[News] Cynthia McKinney on Free Gaza boat detained in Cyprus

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 29 16:06:06 EDT 2009

Former US Presidential candidate on Free Gaza boat detained in Cyprus


  Monday June 29, 2009 10:54
 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News 
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Cynthia McKinney, a former US Congressmember and 2004 Green Party 
Presidential candidate, is currently in Cyprus with a group of human 
rights activists determined to again break the Israeli siege on the 
Gaza Strip, as they have several times in the past, by bringing 
humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza by boat.

McKinney was on one of the Free Gaza movement's boats in January, 
trying to break the Israeli siege, when the boat was rammed in the 
side by an Israeli gunship and started taking on water. The boat came 
close to sinking, and McKinney has written a harrowing account of 
'the night she nearly died at sea'. Although she and the other boat 
passengers demanded an investigation of the incident, no 
investigation has been carried out. The current voyage is the first 
by the Free Gaza movement since the ramming attack took place.

Now, the former US Congressmember from the state of Georgia, has 
issued a statement asking Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to 
intervene in what she calls an "act of piracy on the high seas" that 
is being planned by the Israeli government. The 'act of piracy' 
refers to an announced plan by the Israeli navy to attack any 
incoming humanitarian aid ships in international waters, as they did 
in January.

The two boats that planned to set sail to Gaza last week, but have 
been delayed in Cyprus, contain 3 tons of medical supplies, 15 tons 
of cement, and boxes of toys and crayons for children - all materials 
banned by the Israeli government from entering the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel has banned all of these supplies from entering the Gaza Strip, 
where they are desperately needed after a 3-week long Israeli assault 
in January left more than 30,000 Palestinians without homes, and 
thousands injured by both conventional and unconventional (white 
phosphorus, DIME) weapons. The siege on Gaza has been in place since 
June 2007, when the Hamas party began governance in Gaza in 
accordance with the Palestinian constitution, after having been duly 
elected by the populace in 2006. Israel, which does not have a 
constitution, maintains a military occupation over all Palestinian 
land (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip), and imposed the siege in 
partnership with the United States, because they did not like the 
party that the Palestinians had elected.

In her statement, Cynthia McKinney called on the US President to live 
up to his speech in Cairo several weeks ago, in which he stated, "So 
let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is 
intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate 
Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their 
own...Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that 
Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just 
as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian 
crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security."

McKinney added that the prevention of Israeli violence against the 
humanitarian aid boats will be a "test of leadership" for both Barack 
Obama and Hillary Clinton, adding, "It will also put to the test 
their lofty rhetoric about ending the oppression and humiliation of 

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