Two Boats Set Sail to Gaza to Break Blockade; Passengers include CODEPINK Rep

Contact: Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK Cofounder- in Turkey for flotilla support team
+90575443677 or
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK DC Coordinator
(860) 575-5692 or

November 2nd, 2011

The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse have successfully reached international waters, initiating the "Freedom Wave to Gaza." The boats have embarked from Turkey and are on the Mediterranean Sea.  In all, the 2 boats carry 27 passengers from Canada, Ireland, U.S., Palestine, and Australia, including Kit Kittredge, an American representative of the peace group CODEPINK on board the Tahrir.

Kittredge was previously a passenger on the American ship, The Audacity of Hope, which attempted passage to Gaza last July. "The only obstacles in our way are Israel's military and the complicity of the Obama administration,” Kittredge stated, “But in our sails is the wind of worldwide public opinion which has turned against the illegal blockade."

“We are now at a unique time in history when peope all over the world--from Tunesia to Wall Street in the U.S.--have been rising up against unaccountable power,” commented CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, who is currently working on the flotilla support team in Turkey. “One of the most egregious examples of unaccountable power is the Israeli government's blockade of Gaza, which is crippling the lives of 1.6 million people,” she added, “Those on the flotilla are, in the spirit of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement, supporting Palestinian civil society and standing up to unaccountable power.”

Jane Hirschmann stated, "Our sailing coincides with UN agency UNESCO's recognition of Palestine as a member state, defying US threats to cut off $80 million of US funding in retaliation. This shows the growing strength of opposition by the international community to U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine. We call on the international community to go further and take effective action to lift the siege of Gaza.” Hirschmann was one of the organizers this past summer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope which is still captive in Greece.