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July 28, 2010

We have to send a Canadian boat to Gaza

Ehab Lotayef

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Day after day, Israel defies international law and the international community. Its Apartheid Wall annexes occupied Palestinian territory and displaces the local Palestinian population. It inflicts collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza through a crippling blockade and ferocious attacks involving illegal weapons.

It attacks unarmed ships on the high seas that bring humanitarian aid to suffering Gazans. It kills these aid workers in cold blood, kidnaps the rest, and confiscates their belongings and vessels.

In the face of all this, the Canadian government has either justified Israel’s actions or remained silent.

Thus, it has fallen to Canadian civil society and civil society organizations to take a stand.

In cooperation with the Free Gaza Movement (http://www.freegaza.org), which has coordinated many boats to break the siege of Gaza, we will become part of an international flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

We presented our initiative to the federal government, and the first official response came from Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon.

He said we should make sure we follow the rules Israel set up for getting supplies into Gaza—again, Ottawa legitimizes Israel’s illegal blockade.

Besides bring aid to Gazans, the aid flotilla will have a second purpose.

Just as vital building materials and other supplies are banned from entering Gaza, exports are also blocked.

So, part of our mission we be to bring exports, even symbolic amounts, out of Gaza, thus asserting the right of Palestinians to trade, rather than be at the mercy of international aid.

We call on you to support, and be a part of, the Canadian boat to Gaza. We need to raise $300,000, not including aid, over the coming months.

For more information visit http://www.canadaboatgaza.org.

Ehab Lotayef of Montreal is member of Canadian Boat to Gaza.

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