Ajaccio, Corsica, France: The Women’s Boat to Gaza (Zaytouna-Oliva) left the port of Ajaccio at 09:30 this morning. It is due to arrive later this week in Messina, Sicily, Italy, where it will dock for the last time, prior to sailing to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza.
One of the participants aboard, Lisa Gay Hamilton said: “It is an honour to be here and join this extraordinary group of women. This issue is bigger than me, than any of us. As a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, I cannot help thinking of Palestinian women in Gaza, who live in an open-air prison because of the occupation. It is so painful to think of them, we have to take action to end the blockade of Gaza.” A full list of the participants on this leg is available at: https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/participants
Lucia Intruglio, spokesperson and one of the local organisers in Messina said: “We are very pleased to host the women on Zaytouna-Oliva before they embark on this historic voyage.” During their stay in Messina, all of the women will participate in non-violence training, whilst finalizing supplies and equipment for the boat.
A previous Freedom Flotilla Coalition ship, the Marianne av Göteborg from Sweden, departed from Sicily last year. It however was raided in international waters by the Israeli Occupation Forces. When asked whether the Zaytouna-Oliva will reach its destination, Intruglioreplied: “Our destination remains the conscience of humanity. It is up to every one of us to help them succeed in this.”
The Women’s Boat to Gaza is an initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition composed of civil society organizations and campaigns from more than a dozen countries.
Barcelona, Spain: As Zaytouna-Oliva makes its way towards Ajaccio, France; the Women’s Boat to Gaza* (WBG) releases its passenger list, which includes women from nine countries across five continents. The list (found here) includes parliamentarian Malin Björk, a Swedish member of the EU parliament; Spanish actress Rosana Pastor Muñoz; and Yudit Ilany of Israel who serves as advisor to Knesset member Haneen Zoabi.
Meanwhile, sister ship Amal-Hope remains in Barcelona following her return to that port because of mechanical problems (we had such problems in previous missions). Based on a professional assessment, she will not be in a condition to follow Zaytouna. Organizers are actively pursuing a new ship and will be launching a campaign to defray this additional cost. Zaytouna-Oliva is estimated to arrive in Ajaccio on Monday, September 19. The passenger list, which will change with each leg will be updated and shared throughout the journey.
With regard to the Amal-Hope, Jaldia Abubakra, a passenger from Spain/Palestine, said, “we are sorry to leave her behind. But we carry Amal-Hope in our hearts.”
* The Women’s Boat to Gaza is an initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition composed of civil society organizations and campaigns from more than a dozen countries. For more information, visit www.womensboattogaza.org.
Of the approximately 100,000 Palestinians who had their homes destroyed or severely damaged during the 2014 hostilities, 65,000 remain displaced; over half of them may not receive any cash assistance during the second half of 2016, due to lack of funding.
Some 900 people, a third of them children, sustained some form of permanent disability during the hostilities and about 100 underwent amputation of limbs.
Over 160,000 children are estimated to be in need of continuous psychosocial support.
Since the ceasefire, 17 civilians have been killed, and 100 have been injured by explosive remnants of war (ERW), including 46 children. Some 3,300 items of ERW have been safely removed and 87 hazardous sites are yet to be cleared.
All 78 hospitals and clinics damaged during the conflict were repaired, reconstruction of three totally destroyed clinics is ongoing, and rebuilding of one hospital destroyed is yet to start.
Of the seven totally destroyed schools, reconstruction of one is complete and work on the other six is ongoing; all the 252 damaged schools have been repaired.
Repair of about two-thirds of the damage to the water and sanitation infrastructure and equipment is complete or underway, with the remaining third lacking funding; most households receive piped water only for a few hours every 2-4 days.
Only half of the open-field crop areas, 18% of tree orchards, and 16% of greenhouses damaged or destroyed during the hostilities, have been restored, undermining farmers’ livelihoods and food production.
Only 27% of the funding requested in the Humanitarian Response Plan 2016 for Gaza-specific projects has so far been received.
In a ruling issued by the Supreme Court of Israel, under the presidency of Miriam Naor, the state of Israel is ordered to immediately release and return the vessel ”Estelle” to its owners, the Swedish human rights organisation Ship to Gaza. The ship was boarded and seized by IDF in the fall 2012 during an attempt to break the inhumane blockade of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.
The Finnish flagged S/V Estelle departed from Sweden in early summer of 2012. It visited ports in the Baltic, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean before it was attacked by Israeli military, 30 naval miles outside the coast of Gaza.
The Supreme Court ruled that the state should have immediately asked the court for the confiscation of the ship and shouldn’t have waited for ten months. The state did not conduct negotiations with the owner of the ship, did not respond to appeals by the owners and did not inform the owners about its intentions.
According to the ruling the state of Israel is required to pay the court costs of Ship to Gaza at the amount of 40000 NIS (approx 10500 USD).
Ship to Gaza will via our Israeli lawyers bring our claims against the state of Israel.
Together with its partners in Freedom Flotilla Ship to Gaza is right now planning a new action to break and abolish the devastating blockade of Gaza: Women´s Boat to Gaza will set sail in the middle of September.
For more info, contact Ship to Gaza´s spokesperson: Dror Feiler
Mikael M Karlsson: +46 761 285 161
Dror Feiler: +46 702 855 777
Ellen Huttu Hansson: +46 722 883 213
I believe, if Van Gogh was alive and to say that today, he'd be describing Gazan fishermen.
If you visit the Gaza seaport, you will see a variety of young and old, black and white, and injured and disabled fishermen who come from all areas of the Strip, forming a large and lively community despite an Israeli blockade that limits how far boats may sail. And you'd probably be surprised to see a lone female fisher among the roughly 2,000 men, because in Gaza it’s a male-dominated profession.
This is Madline Kullab, the 21-year-old female fisher from Gaza. Because we are the same age, and since life on the sea interests me intensely, I interviewed her recently to find out more about life as a female fisher in Gaza. Madline took me to her favorite place on the seaport to talk—the rocks by the shore. Colorful walls and blocks, decorated with graffiti by painters from some youth initiatives, were behind us and the tranquil sea was in front. A group of fishermen were chatting with each other to our left.
"Fishing is an inherited job,” explained Madline. “My involvement started with my father. When I was a kid, he used to take me with him to the sea to help him. He was suffering from a disease since 1990, and it intensified when I was 13. He had to stop working, and because I am the eldest, and the one with some experience in fishing, I took his place."
When she first started, she said, “I faced some difficulties with people who didn't know me when I was a kid. Most of the young fishermen, policemen and others didn't accept me, since I was the first, and only, girl to occupy such a job. I had to prove myself and hold on until I earned respect. With the flow of time, they came to know me and things got easier. Nowadays, the relationship between me and my co-workers is very fraternal. We're one strong and loving family."
Madline pointed at a man sitting next to her. He had sharp eyes, a dark tanand black hair, and he looked to be in his 40s. She said, "Mr. Zakariyya is one of the people who helped me the most to endure all the hardships I faced." I looked at him curiously so he smiled and said, "I'm a father more than a friend of hers."
Zakariyya, or Abu Ayed, as everyone he knows calls him, is the coordinator of the fishermen's committees, a member of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and a friend of Madline’s father. He stood by her side during all of the hardships and taught her the fishing process step by step. "I used to take her with me when I went fishing to teach her how to be a professional fisher,” he recalled. “We mostly depend on the fishing nets in this job. We first prepare the nets and make sure of their quality before throwing them into the sea, often with the help of other fishermen. The steps seem pretty simple, yet the process is difficult. It takes as long as 48 hours to collect a good catch, and it requires patience and physical strength."
Abu Ayed added that although Israel’s blockade on the Strip allows fishing only six nautical miles offshore, when the best fish are 12 or more miles out, the fishermen still manage to catchsardines, shrimp and different types of mullet. And they add a unique touch to the fishing process with their folk songs and chants, often invented by the fishermen themselves. When they throw their nets into the sea, or when the harvest is large, they start cheering or singing songs like, "Wele'dda? Bedhasardeen. Weldar? Walamalleen. WeljebaBedhadananeer" (What about equipment? It lacks sardines. And the house? It lacks money. And the pocket? It lacks pocks].Another goes like this: "Sallisalli, 'ala el-nabi, salli w soom, el-rezqydoom…" [Say peace be upon the prophet, pray and fast, so that the profit may forever last.]
Abu Ayed looked at Madline and said, "Madline herself is a story of struggle. From the beginning of the job she was one of the most professional in using a rowboat. She was just 8 years old when she tried it the first time."
Of all the difficulties with which Madline dealt , whether on her own or with the help of her family and Abu Ayed, there was one she could not solve: the Israeli occupation. "I can't recall all the dangerous situations I've been through while fishing,” she recounted.“Every fisherman [who] gets close to the border region [will] have his fishing nets or boat confiscated, and be shot or even detained by the Israeli naval forces. Personally, I had my fishing nets confiscated once and I have been fired at many times. So I try to avoid sailing near the six-mile mark."
Abu Ayed continued, saying, “During the last war, all the fishermen collected their boats and other materials on the shore and hid them in their rooms [a group of rooms built beside each other in a building, where each fisherman keeps his fishing equipment and other personal belongings]. But the Israeli navy targeted the rooms and caused great losses to all the fishermen. Madline lost her two boats."
There's a lot about Madline people don't know. Behind her tough and stubborn personality, there is a girl who likes to embroider, design clothes and swim. In fact, she was chosen as the representative of Palestine for a swimming championship held in South Africa. However, the blockade of Gaza prevented her from travelling to participate in the contest. Madline also is an activist who has met with a number of national and international notables who have visited the Strip.
As I got ready to leave, I asked Madline how she sees her relationship with the sea. Both she and Abu Ayed agreed that, "a true fisherman is like a fish. If you take him away from the sea, you're taking his life out of his body." As for the future, she said, " I wish I can stay here with the sea. No matter how much I have endured, and how much I will, I'm always ready for more."
Mentor: Harry Giles
Originaly Posted December 11, 2015 , on: http://wearenotnumbers.org//home/Contributor/85
The Women's Boat to Gaza is an all-women mission where the boats will have only women on board: the crew, activists and prominent people sailing in support of the Palestinians of Gaza, as well as the journalists covering the voyage.
On board there will be a Nobel Laureate, Members of Parliament from different countries, Members of European Parliament, other eminent women and activists from over a dozen countries. This is an opportunity to share the stories and wisdom of Palestinian women in Gaza and the women of the world who support them. We aim not only to break the physical barriers of the blockade, but also to break the media silence and help the voices of Palestinian women in Gaza be heard.
We are inviting interested women journalists (visual, audio, written) from various media organizations worldwide to join the mission. If you are interested please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, specifying what support you can count on from your media organization, if any. If you have any questions or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at the same address.
Please note that space is limited so you are urged to contact us without delay if you are interested. Deadline to receive applications is July 30, 2016.