Tag Archives: michael coleman

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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Flotilla News

VIDEO: Australian delegate on why he’s so determined to try and go to Gaza for a third time

Our delegate Michael is a long-time campaigner for justice and freedom for Palestine, in this video he explains why he is so determined to get to Gaza.

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Flotilla News

Audio update from Australian delegate Michael Coleman

Australian delegate on board the Tahrir for Freedom Waves to Gaza, Michael Coleman, filed this audio update with the Institute for Middle East Understanding earlier today (or Thursday night Tahrir middle-of-the-Medditerraean time).

Listen to what he had to say:

9:48pm EDT: Australian passenger Michael Coleman updates us from #FreedomWaves flotilla (mp3)

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Uncategorized

CALL TO ACTION: We need your financial support now more than ever!

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Earlier this year we were keen to get involved in the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human initiative. We did not have the capacity to organise a boat on our own so sought and found an international partner – the Canadian Boat to Gaza group. We contributed funds to a shared ownership of the boat (Tahrir) and our ongoing fund-raising is dedicated to that purpose.

The recent appeal by a wide range of Palestinian organisations in Gaza for boats to come to break the blockade has confirmed the continuing importance of the flotilla strategy. Now we are on board the Tahrir again for Freedom Waves to Gaza. We need to raise money to repay a loan that we secured which enabled us to continue our partnership in the Tahrir on this mission, as well as building a kitty to assist with publicity and logistics.

We need your financial support at this critical point and we hope that as supporters of this campaign you will be able to assist in funding this phase of the Flotilla.

Can you donate to the Free Gaza Australia and support the Australian delegation?

We here at Free Gaza Australia are all so proud of our Australian delegate Michael Coleman who is right now on board the Tahrir bound for Gaza! We made a commitment to Palestinians and civil society activists that we would uphold a promise to continue to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza. As such we’ve sent along Michael Coleman to take part in the current Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative. It’s an exciting mission, but a dangerous one. Already the Israeli military have said they are prepared to stop the boat Michael is on using any means necessary.

Please support Michael on board the Tahrir.

As a long-term committed Palestinian solidarity activist, for years Michael has been committed to justice and freedom for the people of Palestine. He has spent tireless hours working with local groups and non-profits in Sydney on solidarity advocacy. He has done voluntary work in Nablus in the West Bank of Palestine for Project Hope, teaching English and music production, and is working on establishing a non-profit incorporated association called ‘Music for the Dark Corners’ to support strategies to challenge the occupation and show solidarity with the Palestinian people. We reckon he’s a pretty solid advocate for our shared vision of a free Palestine!

If you agree, we’d be so grateful for your support at this time.

Earlier this year he took part in the Freedom Flotilla 2 – Stay Human with three other Australian delegates.

At crunch time, along with another peace activist Michael bravely paddled a kayak around the Greek board where the Tahrir was docked, in an effort to help the Tahrir leave port and head toward Gaza. The Tahrir didn’t quite make it but Michael’s resolve to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel was only strengthened.

Your financial support will further strengthen this campaign.

The Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative has two boats headed toward Gaza, and Michael is proud to be on board for such an important peaceful civilian-to-civilian initiative to challenge Israel’s ongoing military seige of Gaza. The Freedom Waves flotilla has already attracted media coverage from all over the world, including from Democracy Now and Al Jazeera. We are helping shine a light on how Israel is dishing out collective punishment to 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza!

This is an important awareness raising initiative and you can help support our Australian delegate. Any financial contribution is so appreciated and is vital in helping put crucial pressure on Israel to free Gaza.

Your financial donation makes this exciting Palestinian solidarity campaign possible!

Bank: Commonwealth Bank
Acc Name: GFF Australia Group
BSB: 062102
Acc No: 10197185

Please do let us know if you are able to donate so that we can recognise your important contribution.

Thank you for your support,

Free Gaza Australia

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Flotilla News Uncategorized

Video message from Australian delegate: Why another flotilla to Gaza?

Nine peace activists were killed when the Israeli military stormed the Mavi Marmara during the Freedom Flotilla in 2010, and earlier this year another Freedom Flotilla to Gaza was blocked by Greek authorities as the boats tried to leave port.

Now a third attempt to break the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza is underway.

Here, Australian delegate Michael Coleman, explains why:

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Flotilla News

Request for Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to support Australian delegate and condemn Israel’s threats

We emailed this letter to Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday 3 November:

Dear Mr Rudd

We are writing to ask that you to make direct and immediate representation to Israeli authorities on behalf of the Australian government supporting Australian citizen and Sydney-based youth worker, Michael Coleman who is currently on board the the vessel Tahrir in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Tahrir is headed toward Gaza as part of the Freedom Waves to Gaza flotilla initiative which seeks to challenge the blockade of Gaza and highlight the plight of the Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the region. There are 12 people in total travelling on the Tahrir. Also part of the Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative is a second boat, the MV Saoirse.

We also call on you as Foreign Minister to denounce Israel for its intention to “take any necessary action” to prevent the Tahrir and Saoirse from reaching their intended destination. The participants of this flotilla are unarmed peaceful activists and journalists.

We ask that you urge the Israeli government and military to desist from intervening, boarding or towing the boats to Israel, or redirecting the boats to any other location away from Gaza. We ask that you insist Israel does not board the vessels and does not use force or violence against any of the unarmed peaceful activists or journalists on board these vessels, and that they not be detained or interrogated by Israeli authorities.

We note that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has indicated it will provide consular support to our Australian delegate if necessary.

DFAT has however noted that it “strongly advises against travelling by sea to the coast of the Gaza Strip”.

Noting Australia’s recent decision at the United Nations to vote against admission of Palestine to UNESCO, we ask that the Australian Government use this opportunity to take a stand on the key issue of justice for Palestinians. We call on the Australian Government to condemn Israel’s ongoing illegal blockade of Gaza and the consequent collective punishment of the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in the region.

We appreciate your consideration and anticipate your prompt response to our concerns.

You can get in contact with Kevin Rudd too:
Email: kevin.rudd@dfat.gov.au
Phone: (02) 6277 7500
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/KRuddMP

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Flotilla News

DFAT legitimises Israeli blockade of Gaza by urging against participation in Flotilla

This just in from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

We refer to your email of 3 November that raises issues about Mr Michael Coleman’s presence on a vessel that is currently sailing to Gaza.

The travel advice for Israel, Gaza Strip and the West Bank strongly advises against travelling by sea to the coast of the Gaza Strip in breach of Israeli naval restrictions or participating in any attempt to break the naval blockade.

Further information is available in our travel bulletin on “Flotillas to Gaza” at the following link:

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/TravelBulletins/Flotillas_to_Gaza

DFAT is committed to providing a high level of consular service to all
Australians in difficulty overseas, in accordance with the consular
charter. This consular support has been provided to Australians
participating in flotillas in the past, and would again be offered to Mr Coleman if necessary.

In the event he is detained by Israeli authorities, the Government of
Israel is well aware of Australia’s expectation that we would be granted early access to him to offer consular assistance.

You can contact DFAT and request they make direct representation to the Israeli authorities urging Israel

to not intervene in the peaceful Freedom Waves to Gaza flotilla. Israel has indicated it intends to stop the boats reaching Gaza.

DFAT Telephone: 1300 555 135 (select option 6)
DFAT NSW Email: dfat.nsw@dfat.gov.au

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Flotilla News

Letter requesting official government support for Australian “Freedom Waves to Gaza” delegate

We wrote this following email to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade asking what official consular support would be extended to Michael if necessary, and requesting represention be made to Israeli authorities urging no interference with the boats currently on course for Gaza.

We are writing to request the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on behalf of the Australian Government make representation to Israeli authorities to allow the boats currently travelling through the Mediterranean Sea reach their destination without Israeli intervention.

The ‘Tahrir’ is carrying 12 people including Australian youth worker Michael Coleman. There is a second boat MV Saoirse also currently on route to Gaza.

We call on DFAT to implore Israel to not intervene or use force or violence against the unarmed peaceful activists and journalists on board these boats.

We request a statement of position from DFAT outlining how DFAT will assist and support Australian citizen Michael Coleman in the event of intervention and/or detention by Israeli authorities.

We also noted the following:
The Israeli military officials have this morning said they will block the two boats from reaching Gaza and a military spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich, told Reuters that Israel considered these boats a “provocation”.

We have confirmation that DFAT has received our letter and we are now awaiting their response.

Please consider phoning or writing a short email to the Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd asking him to support Michael and the efforts of the Freedom Waves to Gaza boats and denounce plans by Israel to militarily intervene. Contact details:

Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

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Flotilla News

Track the Tahrir as it heads across the sea to Gaza

The Tahrir is currently on it’s way to Gaza.

It is making its way through international waters in the Mediterranean Sea.

Click here to watch the progress of the Tahrir as it sails to Gaza.

On board is Australian delegate Michael Coleman. Michael joins delegates from a number of countries, including Canada, comprised of six journalists, five activists and the captain.

As at 11am (AEST) Thursday 3 November, the Tahrir was in the following location:

This via Electronic Intifada, tracking the Freedom Waves flotilla in real time:

A second boat from Ireland, the MV Saoirse, is also currently in international waters making its way to Gaza as part of the Freedom Wave.

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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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