U.S. Boat to Gaza / Freedom Flotilla ~
San Diego Emergency Response Coordinating Committee
Announcement for July 7th, 2011
Friends of justice,
Following a proxy attack by the Greek government, the volunteers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza are returning home to continue to fight for Palestinian rights.
The remainder of the flotilla continues its campaign to leave Greek waters and proceed to Gaza. In addition, there will be a "fly-in" at Israel's Ben Gurion airport of activists openly stating their intent to travel to Palestine.
While it is too late to support the U.S. Boat to Gaza, we believe it is time for some sort of response and media outreach.
We have called a press conference for 1:00pm, Friday, July 8, at the Federal Building in downtown San Diego (880 Front Street / Front and Broadway). Please join us at the press conference if you are able.
We are not calling for a demonstration at this time, but those of you who can be at the press conference to show support for the Flotilla and for the Palestinian people, we invite you to stand with us and bring your signs.
We are making this announcement to keep you all informed of recent developments surrounding the Flotilla and our plans for a response. Stay tuned to these channels for more information as the situation develops.
Just after we had finally made plans to proceed with a local response to the attack-by-proxy on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, we received the July 6th update from that group informing us that the activists were going home and that the boat would not sail. Needless to say, we were disappointed. But this does not change the facts about the occupation of Palestine and the strangling blockade and collective punishment of Gaza.
Here are some of the relevant details that we have received regarding the U.S. Boat to Gaza:
"The Greek government's willingness to serve as the enforcer of Israeli's naval blockade of Gaza made it impossible for this journey to happen. But the creative and determined spirit of this team of committed activists could not be stopped or silenced... They attempted to set sail knowing it might lead to a confrontation with the Greek authorities; they stood by the boat's captain when he was arrested and jailed; several people held a hunger strike; everyone marched and rallied with other flotilla activists and with the people of Athens in their own struggle for economic justice...." 
The boat's captain, John Klusmire, had a hearing on Tuesday. He was released from jail, where he had been since Saturday morning. The charges against him were not dropped. 
All of the hunger strikers who had been detained by police have been released.
The U.S. boat, The Audacity of Hope, remains under the control of the Greek authorities.
Regarding the other ships in the flotilla...
Several other boats are still being detained in Greece (the "Greek Boat to Gaza", the Greek/Swedish/Norwegian passenger boat Juliano, the Spanish boat Guernica, and the Canadian boat, Tahrir). 
The Irish-owned Saoirse, is currently undergoing repairs at a Turkish port after its propeller was damaged in what activists claim as "sabotage" by Israel. [4,12]
The French passenger boat, the Dignite/Karameh, is at sea in international waters, moving slowly toward Gaza, in case any other boats in the Flotilla are able to sail and catch up. [2,4]
We believe that the U.S. State Department effectively gave a "green light" to the Greek authorities to prevent the flotilla from sailing, and to Israel to attack the flotilla. Indeed, based on a credible source, Ray McGovern described the attitude of the Obama administration thusly: "[They] would be happy if something happened to us. [They are] perfectly willing to have the cold corpses of activists shown on American TV." 
Whereas the U.S. State Department is effectively welcoming attacks upon its citizens and refusing to defend their right to travel in international waters, and whereas the U.S. Congress continues to use our tax dollars to fund the illegal and inhuman occupation of Palestine and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people, we feel we must respond and bring this gross hypocrisy to the attention of the American people.
Please stay tuned for further updates and directives. There is at least one vessel making its way toward Gaza. There is also a "fly-in" planned for Friday at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv as the start of a week of solidarity actions. 
We believe there may be events in the course of the next week that warrant a full response, including a protest/demonstration.
"It is justice and respect that I want the world to dust off and put - without delay, and with tenderness - back on the head of the Palestinian child. It will be imperfect justice and respect because the injustice and disrespect have been so severe. But I believe we are right to try." --Alice Walker, passenger of the Audacity of Hope