New Freedom Flotilla boat launched in Norway

21 Apr
The new Freedom Flotilla boat, Handala.
Torstein Dahle from Ship to Gaza Norway addresses the dockside supporters during the naming and launching ceremony in Bryggen Harbour, Bergen, Norway on Tuesday.

Freedom Flotilla sails again For the Children of Gaza

On Tuesday a special naming ceremony was held on Bergen, Norway, for Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s new boat ‘Handala’, with the formal launch of its voyage to challenge and end the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Fauzia Hussain-Wiik, Bergen head of Landsorganisasjonen i Norge (LO), the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, launches the newly-named boat.
Arne Birger Heli, Captain of the ‘Handala’, ready to sail.

Arne Birger Heli, the Handala captain and representative of Ship to Gaza Norway, [plus] participants from on board the Al Awda/Kårstein, Freedom Flotilla 2018 vessel [attended the event, with participation from] a representative of fishers and farmers in Gaza.

Most of the West’s governments and many international corporations continue to be complicit in Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza, and so in response to calls from partners in Gaza the Freedom Flotilla sails again to challenge and end the blockade, calling for full freedom of movement for all Palestinians.

Legendary Palestinian cartoon character ‘Handala’

Our 2023 voyage focuses on the children of Gaza and we have chosen to name this boat Handala after the iconic 10-year-old Palestinian refugee child created by Naji Al-Ali in his cartoons about Palestinians’ longing for return to a free homeland (please see for more).

For additional information, please see or please contact us here

(Above is a Freedom Flotilla Coalition media statement 17/4/23)

Below is a report on the naming & launch event by Ship To Gaza Norway spokesperson Torstein Dahle:

Torstein Dahle at the naming and launch ceremony.

Tuesday April 18 was a wonderful day in Bergen. “Handala”s visit was a great success. There was a lot of people on the quay to welcome the boat. The weather was wonderful. We had two young and very skilled musicians playing for us, three appeals were made (me from Ship to Gaza, Sara Bell from the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Norway’s biggest trade union and actively supporting the Palestinians struggle), and Thomas Høiseth from the Norwegian Palestine Committee.

The programme on the quay ended with a naming ceremony for the boat. Fauzia Hussain-Wiik, Bergen head of Landsorganisasjonen i Norge (LO), the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, named the boat “Handala”.

Then there was a meeting in a nearby hotel, where the captain Arne Birger Heli spoke about the situation in Gaza and the work of Freedom Flotilla Coalition and Ship to Gaza Norway. He and Mikkel Grüner from Bergen were both on board the FFC boat “Al Awda” in 2018. The boat was brutally hijacked by Israeli marine in international waters, and everybody on board were prisoned for a few days. They told us about what happened, and the total lack of serious follow-up from the Norwegian authorities when a Norwegian boat was hijacked in violation of international law.

Mohammed Al-Bakri, from the Union of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza, spoke to the launch meeting via Team.

The most important part of the meeting was when Mohammed al-Bakri joined the meeting by Teams from Gaza. He reported about the situation in Gaza and the work that the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) does for Palestinian farmers in Gaza and the West Bank and for the fishers in Gaza. He emphasized strongly that the miserable living conditions in Gaza require a political solution, and that the humanitarian aid on which the people of Gaza are completely dependent, is ultimately only patching up some of the effects of Israel’s blockade and warfare, without doing anything about the the root causes. The assembly gave him a warm round of applause, and he will be asked to contribute later as well.

The most touching moment was before the programme on the quay started. A little Palestinian girl brought with her a gift for the boat. Captain Arne received it: It was a box with cakes for the journey, with her own drawing on top, wishing luck for the voyage to Gaza and demanding freedom for Gaza and Palestine. It was deeply inspiring and touching. (See photo above, shared with permission by the girl’s mother).

Ed: The Handala will visit an extensive number of ports throughout Europe and the UK in 2023 to raise awareness and solidarity for Palestine before sailing to the Mediterranean and Gaza in 2024. Follow her voyage on this site and

Losing ‘Deterrence’: How Palestinian, Arab Resistance changed rules of war with Israel

20 Apr

The Joint Operation Room in Gaza shows solidarity with the united armed resistance in occupied West Bank. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud, The Palestine Chronicle, 20 April 2023

When Israel launched a war against the Gaza Strip in August 2022, it declared that its target was the Islamic Jihad only. Indeed, neither Hamas nor the other Gaza-based groups engaged directly in the fighting. The war then raised more questions than answers.

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New Report: Serious repercussions in Gaza Strip due to shortage of medical equipment

12 Apr

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 27 March 2023

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) launched on 27 March 2023, a new report on “Medical Equipment and Medicines in Gaza Strip: Perpetual Shortage and Serious Repercussions”. The report addresses the deteriorating health conditions in the Gaza Strip and sheds light on the suffering of Gaza Strip’s patients triggered by the frail health system and its inability to provide medicines and medical equipment for the governmental health facilities.

The report also highlights the Israeli occupation authorities’ restrictions on the entry of medical equipment; most notably the diagnostic medical devices used for diagnosing and treating cancer patients such as the interventional radiology and ultrasonography devices as well as oxygen generating stations. As clarified in the report, the Israeli occupation authorities also ban the entry of spare parts necessary for the maintenance of inoperative medical devices, having serious repercussions on the lives of thousands of patients in the Gaza Strip.

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FIANZ denounces Israel’s barbaric attack on Muslim worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque

8 Apr

7 April 2023

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) expresses grave concerns at the brutality and aggression shown by the Israeli police force attacking Muslim worshippers at one of Islam’s holiest sites – the Al-Agsa Mosque.

It has become almost an annual act of aggression by the Israeli police to attack Muslim worshippers inside the Al-Agsa mosques during the holy month of Ramadan. On Wednesday, Israeli police entered inside the Mosque in large numbers after midnight, throwing gas bombs and sound grenades at worshippers who were inside at the time. Video footage from inside the Mosque speaks for itself as to the brutality inflicted on unarmed men and women. Israeli police did not even allow ambulances to carry the injured worshippers and arrested over 400 people who were at the mosque at the time.

“FIANZ is deeply concerned that this provocative act perpetrated by the Israeli Police once again targets innocent civilian worshippers at one of the holiest times of the year for the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths. We urge our Government to use diplomatic channels to find a dignified and equitable solution for all parties that will give hope for a lasting peace in the region” said Ibrar Sheikh, FIANZ President.

For further information email:

AlJazeera video report from Jerusalem 7 April 2023

NZ must join international condemnation of Israeli brutality against Palestinians at Jerusalem Mosque

6 Apr

PSNA is urging the Aotearoa New Zealand government to join international condemnation of Israeli brutality against Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque.

The Israeli leadership, keen to deflect attention from its internal crises, has launched a second vicious attack on Al Aqsa in 24 hours – firing stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian worshippers.

This is a calculated, brutal and unprovoked attack on Palestinians worshipping at Al Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Countries across the world – eg the US, Malaysia, Turkey, China, Canada etc – have condemned the Israeli violence against Palestinian civilian worshippers.

New Zealand must add its voice unequivocally on the side of freedom and justice for Palestinians.

We saw similar violent attacks on black South African civilians during the 1970s and 1980s under South African apartheid.

Equal rights for everyone in historic Palestine, Palestinians and Jews alike, is the path forward to peace based on justice.

Please note: We are asking the government NOT to use weasel words such as to call for “calm on both sides”, which suggests equal culpability, but to condemn the Israeli brutality outright.

John Minto
National Chair
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

See earlier report on this site:

Israel attacks Aqsa Mosque; protests call for Palestinian mobilization

5 Apr

Inside Al Aqsa Mosque after it was stormed by Israeli occupation soldiers. (Photo: Via Social Media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff, 5 April 2023


Red Crescent: Seven Palestinians reportedly wounded in Israeli attack on Palestinian worshipers in Jerusalem.

Al Jazeera: Over 400 Palestinians arrested by Israeli soldiers.

Israeli Media: 10 rockets fired towards Israel from besieged Gaza.

Israeli occupation forces have reportedly attacked and forcefully evicted Muslim worshipers from Al-Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, leading to many injuries and arrests. 

After smashing windows in the Mosque, the occupation troops fired stun grenades before storming the holy shrines, beating up people and handcuffing worshipers.

Palestinians quickly mobilized, especially as mosques in Jerusalem called general mobilization to shield the worshipers entrapped in the Mosque and to allow for medics to reach the wounded. 

The Red Crescent in Jerusalem has also raised the level of alert to ‘maximum level’, calling on all of its crews and volunteers to join the rescue efforts.

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What do Israel’s protests mean to Palestinians?

29 Mar

VIDEO REPORT by Al Jazeera English, 29 March 2023

Palestinians have been absent for much of Israel’s protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plans. Zena Al Tahhan, Al Jazeera English’s digital correspondent in Jerusalem, explains that while the protesters see the judiciary as a balancing force to the government, Palestinians see it as a system which oppresses them.

Palestinians uphold traditional Ramadan rituals – despite the Occupation

23 Mar

By Wafa Aludaini, Gaza, 23 March 2023

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims from all corners of the globe come together to celebrate. Each country has its own traditional rituals. In Palestine, Ramadan is more than just a month of fasting and worship; the month is an important opportunity to connect with the stolen culture of Palestine’s ancestral heritage. Although the occupation’s restrictions and technology impact the normally festive atmosphere of the holy month, Palestinians still preserve the practices and traditions which make the celebrations uniquely Palestinian.

In the days leading up to the announcement that the month of Ramadan has commenced, Palestinians begin to prepare. Streets, mosques, homes are decorated with lanterns and lighting, and merchants prepare their shops with several kind of dates, sweets, pickles, juices and more. [See more photos from Gaza below]

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VIDEO: Ramzy Baroud on the 20th anniversary of Israel’s murder of Rachel Corrie

18 Mar

VIDEO: Israel killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie 20 years ago. Before then and since then thousands of Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military in Occupied Palestine. This needs to stop 🛑

(Video recorded by Palestine Chronicle at a memorial event at Rachel’s former school, Evergreen College, Washington, 18 March 2023)

See also earlier KOG post:

Using the right language: The ‘Incremental Genocide’ of the Palestinians continues

17 Mar
A Palestinian woman examines damage caused by the Jewish settler pogrom in the town of Huwwara, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: Oren Ziv, via

By Ilan Pappe, the Palestine Chronicle, 17 March 2023

I am writing this op-ed on March 10, 2023. Seventy-five years ago, on this date, the military command of the Zionist leadership publicized Plan Dalet, or Plan D, which, among other guidelines, instructed the Zionist forces on their way to occupy hundreds of Palestinian villages and several towns and neighborhoods in historical Palestine, to carry out:

“Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.

“Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

Similar guidelines were given to the urban areas. This was a softer version of the real commands that were given to the units on the ground. Here is one example of an order sent to a unit entrusted with occupying three large villages in Western Galilee as part of Plan D commands:

“Our Mission is to assault for the purpose of occupation…to kill the men, destroy and set fire to Kabri, Umm al-Faraj and An-Nahr”

So, there is nothing new when Bezalel Smotrich, the minister of finance of Israel calls for the erasure of Huwwara. He apologized because such comments were only meant to be said in Hebrew, but he forgot that this is 2023 and his words were immediately translated into English. Smotrich apologized because it was translated, not because he said it.

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Peace activist Rachel Corrie, killed by Israel, remembered 20 years on

17 Mar

The American activist’s legacy of devotion to human rights lives on 20 years after she was killed by Israeli occupation forces while trying to defend a Palestinian home in Gaza from demolition.

Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, have visited the occupied Palestinian territories several times since their daughter's death and continue her peace work through the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

Rachel’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, have visited the occupied Palestinian territories several times since their daughter’s death and continue her peace work through the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. (Reuters Archive)

It has been 20 years since American peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed by Israeli occupation forces in southern Gaza as she tried to protect Palestinians from losing their homes to demolitions.

On March 16, 2003, two years before Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, Corrie acted as a human shield in hopes of stopping a bulldozer operated by Israeli forces from flattening a home in the Palestinian Rafah refugee camp.

Israeli forces operating the 60-tonne D9 bulldozer built by Caterpillar Inc continued moving toward Corrie as she stood her ground, running her over and leaving her crushed.

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Ramzy Baroud at Adelaide Writers’ Week

9 Mar

Dr Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian author, at the Adelaide Writers Week event this week, on the centrality of international solidarity in the struggle for freedom in Palestine. (Video by the Palestine Chronicle, 9 March 2023.

Israeli forces kill six Palestinians in raid on Jenin

8 Mar

AlJazeera report, 8 March 2023

Israeli forces have killed at least six Palestinians and wounded 11 others during in a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, according to the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry.

Two of the wounded people had serious injuries, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.


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Terror in Huwara: Israeli settler violence has no limit

7 Mar

Israeli settlers enjoy impunity when they commit crimes against the Palestinian people.

Israeli forces intervene Palestinians as Jewish settlers celebrate Sare Day in Hebron, West Bank on November 19, 2022. It’s reported the settlers made a scene and damaged Palestinians’ properties. [Photo by Anadolu Images.]

OPINIONBY YOUSEF M. ALJAMAL, Politics Today, 7 March 2023

When hundreds of Israeli settlers burned 15 Palestinian homes and 100 Palestinian cars in the West Bank’s town of Huwara near the city of Nablus on February 26, 2023, some analysts, government spokespeople, and political commentators expressed their shock at the magnitude of organized violence against Palestinians. Unfortunately, this violence comes as no surprise to the Palestinian people and has been building up for the years.

The town of Huwara has been repeatedly attacked by Israeli settlers and it has almost become the norm to read news about such attacks. What is different this time, however, is that formerly convicted settlers are now ministers in Netanyahu’s fragile coalition such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, who serves as Israel’s National Security Minister and who openly incites violence against the Palestinian people.

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Solidarity with those effected by the earthquake

1 Mar

Coalition statements / By zohar, 25 February 2023.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) expresses solidarity with the victims of the recent earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria, including the large number of Palestinian refugees stuck in the quake zone.

Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by this disaster and we extend our sincerest condolences to those who have lost loved ones and are coping with extreme hardship.

The FFC calls on all organisations working to end the illegal blockade of Gaza to support organisations providing aid and relief.

We pay tribute to everyone involved in respectful relief efforts and delivery of humanitarian aid. As global citizens, it is our responsibility to stand in solidarity with those who are facing hardship and suffering. Let us show our support and compassion for the victims of the earthquake by coming together as a collective to offer whatever support we can.

[Kia Ora Gaza is a member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. The FFC website: -Ed]

‘Truth, no matter what’: Why watering down Palestinian reality is a crime

1 Mar
circa 1963: American civil rights leader Malcolm X (1925 - 1965) at an outdoor rally, probably in New York City. (Photo by Bob Parent/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

American civil rights leader Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) [Bob Parent/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]

By Dr Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Monitor, 25 February 2023

On 20 February, the United Nations Security Council approved a statement, described in the media as a ‘watered-down’ version of an earlier draft resolution which would have demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The intrigues that led to the scrapping of what was meant to be a binding resolution will be the subject of a future article. For now, however, I would like to reflect on the fact that the so-called international community’s relationship with the Palestinian struggle has always attempted to ‘water down’ a horrific reality.

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Tensions high in West Bank after deadly Israeli settler rampage

28 Feb

A Palestinian is shot and killed as settlers backed by the Israeli army burn dozens of houses and cars in the occupied West Bank in revenge attacks.

Loading video

By Al Jazeera Staff, 28 February 2023

Ramallah, occupied West Bank  Israeli settlers have carried out at least 300 attacks, including shootings and arson, in a rampage through Palestinian villages in the Nablus area of the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials say, in what has been described as a “pogrom”.

A 37-year-old Palestinian man identified as Samih al-Aqtash was shot in the stomach on Sunday night by settlers protected by the Israeli army in the village of Zaatara south of Nablus. He died of his injuries. The father of five returned home five days ago after volunteering to help earthquake survivors in Turkey.

Settlers carried out the rampage shortly after a shooting by a Palestinian that killed two Israeli settlers in Huwara on Sunday [Shadi Jarar’ah/Al Jazeera]

At least 390 Palestinians were injured in the settler rampage across the villages of Huwara, Zaatara, Burin and Asira al-Qibliya – all south of Nablus, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, adding that the majority were wounded from tear gas fired by the Israeli army as well as smoke inhalation from widespread fires set by the settlers.


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Solidarity Aid Convoy Sends Message: ‘Gaza is Not Alone’ (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

23 Feb

A delegation of the Miles of Smiles 41st solidarity aid convoy enters besieged Gaza. (Photo: Miles of Smiles, Supplied)

By Roger Fowler, The Palestine Chronicle, 23 February 2023

A delegation of the Miles of Smiles 41st solidarity aid convoy recently entered Gaza to deliver over $US200,000 of much-needed medical supplies, including  250 new wheelchairs and walking frames, a range of crucial medical equipment, including monitors and defibrillators, and special equipment for people with disabilities.

This humanitarian convoy, hailed as an ‘important breakthrough’, is the first international civil society delegation to breach Israel’s illegal siege of the war-ravaged Gaza Strip via Egypt for many years.

Israel’s tight 15-year siege and naval blockade has resulted in a dire scarcity of vital medical equipment and other goods. Gaza’s Ministry of Health will distribute the convoy’s supplies to health agencies throughout the impoverished enclave. 

The Miles of Smiles 41st convoy has been organized in partnership with Turkiye-based Medics Worldwide, and supported by donor organizations in many countries including Algeria, Malaysia, Turkey, UK and Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Convoy delegates, led by Dr Essam Youssef, visited many services in the Strip last weekend, including the Benevolent Society for People with Disabilities in Gaza City.

As shown in the video below, Dr Essam viewed the society’s ambulance for disabled patients, which is one of 37 new ambulances delivered by the Miles of Smiles medical aid convoy to besieged Gaza in November 2021.

This specialized ambulance was sponsored by several Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaigns, included those in Canada, USA, Norway, South Africa and Aotearoa/New Zealand (Kia Ora Gaza).

Kia Ora Gaza, which also raised $NZ10,000 towards the current MoS convoy, stated that “the practical humanitarian responses of the international solidarity convoys and freedom flotillas are important components of the growing global movement to support the Palestinian struggle for human rights and to end Israel’s attacks and occupation of Palestine, and their illegal blockade of Gaza.”

Head of the convoy, Dr Essam Youssef, said in a press conference after crossing into Gaza last week, that the campaign seeks to express solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza.

“Our message is: Gaza is not alone,” Youssef said.

(All Photos: Miles of Smiles, Supplied)

Link to Palestine Chronicle post:

– Roger Fowler is the coordinator of Kia Ora Gaza (Aotearoa New Zealand), a member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. Website: He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Palestinian/US comedian is coming to Auckland

22 Feb

One NZ show only: 7pm Tuesday 28 February – Get your tickets here:

Hosted by Palestinian Youth Aotearoa

VIDEO: Gaza solidarity convoy visits the ambulance sponsored by Freedom Flotilla campaigns

19 Feb

VIDEO REPORT: Gaza City, 19 February 2023

Dr Essam Youssef, leader of the 41st Miles of Smiles solidarity convoy currently in the Gaza Strip, visited the Benevolent Society for People with Disabilities in Gaza City yesterday.

As shown in the above video, Dr Essam viewed the society’s specialised ambulance for patients, that was sponsored by Freedom Flotilla campaigns – one of 37 new ambulances delivered by the Miles of Smiles international aid convoy to besieged Gaza in November 2021.

The current Miles of Smiles aid convoy, now in Gaza, has delivered 250 new wheelchairs and walking frames, a range of much-needed medical equipment, including monitors and defibrillators, and special equipment for people with disabilities. Gaza’s Ministry of Health is distributing these items to health agencies throughout the enclave. Kia Ora Gaza raised $10,000 towards this project.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaigns that sponsored the Gaza Benevolent Society ambulance included those in Canada, USA, Norway, South Africa and Aotearoa/New Zealand (Kia Ora Gaza).

Link to a post about the 2021 Miles of Smiles ambulance convoy:

International solidarity convoys and freedom flotillas are important components of the growing global movement to support the Palestinian struggle for human rights, and build humanitarian and practical responses to end Israeli attacks and occupation of Palestine and illegal 15 year blockade of Gaza.

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