GAZA CITY (IPS) - “An ark is literally a large floating vessel designed to keep its passengers and cargo safe,” according to the group preparing Gaza’s Ark. But its is “a vessel that embodies hope that the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip can soon live in peace without the threat of the Israeli blockade.”
An initiative by Palestinians in Gaza and international solidarity activists, Gaza’s Ark entails “purchasing a run-down boat from a local fishing family,” said Michael Coleman, a member of Free Gaza Australia and the steering committee for Gaza’s Ark.
“The refurbishing will be done by Palestinians in the port of Gaza, and the sailing will be with a mixed crew of Palestinians and internationals,” said David Heap, spokesman for Gaza’s Ark in Canada and Europe. The sailing date has not been announced yet.
Pointing to a weathered fishing trawler with a “for sale” sign painted on it, Mahfouz Kabariti, president of Gaza’s Fishing and Marine Sports Association, referred to the poverty of Gaza’s fishermen.
“Why sell?” he asked. “Because of years of poor incomes from Israeli restrictions on sea, many fishermen have debts they cannot pay off. Fishermen were optimistic when the Israelis re-extended the fishing limit six miles. We hoped that maybe it would be extended to 12 miles.” more