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Activists set to launch new flotilla to break blockade of Gaza Strip

European activists are organizing a new flotilla in solidarity with residents of Gaza. Their boat is expected to leave the Baltic Sea in the coming weeks and pass through several harbors in the Mediterranean for events aimed at raising awareness, before reaching the sealed off Strip. Previous flotillas were intercepted by the Israeli Navy, which is expected to stop this trip too.

Activists posted a clip on YouTube on Wednesday showing the Estelle, a ship they recently bought for the journey to the blockaded Gaza Strip. The ship is currently on its way to Oslo after going through maintenance work in Sweden, and it is due to leave for a two-to-three months’ long voyage to Gaza in the coming weeks to protest against the ongoing Israeli siege on the Strip.

In the clip, former Israeli artist Dror Feiler declares that the activists’ goal is to pressure European states into making Israel end the siege, or at least to have them protest against it. “We will go through different harbors on the way, and also use the voyage as a part of the mission, which means to focus on the situation of the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine,” says Feiler. “So it’s not only the last few days, but also the nearly three months of voyage, and all the time the focus is on Gaza and the siege and the people of Palestine and on the passivity of our governments.” Feiler also says that the ship will be carrying a cargo of solidarity and non-violence.

Feiler is an experienced flotilla participant: He was part of the 2011 Flotilla, which ended abruptly when most of the ships were barred from leaving Greek ports due to diplomatic pressure by Israel. Only one ship made it close to the shores of Gaza, and was captured by the Israeli Navy. Feiler also participated in the now infamous Gaza flotilla in which passengers on the Turkish ship Marvi Marmara forcefully resisted the boarding of their ship by Israeli soldiers. Nine participants died in the incident, which also led to a major diplomatic rift between Israel and Turkey.

After the 2010 flotilla, Israel partially lifted the siege on Gaza, allowing much more freedom to import products to the Strip through checkpoints, but continued to block imports of  concrete, iron and gravel. Since 2007 Israel has also stopped all exports from Gaza to Israel and the West Bank, and now allows only a tiny and very limited amount of exports to other countries through Israeli sea ports. Severe restrictions are also placed on residents’ freedom of movement as well as on fishing boats, and there are many reports of navy ships firing in the direction of fishermen and confiscating their boats. You can read more on Israel’s control over Gaza here.

More details on the new flotilla can be found on the organizing group’s website, pictures of the Etelle can be found here, and if you want to follow the ship’s journey for support (or interception) you can check it out here.

Read also:
Flotilla report: So how did the activists die?
Mavi Marmara report shows how Israel investigates itself
4 things Israel doesn’t want you to know about the Gaza blockade
With latest flotilla, IDF celebrates overcoming passive activists

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Jehudah

      And I, perhaps naively, thought Gaza is no longer blockaded in light of the agreement between the Hamas authorities there and Egypt to allow for a free flow of people and goods from Egypt. And, this in addition to the trade that is being conducted between Gaza and Israel in matters such as electricity, water, produce, etc. Wouldn’t efforts towards the preservation of life in Syria be more appropriate, let me ask, naively?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jehudah

      P.S. In fact, it appears that by choice Gaza is gradually being incorporated, de facto if not yet de jure, into Egypt; a move from which all will benefit of course, first and foremost the women and men, children and the elderly of Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Haggai Matar

      Jehudah – first of all, yes. There is a process in which Gaza is being gradually “transfered” into Egyptian responsibility. However, there’s not much good about it, and it only speeds up the split between Gaza and the West Bank – making peace ever more harder to reach.
      Also – Egypt can offer Gaza some help, but not all of it. For example, Gaza goods cannot be exported en masse abroad through Egypt as they used to through Israel. As to the naval question – fishermen gain nothing from the ties with the neighbor down south, as it is Israel that prevents them from fishing and controls their sea. The list goes on.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jehudah

      Two points:

      1. One sees no obstacle for peace by Gaza being incorporated, de facto, into Egypt. It is only natural that this process takes place when one analyze the nature of Gaza vs. the West Bank and its geographic, historic, social, economic, religious and even linguistic differences from the West Bank, while at the same time being closer in all respects to Egypt.

      2. “Peace”, will only come about if and when the Muslim-Arabs come to terms with Israel’s right to be, to exist as the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people. To date, all Muslim-Arab leaders, local and regional alike, object categorically to this reality that is based on international law, and even refuse to accept a peace treaty as the end of the conflict and the end of all future demands.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Rorr

      Give me a break. The Moslem Brotherhood is in charge in Egypt, there is no blockade now.

      Reply to Comment
    6. AlexisWolf

      Jehudah. Peace will only come about when the good Jews annul zionism for it is this tumour that is festering within Israel. The lie that Arabs want to anihiliate Israel etc is just that, a lie, to justify Israel’s continued violence and theft of Palestinian land.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Palestinian

      Peace can be achieved if Zionist Jews stop their state terrorism ,land theft and delusions.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Jehudah

      “Peace can be achieved if Zionist Jews stop their state terrorism ,land theft and delusions”.

      One is not sure what the poster means by “state terrorism, land theft and delusions”. But, Zionism, Sir/Madam, is first and foremost the expression of strong affinity the Jewish people as a people and each individual Jews have had towards Zion, also known as Jerusalem, and the country at the midst of which it is located: the Jewish people’s homeland.

      This strong affinity has been with us, Jews, since our king, King David, has set up Zion/Jerusalem as the spiritual and administrative center of the kingdom, more than 3,000 years ago. Thus, Zion/Jerusalem has served as our capital city in both ancient and contemporary times.
      Perhaps a better appreciation of Zionism – it also being, in modern times, the non-violent (not pacifist, mind you) national liberation movement of the Jewish people, will go a long way to appreciate the nature of the conflict.

      Reply to Comment
    9. aristeides

      The question is when Egypt will send its navy out to escort the blockade runner in, protect the fishermen and secure the coastal waters.

      .
      THEN there will be no more blockade.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Palestinian

      Dear Ms Jehudah ,I’m not into mythology.Thank you

      Reply to Comment
    11. Thanks for the text about the Freedom Flotilla 3.
      Just for the record, I was on the Freedom Flotilla 2010 and 2011. And as the chair person for EJJP (see: http://www.ejjp.org) was also part of the Jewish boat to Gaza in September 2010.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jehudah

      “Dear Ms Jehudah ,I’m not into mythology.Thank you”.

      It is actually Mr., not Ms., it being one of the most ancient names of my people the Hebrew/Israeli/Jewish people. But, more importantly, neither am I into mythology, only factual rational analysis of historic phenomena.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Palestinian

      Oh really ,I didnt know that.It sounds like Yehudah ,which I think its an ancient name of your so-called people.Was Jerusalem recognized by the UN as the capital of Isghael ?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Jack

      Since Gaza is still under occupation any light shed on this is good. The Flotillas is of couse primary a symbolic gesture.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Richard Witty

      There is no blockade currently if goods and people can travel through Egypt.

      There is only border management.

      Is that dissent’s right? To tell a nation how to manage its sovereign borders?

      Reply to Comment
    16. Jack

      Richard Witty,
      You forget the following.
      1. Israel, not Egypt occupy Gaza. That Egypt have eased the blockade doesnt mean the blockade is gone. Israel have a blockade on Gaza and thats the reason why there is protests.
      There is no goods travelling through Egypt because, the goods is supposed to go through Israel territory/or waterway to Gaza, this is the problem.
      -
      Since collective punishment is illegal and imposing a humanitarian crisis isnt lawful its a nobrainer to understand why people want the blockade to end. It has nothing to do with sovereignity but international law.

      Reply to Comment
    17. ginger

      Palestinians in Gaza that manage to be split away from Palestine – that’s the Israeli wet dream.

      Divide and conquer – strip Gaza away from the WB

      Abbas has got to go – he is an Israeli agent, despite his presentation at the UN last year

      Reply to Comment
    18. Kolumn9

      1)There is no occupation of Gaza regardless of UN wordplay – Israel left Gaza in 2005.
      2)There is no blockade of Gaza – The Egyptian border is open for business regardless of which goods are ‘supposed to go’.
      3)Gaza has been stripped away from the West Bank since 1948. The political split between the two is the work of entirely Palestinian actors.
      4)Flotillas consist of more than one ship.
      .

      I hope Dror enjoys his vacation plans with his friends, because that is all this is.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Jack

      Kolumn9,
      1. The occupation is recognized by the whole world, even by the UN security council.
      2. Israel have a blockade on Gaza. Note that the occupying power is responisble for the humanitarian status of the people.
      3. Thats why Israel gave its support to Hamas because PA had become too powerful and popular?
      Gaza and West bank is a unity and there is no split.
      4. Yes?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Jehudah

      “…your so-called people” write the poster “Palestinian”.

      It is this denial of the Jewish people as a people – rooted in Islamic thinking – that is a major part of the fundamental cause for the Arab Israeli conflict. If only the Muslim-Arabs – no, not the Christian-Arabs or the Druze-Arabs, who do accept the Jewish people and its rights – accepted the existence of a Jewish people, one that has been around for some 4,000 years and whose civilization is Judaism, and whose homeland and cradle of its civilization is Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) and this people universally accepted right. But, sadly, none of the Muslim-Arab leaders is ready to accept the existence of the Jewish people as a people, and none is willing to accepted its universally accepted right to national self-determination and independence on ANY parcel of land between the Jordan River and the Med. Sea.

      The result, a deadly and on-going conflict that could have been resolved a long time ago if such a recognition were forth coming.

      Reply to Comment
    21. aristeides

      K9 thinks the Israeli gunboats off the coast of Gaza are imaginary. If there is no blockade, then why are these gunboats stopping all the ships that attempt to dock in Gaza?

      Reply to Comment
    22. BOOZ

      Mr Feiler :

      I retrieved this from your website.

      “So this is where we are left, in the uncomfortable position that mandates radical departure. Yet it seems that this is where we must be if we wish to move beyond the seemingly ubiquitous frontier of late capitalism and its culture. Working comfortably within the system will prove nothing less than an exercise in futility.

      Instead the trauma lies in just that aspect of the event that the postmodern Western mind finds most impossible to come to terms with — the reality that there are people out there (Palestine, Colombia, Afghanistan, Mexico) who are willing to give up their lives for a cause they believe in. It is this very idea that is simply unthinkable from the perspective of everyday New York, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm or London life.”

      ….and all this at the expense of other people lives.

      We clearly sit on opposite sides of the fence. I gather from your writings that you have made Gen. Millan Astray’s slogan ” Viva la muerte” yours. Mine is ( sory, I have no Hebrew keyboard “Tiv’hor b’haïm”

      Reply to Comment
    23. Palestinian

      Jehudah , I really hope you werent offended ,but what people ? you mean the illegal immigrants …ok

      Reply to Comment
    24. Joel

      Mr. Feiler,

      Will this flotilla be making a port-of-call to Syria?

      Reply to Comment
    25. jjj

      @Palestinian:
      What illegal immigrants? Arabs?
      What’s your call? Expell all Jews back to their pre 20th century places?

      Gaza is a hostile territory actively working against Israel’s existence. To lift the so-called blockade is akin to arming them with missiles.
      Fact is Gaza is maintained as a missile launch site.
      Were it to declare end of hostilities, poof, no more “blockade” at least from the Israeli side.
      But then, that would mean letting Israeli’s live peacefully, which is an impossible notion, is it?

      Reply to Comment
    26. Jehudah

      “…illegal (Jewish) immigrants…”

      1) The vast majority of Jews residing in Israel today are either people born in Israel, or people who were born in the surrounding Muslim and Arab world and who arrived in Israel as refugees after having been expelled by the Arab states, from North Africa in the west, to Iraq in the east, after Israel’s proclamation.
      2) We, Jews, don’t consider going home to Israel as immigration. We ascend to Israel, the national home of the Jewish people for the past 4,000 years. And, the highest point of ascending for us is to do so to Zion, also known as Jerusalem, the eternal spiritual center and capital city of the Jewish people and its sovereign state of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Kolumn9

      @Jack
      1) Hahahahahahaha. If you want to pretend that Gaza is occupied even though there are no Israeli soldiers there and Gaza has international borders not under Israeli control, go ahead, but reality as well as the current rulers of the Gaza Strip disagree with you. But keep on telling yourself and anyone that listens that it is occupied. You need to do that because the rest of the world has already forgotten about that place.
      .

      2) There is no blockade on Gaza. There is a maritime quarantine whereby good must be searched before being allowed in to prevent heavy weapons from getting in. In either case, the border with Egypt is not at all under Israeli control.
      .

      3) Hahahaha. You are just getting funnier. There is unity between Gaza and the West Bank. Tell me another one. When was the last time Abbas visited Gaza? (answer: 2007). The president of the Palestinians hasn’t been to Gaza in 5 years. Yep, clearly there is unity.
      .

      4) Hence the title of the article is retarded.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Vladi

      Can’t wait to see this bunch of useless slackers being detained by Israeli special forces… Activists they say. Get a real job that actually contributes.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Palestinian

      JJJ what Arabs ? I didnt call for the expulsion of those illegal immigrants and their descendants .Why Gaza is a “hostile” territory ? maybe because of the state terrorism of Isghael ….maybe ,how come pipes (used in manufacturing primitive missiles)are allowed into the strip by Israel ?If its about security (as they claim) there are several ways to lift the blockade and allow a normal life in Gaza , but the real purpose is to keep Palestinians living in misery and poverty ,people must be kept preoccupied with what are they gonna eat tomorrow and how to save 10$ for the next week.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Jack

      Kolumn9,
      1. Gaza is under occupation according to the international community. Even the US admits this. Israel have control over every border whetever it is land bordering, airspace and naval. Thats a occupation. By position soldiers inside of Gaza or 6 ft outside the border doesnt make any impact.
      2. Its a blockade, likewise recognized by world community, this is illegal since collective punishment is forbidden.
      3. Yes its palestinian territory and again according to international law and world community this is the foundation of a palestinian statehood.
      4. You make no sense on this one.

      Reply to Comment
    31. aristeides

      “maritime quarantine” = blockade

      Which if it is not occupation is an illegal act of war.

      Reply to Comment
    32. CigarButNoNice

      Dear Mr Fakestinian, I’m not into historical fabrication. Thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Prometheus

      Here we go again.
      1 – Palestinians have never existed. There is no “palestinian” history, language, culture – anything that could actually be used to describe a nation.
      2 – There never was an occupation of the “palestine” because the term “occupation” mean that State A occupies (part) of State B. Since there never was a nation of “palestine”, let alone the State of “palestine”, the occupation is technically impossible.
      3 – Blockade of a hostile entity is perfectly legal.
      4 – Any vessel trying to breach blockade must be stopped and searched. Those resisting must be dealt with accordingly.
      5 – Blockade must remain until people of Gaza choose to live in peace. If they choose not to – they will face the consequences.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Jack

      Prometheus,
      1. Historic revionism, 2012, really?
      For starters:
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_people
      2. The occupation refers to the partition plan which is the lines recognized in international and by world.
      3. Blockade is an act of war and is illegal. Blockade on human goods (food, medicine) is not legal.
      4. No a state must let through humantarian ships. Of course Israel will deny any humantarian ship which tells us two things, 1. the inhumane view 2. the false argument that they stop the ship for weapons, they know perfectly well there is no arms on these boats. They just do it to upheld the myth.
      5. Compared to israel government palestinians have recognized 2 states for 2 people just like world community. Israel simply doesnt want peace and therefore try to preserve the status quo.
      -
      I think you have read too many biased repoarts about the conflict and therefore act in shock when approached with facts.

      Reply to Comment
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