Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Gaza Freedom Flotilla attempting to break Israel blockade intercepted


By Alicia Ramos Perez - May 31, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Freedom Flotilla]

On May 29, a flotilla departed from Gaza’s local port confronting the 12-year blockade of sea, land and air imposed by Israel in 2007. 

Israeli navy gunboats intercepted Al-Hurriyah (Liberty) Flotilla which was reported to be carrying at least 25 people including university students, activists, Palestinians injured during The Great March of Return and cancer patients from Gaza. According to the Great Return March National Organizing Committee, the flotilla composed by three small boats, intended to head to Limassol, Cyprus.
 
Only one boat managed to cross the six nautical miles (just over 11 km) limit imposed by Israeli forces. The boat was then blocked and forcibly towed back to Ashdod port in Israel.
 
“We’re all safe and request your prayers,” an activist who was on the flotilla told reporters. More than 30 boats were supporting the main ship.
 
In addition to the interception, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) arrested several journalists who were onboard of the boats that were accompanying the Freedom Flotilla to cover the event.
 
“We are sailing peacefully, without any weapons. Our message to the world is that we want peace,” a university student told a +972 Magazine correspondent.
 
The chosen date marks eight years since the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara. This flotilla, which sought to defy the blockade and deliver aid and humanitarian support from Turkey, was attacked by the IDF in 2010. Ten activists were shot and another later succumbed to their wounds.
 
The interception was condemned by multiple international organisations, including the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza. Their statement published on May 29, declared the “attack is a clear violation of international law and of Israel’s obligations under the Geneva Convention as the occupying power.”
 
On May 30, a UN observer’s statement called to end the seizure and demanded security to the occupied people of Palestine. "The right to security is not ed [sic] to Israel, but also to all people, including the Palestinian people," the observer stated.
 
The Freedom Flotilla’s attempt to break the blockade comes two weeks after the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians during the Great Return March with live ammunition by the IDF at the Gaza’s eastern boundary. The peaceful protest demanded the return of refugees, internally displaced in 1948, to their territories now occupied by Israel.
 
So far, 1.8 million Palestinians remain locked in Gaza Strip. They are denied free access to the remaining occupied Palestinian territories and the outside world. This threatens and undermines the socio-economic and living conditions in which Palestinians in the coastal enclave are forced to live in.
 
Since March 30, Palestinians in Gaza have suffered an enormous increase in casualties, raising the figure up to 118 deaths and 13,190 injured. According to the World Health Organisation report from Gaza on May 22, 247 essential disposables and 257 essential drugs are needed. Only one third of Palestinians injured in Gaza can leave for treatment. The aim of the Freedom Flotilla was to transport those in need of medical attention.
 

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