Jim Manly must be released immediately! 

My parents want to raise awareness. My mother, Eva Manly has said she would like the media to focus on the Palestinians of Gaza, and that this story is not about my dad.

My parents concern is with all Palestinians and with the courageous Israeli Jews who work with them for justice. They are the reason for my parents involvement in the Gaza Ark. My father, Jim, spent some time with his youngest grandson just before leaving for Gaza. He said that this reinforced for him his conviction that all children have a right to grow up healthy and with the possibility of a future. 

The children of Gaza, many permanently stunted by malnutrition, do not now have this future. That is one of the reasons my parents are so committed to this international action. 

Both the UN UNRWA report Gaza in 2020: A liveable place? and the recently released 2008 Israeli government document that details it’s “red lines” for “food consumption in the Gaza Strip” show that there is an intentional humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip. 

According to the Haaretz report entitled ‘2,279 calories per person: How Israel made sure Gaza didn’t starve,’ the Israeli government has been limiting imports of food severely. Three quarters of the population of Gaza are reliant on food through the United Nations. 

I want my father home. 

I support my parents conviction to this cause but it is time for my father to come home. It is time for Prime Minister Harper to speak up for an honourable Canadian citizen (a retired United Church Minister and former Member of Parliament) and secure his release.

If Canada and Israel are the close allies that the Prime Minister has said they are, then he should be able to secure my father release with one quick phone call. 

We have made the following three requests to the government of Canada. 

1. That my father immediately be given an opportunity to phone his family — either my mother Eva or myself. 

2. That the Canadian Ambassador to Israel seek the immediate release of my father from Israeli detention. The Italian, Greek and Spanish governments all sent ambassadors or consular officials to meet with their citizens as soon as the Estelle arrived at port and have secured the release of all of their citizens. The Canadian government must do the same immediately. 

3. That my father not be forced to sign a document containing a false confession to secure his release. I understand the document they are demanding that he sign states that he confesses to entering Israel illegally. This is a lie and my father should not be forced to lie in order to be released from custody. The Estelle was intercepted by Israeli forces in international waters and my father was forced to go to Israel against his will. The destination of the Estelle was Gaza not Israel. I also understand that some people who have signed this document in the past have been detained for almost a week afterwards. Signing this false confession is not necessarily a get out of jail card. 

The Israelis have reassured the media and foreign governments, including Canada, that the Estelle was boarded peacefully. It has now been confirmed by eye witnesses aboard the Estelle that this is not true. The facts are that Israeli military tasered some of the people on the Estelle with stun guns, that some passengers were handcuffed very tightly and left in uncomfortable positions for hours on end and that passengers were left in the sun all day Saturday. Here is an account from Marco Ramazzotti Stockel an Italian citizen who was aboard the Estelle. 

I have also heard from people who have been in Israeli detention that the Israelis will play psychological games with my father, try to scare him and stress him out. 

My father must be released from detention immediately and put on the first plane available back to Canada.