Tag Archives: La Spezia

International meeting in response to Gaza emergency

La Spezia, Italy, November 3rd, 2013

fflogoAs the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza passed its 2,300th day and as the effects of this blockade are magnified by an Egyptian crackdown on the Rafah tunnels and crossing, representatives of more than a dozen international organizations met in La Spezia, Italy to organize against the blockade of Gaza and work to defend the basic human rights of the Palestinian people, in particular the right of freedom of movement.

The meeting included delegates from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and UK.


The attendees decided to promote and support a worldwide campaign in favour of the children of Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian children in Gaza will undertake a public launch of mini-Arks from the port of Gaza as a message of hope to the world expressing their demand of freedom and normal life (www.gazaark.org/2013/10/26/sponsor-a-mini-ark-now/).

The organizations in attendance also decided to adopt worldwide actions on the popular and political levels to bring awareness to the plight of the Palestinian people of Gaza and to actively challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the Egyptian closure of Rafah. These action plans will be announced in due time.

Attending organizations and groups (in alphabetical order):

Canadian Boat to Gaza
European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza
Free Gaza Denmark
Freedom Flotilla Italia
Gaza’s Ark
IHH Turkey
International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza 
Miles of Smiles Belgium
Miles of Smiles Libya
Miles of Smiles Sweden
Miles of Smiles UK
Rumbo a Gaza
Ship to Gaza Greece
Ship to Gaza Norway
Ship to Gaza Sweden

We are sailing!

The port authorities in La Spezia in northern Italy finally decided to not give in to Israeli  pressure. Just minutes ago Ship to Gaza and its vessel Estelle got final clearance to depart from port. Credit to the responsible officials who showed integrity and a sense of justice!

We were beginning to recognise the pattern from last years Flotilla all too well, when a Greek government under pressure took the decision to detain all Flotilla boats in Greek ports.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has already confirmed that it is pressuring those countries whose citizens are on board to prevent them from “approaching” Gaza. If “approaching” Gaza includes sailing from La Spezia to Napoli, that would have been a serious violation of one of the EU’s basic principles: freedom of movement.

It would be unacceptable for the EU to cave in to such pressure, turning against its own citizens and vessels. It is especially serious when such actions are taken against a peaceful, humanitarian action which enjoys wide public and political support. That support is currently being demonstrated in our petition to end the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza, which has been signed by thousands of people from all over the world in the last few days .

Ship to Gaza and our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition urge each one of our supporters to follow S/V Estelles journey, and if necessary act in their respective roles and areas: sympathizers, local activists, support organizations, union organizations, EU parliamentarians and national parliamentarians.

Use any resources available to you to protest the Israeli government’s attempt to expand its blockade to ports in northern Italy. Ask your respective foreign ministers questions, and do the same to the EU through the EU Parliament. Conduct support actions to demand that Estelle stays free to sail.

End the blockade of Gaza!

Contacts onboard Estelle:

Victoria Strand + 46 727356564

Mikael Löfgren: +46 707983643

Ship to Gaza-Sweden



Dror Feiler: +46 702855777

Mattias Gardell: +46 703036666

Ann Ighe: +46 709740739

Victoria Strand + 46 727356564

Media coordinator:

Mikael Löfgren: +46 707983643

Staffan Granér: +46703549687


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.


The Estelle in La Spezia

27 September 2012

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