GAZA (24 August 2008) - Early yesterday evening, against all odds, 42 global citizens on two small boats: the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, broke the siege on Gaza and opened the eyes of the world.
Two years in the planning and sailing over 350 kilometers through choppy seas, despite threats from the Israeli government that they would use force to stop them, the fearless crew sailed the last hours of their journey without communications and navigation systems which had been jammed.
"We recognize that we're two, humble boats, but what we've accomplished is to show that average people from around the world can mobilize to create change. We do not have to stay silent in the face of injustice. Reaching Gaza today, there is such a sense of hope, and hope is what mobilizes people everywhere."--Huwaida Arraf, Palestinian-American sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Liberty.
"We're the first ones in 41 years to enter Gaza freely - but we won't be the last. We welcome the world to join us and see what we're seeing."--Paul Larudee, Ph.D. and Cofounder of the Free Gaza Movement, sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Liberty.
"What we've done shows that people can do what governments should have done. If people stand up against injustice, we can truly be the conscience of the world."--Jeff Halper, Ph.D., American-Israeli professor of anthropology and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), sailed to Gaza aboard the SS Free Gaza.
On August 22, 2008, Paul Larudee, son of an Iranian Presbyterian minister and his American missionary spouse, wrote from aboard the SS Liberty, the second boat of the Free Gaza Movement:
The signature of Israeli Navy Commander in Chief Admiral Eliezer Marom appears on a very odd document…dated August 11th, 2008…it includes the sketch of a map and a series of coordinates …to define the zone, which includes all of Gaza coastal waters, and a major slice of international waters as well. It advises all foreign vessels to remain clear of this zone because of a “security situation” that is apparently so obvious that it requires no definition or explanation. The only hint about the “security situation” is a reference to the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, which, according to the document, should be done only at the land crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip (i.e. by Israeli permission only)…an explanation for such a strange document, disseminated (as nearly as can be determined) to a narrow circle of maritime authorities. It is that the document itself is an embarrassment to Israel, which nevertheless feels compelled to issue it in some form, as a disclaimer for any forceful action that they might take against an unnamed threat.
The embarrassment is that the unnamed threat consists of the two converted fishing boats of the Free Gaza Movement, bought and refurbished in Greece, and flying the Greek flag. On board is a contingent of forty-three crew and human rights advocates, sworn to nonviolence, as well as a modest cargo of hearing aids for Palestinian children in Gaza. Among their ranks are a Greek member of parliament, an 81-year-old Catholic nun and the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. No wonder Israel is embarrassed.-Paul Larudee 
Paul is a soft spoken gentle person, who came of age in the Midwest and is a leader in the San Francisco Bay Area on the issue of justice in the land of Israel Palestine, which includes the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and occupied east Jerusalem.
In the summer of 2006, Paul, a former Fulbright-Hayes lecturer had scheduled twenty piano tuning appointments throughout the West Bank; but instead, spent two weeks in a Ben Gurion jail cell before being deported because of his NON-VIOLENT activism against the route of The Wall and perhaps-his vocal dissent from how American Tax Dollars Support the Israeli Military Occupation of Palestine, now in its 41st year.
Greta Berlin, the other Co-Founder of the Free Gaza Movement, is an Irish American dissident, and pleased to be listed as a member on the Jewish S.H.I.I.T.E. List, of 7,000 Jews who have been labeled as "self-hating and Israel-threatening Ediots" by judgmental Zionist Jews.
Greta is the mother of two Palestinian/American children who began in the '60's to advocate for human rights for Palestinians. Greta has been to the West Bank three times since 2003 and was wounded by Israeli gunfire in July 2003 while engaging in active creative and nonviolent resistance.
Jeff Halper, the American-Israeli and Founder and Coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, has been resisting the occupation for decades by standing up to Caterpillar Bulldozers and rebuilding Palestinian homes after they have been demolished by Israel who pays the owner no compensation, claims 'security' as their reason, but in reality are practicing another form of ethnically cleansing the land of the indigenous people.
Jeff was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 and is credited with the defining explanation of Israeli democracy, "Israel is not a democracy, but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control."
Jeff also said, "Missing from Israel's security framing is the very fact of occupation, which Israel both denies exists...and that 'security' requires Israel control over the entire country...rendering impossible a just peace based on human rights, international law, reconciliation…
"We need to expose Israel as the regional superpower and [necessary component in the American Empire] that it really is. Its economy is three times larger than Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon put together. Israel is not the little David of the area, but actually the Goliath." 
Report by Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor WAWA:
Author "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu"