Skip to main content

Freedom Flotilla poster. (Photo: via GazaFreedomFlotilla TW Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

In 2010, a similar effort with ships carrying more than 600 activists from more than 30 countries, was thwarted by the Israeli army.

Doctors, lawyers and academics are among the approximately 1,000 concerned citizens from around the world who will join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla hoping to set sail from Istanbul for the besieged enclave soon.

“The Gaza Freedom Flotilla is composed of unarmed civilians that are here on a peaceful mission to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza and to deliver humanitarian assistance as requested by the International Court of Justice,” explained Ann Wright, a retired US army colonel and former diplomat.

Wright is also a member of the steering committee of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition made up “of 12 national groups that are challenging the illegal Israeli navy blockade of Gaza.”

Activists from various countries including Germany, Malaysia, Palestine, Norway, Argentina, Spain, Canada, and South Africa, accompanied by journalists, will reportedly participate in the flotilla of four ships which intend to reach Gaza.

Two of the ships are assigned for activists, a third is intended to carry humanitarian aid and a fourth ship is reportedly expected to join from Italy.

In 2010, a similar effort with ships carrying more than 600 activists from more than 30 countries, resulted in the deaths of nine people after the Israeli army raided the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship in international waters. A tenth activist later died of his injuries.

Lifesaving Aid

At a press conference at a dockyard in Istanbul on Friday, activists expressed determination to reach Gaza despite the security challenges.

On the question of a possible Israeli attack, Wright told the Anadolu news agency that “Israel’s record is quite full in this regard, according to international rules and international human rights. In this sense, Israel making a mistake once again is not a good situation for its own security.”

Huwaida Araf from the US Freedom Flotilla Movement, who was one of the organizers of the 2010 flotilla, said they were preparing for the journey with the support of millions of people.

“What we have on board is lifesaving aid. We are watching in horror as an entire people are being deliberately starved, on top of the bombings and the killings and the maiming that we have seen,” she told Democracy Now in an interview.

“And we can’t stand by, because our governments aren’t doing anything to stop it. So we are taking to sea to attempt to deliver this aid and to directly challenge the siege in hopes of breaking it.”

International Obligation

Torstein Dahle from the Norwegian Freedom Flotilla Movement said that humanitarian aid should be delivered especially to Gaza in light of the genocide and massacre that has been going on in the region for more than six months, Anadolu reported.

“All international states, including Türkiye, must safely transfer this aid to the region in line with the decisions of the international criminal courts and ensure a permanent ceasefire in the region,” Dahle said.

Fauziah Mohd Hasan, a physician working with the Malaysian Freedom Flotilla Movement, said: “The most important call in this mission is to ensure a ceasefire in the region.”

Hasan noted that preparations were made for this journey with more than 280 important figures from around the world, including doctors, lawyers, engineers, and academics, said Anadolu.

“As a gynecologist, I know this: There is a tragedy in Gaza with more than 180 births every day and thousands of pregnant women waiting. After this crisis in the region, thousands of pregnant women were seriously affected by the process,” he said. “This crisis seems to have turned into a complete ethnic cleansing in the region.”

Over 34,000 Killed

Israel is on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians due to a devastating war imposed on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,049 Palestinians have been killed, and 76,901 wounded in the ongoing genocide.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the enclave.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(PC, Anadolu)

Leave a Reply