Wednesday, July 1, 2009
By Mel Frykberg
"RAMALLAH, Jul 1 (IPS) - Twenty-one international peace activists were seized by Israeli naval frigates in international waters Tuesday as their boat 'The Spirit of Humanity' tried to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The activists, including former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Irish Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire, and nationals from 11 other countries were part of the Free Gaza Movement (FGM) efforts to break Israel's naval and border blockade of Gaza.
The activists were taken to Israel's Ashdod port and from there to detention cells at Ben Gurion international airport in Tel Aviv where they await deportation.
"They simply kidnapped the passengers," said FGM founding member Greta Berlin.....
Arraf, a law lecturer, was born in the U.S. to a Palestinian family from within Israel's Green Line, or internationally recognised borders. She is also a U.S. citizen.
Deporting her could be problematic, and she may face court for attempting to enter Gaza. Israeli law bans Israeli citizens from entering the coastal territory.
Several attempts by IPS to contact Arraf in detention were unsuccessful. FGM reported that it had also been unable to contact activists on their cell phones in detention......"