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Israel: Pirates of the Mediterranean
Israeli Government Hijacks Women's Flotilla to Gaza
By Noah Fine
On Wednesday October 5th the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) hijacked a boat in International Waters approximately 64km off the coast of the Gaza Strip, Palestine. All of the contents of the boat were confiscated by the Israeli State and the 13 people on board arrested.
What prompted the Israeli Government to invoke this act of piracy? The same reason it always does: to stop humanitarian aid from reaching the people of the suffocated Gaza Strip, the worlds largest open-air prison since Auschwitz.
The boat was part of a growing movement of Flotillas filled with humanitarian aid destined for people in Gaza. This boat was of particular symbolism as it was a women’s boat to Gaza. All 13 activists onboard were courageous women who knew they were putting their lives in danger challenging Israel’s relentless siege on the people of Gaza.
In 2010, the IDF hijacked another humanitarian aid flotilla to Gaza killing ten innocent activists onboard. The IDF soldiers dropped down on the boat from helicopters under the cover of night in international waters creating panic on one of the many boats destined to Gaza with aid.
Gaza: The Worlds Largest Open Air Prison
Gaza is the worlds most densely populated area. With 2 million Palestinian inhabitants, life for Gazan’s under blockade and occupation has never been good and is daily getting worse. For the past 10 years Palestinian in Gaza have lived under a total siege by the state of Israel which controls the land, sea and air around Gaza by way of a blockade. Electricity is limited to short spurts during the day alongside a lack of potable water, food and medicine.
As if the blockade was not difficult enough for the people of Gaza, Israel also consistently launches wars and bombing campaigns against the small impoverished area. In 2014 Israel launched a 50-day campaign of bombing against Gaza which killed more than 2,251 people including 550 children and 300 women. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), 83 schools and 10 healthcare centers were also destroyed or heavily damaged.
Due to Israel’s blockade on Gaza, reconstruction supplies only trickle in, if at all, leaving thousands of homes permanently demolished and leaving 75,000 people displaced still to this day. It’s no wonder why more than 300,000 children in Gaza are in immediate need of psycho-social therapy.
Palestine: A World-Wide Symbol of Hope
However, despite the deplorable conditions thrown at the people of Gaza by Israel, Palestinians in Gaza continue to resist and fight back against the brutal occupation. They do their best to rebuild fully knowing that all of their hard work could again be destroyed at any moment. It is for that determination demonstrated time and time again by people in Gaza that Israel works so hard to quash their spirit and why solidarity with their cause is so important.
The Women’s Boat to Gaza was not the first such act of solidarity and will not be the last. If you’re interested in supporting or getting involved with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition please visit their website:
End the Blockade on Gaza Now!
End the Occupation of Palestine Now!
Self-Determination for Palestine Now!
Follow Noah Fine on Twitter:@noahfine
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