Women’s Boat to Gaza: ‘futile’ or ‘extremely important’?

16 Oct


Some of the participants of the international Women’s Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna, before they departed Messina port, Sicily. New Zealand’s Marama Davidson MP can be seen top left.

The SundayStarTimes (SST) published an editorial last week rubbishing Green MP Marama Davidson’s participation in the international Women’s Boat to Gaza as ‘utterly futile’, even though the solidarity flotilla clearly attracted enormous global focus on Israel’s cruel blockade of Gaza, boosted morale in Gaza, and revitalised awareness and support for the Palestinian struggle around the world.
Israel’s illegal act of piracy by hijacking the little peace boat in international waters, detaining the women and deporting them, proved a lie to Israel’s claim that their blockade is not illegal collective punishment, but imposed to stop weapons from reaching Gaza.
In response Kia Ora Gaza offered the SST an opinion piece. The editor rejected this, but did publish a much shorter version as a letter to the editor in the paper today.

Below is the full article:

Before rushing to dismiss Green MP Marama Davidson’s participation in the Women’s Boat to Gaza as ‘utterly futile’ (Editorial SundayStarTimes 9 October), it might have been worthwhile considering the views of Palestinians who also seek an end to Israeli’s illegal and inhumane near 10 year siege of Gaza. Here are just a few of the many similar comments Kia Ora Gaza received this week:

unknown-2Yousef Aljamal, researcher and commentator, Gaza wrote on 10 Oct 2016: “The Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip welcome any efforts to end the siege and were eagerly waiting for the arrival of women on board the Zaytouna. It is the feeling of entrapment in Gaza that makes every single Gazan welcome such efforts to end the siege and gain our freedom again, so that we could get out of the biggest open air prison in the world.”

“At a time when governments worldwide are complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine, whether by their silence or by directly giving Israel military aid, it is timely for civil society to take the initiative to challenge Israel’s illegal siege imposed on two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for 10 years now. International civil society can play a great role in ending Israel’s occupation and siege of Palestine. We have seen how civil society led the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and the Civil Rights movement in the US.”

unknownUniversity Professor, Dr Mosheer Amer, Gaza City (9 Oct 2016): “The Palestinian people especially in besieged Gaza have closely followed the news of the women’s boat and were hoping it would succeed in breaking the siege. Despite the Israeli piracy, people see these efforts as extremely important in breaking the siege and there is very broad support among the Palestinian people as they are reminding the world of the plight of the Gaza population and the criminal illegal siege imposed by the Israeli occupation.”

“Israel has always sought to divert the world’s attention away from what’s been going on in Gaza, especially its draconian measures aiming at suffocating the Gazans economically, restricting their movements in and out of Gaza and waging wars to kill people’s spirit of steadfastness and resistance against the occupier.”

“The women’s boat and other international solidarity efforts are much needed to counter such Israeli moves and to send the right message to all that the ongoing siege on Gaza is an affront to the world’s conscience and that the world shoulders a moral and political responsibility to end Israel’s control over the lives of the Palestinian people.”

“This also sends a message of hope and solidarity from all people of conscience around the world to the Palestinians that we stand with you against all forms of oppression and control and we are all united for the cause of justice and peace in Palestine.”

unknown-3Noor Harazeen, TV journalist, Gaza (12 October 2016) says: “I think such flotillas are very important to bring the attention back to Gaza and highlight the Israeli oppression. What happened to the flotillas is happening on daily basis for Palestinian fishermen who are being attacked and arrested even if they are fishing inside the imposed 6 nautical miles fishing zone.”

“Here in Gaza the situation in really bad, we are facing a lack of fuel and building materials. Everything is expensive. We get electricity for only 12 hours a day if we are lucky, and there is no freedom of movement as the borders are closed. All of these facts are affecting the people of Gaza; we are starving for some help, for some change, some hope, some support. When we hear about the flotillas we gain some hope that there are people out there who are thinking about us and who are willing to help us – it brings us some happiness even if they cannot reach our shores.. and this feeling is precious for the people here.”

unknown-1Palestinian author Ramzy Baroud wrote in the Palestine Chronicle (11 Oct 2016) “We are glad our sisters are finally home, and we know our work is not done until the illegal blockade is lifted and our governments’ complicity with the Israeli occupation ends. Please continue to support the work of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, and help spread our message of hope.”

Yours sincerely,

Roger Fowler,Organiser,Kia Ora Gaza


Please note: With generous public support, Kia Ora Gaza facilitated Marama Davidson’s participation in the Women’s Boat to Gaza, and two MaoriTV journalists on the Freedom Flotilla last year, plus Kiwi teams on three solidarity land convoys that successfully broke through the siege on Gaza in 2010 and 2012. Kia Ora Gaza has also sponsored a range of humanitarian projects in Gaza.


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