Up until July 2014 when an Israeli missile destroyed our boat, Gaza’s Ark had been rebuilding a large fishing boat in Gaza and converting it into a cargo vessel using existing resources. In the second half of 2014, a crew of internationals and Palestinians were due to sail it out of Gaza, the only Mediterranean port closed to shipping, carrying Palestinian products to fulfill trade deals with international buyers, to challenge the illegal and inhuman Israeli blockade.
Gaza’s Ark had been reconstructed in Gaza by Palestinian hands and expertise, with international assistance where requested.
Gaza’s Ark has helped revitalize the dwindling ship building industry in Gaza and to ensure the transmission of this disappearing expertise (another effect of the blockade) to the younger generations.
Through Gaza’s Ark and trade deals secured between Palestinian producers in Gaza and international businesses and NGOs, a channel was established to export Palestinian products from Gaza that are available despite the blockade.
Gaza’s Ark was preparing to provide training to Gaza’s sailors in the use of up-to-date electronic sailing equipment and techniques, which they have been denied for years as a result of the blockade.
Although it has helped in a very limited manner to alleviate Gaza’s unemployment crisis by paying wages to the boat builders and providing business opportunities to traders, Gaza’s Ark is not an aid project. It is a peaceful action against the blockade which Israel unilaterally and illegally imposes on Gaza.
Gaza’s Ark stands in solidarity with the Palestinian fishers in Gaza whose ability to operate in territorial waters and to derive a livelihood is threatened by the same illegal Israeli blockade which our campaign is challenging.
Gaza’s Ark challenges the blockade by building hope on the ground in Gaza. It affirms our confidence that the Palestinians of Gaza can rebuild their economy through outbound trade that threatens no-one’s security.
Although the Israelis may have destroyed this boat they will not destroy hope. We are currently working within the Freedom Flotilla Coalition and are connecting sellers and international buyers whose goods can be exported on vessels, which will hopefully break the illegal blockade soon.