Istanbul, Turkey—Amid cheers and waving of Turkish and Palestinian flags, the second ship to join the Freedom Flotilla left Istanbul this afternoon. Sponsored by the Turkish humanitarian organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the ship will carry 600 passengers to Gaza as part of the blockade-busting flotilla.
It joins eight other boats coming from three other countries carrying 10,000 tons of supplies to the Palestinian people, supplies that have been denied to them by Israel .
Boats will meet in the Mediterranean, then turn toward Gaza to arrive at its beseiged slice of beachfront by the end of May. The ship, Free Gaza Movements MV Rachel Corrie, is already on her way from Ireland and is presently off the coast of Portugal loaded with cement, paper and supplies for school children and medical equipment.
Said John Ging, Head of United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip since 2006 said, We recommend the world send ships to the shores of Gaza, and we believe that Israel would not stop these vessels because the sea is open, and many human rights organizations have been successful in previous similar steps, and proved that breaking the siege on Gaza is possible.
Writes Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement:
We will all meet in international waters off the coast of Gaza , turn and steam into Gaza City port sometime between May 28 and June 1, depending on the weather.
The Israelis are nervous.
The Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to Gaza to the diaspora are ecstatic.
The internationals are determined.
The boats are ready.
The world waits.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is comprised of: Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, with hundreds of groups and organizations around the world supporting the effort.
“There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding , education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.”
— Noam Chomsky