New Flotilla prepares to set sail for Gaza

Pro-palestinian activists prepare to set sail for Gaza to break blockade of coastal enclave

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pro-Palestinian activists are preparing to sail to Gaza in nearly three boats in the last attempt to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian enclave.     

The final preparations are under way and the boats aim to reach Gaza before the end of June, members of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition have told Al Jazeera.  

The main aim of Flotilla is not to bring aid to Gaza, but to break the naval blockade on Gaza and open the port to allow trade and and freedom of movement through the port, Kalle Ohlson told Al Jazeera.

"Our aim is to end the siege of Gaza. We want the Palestinians to know that we haven't forgotten about them. There are many crises in the world, but the situation in Gaza is also really bad, and we do remember them," Ohlsson said.

One ship, The Marianne - bearing the Swedish flag, is currently moving between Sicilian ports. The Marianne has limited space for cargo, but will carry some aid including solar panels and medical equipment.

There are concerns about the Israeli reaction when the boat reaches international water. Details of the other boats and their final departure point have not been revealed for security reasons.  

"We're very concerned about safety. We have a strict non-violence policy. We're hoping Israel won't use violence against us," Ohlsson said.

In May 2010, 10 people were killed when Israeli soldiers fired on the Mavi Marmara ship that was carrying aid to Gaza.

The Mavi Marmara was part of the first freedom Flotilla to Gaza and was raided by the Israeli military in international waters after the ship refused to change direction.

Swedish journalist and writer Kajsa Ekis Ekman,  one of the activists who will be on board the of Marianne during its trip to Gaza, said, "I'm hoping that the Israelis actually understand that it would create a lot of more goodwill for them if they actually let the boats through, because there's no reason for them not to do that. It's counterproductive in the end.

"I think they've totally lost common-sense here, because really it's not a threat to bring in medical equipment, to bring in medicine, to bring in solar panels."

TRTWorld and agencies