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Take Action: Support the Freedom Riders

by Rana Libdeh and Anna Baltzer
June 23rd, 2011

As the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II, "Stay Human," is preparing to set sail this month, it's more important than ever to ensure its safe passage and prepare to take emergency action if Israel follows through with its threats of using attack dogs and other violent--potentially life-threatening--means to intercept the boats, as was done in the past.

We held a conference call on Thursday, June 23, with Leslie Cagan, organizer for the U.S. Boat to Gaza, and Laila El-Haddad, author of Gaza Mom, to talk about actions we can take to support the Freedom Flotilla.

Laila briefed participants on the political and humanitarian developments in Gaza, including the changing situation with Egypt at the Rafah border. Leslie updated participants about the flotilla and laid out concrete ways for people to prepare and spring into action once it sets sail.

Click here to download an MP3 recording of the conference call or click here to stream it in your browser.

Above: Peace activist and author Kathy Kelly explains her reasons for going on the U.S. Boat to Gaza (click to watch).

Above: Gail Miller explains her reasons for going on the U.S. Boat to Gaza (click to watch).

Last week the courageous passengers of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, "The Audacity of Hope," sent this letter to President Obama demanding that the U.S. government ensure safe passage for the unarmed passengers:

We need to keep the pressure on! Please sign this letter to President Obama to support the right of The Audacity of Hope to safe passage.

You can read the flotilla passengers' biographies here and hear their reasons for going on the U.S. Boat here.

The situation in Gaza remains dire. Just last week, Chris Gunness, spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), reported here that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip live under an Israeli blockade that "deliberately impoverishes ... and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution."

The U.S. Boat to Gaza organizing committee is urging people around the country to plan now for emergency response actions. The power of such actions will be determined by the number and geographic spread of participants. If you haven't already, it's time to start planning!

Let's keep the pressure on by signing this letter to President Obama and preparing to act together and quickly to support the courageous freedom riders in their journey to break the siege of Gaza.