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The Women’s Boat to Gaza – A report by Eva Manly

Originally published in the Lower Island NEWS at


The Women’s Boat to Gaza had three objectives: 

1. To bring HOPE to the people of Gaza, to let them know that there are people in the world who care, that they are not forgot- ten and to support their incredible spirit of resilience. 

2. To break Israel’s Illegal Blockade of Gaza. 

3. To focus the eyes of the world on the desperate situation of the people of Gaza. 

According to a UN study, Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. For many it is al- ready uninhabitable. Large numbers of people are dependent on humanitarian aid for survival and many children su er from malnutrition 

Why is this? 

During the strangling 10-year blockade, Israel has waged three long bombing wars on Gaza with thousands dead: 

– Targeting infrastructure; water treat- ment, sewage treatment and electrical gen- eration. 

– Targeting homes, schools, hospitals, and places of worship. 

– There is a limited supply of medicines and little or no access to specialized medi- cal care. 

– 80,000 people are still homeless as a result of the bombing in 2014. 

– Fishers are regularly attacked by the Israeli military. 

– Crops are destroyed at the time of har- vest. 

– More and more farmland is taken for the Israeli determined “bu er zone”. 


– Water is not t for human consump- tion. 

– Only 5% of water is safe to drink; chil- dren are getting kidney disease and colon cancer. 

– Raw sewage ows into the sea and, during winter storms, it ows in some streets. The water table is being contami- nated with raw sewage. 

Jaldia Abubakra (from Gaza but living in Spain for 30 years) and Maite Mompo, seasoned Rainbow Warrior sailor and writer 

– Electricity is available only sporadi- cally. 

– 40% of the people are unemployed in- cluding 70% of youth. 

– Gaza is essentially a large open air prison where people are trapped, with no escape and no place to hide. 

None of the above are natural develop- ments; Gaza is deliberately being “de-de- veloped” and destroyed in the false name of “security”. 

Why should we care? Why, in a world with so many human rights issues, do we focus on Palestinians in Gaza? We might be better to ask, “Why do our government and our tax dollars support this inhumane situation?” 

According to Je Halper, founder of the: Israeli Committee Against House Demoli- tions (ICAHD), the Palestinians of Gaza, and of the Occupied/Colonized Territories, are used as human test subjects (guinea pigs) for the latest in military technology, equipment and techniques of subjugation and control. This important information is detailed in Je Halper’s book War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Paci cation 

Was the Women’s Boat to Gaza a suc- cess? YES; the idea of women’s boats challenging the Israeli blockade had great popular appeal. 

Although the AMAL 11 was unable to sail due to technical di culties (much to our disappointment!) and the ZATOUNA, with 13 women from 13 countries, was hijacked by the Israeli Navy in International waters before reaching the shores of Gaza, the campaign had amazing media coverage which helped break the media silence sur- rounding the Israeli blockade. 

In fact, the Women’s Boat to Gaza re- ceived international media attention – ex- cept in the US and Canada. Newfoundland was the exception with good CBC and newspaper coverage. Perhaps they were able to identify with the people of Gaza. . 

Our work will continue until the bloade is broken; soon we will be planning the next campaign and we will be in touch when plans begin to take shape. 

Details of the sailing and more me- dia articles can be seen here: http://can- media-coverage/ 

So what more can we do?
We can join others from around the world to work for justice using Boycott, Di- vestment and Sanctions/BDS to put eco- nomic pressure on Israel to end the Occu- pation which is a Colonial Settler project. 

Israeli’s like Yonatan Shapira, and jour- nalist Yudith Ilany with Israel Social TV say that international pressure is essential for bringing an end to the Occupation. Israe- lis who support justice cannot achieve this alone, they need our support to break the il- legal blockade of Gaza and to bring an end to the Occupation and the Colonial Settler project. 

The following words spoken by Chris Hedges in a Rally in New York in August 2014 speak for me and many others: 

“Peace in the Promised Land will come when we force, through boycotts, di- vestments and sanctions, the powerful to end the blockade of Gaza and to deny the instruments of death to Israel. But it is up to us. 

“We are all that stands between the Palestinians and obliteration…. 

“The road to justice will be long and hard. But there is no turning back, for we are no longer driven by a vision of su ering but possessed by it. We hear the cries from Gaza. We carry these cries within us…. 

“We will not rest until there is comfort and justice for the oppressed. We will not rest until the children of Gaza have their childhood returned to them. We will not rest until the people of Gaza, no longer imprisoned, live in a free and independent Palestine.” 


International Media Coverage




Aug 14, 2016  – London social worker joins latest bid, the Women's Boat, to cross Israeli sea blockade of Gaza

5 octobre 2016 – Le «bateau des femmes» intercepté près côtes de Gaza

6 octobre 2016 – Israël intercepte le «bateau des femmes» en route vers Gaza

September 10, 2016 – Marilyn Porter heading to Gaza on mission of solidarity

September 17, 2016 – Women’s Boat to Gaza – Sometimes significant stories begin in our city.

September 24, 2016 – Safe waters for the Women’s Boat to Gaza

September 10, 2016 – Sailing for freedom and solidarity – Why I am sailing on the Women’s Boat to Gaza.

September 13, 2016 – A Canadian explains why she’s joining the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Oct 5 2016 – Women's Boat to Gaza reported attacked just miles from Gaza

One of the two Women's Boats to Gaza left France en route to Gaza

Oct 13, 2016 – Interview: Canadian activist on the Women's Boats to Gaza demands blockade to be lifted

Oct 12, 2016 – Women's Boats to Gaza: Interview with activist Wendy Goldsmith

Women's Boat to Gaza sends SOS before being boarded by Israeli Navy

Mar 9, 2016 – Women's Boat to Gaza to set sail in mid-September

Mar 9 2016 – Women in solidarity with Palestine: The Women's Boat to Gaza

Sept 20, 2016 – Eva Manly: The people of Palestine are not forgotten


The following is reposted from the Women's Boat to Gaza Website

Thank you to everyone that made media outlets around the world pay attention to the Women’s Boat to Gaza. 

Below is a sample of the media coverage that this latest project of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has achieved. We continue to process the enormous number of articles across the many countries represented in the campaign. Coverage is grouped in date order, under campaign stages, and then by country, as each participant returned home.

Your supportive online activities and conversations have helped and continue to help amplify Palestinian voices to break the blockade of silence surrounding the illegal Israeli blockade of the Palestinian people of Gaza.


12/10/16 – Women’s Boat to Gaza: 13 Activists Detained by Israel, Weeks After U.S. OKs $38B in Military Aid (Democracy Now Video)

6/10/16 – AJ+ Video about the Women’s Boat to Gaza 

6/10/16 – Pink Floyd reunion: David Gilmour, Roger Waters to perform live in Palestine soon?


Reactions and Returning Home (by Country)

South Africa

8/10/16 – Sea of support for Gaza activist

8/10/16 – South African Olympian returns home after Gaza protest


New Zealand/Aotearoa

8/10/16 – Marama Davidson back home after Gaza protest

8/10/16 – Hobart boat captain Madeleine Habib detained during Gaza protest returns home 

7/10/16 – Hobart sailor Madeleine Habib set to be deported over Gaza mission



18/10/16 – ‘It’s hard to engage military against a little ray of hope’: Gaza protesters fight back with dignity – and tea 

8/10/16 – Hobart boat captain Madeleline Habib detained during Gaza protest return home

8/10/16 – Hobart protester Madeleine Habib returns from Women’s Boat to Gaza trip 

7/10/16 – Tasmanian activist held by Israeli army

7/10/16 – Pink Floyd ‘reunites’ in support of pro-Palestinian sailing mission as activists expected to be deported

7/10/16 – Israelis stop boat, Australian skipper outside Gaza (Vietnamese)

6/10/16 – Israel intercepts boat seeking to break Gaza blockade


Barcelona – Departure (12-19 September)

12/9/16 – La Flota de la Llibertat prepara al Port Vell un nou viatge a Gaza / BTV

12/9/16 – Una flotilla de dones per trencar una dècada de bloqueig a Gaza / La Directa

12/9/16 – Mujeres Rumbo a Gaza desafiará el bloqueo israelí / Diagonal

13/9/16 – Las mujeres que lucharon por la liberación de Palestina /

13/9/16 – Ada Colau assisteix a l’acomiadament de la flota solidària ‘Dones rumb a Gaza’ / Ajuntament de Barcelona

13/9/16 – Una nova flotilla salpa avui de Barcelona amb l’objectiu de trencar el blocatge de Gaza / Vilaweb

13/9/16 – Todas somos Mujeres Rumbo a Gaza / eldiarioes

14/9/16 – La flotilla ‘Mujeres rumbo a Gaza’ zarpa de Barcelona para denunciar el bloqueo israelí / El Periódico

14/9/16 – Un grup de dones navega cap a Gaza per denunciar l’ocupació palestina / TV3

14/9/16 – Salpen de Barcelona els dos vaixells de Dones Rumb a Gaza per denunciar el bloqueig d’Israel / Lliure i millor

14/9/16 – Women’s Boat to Gaza (Radio 2SER Australia)

14/9/16 – Nova flotilla contra el blocatge de Gaza / El Triangle

14/9/16 – La Flota de la Llibertat salpa rumb a Gaza des del Port Vell / BTV

14/9/16 – La flotilla ‘Mujeres rumbo a Gaza’ zarpa de Barcelona para denunciar el bloqueo israelí / El Periódico

14/9/16 – Una flotilla de dones salpa cap a Gaza per denunciar el bloqueig israelià / Diari Ara

15/9/16 – Dues embarcacions amb una vintena de dones salpen del port de Barcelona cap Gaza /

15/9/16 – Una nova flotilla salpa cap a Gaza des de Barcelona / El Pais

15/9/16 – Uhintifada emisión especial: Las mujeres navegan ya rumbo a Gaza / Hala Bedi – UhIntifada

17/9/16 – Dones cap a Gaza: dos vaixells amb tripulació femenina salpen de Barcelona / Catalunya Ràdio – Solidaris


Ajaccio – First Stop (20-22 September)

20/9/16 – Gazatíes apoyan a la flotilla de mujeres contra bloqueo israelí / HispanTV 

21/9/16 – Ships with all-women crews set sail for Gaza, hoping to break blockade


Messina – Second Stop (24 September – 1 October)

25/9/16 – Interview with Malin Bjork MEP 

1/10/16 – Entrevista a Sandra Barrilaro, participante en el Zaytouna-Oliva


Messina to Gaza – The Voyage and Israeli Attack (2-8 October)

7/10/16 – Hobart Madeleine Habib set to be deported over Gaza mission

7/10/16 – Tasmanian activist held by Israeli army

7/10/16 – Zaytouna-Oliva Women to be ‘deported’ / Details Emerge about the Capture 

7/10/16 – Hobart sailor Madeline Habib set to be deported over Gaza mission

7/10/16 – Hobart sailor Madeleine Habib set to be deported over Gaza mission

6/10/16 – Pink Floyd ‘reunites’ in support of pro-Palestinian sailing mission as activists expected to be deported 

6/10/16 – Israel detains female pro-Palestine activist boat captained by Hobart woman 

6/10/16 – Australian – captained vessel detained on rout to Gaza 

6/10/16 – Womens boat to Gaza with Malaysian doctor on board stopped by israeli forces/

6/10/16 – Pink Floyd reunion David Gilmour Roger Waters perform live Palestine soon 

6/10/16 – NZ Green MP on ship intercepted by Israel 

6/10/16 – Australian-captained vessel detained en route to Gaza 

6/10/16 – Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire: Israeli navy detention is kidnap 

6/10/16 – Israelis stop boat, Australian skipper outside Gaza (Mandarin)

5/10/16 – Gaza’s women flotilla ‘challenging Israel’s blockade’ 

5/10/16 – Israel sends female naval cadets to stop women’s boat headed to Gaza [Correction – Male and female members of the Israeli Occupation Forces attacked, boarded and forced our boat from International Waters to Ashdod]

5/10/16 – Israel intercepts boat seeking to break Gaza blockade

5/10/16 – Israeli Military Blocks Female Flotilla From Reaching Gaza

5/10/16 – Samira Duwaifia and the Women’s Boat to Gaza mission

5/10/16 – All-women aid flotilla nears blockaded Gaza Strip

5/10/16 – Israel intercepts Women’s Boat to Gaza

5/10/16 – Anderson outraged after Women’s Boat to Gaza intercepted

5/10/16 – Crew of all-women Freedom Flotilla heading to Gaza reportedly detained by Israeli forces

5/10/16 – Israel stops Women’s Boat to Gaza

5/10/16 – All-women aid ship set to reach Gaza Strip

5/10/16 – Israeli navy board and seize Gaza flotilla, redirect it to Ashdod port

5/10/16 – Israel intercepts boat seeking to break Gaza blockade

5/10/16 – Israel takes over women’s boat to Gaza

5/10/16 – ‘We don’t know where our friends are,’ says Women’s Boat to Gaza after Israel’s navy commandeers ship

5/10/16 – Activists’ plea for Norway to stop Israeli attack on flotilla

3/10/16 – Palestinians thank the Women’s Boat to Gaza Video

3/10/16 – Pelayaran 13 Wanita ke Gaza | Women’s Boat to Gaza Video (Malaysia)


In addition, you can access a range of other media reports via these hash tags that we have used during the mission:





Zaytouna-Oliva Women to be deported / Details Emerge about the Capture

Photo: Mina Harballou being greeted at Heathrow airport, London after being imprisoned and then deported.
Photo: Mina Harballou being greeted at Heathrow airport, London after being imprisoned and then deported.
Reposted from:

Two journalists from Al Jazeera who were on board Zaytouna-Oliva have been released and have safely reached London and Moscow. The other 11 women of the Women’s Boat to Gaza are still in detention, but we anticipate that they will be deported soon, as they have been moved from Givon Prison to a detention facility at Ben-Gurion airport.

Wendy Goldsmith, a member of the land team working to secure the release of the women stated that, “the deportation is happening much quicker than in previous flotillas. While we had a great legal team assisting the women, we suspect that the reason for the quick release was because of all the negative media attention Israel has been receiving for its illegal interception, including the demand of rock band Pink Floyd.” According to early reports from the women released, the Zaytouna-Oliva was surrounded by two warships along with four to five smaller naval boats. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demanded that the Zaytouna-Oliva stop its course towards Gaza. When the warning was refused, at least seven IOF members, both male and female, boarded our yacht and commandeered it in international waters.

In the course of their capture, the women insisted that Israel’s attack was illegal and that they were being taken against their will to Israel. The Women’s Boat to Gaza campaign asserts that while the captivity of the women on board Zaytouna-Oliva may soon be over, the captivity of 1.9 million Palestinian people in Gaza remains. Whilst the term “peaceful” has been used in some media to describe the attack and capture of our boat, this is inaccurate. Peace is more than merely the absence of physical violence. Oppression, occupation, denial of human rights and taking a boat of unarmed, non-violent women against their will are not peaceful activities. Indeed, as Zaytouna-Oliva approached Palestine, the IOF launched multiple air raids across the Gaza Strip.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition will continue to sail until Palestine is free.

Update Day 5: Zaytouna-Oliva receives repairs and supplies south of Crete


Mediterranean Sea south of Crete (Greece): During a storm a few nights ago, part of the rigging on the Zaytouna-Oliva was damaged by heavy winds. Although the damage was minor and she continued to make good progress for the last few days under motor towards the Greek island of Crete, she still needed her rigging fixed in order to continue the mission.

This morning our friends from Ship to Gaza Greece sent a repair boat which brought a skilled rigging specialist to repair the damage, as well as bringing more fuel and supplies.

According to Madeleine Habib, skipper of Zaytouna-Oliva: “the professionalism of rigger and team that came on board was great. It really meant so much to us! In addition to fuel and other supplies, the boat brought the women Greek desserts, solidarity and friendship.” Zohar Chamberlain Regev, coordinator of the Women’s Boat to Gaza who worked closely with women from Ship to Gaza Greece to arrange the needed repairs, adds: “This immediate response to our boat’s needs is just another example of how much solidarity there is around the world to help break the blockade of Gaza. While there are no Greek women on the boats, their campaign’s concrete solidarity has helped us on this international mission in a vital way.”

The Zaytouna-Oliva is now continuing on her way to break the illega blockade of Gaza, with many thanks to the solidarity and friendship from Greece! She is  scheduled to reach the shores of Gaza later this week.

Media contact person: Ellen Huttu Hansson. Phone: +46 722 883 213
Photo credit: Kia Ora Gaza (New Zealand/ Aotearoa).

Update from Zaytouna-Oliva Day 3 and 4: Morale is good


The following is a compilation from the Captain, crew and participants on the boat.

Wednesday, September 28

We had heavy showers and several women are seasick. There were not many takers of the cous cous salad we had for lunch.  But our discomfort at sea pales in comparison to the people of Palestine.

Thursday, September 29

Today has been easier and we are enjoying calm conditions. We are sitting together enjoying the noon sunshine. It is nice to see everyone smiling and finding their sealegs. Women are singing “I am sailing to be near to you”.