I feel very proud of the MV Rachel Corrie and her brave crew. Just now the reports are in that the ship has been boarded and is being towed to Ashdod. That there was no violence on the part of the passengers.
There were 4 calls to the ship, according to the Israeli Defence Forces, ordering them not to proceed to Gaza.
But nearly everyone in Israel knows the calibre of those brave people on board.
They started their journey in order to deliver aid to Gaza and to break the illegal siege
No-one was going to persaude them to divert from those 2 aims. They sped onwards to Gaza, even after the murders on Mavi Marmara, the numerous woundings, the assaults and violent arrests on all of the ships, the assaults on their prisoners after arrest and in detention. They said these horrible events only strengthened their resolve.
Everyone said the siege was wrong but no-one could break it. Not the UN,nor the EU,nor the USA, the "international community".
Concerning the siege, these entities DID nothing. Just as they did nothing, concerning Israel's overweening and incomprehensible arrogance in flaunting the international community re their occupation of Palestine. Only words were spoken. Never was the term "weasel words" more appropriate to the mutterings of those parties. The UN achieved nil and has become a laughing stock. The USA continued to pour billions of dollars into Israel, no strings attached, and now looks like a lapdog of Israel. The EU even made pacts with Israel on trade matters giving Israel special privileges.
Israel laughs at weasel words. They are a violently Machiavellian State. They devastated Gaza eighteen months ago, murdering 1400 including hundreds of children, then prevented its rebuilding. They treat Palestinians as if they were dirt. They scoffed at Obama when he went to Egypt. They scoffed at George Mitchell and at Hillary Clinton when they went to Israel. They scoffed at the International Atomic Energy Agency when they went to inspect Dimona Nuclear Plant - and Dimona has never been inspected. Mitchell and Clinton have not been allowed to visit Gaza. The State of Israel has driven Palestinians from their lands and homes and settled extremist American Zionists on the robbed land, even while pretending to talk about "wanting peace". Decent Israelis and Jewish people from many countries are just as angry and even angrier about these crimes than I am.
But now Israel cannot afford to laugh at the Rachel Corrie and her non-violent passengers. The Rachel Corrie went straight into the face of danger saying: "What you are doing is wrong and we oppose it with our bodies and souls and lives." Just like the American girl Rachel Corrie did when she stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer that was demolishing one of the aforementioned Palestinian homes - and they mowed her down.
Now, as the brave prisoners are beng escorted to an Israeli port, Ashdod, as they face imprisonment and hate in the country that imprisons them, as they face deportation from the country that has forced them to enter it, I salute each and every one of them.
The Irish participant on this brave expedition are: Nobel Peace laureate Maireád Corrigan-Maguire, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, film maker Fiona Thompson, and husband and wife Derek and Jenny Graham.
I salute all the other members equally though not by name. The reason is that I don't yet know them