All posts by Canadian Boat to Gaza

Freedom Flotilla-funded ambulance at work in Gaza

Read the report in the Palestine Chronicle that features the ambulance which our campaign helped to fund. 

With our Freedom Flotilla partners, along with the generous support of donors like you, we were able to fund this ambulance which arrived in Gaza in November. As a part of the Miles of Smiles humanitarian convoy, it’s now being used by the Benevolent Society for Disabled People in Gaza. 

Please watch and share this video showing this donated ambulance at work.

Legal victory against Israeli seizure of Tahrir. Ambulances on their way to Gaza.

Finally, after 10 years, the Israeli government has settled our compensation claim for its seizure of our boat and its cargo.

On November 4, 2011, the Tahrir, funded by grassroots donations from Canada, Australia, Belgium and Denmark, along with its cargo of some $30,000 in medical aid, was stolen by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and never delivered to our civil society partners in Gaza. A dozen people on board, including journalists, were imprisoned in Israel and eventually deported.

In January 2012, the Canadian Boat to Gaza filed a legal claim against the Israeli military. Through diligent research, our amazing Israeli legal team established an irrefutable basis for our claim. As a result, we have received a net settlement of $185,647 CDN, about half of the Tahrir’s total costs. Although we have accepted this out-of-court settlement, it does not represent full justice for our losses, much less for those of Palestinians.Many more Palestinian boats from Gaza have been stolen and damaged by the IOF: their owners face far greater legal obstacles than we do in pursuing claims and obtaining justice.

“This settlement is a victory for us and for the entire Freedom Flotilla movement, as well as for all organizations and individuals who contributed time and money to ending the blockade of Gaza.” said Canadian-Israeli Sandra Ruch, who was the registered owner of the Tahrir on behalf of our campaign, outside the Israeli consulte in Toronto today (video). “Of course, the funds from this settlement will be dedicated to the ongoing actions to help achieve full freedom of movement for all Palestinians.”

While we are not seeking donations for our campaign at this time, we ask you to support our sister campaigns in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, as well as our partners in Gaza, including We Are Not Numbers. Our other partner in Gaza, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (also representing Palestinian fishers), urgently needs solidarity now: please consider signing and sending this letter supporting them and other Palestinian civil society organizations targeted by the Israeli occupation.

We are using a portion of this settlement towards purchasing much-needed new ambulances for Gaza. These new ambulances, which our Freedom Flotilla partners helped fund, are now en route towardsPalestine: when they arrive we will let you know.

UPDATE: The convoy of ambulances arrived in Gaza on November 8: here are some details about the arrival, including a ‘Peace Train’ video, from our friends at Kia Ora Gaza.

Thank you once again for your continued support. Together we will keep physically challenging and eventually help break the illegal blockade!

Victoire juridique contre la saisie israélienne du Tahrir. Les ambulances partent pour Gaza.

Enfin, après 10 ans, le gouvernement israélien a réglé notre demande de dédommagement pour sa saisie de notre bateau et de sa cargaison. 

Le 4 novembre 2011, le Tahrir, financé par des dons populaires du Canada, de l’Australie, de la Belgique et du Danemark, ainsi que sa cargaison d’environ 30 000 $ d’aide médicale, ont été volés par les forces d’occupation israéliennes et n’ont jamais été livrés à nos partenaires de la société civile à Gaza. Une douzaine de personnes à bord, dont des journalistes, ont été emprisonnées en Israël et finalement déportées. 

En janvier 2012, le Bateau canadien pour Gaza a déposé une plainte contre l’armée israélienne. Grâce à des recherches diligentes, notre incroyable équipe juridique israélienne a établi une base incontestable pour notre demande. En conséquence, nous avons reçu un règlement net de 185 647 dollars canadiens, soit environ la moitié des coûts totaux du Tahrir. Bien que nous ayons accepté ce règlement hors tribunaux, il ne représente pas une justice complète pour nos pertes, et encore moins pour celles des De nombreux autres bateaux palestiniens de Gaza ont été volés et endommagés par la marine de l’occupation israélienne: leurs propriétaires rencontrent des obstacles juridiques bien plus importants que les nôtres pour faire valoir leurs droits et obtenir justice. 

“Ce règlement est une victoire pour nous et pour l’ensemble du mouvement de la Flottille de la liberté, ainsi que pour toutes les organisations et personnes qui ont contribué en temps et en argent à la levée du blocus de Gaza”, a déclaré la Canadienne-Israélienne Sandra Ruch, qui était la propriétaire immatriculée du Tahrir au nom de notre campagne, devant le consulat israélien à Toronto aujourd’hui (vidéo). “Bien sûr, les fonds de ce règlement seront consacrés aux actions en cours pour aider à atteindre la pleine liberté de mouvement pour le peuple palestinien.” 

Si nous ne sollicitons pas de dons pour notre campagne à l’heure actuelle, nous vous demandons de soutenir nos campagnes sœurs de la coalition de la Flottille de la liberté, ainsi que nos partenaires à Gaza, notamment We Are Not Numbers. Notre autre partenaire à Gaza, l’Union des comités de travail agricole, a un besoin urgent de solidarité maintenant : veuillez signer et envoyer cette lettre pour les soutenir, ainsi que d’autres organisations de la société civile palestinienne ciblées par l’occupation israélienne. 

Nous utilisons une partie de ce règlement pour acheter de nouvelles ambulances dont Gaza a tant besoin. Ces nouvelles ambulances, que nos partenaires de la Flottille de la liberté ont contribué à financer, sont maintenant en route vers la Palestine : nous vous informerons de leur arrivée. 

Merci encore pour votre soutien continu. Ensemble, nous continuerons à défier physiquement le blocus que nous finirons par aider à briser  ! 

Already unliveable: Help the Freedom Flotilla sail against the inhuman blockade of Gaza


Dear Supporters,
In 2020, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition will sail again to break the illegal and inhuman blockade of Gaza. During this mission we will be focusing on children and youth struggling to survive in the wreckage of Gaza, their beloved home. Canada Boat to Gaza is reaching out to children and youth organizations, and to individuals like you, to help support our work and to bring an end to the suffering in Gaza.

Eight years ago in 2012, the UN declared that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020. Over the years, the international community has watched that prediction become truth. Palestinians in Gaza live among bombed out hospitals, schools, and homes. There are water, food and electricity shortages throughout the beleaguered strip making basic survival a serious challenge. The desperate economic situation in Gaza also means that children have to think and act as older than they are, with too many of them working to help support their families.

The most vulnerable of the innocent are children and youth, many of whom have been deliberately targeted by Israeli snipers since the beginning of the Great March of Return, when Palestinians demand their right to return to their homeland from which Israel expelled them. Israeli snipers have murdered at least 256 Palestinians in these peaceful protests, and more than 29,000 have been maimed for life, many of them children and youth. Please watch and share this award-winning short video about one of them, Dreams in the Crosshairs, created by one of our Palestinian partner organizations in Gaza, We Are Not Numbers, with funding from the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

The world expresses outrage and yet the slaughter and deliberate destruction of Gaza continues with impunity. In November 2019, after a three day Israeli offensive on Gaza, Palestinian Health Minister, Dr. Mai al-Kaila, reported that one-third of the Palestinians killed by Israeli missiles and shells were women and children.

It seems clear that Israel is systematic targeting Gaza's future, its children and youth. Imagine if this was happening in your hometown. Imagine if it was your child who was permanently maimed for peacefully protesting human rights violations. Would the world still be silent? Would you want others to speak up against these attacks?

Will you help us sail this year? Together we can help end the blockade! Read and share our last message (Why we Sail, and Sail and Sail Again) on the Canadian Boat to Gaza website.

Many of you will be hearing this week about the "Steal of the Century" proposed by the US President. We remind everyone that without justice, there can be no peace, and so we encourage you to read, share and amplify Palestinian responses in your communities and around the world, including this "Appeal of the Century" from We Are Not Numbers.

A critical way to help our campaign is to contribute financially. There are different ways you can make a donation. Click here to donate. We ask you to consider a monthly donation. We are pleased to accept e-transfers from Canadian bank accounts (Interac) or online using a major credit card or PayPal account. You can also donate by cheque or money order and mailing to Canadian Boat to Gaza, PO Box 1950, London Stn. B, London, Ontario N6A 5J4, CANADA. In other countries, please consider donating through one of our Freedom Flotilla coalition partner campaigns :

Why We Sail, Sail, and Sail Again: Freedom Flotilla 2020

Freedom Flotilla sailors and participants are sometimes asked: Why do you keep sailing toward Gaza only to be captured? Why not give the funds you raise directly to the Palestinians of Gaza as aid? Our rationale for sailing and our experiences in 2018 provide some answers. Our Palestinian partners in Gaza are asking us to challenge the illegal blockade. In May 2018 the Norwegian fishing trawler Al Awda (The Return) and the Swedish sailing ship Freedom sailed from Scandinavia. Over two months, we called on ports in Denmark, Germany, Holland, England, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy spreading the message of freedom for Palestinians. Israel has extended its reach, pressuring governments in Cyprus,Turkey, and Greece to prevent our ships sailing from their ports.

Canadians Karen DeVito and John Turnbull joined the sailing ship Freedom in Denmark and crewed her from Copenhagen to Palermo where John then captained the ship on the final leg toward Gaza. Other Canadians, including Heather Milton-LighteningRon RousseauMajed KhraishiKathy Wazana, and Larry Commodore of the Stó:lo Nation, were on board Al Awda at different points in her voyage, and Canadian journalist Dimitri Lascaris reported for The Real News Network from Flotilla boats and from several ports. 

The arrival of the ships at each European port occasioned special events, marches, music, speaking opportunities, as well as visits with municipal and provincial politicians. In some places cities and regions had passed motions to support the Flotilla and recognize Palestine. In Amsterdam, activists organized a small-boat Flotilla through the canals with music, banners and flags. Supporters followed along the canals and bridges handing out hundreds of flyers. Brighton, England gave a rousing welcome on the pier, held an information event in a local park, and a packed house speaking event in the town. Gijón, Spain held a march through the city with about 800 people with music, dancing, singing and a Palestinian flag that required 40 people to parade it through the streets. The City Council of Cádiz, Spain voted the Flotilla "Illustrious Visitor." Two smaller Swedish sailboats crossed Netherland, Belgium and France by river and canal, catching public interest when authorities prevented them from mooring in Paris, and visited a number of other waterside communities.

Energizing local solidarity groups, providing outreach and diplomacy are all aspects of the Flotilla's work. The voyage around Europe is so valuable in these respects. We also discovered that refugees would visit our ships at each port. The mayors of three Italian ports met our ships at the piers and declared refugees welcome to their cities, regardless of their then-Prime Minister's negative attitude. Our crew met with local and provincial politicians, ambassadors– they attended regional parliamentary sessions, municipal meetings and gave presentations to the public as well as tours of the boats. All these activities are part of why we sail.

Palestinians in Gaza are now more than ever connected with the rest of the world by the internet. They know when the Freedom Flotilla is coming; they go to the seashore and wait. We are answering a civil society call when we sail–when we ask our partner organizations in Gaza if they would prefer a donations over a Flotilla, they always respond saying we should to sail and raise international awareness about the blockade. They prefer we expand awareness of the longest running occupation in modern history. They also tell us that our sailing gives Palestinians hope and the knowledge that they are not alone.

The Flotilla movement has launched successful legal challenges to Israel for improper confiscation of our ships. One recent court victory by Ship to Gaza Sweden provided the funds for purchase of the Freedom and two smaller sailboats that travelled through France to the Mediterranean. And so Captain John, when interrogated on the way to an Israeli prison, was pleased to answer this question: "Did a terrorist organization provide your funding?" with a solid "Yes!". Then to the question "Which one?", John replied: "The Israeli government."

The Freedom, aside from its main cargo of hope, also carried some medical aid that Israel is required to deliver. To date our 114 boxes remain in Israel, awaiting delivery to Gaza. While these medical supplies were not a significant quantity, they provide another opportunity for ongoing legal action in Israeli courts against the blockade.

The Flotilla will sail again in 2020, at the request of Palestinians of Gaza. This is the year the UN report declared that Gaza will be unliveable. Right now, most of its drinking water is contaminated. Every child shows symptoms of psychological distress. Each Friday Palestinians stand on their own land near the fence asking for their human rights as Israeli snipers shoot them. In 2018 the IDF has killed 254 people in Gaza, 47 of them children. Thousands have been injured; many amputations have resulted.

There are shortages of medicine in Gaza. Children go to school in shifts. Many are orphaned. Israeli drones fly overhead day and night. Hospitals are overwhelmed, especially on Fridays. Last summer we met young Jamil from Gaza in an Italian port; his mother had applied to Israel for permission to take him there for medical treatment. During the years of waiting he had survived on blood transfusions from his grandfather. He must return once his rare blood condition is treated. We saw the worry in his mother’s eyes. Gaza is hazardous even for a healthy child. 

And so the flotilla will sail again in 2020, even more mindful this year of the children of Gaza and the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the Mavi Marmara and other Flotilla vessels in 2010.

One critical way to help this campaign is to contribute financially. There are different ways you can make a donation. Click here to donate. We ask you to consider a monthly donation. We are pleased to accept e-transfers from Canadian bank accounts (Interac) or online using a major credit card or PayPal account. You can also donate by cheque or money order and mailing to Canadian Boat to Gaza, PO Box 1950, London Stn. B, London, Ontario N6A 5J4, CANADA. In other countries, please consider donating through one of our Freedom Flotilla coalition partner campaigns.

Please help us spread the word about our campaigns:

– 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 share our posts widely.

Together, we can help end the blockade!

Keep her running

from We Are Not Numbers by Mohammed Moussa 


Four of us 
were trapped 
in southern Gaza
on the made-up border
surrounded  by  100 snipers’  bullets
    like birds about to be snared 
     with gas bombs falling from the sky 
              like the rains of January.

Hope lunged out of the smoky darkness
     with her kufiyah wrapped around her neck;
     like a deer
     she ran,
           holding our flag 
                              below the kites flying,
                                             she came running and shouting,  
        “I’m coming for you, for the land!” 
Then handed us the flag
to put it on the fence to prove
this land is ours and
we’re returning.

We ran back with her 
 the four of us
       holding each other’s hands;
      like a chain of protection,
      we formed a human shield
      to protect her, 
our hope, but 
      the sky was our shield
            protecting us all
                    from the rain of bullets
                                 at our backs.

We ran from our grief to come,
    inhaling the gas and
    the sound of bullets
          sinking into other bodies

She didn’t.
We surrounded   
    our hope,
        kept her running.


Invitation to support the Canadian Boat to Gaza, from Rabbi Lucia Pizarro

Dear friends,

As a Jew, I am all too aware that history has been painted with the blood of individuals whose only crime was being born Jewish. The stigma of living life as a minority has forever shaped Jewish history and the histories of many other peoples. Therefore, I am always taken aback when I see any group of people who face discrimination not for their actions, but simply for being alive.

I know that Jewish leadership has made sure that any assertion of commonality between Jew and Palestinian is denied. But throughout history, from Poland to Iraq, from Argentina to South Africa, from Brooklyn to Mississippi, Jews have taken up their quest for justice, and their desire for a more just world, by joining with others in collective struggles. Jews have participated prominently in the workers’ struggle of the Depression era, in the civil rights movement, in the struggle against South African Apartheid, in the struggle against fascism in Europe, and in many other movements for social and political change.

Obviously the State of Israel’s historic and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people contradicts and betrays these long histories of Jewish participation in collective liberation struggles.

Thus, I invite you to join me in my support for the Canadian Boat to Gaza, and its insistence on ending the illegal and immoral blockade imposed by the Israeli State on over 2 million Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza Strip.

  • Let's challenge the legality of the inhumane blockade of Gaza’s 2 million inhabitants, most of whom are refugees and children.
  • Let's expose the Canadian government’s complicity in this act of collective punishment of defenceless civilians.
  • Let's demonstrate to the people living under the blockade that the world has not forgotten them.
  • Let's stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
  • Let's support the Canadian Boat to Gaza right now!

You can find different ways to donate at onate

In solidarity,
Rabbi Lucia Pizarro, Founding Spiritual Director


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

In other parts of the world, please consider donating through one our other partner campaigns in the Freedom Flotilla:  https://sgf.freedom

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

Donations / dons: /

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Bateau canadien pour GAZA: courriel:


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.