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Press TV: Peace activists call world to wake-up

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International activists and Palestinians tour the destroyed houses and farms in the Gaza Strip on October 30, 2008

The plight of Gaza residents has come as a shock to human rights activists who are now in the coastal region to expose Israeli crimes.

“The world has been very neglectful… very neglectful of Palestine, and I do not understand how this can be happening, and [how] the world can allow it to happen,” British activist John McDougal told Press TV correspondent Yousef Al-Helou.

“The world sees only the point of view of Israel,” he continued.

McDougal is among activists from the Free Gaza Movement. He arrived in Gaza aboard the SS Dignity along with 26 other unarmed civilians on Wednesday in spite of Israeli threats to stop their voyage.

The Free Gaza Movement has pledged to expose the Israeli apartheid and injustice against the Palestinians. The SS Dignity is the third ship to break the siege on the strip.

The pro-Palestinian activists say by breaking the Israeli embargo and entering Gaza they want to set an example for others to follow suit.

“If I had a message to the world, it would be to wake up, and to understand the level of oppression that the people of Gaza are living through, and to respond to the humanitarian tragedy and crisis that is unfolding here, and to challenge the complicity of our governments in the West and also Arab regimes in the daily massacre of the people of Gaza,” said Irish human rights activist Caoimhe Butterly.

Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire (L) holds a gift from Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on October 29, 2008.
“I have been inspired by civilized beautiful people. I am saddened by the fact that you are living in such an uncivilized situation,” said Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire, who was shot by Israeli forces in a previous visit to the area.

The 1.5 million people residing in the coastal strip have suffered under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. Tel Aviv has imposed restrictions on the entry into Gaza of vital goods, including food, fuel, medical supplies and construction materials.

The Gaza siege has provoked an outcry with peace activists worldwide condemning the human rights violation.

In August, two Greek boats — carrying high-profile people such as Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British premier Tony Blair and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein — arrived in the populated region in defiance of the Israeli blockade for the first time.