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Freedom Flotilla: Irish on the way home (via Istanbul) / Audio of Shane Dillon / Dublin Demo on Sat
* Shane Dillon Addresses Press Conference in Dublin
The IPSC has learned, with relief, that the remaining Irish Freedom Flotilla prisoners are in the air tonight, en route from Tel Aviv airport to Istanbul, along with all the remaining detainees from the ill fated aid flotilla.Last night, around 120 people were deported via Israel's border with Jordan.
L-R: Sen. MArk Daly (FF), Chris Andrews TD (FF), Shane Dillion (Gaza Freedom Flotilla) & Freda Hughes (IPSC)
Dr Fintan Lane of the IPSC who is one of the prisoners, was able to make a short phone call to his father Jim late this evening where he said: "I don't expect to move from here for a while. Conditions have been brutal as people are being abused, including one man who has received a broken arm." Dr Lane also reported that the Irish Embassy in Turkey had booked accommodation for the Irish nationals in Istanbul, and that they would be flying home on Thursday morning.
Shane Dillon Press Conference
Earlier today returned flotilla crewman Shane Dillon met with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Michael Martin, and then spoke at a press conference in Dublin. He said: "I am of course relieved to be home, but it must not be forgotten that we never should have been kidnapped in the first place. This was an act of piracy by Israel. But worse than what happened to me and others was the killing of our fellow flotilla passengers. But the real evil is the ongoing brutal siege of Gaza which has been in place for three years and is strangling the life out of this tiny but highly populated area."
Also speaking at the press conference, Freda Hughes of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), said: "The IPSC has been working tirelessly on behalf of these courageous volunteers who engaged in an action of genuine solidarity with the Palestinian people. This flotilla aimed to break the ongoing siege of Gaza which has turned the tiny coastal strip into an open-air prison. We must remember that the blockade is part of the unjust occupation of Palestine, which itself is merely a symptom of the racist apartheid ideology that underpins the Israeli state, namely Zionism."
Full audio of the conference can be downloaded as an MP3 here: http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/ipsc/displayRe...D=353
MV Rachel Corrie Update
Meanwhile, the Irish-owned vessel the MC Rachel Corrie continues en route to Gaza with its 1,000 tonne cargo of medical supplies, children toys, eductional and rebuilding supplies. It is expected to arrive on Monday and is currently in the Libyan sea, off Crete. Speaking earlier today from the boat, Irishman Derek Graham said that he was glad that Irish government was calling for safe passage for the ship, and that "if this aid is not delivered, then Monday's deaths will have been in vain". He went on to say that if Israeli forces attempted to board the ship, all 15 passengers would sit with their arms in the air so that they would not be attacked. He also called for an end to the illegal three-year-old Israeli siege of Gaza.
Mass Demonstration on Saturday
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has called a mass demonstration for 2pm this Saturday in Dublin at which the Freedom Flotilla deportees will speak. The demonstration will assemble at 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance and from there will march to the Department of Foreign Affairs on St. Stephen's Green.
Dr David Landy, Chairperson of the IPSC said: "We are calling on the Irish public, civil society and all political parties to support us in this demonstration that will welcome home the Irish heroes of the Freedom Flotilla who were kidnapped at sea in an act of Israeli piracy, while their comrades were murdered. It is vitally important that the Irish public come out on the streets and show their support and solidarity with the Freedom Flotilla and the besieged people of Gaza. We look forward to hearing the prisoners' stories of their experiences free of the spin of the Israeli PR machine."
Dr Landy continued: "We are also calling on the public to support the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel." Dr Landy went on to outline proposals that the IPSC was asking the Irish government to take:
(1) End its arms trade with Israel, e.g. the purchase of helmets and bullets from Israeli
(2) Support the suspension of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement until Israel
complies with international law
(3) Ensure that the Ďsilent upgradeí of EU-Israeli relations is halted until Israel complies
with international law
(4) Work to reverse Israel's premature accession to the OECD
(5) Withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv as other countries have done, and expel the
Israeli ambassador to Ireland.
(6) Exercise pressure on Irish multinational CRH to divest from its Israeli subsidiary that is
engaged in building the Separation Wall deemed illegal by the International Court of
Justice in 2005