Peace ship to carry British Parliamentarians to Gaza

By staff writers
November 6, 2008

British Parliamentarians are to lead a voyage on a 'peace ship' which will breach the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.

The boat - the 20 foot SS Dignity - leaves on Friday, and will travel from Larnaca to Gaza.

Thirteen Parliamentarians from England, Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Wales, Switzerland, and Scotland will be on board including former UK Government minister Clare Short MP and Lord Ahmad.

After two successful voyages, one in August and one last week, members of the Free Gaza Movement say they are pleased to bring yet another delegation to Gaza to see for themselves the devastation Israel has meted out to 1.5 million Palestinians.

"Our dream two years ago was to bring people to Gaza to witness what Israel is doing. This time, we are honored to have Parliamentarians from the world community coming with us," said Mary Hughes Thompson, one of the original Free Gaza Movement organizers.

The Free Gaza Movement and the European Campaign to End the Siege have organized this voyage because Egypt refused 53 international Parliamentarians who were holding a conference in Gaza from November 8 – 11 from entering. Now, several of them are going to meet with their counterparts and assess the humanitarian situation there.

"Egypt did not allow us to enter Gaza via the Rafah terminal, but this will not stop us from visiting the area," Lord Nazir Ahmad, head of the European delegates stated, "We will sail to Gaza, we are determined to break the siege."

Member of Parliament Clare Short said: "The Egyptian refusal to grant us access through Rafah Crossing is insulting to all of us, and Egypt should open the crossing now."

The parliamentarians will visit hospitals and deliver a ton of medical supplies brought over by the DIGNITY. They hope to be able to meet with many of the 700 students who have been denied the right to leave Gaza and study at universities that have already admitted them.

Dr Arafat Shoukri of the European Campaign to End the Siege added, "We intend to deliver the medical supplies to the most vulnerable of the stricken population in the occupied territory".

"This journey will send a strong message to the world and is a direct challenge to the Israeli political siege on Palestine. We hope this trip of Parliamentarians will be one of many to follow," said Osama Qashoo, another Free Gaza Movement organizer.

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