Fiachra O Luain, Crewmember on Al Samoud, Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Our passengers include people from six EU countries and others from the USA. Before departing Dublin, the outgoing EU Ambassador to the USA; His Excellency Mr. John Bruton personally gave me his support for the flotilla stating that ours “is a much needed mission”, wished us well and offered his support. I thanked the former Taoiseach and his wife for their time and interest.

I filmed the Cypriot Police helicopter as it circled and photographed us, before informing us of their orders to forbid us from entering their 12 mile limit, despite the fact that we were experiencing technical difficulties and carrying European parliamentarians.

It is clear that the failure of European governments to successfully oppose the illegal and immoral blockade of Gaza has led to the appalling situation in which Israel has successfully pressurised an EU state into hindering an aid flotilla to Gaza. This is despite the explicit support of John Ging, Head of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, among other human rights activists and advocates. We urge all European parliamentarians to take tangible action in opposition to the Israeli blockade. Likewise, we call upon Cyprus to reconsider its position.

In addition, we urge Israel to withdraw its threats against this peaceful flotilla and show political maturity by immediately ending its siege of Gaza.