Canadian Boat to Gaza

Canadian Boat to Gaza

November 04, 2011 09:55 ET

Contact Lost With Freedom Waves to Gaza in Eastern Mediterranean

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 4, 2011) - Canadian and Irish ships sailing with Freedom Waves to Gaza are likely being illegally boarded and commandeered right now by the Israeli military in international waters – or they are about to be. Freedom Waves to Gaza organizers have been unable to communicate with the ships since soon after the vessels were approached by Israeli warships.

The Freedom Waves to Gaza initiative is a non-violent, civil society movement to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

"We have lost contact with the Tahrir and the Saoirse and are hoping for the best, but we fear the worst, given what now appears to be a communications blackout," says Canadian Boat to Gaza organizer Dylan Penner. "Several regularly scheduled check-ins haven't happened, and we have been unable to reach those aboard. Given Israel's stated intent to illegally board the ships, it seems likely that they are doing so."

"It appears Israel has yet again illegally boarded peaceful boats sailing to Gaza through international waters. We're deeply concerned for all our friends aboard given the Israeli government's cavalier disregard for human life," says Wendy Goldsmith, an organizer with the Canadian Boat to Gaza. "This is simply outrageous and will only further isolate Israel from the international community. We're calling on people from coast to coast and around the world to take to the streets in emergency solidarity rallies. We call on the Canadian government to fulfill its obligations by protesting Israel's illegal pirating of a Canadian ship in international waters, and to demand safety and immediate release of the delegates and property."

Emergency protests are being planned for several cities across Canada. Information on these solidarity actions will be posted to as it becomes available.

"The basic fact that we reached international waters is another victory for the movement. We are closer to Gaza this time, and hope to get even closer the next time, until we reach our destination," said Canadian Boat to Gaza organizer David Heap from aboard the Tahrir before contact was lost. "Despite economic blackmail, despite the previous outsourcing of the blockade to Greece, and despite Israel mobilizing a significant portion of its navy to stop us, we are now even closer to reaching Gaza and breaking the blockade."

Despite months of political, military, secret service, and bureaucratic interference, the Canadian Boat to Gaza and the Irish Boat to Gaza had managed to reach international waters. Bios of delegates on board the Tahrir are available here:

When asked over the radio by the approaching Israeli warships what their destination was, Canadian Boat to Gaza organizer Ehab Lotayef reportedly said, "the conscience of humanity." When the Israeli navy repeated the question, again asking for final destination, Lotayef was reported as saying the final destination of the Freedom Waves to Gaza was "the betterment of mankind."

Contact Information

  • To arrange an interview:
    English inquiries:
    Dylan Penner
    Canadian Boat to Gaza

    French inquiries:
    Denis Kosseim
    Canadian Boat to Gaza
    Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza