Hundreds take part in NY Shalit flotilla

Source: YNetNews, 6-24-10

Two ships carrying some 1,200 passengers set sail to Statue of Liberty, UN headquarters on ‘True Freedom Flotilla’ for captive soldier’s release

Israelis are preparing for a march for Gilad Shalit, starting next week, but New Yorkers have already set sail in a call for his release. The “True Freedom Flotilla” for the captive soldier set sail on Thursday from Pier 40 on the Hudson River, en route to the Statue of Liberty and then to the United Nations building. The sail includes two vessels, each carrying 600 people.

The passengers include Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev, New York Consul-General Asaf Shariv, France’s deputy consul and a representative of the International Red Cross, who is slated to receive from Shalev a package meant for Gilad Shalit, containing undergarments, a pair of glasses and food.

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Paris rally: Free Gilad Shalit / Gilad Halpern
About 10,000 people attend protest marking fourth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s abduction
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The event was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group of 51 organizations throughout the United States.

The conference’s Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein noted that the Red Cross was prevented from seeing Gilad Shalit just last week, while Israel allows some 15,000 to 18,000 tons of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip each week.

‘True Freedom Flotilla’ for Gilad Shalit on Thursday (Photo: Ilan Klein)

The flotilla’s goal is to secure Shalit’s release from Hamas captivity, or at least pressure the organization into allowing Red Cross representatives to visit the soldier…. READ MORE

Iranian Gaza aid ship won’t sail due to ‘Israeli threats’

Iran flotilla organizers note Israel sees vessels from Iran, Lebanon as ‘sign of war’. Iranian MP: Different boat to sail next weekSource: YNetNews, 6-24-10

An Iranian organization announced Thursday evening that the vessel carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, which was to have started its journey on Sunday from Iran, will not set sail. An Iranian member of parliament said a different boat, carrying four Iranian lawmakers and many other Iranians would set off from Turkey instead.

The secretary general of an Iranian organization supporting Palestinians, Hussein Sheikh el-Islam, said during a press conference that the main reason for the cancellation was “the violent and inhuman attitude of the Zionist regime to humanitarian aid.” The vessel’s intended voyage was originally announced by the Iranian Red Crescent.

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“The vessel was supposed to leave for Gaza on Thursday, but because of hurdles put up by the Zionist regime regarding the impossibility of getting some of the goods (into the Strip), it was decided to postpone the departure to Sunday, but now this too will not happen,” Sheikh el-Islam was quoted by the Iranian news agency IRNA.

Israel sent a letter to the UN announcing that the arrival of vessels from Lebanon and Iran to the Gaza area would be a sign of war and it would act against them,” he added….READ MORE

New York Jews sail ‘True Freedom Flotilla’ for Gilad Shalit

New York’s Jewish community marks four years since the abduction of the Israeli soldier by Gaza militants.

Source: Haaretz, 6-24-10

New York’s Jewish community was set to mark four years since the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Gaza militants with what they call the “True Freedom Flotilla.”

Poster of Gilad Shalit in Bucharest An Israeli living in Romania writing a message calling for the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit on a billboard in Bucharest on June 23, 2010
Photo by: Reuters

The name chosen for the event echoes the name of a recent 8-ship flotilla that sailed from Turkey toward Gaza to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory, which was named the Freedom Flotilla.

The flotilla was to encircle the Statue of Liberty and then sail to United Nations building.

The two-hour event was to involve seven vessels: The Queen of Hearts which can hold up to 600 passengers, another smaller boat and five privately owned yachts.

The flotilla was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group of American Jewish organizations. Israel’s mission to the UN has also joined the initiative, as did Israel’s Consulate General in New York.

Boats were scheduled to move north on the East River at 12:00 noon New York time on Thursday, June 24th from Houston Street and West Side Highway. The flotilla can be viewed from the East River Esplanade. Entrance to the Esplanade is on the east side of First Avenue at 34th, 35th or 37th Streets.

“For four years, Hamas has denied Gilad Shalit the most basic rights, including visits by international organizations,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN said on Thursday, adding that this was both illegal and immoral.

Joel Lion, the Spokesperson and Consul for Media Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, has put together a package full of clothing and food which was to be handed to a Red Cross representative to be brought to Shalit though the organization’s international channels.

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