Top US peace activist to take part in June Gaza flotilla 18Jun11 June 19, 2011

The Palestinian Information Centre -  18 June 2011

Renowned American peace activist and author Kathy Kelly, founder of the Voices for Creative Nonviolence website, has announced that she is going to participate on the Audacity of Hope ship, which will soon attempt to bust the Israeli siege on Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla II.

The announcement comes just a day after Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alice Walker announced she would take part on the same ship after calling Israel “evil”.

Kelly said in an article published by the U.S.’s Counterpunch newsletter that the ship aims to “nonviolently end the brutal collective punishment imposed on Gazan residents since 2006 when the Israeli government began a stringent air, naval, and land blockade of the Gaza Strip explicitly to punish Gaza’s residents for choosing the Hamas government in a democratic election”.

She said: “I was witness to one such attack when last in Gaza two years ago, under heavy Israeli bombardment in a civilian neighborhood in Rafah.”

“In January 2009, I lived with a family in Rafah during the final days of the ‘Operation Cast Lead’ bombing,” she explained. “We were a few streets down from an area where there was heavy bombing. Employing its ever-replenished stockpile of U.S. weapons, the Israeli government sought to destroy tunnels beneath the Egyptian border through which food, medicine, badly-needed building supplies, were evading the internationally condemned blockade and entering Gaza.”

“All I could feel at the time was that the people in the Gaza Strip were horribly trapped, almost paralyzed,” she said.

She went on to say that “the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, amounting to what is internationally recognized as an apartheid system, could end in peace, with Israel abandoning paranoia and racial violence to allow peace”.

She concluded the article by noting that “apartheid ended in South Africa without the wave of bloodshed and reprisals that its supporters claimed to fear as their excuse for holding on to the wealth and power which their system afforded them”.

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