Foto: Tormod Ytrehus
For første gang er det med en norsk båt i Freedom Flotilla Coalition. Den 22. juli går båten Kårstein eller Al Awda (på arabisk «retten til å vende tilbake») fra Palermo på vei mot Gaza for å bryte den israelske blokaden. Båten skal doneres til Gaza-fiskere og har også med seg medisinsk utstyr til innbyggerne.
Båten har nærmest en helnorsk besetning som blant annet består av kapteinen Herman Reksten, skipper Mikkel Grüner, kokk Jan Petter Hammervold, assisterende kokk Jørgen Pedersen, ingeniør Arne Birger Heli og båtstyrets nestleder, Gerd von der Lippe.
Den 19. juli la Freedom Flotilla Coalition ut denne pressemeldingen:
Four boats from the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ Freedom Flotilla Coalition are scheduled to leave Palermo, Sicily, to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, and to assert the Palestinian people’s right to freedom of movement and their right to a just future. As we mark 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, we recall his words on his release from prison in 1990: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
As always, our boats carry representatives from across the world and messages of love and solidarity for those living under the inhumane, decade-old blockade – the collective punishment on the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza. Given the dire situation in Palestinian hospitals, we are also transporting some urgently needed medical supplies (#Gauze4Gaza).
This need is even more critical given the thousands of people severely wounded by Israeli snipers and tear gas in the past few months during the Great March of Return protests (see 10 July UN report on serious injuries).
Last week, small boats attempting to leave Gaza, carrying Palestinians seeking urgent medical attention, were also attacked by Israeli Occupation Forces.
Support by politicians and artists
The stories of the Flotilla’s journey over two months and more than 15 European ports, including photos and videos, are available on our website and social media sites (see below). We are pleased with the increasing support for the Flotilla and its objectives, by prominent politicians, artists and activists, including Roger Waters.
It is also encouraging to see the local welcomes we are being given, including by the Mayor of Palermo who rightly connects our campaign with the Caravana Abriendo Fronteras, who have just arrived from Spain, and similar demands for the opening of borders and freedom of movement from the City Council of Cádiz (Spain) and Naples (Italy).
Spokesperson for the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, James Godfrey said: “This Flotilla is necessary to highlight the international community’s failure and its ongoing complicity in the illegal blockade of over two million Palestinians in Gaza, more than half of them children, the vast majority of whom are Palestinian refugees. When governments fail to act, we as people must act, so that eventually, leaders follow.”