Nanaimo man joins flotilla to Gaza strip
Former MP intends to help break blockade imposed on the region since Hamas took control in 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Nanaimo resident and former Canadian Member of Parliament Jim Manly will take part in a flotilla headed for the Gaza strip in Palestine. His intention is to break the blockade imposed on the region since Hamas took control in 2007.
Manly, who turns 80 next month, will be the token Canadian on the voyage of the Estelle, which began in Sweden and is now in Italian waters. The trip is part of an international Freedom Flotilla movement, which has tried to enter Gaza a number of times. An attempt in 2009 by the Mavi Marmara travelling from Turkey into Gaza ended with nine people dead when Israeli authorities boarded the ship and attempted to prevent it from entering their waters.Manly flies to Rome today after a press conference in Vancouver and will then travel to the ship’s launch point in Naples.
A Jerusalem Post article on Sept. 30 stated that Israel’s foreign ministry has been in contact with the governments concerned and that their position is to not allow the ship to enter Gaza.
“It’s a long-term effort, but we will be continuing to put pressure on the Israeli government because (the blockade) is not only illegal under international law, it’s also immoral,” said Manly. “It results in a lack of adequate food and water, building supplies to rebuild following the heavy bombing of Gaza in 2008 and 2009. They haven’t been able to rebuild water filtration plants and sanitation, and this is one of the most concentrated populations in the world.”
The Gaza strip is home to 1.7 million people in an area that covers roughly one-third the size of Nanaimo.
“The need for materials in Gaza is there, we acknowledge that,” said Ehab Lotayef, one the project’s co-ordinators based in Montreal. “Whatever we are taking is a drop in the ocean. The goal really is to end the blockade. We are calling for the world to be aware of the blockade and its effects.”
An anchor is among the building and school supplies Manly will be bringing to the residents of Gaza. It is part of a larger project, Canadian Boat to Gaza, to build an “ark” inside Gaza to break the blockade from the inside, and take goods out for international trade.
The Estelle is expected to arrive in Gaza from Naples by mid-October.
Tiny URL for this post: