Today a flotilla of at least 3 ships with supporters from over 20 countries, will try to set out across the Mediterranean Sea, bound for the Gaza strip. The aim being to confront Israels maritime blockade of the Palestinian people, and deliver symbolic humanitarian aid to those imprisoned there.
Dismissed by Israel as a publicity stunt,and a threat, unauthorised, but serves to remind the world that the blockade is another war crime. A continuous violation of international law. A collective punishment of more than 1.8 million Palestinians.. The flotilla's journey will seek to highlight the impact of Israel's 8 year imposed,inhumane land , air and sea blockade.
Setting sail to what is known as the worlds largest open-air prisons by many different human rights groups. The blockade having already bought a solitary confinement to Gaza's people by further restricting their movement outside the territory and curtailing the amount of items that can be bought in.
Activists on these ships will attempt to deliver much needed medical supplies and solar panels, to people living in disgraceful conditions, in an act of peaceful civil disobedience and solidarity. I hope we will not see a repeat of what occurred 5 years ago when a previous Gaza Freedom flotilla of 6 ships, the first including Turkish and Greek vessels, made nine attempts to break the siege. These ships were also carrying humanitarian aid and building materials, activists and journalists and aid workers. It resulted in Israeli commanders boarding a ship called the Mavi Marmama in international waters, in horrifying scenes it resulted in 8 activists being killed, dozens injured, in an act of piracy that also saw dozens injured.
Since then, others have attempted to land supplies in Gaza, or even sail from Gaza to rendezvous offshore. All have sadly failed, with ships impounded and destroyed.
The journey will be a tough one, but I hope the latest attempt will succeed, that they reach Gazas port, without any fatalities or injury and bring attention to the international community the Palestinians plight and send a message of hope to the Gazans who have to endure such a punishing daily life of struggle.
This blockade must be lifted