US tells its citizens “Refrain from all travel to Gaza” 23Jun11 June 23, 2011

Palestine News Network -  23 June 2011

Washington DC - PNN – This week the United States Department of State has issued international travel advice to its citizens strongly urging against any travel to the Gaza Strip.

In an update to previous travel advice from August 2010, the State Department notably warned US citizens “against participation in any attempt to reach Gaza by sea.” The travel update continued with the stark message that past attempts to arrive in Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and “resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens.” A previous attempt to reach Gaza by sea on May 31st 2010 as part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla resulted in the death of eight Turkish and one US national while on board the Mavi Marmara.

Continuing the caution, the State Department stated that this advice applied to all citizens and that in the event of a problem consular staff would be “extremely limited” in the help they could provide; warning that “US citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the government of Israel.”

Speaking to the AFP, State Department officials admitted the update was an endeavour to dissuade US citizens from joining the upcoming Gaza flotilla. Earlier this week it was announced that US citizens would be participating in the flotilla on a boat named “The Audacity of Hope’.

Freedom Flotilla 2 is attempting to break the blockade by sailing to Gaza later this month.

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