Category Archives: News

Lia Tarachansky, Israeli-Canadian film-maker, supports Freedom Flotilla & Canadian Boat to Gaza

 

Dear friends,

It was the middle of the night on May 31st, 2010. I was staring at a google map on my laptop. On it, a dot was slowly inching across the Mediterranean Sea. At 4:00 in the morning, the dot stopped moving.  That dot was tracking a convoy of ships staffed with hundreds of volunteers from Cyprus to Gaza, in an attempt to break the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip. It wasn’t the first convoy but it was the biggest one to attempt to do so. Its intention was clear — to reach the oft-forgotten Palestinian territory under Israel’s occupation and break the inhumane blockade imposed on it by land, sea, and air.
 
I remember those anxious hours, waiting for news, any news on why the dot stopped moving. In previous attempts to break the blockade, the Israeli navy stopped the ships and arrested those on board, deporting them after interrogation and confiscating or destroying their boats and supplies. This time I had a bad feeling. At 8:00 in the morning a message finally came through. The Israeli navy intercepted the boats, invaded, and attacked. All in international waters, all against international law. Nine people were killed (a tenth died later from wounds) and dozens injured.
 
Working as a journalist in Israel/Palestine I’ve frequently covered Israeli army attacks, but rarely have the victims been international activists. That attack led to international pressure, media attention, and a chain of events that had further complicated Israel’s fraught relationships with Turkey and Egypt. It had direct consequences on the ten families who lost loved ones, on thousands of activists, and on millions of Palestinians who saw that international civil society has not abandoned them in their struggle for basic freedoms. It also had an impact on millions of Israelis for whom Gaza is not a real place where people struggle to live normal lives but a conversation piece, a hellish fantasy behind huge walls, tucked away only to be periodically invaded as "punishment" for rocket attacks. In Hebrew “go to Gaza” is a slang insult, akin to “go to hell.” By noon of that day in May 2010, hundreds of Israelis gathered on the streets and chanted horrible hate-filled slogans aimed at the activists and Palestinians at large. The incident highlighted not only that the Occupation must end but also the extent of dehumanization and collective denial that would need to be overcome if we as Israelis are to live as equal citizens to Palestinians, in an open Middle East. Since then, year after year activists continue to fundraise for more convoys, for more ships, to collect donations of humanitarian aid, and to risk their lives against the Israeli Navy.
 
I don’t know what will be the straw that will break the camel’s back and that will finally bring to an end the brutal military occupation of the Palestinian Territories. It’s been seventy years since two-thirds of the Palestinian people were displaced from their lands and fifty years since the Israeli army imposed martial law on those remaining in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. So long has the Occupation continued that its very existence has become a violation of international law. 
 
No one can know the cumulative effect of thousands of steps taken collectively towards the end of injustice. As someone born in the repressive, insulated regime of the Soviet Union I do know that these steps make an impact. In 1989, against all predictions, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. In 1990, against all predictions, I was one of over a million Jews freed to leave to Israel, escaping Soviet anti-Semitism. In 1993, again against all predictions, Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands on the lawn of the White House, starting the tumultuous and yet-unfulfilled peace process. I know that change can come, that it can be within our lifetimes, and I thank wholeheartedly the courageous volunteers of the Canadian Boat to Gaza and the Freedom Flotilla Coalition as they risk their lives for change to manifest.
 

Lia Tarachansky, Israeli-Canadian journalist & filmmaker

You can donate to Canadian Boat to Gaza online (canadaboatgaza.org/donate) or by postal mail. Make out cheque or money order to Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid and mail it 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 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: Coalition:  https://sgf.freedom flotilla.org/donate

 

Whether your 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  

 

Message from Rifat Audeh, Mavi Marmara survivor & Palestinian-Canadian film-maker

In late 2009, I joined a lifeline land convoy heading towards Gaza to break the illegal blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza’s Palestinian civilian population, now numbering over 2 million people. I was unable to continue with the convoy, and so in 2010, I joined the Freedom Flotilla which attempted to break the blockade by sea.

At the time, I had my camera in hand and was seeking to create a documentary film about the Freedom Flotilla event, which I hoped would culminate in our arrival in Gaza with our humanitarian aid and would put an end to the blockade. Instead, the Israeli military attacked our flotilla in international waters, killing 10 of our brothers, and wounding and imprisoning the hundreds of us who survived. I created a documentary film about this instead.
   
However, that attack and others have not deterred people of conscience globally from continuing in their attempts to break this illegal blockade, and alleviate the dire situation of the people of Gaza and restore their human rights. It behooves us to stand in support and solidarity with these brave souls (freedomflotilla.org), who risk putting their lives on the line, for fellow human beings in a faraway land.

Accordingly, I unequivocally support the efforts of the Canadian Boat to Gaza and endorse it, and invite you to do the same. I invite you to follow their news, promote their actions and bolster their work financially through donations (canadaboatgaza.org/donate) , to help fulfil their noble cause. Let us stand up and end this, since our governments will not.

In solidarity,
Rifat Audeh
Director – The Truth: Lost at Sea  https://truthlostatsea.com/

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.natio nbuilder.com/contribute
In other parts of the world, please consider donating through one our other partner campaigns in the Freedom Flotilla:  https://sgf.freedom flotilla.org/donate

Please share our messages and forward them; Merci de partager et de faire suivre nos messages.

Twitter: @CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla
www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaz a/                      www.facebook.com/BateauCanadi enGaza/
www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotil laCoalition/  

Donate to Canadian Boat to Gaza online (canadaboatgaza.org/donate) or by postal mail. Make out cheque or money order to Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid and mail it to:

Canadian Boat to Gaza
PO Box 1950, London Stn. B
London, Ontario N6A 5J4
CANADA

 

Six Miles out: a day in the life of Gaza fishers

Le texte français suit*

On the windy evening of January 4, 2017, 33-year-old Muhammad al-Hissi of Gaza set out with 13 of his brothers, cousins and uncles to make a living the only way they know how: fishing. But he never came home.

 

The family was spread out in three different boats, with the waves choppy and stiff, when the Israeli Navy appeared on the scene. The 60-ton ship rammed into Muhammad's wooden boat and crushed it like a rock on an egg. Palestinian fishermen and the Israeli navy searched for Muhammad for three days, but his body was never found. The boat's electric generator may have dismembered his body.

 

Muhammad was one of two Palestinian fishermen killed by the Israeli navy in 2017. Four others were injured, 14 were detained and five boats were seized. However, shootings at Gaza fishermen by the Israeli navy are daily occurrences, terrorizing and forcing many to abandon the sea. This pattern is set to continue into the new year, with the recent decision by Israeli officials to restrict Gaza fishermen to 6 nautical miles instead of the recently allowed 9 (only in the southern coast).

 

Help us shine a light on this violation of the right to earn a living. new, short documentary, “Six Miles Out,”—produced by the We Are Not Numbers team in Gaza, with funds from the Solidarity with Gaza Fishers project of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition—features al-Hissi’s brother and cousin, who take us with them for a night of fishing. You will see for yourself just what it’s like when Israeli “hornets” suddenly appear on the scene. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r113lDH2VDY

 

Please share this 11-minute film on social media with a personalized observation. Send a link to your followers via email (this is actually the most effective). The film is subtitled in French, Spanish and Greek (use the the Youtube "gear" icon near the bottom left to turn on different languages). What can viewers do to help? They can donate to We Are Not Numbers, a Gaza-based youth storytelling project, to keep its work going. They also can visit the Freedom Flotilla website to find out how to support the 2018 sailing to challenge the blockade of Gaza’s seaport.

 

 

Read more here: http://canadaboatgaza.org/2017/11/03/freedom-flotilla-to-sail-again-for-freedom-of-movement-and-a-decent-future-for-all-palestinians/#more-1313 

 

*texte français:                                                                                          

Sortir six miles au large: une journée dans la vie des pêcheurs de Gaza

Ce soir du 4 janvier 2017, il faisait du vent quand  Muhammad al-Hissi de Gaza, 34 ans, a pris la mer avec 13 de ses frères, cousins et oncles, pour gagner sa vie de la seule façon qu'ils connaissent : en pêchant. Mais il n'est jamais revenu.

 

La famille était répartie sur trois bateaux et la mer était agitée,  avec des vagues courtes, quand la marine israélienne est apparue sur les lieux. Le navire de 60 tonnes a éperonné le bateau en bois de Muhammad et l'a écrasé comme une pierre aplatirait un œuf.

 

Les pêcheurs palestiniens et la marine israélienne ont cherché le corps de Muhammad pendant trois jours mais il ne fut jamais retrouvé. Il est possible que le moteur ait déchiré son corps en morceaux. 

 

Muhammad est l'un des deux pêcheurs tués par la marine israélienne en 2017. Quatre autres furent blessés, quatorze arrêtés et cinq bateaux furent confisqués.

 

Mais les tirs de la marine israélienne sur les pêcheurs de Gaza se produisent tous les jours. Ils terrorisent les pêcheurs et contraignent nombre d'entre eux à renoncer à la mer.

 

Et ce schéma va continuer en cette année nouvelle puisque les responsables israéliens ont décidé récemment de restreindre les pêcheurs de Gaza à une zone de 6 miles nautiques au lieu des 9 miles récemment autorisés -seulement  dans le sud.

 

Aidez nous à mettre en évidence cette violation du droit de gagner sa vie. Un nouveau documentaire court, “Sortir six miles au large”—produit par l'équipe de  We Are Not Numbers à Gaza, financé par le projet Solidarité avec les pêcheurs de Gaza porté par la Coalition de la Flottille de la Liberté—présente le frère et le cousin de al-Hissi, qui nous amènent à bord pour une nuit de pêche.  Vous verrez par vous mêmes ce qu'il en est quand les « frelons » israéliens apparaissent brusquement . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r113lDH2VDY

 

Partagez s'il vous plaît ce film de 11 minutes sur les réseaux sociaux avec un commentaire personnel. Envoyez un lien à vos « followers » via e-mail (c'est ce qui est le plus efficace). Le film est sous-titré en français, espagnol et grec (utilisez l'icône “engrenage” en bas à gauche sur Youtube pour choisir la langue ). 

 

Que peuvent faire ceux qui vont visionner le film ?  Ils peuvent envoyer un don à We Are Not Numbers, un projet pour raconter des histoires mené par des jeunes basés à Gaza , afin de leur permettre de continuer.

Ils peuvent aussi se rendre sur le site de la Flottille de la Liberté pour chercher comment soutenir l'action de la Flottille en 2018 qui entend briser le blocus du port de Gaza.

 

 

Open letter to UN secretary general António Guterres

To: António Guterres, Secretary-General United Nations
United Nations
New York

October 4, 2017

Dear Secretary General,

On your recent visit to Gaza, you saw with your own eyes some of the deplorable and inhumane conditions suffered by the Palestinians living in Gaza. You called it “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises” that you had seen. We hope that, backed by the strength of the United Nations, this experience encourages you to bring maximum pressure on the State of Israel to lift the illegal and inhumane blockade the people of Gaza have been living under for ten years.

We want to remind you that there are many civil society and religious groups around the world who are watching the worsening situation in horror. We are depending on the United Nations, under your leadership, to work at the international level to increase the pressure from all nation states to use every economic and political measure to remind the State of Israel of the standards expected of the civilized nations of the world.

 

We are also pleased that you noticed specifically that the blockade on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt is upheld by that Arab state in defiance of both international resolutions and a sense of solidarity with a fellow Arab people. Israel is imposing the blockade not only by land, but also by air. They have destroyed Gaza airport, which was financed with international aid (including from Spain). At sea, Israeli forces attack Palestinian fishers from Gaza on a daily basis. They also illegally attack international vessels that challenge the blockade non-violently in the Freedom Flotilla missions that have taken place since 2010.

There are political reasons that make a resolution to the crisis of Gaza imperative at the international level. But even more important are the humanitarian reasons to release an entire people from the appalling situation in which they are currently forced to live.

Your own officers and researchers have concluded that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. Many other reports, including those by the UN, have documented the many threats to the health and even the survival of people in Gaza. The UN has drawn particular attention to the power deficit. Since April 2017 access to electricity is often for four hours or less per day and always unpredictable. Power cuts make sewage treatment impossible leading to pollution of the beaches. Attacks on inshore fishers deprive the people of access to the nutritional value of fish. Your own research has shown up to 57% of Gaza people are ‘food insecure’. Not only is the Gaza economy paralyzed by the blockade, but restrictions on entry of building materials makes it very difficult to reconstruct bombed schools, for example.  The blockade also restricts entry of school supplies and other goods that pose no threat to Israel whatsoever. This entire generation of children and young people in Gaza are growing up without the minimum to develop into educated and well-nourished adults.

The situation is so serious that you have announced an emergency grant of $4 million. But the Palestinians of Gaza do not want to have to take emergency payouts; they want – and need – a cessation of Israeli aggression and real international peace-keeping to prevent further aggression. The so-called “Middle East Quartet” has been a disaster, accomplishing nothing and whitewashing Israeli violation of international law and the breaking of numerous agreements. The State of Israel has also ignored countless UN resolutions aimed at curtailing its activities, as well as continuing the illegal blockade of Gaza and the harassment of its fishing fleets.

In other words, despite its good intentions, the UN has a deplorable record in effectively safeguarding the Palestinians of Gaza and in promoting their security and independence.

We call on you to immediately:

  • Demand that the State of Israel complies with all UN resolutions, with the threat of sanctions if it does not do so.
  • Disband the Middle East Quartet and replace it with an effective oversight body.
  • Resume real peace keeping and effective protection of the civil population of Gaza.
  • Insist that the State of Israel respects and conforms with all UN resolutions that relate to its relations with Gaza.
  • Ensure that the world knows that the blockade is illegal and should demand that it be removed immediately.

Sincerely and persistently,

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Members and Partners
Canadian Boat to Gaza
Freedom Flotilla Italy
Kia Ora Gaza [New Zealand / Aotearoa]
MyCARE Malaysia
Palestine Solidarity Alliance [South Africa]
Rumbo a Gaza [Spain]
Ship to Gaza Norway
Ship to Gaza Sweden
International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza
US Boat to Gaza
Miles of Smiles
Free Gaza Australia 

Other Organizations

Gaza Action Ireland
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign
ShannonWatch (Ireland)
Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine
Council of Canadians / Conseil des Canadiens
Bestemødre For Fred (Grandmothers For Peace, Norway)
Veterans for Peace (US)
CODEPINK: Women for Peace (US)
Voice of Women for Peace (Canada)
Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine (France)
Palestina Solidariteit (Belgium)
Association France Palestine Solidarité
Cultura e libertà (Italy)
Alternative refugee Center (Switzerland)
Badil resource center for Palestinian residency and refugee rights
Women for development (Switzerland)
Union Juive Française pour la Paix (France)
Deutsch-Palästinensische Gesellschaft (Germany)
Frauen in Schwarz, Wien (Austria)
Netherlands Palestine Committee
Palestijnse Gemeenschap in Nederland
Nederlands Arabische Stichting
TIYE International (Netherlands)
Diensten en Onderzoek Centrum Palestina (Netherlands)
Stop Represión Málaga, Voces Alternativas, Kontrapunto (Spain)
Breed Platform Palestina (Haarlem, Netherlands)
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (Gaza, Palestine)
Asociación de la Comunidad Hispano-Palestina “Jerusalén” (Spain)
Asociación Medica Hispano Palestina (Spain)
Asociación Pablo de la Torriente Brau
El movimiento de mujeres palestinas Alkarama
RESCOP – Network of Solidarity against the occupation of Palestine (with 49 member organizations in Spain)
Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (Malaysia)
Viva Palestina Malaysia 
BDS Malaysia
Persatuan Ulama Malaysia
Al-Quds Foundation Malaysia
Association of Norwegian NGOs for Palestine
Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos
Parallelo Palestina (Italy)
Canadian BDS Coalition
Palestine Solidarity Network  (Edmonton, Canada)
People for Peace (London, Canada)
United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (Canada)
Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), Canada
Boundary Peace Initiative
Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Palestine Solidarity Working Group (Sudbury, Canada)
B.C. Southern Interior Peace Coalition (Canada)
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (Victoria, Canada)
Hawai’i Peace and Justice
Hawai’i Coalition for Justice in Palestine
Malu ‘Aina Center for Nonviolence Education
Break the Maritime Blockade of Gaza (BMBG)
EBN – End Blockade Now
Association des Universitaires pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine (France)
Collectif inter-universitaire pour la coopération avec les universités palestiniennes (France)
Comité de Vigilance pour une Paix Réelle au Proche-Orient
Comité La Courneuve-Palestine (France)
Zambra Málaga (Spain)
Confederación General de Trabajadores: Huelva, Málaga, Osuna
Christian Peacemaker Teams (Palestine)
Independent Jewish Voices / Voix juives indépendantes (Canada)
Palestinian Forum in Britain PFB
Europal Forum (UK)
BDS Colombia
BDS Slovenia
New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network (Aotearoa / NZ)
New Zealand Palestine Human Rights Campaign (Aotearoa / NZ)

Freedom Flotilla Coalition Donates Materials to over 400 Fishers in Gaza

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC), an international coalition composed of civil society groups demanding an end to the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza, recently sent fishing materials to Palestinian fishers in Gaza. In cooperation with several Palestinian and international organisations, the FFC has responded to the increasingly desperate plight of fishers in Gaza who are unable to feed their families due to restrictions on fishing imposed by the Israeli occupiers. Materials distributed in the ports of Gaza and Deir Balah include:

  • fishing nets – two types (Shanshoulah and Monefel, 2×3 and 2×1.5cm respectively), sufficient for 140 fishers.
  • fishing suits – sufficient for 79 fishers’use.
  • Marine boat lighting – 342 distributed, for over 200 fishers to use.

Although the FFC’s primary goals are political rather than humanitarian, we recognize the dire circumstances of the over 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza and the importance of supporting its fishers and their work in feeding their communities. This is why our current campaign focuses on Solidarity with Gaza Fishers and helps bring the stories of Palestinian fishers in Gaza to the world.

The FFC is making plans to sail again as soon as possible to challenge the destructive and criminal blockade. Updates on our sailing will be released on our website, as well as via Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom Flotilla launches Solidarity with Gaza Fishers campaign: new logo & website

solidarity with Gaza fishersCBG logoffc

About one billion people world-wide rely on fish as their primary protein source. Many of these people live in poverty and many of the world's 54 million fishers are also poor. Gaza, a 43km coastal strip of land, depends heavily on its inshore fishery to feed its population of nearly 2 million Palestinians.

​O​ver the past ten years, the ability of Palestinians in Gaza to ​make​ a living from ​fishing​ has been severely undermined as a result of fishing access limits imposed by the Israeli Occupation Forces along the Gaza coast.

Out of the 20 nautical mile zone that they were promised under the Oslo accords, Palestinians are restricted to a fishing zone of just three to six nautical miles off the Gaza shoreline, temporarily increased to nine nautical miles for the southern part of the Gaza coast in early May, and then reduced again. Fishers deemed to have exceeded the boundaries by Israel’s navy are shot​ at​, their boats are confiscated, and they are sometimes arrested or worse. Even within the restricted boundaries of six to nine nautical miles, Israeli forces sometimes open fire at Palestinians: earlier this month a Palestinian fisher was killed by Israeli gunfire inside the “permitted” zone.

Overfishing in the small area where Israel has allowed fishing over the years has depleted fish breeding grounds. In addition, the coastal areas are severely polluted by sewage that flows into the sea, often untreated because the waste treatment facilities in Gaza have been destroyed by Israeli attacks and remain unrepaired because of the blockade. ​

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has launched a new project called Solidarity with Gaza Fishers, in partnership with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), who represent fishers in Gaza. The winning logo for this project (above) was provided by our friends at the UAWC. ​Our aim in the Solidarity with Gaza Fishers is to link the struggle of those under blockade and constant attacks with their counterparts in countries all over the world. Sustainable fishing is a way of life endangered by mostly political factors around the globe. We believe that by drawing attention to the situation of Palestinians in Gaza we will bring to the foreground not only the need to lift the inhuman and illegal Israeli blockade, but also the importance of respect for all fishers wherever they are.

Fishing everywhere is a difficult, often hazardous, way to make a living: for Palestinian fishers in Gaza, fishing has become extremely dangerous. We call on you to join us in this project by sharing information about the situation of Palestinian fishers in Gaza with other fishers, fishing organizations and civil society organizations close to you. Fishers and others can show solidarity by organizing events in your local community or fishing port, by flying Palestinian flags and banners of the project on their boats in symbolic protest, and by issuing statements of support. Some may even wish to consider donating part of the value of their catch to enable us to deliver fishing and boat fixing material to Gaza's fishers through an NGO that is part of our coalition.

We invite you to share the stories on our new website: sgf.freedomflotilla.org with your contacts near and far. Help us spread the word about both Palestinian fishers in Gaza and those who stand in solidarity with them in other parts of the world. If you are in touch with fishers or their organizations who want to share stories of their struggles, please put them in touch with us as well too. Together, we can end the blockade and help Palestinians win their fundamental rights.

In solidarity,

the Canadian Boat to Gaza Team

Please follow our campaigns on Twitter @CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla Facebook: www.facebook.com/CanadaBoatGaza/ www.facebook.com/FreedomFlotillaCoalition/ Share our messages and forward them widely!

To support our work, see our NEW contact address: canadaboatgaza.org/donate/ or contact any of our Flotilla partners working on this project: sgf.freedomflotilla.org/donate

Palestinian fisher in Gaza dies after being shot by Israeli navy

Mohammed Majed Bakr, 25, dies after being shot by Israeli navy for 'deviating' from Israeli-imposed blockade zone.

A Palestinian fisherman from Gaza was fatally shot and four others arrested on Monday by the Israeli navy, which claimed their boat had breached its blockade off the northern Gaza Strip.

Mohammed Majed Bakr, 25, died hours after being shot on his boat off the coast of northern Gaza. His four crewmates were arrested.

The Israeli military said the vessel was fired on when it allegedly "deviated" from its designated fishing zone, imposed as part of a blockade of the strip.

It then ignored warning shots, the military said.

"As a result of the fire a Palestinian was injured and was evacuated to an Israeli hospital for immediate medical treatment."

UN officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions, but Israel says it is needed to keep Hamas, which runs the strip, from importing weapons or materials used to make them.

The size of the fishing zone was set at 20 nautical miles by the Oslo accords of the 1990s. However, it has been reduced by the Israelis to three miles.

Palestinian fishermen collect fish from their nets in Gaza City on January 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED

Israel's blockade has impoverished the 4,000 Gaza's fishermen. The International Committee of the Red Cross says 90 percent of them live below the poverty line.
From: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/gaza-fisherman-dies-after-being-shot-israeli-navy-1513462499

Local Activist Shares Grim Story of Her Efforts to Help Palestinian Farmers

This story was initially published in theovercast.ca

https://theovercast.ca/local-activist-shares-grim-story-of-her-efforts-to-help-palestinian-farmers/

Marilyn Porter is on the steering committee of the Canadian Boat to Gaza.

 

BY CHAD PELLEY ON APRIL 5, 2017

Sociology Professor Emerita Marilyn Porter recently returned from a trip to Israel, where she was the sole Canadian on a team of 45 people experiencing, firsthand, how the Israeli government is harassing and displacing Palestinian farmers.  

The farmers live in an area that is supposedly under Palestinian control, yet they’re constantly subject to harassment and displacement by Israeli forces. They’re even required to have permits to move from one village to another, drive on certain roads, farm, etc.

The Israeli Wall has made matters worse. The Wall is over 700 kilometres long, and it isolates thousands of Palestinians, making it difficult for them to engage economically and socially with their community.

As Marilyn explains, “The Wall dominates the Palestinian landscape, splitting many communities in two. In their day-to-day lives Palestinians are forced to travel many extra miles to farm their land or visit their relatives.”

Porter and her team were there to help families plant olive tree saplings.  Olive trees are vital to Palestinian farmers, but these farmers are regularly confronted by the Israeli army, who threaten to (or do) confiscate property. It’s something Porter witnessed firsthand.

She says that Palestinian farmers whose land is close to the Wall, or close to illegal Israeli settlements suffer the most. According to the UN, 80% have seen a decrease in their yields since 2015.

In the Bethlehem area alone in 2014 (latest UN figures), “85% of the land had been taken over by the Israeli government for settlement expansion ‘nature reserves’ or military zones, and 70 Palestinian residential areas have outstanding eviction orders.”

She has witnessed the grim struggle of Palestinian farmers herself. Israeli settlers uprooted her efforts right before her eyes, destroying the hundreds of olive trees her team planted, a mere day after they were set in soil.

“The day before the Israeli settlers uprooted our trees,” she says, “they had stood around in threatening ways, and then summoned the Israeli security forces to drive us off the farmer’s land.” They were heavily armed.

Later that night, they uprooted and destroyed hundreds of olive trees. “We were advised by the local NGO we were working with that there was no recourse and, indeed, that it might be hazardous for our farmer to even report the attack.”

The UN documents attacks by settlers on Palestinians, and their land. It is on record that more than half of Palestinians (54%) have suffered physical attacks or attacks on their property last year.

“Fully armed soldiers — many of them very young — are everywhere and can, and do, demand to see papers and permits at any point. This happened one day when we were working. Our farmer had all the permits necessary, including for us to be helping him, but we were still driven off by a group of armed soldiers and had to stop our work.”

Porter has been committed for years to the plight of Palestinians “in their struggle to establish an economically and socially stable state, free of harassment and control.”

Porter was in Israel as part of the The Joint Advocacy Initiative’s  Keep Hope Alive olive planting initiative. You can catch her speaking about her experience tonight at 7 pm, at Memorial University (Room A-1043). The talk is titled, “The Olive Tree Campaign: How Palestinians Resist the Israeli Wall.”

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

Originally published in the Lower Island NEWS at

https://lowerislandnews.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/blog-lower-island-news-issue-4-december-2016.pdf

wbg

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- adaboatgaza.org/2016.10/19/international- 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

media-impacts

 

Canada

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

 

Australia

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 / eldiario.es

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 / Llibertat.cat

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:

#womentogaza

#letfflotillasail

#SOSWomenFlotilla

#welcomeLeighAnn