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(en) Britain, Freedom* #7213 - DESTINATION GAZA - In defiance of US, and Israeli military the Freedom Flotilla sails on

Date Wed, 07 Sep 2011 12:56:32 +0300


The second flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid has once again set sail for Palestine from Europe. The Freedom Flotilla 2 is made up of ten vessels including three cargo ships carrying as many as 1,500 political activists, peace campaigners and solidarity workers from 20 different countries headed for Gaza with vital medical supplies, school equipment and essential food stuffs. ---- It was just over a year ago that the first Freedom Flotilla was attacked in international waters by the Israeli military who, in contravention of recognised international law, boarded the flagship, the Mavi Marmara, killing nine Turkish peace activists and injuring 54 others. Those aboard the remaining five ships were held hostage by the Israeli government for attempting to break the siege of Gaza and later deported back to their respective countries

The blockade was originally imposed by the Israeli government in 2007 after the people of Gaza elected Hamas as the majority party on the Palestinian Legislative Council. Hamas, who are classified as part of the Islamic resistance movement went on to seize complete control of the Gaza strip in a series of violent clashes with the other ruling political party Fatah. In response Israel enforced a strict blockade around the region denying the importation of essential goods. The blockade has been described as “collective punishment” on the people of Gaza resulting in a continued humanitarian crisis. UN officials have described the situation as “grim”, “deteriorating” and a “medieval siege”, effectively turning Gaza into an ‘open prison’ of 1.5m people.

The second Freedom Flotilla includes three new ships which left from France, Italy and Germany carrying representatives from several European countries including Sweden, Belgium, Greece, Spain, the UK and Ireland. A press release stated that, “The European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), one of the flotilla’s sponsors, said the ships will carry members of the European Parliament among their passengers.”

Using the slogan “Stay Human” in honour of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian peace activist killed in Gaza earlier this year ships have departed from ports throughout the Mediterranean. Elsewhere, ships are being sent by delegations from the United States, Canada, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Previously aid ships have attempted sail to Gaza breaking Israel’s illegal stranglehold on the region, three of which have been co-sponsored by the ECESG. Five of those flotillas were successful in entering Gaza; however, the past four voyages have been prevented from reaching their destination by violent attacks from the Israeli military.

Although Israel withdrew its
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* Anarchist Journal
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