Freedom Flotilla Activists Set Out to Break Israel’s Gaza Blockade

Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Activism, Conscious Living with 0 Comments
Source: Twitter hashtag #LiveFromFlotilla

Source: Twitter hashtag #LiveFromFlotilla

An international team of activists has set sail for the Gaza Strip in a flotilla of four ships in a bid to break a long-held sea blockade. It comes five years after a similar attempt ended in bloodshed.

The so-called “Freedom Flotilla III” departed from various ports in Greece on Saturday. This is the third attempt to break the Palestinian blockade, which has lasted for nine years, according to a news release on the campaign’s official webpage.

One person on the flotilla is U.S. citizen, retired Colonel, Ann Wright who served 29 years in the U.S. Army and was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years serving in embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.

On the Freedom Flotilla Coalition blog, Wright recently wrote this about her participation in the flotilla:

I am horrified by the brutal 55 day Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014 that left over 2,200 dead and 10,000 wounded and much of the country in ruins. I am equally horrified by the lack of international assistance for the people of Gaza during this past year and by the impunity that Israel has in the international community for the criminal acts it has committed on the people of Gaza and the West Ban.

I am participating again in another Gaza Freedom Flotilla because I am totally and completely opposed to the continuous Israeli naval blockade of Gaza and the U.S. complicity in the frequent massive Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza. Without the approval of the United States and the military weaponry from the United States, Israel would be unable to continue its military destruction of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank. As a concerned citizen of this planet, the least I can do is challenge Israel and my country, the United States, by this flotilla.

Although this is not the first time activists have attempted to break what they see as an illegal siege of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, it is stirring even more controversy than in the past because of the presence of an Israeli lawmaker, Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas.

The Washington Post interviewed Ghattas before the flotilla took off and asked him what the goal of this flotilla was. Ghattas responded:

This is a nonviolent political action aimed at bringing attention to the blockade. We must remember that it is these conditions that will lead us to another circle of war within a month, a year or two years from now. So why not do whatever we can, make every effort possible, to change the reality, save lives and avoid another war? This is my intention, and I think I am doing my duty as an elected representative in Israel.

When also asked if he was concerned about the consequences of joining this action (due to talk that his position in the Knesset was being reviewed), Ghattas responded:

I am concerned about that. It is easy for the Israeli media and the public to label someone and to brainwash everyone against him. On the other hand, I am doing my job and listening to my conscience. I am a proud Palestinian and a Knesset member. I don't have anything to hide or be afraid of. I will deal with the consequences when I get back.

Considering the bloodshed that occurred in previous Freedom Flotilla demonstrations, the potential loss of his position be the least that Ghattas has to fear.

Follow live updates on Twitter via hashtag #LiveFromFlotilla

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