Friday, 26 June 2015

Freedom Flotilla III is Sailing to Open the Port of Gaza


More than three boats, with more than 50 crew and passengers from about twenty countries are prepared to reach the port of Gaza and call on the international community to open it

This year’s mission, organized by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition against the blockade and the siege of Gaza, is about to sail to highlight the violation of the rights of 1.8 million Palestinians living in the world’s largest open-air prison.

The Israeli government claims that there are ‘unauthorized boats trying to illegally enter Israeli territorial waters’. There are no ‘unauthorized boats’, only an illegal and inhumane blockade; the UN has recently called to end it and Freedom Flotilla III sails to challenge it, without any need or desire to enter Israeli territorial waters. This fact is highlighted by the practices of Israeli naval forces against previous sea missions, which have intercepted all boats since 2009 in international waters, headed towards Palestinian waters off Gaza, never towards Israel or Israeli waters.

Freedom Flotilla III is invited by Palestinians in Gaza through various organizations that work for a relief of the thousands that were left heavily wounded, homeless, jobless, and displaced after recent Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip. We also have among our passengers Dr. Basel Ghattas, Member of the Israeli Knesset, who called in an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu to allow our mission to reach the port of Gaza.

Israel’s right-wing is now moving to penalize MK Ghattas for his participation in a legitimate political action of people from all around the world, while Deputy MFA Hotovely has announced international diplomatic action against the Freedom Flotilla III. Lawyers around the world are making legal moves against the mission, just as they did in 2011. We regret that “the only democracy in Middle-East” thinks this is the best course of action, instead of addressing the real problems of occupation, blockade and division of Palestine, as well as the openly legal discriminations against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

We remain undeterred, because our purpose is not to act against Israel, but against occupation. Our actions would not be needed, if governments worldwide and international bodies like the EU and the UN would take steps to ensure accountability of Israeli governments for war crimes and collective punishment against the 1.8 million Palestinian population in Gaza Strip. We welcome voices from Israel who publicly state that the State of Israel is not threatened by the action against the blockade.

The international community should stop turning a blind eye on the blockade and occupation and take steps urgently towards the direction of ensuring the opening of the port in Gaza, the only port of Palestine to the rest of the world.:

Freedom Flotilla III media team

Phone: +30 2110115937
E-mail: media@freedomflotilla.org http://ff3.freedomflotilla.org
More press contacts:
https://ff3.freedomflotilla.org/press-room/ more

Israel prevents hundreds of Gazans from entering Jerusalem


Hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were prevented from reaching Jerusalem to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday.

Israeli authorities revoked this week’s permits for Gazans to visit the holy site after a rocket fired from the territory hit an open area near the town of Ashkelon in the western Negev early Wednesday, sources at the Palestinian liaison told Ma'an.

Israeli official Yoav Mordechai told Ma'an at the time that the 500 men and women scheduled to leave Gaza would not be allowed to travel because “the security conditions around the crossing aren’t stable," adding that the recent rocket fire landed “not far from the Erez crossing" on the Gaza-Israel border.

While Israel initially eased travel restrictions for Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan, authorities said such increases in movement came on the condition that security wasn't "breached."

Mordechai said Wednesday that Israeli authorities would reevaluate the security conditions next week in order to determine future travel by Gazans into Jerusalem, adding that he held Hamas "responsible for depriving worshipers of prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan," acknowledging that while the group was not responsible for firing the rocket, they are responsible for controlling the Gaza Strip. more

Gaza flotilla ship sabotaged days before expected arrival


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- One of the ships taking part in a flotilla headed towards Gaza strip was sabotaged south of Crete, an activist aboard one of the ships said Thursday.

Israeli-born Swedish activist Dror Feiler told Nazareth-based al-Shams radio that the ship had been sabotaged by professionals, and would have sunk if sailed at sea.

"Somebody went underneath the ship at night and sabotaged its propellers, just like they sabotaged the same ship in 2011,” Fieler said referring to similar damage that was inflicted upon a ship participating in a previous flotilla.

Feiler, who relinquished his Israeli citizenship after moving to Sweden, boarded the trawler Marianne of Gothenburg in Sweden with 18 other activists six weeks ago. The crew had refrained from stopping at European ports prior to avoid being held by authorities, but their trip was cut short after realizing that they might have drowned had they continued.

Despite the sabotage, the remainder of the flotilla convoy will move as planned with the ships expected arrive in Gaza in succession within three days, Feiler said.

The flotilla is the third of it's kind to attempt to access the Gaza Strip by sea since 2010, aiming break the nearly nine-year Israeli blockade causing what is termed by rights organizations as a humanitarian crisis for the strip's 1.8 million residents.

In May 2010, Israeli forces staged a raid on a six-ship flotilla which ended in bloodshed, claiming the lives of 10 Turkish rights activists and sparked a crisis with Ankara. more