Flotilla aiming to break Gaza blockade leaves from Turkey

"Freedom Waves to Gaza," consisting of Canadian, Irish ships, carrying 27 activists claiming to be non-violent, set to reach Gaza later in week.

November 2, 2011 18:08
1 minute read.
Canadian boat Tahrir [file]

Canadian boat Tahrir flotilla_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

A two-boat flotilla carrying 27 activists from five countries including the US set sail from Turkey on Wednesday "with the aim of ending the siege and isolation of Gaza," flotilla organizers said in a statement.

The "Freedom Waves to Gaza" flotilla, consisting of the Canadian Tahrir, and the Irish Saoirse, was currently in international waters after embarking from Fethiye, Turkey. Organizers expected the vessels to arrive in Gaza on Friday afternoon, "sailing from international waters straight into Gaza’s territorial waters without entering Israel’s waters."

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Activists said that the boats were carrying "symbolic cargo," consisting of $30,000 in medicines as well as activists "committed to nonviolent defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights."

“Israel has caged Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, prohibiting physical contact between us. We want to break the siege Israel has imposed on our people,” said Majd Kayyal, an Israeli-Arab philosophy student from Haifa on board the Tahrir. Kayyal added, “The fact that we’re in international waters is already a victory for the movement. Israel’s siege of Gaza is untenable and it’s a moral responsibility to put an end to this injustice.”

A flotilla organized by the Free Gaza movement was cancelled in July after Greece refused to allow the ships to leave its ports for the Gaza Strip.

In May 2010, nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed by IDF commandos during a raid of the Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza.

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