US congressmen call on state secretary to ensure Gaza flotilla safety 29Jun11 June 30, 2011

The Palestinian Information Centre -  29 June 2011

NAZARETH, (PIC)– Six U.S. legislators have called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ensure the safety of the American citizens on board the Audacity of Hope ship due to set sail to the Gaza Strip to deliver much needed humanitarian aid sometime this week.

36 Americans are slated to board the ship, which took its name from U.S. President Barack Obama’s best-selling book. Among them are American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Alice Walker and the former U.S. ambassador to Ecuador Samuel Hart.

The Israeli naval forces have announced conducting intense drills in preparation of intercepting the U.S. ship, which is part of a ten-ship international flotilla designed to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The passengers have said that the ship is open for international inspection and that they are committed to nonviolence and the tenets of international law.

The Gaza Ministry of Justice has expressed support for the flotilla’s mission and said that Israel’s repeated threats against the flotilla are deemed a war crime, as they indicate a premeditated attack on peaceful citizens sending a peaceful message and humanitarian aid.

In a statement, the ministry held the world community responsible for protecting the ship’s citizens.

Clinton had previously accused the flotilla of provoking action by entering into Israeli waters.

The letter is the first time U.S. congressmen have shown concern for activists on board the ship.

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