Freedom flotilla again heading toward Gaza

In about a week, a U.S.-flagged boat - the Audacity of Hope - will join with several other boats in the Mediterranean to take part in the second international freedom flotilla to Gaza.

The purpose of this international effort is to break the more than 4-year-old siege of Gaza by the Israeli government and to draw attention to the continuing severe conditions in which the 1.4 million Gazans carry on their daily lives.

Two courageous citizens from Connecticut will be on the boat: Gale Toensing and Libor Schonau. Sailing with them will be 30 other Americans, including well-known poet and author Alice Walker; Col. Ann Wright, a former soldier and diplomat who served in Afghanistan, and Hedy Epstein, an 86-year-old survivor of the Holocaust.

A smaller international flotilla attempted the same effort a year ago and was met with Israeli live fire, which resulted in nine deaths, including that of 19-year-old American, Furkan Dogan. No protest was lodged by the U.S. State Department, nor did it object to the rough handling of other Americans in the flotilla and the seizure of all their property.

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