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Open letter to the Parliament of Czech Republic.

July 18, 2011

Dear members of Parliament,

I am contacting you regarding an extremely urgent matter.

My name is Libor ████████████, I am citizen of the Czech Republic and I am a passenger of the U.S. Boat to Gaza The Audacity of Hope, part of the International Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human.
Our effort is to deliver humanitarian aid to and break the illegal blockade of Gaza.
It is imperative that you, the Czech Government stand on the right side of history and support this humanitarian aid mission by negotiating and demanding the release of all participating boats and passengers. It is essential that we are allowed to continue our peaceful and nonviolent mission under the protection of international human rights law.

Currently, many of the boats of the International Freedom Flotilla are imprisoned in Greek waters.

The passengers aboard The Audacity of Hope have been in the US Embassy/Greek Coast Guard base since June 30th 2011. The conditions of our detention have been inhumane. People have to endure temperatures of over 35˚C degrees, deprived of connection to the shore power line (electricity). For over 3 days, grain and grain dust was spewing from a Russian cargo ship all over our ship and surrounding area, making breathing very difficult in the extreme heat. These conditions are especially difficult for the elderly passengers aboard the ship. I am of the contention that, The Audacity of Hope, itself, has become a political prisoner.

The Greek authorities are under pressure from the U.S. and Israeli governments to put an end to the aid mission. The media have been prevented from covering the situation aboard the boat and must stay on the other side of the barb wire fence. The Greek government have imposed bureaucratic obstacles to prevent us from moving our boat. They say we must make some adjustments to pass inspection, but have not yet given the approval for workers to come on board to get small amounts of work done.

I call on the Czech government to urge Greece to restore electricity to the boat immediately.

I call on the Czech government to urge Greece to permit our boat sail to a commercial marina.

I call on the Czech government to urge Greece to let all boats sail to international waters.

This Flotilla is a remarkable undertaking that demonstrates civil society’s concern with the siege Israel has imposed on 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza. The International Freedom Flotilla with participants from over 100 countries is acting where governments have failed.

Last year, Israeli commandos killed nine innocent passengers of the Freedom Flotilla and injured dozens more.
The fact-finding mission for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights determined that the “circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution. ” None should have been killed for attempting to alleviate the conditions of Palestinians living under a political and economic siege.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal under international lawAccording to human rights experts, collective punishment aimed at a civilian population is contrary to human rights law.

We are a nonviolent human rights delegation traveling to Gaza to reconnect with Palestinian civil society. Our act is one of solidarity and friendship with Palestinians, Israelis and internationals who oppose the Israeli occupation and blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Our boat, The Audacity of Hope, is named after President Barack Obama’s novel to remind him that he is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and should live up to the honor. Currently the U.S. embassy in Athens is refusing to help. Worse yet, when we have protested by the Embassy, they ordered the Greek police to arrest us and put us in jail. Our captain John Klusmire was put in jail for four days.

We are following the footsteps of the Freedom Riders during the United States civil rights movement in promoting freedom, equality, and justice for Palestinians in Gaza. Our boat intends to go from international waters directly to Palestinian waters. We have no intentions to enter Israeli waters. Attacking and hijacking our boat would be an act tantamount to piracy.

As an artist, I was planning to meet other artists in Gaza to stage an art show at a children’s gallery. I brought many prints, photographs, posters, poetry, and music from artists and artist collectives who wanted to share their art with Palestinian civil society.

Remarkably, several items crucial to artists were, until recently, prohibited from being imported to the Gaza Strip through Israeli borders such as: musical instruments, size A4 paper, writing implements, pencils, crayons and notebooks. Also prohibited were newspapers, toys, hair brushes, hair combs, shoes, clothes, blankets, coffee, tea, toothpaste, detergent, fabric softener, dish soap, medicine and medical equipment, diapers, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, baby wipes, shampoo and conditioner. The only reason they are allowed today is because of the courageous effort of last year’s flotilla participants.

Israel’s siege policy was summed up several years ago by Dov Weisglass, an advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister, when he stated, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” This is an appalling and dangerous statement that has roused many to reconsider Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians and led more voices to be raised in concern.

The injustice of this blockade is worth highlighting for all the world to see. We are sailing despite repeated Israeli threats against the International Freedom Flotilla and last year’s attack on the first flotilla. The Israeli military apparatus is harming the rights and livelihoods of Palestinians in occupied Gaza and has no right to stop us in international or Palestinian waters. We sail without arms, but with conviction and love for Palestinian civilians too long denied their fundamental human rights.

I call on the Czech government to urge Greece to restore electricity to the boat immediately.

I call on the Czech government to urge Greece to permit our boat sail to a commercial marina.

I call on the Czech government to urge Greece to let all boats sail to international waters.

Libor █████████████

This application has been filed with the Parliament of Czech Republic 2669/2011 and was accepted for a further processing 2011-07-18 11:53:00
Potvrzení o převzetí podání
ÚŘAD : Senát PČR, 11801 Valdštejnské nám. 17/4, Praha

Název žádosti : Open letter to the Parliament of Czech Republic.
Číslo evidenční : 2669/2011
Identifikátor Spisové služby : 2410/2011
Datum evidence : 2011-07-18 11:53:00
Přijato od :  

Vaše podani 2669/2011 bylo přijato dne 2011-07-18 11:53:00 k dalšimu zpracováni.

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