Israeli Navy Kidnaps US Peace Activist on Gaza-Bound Boat

WASHINGTON, DC (Tasnim) – Former American diplomat and peace activist Ann Wright has been kidnapped by the Israeli Navy while she was on a vessel carrying female activists bound for the Gaza Strip.

According to Tasnim dispatches, CodePink staff learned on Tuesday that the “Women’s Boat to Gaza” was making good progress on the Mediterranean and the women on board were excited about meeting the people on the shores of Gaza who were waiting for them. Some Palestinians even spent the night at the beach to greet them.

However, on Thursday at 9:58am EDT, flotilla organizers lost contact with the boat, Zaytouna-Oliva. The US Embassy confirmed that the boat was intercepted and Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Zaytouna-Oliva was boarded by members of the Israeli navy. The Israelis took control of the boat and rerouted it – under force – to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

CodePink failed to establish contact with Ann Wright or the rest of the women on board, and has no information where they are.

“It is important to know that this happened in international waters. Not only are Israel’s actions illegal, but they set a terrifying precedent, giving a greenlight for other nations to attack civilian ships in international waters. The Zaytouna-Oliva was carrying no material aid. This was by design because Israel, as a premise for their attacks, would claim that weapons and contraband were on board. The owner of Zaytouna-Oliva is Israeli,” CodePink stressed in a press release.

Leading the flotilla volunteers is Ann Wright, a decorated former US diplomat and long-time CODEPINK activist. On board with her, were three parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, and Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire. They were committed to nonviolence as much as they were committed to breaking the blockade.

In preparation for interference from the Israelis, Wright had prepared a video announcing that she had been taken by force by the Israeli military.

CodePink organizers urged the public to contact President Barak Obama and Secretary John Kerry and request that they exert their influence on the Israeli regime for an immediate release of these women, in addition to demanding that an investigation be launched into the seizure of the boat.

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