This spring, the Free Gaza Movement is sending at least six boats to Gaza to break Israel’s illegal blockade on 1.5 million Palestinians. This blockade constitutes an act of collective punishment, a crime prohibited under international humanitarian law. Gaza’s man-made and internationally perpetuated crisis is set to deepen as Egypt builds an Iron wall 30 meters deep and 20 meters high on the southern Rafah border, closing off the final route for Palestinians to get basic supplies.
The urgency of breaking the blockade grows by the day, as Palestinians living in this prison are denied their most basic rights.
Our mission will include two boats committed by a Turkish NGO plus a cargo ship purchased with donations from the Malaysian people. This ship will be loaded with cement, water filtration systems and paper – all essential reconstruction materials denied entry to Gaza by Israel.
Free Gaza’s missions were the first to challenge Israel’s hermetic closing of Gaza when we sailed two small boats into Gaza in August 2008. We did not ask permission of Israel or Egypt to travel to Gaza and sailed directly from international waters into the waters of Gaza. Since then, we have been the catalyst for a growing international movement of civilian advocates, including the Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina.
Of course we will face Israel’s illegal naval blockade. But we have broken through it before and we will do it again. We are writing to ask you to make sure the mission is funded and publicized.
We sailed four more successful missions to Gaza since August 2008, and we intend to come back this year with a small flotilla, so you still have time to get boats and come with us. We are calling on all NGOs, human rights organizations and communities around the world to join us. If you already have funding for boats, we can provide the logistical and technical advice on how get them ready to join the flotilla. If you want to help in other ways, we have listed five below.
1. Fundraise for this trip. Consider organizing a big or small fundraiser in your community. We already have people available to speak at your events. http://www.freegaza.org/en/join-in/speaker-bureau. Friends returning from the Gaza Freedom March, or the Viva Palestina convoy can be especially helpful by turning report backs into fundraisers.
2. Get your community involved and turn this flotilla into a global effort. Our boats will carry building supplies and school supplies, both banned by Israeli authorities. Contribute by donating paper, ink or books for our Right to Read campaign: http://www.freegaza.org/right-to-read. If you can donate reconstruction supplies, please contact us. Get your children and their schools involved by having them write letters to children in Gaza that we will carry on our boats and deliver.
3. Publicize the trip. Once we have announced the date, help us get the message out to the media and to your elected officials to assure the passengers and boats will sail safely.
4. Ask your Member of Parliament/Congress to come with us. We already have MPs from South America, South Africa, Malaysia, Turkey and Europe who are going. If you have contacts with other high profile people, please let us know.
5. Volunteer as land crew, media or support crew in your countries.
To help, organize a fundraiser, suggest passengers and offer support, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will follow up immediately. We have only two to three months to finish organizing, raise the additional funds, and to set sail.
Join us as we sail together to Gaza this spring!