For Immediate Release
20 September 2016
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, Intruglio replied: “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.
In Canada please contact:
Sandra Ruch: firstname.lastname@example.org +1-416-716-4010
Irene Macinnes: email@example.com +1-778-870-2448
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
Other ways to get involved:
September 17, 2016
For Immediate Release
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.”
For more information:
* 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.
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
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
- 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.
Read and download the entire report here
Melissa Parke is a former member of the Australian House of Representatives.
Lee Rhiannon is a senator representing New South Wales, Australia
Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian writer, commentator and playwright living in Australia.
Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer and Justice Critic of the Green Party of Canada. He speaks here in a personal capacity and not as a representative of any political party.
Dimitri also presented a resolution which was adopted by the Green party of Canada convention on August 7, 2016: Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Following the adoption of this resolution, Independent Jewish Voices Canada issued this statement: IJV Congratulates The Green Party Of Canada On The Passage Of Its Historic Palestinian Rights Resolutions
Libby Davies is a retired Canadian MP. In 2009, in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, she travelled to Palestine, co-authoring a report on both Gaza and the West Bank.
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
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
Photo by: Joran Fagerlund
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:
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.
WBG Steering Committee
(Photo credit: Gregory Costanzo)
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/
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.
Canadian Boat to Gaza Team
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/
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.canadaboatgaza.org (en anglais).
www.womensboattogaza.org (en anglais).
Twitter : @GazaFFlotilla @CanadaBoatGaza
L’équipe du Bateau pour Gaza