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Israeli apartheid forces hijack freedom flotilla, by Mazin Qumsiyeh

From: Mazin Qumsiyeh <>
Date: 7/29/18 7:46 AM (GMT-06:00)
Subject: [HumanRights] Israeli apartheid forces hijacks freedom flotilla

My personal statement below.

#FreedomFlotilla boat carrying medical supplies for #Gaza hijacked by
Israeli forces. PLEASE contact your governments to demand they call for
safe passage for all on board #AlAwda (The Return) and speedy delivery of
our solidarity gifts to the Palestinians of Gaza:

I went to Napoli Italy and joined to support the freedom flotilla ( to Gaza. IIn Napoli, there was a series
of events in build-up of people support for the boats. There are four
boats, three sail boats and one (fairly large) engine boat. This latter is
the one I was to be on. I did not book a Bed & Breakfast room and chose to
stay with the group which was split between those that stayed at the boat
or in an "occupied building" downtown. The abandoned building used to be a
sports facility that is not maintained and is one of several abandoned
facilities that were taken over by students and activists to use. It was at
a main street and was noisy but it is OK. The boat cabins themselves are
very hot (Not to mention mosquitos at the port area). In any case the
conversations, activities, and work left little time for sleep. On the
second evening in Napoli, my mobile phone was stolen on the boat (not by
someone interested in its economic value but by Zionist infiltrator/s). I
had to spend some time to deal with this problem privately with help of
colleagues back home in Palestine. Napoli people (including the mayor) were
very welcoming.

While in Napoli I also managed to squeeze some time to visit the oldest
Rotary club here (founded 1924) and visit the natural history museum
(actually it is a series of separate museums: geology, paleontology,
ethnology, biology). Making connections and networking with new people
everyday. On Sunday, we left Napoli in an emotional farewell. Some members
went by ferry or even airplane to Palermo. I and 15 others (six crew
members, two journalists) were on Al-Awda ship. We ran it rather slow so
that we arrive to Palermo 24 hours later together with the slower sailing
boats.  The 24 hours on the Mediterranean were hard on our bodies (little
sleep, constant roll and tug of waves and movement) but were really
uplifting to spirits. Beautiful blue waters, beautiful skies, and great
people to talk to and learn about their lives and what makes them tick etc.
At one point we were visited by a group of some 40 dolphins who decided to
greet us and give us a show. People and dolphins really seemed so happy to
see and greet each other.

Arriving near Palermo, the sail boats were there to circle our boat and
then the four boats with us leading approached the harbor. From the
distance I could see how excited the crowds were to welcome us. Flag of the
city, honor guard of the city, flags of Palestine, flags of some hosting
groups, and most of all good people (including our own ground team) were
there cheering, waving, dancing as our ship crew docked and tied the ship.
After some brief speeches from the Mayor of Palermo and some of us, the
whole group of some 100 people marched to join a large (400 people)
demonstration that was already taking place about 2 km away. The latter was
a demonstration in support pf immigrant rights (Palermo is a welcoming city
for immigrants). As we approached the larger demonstration chanting
Palestine Libere and free, free Palestine the larger demonstration was so
happy to see us and broke out in a great wave of cheers. Here in Palermo I
split my time between a B&B (where I could take a shower) and the boat. I
also spoke to participants and locals. I visited with Rotary Clubs and with
the botanical garden. I met great people and reconnected with old friends.
I had long private convesrations that sometimes lasted for two hours or
more with people like Dr. Ang Swee Chai and Dr. May Kayyali. The former is
an orthopedic surgeon who already worked treating Palestinians in Sabra and
Shatila in 1982 and in Gaza and other places and I was glad to connect her
and that she immediately agreed to be on the boat (a far stronger candidate
than I am). Dr. Kayyali whom I knew for some 15 year is one of the best
Palestinian ambassadors in the world. She hosted the participants for
Maqlouba and served it herself! I met so many other good people who are now
on the boats hijacked by Israeli apartheir racoist forces. Great people.

I am heartbroken that I could not join the boats on the last leg to Gaza
(for many reasons that I will not bore you with) but being with them for 10
days was one of the best investments in my time and money. Having met these
hundreds of people and seen the determination and love we share adds to my
confidence that Palestine will be free (from the river to the sea!).  So my
friends are now in Zionist small jails and I remain in a Zionist big jail
(apartheid ghetto reserved for Palestinians). On Friday Israel killed and
injured Palestinian children who were protesting the killing and injuring
of Palestinian children. Today (sunday, contemporaneous with hijacking our
boats), Israeli apartheid released Ahed and Nariman Tami. Life, death,
suffering, plain, giving goes on. Libre Palestina- Free free Palestine ..
Viva Palestina

Following the freedom flotilla:
Facebook – FreedomFlotillaCoalition
Twitter - @GazaFFlotilla
Instagram - @gazafreedomflotilla
And encouraging others to spread the word using hashtags #ShiptoGaza
#FreedomFlotilla #CountdownToGaza. You can also share videos and pictures
there are many on our facebook/freedomflotilla page, using those same tags
and if a new post - @freedomflotillacoalition

My body is in Bethlehem --- my heart is on Al-Awda ship.

Stay Human

Mazin Qumsiyeh
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor,  Founder, and (volunteer) Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
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