Up to 50 Americans are set to sail from a Greek port on a U.S.-flagged ship that is part of an international flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and letters of support for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian residents. Its fate is now in limbo under the weight of U.S.-Israeli pressure and Greece's economic turmoil.
Israel insists it will enforce its blockade on Gaza, which it says is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the Hamas government.
"The Israelis do have a right to interdict arms traffic. We're bearing letters," says Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst and passenger on the U.S. aid ship, to Democracy Now! in Athens. "How can these letters be considered a threat to the security of Israel?"
Democracy Now! producer Aaron Maté is in Athens to cover the journey of The Audacity of Hope, named after President Obama's bestselling book. He and fellow producer, Hany Massoud, are the only journalists personally invited to sail with the U.S. delegation.
They file this exclusive report. They speak with several people, including: Jane Hirschmann, organizer with the U.S. ship in the Gaza Flotilla; Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst and passenger on the U.S. ship in the Gaza Flotilla; Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink and passenger on the U.S. ship in the Gaza Flotilla; and Lisa Fithian, longtime progressive organizer and passenger on the U.S. ship in the Gaza Flotilla.
Click here to read the complete transcript and for more Democracy Now! reports on the Gaza flotilla this year, and in 2010.