June 5, 2010: Remembering the First Rachel Corrie Humanitarian Mission to Gaza

In-depth Report:

Remembering the Rachel Corrie Humanitarian Mission to Gaza

One year ago, June 5th, Israeli forces seized a the humanitarian vessel to Gaza, the Rachel Corrie, arrested and deported the members of the mission and confiscated its humanitarian cargo, which never reached  its destination. One year later, The Spirit of Rachel Corrie sailed to Gaza undetected and penetrated Gazan territorial waters before being attacked by Israeli patrol boats.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad with Mission leader Matthias Chang

Yesterday, June 4th, the Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission (including a member of Global Research) returned to Kuala Lumpur and were met at the airport by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after being stranded for three weeks in Egyptian territorial waters.

A press conference was held at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research,  June 5, 2011

05.06.11 – 12:35

Gaza – PGPF to PNN –  On Monday 16 May, the Perdana Global Peace Foundation(PGPF) mission aboard the ‘Spirit of Rachel Corrie’ had broken the siege when it reached Palestinian territorial waters and was just 400 meters from land when it came under attack by the Israeli Navy. After coming under gunfire from the Israeli Navy, the boat was forced to divert to Egyptian waters; and later on the same day, anchored off El Arish Port.

Spirit of Rachel Corrie Ship – Photo by PGPFThe crew and passengers on the ‘Spirit of Rachel Corrie’ ship consisted of 12 people: 7 Malaysians, 2 Irish, 2 Indians and 1 Canadian. For 16 days they were not able to leave the ship, waiting for permission from the relevant authorities in Egypt to disembark, unload and deliver the cargo to Gaza by land. On May 30, 3 passengers returned to Malaysia, while the remaining 9 are returning tonight.

 The ‘Spirit of Rachel Corrie’ was launched on Wednesday, 11 May from the Port of Piraeus, Greece  under the official title MV Finch. Its mission was to break the illegal Israel imposed siege of the Gaza Strip. The lone vessel was carrying approximately 7.5 kilometres of UPVC pipes of various dimensions to help restore the devastated sewerage system in Gaza.  Unless the sanitation system is improved, the environmental crisis will not be resolved and waterborne disease will be escalated.

This is the second attempt by PGPF to send humanitarian aid by sea.  The previous humanitarian mission in early June 2010  was the MV Rachel Corrie which was part of The Free Gaza Movement Flotilla. It was not successful because the ship was hijacked in international waters by the Israeli Navy and all passengers and cargo was brought to Ashdod, Israel.

The second mission was again to challenge the illegal Israeli siege which is an unjustified contravention of International Law.  It is unacceptable that the Israelis continues to breach the Geneva Convention to which they are signatories by imposing collective punishment upon the population of Gaza part of which entails the refusal to allow much needed construction materials to enter Gaza. 

It is important to note that the ship’s cargo was humanitarian in nature and we refused to allow for its transportation through the Israeli commercial crossing point of Karem Shalom. It is vital that the illegal siege on Gaza be broken and that Palestinians be allowed to receive our cargo directly.

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