Unable To Stop Liberty
Report from SS Liberty docked in Gaza
By Yvonne Ridley
25/08/08 'ICH" -- - 24/08/08 - Gaza-- I was too overwhelmed
yesterday to put pen to paper after the magnificent welcome I
and my fellow peace activists from SS Liberty and SS Free Gaza
received as we entered the port of Gaza ... the first ships to
sail in since 1967.
But I really want to make one thing very clear to you here and
Israel did not give us permission to enter Gaza - the reality is
they could NOT STOP us even if they tried.
And believe me some of the tactics to scupper our historic
voyage were unbelievable.
Some of us, our family and friends have received death threats
by telephone, text and emails while the whole Free Gaza Movement
was targetted by Zionists lawyers who tried to sink our mission
beofre it even began.
We were accused of being a front for a Hamas operarted
gun-running venture and even iran was accused of being party by
Then Israel Foreign Minister Zvipi Livni made a snide comment a
few days ago saying she hoped we could all swim while the Naval
Commander announced he was running military exercises off the
coast of Gaza and had thrown a 35-mile wide exclusion zone
As you know we set off from Larnaca, determined but a little
nervous on Friday and, in the dead of night, all of our
communications when down ... satellite phones, radar etc. There
we were sa iling in rough seas, in the pitch black without any
form of communication to the outside world.
It was psychological warfare but the Zionist scare tactics
failed and driven by nothing more than people power and a couple
of seaworthy engines the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty sailed
into a tumultus welcome in Gaza.
It was one of those defining moments in history - a bit like the
first brick of the Berlin Wall being dislodged by ordinary
citizens sick of the injustices imposed in a world run by
All I could hear ringing in my ears was "Free, Free, Free Gaza
and Allahu Akbar".
The emotion was unbelievable and the joy swept us all along on
the crest of a gigantic Palestinian wave of delight and
We have now smashed the medieval siege imposed by Israel but we
will not stop.
Now we need to tear down the checkpoint and crossing at Rafah
where so much humanitarian aid has arrived only to be refused
The Egyptian Government should hang its head in shame that a
bunch of largely white, non-Muslim westerners smashed the brutal
siege by sea to reach the Palestinians and now they must do the
There were a few weasel words from Abu Mazen on the day we
arrived ... why did the Palestinian leader take so long to send
us a goodwill message? Was he waiting for the greenlight by his
political masters in washington and Tel Aviv? 'Fraid it was too
little too late from a man who is doing his best to ignore the
people of Gaza ... shame, shame, shame on you!
And as for the words of goodwill from the Arab League - back
them up with hard cash to make this whole Free Gaza Movement
permanent so we can open a ferry between Larnaca and Gaza which
will run regularly.
Finally, a big thank you to all of you out there who have given
us unstinting solidarity, support and encouragement.
It is time for the politicians to move aside and let the people
take over - the people united will never be defeated.
Must dash - I'm about to get my passport stamped with Gaza, Gaza
Yvonne Ridley was on board the SS LIberty with film-maker Aki
Nawaz producing a documentary for Press TV which will be shown
later this year.
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