Why I Am On Gaza Freedom Flotilla 3 | By Ann Wright
I served 29 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a Colonel. I was also a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.
In my 2003 letter of resignation from the U.S. government in opposition to U.S. President Bush’s war on Iraq, I cited the “continuing unbalanced policies of the United States in Israeli-Palestinian issues” as one of my major concerns on U.S. foreign policy.
I had had an assignment in the Middle East. My first experience in Palestine was in January 2009 when I travelled to Gaza and saw the brutal destruction of much of Gaza by the Israeli attack and the deaths of over 1400 persons. Afterwards, I helped organize 5 delegations to Gaza in 2009, including the Gaza Freedom March with 1300 participants from 30 countries. I returned to Gaza in 2011 as a part of an international parliamentary delegation and again in 2012 after the Israeli attack on Gaza. I was a passenger on the Challenger 1 boat in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla in which the Israeli commandos executed 9 persons on the Mavi Marmara (a 10th person has now died from his injuries) and wounded over 50 and beat up passengers on each of the six boats in the flotilla. I was an organizer for the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, in the 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla and an initial organizer for Gaza’s Ark.
I am horrified by the brutal 55 day Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014 that left over 2,200 dead and 10,000 wounded and much of the country in ruins. I am equally horrified by the lack of international assistance for the people of Gaza during this past year and by the impunity that Israel has in the international community for the criminal acts it has committed on the people of Gaza and the West Ban.
I am participating again in another Gaza Freedom Flotilla because I am totally and completely opposed to the continuous Israeli naval blockade of Gaza and the U.S. complicity in the frequent massive Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza. Without the approval of the United States and the military weaponry from the United States, Israel would be unable to continue its military destruction of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank. As a concerned citizen of this planet, the least I can do is challenge Israel and my country, the United States, by this flotilla.
October 05, 2016
Zaytouna-Oliva taken in International Waters: Whereabouts of Participants Unknown
For the most up-to-date information, follow Women's Boat to Gaza on Twitter or check their website for ongoing updates.
Update: Women to be "deported"/Details Emerge About Capture.
This afternoon, the Women's Boat to Gaza was making good progress to the shores and the women were emotional about meeting all the people in Gaza who were waiting for them. Some of the Palestinians had spent the night at the beach to greet them.
At 9:58 (EST) organizers lost total contact with the Zaytouna-Oliva. The US embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted. At this time organizers do not know where occupants of the boat are being held.
It is important to know that this happened in international waters and it is not only illegal but sets a bad precedent in giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli.
Ann Wright is a decorated former US diplomat, a member of Veterans For Peace and on our Advisory Board. On board with her were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire. They were committed to nonviolence as much as they were committed to breaking the blockade.
Ann has traveled thousands of miles and made a great sacrifice for human rights.
Unlike other nations that have women on the boat, we Americans provide military equipment to Israel that may very well have been used against Ann and our international friends. The blockade on Gaza must end!