Monthly Archives: September 2012

Gaza Looks For Work, Not Aid

GAZA CITY, Sep 30 2012 (IPS)

By Eva Bartlett

“The overwhelming majority of people we work with tell us, ‘We don’t want the aid, we want to have an opportunity to work and earn money’. Especially people who had a decent job but lost it in the last many years: before asking for any aid, they ask for a job.”

In his work as Gaza-based communications officer with Oxfam GB, Karl Schembri interacts on a regular basis with some of Gaza’s most impoverished Palestinians, poverty he says is avoidable.

“Gaza cannot be called a humanitarian situation, it’s all man-made. It’s a situation of de-development, where the infrastructure and know-how was there and development was occurring,” he says, referring to the years before 2006 when, after Hamas was democratically elected, Israel imposed its suffocating closure of the Gaza Strip.

[Continue reading here]

Great reception for the Estelle in La Spezia

Banner on the Estelle


The Estelle docked at the Port of La Spezia in Northern Italy last September 27. Canadian Gaza’s Ark activist was present at the great reception that was displayed for the crew, but most of all in recognition of the Estelle’s mission to break the blockade of Gaza. Naturally, Vittorio Arrigoni, Italian activist murdered in Gaza

in April 2011, was remembered. The slogan for the reception of the Estelle was “La Spezia resta humana” (La Spezia stays human) in reference to Vik’s stay human greeting.David reports that Vik’s mother, Egidia Beretta, was present. “She gave a very moving speech and gave a banner with her son’s image to the Estelle’s crew”, said David.

Other speeches were given by representatives of the ANED (National Association of Ex-Deportees, survivors of political concentration camps in Germany, and the ANPI, National Association of Partisans (WWII freedom fighters) of Italy.


Former Canadian MP sails against Gaza blockade


Jim Manly (MP 1980-88) sails against Gaza Blockade

For immediate release

28 September 2012

Former Canadian MP (Member of Parliament 1980 to 88) and retired United Church Minister Jim Manly* will join a group of prominent internationals, including members of parliament from Sweden and Norway,  on the Freedom Flotilla’s “Estelle” sailing from Naples to Gaza in early October.

The mission of the Estelle, which started in Scandinavia and visited many European ports before reaching Italy yesterday, September 27th, is the latest initiative of the international “Freedom Flotilla Coalition” (FFC) to challenge the Blockade of Gaza. 

Media Advisory: Book launch Canadian tour


** en anglais seulement **

Media Advisory

September 26, 2012

New book tells harrowing, yet uplifting story of the first boats to break the Gaza blockade 

Book launch Canadian tour

Free Gaza Movement co-founder Greta K. Berlin is embarking on a multi-city tour in Canada to launch Freedom Sailors, a new book about the international efforts to end the blockade of Gaza.

Freedom Sailors, co-edited by Berlin, tells the story of 44 passengers on two dilapidated boats that sailed to Gaza in August 2008. The boats, launched by the Free Gaza Movement, were the first international boats to land in the port of Gaza in 41 years to breech the illegal blockade.

The Estelle in La Spezia

27 September 2012

The Estelle is welcomed by Italian supporters in La Spezia. Watch a video of the welcome!


Petition: End the blockade of Gaza now!





Sign the following petition here.

This summer, the intensified blockade of the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip has continued into its sixth year. The blockade—referred to as “the siege” by its victims—is a violation of international law and of the fundamental human rights of the civilian population in Gaza. The blockade has devastating humanitarian consequences for more than 1.6 million people, most of them children, on this coastal strip between the Mediterranean Sea and the Negev desert.

Challenging the blockade of Gaza: Message from a Canadian on board the Estelle

September 21, 2012

The Estelle


It is a great honour to be able to accompany the Swedish sailing ship Estelle for a few days, from Barcelona to Ajaccio (Corsica), on its way towards Gaza to challenge the illegal and inhuman blockade which has lasted now for more than five years.

The Estelle in a 90 year-old three-masted schooner purchased from a Finnish fair-trade organization by Ship to Gaza Sweden in April and renovated for this sea voyage. She began a Swedish coastal tour in June, with solidarity and information events in communities to raise awareness about the blockade in Gaza.

David Heap interviewed in Ajaccio

David Heap on the Estelle


David Heap, från den kanadensiska organisationen Gaza Ark, ombord Tahrir som tillsammans med ett Irländsk skepp försökte bryta blockaden av Gaza hösten 2011. Hör honom berätta om bordningen, tiden i Israeliskt fängelse och deras nya projekt: att bryta blockaden av Gaza inifrån.

The interwiev is in English here


Photos: the Estelle in Ajaccio

David Heap, member of the Gaza’s Ark steering committee was on the Estelle from Barcelona to Ajaccio. In an e-mail from Ajaccio on the 23 Sept. he sent photos and his initial comments:

“I am attaching a few photos taken quickly this morning (sorry, I am not a very skilled photographer). The banner (Non au Blocus de Gaza) is from the local committee Corsica-Palestine, who also brought the Corsican flags hanging next to it (there is a very small French tricolore up in the rigging some place, but they say this is the right way — the Corsica flags are larger and more numerous…).

Programming plans I have heard so far include a welcome today around 11-noon, a radio broadcast (Bonjour Gaza with young Palestinian journalists in Gaza), tours of the boat of course, and a press conference tomorrow. There are also plans for a visit from politicians from the territorial assembly of Corsica on Monday, and perhaps also fishermen’s associations. More to follow as these are confirmed I guess (and perhaps better photos…).”


Michael Jansen: Protest without violence


September 14, 2012

Posted in The Gulf Today 

“Free Gaza” is unique in world history. It is almost certainly the most international and innovative Gandhian liberation movement to ever operate on the world stage. Free Gaza activists, who range in age from 22 to 86, come from all four of the globe’s continents. Most adhere to the three largest regional religions — Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Both men and women are involved and share burdens in equality.

Mahatma Gandhi himself could not have imagined such a collection of  well-meaning, dedicated humanitarians and would have been mightily proud to know that they continue to be inspired by his example and follow his strategy of non-violence.