In light of global health restrictions on travel and public gatherings, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has decided to delay our planned departure towards Gaza. We had initially planned to visit several southern European ports in April and May of this year, and head for Gaza at the end of May, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara and other Freedom Flotilla vessels in 2010, that killed 10 peace activists. We will of course stand with our IHH partners as they commemorate those deaths and press for justice at the International Criminal Court.
With the help of supporters like you, we recently purchased a boat for this year’s voyage. We will still need more donations to help equip this boat with vital safety, communications and other materials, as well as to buy fuel and other supplies for our next challenge to the inhuman and illegal blockade of Gaza. Visit our updated website for updates about this boat and our preparations over the coming months. We will decide when our next voyage will begin based on ongoing reviews of public health conditions worldwide and in the ports we are planning to visit.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created new challenges for our Coalition members in each of our countries, especially as our grassroots civil society organizations depend on public support. We also know that conditions in Gaza are immeasurably more difficult, and that Palestinians there are particularly vulnerable now that the first Covid-19 cases have arrived there. The crowded conditions in Gaza, with a healthcare system which is already stretched, and extremely limited access to outside medical aid, all mean that we must keep the Palestinian people of Gaza in mind as we adapt to new realities worldwide.
We join organizations like the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza in calling on the international community and the World Health Organization to pressure Israeli authorities to allow entry of medical supplies and equipment necessary for Corona virus medical examination. While access to international medical aid will be vital to surviving the current crisis, we know that the only lasting peaceful solution for Gaza will be a permanent end to the 13 year blockade, with full freedom of movement for all Palestinians.
Ultimately, we must hold our governments responsible: their political complicity allows Israel to maintain the blockade of Gaza and prevent Palestinian refugees from exercising their right of return to their homeland. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated: please do what you can to stay healthy and engaged with solidarity campaigns. Together we can help end the blockade.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition