Posted on Gaza TV News
A year after Israeli Defence Force personnel massacred nine humanitarian aid volunteers on the Mavi Marmara in international waters, preparations are well underway for another 1500 to take their place, to confront the root cause of Gazan’s dependence on humanitarian aid – the illegal naval blockade of Gaza. (1)
Like Hydra’s heads, for every boat that Israel attacked in 2010,(2) at least another two have appeared, to take up the challenge to bring justice to Gaza, and hold Israel accountable for its breaches of international law.
2010’s six boats carrying over 600 people from 37 countries, have swelled to an expected 15 boats carrying 1500 passengers from 100 countries. To give an idea of the magnitude of international civil support for the 2011 flotilla, Turkish relief agency The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) reports it has already had some 300,000 applications for the 500 places available on its repaired Mavi Marmara.
First to leave for Gaza will be Freedom Flotilla II, a German ship departing Hamburg on June 19, with journalist Peter Wolter and Swiss writer Henning Mankell aboard.
They plan to meet up in the Mediterranean in late June with boats from Britain, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland (Saoirse), Italy (Stefano Chiarini), Norway, Scotland (Discovery II), Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Turkey (Mavi Marmara), the U.S.A. (The Audacity of Hope) and Canada (Tahrir). All are then expected to sail to Gaza with their cargoes of humanitarian aid, including medicines, educational materials, and even letters and cards with messages of solidarity and hope for Gaza’s beleaguered population.
Parliamentarians from several countries are preparing to join the peaceful activists from all walks of life – professionals, labourers, even sportspeople such as recently-retired Irish rugby star Trevor Hogan – setting sail for Gaza, despite threats by the Israeli armed forces to use attack dogs and snipers against them. Threats of physical violence have been accompanied by diplomatic pressure from the Israeli government on the governments of flotilla participants, and an Israeli law centre is even threatening the satellite navigation company providing services to the boats.(3)
The greatest peril facing those taking up the Herculean task of breaking Israel’s illegal blockade is not the stench of Hydra’s breath, but that of Israel’s brutality and mendacity.
As the flotilla participants prepare for their hazardous journey in the coming weeks, I will be talking to Gazans about their perceptions of this dangerous trip – and why is so important, and so necessary for civil society to take the lead, when international organs have failed them so miserably.
And to donate online, go to: http://kiaoragaza.net/
(1) Ceren Mutus, in An International Law Analysis Of The Flotilla Crisis Between Turkey And Israel, noted that Israel remains the occupier of Gaza, and because states are not allowed to impose a blockade on the territories they occupy, the naval blockade itself is illegal. Thus the subsequent interception of the flotilla based on the illegal blockade is also unlawful in itself.http://www.turkishweekly.net/article/401/an-international-law-analysis-of-the-flotilla-crisis-between-turkey-and-israel.html
(2) Huwaida Arraf, human rights activist and lawyer on board the Mavi Marmara, gives a brief history of the flotilla movement herehttp://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=3382&ed=193&edid=193(3)http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=278915
by Julie Webb-Pullman SCOOP NZ