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The Dignity with heavy damage after being shot at and rammed by an Israeli warship
The Dignity with heavy damage after being shot at and rammed by an Israeli warship
Early in the morning of 30th December the Free Gaza vessel, The Dignity, found itself surrounded by a number of Israeli warships. Ex-US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a passenger on the boat, described how the Israeli boats called them 'terrorists and subversives' on the ship phone before ordering them to return to Cyprus (despite later claims that they were unaware of the boat's identity or origins). They then fired live ammunition around the boat before ramming it three times, causing heavy damage. At the time it was 90 miles off the coast of Gaza and well within international waters.

The Dignity was carrying three surgeons and tons of medical supplies for the dilapidated and collapsing Palestinian medical system as well as human rights workers and journalists from Al-Jazeera and CNN. It was the latest attempt by Free Gaza to breach the blockade in the face of Israeli threats and intimidation (see SchNEWS 644 and SchNEWS 653). The first boats arrived in Gaza in August 2008, the first international boats to land in the port for 41 years. Five boats have safely made it so far.

Free Gaza have stated their determination to continue with their mission to break the siege and raise international awareness. They have already identified another boat, capable of carrying 30 passengers and 10-15 tones of cargo, and are hoping to launch in the next two weeks. They are currently looking for passengers for the boat, especially doctors, journalists, long-term human rights workers, and political figures and urgently needed medical supplies.

Anyone interested in being a passenger can contact Karin at: kpally at or call Huwaida at +357-96-723-999, while anyone who can make any donation of medical supplies or a contribution towards their purchase can contact Lubnna at or +357-99-081-767. They also request that supporters stage vigils outside the Israeli Embassy from the moment the boat departs until it arrives safely


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