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May 19, 2010

Breaking Gaza's siege, the ships are sailing

Mordecai Briemberg

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On May 24, 2010 the Freedom Flotilla sets sail for Gaza determined, once again, to challenge Israel's blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in an open-air prison.

Three cargo ships are loaded with 5,000 tons of reconstruction materials, medical and school supplies. At least five passenger boats with over 600 people from 40 countries on board will accompany the cargo ships.

These passengers include members of Parliament from around the world, U.N. human rights stalwarts, trade union activists, as well as journalists who will document the largest coordinated effort to directly confront Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza and take in basic supplies.

This is the biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israel's ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people.

John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, has called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with desperately needed supplies to the beleaguered territory. Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General and participant in the flotilla, has welcomed John Ging’s call to break the illegal siege.

The flotilla sails under the coordination of the Free Gaza Movement, which consists of numerous human rights organizations, including the Turkish Relief Foundation (IHH), the Perdana Global Peace Organization from Malaysia, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, and the Swedish and Greek Boat to Gaza initiatives. 

To the readers of the Canadian Charger:

We write to you because you have signed and financially supported the statement “We cannot celebrate”, published on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s creation, May 2008. That full-page ad cost about $4,000. With your solidarity we plan to contribute that same amount to the Free Gaza Movement, in its effort to break the siege of Gaza. 

Canpalnet already has forwarded $1,000 to the Free Gaza Movement specifically to purchase 160 bags of cement in Ireland that have been loaded on the cargo boat, christened the “Rachel Corrie”, that is part of the flotilla.

Send your solidarity donation to “Canpalnet” and mail it to: 123 North Sea Avenue, Burnaby, B.C., V5B 1K4 and we will send it to the Free Gaza Movement in one thousand dollar amounts as we receive them.

An Israeli government official has said in an interview that "about half of the Israeli naval forces will participate in an operation [training to prevent the flotilla from bringing supplies to Gaza]”. You already have shown you “will not celebrate” such cruel actions. You are not a person who needs us to detail the well-documented inhuman conditions imposed on the children, women and men in Gaza.

We simply ask you, with respect, to sustain your support for justice, that indispensable foundation for peace.

On behalf of Canpalnet,

Mordecai Briemberg

For further information, go to the website for the Free Gaza Movement:

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Dotan Rousso. Holds a Ph.D. in Law—a former criminal prosecutor in Israel. Currently working as a college professor in Canada.

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