SS Free Gaza & SS Liberty Set Sail

Mission Statement
We want to break the siege of Gaza. We want to raise international awareness about the prison-like closure of the Gaza Strip and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. We want to uphold Palestine’s right to welcome internationals as visitors, human rights observers, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, or otherwise.

Who are we?
We are these human rights observers, aid workers, and journalists. We have years of experience volunteering in Gaza and the West Bank at the invitation of Palestinians. But now, because of the increasing stranglehold of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, many of us find it almost impossible to enter Gaza, and an increasing number have been refused entry to Israel and the West Bank as well. Despite the great need for our work, the Israeli Government will not allow us in to do it.

We are of all ages and backgrounds. Back home, we are teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, truck drivers, youth workers, musicians, secretaries, parents, grandparents, lawyers, students, activists, actors, playwrights, politicians, web designers, authors, international training consultants, and we even include a former Hollywood film industry worker, a former Marine, an aviator, and an explorer. We are Italian, Irish, Canadian, Greek, Tunisian, German, Australian, American, English, Scottish, Danish, Israeli, and Palestinian.

What are we going to do?
We’ve tried to enter Palestine by land. We’ve tried to arrive by air. Now we’re getting serious. We’re taking a ship.

Well in fact they are taking two, but they’re more boats than ships (they are brave), have a look at their flickr photostream. You can subscribe for email updates here or through their main site www.freegaza.org and they need money, so if you’re flush, drop them some cash. Interestingly Lauren Booth, Tony Blair’s sister in law is on one of the boats, she writes-

Freegaza have the boats, the crew, and the willpower to challenge Israel’s illegal barricade. Now all they need is the weather. Here is a message to the Gazans watching their sea for signs of ships; the Freegaza movement are on their way. When the winds are with them, nothing else should be able halt this mission of peace and goodwill.

And an excerpt from Jeff Halper who is also onboard-

An Israeli Jew in Gaza– As activists committed to resisting the siege non-violently, I have no objection to the Israeli navy boarding our boats and searching for weapons. But only that. Because Israel has no right to besiege a civilian population, it has no legal right to prevent us, private persons sailing solely in international and Palestinian waters, from reaching Gaza – particularly since Israel has declared that it no longer occupies it. Once the Israeli navy is convinced we pose no security threat, then, we thoroughly expect it to permit us to continue our peaceful and lawful journey into Gaza port.

The flotilla is slowly picking up media coverage, although thus far US media have been notable by their absence. So spread the word and make sure they have enough publicity to make their being stopped too embarrassing for the besiegers.

10 Responses to “SS Free Gaza & SS Liberty Set Sail”

  1. libhomo Says:

    I hope they don’t suffer the same fate as Rachel Corrie.

  2. RickB Says:

    Yes, so far bad weather is delaying them, they do post watches, as there is possibly a danger of sabotage from spooks apparently. Once they get close to the Gaza coast coverage will be helpful.

  3. Algebra Answers Says:

    They made it! Good for them!

  4. Not impressed Says:

    Why can’t these people agitate for their governments to undo the effects of history and the European and British debacle of Israel, founded as it was on a mixture of Nazism and British colonial bungling. This is just another one of those feel good Western adventures like Band Aid, all hype but very little substance. To add to the whole farce, Tony’s sister in law is in the fray.

    The Jews and the Palestinians are both the prisoners of vicious European adventurism and nationalism. Grow up people! It’s time Europe sat up and took stock of it’s duplicity instead of indulging in these meaningless gestures.

  5. RickB Says:

    Well there is a great deal of truth in what you say, but, the activists are from all over and are aware of the history and Lauren Booth is not at all like Tony Blair and has a sincere interest in the situation. It wasn’t meaningless as it did draw attention to the de facto blockade Israel runs, the test will be if after this supply ships will become a viable thing. I really don’t think anyone involved is ignorant of the formation of Israel and the British role and the Nazi’s murderous regime which gave the Zionists the impetus to expand their project. But I do get your frustration and certainly there is a long way to go to achieve a just solution with awareness of past culpabilities.

  6. Not impressed Says:

    Why aren’t they agitating over more recent Western adventurism. I am rather reluctant to point the finger at the Jews/Israelis given their evident trauma at being brutally victimised by racist Europe but there can be no excuse for the ongoing beligerence of both the Anglo-Saxon nations of the UK (with its evident colonial ambitions), and the US along with lesser Anglo partners, Australia and Canada. When are these Anglo-Saxon peace activists going to clean up their own backyards. The fact that other non-Anglos were involved in this farce does not in any way add any credibility to this event given the current state of world affairs, dominated as they are by white English speakers.

  7. Not impressed Says:

    I find it laughable that when the ongoing hand of Anglo-Saxon colonialism is STILL being played, centuries later, on a GLOBAL stage, there is all this outrage from these very same Anglos that little Jewish Israel has the impudence to colonise a measly strip of desert on the edge of the Mediterranean..which incidentally is also the historic home of the Judaic peoples.

    I mean people…c’mon. This sounds too much to me like the same old story we have been fed of the good guy/bad guy routine that the Britons and their cousins in the colonies play oh so well.

  8. RickB Says:

    I doubt any of those on board were not against the imperial activities of the west, insisting their nations are perfect before speaking to the Israeli government’s polices is untenable to any global approach to human rights and democratic accountability. Also treating ‘Anglo saxons’ as some monolith rather ignores the actual make up of the crew and the fact that europeans are of many racial groups. Certainly basing imperial critique on that tenuous racial aspect is rather inaccurate. Very specifically this about the blockade of Gaza, imperial or colonial policies are to deplored everywhere, whether by Bush or Olmert or Putin. As for being the historic home, well if religion justifies colonisation then good luck as they all squabble over sacred sites, Jews are just one group who have lived there throughout history. Do not confuse judaism with the specific political movement that is Zionism.

  9. Not impressed Says:

    Lol.

    Do you honestly view this act of Western impertinence as anything noteworthy. Incidentally read one of the riders on this adventures article, namely Yvonne Ridley. It’s an absolute disgrace.

    Basically you Westerners booted the Jews out of Europe, handed them Palestine which was under the “protectorship” of that rather dubious white dominated “international” organisation, the League of Nations, you continue to plague the Middle East for freebies such as oil and then you presume to target the Jews, who I might add are lightweight players in the game of international duplicity compared to you Westerners.

    Nothing good will come of this as nothing good has ever come of so-called acts of Western generosity. The best you fellows can do is leave the Third World alone and encourage your governments to pay the going rate for Third World resources. Proper sovereign Arab states would have put paid to Israel’s ambitions a long time ago. Client stateship on the other hand is precisely why we are at this impasse with Gaza.

  10. RickB Says:

    I think your world view is faulted by taking a monlithic approach and ignoring political, ethnic and class differences. It also rejects the possibility and reality of solidarity which is how people can resist the ruling class’s imperial and colonial adventures wherever it may be being pursued.


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