All posts by Canadian Boat to Gaza

Supreme Court of Israel: Release Ship to Gaza’s Estelle

PRESS RELEASE: 2016-08-07 22:45

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

Spokespersons

Mikael M Karlsson: +46 761 285 161
Dror Feiler: +46 702 855 777
Ellen Huttu Hansson: +46 722 883 213

Media Contact

media@shiptogaza.se

Media co-ordinator: Staffan Granér – +46 70 35 49 687

Stay updated

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Ship to Gaza Sweden

info@shiptogaza.se
http://shiptogaza.se/en
Box 4081
10262 STOCKHOLM 
SWEDEN

The female fisher of Gaza

Story Written by: Nisreen Al-Khatib

Image of the Port of Gaza, from wearenotnumbers.org

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore."— Vincent Van Gogh

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.

Madeline fishing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madline, fishing

"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."

Gaza fishermen work with nets

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

Invitation to Journalists: Sail aboard the Women’s Boat to Gaza


Photo by: Joran Fagerlund

Dear journalists:

The women's Boat to Gaza (WBG) is a Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) initiative that will sail this September to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  For more info about WBG please visit:
https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/faq and see our latest press statement (https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/news/womens-boat-to-gaza-presented-at-the-european-parliament), released after our meeting with and receiving support from many Members of European Parliament in Brussels last month.

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 delegates.wbg@gmail.com, 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.

WBG Steering Committee

Women of the world need your support to sail for Palestine 

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(Photo credit: Gregory Costanzo)

PayPal graphic + link

The people of Palestine – both Gaza and the West Bank, arbitrarily split by Israeli separation policies which are illegal in international law – suffer daily abuse, deprivation and oppression. The United Nations, as well as major aid agencies such as Oxfam, provide testimony that Gaza has not been able to recover from the last Israeli assault of 2014. 75,000 people cannot return to their ruined homes and 80% of the population relies on international humanitarian aid just to survive.

 Women are in the front line – literally. They are the ones trying to keep their homes and families together among their ruined houses. They are the ones trying to guide and protect their traumatized children living in a war zone. They are the ones suffering, but they are also the ones leading.

Take for example Palestinian journalist Ameera Harouda, who runs towards the sounds of bombs because “I want to be there first because these stories should be told”.

Recognizing the vital role of women in Gaza, the Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign is participating in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaign to send an All-Women’s boat to support women in Gaza and to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade. Committed women in public life around the world have volunteered to sail with the Women’s Boat to Gaza.

U.S. playwright Naomi Wallace describes her participation: “The collective venture of the Women's Boat to Gaza is an act of defiance against the criminal incarceration of and frequent acts of war against an entire population, the majority of whom are children. It is also an intervention to highlight decades of astonishingly creative resistance by Palestinian women against Israel's illegal occupation.” She adds: “Why will I be on the boat?  I am a playwright.  It's both my duty and inspiration to engage with and expose systems that diminish us, like occupation, racism and brutality."

Irish Nobel Prize Laureate Mairead Maquire says “I am sailing on the Women's Boat to Gaza because I love my Palestinian brothers and sisters and l want to stand with them in all our struggle for Palestinian freedom and rights.” Also on board will be Members of Parliament, other eminent women and activists from over a dozen countries.

These women need our financial support to sail for Gaza. They are donating their time, courage and energy, but need financial donations to buy and equip the boats and provide the other support this campaign needs. http://canadaboatgaza.org/donate/

You, too, can get on board this vitally important initiative and show your commitment to Palestinian women of Gaza and those who would support them by donating to this campaign and helping to spread the word to your friends, family colleagues and other contacts.

Each one of the women sailing on the boats carries with her the support you provide.

Get on board this campaign and help the women of Gaza and the women’s boat to Gaza.

Follow us and to get involved at: 
www.canadaboatgaza.org and womensboattogaza.org
www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition and www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza
Twitter @GazaFFlotilla @CanadaBoatGaza

In Solidarity, 

Canadian Boat to Gaza Team
 

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Des femmes du monde entier ont besoin de vous pour rejoindre la Palestine

Faire un don 
  
Le peuple palestinien de Gaza et de Cisjordanie, est soumis arbitrairement à une séparation et une fragmentation et vit sans contiguïté territoriale depuis la mise en place de politiques israéliennes ségrégationnistes, illégales au plan  du droit international.

Ce peuple est quotidiennement agressé, opprimé et souffre de multiples privations. Les Nations Unies, de même que certaines grandes ONG, telle Oxfam, constatent que Gaza ne s’est pas remise de l’agression israélienne de 2014. En effet, 75 000 personnes ne peuvent toujours pas regagner leur maison en ruines et 80 % de la population ne survit que  grâce à l’aide humanitaire internationale.

Les femmes sont littéralement en première ligne du combat. Au milieu des décombres de leurs maisons, elles sont celles qui tiennent à bout de bras leur famille et leur foyer, qui guident et protègent leurs enfants traumatisés ayant à vivre dans cette zone de guerre. S’il est vrai qu’elles souffrent, elles n’en demeurent pas moins la pierre angulaire de leur peuple.

La journaliste palestinienne Ameera Harouda en est un parfait exemple. Si elle accourt aux premiers bruits des bombes c’est parce que, dit‑elle : « Je veux être la première sur les lieux, car  le monde doit savoir ce qui se passe ».

Reconnaissant le rôle vital des femmes de Gaza, la campagne canadienne du Bateau pour Gaza qui participe à celle de la Coalition pour la Flottille de la Liberté, collabore à l’envoi d’un bateau dont l’équipage sera composé exclusivement de femmes et dont l’un des objectifs est de manifester notre solidarité envers les femmes de Gaza. Ce bateau a également pour but de briser le blocus illégal imposé par Israël. De divers coins du monde, des femmes engagées au sein de leur société se sont portées volontaires pour participer à la traversée vers Gaza.

Pour la dramaturge américaine Naomi Wallace, « cette entreprise collective qu’est le Bateau des femmes pour Gaza constitue un acte de résistance contre la séquestration criminelle et les actes de guerre imposés à tout un peuple, dont la majorité sont des enfants. C’est également l’occasion de mettre en valeur l’incroyable créativité des Palestiniennes dans leur résistance face à l’occupation israélienne illégale ». À la question « pourquoi monter à bord de ce bateau?», elle répond : « Je suis auteure dramatique, c’est à la fois un devoir et une source d’inspiration que de se confronter à des systèmes qui tentent de nous diminuer en tant qu’êtres humains, comme le font l’occupation, le racisme et la brutalité. »

Prix Nobel de la paix, l’irlandaise Mairead Maquire naviguera sur le Bateau des femmes pour Gaza « par amour, dit-elle pour ses frères et sœurs palestiniennes, pour être à leur côté dans toutes nos luttes pour les droits et libertés des Palestinien.ne.s». Issues d’une douzaine de pays, des parlementaires ainsi que des personnalités de premier plan et des militantes de la base seront aussi du voyage.

Ces femmes ont besoin de notre soutien financier pour se rendre à Gaza. Elles investissent leur temps et leurs énergies et font preuve d’un grand courage mais  il faut de l’argent à la fois pour acheter et équiper les bateaux,  et aussi pour  couvrir les besoins connexes liés à une campagne de cette envergure. http://canadaboatgaza.org/donate/

Nous avons besoin de vous pour accomplir cette mission vitale. Soutenez les femmes de Gaza et celles qui les aident : faites un don et parlez de ce projet à vos ami.es, proches, collègues, etc. 

Chacun des femmes qui naviguera sur le bateau portera avec elle votre contribution. 

Montez à bord de cette campagne, soutenez les Palestiniennes de Gaza et le Bateau des femmes pour Gaza.

Pour nous suivre, rendez‑vous sur :

 

www.ffq.qc.ca/luttes/bateau-gaza/a-propos/

www.facebook.com/Bateau-Canadien-Pour-Gaza-122827927786858/
www.canadaboatgaza.org (en anglais).
www.womensboattogaza.org (en anglais).
www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition
www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza
Twitter : @GazaFFlotilla  @CanadaBoatGaza

Solidairement, 
L’équipe du Bateau pour Gaza

Women’s Boat to Gaza presented at the European Parliament

May 31, 2016. World  Solidarity Day with Gaza.
Women's Boat to Gaza logoThe Women’s Boat to Gaza, Freedom Flotilla logoa campaign of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition conducted its meetings over the past weekend to discuss and further plans to set sail towards Gaza in mid-September with all women delegates and crew. In doing so we raise the issue of the ongoing illegal blockade of Gaza. Shabnam Mayet, Human Rights Advocate from South Africa says, “The Israeli occupation consistently both violates International Law and disregards UN Resolutions with impunity.”

Confirmed delegates who will be on the Flotilla include: Nobel Laureate (1976) and peace activist from Northern Ireland, Mairead Maguire and Green Party New Zealand Member of Parliament Marama Davidson. Further delegates will be announced in the coming weeks.

One of the important goals of our mission is to highlight the devastating effects of the brutal blockade on the Palestinian people living in Gaza. We will emphasize in particular the struggle of women, and their many roles within the resistance. Women in Gaza often fill the role of caring for and sustaining life, they are actively involved in community development and nation building. It is important to make their voices heard, even more so during periods of extreme injustice.

We also wish to acknowledge the anniversary of the massacre on the Mavi Marmara in 2010, when 10 non-violent activists were murdered by the Israeli Navy, an illegal act in international waters that continues to go unpunished. However, this brutal attack is nothing compared to the daily violence inflicted on Gaza with while the world remains silent.

A United Nations report states that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. Homes, schools and hospitals have been destroyed. 97% of water is not drinkable and electricity is reduced to a few hours per day. “Our project, supported by many women’s groups in Gaza and by civil society around the world, seeks to bring a message of solidarity and hope. In order to change this horrifying prediction the siege must be immediately lifted” says Ellen Huttu Hansson, spokesperson for Ship to Gaza Sweden.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has asked for the support of members of the European Parliament for the Women’s Boat to Gaza and will seek assurances from all governments that they will protect and not obstruct its peaceful mission of solidarity to the besieged Palestinian people of Gaza.

For more information, contact +32 484 130 589

You can support the Women's Boat to Gaza herePayPal graphic + link

WOMEN’S BOATS TO GAZA HAVE BEEN NAMED

Mail AttachmentPaypal                              

 

This month, in celebration of Mother’s Day, we concluded our worldwide call to name the boats that will sail to Gaza in mid September. Amal-Hope and Zaytouna-Oliva will sail to Gaza in mid September. Both women’s names represent many languages. Amal symbolizes the hope that we will bring to the shores of Gaza and Zaytouna symbolizes the mighty olive, the tree of life in Palestinian agriculture. In addition, Oliva was the name of the civil protection boat that Italian activist-journalist Vittorio Arrigoni sailed in solidarity with Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza before he was murdered in 2011. We also honour Mother’s Day’s origins in the 1800’s with women speaking out against war. We intend to carry this spirit forward with our mission. We have been deeply encouraged by the interest in this important project, which will not only highlight the role of women in the struggle, but will also bring attention to what is happening to each and every person living in Gaza. We are constantly encouraged by the resilient spirit of our sisters and brothers in Gaza and we will continue to bring their stories forward as we campaign to lift the brutal and illegal siege of Gaza.

We received over 160 excellent and thoughtful name suggestions, and have now made the difficult decision to select two names for the boats that will sail to Gaza. Each submission is appreciated and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition looks forward to ongoing support as we prepare to sail in mid September.

Amal-Hope and Zaytouna-Oliva will sail with the purpose and determination behind these women’s names.

For more information please contact spokesperson Wendy Goldsmith at: wendygoldsmith21@gmail.com or  (+1) 519 281 3978.

 

You can support the Women's Boat to Gaza by donating online:  http://canadaboatgaza.org/donate/

Those who can benefit from a U.S. tax receipt can contribute online at

https://womensboatgaza-nonviolenceinternational.nationbuilder.com/contribute

To find and support other campaigns that are part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, please see: freedomflotilla.org/about

Thank you for your support. Together we can end the blockade of Gaza!

 

Other ways to get involved:

Follow us at www.canadaboatgaza.org and freedomflotilla.org

www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition/ and www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza/

Twitter @GazaFFlotilla  @CanadaBoatGaza

 

In Solidarity

the Canadian Boat to Gaza team

 

Help Launch the Women’s Boat to Gaza with Your Donation

Emailing WBG Logo shortlist copy
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Dear supporters,

On International Women's Day the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) launched our latest project, the Women's Boat to Gaza.  We met in Italy and FFC members from around the world agreed upon a sailing date of mid September with the goal of reaching Gaza within a couple of weeks.  We were honoured to participate in many events in Italy, and have received great interest from around the world.  Palestinian women and their families in Gaza are eager to greet us at the shore when we arrive.

There are many steps between now and mid September and this project relies solely on donations from you (its supporters).  Canadian Boat to Gaza has committed to raise $50,000 to cover our share as a major partner in this project, the total cost of which is ~250,000 Euros.  We are off to a good start but we need your help to make this project a reality.  
 

Our immediate target across Canada is to raise $20,000 between now and and the end of April for the plans to stay on track.

Would you please consider making a donation to this important work to end the illegal blockade of Gaza?  No donation is too small or too large! Please visit our website at www.canadaboatgaza.org for more information or visit http://canadaboatgaza.org/donate/ to donate now!  Only together we will end the siege!
 

In Solidarity 
the Canadian Boat to Gaza team

Other ways to get involved:

Follow us at www.canadaboatgaza.org

Facebook www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition/ and

Twitter @GazaFFlotilla.

Contact us to discuss how you can be involved!

Name the Boats Competition

Dear supporters,

The Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) is very close to purchasing two boats for the ‘all women boats’ which will be challenging the illegal Israeli sea blockade.  Now we need to give the boats a name.  The WBG is holding a competition to do this and we are inviting our Canadian Boat to Gaza supporters to participate.  

  We are looking for names that reflect our core principles:

* A boat with only women crew and delegates
* Solidarity with women, children and men of Gaza and all of Palestine.
* Highlighting the role of women in daily life, the struggle and resistance
* A non-violent, direct action that is not affiliated with any government
* Ultimate goal is to break the illegal blockade of Gaza

The competition is open to all, and the closing date for entries is April 25th.  The winner(s) will be selected by the WBG Committee and announced May 1st.

"The successful submission will be honoured aboard the boats, on our website and on www.freedomflotilla.org

Please send your submissions by April 25, with a brief rationale for your suggestion to mediawbg@gmail.com.

 Although all participants in the campaigns involved in WGB are volunteers, we still need your financial assistance to help buy, refurbish and equip the boats.  No donation is too small or too large! You can donate online:  http://canadaboatgaza.org/donate/

In addition we invite Toronto area supporters to join us at a fundraising concert on April 21st. see http://beitzatoun.org/event/womens-boat-to-gaza/

Other ways to get involved:

Follow us at www.canadaboatgaza.org and freedomflotilla.org
www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition/ and www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza/
Twitter @GazaFFlotilla  @CanadaBoatGaza
Contact us to discuss how you can be involved!

 In Solidarity,

Canadian Boat to Gaza Team

Women’s Boat To Gaza – FAQ

1) Is this flotilla initiative really calling for participation by women only?  And if so, why?

2) What is the importance of highlighting the struggle of women more specifically in Gaza, Palestine and globally in general?

3) Can men participate in the campaign and if so, in what capacity? 

4) What is the Freedom Flotilla Coalition?  Which countries are participating?

5) Why is the WBG challenging the Israeli blockade by sea?

6) You say your campaign supports  the  full rights of the Palestinian people: can you explain what those are?

7) Why is the Israeli blockade of Gaza illegal?

8) Is the WBG a non-violent initiative?

9) How many ships will participate in the WBG and where will they depart from?  

10) When will the Women’s Boat to Gaza sail?  

11) Who will be on board? 

12) Will you be bringing aid to Gaza? 

13) What is the current situation on the ground in Gaza?

14) Are there any risks for those participating?  

15) How will the Women’s Boat to Gaza be funded?

16) How can I participate?

1) Is this flotilla initiative really calling for participation by women only?  And if so, why?

Yes.  This initiative is called the Women’s Boat to Gaza because everyone on board, including the crew, will be women. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has decided to sponsor the Women’s Boat to Gaza because we believe that it is essential to highlight the vital role women play not only in the resistance movement but in the survival of the Palestinian people as a whole. We intend to raise awareness about the ongoing struggle that women in Gaza, in the West Bank, inside the green line and in the diaspora, have waged against the occupation historically, and which they continue to do.  

Women fulfill diverse roles in direct actions such as the Women’s Boat to Gaza, and play an integral role in various efforts that are being undertaken both in Palestine and  to achieve justice and peace through non-violent means.

2) What is the importance of highlighting the struggle of women more specifically in Gaza, Palestine and globally in general?

Although numerous versions of feminism exist, we can all agree with Angela Davis’s point: "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people".

Like most people, we recognize the need to make our world more just and egalitarian. Women in Gaza often fill the role of caring for and sustaining life, and are actively involved in community development and nation building. It is important  to make their voices heard, even more so during periods of extreme injustice.

Women in Palestine participate in all social sectors and in all forms of resistance. They defend their rights and the rights of their children and communities, with courage and determination. Families encourage their children to attend school despite the Israeli checkpoints and ongoing harassment. During the olive harvest and popular demonstrations they challenge the soldiers and settlers. Despite its importance, their work in women's organizations remains nearly invisible. Women and men in Gaza endure the inhumane Israeli blockade and continue against all odds to raise their children and overcome barriers.

Women’s empowerment is linked to the general struggle of the Palestinian people against the occupation and in particular the dire need to lift the blockade. They are an inspiration and role models for all women and men who dream of a better world.

3) Can men participate in the campaign and if so, in what capacity?  

Yes, men and women from campaigns around the world are organizing this project.  The names of our partners can be found on our website at www.freedomflotilla.org. Within this struggle, men and women play equal roles. In this particular project, it has been decided that women will take on the major role of confronting the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF). This does not minimize in any way the role that men take in both the organizing and planning stages.  

4) What is the Freedom Flotilla Coalition?  Which countries are participating?

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is composed of civil society organizations and initiatives from many countries.  We have been challenging the illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza for many years and are committed to continue the struggle until the blockade is unconditionally lifted and the Palestinian people everywhere regain their full rights.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition campaigns that will be participating in the WBG include: Ship to Gaza-Sweden, Ship to Gaza-Norway, Canadian Boat to Gaza, Freedom Flotilla-Italy, Palestine Solidarity Alliance-South Africa and Rumbo a Gaza-Spain and partners: US Boat to Gaza and Kia Ora Gaza-New Zealand-Aotearoa .

Watch this space as more campaigns join us.

5) Why is the WBG challenging the Israeli blockade by sea?

Some of our campaign countries are connected to Gaza by the same sea.  We believe that the illegal Israeli blockade should be challenged non violently.  The Freedom Flotilla coalition has been challenging the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza for 6 years.  We are experienced in challenging  the blockade by sea.  Other groups challenge the land blockade of Gaza.  We will work closely with women and organizations in Gaza, as well as other initiatives that share the same goals of breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  

6) You say your campaign supports  the  full rights of the Palestinian people: can you explain what those are?

While our focus is on opposing the blockade against Gaza, we see this in the larger context of supporting the right to freedom of movement for all Palestinians everywhere. The Occupation daily violates the rights of Palestinians to move freely around their country and to leave and return to their country, as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also support other broad-based demands for Palestinian rights based on international law, including:

1. Ending the Israeli occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

For information about the devastating effects of the blockade please visit http://www.euromedmonitor.org/en/article/1100/10-Years-of-Blockade:-The-Humanitarian-Impact

7) Why is the Israeli blockade of Gaza illegal?

Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip since 1967 and, as the occupying force, it is responsible for the well-being of the population within this territory. By applying restrictive measures that affect the population as a whole, it violates the Geneva Conventions and humanitarian international law, which prohibit collective punishment.

Experts warn that if the siege of Gaza continues, normal life will not be viable in the territory by 2020. The current blockade has been imposed for ten years by Israel and Egypt with support from many international governments. The blockade has imposed restrictions of movement on people and goods for more than a decade.  For the most part, the mainstream media does not cover this truth. Palestinians continue to attempt to raise awareness and demand action through world forums, but their collective voices are often silenced.

8) Is the WBG a non-violent initiative?

Yes.  Every initiative the Freedom Flotilla Coalition participates in is rooted both theoretically and practically within the framework of non-violence.  We elect to always counter oppression by nonviolent strategies.  Our goal is to peacefully end the illegal Israeli blockade.

9) How many ships will participate in the WBG and where will they depart from?  

This has not yet been determined, but our ships will reach ports in the Mediterranean en route to Gaza in order to raise awareness about the terrible effects of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza. Stay tuned for a stop near you!

10) When will the Women’s Boat to Gaza sail?  

The date of sailing has not yet been determined.  However, our goal is to sail in late 2016.

11) Who will be on board ?  

We are currently identifying delegates from around the world. Our delegates will represent politicians, media, cultural artists and activists from around the world.  

12) Will you be bringing aid to Gaza?  

The Women’s Boat to Gaza  is not an aid mission; however we will bring as much aid as we can on our ships.  The need for reconstruction especially after the latest Israeli attack in 2014 is great, and  has not been met by the donor states.  The needs of the Palestinians living in Gaza are great and can not be satisfied by our efforts.  Nearly two million people are held hostage in the world’s largest open-air prison, and our demand is to put an end to this situation by upholding international law and respecting human rights. As always, we strive to bring a message of solidarity and hope while putting pressure on governments to intervene in this humanitarian crisis.

13) What is the current situation on the ground in Gaza?

The situation Gaza is always changing. Israel began to impose a series of political and economic sanctions on Gaza following the Palestinian elections in 2006. These sanctions became harsher as of 2007. Gaza was blockaded from the air, land and sea, and free movement of people and goods was restricted. In its many brutal attacks,  Israel has ravaged agricultural fields, schools, workplaces, hospitals, water supplies, electricity and homes in the city and throughout the Gaza Strip, depriving Palestinians in Gaza of resources they need to live. The IOF have even made swimming  in the Mediterranean unhealthy because the Israeli bombs have destroyed the Gaza sewage system. 1.9 million Palestinians struggle for life in Gaza. Seventy-two percent of Palestinians living in Gaza, 65 percent of whom are children, suffer food insecurity. Ten percent of the children have poor physical health. The United Nations terms this situation as “intolerable.”

14) Are there any risks for those participating?  

Whenever the illegal actions of the Israeli Forces are challenged, risks will be inherent.  People living in Gaza live with the risk every day.  In 2010, the Israeli Occupation Forces  killed nine unarmed civilians on the Mavi Marmara and a tenth later died of his injuries. We will have no weapons and our boats will be inspected prior to sailing. However, the IOF has a record of treating passengers on boats headed for Gaza with violent force. FFC participants accept these risks.  Previous missions all ended with the boats being captured and the people on board imprisoned. Internationals have been deported and banned from future entry into Israel. Recently FF3 participants have been denied entry, even though they were not on a boat that came into contact with the IOF.  

15) How will the Women’s Boat to Gaza be funded?

All of the participating campaigns will raise funds in their own countries and communities by connecting with individuals and organizations who support our effort. FFC is not affiliated with any political organization. We are a network of grassroots civil society individuals and groups. Any donation is welcome, no matter how small. We see our action as representing all those who refuse to remain silent.

16) How can I participate?

There are many ways to become involved. Help could take the form of sharing information with your contacts, organizing local fundraising events, joining work teams or making a donation through any of the campaigns participating in the project. Please follow us on the web, Facebook or Twitter. If you are willing to support the campaign and its political demands, please contact the campaign closest to you.