All Aboard!

Non Violent Initiative to Free Gaza

This may, marks the 60th anniversary of the Nakba (or the Catastrophe) which saw the creation of Israel on the land stolen from the Palestinians. This injustice engendered a permanent state of tension and violence which often spills over to other regions of the world. Sixty years of:

Insults, incursions, illegal and immoral occupation…

Slaughter, siege, settlements and segregation…

Rampage and racist institutionalization…

Apartheid and annexation…

Ethnic cleansing, extrajudicial executions and…

Lobby pressure and intimidations

The Free Gaza initiative has launched a campaign aiming at breaking the siege on Gaza by organizing a non-violent journey by sea and trying to reach the open sky concentration camp called Gaza. “We’ve tried to enter Palestine by land. We’ve tried to arrive by air. Now we’re getting serious. We’re taking a ship” says their website.

Yesterday, normanfinkelstein.com published an appeal by the group of activists calling for more volonteers and asking for financial help:

Dear Boat People:It is three and a half months until the launch of our boat project to Gaza. Those of us actively involved in boat procurement have been working hard at finalizing some of the details, and we can announce that we are negotiating for boats that will hold up to 40-45 people.

We won’t stop looking for other boats (depending on funding), but we are confident that 40-45 people will be able to go in August on the maiden voyage to Gaza. Here, then, are the details

  1. Twenty-five of us will assemble in Cyprus on August 1, 2008.

  2. 15-20 people will go directly to Egypt on July 25 to help sail one or more boats to Cyprus. No experience required, but we also need a mix of backgrounds for this part of the project. Nonviolent training for this group will take place in Egypt. We will let you know more about these details, after we get a count of people who are interested in this part of the project. (Contact Paul Larudee for more details at Harmonicprogressive@gmail.com)

As well as telling us which of those two groups you want to join, we also need commitments for the following:An additional ground crew of 10-12 people willing to stay in Cyprus for the duration of the trip, field media opportunities, run training in nonviolent techniques, and then either be willing to be part of the second trip in mid-August or remain the ground crew. Some of you are already specifically interested in being just ground crew, so please reconfirm by contacting Bella at accessforpeace@riseup.net

We need feedback from all of you by the end of April, because there will be certain abilities, languages, countries and ages that will have primary consideration.

During the British mandate on Palestine, hundreds (around 4,500) of holocaust survivors, secretly packed by Zionist agents of the Haganah on an old steamer, the “exodus,” succeeded in 1947 in breaking the British blockade on Palestine aimed at limiting the number of Jewish migrants. The whole thing was carefully orchestrated in order to provoke the inevitable bloody confrontation that ensued. The pictures of desperate European Jews, being forced to go back to war-torn Europe shocked the Western (mainly American) viewers and helped boost the Zionist project in Palestine.

The current Free Gaza initiative may be inspired by the “Exodus” story, but its aim is diametrically opposed to it. I have a feeling it’s going to be hot in Gaza beach this August. Watch this space!

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