Man formerly detained in Israel speaking in St. John’s next Monday
Published on February 16, 2012
One of three Canadians abducted by Israeli forces from a Canadian ship carrying food and medical supplies destined for Gaza last fall will be speaking in St. John’s next Monday.
David Heap, who is also a faculty member in the French Studies and Linguistics program at the University of Western Ontario, will discuss Canada’s role in the blockade of Gaza and offer a firsthand account of what happened on the Tahrir — the ship destined for Gaza. According to a news release issued today, he was detained in Israel without charges.
The event is scheduled for Feb. 20 from 7-9 p.m. in the E.B. Foran Room at St. John’s City Hall.
“It’s one of those issues where it’s a matter of social injustice,” said Ken Kavanagh, chair of the St. John’s chapter of the Council of Canadians. “1.6 million Palestinian civilians are being denied access to food and important medical supplies.”
Heap and the other Canadians who were on the Tahrir are calling on the Canadian government to show a commitment to international law by exerting diplomatic pressure on Israel to recover the ship and all other Canadian property seized last fall.
They are also asking government to press Israel to not impede the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, including by sea. An air, land and sea blockade has been in place surrounding the Gaza Strip since 2007.
According to the news release, the ship was purchased through donations from individuals and organizations. $30,000 in medical aid is said to have been aboard the ship when it was seized in November of last year.
“This is one example of a country, Canada, one among many, that (was) trying to (bring) some sort of humanitarian aid to these people,” said Kavanagh. “All they were doing was taking a shipload ... of food and medical supplies to people who need it.”