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Cleaned the slate

Dear Supporters,

Following our fundraising lunch “Cleaning the Slate” in Sydney last Sunday we are pleased to announce that thanks to the support of our many friends, we have now ‘cleaned the slate’. We have repaid all of the money we borrowed in order to participate in Freedom Waves to Gaza last November!

This leaves us clear to raise money for the next venture Gaza’s Ark. This project is focussed on building a boat with Palestinians in Gaza, to help export goods by sea from Palestine. It will give individuals and businesses the opportunity to express their solidarity with the people of Gaza by pledging to purchase particular items, the details of which we are currently negotiating.

We are hoping to raise $10,000 in Australia in the coming month to help in the preparations of the boat and hope that you can dig deep and spread the word to help achieve this ambitious target.

You can help by:

1. Giving your financial support:
Bank: Commonwealth Bank
Acc Name: GFF Australia Group
BSB: 062102 Acc No: 10197185

* Please insert your name into the reference section and send us an email to advise of your donation so we may directly thank you.

2. Giving of your time/skills – contact us to discuss how you would like to be involved: Publicity/Outreach, Fundraising, Media, Social Media, Website development or Planning.

Thank you very much for your support.

In solidarity,

Free Gaza Australia

Post: PO Box 542, Leichhardt NSW2040

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GazaAustralia

Twitter: @GFFAusGroup

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Flotilla News

Give back the Tahrir

Since Michael’s return to Australia, Free Gaza Australia [FGA] has been running a political campaign to get our beloved ‘Tahrir’ back from Ashdod, where the Israeli navy took her after illegally taking control of her in international waters in November.

We have sent the following letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard in an effort to enlist her support for the campaign for the Tahrir’s return and for our Government to reposition Australia on the right side of history and international law, and alongside the overwhelming majority of countries in the world who will not support the ongoing systematic abuse of Palestinian people and denial of their human rights.

You can add your support for this campaign by clicking on the link below and adding your name to the call for the ‘Tahrir’ to be returned to its rightful owners.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/give-back-the-tahrir.html

In the coming weeks we plan to contact all Federal Members of Parliament and seek their support as well.

In recent months, we have also been talking to our international partners about our next plans – stay tuned for the news of the next ‘waves’ to Gaza.

Dear Prime Minister,

In early November 2011, we wrote to your Government demanding immediate action, to:

1. Pressure the Israeli government to unconditionally release and facilitate the safe return of Michael Coleman and all political prisoners.

2. Demand the release of the Tahrir and Saoirse along with all personal property, as well as compensation for damages incurred by the act of piracy that the Israeli government committed on the high seas.

3. Ensure that Israel ends its illegal blockade of Gaza to enable freedom of movement for people and goods.” Five days after the Tahrir was attacked in international waters and Michael, all other passengers and crew were abducted; he was released and ‘deported’ to Australia via Bangkok and Melbourne.

On 28 November 2011 we received a woefully inadequate response from Samuel Allen (Acting Director, Levant and Iran Section) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in which no answers were provided to our principal demands for action.

The Australian Government’s response to the act of piracy committed by the Israeli Government against the unarmed flotilla that Michael Coleman was aboard has been pitiful.

Your regurgitated comments about practical support and partnership agreements are mealy-mouthed apologies, which are grossly inadequate and disproportionate for the Palestinian people whose land has been stolen from them by the actions of the ever-expanding Apartheid Israeli ‘state’.

Providing drip feed of ‘aid’ is not the solution to the plight of the Palestinians and the injustices they experience in Palestine and in forced exile. Your ‘travel advice’ that Australians should not attempt to travel to Gaza by sea is cowardly. The Australian Government should be working with other countries to aid the people of Gaza who demand an end to the blockade and with it their ability move and trade freely.

All governments, including yours, must hold Israel accountable for its defiance of international law with regards to the ongoing collective punishment of more than 1,600,000 Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are under the age of 16 in what is effectively the world’s largest open air prison.

Instead you persist in platitudes to the Israeli Government and business interests who continue to make their money from the theft of Palestinian lands. Indeed we found your recent attendance at and speech to the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce extremely offensive when Palestinian people are denied freedom of movement and trade.

We contrast your Government’s actions with the visit to Gaza last month by Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore from the Irish Republic and his statement demanding an end to the blockade.

It is because of the continuing inaction of governments, including the Australian Government that ordinary people feel compelled to act. When our delegate sailed to Gaza, he did so in the firm belief that the blockade of Gaza by the Israeli Government is illegal and inhumane and should end without delay. In this appraisal we believe that we have the support of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross. and numerous other human rights organisations.

We consider that our assets – the Tahrir, of which we hold a one-tenth share, medical aid we were transporting to give to the people of Gaza and our personal belongings including a satellite telephone have been confiscated illegally by the Israeli Government.

We urge you to actively support our demand that the Israeli Government reloads our medical supplies and our personal belongings and other assets onto our boat and allow us to sail it to Gaza without delay.

We look forward to hearing back from you soon with a considered, positive reply that repositions Australia on the right side of history and international law, and alongside the overwhelming majority of countries in the world who will not support the systematic abuse of Palestinian people and their human rights.

Yours sincerely,

James Godfrey

for Free Gaza Australia

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Flotilla News

Lee Rhiannon: Call for govt action on Australian detained in Israel

7 November 2011

Call for govt action on Australian detained in Israel

Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on the Israeli government to immediately release Michael Coleman, an Australian member of the Freedom Waves to Gaza Flotilla, who has been arrested by the Israeli Defence Force.

“I have also asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to work hard to ensure Mr Coleman is safe and is released without delay,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“It is the Israeli Defence Forces that have acted illegally as the boat Mr Coleman and other Freedom Waves participants were on was in international waters when intercepted.

“University of Western Ontario Professor David Heap has reported that he and Mr Coleman were transported to prison in handcuffs and leg shackles. I understand Professor Heap was tasered.

“I know Mr Coleman and congratulate him for his work in highlighting the destructive Israeli blockade of Gaza.

“I have spoken to Mr Coleman’s father who told me he is pleased with the contact he has had with DFAT but does request that every effort is made to have his son released immediately as he has done nothing wrong.

“Mr Coleman and his colleagues are to be commended for their efforts to deliver $30,000 worth of medical aid to Gaza,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council Inquiry Report of September 2010 found that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal. It is time to end it once and for all,” Senator Rhiannon said.

Contact: 0487 350 880 // lee-rhiannon.greensmps.org.au/

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Uncategorized

Photoblog: Freedom Wave to Gaza in pictures

This page will be updated with the latest photographs from the Tahrir as it makes it way to Gaza as part of Freedom Waves to Gaza.

Sunday 6 November, 2011

These photos come from shortly before the Tahrir left port bound for Gaza several days ago.

Tahrir delegates with medical aid for Gaza. Image via tahrir.ca
Tahrir delegates preparing to load medical aid for Gaza. Image via tahrir.ca

Friday 4 November, 2011

The Palestinian flag flies as the Tahrir nears Gaza. Image via @CanadaBoatGazaPalestinian flag on the Tahrir as it draws near to Gaza. Image by Hassan Ghani, journalist on board Tahrir.

Thursday 3 November, 2011

The Tahrir and Irish ship Saoirse rendezvous in the Mediterranean Sea. Image via Michael Coleman.
The Tahrir and Irish ship Saoirse rendezvous in the Mediterranean Sea. Image via Michael Coleman.

 

Wednesday 2 November, 2011

The Tahrir leaves port and is on its way to Gaza, now headed across the Mediterranean Sea. Photo via Democracy Now.
American Kit Kittredge on board the Tahrir as it sails to Gaza. Photo via Democracy Now.
David Heap from Canada works on board the Tahrir as it heads to Gaza. Photo via Democracy Now.
The Tahrir, now headed through international waters on its way to Gaza. Photo via Democracy Now.
Michael Coleman from Sydney with the Tahrir as it prepared to leave port for Gaza.
Michael Coleman from Sydney with the Tahrir as it prepared to leave port for Gaza.

Notes: Attribution below each image. Click on images for larger size. Feel free to use these images, a link back to this website is appreciated. Please send us an email if you have any questions or feedback.

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Flotilla News

Australian delegate: “If you are seeing this I am currently in international waters off the coast of Gaza”

Michael Coleman is the Australian delegate on board the Tahrir which is currently in international waters bound for Gaza as part of the Freedom Waves initiative seeking to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel:

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