The SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty left port in Gaza at 3:40 PM, and have
begun their long voyage back to Cyprus. Aboard the ship are seven
Palestinian passengers, including several children. We were able to speak
with Paul Larudee on the SS Liberty just a few minutes ago:

“We’re a little over an hour into our return trip to Cyprus and, unlike
when we came in, there are several Israeli naval vessels in sight. We seem
to be the focus of their activity, the center of their attention so to
speak. However they’re keeping a careful distance, not really approaching
us. We expect to reach the twelve-mile limit around 7 PM this evening, and
then cross over into international waters.

“When we arrived in Gaza last Saturday, it was the first time in forty-one
years that anyone has freely entered Gaza. But our leaving is in a way
even more significant. Last Saturday, two of our Palestinian members came
into Gaza on these boats. Today, seven more Palestinians are leaving with
them. They got exit stamps from the Palestinian government, they boarded
the ships, and soon they’ll be in international waters, and then in
Cyprus. This is the first time, ever, that Palestinians have been able to
freely enter and leave their own country. It’s an incredible step forward,
and a sign of greater things to come.”

–Paul Larudee, aboard the SS Liberty, freely leaving Gaza.