Monday, December 22, 2008

Free Gaza Movement Challenges Israeli Siege, International Acquiesence

Written by The Alternative Information Center (AIC)
Sunday, 21 December 2008

"....The Free Gaza Movement, created in 2008, is a coalition of political organizations and activists —human rights observers, aid workers and journalists from various countries, ages and backgrounds. The mission of the Free Gaza Movement is to break the Israeli siege of Gaza, to give solidarity to the Palestinian people and to raise international awareness about the situation in Gaza and pressure the international community to review its sanctions policy and end its support for continued Israeli occupation. Beyond this, the Free Gaza Movement also wants to uphold Palestine’s right to welcome internationals as visitors, human right observers, humanitarian aid workers and journalists.

Since August 2008, the Free Gaza ship “Dignity” has traveled from Cyprus to Gaza four times. The overseas travel from Cyprus to Gaza is an act of nonviolent resistance to the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine. The ship can be seen as a “civil resistance ship” that brings to Gaza: medical supplies, help to reunite families, mail (that hasn’t been though Israeli hands) and international humanitarian and human right workers to besieged Gaza......

The Alternative Information Center(AIC) talked with AIC member Lubna Masarwa, who has been on two “Dignity” voyages and was delegation leader on the last trip. The conversation was about why Israel is allowing “Dignity” to enter Gaza and not the boats from Jaffa and Libya. According to Masarwa, the reason for denial of the boat from Jaffa is because it was from Israel. The boats from the Free Gaza Movement all sail through international water to Gaza water. Israel has defined Libya as an enemy country, which is the reason why the boat wasn’t allowed to enter. Masarwa also mentioned that the Libyan boat wasn’t as prepared and organized as the boat from the Free Gaza Movement, but that the latter is now trying to help “al-Marwa” to be able to enter Gaza.

According to Masarwa, the extensive media coverage and presence of internationals on board is the reason Israel is allowing “Dignity” to enter Gaza. Actually Lubna doesn’t think that Israel knows what to do with the Free Gaza Movement. “Israel said it stopped the occupation of Gaza, but it still controls the sea, border crossings and the sky,” Masarwa noted. “We are doing this to challenge Israel.”......"

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