Category Archives: News

Legal and Welfare Update and Appeal

Please donate here to support the 2018 Just Future for Palestine Freedom Flotilla, in which 34 people, from 12 countries, in two boats, directly challenged the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and brought international attention to the horrific human-made conditions of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The two boats ‘Al Awda’ (The Return) and ‘Freedom’ were hijacked by the Israeli Occupation Forces in international waters 42 and 49 nautical miles respectively off the coast of Gaza. During their unlawful detention, crew, participants and journalists were subjected to a range of physical and emotional violence.

The captain of Al Awda was threatened with execution, 4 people were tasered, 3 people had ribs broken by the Israeli military and one person had his foot broken.

They were all taken against their will to Israel, unlawfully imprisoned and ultimately deported. The Israeli authorities have stolen the boats and the 13,000 Euros worth of medical supplies that we were carrying as gifts, as well as many of the participants’ personal belongings (including clothes, a Bible, credit cards, IDs and mobile phones). Incredibly, they have begun to take legal action to attempt to confiscate the boats.

We have set aside some money to assist with legal expenses and welfare, but request your help. Please donate here to contribute towards:

a) our legal fund for the costs including actions to:

i) represent participants who were detained unlawfully

ii) increase our capacity to take action against and resist the Israeli Government’s attempts to confiscate the two boats, cargo and personal property; and

b) our welfare fund which will pay for emotional counseling for those needing assistance to process the violence and trauma that they suffered.

Please donate here to one of our partners to help with these particular expenses incurred in challenging the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

 

Israeli Government has still NOT released 114 boxes of Medical Supplies for Gaza

SECOND MEDIA RELEASE ON MEDICAL SUPPLIES NOT REACHING GAZA

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition continues to strongly demand the immediate release of the 114* boxes of medical supplies for the health services of Gaza that were carried on the Al Awda and Freedom boats of the 2018 Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, recently hijacked by Israeli forces. As Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallström has stated, the cargo must be released, according to international law.

As we reminded the Israeli Government in our August 9, 2018 statement, international law requires the delivery of medical supplies. Article 23 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Geneva Convention IV, 1949) says that “Each High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores … intended only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the latter is its adversary.”

Additionally, the  San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (12 June 1994) says in paragraph 104: “The blockading belligerent shall allow the passage of medical supplies for the civilian population or for the wounded and sick members of armed forces, subject to the right to prescribe technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted. Further, The Manual on the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict (2006), says in point 2 in the commentary to Rule 2.3.10: “By extension, all objects indispensable to the survival of civilians should be protected, especially medications. The protection means that the enemy is not permitted to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless the aforementioned items.”

Our Israeli attorney, Gaby Lasky has been in contact with Israeli Occupation authorities to arrange delivery of the humanitarian medical supplies, but to date none have arrived in Gaza.

Full inventories of the medical supplies in each box have been provided previously and can be produced on request.

We urge concerned citizens around the world to call your Foreign Ministry** and the Israeli Embassy (if there is one) in your respective country to demand that the Israeli Government immediately releases the 114 boxes of medical supplies to Gaza, as required by international law.

* – Two boxes of medical supplies were also on the Falestine, which was unable to complete the final leg of the mission.

** – Some Foreign Ministries detailed here.

Freedom Flotilla demands the immediate release of humanitarian cargo

 

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday August 9, 2018

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition demands the immediate release of the 116 boxes of medical supplies for the health services of Gaza that were carried on the Al Awda and Freedom boats of the 2018 Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, recently seized by Israeli forces. As Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallström has stated, the ship’s cargo must be released, according to international law.

International law also requires the delivery of medical supplies. Article 23 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Geneva Convention IV, 1949) says that “Each High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores … intended only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the latter is its adversary.”

Additionally, the  San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (12 June 1994) says in paragraph 104: “The blockading belligerent shall allow the passage of medical supplies for the civilian population or for the wounded and sick members of armed forces, subject to the right to prescribe technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted. Further, The Manual on the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict (2006), says in point 2 in the commentary to Rule 2.3.10: “By extension, all objects indispensable to the survival of civilians should be protected, especially medications. The protection means that the enemy is not permitted to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless the aforementioned items.”

Our Israeli attorney Gaby Lasky has been in contact with Occupation authorities to arrange delivery of the humanitarian medical supplies but to date none have arrived in Gaza. The boxes are consigned to:

MyCARE, Gaza City, Gaza

Office Director Ahmed i. Thabet

1st Jaber Building, Opposite Haji Building

Near Fishermen’s Port

Gaza City, Palestine

Boxes 1-87 on Al Awda
Boxes 88-114 on Freedom

Boxes 115-116 on Al Awda

Full inventories of the medical supplies in each box have been provided previously and can be produced on request.

 

2 Released from Prison: Grave Concern for Safety and For Cargo

Freedom Flotilla Coalition News Statement
For Immediate Release, Monday July 30, 2018 15:00 CEST.

Two people from Al Awda (The Return) have been released, but most of the crew and participants are still in unlawful detention at Givon prison in Israel. We are still gravely concerned for their safety and well-being as we had no contact with most of them as of 14:00 CEST today. We continue to demand that our boat and the medical supplies on board reach their rightful recipients, Palestinian civil society in Gaza.

Although the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) claim that the capture of our vessel happened ‘without exceptional incident’, eye-witness Zohar Chamberlain Regev reports that at the time of boarding: “People on board were tasered and hit by masked IOF soldiers. We did not get our passports or belongings before we got off the boat. Do not believe reports of peaceful interception.” We urgently need to know the details of who was injured and how seriously, and what treatment they are receiving, if any. A military attack on a civilian vessel is a violent act and a violation of international law. Taking 22 people from international waters to a country which is not their destination constitutes an act of kidnapping, which is also unlawful under the international Convention of the Law of Sea.

From the time we lost contact around 13:15 local time on Sunday, we know that the IOF blocked all communication signals, including satellite phones. We are very concerned about this violation of journalists’ right to report freely and we remain gravely concerned about their ability to keep their professional equipment and their storage media. As Australian journalist Chris Graham recently observed “Bad things happen when good people stay silent, as history well records. But horrendous things happen when media are prevented from scrutinizing the actions of a state.”

Two of our participants who are Israeli citizens have been charged with attempting to enter Gaza and conspiracy to commit a crime, and were released on bail last night. One of them, boat leader Zohar Chamberlain Regev, reports seeing blood on the deck of the Al Awda as the last participants were being dragged off the ship.

In comparison with the violence routinely directed at Palestinian civilians, including at fishers from Gaza, and the violent capture of Palestinian fishing boats, yesterday’s seizure and kidnapping may not be the most serious of Israeli crimes. What these violents acts have in common is that there is no accountability demanded by other governments and Israel continues to enjoy total impunity.

We call on national governments, civil society and international organizations to demand that Israeli authorities immediately release our boat so that we can deliver our much-needed medical supplies on Al Awda and the fishing boat itself to the rightful recipients in Gaza. Detailed specification of our exact cargo on board are available on request.

Israel’s capture of the lead boat in this Gaza-bound flotilla may seem like a predictable outcome to some, but that doesn’t make it any less violent nor any less illegal. Our second boat Freedom will follow Al Awda within a day or two, and the Freedom Flotilla will continue until the blockade ends and Palestinians of Gaza regain their full freedom of movement.

Details about detainees still in prison, including their last videos and personal statements, can be found on our website and Facebook pages.

For more information, contact media spokespeople: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/media-room-2

Letter to Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

Dear Ms. Freeland,
 

Re: Safe and unhindered passage for the 2018 International Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

The 2018 international Freedom Flotilla departed Sicily earlier this week and is now heading across the Mediterranean Sea towards Gaza and is due to arrive within the next several days.

 

On board are two Canadian citizens: John Turnbull, and Larry Commodore of the Sto:lo Nation, Canada who have bravely joined a number of other prominent human rights advocates from around the world to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza.

The flotilla also carries approximately 13,000 Euros worth of urgently needed medical supplies (including gauze) to be gifted to Gaza’s over-stretched health services. The boats will be gifted to Gaza’s fishers, who are in desperate need of support in order to feed their families.

Like our many previous missions, this flotilla poses no threat whatsoever to the Israeli Government. However, in light of Israel’s unlawful attacks on, and seizure of previous Gaza-bound civilian boats in international waters, we once again call on the Canadian Government to urgently demand the Israeli authorities end their inhumane and illegal blockade of the Palestinian people of Gaza and allow the 2018 Freedom Flotilla safe and unhindered passage to their destination – the port of Gaza.

 

We look forward to your prompt response. 

Sincerely, 

Canada Boat to Gaza Steering Committee

 

Al Awda Contacted by IOF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  29 July, 2018 13:15pm CEST

The motor vessel Al Awda (The Return), traveling in international waters towards Palestinian waters, 49 nautical miles from the port in Gaza City, has been contacted by the Israeli Occupation Forces navy and warned. The Israeli navy claims our ship is breaking international law and threatens that they will use “any measures necessary” to stop us. In fact, the only “necessary measures”  would be to end the blockade of Gaza and restore freedom of movement for all Palestinians. At last news from on board, Al Awda maintains her course towards Gaza, where the crew and participants hope to arrive this evening around 21:00 local time.

A number of warships have appeared, so an attack, boarding and capture appear to be imminent, and we anticipate that all communications with the vessel will be lost shortly. Al Awda is sailing under a Norwegian flag, carrying 22 people and a cargo of medical supplies, including #Gauze4Gaza. There are people from 16 nations on board, including human rights supporters, journalists and crew, along with €13,000 worth of medical supplies. The boat itself, a former fishing vessel from Norway, is a gift to Palestinian fishers in Gaza.

Four boats left Scandinavia in mid-May and have since stopped in 28 ports building support for a ‘Just Future for Palestine’, that demands Israel end its ongoing breaches of international law and the twelve-year blockade of Gaza, thereby enabling the only closed port in the Mediterranean to open and for people to have their right to freedom of movement. Al Awda is being followed by the Swedish-flagged yacht Freedom, which is also carrying medical supplies along with people from a number of nations. We anticipate that it will reach a similar area where the IOF attacked Al Awda within the next two days. Two smaller sailing boats that travelled from Scandinavia and sailed through the canal system in Netherlands, Belgium and France visiting inland ports, participated in the mission until Palermo.

“The Freedom Flotilla Coalition calls on the Norwegian Government, the national governments of those aboard Al Awda and the Freedom, other national governments, and relevant international organizations to act immediately.”  said Torstein Dahle of Ship to Gaza Norway, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. “The international community must assume its responsibilities and demand that Israeli authorities ensure the safety of those on board, the speedy delivery of our gifts to the Palestinian people in Gaza, an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza,  and to stop impeding our legal right of innocent passage to Gaza to deliver our gift of much-needed medical supplies”.

-Ends-

More information about the ‘Right to a Just Future for Palestine’ flotilla and the FFC: 
Web: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition
Twitter: @gazafflotilla

To arrange an interview or for more information, contact: jfp.freedomflotilla.org/media-room-2

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition : freedomflotilla.org/about-freedom-flotilla-coalition/

In Support of the Freedom Flotilla and activist Larry Commodore

Cedar George Parker is a 1st Nations activist on unceded Coast Salish Territory. He spoke at the Freedom Flotilla fundraiser held for Larry Commodore.

 

Sobhi al-Zobaidi speaks at the Freedom Flotilla fundraiser for 1st Nations activist, Larry Commodore.  

 

Hanna Kawas, from Voice of Palestine, speaks at the fundraiser for 1st Nations activist, Larry Commodore

réalisatrice canadienne Kathy Wazana rejoint Flottille de la Liberté

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE 

La réalisatrice canadienne Kathy Wazana a rejoint jeudi la Flottille de la Liberté lors de son escale à Ajaccio (Corse).

Madame Wazana fait partie de la délégation de la société civile canadienne qui se relaie sur le chalutier norvégien Al Awda (“Le Retour”) depuis son départ de Norvège fin avril, avec pour mission de briser le blocus israélien imposé à Gaza depuis plus de 10 ans.

Née à Casablanca, au Maroc, Kathy Wazana a réalisé le documentaire They Were Promised the Sea // Pour une Nouvelle Séville, une enquête sur l’identité de Juif-Arabe qui lui a valu le Prix de la meilleure production indépendante de l’Office national du Film en 2014.

Concernant sa participation dans cette mission, Kathy dit: « S’il est vrai que la souffrance obligequelle rend responsable ses témoins, j’ai la double responsabilité, en tant en tant que témoin directe des crimes perpétrés par l’État d’Israël contre la population Palestinienne de Gaza, et en tant que juive, de défendre le droit d’un avenir juste pour la Palestine. »

La Flottille de la Liberté navigue vers Gaza en 2018 pour le droit à un avenir juste pour la Palestine. Nous défions le blocus de Gaza et nous exigeons une fin à la complicité de nos gouvernements avec ce blocus, la cause d'une crise humanitaire grave qui prive la population civile d'eau potable, d'électricité et de soins médicaux. Pour plus d'information au sujet de notre mission et du blocus de Gaza par Israël, voir le site.

Al Awda prend la mer avec Mme Wazana et autres participant.e.s internationaux dimanche 8 juillet à 20h (heure française) pour la prochaine escale européenne, Naples.

Pour contacter / interviewer Mme Wazana en France : 
+33 753 305 623 (français, English)

Contact en Europe pour la Flottille de la Liberté : David Heap
Phone +33 767 223 164  OU +1 519 859 3579 mediawbg@gmail.com (français, English, español)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palestinian doctor from St. John’s joins Freedom Flotilla Coalition to Gaza

'People everywhere have the right to live in dignity and … without fear of being shot'

Dr. Majed Khraishi has lived in Newfoundland for 30 years, but still has family in Jordan and the West Bank.(NLMA/Facebook)

The family connections of a St. John's doctor — and a desire to inspire change  — have motivated him to join a team sailing to the Gaza Strip.

"The most important thing is really to raise awareness of the horrible situation and the siege of Gaza, this has been going on for many years," says Dr. Majed Khraishi, a rheumatologist and a clinical professor in the medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland. 

"There are two million people who are living in a space not much larger than the size of greater St. John's in some unbelievable conditions," Khraishi said.

He has been living in Newfoundland for 30 years, but still has family in Jordan and the West Bank.

LISTEN: St John's Morning Show: Feedom Flotilla Coalition

A Newfoundland doctor is part of a team sailing to the Gaza Strip. Dr. Majed Khraishi drops by the studio to talk about his personal connection to Palestine… and the dangers that come with the journey. 7:59

Khraishi, who is Palestinian, will serve as an onboard doctor with the Freedom Flotilla Coaltion (FFC), an international organization that aims to challenge the Isreali blockade of Gaza.

He said he has two reasons for joining the fleet of boats.

"Bring some supplies, some humanitarian supplies. But more importantly to raise awareness of our governments — of people around the world — that there is something inhumane going on here," he said.

'Is that all we can do?'

Israel and Egypt argue that they must maintain the blockade of Gaza to contain Hamas and other militant groups, which have built up arsenals over the years, including short-range rockets.

Hardships linked to the blockade, including daily power cuts and rising poverty, have driven turnout at protests.

Khraishi says for him, it's a humanitarian issue first, not a political one. 

"The fact that people everywhere have the right to live in dignity and … without fear of being shot, or not even having their children taken care of," he said.

"It makes you feel like you have to do something … I thought the least I can do is be part of this flotilla, part of this mission and make my voice heard and do something about it."

Al Awda (The Return) in Bergen, Norway

Al Awda (The Return) in Bergen, Norway. This is the boat Khraishi will travel on, serving as the onboard doctor. 

The FFC fleet of four boats will stop in ports throughout Europe, running public outreach and awareness campaigns.

Khraishi is meeting the group in Lisbon Wednesday, and will sail for about a week on one of the boats, although he expects to disembark before the final leg as the group tries to reach Gaza in mid-July.

"What I really feel is some sense of fulfilment, some sense of apprehension and sometimes [I wonder] is that all that we can do?" 

"I did a very small part eventually that will help others to do bigger parts and eventually maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

Orignally published by CBC News, Newfoundland and Labrador
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/mun-professor-onboard-doctor-freedom-flotilla-1.4713736
 

Canadian Boat to Gaza participant Heather Milton-Lightening on board Freedom Flotilla boat Al Awda (The Return) in Germany

The Freedom Flotilla boat Al Awda (The Return) spent two days in Copenhagen (Denmark) last weekend, and on Tuesday-Wednesday traveled to Kiel in Germany, where she was greeted by Reiner Braun, co-president of the International Peace Bureau, among other well-wishers.

The first Canadian Boat to Gaza participant, Heather Milton-Lightening from Treaty 4 Territory (Saskatchewan) is currently on board Al Awda (The Return) — you can read more about her here: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/news/heather-milton-lightening. Before leaving Copenhagen, Heather and Israeli participant Yudit Ilany did a great interview with Dimitri Lascaris on The Real News Network, listen and watch here: https://therealnews.com/stories/freedom-flotilla-sets-sail-for-gaza-after-the-great-march-of-return

Along with three other Freedom Flotilla boats (Freedom, Mairead and Falestine), Al Awda left Kiel (Germany) this morning and is heading for Wilhemshafen, where they should arrive Saturday pm: https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/news/freedom-flotilla-to-gaza-in-wilhelmshafen-germany-may-26-28. Together they will continue their 75 day voyage to Gaza, to challenge and break the illegal Israeli blockade.

Our Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign is committed to paying our share of the international Freedom Flotilla budget this year is $30 000, including the costs of acquiring this hard-working former fishing boat. Donors like you have helped us raise amounts much larger than that in the past. Will you help us fund our contribution now? You can donate by e-transfer (Interac, from Canada accounts only), mailing cheques or money orders, or online, see : http://canadaboatgaza.org/donate/

Israel has maintained an illegal, inhumane and destructive blockade on Gaza for over a decade. The United Nations now says that Gaza will become uninhabitable by the year 2020 because of the Israeli blockade. In response to the brutal Israeli blockade, for seven years the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has carried out non-violent direct actions aimed at raising international awareness and putting pressure on the international community to end the blockade.

We sail this year for the right to a just future for Palestine. Children and minors, who make up more than half of the Gaza population of over 2 million, are victims of the ongoing blockade, which has robbed them of their childhood; their rights to safety, education, and health; and their prospects for a decent future. We will continue to put pressure on our governments and protest their complicity with Israel's crimes against humanity.  We sail again to stand with the Palestinians of Gaza, as they demand their freedom of movement and their right to a just future in their land. But we can only do it with your generous support. Our campaign needs your support in our to pay our share of the boat that the Freedom Flotilla is sailing against the blockade of Gaza and for a the Right to a Just Future for Palestine. Make out cheques or money orders to Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid and send them to:

Canadian Boat to Gaza

PO Box 1950, London Stn. B

London, Ontario N6A 5J4

CANADA

(Note: like many of our sister organizations, we would prefer to move away from dependence on PayPal for online donations. At this point, we are pleased to accept e-Interac transfers from Canadian bank accounts, and we hope to announce other electronic payment methods soon. Please e-mail us if you have questions about this). Some (especially those who can benefit from a charitable tax receipt in the US) may wish to donate through the US Boat to Gaza page:

https://2018boatstogaza-nonviolenceinternational.nationbuilder.com/contribute In other parts of the world, please consider donating through one our other partner campaigns in the Freedom Flotilla:  https://jfp.freedomflotilla.org/donate

Whether you can donate financially or not, please help us spread the word about our campaign:

  • share our messages with your family, friends and/or work colleagues and encourage them to join our mailing list; 
  • send an endorsement message from your association, union, congregation or political party;
  • organize and attend events to raise funds and awareness for our campaign;
  • join a Freedom Flotilla campaign near you and encourage others to do so;
  • follow us on the web, Facebook, Twitter (see below), and (new!) Instagram, and share our posts widely.

Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla

www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza        
www.facebook.com/BateauCanadienGaza 
www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition  

Together, we can help end the blockade!