A team of international activists have set sail for the Gaza Strip, in a bid to break Israel’s sea blockade with four boats.
The four boats of the 2015 the Freedom Flotilla III left their final European points of departure on Saturday
The team will challenge the illegal blockade of the Palestinian Gaza strip through nonviolent resistance.
This is the third attempt to break the Palestinian blockade, which has lasted for nine years, according to a news release on the campaign’s official webpage.
“Our strong determination is to get to our destination despite [Netanyahu’s] threats to stop us,” Arab Israeli lawmaker Basel Ghattas wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.
Ghattas is a member of the team of around 70 people, including former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Spanish MEP Ana Maria Miranda Paza. Their journey is the result of “the joint work of campaigns from Spain, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Canada, Italy, the United States, and many other countries,” spokesperson for the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition, Loukas Stamellos, told the Common Dreams news website.
“At the moment we are sailing on the Swedish boat Marianne of Gothenburg, which [is leading] the flotilla, in the neutral waters of the Mediterranean. Aboard there are an Al Jazeera camera crew, a New Zealand TV crew and Israeli journalist Ohad Hemo, as well as the former Tunisian president and Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament,” RT’s source on one of the ships said on Saturday, adding that they plan to arrive in Gaza on Monday.
Last week, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the flotilla “the work of provocateurs whose aim is to blacken Israel’s face.” She added that the ministry had been working “through diplomatic channels night and day” not to let the flotilla into Israeli waters.
On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he believed “a flotilla will not help to address the dire situation in Gaza,” but once again urged Israel to “lift all closures, with due consideration of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.”
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