The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) met in Istanbul in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza. We have watched atrocities being committed against an already besieged population. In the two day meeting (August 10th and 11th), the FFC concluded that it is the responsibility of civil society worldwide to sail to Gaza and challenge the Israeli blockade, the source of most problems facing the Palestinian population of Gaza.
We plan to sail to Gaza during 2014, the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People:
Nearly a week after a ceasefire agreement that was believed to include the partially lifting of the blockade on Gaza, no restrictions have been eased, say humanitarians and border guards.
NGOs are eager to increase aid to the Palestinian region after a 50-day Israeli bombing campaign left over 2,000 dead, thousands wounded and much of the enclave’s infrastructure in ruins, but access rules continue to present huge challenges.
While the exact terms of the ceasefire agreement, reached last week between Israel and various Palestinian factions, have not been released, it was widely reported that Tel Aviv committed to easing its border sanctions in exchange for a cessation of hostilities, while Egypt, too, was expected to ease its blockade.
Sandra Ruch, with Gaza's Ark and VOW Peace, discusses the new Freedom Flotilla, and the fate of Gaza's Ark, reflecting the ups and downs of Palestine solidarity activism.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) — Palestinian fishermen in Gaza say they are already seeing the benefits of an extended fishing zone, with thousands of kilograms of fresh produce caught only days after Tuesday's ceasefire agreement.
Fishermen say they have brought home a varied catch of sardines, squid, shrimps, crabs and lax to Gaza's markets since Tuesday, with some varieties of fish unavailable for years due to Israeli restrictions.
From an August 31 Press Release:
On August 31 an Israeli court issued a verdict in the case by Ship to Gaza Sweden against the Israeli government, regarding the rights to S/V Estelle. The verdict is all in favour of Ship to Gaza's complaint.
'The Governments of Egypt and Norway, supported by President Mahmoud Abbas, have decided to co-host a conference on Palestine with a focus on the reconstruction of Gaza. The invitations to the conference, to be held in Cairo, will be duly extended once an agreement on a sustainable ceasefire has been reached as a result of the ongoing talks in Cairo,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
'The people of Gaza are suffering, and there is an urgent need for emergency relief. The UN and NGOs have already begun working on this, with the support of Norway, among others. The basic infrastructure must be repaired so that the people have access to electricity, water and sanitation,' said Mr Brende.
Oslo says funds will be given to PA President Abbas, and not to Hamas, and notes international donors conference to take place only after lasting ceasefire reached.
Published: 08.18.14, 10:23 / http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4559789,00.html
Norway has set conditions to the delivery of aid money to reconstruct the Gaza Strip after Operation Protective Edge, namely that the Israeli blockade on the Palestinian enclave is lifted, Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said Monday.
"It is the responsibility of civil society worldwide to sail to Gaza."
by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams
A coalition of activists said on Tuesday they would send a flotilla of ships to break Israel's siege of Gaza by the end of 2014, fours years after a similar campaign ended in a deadly raid by Israeli commandos.
"We plan to send the flotilla during 2014," the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which includes activists from at least 10 countries, said in Istanbul.
The statement was made at a joint conference hosted by Turkish relief agency Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which sponsored the first flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza that was raided by Israeli commandos in 2010.
Thousands of Palestinians are struck in miserable limbo unable to leave or easily enter the Gaza Strip, for study abroad, medical care, work or family visits for the past 7 years. Once again, siege and blockade are causing severe shortages of essential supplies from building materials to medicines in Gaza and generating a sense of despair.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has repeatedly condemned Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, calling it "a direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law”.