Activists ‘committed to sail despite threats’

I report from their web:
By Michael Jansen

NICOSIA – The Free Gaza and Liberty, the ships seeking to break the Israeli siege of Gaza and its 1.5 million citizens, are on their way to Cyprus and are planning to set sail for the Strip this week.

The ships have been held up by gale force winds in the Mediterranean but the 40 peace activists signed on remain committed to the voyage in spite of the delay. In the meantime, some of the boat people have been receiving threatening phone calls on their mobile phones.

According to Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blair, about a dozen of these menacing messages have been received both on board the ships and in Nicosia, where the majority of the activists are currently based.

Some of the callers, text messages and answer messages speak of the ships being “blown up” or “destroyed, killing all on board”. More perniciously, said Booth, the menacing elements have been making calls to family members.

On the afternoon of August 14, an anonymous male caller rang her home in France and spoke to her husband as her two young daughters were playing hide and seek in the garden. This person told her husband that Booth was in “great danger. These ships will be blown up”.

Her husband asked how this caller had obtained her private number but received no answer. The threats continue. In a posting on the Free Gaza website, Booth asked: “Who is behind these phone calls? Who benefits by upsetting the families of those on board the Free Gaza and the Liberty? Who would wish to unsettle journalists aboard as unarmed ships set sail towards the waters around Gaza and almost certain interception by Israeli forces? The answer is clear. I will carry on bringing you reports from the waters around Greece, Cyprus and even Gaza.”

Greta Berlin, co-founder of the Free Gaza movement, said yesterday that the threats have deterred no one and have, in fact, made them more determined than ever to carry on with the mission.

On Friday, Holocaust survivor and boat person, Hedy Epstein of St. Louis, celebrated her 84th birthday.

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I am an activist for World Peace, Justice, Human Rights and a better world. I do not want to change to Gavatar icon as I like the one I have had for a few years now! I say little about my education, and put no picture as the content is important not appearance or unnecessary self-praise.

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