PRESS RELEASE FROM BOAT TO GAZA: Imminent Israeli Threat to Seize Gaza-Bound Boat in International Waters
For immediate release
Canadian Boat to Gaza:
Ehab Lotayef: 514-941-9792
David Heap (in Gaza, with Noam Chomsky) +972 59 289 3106
Imminent Israeli Threat to Seize Gaza-Bound Boat in International Waters;
Estelle 120 Nautical Miles Outside of Gaza
Combat Veteran Yonatan Shapira on Board, former Crew Member on U.S. Boat to Gaza,
Reachable by Phone on Boat
New York - The Finnish foreign department has reported that their Israeli counterpart has informed them that Israeli authorities intend to board the Swedish boat to Gaza, the Estelle, in international waters, capture its passengers, and bring them to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The Estelle is sailing under a Finnish flag with peace activists representing 8 countries, 6 parliamentarians among them.
"If the Israeli authorities carry out this threat this would be an act of piracy and kidnapping to enforce the illegal and inhuman blockade of Gaza", said Jane Hirschmann of the U.S. Boat to Gaza. "The international community should protest this violation of international law, as it should protest the illegal blockade of Gaza," she added.
The Estelle is currently in international waters approximately 120 nautical miles from the shores of Gaza.
Israeli peace activist Yonatan Shapira, a former a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force who refused to take part in the bombing of Palestinian cities, is on board the Estelle. Shapira is a U.S. resident. When the Estelle passed near Greece, Shapira reached the ship by motor boat, evading vessels of the Greek Coast Guard. Shapira is reachable on the boat for interviews by satellite phone. Contact Jane Hirschmann for the number.
Former Canadian parliamentarian Jim Manly is also on board the boat. Contact Jane Hirschmann for satellite number to reach Manly.
Acclaimed U.S. scholar and critic Noam Chomsky is in Gaza. He has called international action to lift the Gaza blockade. David Heap, of the Canadian Boat to Gaza, is with Chomsky. Heap can be reached at +972 59 289 3106