Israeli Navy Attack Aid Ship to Gaza and Force it Back to Egypt

PNN – Palestine News Network – 16.05.11 – 11:15

Egypt – PNN – Israeli Naval forces attacked and intercepted on Monday morning aid boat named “The Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission” off the Gaza coast. The ship’s 12 crew and passengers are safe. Currently the ship has been forced to anchor in the Egyptian waters at one and a half nautical miles from the Gazan waters.  The vessel left the Port of Piraeus, Greece on Wednesday, May 11.

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Spirit of Rachel Corrie Ship – Photo by PGPF

The humanitarian initiative is sponsored by Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) and participating in this mission includes anti-war activists and journalists from the Asian, American and European continents.

The cargo ship The Spirit of Rachel Corrie (officially known as FINCH) is carrying 7.5 kilometers of UPVC (plastic) sewage pipes to help restore the devastated sewerage system in Gaza. The ship was named after the courageous American activist who was crushed and killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while trying to prevent the demolition of another Palestinian home. She died at 23.

The Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission is part of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation’s (PGPF) “Break the Siege on Gaza” campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to highlight the effects of the illegally imposed Israeli siege and raise awareness of the human rights violations of the people of Gaza. Breaking the siege and ending the illegal collective punishment of 1.5 million people must be a priority for the international community.

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Spirit of Rachel Corrie Ship – Photo by PGPF

“The Palestinian struggle is nothing more than a struggle for justice, to which they, as much as everyone else, have a right.” Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, President of PGPF stated.

In a press release by PGPF  the group said that on 27 December 2008, the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead, which not only killed some 1400 Palestinians, but also destroyed vital infrastructure leaving the Gazans with critical water and sewage problems.  PGPF says Repair of the infrastructure has proved impossible as Israel has prevented the entry of construction materials and fuel to resolve this dire situation.

According to a report from the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), “the release of 80 million litres of untreated or partially treated sewage into the environment and Mediterranean Sea each day is primarily a result of the Israeli imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

According to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: “Between 90% and 95% of the aquifers in the Gaza Strip are not safe for drinking.” The primary cause of the current problem originates from the destruction, during Operation Cast Lead, of “20 kilometers of water pipes, 7.5 kilometers of sewage pipes and 5,700 mobile water tanks”.

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