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It's Nam,  Nehnu Nastatyeh! in Arabic.
Si Se Puede! in Spanish, a cry that was heard on the lettuce fields of California in a movement begun by a man from Delano.
Yes we Can! in English, heard today from California to New York, from the suburban malls of Orange County to the inner-city Churches of Chicago to the rain-soaked crowds of Chester, Pennsylvania, among those who want a new direction for the United States, not just better management of the old ways.  

Once again, despite a very clear threat is issued from the Israeli Occupation forces, but despite that, a boat load of nonviolent peace/human rights activists, have landed in Gaza. The Israeli government decides once again to not act, at least on this day, as a modern Sheriff Jim Clark to 21st century Freedom Riders, in what would have otherwise been a public relations disaster for the Israeli government.

This is Part II of a new chapter in the incredible power of nonviolent organized action.

According to Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza spokesperson and law lecturer at al-Quds University in Jerusalem: "The SS Dignity is carrying 27 unarmed civilians, as well as a ton of urgently needed medical supplies. We will be sailing from Cypriot territorial waters to international waters, directly into Gaza territorial waters. We do not pose a 'security threat' to Israel, we will not be going anywhere near Israeli waters, and therefore, Israel does not have any legal right to violently disrupt our mission."

So often, in my work for change in US policy in Israel/Occupied Palestine, i am asked "Why don't Palestinians work nonviolently for change?" I would answer with a question: "Why is it that not more Americans actually support the Palestinians, Israelis and internationals who are joining together in their nonviolent activism that will bring peace with justice for all in the Middle East?"

More from Haaretz Story:

Nevertheless, in discussions held over the past few weeks between the PMO, Foreign Ministry and the IDF, it was decided that this time the boat would not be allowed to reach Gaza. "The first time we wanted to prevent a provocation, but if it is to become a routine, then we will have to make it clear we will not allow it," said a senior official in Jerusalem.

I think that threat was meant to instill fear in the participants in this voyage for humanity. The problem was the people in this boat are not easily persuaded by such things. Many have already faced arrest. Who are these people?

From Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement:

It's 2:30 am, and Osama has just gone to get some sleep for a couple of hours. He and I wait in Cyprus for news from the Dignity and watch the small blip of the SPOT checker as it moves slowly toward Gaza and a possible forceful intervention from the well-armed Israeli navy somewhere are  6:00 am. The rumblings out of Jerusalem are fierce. They will not let us come into Gaza, because we didn't behave the last time. What that means only the minds of neurotic military men can sort through, and I am reminded of the movie, Dr. Strangelove, only this confrontation will be real, pitting nonviolent human rights watchers against the 4th largest military in the world.

The people on board are now Osama's and my friends, most of them having been to Cyprus twice in an attempt to get on board. We talked to David S about a half hour ago, and 80% of them are sea-sick, some seriously. Even with the new boat, one that rides better and is more stable, the people are still sick. Twenty-seven of them are crowded onto that boat, because they care enough about the human rights of an occupied people being slowly strangled to death by Israeli military might to take the risk.

There is the doctor from Germany who was born in Jerusalem and has not been able to go home. There is the businessman and human rights worker from Holland whose arm was blown off by Israel during one of the many wars in Lebanon. There is dear Mairead Maguire, Ireland, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has always believed in us more than we believe in us, her gentle smile reminding everyone that it makes more sense to talk than to fight.

There are four from Ireland, two from Greece, two from occupied Palestine, three from Israel, including one Jew and two Palestinians. They have found common ground as they make their way to the port of Gaza, because they all know they have to live in the same small space, and kicking one ethnic group out in favor of another will never work. They get it.

This is a wonderful victory, but there is much more work to do. Israel continues to attack fisherman who dare to fish farther than a few miles offshore (you've heard the proverb "teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"? For the Israeli Navy it seems to be "Prevent fishing where the fish are plentiful and you starve not only the fisherman, but a whole village". And keeping people hungry/malnourished is part of deliberate policy, as Uri Avnery and others have documented.

...convened for a discussion with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on ways to respond to the Hamas election victory. Everyone agreed on the need to impose an economic siege on the Palestinian Authority, and Weissglas, as usual, provided the punch line: "It's like an appointment with a dietitian. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die,"

Every credible human rights organization, every credible humanitarian organization, have documented that Israel has not allowed enough supplies to enter Gaza that will adequately supply its population, just enough to keep them barely alive. Malnourishment is on the rise, especially among children.

This is not a rational response to people who simply have expressed a contrary view in their voting patterns. This is nothing less than a crime against a whole people, it is collective punishment at its worst. It is done with the support of the US government.  Let it not be done in our names.

So let us celebrate that the power of nonviolence, of human solidarity, of joining together of Palestinians, Jews, an Irish Nobel Prize winner, of Israel Knesset members, and the common folks of the ship "Dignity" who "get it", they have won this small victory.  There will be no peace until people know they are all, in a very real way, on this boat together.

I’m here for other children.
I’m here because I care.
I’m here because children everywhere are suffering and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger.
I’m here because those people are mostly children.....
We have got to understand that people in third world countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.
We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.
We have got to understand that they are us. We are them. -
Rachel Corrie, Age 10

We are bound together in a mutual web of destiny. - Dr Martin Luther King

Originally posted to Tom J on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 08:10 AM PDT.

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