Nearly four months ago the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was intercepted by Israeli special forces. The freedom flotilla contained 6 ships, and over 700 people from dozens of nations. It’s stated intention was to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza to deliver much needed humanitarian aid. The clash in international waters resulted in the death of 9 activists including one American. As with any conflict, both sides share some responsibility for the blame. Caffeinated discussion of the incident can be found here here and here.
Another collection of activist groups are now sending their own ship to attempt to run the Israeli blockade and deliver aid to Gaza, and the source may be surprising. The Jewish newspaper Haaretz has the details here, I will provide some highlights:
- On board: small group of Jewish activists from Israel, Germany, Britain and America.
- Activist groups: European Jews for a Just Peace, U.S. based Jewish Voice for Peace, Great Britian based Jews for Justice for Palestinians
- Stated goal: “To show that not all Jews support Israeli policies towards Palestinians”
- Sailing under the British flag.
- Contains: “a symbolic amount of aid” including toys, textbooks, musical instruments, fishing gear and prosthetic limbs.
- Funding: entirely by supporters’ donations
- Notable passengers: 1) A Holocaust surviver. 2)Rami Elhanan, an Israeli whose daughter Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in Jerusalem in 1997. He said it was his moral duty to act in support of Palestinians in Gaza because reconciliation was the surest path to peace. “Those 1.5 million people in Gaza are victims exactly as I am” 3)Reuven Moskovitz, 82, said that his life’s mission has been to turn foes into friends. “We are two peoples, but we have one future.”
Will we see a repeat of four months ago? Lets hope not.
Regarding the threat of interception by the Israeli navy, Richard Kuperof Jews for Justice for Palestinians said ‘This is a nonviolent action. We aim to reach Gaza, but our activists will not engage in any physical confrontation and will therefore not present the Israelis with any reason or excuse to use physical force or assault them.”
9-28 Update: The boat was boarded by the Israeli Navy, towed to port, passengers detained, questioned and most have been released. More information can be found here