Woods Hole resident aboard Free Gaza flotilla
By: Elise R. Hugus
Katherine Sheetz has traveled to Gaza four times since 2008.
A part-time resident of Woods Hole is being held in detention in Israel after the marine convoy she was on, delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza, was raided by the Israeli military on Monday.
Katherine E. Sheetz, 63, who divides her time between California, Woods Hole, and humanitarian missions in Gaza and Haiti, was on her fourth voyage with the international coalition Free Gaza, a group dedicated to breaking Israel’s blockade of the isolated Palestinian territory.
Her daughter, Courtney Sheetz, came to Woods Hole from her home in New York City over the weekend to help her brother Jonathan Sheetz, of F.R. Lillie Road, make inquiries into their mother’s status.
At least nine people were killed during the raid on two of the group’s six ships, each carrying hundreds of passengers and thousands of pounds of building, medical, and school supplies.
In an e-mail to the Enterprise before her ship left Cyprus on May 25, Ms. Sheetz wrote her reasons for joining the trip to Gaza, 10 months after she was deported from Israel for taking part in another Free Gaza voyage.
“I am not for this blockade of 1.5 million people which is, frankly, an act of war. The fact that Israel controls [Gaza’s] land, sea, and air makes them occupiers, so we are demanding free passage as Israel should be held responsible for the well being of those they occupy,” wrote Ms. Sheetz, who joined several European and Israeli members of parliament on the voyage.
The raid took place in the Mediterranean Sea, about 40 miles off the Gazan coast in international waters.
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