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Zaytouna-Oliva Taken in International Waters: Whereabouts of Participants Unknown
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This afternoon, the Women's Boat to Gaza was making good progress to the shores and the women were emotional about meeting all the people in Gaza who were waiting for them. Some of the Palestinians had spent the night at the beach to greet them.
At 9:58 (EST) organizers lost total contact with the Zaytouna-Oliva. The US embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted. We do not know where our friends are.
It is important to know that this happened in international waters and it is not only illegal but sets a bad precedent in giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli.
Ann Wright is a decorated former US diplomat, a member of Veterans For Peace and on our Advisory Board. On board with her were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire. They were committed to nonviolence as much as they were committed to breaking the blockade.
Ann has traveled thousands of miles and made a great sacrifice for human rights. We can help her with a few small efforts:
Contact President Barack Obama: (202) 456-1111
Contact Secretary John Kerry's Chief of Staff: FinerJJ@state.gov
Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends. Please ask Secretary Kerry and President Obama to demand Israel immediately release the women and that they do an investigation on the incident as there are a number of troubling circumstances that are against US and international law. And don't forget to say that the blockade on Gaza must end.
Veterans For Peace appreciates your generous donations.
We also encourage you to join our ranks.