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Freedom Flotilla Coalition Statement
Rome, January 19-20, 2013.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition met in Rome for two days of discussion of our past work and future plans, as we continue our struggle against the illegal and inhuman blockade of Gaza. Representatives from campaigns in Canada, Greece, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, as well as from the International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza, were hosted by our colleagues in Italy.
Israel, one of the largest military powers in the world, is unleashing its military might on the captive Palestinian population in Gaza. Unable to escape from their open-air prison because of the Israeli blockade, 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza are condemned to be sitting targets for Israel's bombing and shelling.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Over two thirds of the population are refugees who lost their homes to Israel in 1948 and 1967; over half of them are children. The weapons used to destroy their lives and communities are provided by American taxpayers with the active complicity and support of Canadian, Australian and European governments.
Jim Manly arrived in Vancouver on his way to his home in Nanaimo on October 25th, 2012. He was received by family and friends and several media outlets trying to her his side of the story. He embarked on his voyage on the Estelle attempting to break the blockade of Gaza by the Israelis. Instead the Estelle was seized by the Israeli navy in international waters and all 30 crew members were detained against their will in Israel.
Statement by Jim Manly
October 25th, 2012
The Estelle, the attack by the Israeli navy and the people of Gaza
I’m glad to be back in Canada and I want to thank the many people who have supported me with their prayers and hard work. It was a privilege to be on the Finnish sailing ship, Estelle, as the representative of the Canadian Boat to Gaza and Gaza’s Ark movement and it was good to know that the members of that movement were working night and day to make our voyage a success.
The Estelle’s proposed trip to Gaza was a Swedish venture with original crew from Finland, Sweden and Norway, joined by representatives from Spain, Italy and Greece and myself from Canada. There were five members of Parliament on board from Norway, Sweden, Spain and Greece (2). Three former members of the Israeli Defence Forces who are committed to ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine made a great contribution to our voyage. Everyone on board was committed to non-violence but with a deep dedication to ending Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. The Estelle carried a cargo of humanitarian aid, consisting mostly of cement for rebuilding but also some play equipment and balls. Canada contributed an anchor, which was to be used for a boat to be rebuilt in Gaza, which would attempt to carry trade goods to the outside world.