The first of the Freedom Flotilla ships, the Marianne, gets a big farewell from Sweden last week.
Kia Ora Gaza has been invited to send a New Zealand contingent to join the new international Freedom Flotilla to Gaza next month. We hope to be able to name the delegation soon. We have launched an appeal to cover the costs. Our target is $15,000.
FREEDOM FLOTILLA APPEAL – HOW TO DONATE:
Make a direct payment to our bank account: Kia Ora Gaza Trust, 03-0211-0447718-000, Westpac Bank, Onehunga branch. Afterwards, email email@example.com with your deposit details so our Board of Trustees can send you an e-receipt.
Or write a cheque for ‘Kia Ora Gaza’ and post to: Kia Ora Gaza Trust, P.O. Box 86022, Mangere East, Auckland 2158
Kia Ora Gaza is a Charitable Trust incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.
The Flotilla will comprise at least three ships. The first, the Marianne, departed from Sweden last week, and has arrived in Germany on the way to the Mediterranean sea to link up with the other boats.
Organisers said “Marianne will join other ships and together they will form the ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ in order to perform a peaceful, nonviolent action to break the illegal and inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip.”
Marianne’s cargo includes donated medical equipment and solar panels: “The sun cannot be blockaded.”
RT video interview with filmmaker and activist Osama Qashoo who was on the Freedom Flotilla five years ago.
The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza has launched an international campaign to mobilise support and advocacy politically and diplomatically for the Freedom Flotilla III which included a number of meetings with European parliamentarians and parties’ advisers.
The campaign confirmed during these meetings the need to press Israel to immediately lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki (Dec. 2011 – Dec. 2014) confirmed his participation on one of the FF III vessels. He indicated full support for the mission. Delegations, including law makers, well known artists, activists and media from up to 15 counties will also join the Flotilla
Conditions in Gaza are worse than ever. In March, UNRWA said “the effects of (Israel’s) occupation, blockade and recurring military campaigns have devastated not only Palestine refugee homes, lives and income, but also hope for a secure and dignified future.”
Separately it said “Gaza and its people are becoming more isolated. Families fear and worry that in addition to the devastated economy and stalled political environment, the future of their children is also under siege.”
Israel ruthlessly holds 1.8 million Gazans hostage to its to aim for Middle East dominance.
Regional wars serve Israeli interests. They help its expansionist agenda – at the cost of millions of lost lives and futures.
Israel ‘will not allow’ peace flotilla
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman announced on Monday that ‘Israel will not allow unauthorized boats to enter its territorial waters’ as the converted trawler Marianne left Sweden intending to break the illegal naval blockade of Gaza.
Without referring to the specific Swedish boat, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that “if the so-called helpful Gaza flotillas were really interested in the welfare of the population in Gaza, they would send their aid via Israel. The fact that they insist on a flotilla demonstrates this is an unnecessary provocation.”
The first Freedom Flotilla was led by Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara, which set off towards the besieged Gaza Strip in May 2010 before Israeli forces attacked it in international waters killing ten activists and injuring many others.
Gaza remains illegally and tightly blockaded despite Israel’s pledge to ease it. Large parts of the Strip lie in ruins, with thousands of families still without adequate shelter – almost nine months since Israel’s last war of aggression ended, resulting in over 2000 Palestinian deaths and many thousands injured.
Funds pledged for reconstruction have been almost totally blocked as Israel maintains tight control over what’s allowed in or out.
Living conditions are deplorable. Most Gazans have no electricity 18 or more hours daily. Over 90% of the water is undrinkable, and half a million residents have no running water. Other basic services are woefully inadequate.
Almost half the population is unemployed, including nearly 70% of youths. Around 80% rely on desperately needed humanitarian aid.
Israel’s cruel siege is slowly suffocating Gaza’s 1.8 million people. Egypt’s military rulers have closed down the border crossing at Rafah.
Efforts to break Israel’s siege and deliver vital humanitarian aid are blocked – at times violently.
Flotilla III is a humanitarian mission to deliver vital aid and challenge the naval blockade. Israel blocked the Flotilla II vessels from reaching Gaza.
Its mission statement says the flotillas “will continue to sail until the illegal blockade of Gaza is permanently lifted.”
“Our objective is humanitarian. Our basis lies in international humanitarian law. Our method is non-violent.”
Israel’s blockade is blatantly illegal. It’s slow-motion genocide. It needs to be unconditionally ended.
World leaders able to help, sit on their hands and do nothing. They issue outrageous statements calling for “quiet diplomacy” – code language for condoning Israel’s worst crimes. The humanitarian flotillas and solidarity convoys are international civil society’s practical actions to break and end the siege. Palestinians hold flags and banners at the Gaza port during a recent rally to show solidarity for Third Freedom Flotilla. [APAImages.]