Free Gaza Movement invites Israeli FM to welcome them as they sail to Gaza

A group of international peace activist invited the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni to welcome them in the Gaza Strip as they arrive from their planned sail from Cyprus to Gaza.The group are planning a boat trip from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip to break the siege imposed on the coastal region. They also aim at raising international awareness about the “prison-like” closure of the strip and to pressure the international community to consider sanctions policy and end its support to Israel as long as the latter continues to occupy the Palestinian land.

The boat, which is expected to sail in the coming few days, carries around 60 passengers from different parts of the world. The full script of the letter invitation which was sent on August 5, 2008 is available below.

Dear Foreign Minister Livni:

On behalf of the Free Gaza Movement, we would like to formally invite you to join us on our upcoming voyage from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip. We feel that your presence on this important mission would help alleviate concerns that have been expressed in the Israeli media about our objectives. More importantly, we believe that it would be extremely helpful for you to see firsthand the horrific effects of Israeli policies on the people of the Gaza Strip, as well as to witness firsthand the effectiveness of non-violent action in bringing about positive change.

While we disagree with many of the statements and policies you have made as the Israeli Foreign Minister, we wholeheartedly agree with a portion of something you wrote two years ago when you said:

‘For too long, the Middle East has been governed by zero-sum logic. One side’s loss was seen as the other’s gain. This thinking has brought much suffering to our region’ (Tzipi Livni, ‘The Peace Alternative,’ Asharq Alawsat, 18 June 2007).

This is absolutely correct. We seek an end to this suffering. We find ourselves, and you must be feeling this intensely yourself, in truly difficult times. The one thing that is clear is that violence has not worked for anyone in this conflict. As a group of avowed non-violent, peace activists, we hope that you will accept this opportunity, move past the zero-sum logic of your government’s blockade, and join us on this historic voyage to break the Siege of Gaza.

Your government’s siege on the people of Gaza has been deemed illegal by numerous human rights organizations, has lead to the death of over 200 patients in the last year as a result of being denied adequate medical care, and has caused a man-made humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. Clearly this is not the behavior of a civilized government, nor can these policies ever lead to peace for Israel.

Our voyage may seem to be a quixotic endeavor and therefore easily dismissed, but as a group of individuals who fervently believe that such moves can be vitally transforming, and that individuals do indeed each have the power to change our world for the better, we hope that you will take our offer seriously. We set sail for Gaza in the next few days. Please join us.

Sincerely Yours,
The Steering Committee for the Free Gaza Movement, Cyprus

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George Rishmawi

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