiser and 73 and undeterred by the proven brutality of some Israelis (not all, we have many supporters from Jewish peace groups within the Zionist State). She will be part of our peace mission and I, for one, salute her courage and bravery.

I hope the cowards from the illegal settlements near Nablus who kicked and punched Mary read this and hang their heads in shame. I doubt they will, but listening to people like Mary makes me more determined than ever to be proud of taking part in this amazing humanitarian project.

And one day, when my grandchildren ask me what I did to stop the genocide of the Palestinians I will be able to say I took part in the Free Gaza Campaign with some of the bravest people I have ever met.

Suddenly I feel a whole lot braver - now pass me that NOK form.

Tomorrow: Why Israel thinks the Free Gaza Campaigners are taking a liberty over the name of one of the boats.

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