Irish American political activist Ken O’Keefe is on hunger strike in an Israeli jail whilst fighting deportation after being arrested for attempting to enter Gaza on Thursday. Last year, the former US Marine and Gulf War veteran returned to Iraq with more than 500 Human Shields. After entering Gaza via a settlement, he was detained by 10 Israeli soldiers whilst walking along the beach into the Palestinian area.
O’Keefe wished to strengthen his contact with Palestinian militant groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas, and personally discuss with leaders in Gaza his P10K plan to bring 10,000 western citizens to act as international observers in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
As part of P10K — Palestine 10,000 — O’Keefe wishes to secure an “Agreement in Principle” from Palestinian militant factions which would see an end to their operations inside Israel contingent upon the arrival of the 10,000 strong “P10K FORCE”. Securing the agreement would create huge political stresses for Israel if it tried to refuse entry to the force, as the security of its own citizens would be contingent upon allowing their entry.
O’Keefe said: “My detention is a futile attempt to silence my charge that Palestinian Gaza is nothing less than a massive prison with Israeli control that denies entry to all it sees fit. There is no ‘legal’ channel permitting someone like myself to enter Gaza.”
“If I am deported it is because I went to Gaza armed only with an “Agreement in Principle” that if agreed upon would bring a legitimate chance for Truth, Justice and Peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
“Based on two previous ceasefires (2001, 2003) it is my belief that Hamas and Islamic Jihad would agree to give the P10K ceasefire the opportunity to succeed in compelling the application of International Law, which demands an end to Israel’s illegal occupation.”
“I am conducting a hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinians who have no freedom, no justice; it’s food for the human soul.”
In addition to seeking O’Keefe’s release, P10K organizers are currently finalizing details of a summer tour schedule throughout Europe and Japan to register individuals to join the P10K FORCE.